Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Dates.

(Written last August 15, 2009)

Funny how when you're away from home -- more specifically, away from Manila -- makes you think of things you don't normally think about.

In my case, the thought of first dates came to mind. I've been in a couple of first dates. In fact, I've been on five first dates. Oh yes...contrary to popular belief, I may be a no-boyfriend-since-birth gal but I've had my share of first dates. I guess being in a rather peaceful environment makes you think of such things. Then again, maybe it's just me.

First dates.

At 23, my share of first dates has been nice. They've been fun. A lunch date in Power Plant Mall, a coffee chit chat at Starbucks, a dinner at Capricciosa, a lunch date at Kitaro Sushi, and an after-work get-together at Coffee Bean. Notice anything? Every single first date starts with food. Not that I didn't like it but truth be told, it's not how I imagined my first date is going to be. Ok, this could probably shock most people but I'm about to reveal my ideal kind of a first date. goes.

It feels corny writing about this's a thought in my head that won't go away and this is how to remedy that. Then maybe after I've posted this, I can finally go to sleep.

So what is my idea of a first date? Well, it's nothing extravagant, nothing fancy. If anything, I imagine it to be simple -- simple but truly wonderful.

I imagine the first date to be casual. He and I would go to the mall and start the date by playing a game or two of bowling. Yes, bowling. I'd like to think that the alley allows us grown-ups to be kids again. It's a lot of fun and there's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. What better way to break the ice, right?

A game of bowling can work both ways. Either it can work up an appetite or it can make you want to just chill out. Then again, why not do both right? By then, we'd be probably hungry so we'll eat at Sbarro or Chef d'Angelo (a little pricey but the food there is divine!). We'd talk about random things, our hobbies, our likes and dislikes, anything under the sun. Our conversations would be full of laughter, trying to remember all the silly things we did.

We move on to walking around the mall. Still talking about random things. I'd probably ask him to chill out in a cafe, drink coffee or tea, eat a slice of cake, and just continue talking.

It's the perfect way to end the day.

Does he take me home or do we go our separate ways? Either way works for me. Of course, to take me home would be nice. It gives us more time to talk.

I've been asked numerous times before. To kiss on a first date or not to kiss? I say...that has yet to be decided. I really can't answer that since I've never considered it at all. But I guess, at the moment, I'd say, no. A peck on the cheek, yes...a kiss on the lips on a first date, no.

*Sigh* It amazes me the thoughts that come to mind when away from home.

Until my next entry,

Monday, August 10, 2009

Food = Fun!

It was definitely a fun day for me today! Tiring, definitely, but absolutely worth it.

I had two interviews scheduled today. One with Pepper Lunch owner, Jeroen van Straten and the other with Juan Carlos de Terry who owns Terry Selections. As always, I was anxious and excited for these interviews. There's something about talking to chefs and restauranteurs that definitely makes me ask a lot of questions. Maybe it's because I cook and I love to eat. Haha! Yes, I'm a self-professed food junkie. Like I told Jeroen, "I always have to have food within my reach."

When the topic is food, I can go on and on about it. What I cook, what ingredients I buy, how I cook it -- everything! I swear, food lets me talk non-stop about it. Talking to Jeroen was like talking to fellow food junkie I've known for a very long time. It didn't seem like I was interviewing him -- it felt more like it was a casual talk. I had a real great time talking about food with Jeroen. Hehehe...

To interview Señor Juan Carlos was absolutely divine! He's probably one of the most intriguing persons I've met. When he talks about food and about wine, you just know that he's absolutely passionate about food and wine. It was an absolute thrill to meet him.

Bottom line: food is fun! Hahaha!

Till my next entry.


Four Years.

It's past 12 o'clock and I'm still wide awake. I should be sleeping right now since I've tons to do but here I am. Eyes wide open, so many things running through my head.

August 10th.

There's something significant about this date. Four years ago today, my grandfather passed away. And even after four years, I still miss him. A lot. He was 90 when he went.

If you've read about the history of Parañaque, you'll find out that my lolo, Lucio Castillo Francisco, is the first post-war mayor appointed by the Americans. Yes, he was indeed a significant part in the history of the city.

I remember how my relatives from abroad came back to the Philippines so that they could be there beside Lolo Bait until his last breath.

I remember how my Papa told us how he went -- he looked at my lola, smiled and told her, "Choleng, aalis na ako."

