The Fool's Journal
20 most recent posts

Date:2010-05-24 21:49
Subject:2010 -- The Present (Why I don't blog anymore)
Security:Public

I’ve realized that I’ve lost the need to keep updating my journal. It’s not that my life is less boring—in fact, it’s just the opposite. I think the reason is: I’m no longer in pain. The reason why I started writing this journal back in 2003 was as some sort of release and escape from a world that I considered harsh and unforgiving. It was my way of seeking some sort of sympathy and encouragement from then anonymous faces who all ended up to be my friends at one time or another.

I’ve stopped writing about my love life not because I’m single, but because I’m content. Yes, I’ve been in an over two-year relationship with someone who means the world to me. Yet, I no longer blog about her, our love affair, our fights, our anniversaries…does this mean I love her less? Good God, no.

Maybe this means I have matured as I no longer need to wear my heart on my sleeve. Maybe it’s because I’d rather enjoy each moment with her than write about it. Or maybe it’s because I’ve just been so happy that I no longer need to escape the world I live in.

Or maybe it’s because I want to be selfish. I want to keep to myself these thoughts, these feelings. After all, maybe if I bottle it away and keep it under lock and key, this one might be for keeps.

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Date:2009-10-11 22:09
Subject:The Perfect Day
Security:Public

Doesn’t happen often…but when it does happen, you know it. It is one of those days that you won’t change a single thing about. I can’t recall the last time I had a perfect day…those days are just too few and far behind. Yesterday, though, I had one of them. I had the Perfect Day.

The thing about Perfect Days—on the surface level, it can be really ordinary. You’d think that the Perfect Day would happen while you’re on a vacation, lying on a beach with an ice cold beer in your hand. But then something irritating happens—a rude waiter, a misunderstanding with the girlfriend. The result? A good day, maybe even a great day. But not the Perfect Day.

The Perfect Day is when everything clicks on all cylinders…even if you’re not doing anything extra-ordinary. Waking up with a hug and a kiss, boxing lessons for me, tennis lessons for Piglet, meeting up for a mismatched lunch of canned corned beef, chicken liver adobo and calamares, a trip to the mall to have Piglet’s passport picture taken, an average meal at an eat-all-you-can-merienda-buffet, sheer delight and surprise that Piglet’s passport pictures turned out great despite her fears, a cab ride back to Makati to watch a free movie courtesy of Piglet’s Citibank credit card, a really funny movie (The Ugly Truth) that had us laughing from beginning to end, and last but not the least, ending the day with Sangrias, Margaritas, Cosmopolitans and Dry Martinis at a homey tapas bar right across the street from where I live while dining on sumptuous gambas in crab fat sauce, salpicao, hummus and garlic mushrooms.

I don’t know when I’ll have the perfect day again. Piglet and I tried to make it two for two and have another perfect day today. Unfortunately, we both had a good day, but it was nowhere near perfect. It doesn’t matter. The memory of that Saturday will surely last a lifetime—or at least until the next Perfect Day.

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Date:2009-10-02 02:10
Subject:Ondoy & Tyler
Security:Public

Typhoon Ondoy. I can be considered one of the lucky ones. I was holed up in my condo unit in Makati during the height of the storm. I didn’t even realize the gravity of the situation until I decided to visit Facebook. Still, I was sick to the stomach with worry over the scores of people who were perched on rooftops awaiting rescue. People were losing not just their property (for some, their life’s work)…they were losing lives. We can all do our share to help those in need right now but we can only do so much. This feeling of helplessness is the worst feeling in the world.

As a result, I started the week a little depressed and after several days, I still can’t shake off this uneasy feeling. Although I am able to function in the workplace and everything seems fine on the surface level, I can’t wait for this week to end.

= =

On a brighter note, I just received news from my mother in the U.S. that Mika (my little sister who is also known as one of the stars who brighten up my universe—yes, the same universe where Piglet is the sun) has given birth to an amazingly good-looking baby boy. I haven’t seen pictures but my mom, being the doting grandmother that she has become, has told me that the baby is extremely handsome. Not that I am biased or anything, but I think this is probably true. After all, he has some of my genes. Hehehe. So join me in welcoming Tyler Roces-Nguyen into this world!

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Date:2009-07-27 11:17
Subject:Our food adventures
Security:Public

Fooooooooooooooood

Piglet and I have been eating out lately (mainly because our work schedules suck, leaving me no time to cook PLUS it really is the only time we get to spend with each other so we might as well make an event of it). Although I can’t remember all the places we’ve eaten, here are some:

1. Mickey’s Delicatessen – Located at Jupiter St., this is one of those places Piglet and I always promise to visit but end up going elsewhere. Same thing happened here because on the way, Piglet suddenly wanted to eat in Razon’s instead. I held my ground and FINALLY we ate at Mickey’s. The price was somewhat above average (well, at least for me since my spending income really isn’t as high as most). We ordered half a dozen Numberger Pork Sausages (P480) that was grilled on a wood-fire grill. They came served with Sauerkraut and Potato Salad. Verdict? The sausages were good and I’d definitely order them again. We also ordered pasta, Shrimps el Diablo (P540) if I remember correctly. The pasta was cooked a perfect al dente (can’t stand mushy noodles) and I liked the sauce (sour and not sweet). The only thing we regret ordering was the Assorted Cold Cuts with Cheese Platter. It was pricey (P580), and although it wasn’t bad, we’ve had much better for a much lower price. We do plan to go back for those Crispy Pork Knuckles. The group beside us ordered the Original Oktoberfest Platter and for around P2,500 they got this huge tray piled high with all the restaurant’s specialties. I should round up a group of six and order that next time.

2. MESA (Greenbelt 5) – Piglet has been talking about trying this place and the perfect opportunity came one rainy afternoon when after a long and trying week, we decided to treat ourselves to a long, leisurely lunch. When I saw the menu, I was pleasantly surprised how reasonably priced the food was. In fact, I made a mental note to come with a bigger group next time just so we can try more of the specialties

Piglet has been bugging me to try MESA’s Crispchon and when I saw that they offered different serving sizes, I wasn’t really hard to convince. Crispy pork has always been a weakness of mine. The One Sixth servings cost P799 and it was really too much for two. It was served two ways – regular Prichon style, wrapped ala Peking Duck with Hoisin sauce AND tossed in chili, garlic sauce. Both were good (but the left-over lechon in chili-garlic sauce the next day was even more excellent after we reheated it). We also ordered Baked Scallops with Garlic Butter (P190) which wasn’t anything to write home about but didn’t leave us cause to complain. A great pick, however, was the Crispy Boneless Hito with Mangga Salad (P320). It was everything good about fried fish. By the way, those three orders would have fed three or four hungry people easy. We took the left-overs home for dinner and after eating our fill the second time, we still had some lechon left.

3. Krocodile Grill – We were going to watch Harry Potter in Greenbelt so we decided to have a very quick dinner at Krocodile before the movie. As we were in a hurry, we rushed through our orders taking into consideration to order what they could serve fast. I can’t remember how much everything cost but we ordered the Kroc’s Baked Tahong, the Pork Sisig and the Crispy Tenga (which Piglet developed a taste for after we pigged out in that cheap bar in Davao). The service was slower than expected and Piglet and I were getting a little worried about missing the first part of the movie. Still, the food arrived on time and I guess the experience wasn’t too bad. The baked mussels were good although the shellfish could have been more fresh. The Sisig was strangely sweet. I guess it was because they added mayo. I wasn’t too crazy about it. The crispy tenga, though, was cut in strips which made it interesting. That one, I’ll order again.

No wonder I gained five pounds despite my solid effort to exercise more.

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Date:2009-06-25 12:10
Subject:My 32nd Birthday
Security:Public

So it was my birthday yesterday. Rather than spend another drunken evening (which I always find reason to regret the next day), I decided to spend a quiet day with Piglet instead. Actually my birthday celebration started a couple of days prior when Piglet and I had dinner at Nanbantei—this Yakitori place in Greenbelt. Despite my misgivings on the cost, I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually affordable. We ordered some Salmon Sashimi and a set meal with 21 sticks of assorted Yakitori. We both have big appetites but there were left-overs. Nothing went to waste though as I took them home and turned the bits and pieces into some fried rice the next day.

Anyway, back to my quiet birthday. Piglet actually had the day planned from morning to evening. Anyway, the day started with a hot breakfast at Kenny Roger’s. Huh, you say? Well, we always pass this billboard in the Makati underpass advertising breakfast at Kenny’s with free-flowing coffee. The ad always causes us to crave pancakes but we never found the time to go. So on my birthday we did it. I had oatmeal pancakes with bacon while Piglet had oatmeal pancakes with fresh fruits and cream. Not to be outdone, she also ordered extra bacon and some French toast. The verdict? Not GREAT but definitely good.

After a heavy meal, we went to Greenbelt church to pray and then she took me around the mall to get me her birthday gift. She got me two shirts since my wardrobe was seriously dwindling. She has impeccable taste so you can imagine that I love my gifts. Then we went back to the condo to loaf around a bit. It was then that she admitted that she wanted to take me to watch Transformers but that another option was for both of us to get massages. Now I’ve been waiting to watch Transformers but I was already planning to take her next week as part of this date I’ve been secretly putting together. Besides, we both needed massages to rub away all the stress we’ve accumulated at our day jobs. So I opted for a relaxing home massage…but before that…we needed to have lunch.