I remember how everyone told so many stories of my lolo's heroism during the three-day wake we had for him.

I remember the very first time I saw my Papa holding back the tears when he spoke in front of the people before we buried Lolo Bait.
I remember one person telling us during his burial, "You should be proud of your lolo. He was a true hero."

I am proud.
I am proud to have him as my Lolo Bait.
I am proud to be his granddaughter.
I am proud to have known a great man.

Four years.

Sometimes, it seems like only yesterday when I found out that Lolo Bait passed away.

I miss you, Lolo...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

My Pagsanjan Weekend Getaway

Ok. I have a feeling that I have to write something intellectual at this point -- given the whole situation with the passing of the former president Corazon Aquino. But bear with me for a moment. Let me share with you my experience with my friends last weekend when we went to Pagsanjan, Laguna.

I got the idea to go to Laguna when I wrote a news-feature on a newly-opened bed & breakfast in Pagsanjan.I was so intrigued by it that I talked my friend (and my food buddy) Emzi into coming with me. She was so excited that she brought along her friend, Angge. It was decided then -- August 1-2, the three of us will go and stay in Villa Doña Luisa and see what Pagsanjan has to offer.

August 1
We met up at the Green Star bus terminal at 9:30AM. Although it was just then that I had met Angge, it was like we've known each other for a while. It was pretty easy for us to get along, we do share something in common -- food. Our journey begins, and so does our non-stop conversations on random things.

After 5 hours of rain, a bus ride, 3 jeepney rides and a free tricycle ride, Emzi, Angge and I finally reached our destination: Villa Doña Luisa in Hocson corner Garcia Street, Pagsanjan, Laguna. We were all very happy and very excited. There we were -- 3 young travelers, hungry, tired, but still ready to explore! We got there, greeted by the administrator in charge, Tita Aileen. She even gave us a tour of the place. It was absolutely wonderful. Like a home away from home. We entered the Luisa Room, which is actually the Master's bedroom there. The vibrant colors simply took my breath away! I was very happy!

After putting our stuff down, we ate a very late lunch. Chopsuey! I loved it! Simply because it was truly lutong bahay. Before going out, my friends and I talked about how we were going to go about the rest of the day. Yes, even the rain wasn't going to hinder us from our adventure!

Upon leaving the bed & breakfast, Emzi, Angge and I just went where our feet would take us. It was like seeing things during the colonial times. The roads, the old-fashioned homes (most particularly the ancestral home of Don Porong Ejercito), the church, the very delicious foods! Everything was just beautiful.

We ate dinner at Dura-Fe Restaurant. Surprise, surprise! We thought we were ordering a la carte; lo and behold, everything we ordered was good for 3-4 people. But hey, we're food lovers, we ate and ate and ate until there was nothing left to eat.

Hehehe. Afterwards, we went to Emma's Kakanin, where we bought so many delicacies. We were even fortunate to meet Lola Emma, who began her kakanin business when she was still 15. More than 6 decades later, I can honestly say, she makes some of the most delicious delicacies!

That wasn't enough, of course. We were intrigued by this place called "Aling Taleng's Halo Halo Since 1933." So we braved the heavy rains and went there. Their halo-halo was really one of the best halo-halos I've ever had! From what I could savor, the ingredients were kaong, tubo, mongo beans, leche flan, macapuno and kondol. Oh! And their milk! Yummy! I can honestly say, your Pagsanjan visit wouldn't be complete if you haven't tried their halo-halo.

We went back to Villa Doña Luisa around 8:00 in the evening. Yes, it was still raining. Walking back to our place, the streets were practically empty, except maybe for a couple of drivers here and there. We didn't mind people were looking at us because we were walking in the rain without our umbrellas.

When we got back to our room, we each took a shower, hopped onto bed and watched television until we slept.

August 2
I woke up at 7:30 in the morning. My sleep was so heavenly. It was just relaxing! I love that feeling of peace when waking up. Emzi and Angge were already awake. I guess I'm just too tired from work the past week that I slept the whole night through.

We only had a few hours left before we go back to Manila so the three of us ate breakfast (once again, delicious lutong bahay), fixed all our stuff and went to the ancestral house next door. Hehehe...our last minute camera-tripping! Around 1:00 in the afternoon, we went to the Green Star bus terminal and head home.

Yey! Such a wonderful weekend!

Next stop: Davao!