She surprised me by bringing me to Alba’s for their buffet lunch. I’ve been talking to her about the buffet a Alba’s and how much I miss it so I was practically jumping out of the cab when I realized where she was taking me. I’m crazy about the restaurant’s conchinillo and Alba’s didn’t disappoint. I must have gone back for five servings—I didn’t care about my cholesterol level anymore. I also had a little Paella (not so much to fill me up with carbs though as I wanted to attack the buffet table further), a lot of baked clams, a lot of chorizo, some callos…can’t remember everything I ate but it was all good.

We went home stuffed and I went on the Internet while she caught up on some much-needed sleep. After she woke up, we called in for massages. I then told her that I’ve already had too much fun and we can choose to stay in and watch DVDs for my remaining birthday. But she insisted that we go over to the newly-opened Trellis in Makati after the massage for a couple of beers.

Not one to say no to beer, we went over to Trellis (I’ve been dying to find out if their sisig is as good as it was reputed to be) and ordered some drinks. Unfortunately, I think my taste buds have been acclimatized to Metro Manila’s crunchy sisig. It was okay but I still prefer the sisig in local watering holes. Anyway…Piglet and I were just talking when she mentioned something about the smoking area. My eyes drifted towards the area and to my surprise, I saw Rosie, Mega and Daph walking in. Soon after, Kat D. walked in as well. It was Piglet’s birthday surprise for me!

It was the perfect thing to round off the day. Some booze, food and good conversation with my closest friends (Andy and Corinne went off on their South East Asia trip the day before just in case you were wondering where they were). We didn’t stay long because all of us had work the next day (and Piglet and I wanted to stay in a little *wink wink*), but over-all---one of the best birthdays of my life.

To everyone who greeted me, thank you. To my friends who came over for my small birthday surprise, thank you. And to Piglet who has once again made me happy on my special day, thank you.

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Date:2009-06-09 17:10
Subject:Wow Davao!
Security:Public

I went on a Davao trip with friends last June 4 to 7. I start my new job tomorrow so it was a blessing that I'd be able to unwind with friends before I start the 1pm-10pm grind at SGS. Our itinerary was pretty awesome--Pearl Farm, Whitewater rafting, Zipline...needless to say, we were all pretty excited.

We stayed at this budget hostel called We R Inn (no kidding). They offered triple sharing rooms at around Php920 a night. This meant we'd only be shelling out less than 500 each per night. It was an awesome deal and we got free breakfast to boot. Tipid travelers eh. :)

On our first day, we just checked in our luggage and took off for a day tour of Pearl Farm. I've been hearing raves about this place so I was pretty excited to go. The verdict? Ok lang. I don't know if I was expecting too much but it wasn't as fantastic as I expected. It was a nice place for sure but it wasn't all-out Barney-how-I-met-your-mother-AWESOME. Still, the water was nice. The sand was great. We had fun throwing a disc around and swimming. The weather was really sunny and warm (which was strange because classes were being suspended in Manila at that time due to rain and flood). We also played a 10-minute game of 3-on-3 basketball (my team lost). The food wasn't too bad. Anyway, it still wasn't a bad way to spend the day. Sulit naman yung price of the Day Tour.

We had dinner that night at a seafood restaurant called Ah Fat Seafood Plaza. This is obviously a very popular place as it has two branches right beside each other. Parang Emerald Garden ang dating. We were starving so we ordered a lot--steamed shrimp, oyster cake, shanghai fried rice, garlic fried chicken, pancit canton, cold cuts (with my favorite jellyfish) and this crab dish. When the food arrived,we were surprised to see how big the servings were. We are all big eaters but in the end, left-overs were a-plenty. The best part? The bill was unbelievably low (as compared to Manila). We played a guessing game and my guess was more than double the actual bill.

The next day, we were off to our whitewater rafting trip at Davao river---the highlight of our trip. The fee included almost a full day of rafting--25 rapids--a simple packed lunch of Chicken Afritada (which none of us finished because we were all too excited too go rafting again), a shirt, CD with pictures and videos, as well as a zip line ride and GCs at a local restaurant. In case you're wondering, rafting is perfectly safe. Some in our group were non-swimmers but they still had the time of their lives.

On the very first rapid (I naturally volunteered to be in front for bragging rights plus feeling ko talaga magaling ako lumangoy eh), I was thrown off the raft. It was a good thing we were taught what to do in situations like these. Seriously--before we went to the rapids, we had to jump off the boat one by one and we had to learn how to lift people back in the boat. Still, I was caught by surprise since I was sucked under water and hit my hip on a rock (I have the nasty, ugly bruise to prove it). Surprisingly, I was still clutching the paddle because the guide kept saying that the paddle was our life. When I surfaced, thanks to my life vest, I was swept away by the current. But not before I had a few moments to bid my friends, "Bye...sulat kayo."

So my friends paddled to save me and I got lifted back in the boat. Although I was a strong swimmer, I was admittedly a little shaken up because I couldn't believe how strong the current was. Five minutes later, however, the guide asked us to jump off so we can go down the current without the raft. We hesitated a bit but Jack, our trust river guide and I-tim leader, grabbed one of my friends as he jumped off. Siempre..papatalo ba ako? I immediately jumped off the boat. Now that was the highlight for me. It was fun going downstream at a rapid pace without the help of the raft. To my surprise, even Leah (one of the non-swimmers in our group), jumped off the raft to join in the fun. So nawala takot ko at game na ulit.

Basta---this is definitely one of the best experiences in my life. Jack really gave us our money's worth. He'd tell us to HIGH FIVE (raise our paddles in the air) just when we'd hit a big rock just to up the fun factor. Another scary thing that happened to me--Jack asked us to go down again just for fun but to hold on to the grab line. Eh medyo mayabang nga ako sa swimming prowess ko. So I jumped and forgot about holding on to the line. I was surprised and disoriented to find myself under the raft. My initial instinct was to swim and go to the front of the boat (because of the current, sabay kami ng boat going downstream). But really, you can't swim (and you're not supposed to swim) sa rapids. After a while, medyo napraning ako kasi I couldn't find my way out plus I was running out of air. But I'm really comfortable in the water so I didn't panic. I decided to go sideways instead of trying to reach the front and I was able to ease myself out from under the boat (with my hands pushing off the underside of the raft). Siempre paglabas ko, my friends didn't even notice my predicament. So nagulat na lang sila nung kinwento ko. But I wasn't really too worried.

Highlights of the rapids -- Kiss the Wall (humapas kami sa wall..HIGH FIVE), Washing Machine and the Drop and Suck. Unfortunately for us, it hasn't rained so water level was low. Therefore, the rapids aren't as exciting as it could've been. Still, they were challenging enough for first-timers like us. All of us made a promise to go back to Davao in August when the water levels are higher. Either that or we're going to Chico River. :)

After whitewater rafting, we went to Zip City for the free Zipline ride. By then it was nightfall (since we stopped over to eat) and that was when I realized that I had a morbid fear of heights. Kung anong yabang ko sa tubig--yun ang kaduwagan ko sa heights. When we reached the top of the tower, I suddenly felt the blood drain off my face and I clutched the metal handrail for dear life. Still pride na lang di ba? So I went through with it and yes, I had fun.

We invited our river guide to join us for a drink at Chilly Chill (a hang-out for locals near Bak Bak) and we met up with him and other river guides there. They serve Below Zero beer at that place for 30 pesos (seriously...30 pesos). That place also had the best Crispy Tenga (85 pesos) I've ever tasted and the Crispy Barbecue was 6 pesos a stick. Rosie and Leah ordered pitchers of mixed drinks (Daiquiri and Margarita) for 200 pesos each. We drank and ate all night and once again, we were pleasantly surprised when the bill arrived.

The next day (our last day), we went over to try the Speed Zip Line called the Xcelerator. I was a little worried because I almost choked doing our night zipline. In other words--naduduwag ako. When we were asked if we were doing the Sitting Position Zip or the Superman Zip, all of my companions opted for the Superman Zip. Sabi ko nga, pride na lang. So despite my fear, I decided to do the Superman Zip.

To get there, we had to hike for 10 minutes or so uphill. Now, I'm ridiculously out of shape so it was very difficult for me. I kept apologizing because my pace was very slow. Leah, however, kept me company (I think she felt sorry for me) so everyone else could hike ahead. When we arrived at the peak, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I wasn't scared at all. It was a really nice ride with a really great view. Very comfortable--not scary at all.

After our ride, we decided to have lunch at Luz Kinilaw. Foodies are saying this is a must-visit at Davao so it was only fitting that we have our last Davao meal there. Don't expect anything fancy...but the food was great (and cheap). Imagine a LARGE Tuna Belly (trust me when I say LARGE, our party of six couldn't finish it) for 300 pesos. Then of course, I had to order Inihaw na Bihod (Tuna Roe) for 120 pesos. Daph ordered Tuna Esophagus (I think they called it Bagaybay) and we all loved it. It tasted like a better version of Squid. We also tried their Kinilaw and Inihaw na Manok. Everything was good and everything was priced to reasonably. To cap off the meal, we went next door to buy fresh durian. Leah, Maan, Mega and Rosie have never tried fresh durian (kami naman ni Daph sabik sa durian hahaha) but they all tasted the fruit. At eto pa--nagustuhan nila!!!

After that, it was time to go home. Our Cebu Pacific flight was delayed for over two hours but a small price to pay for all the fun we had. Tomorrow I start my new job utterly refreshed and raring to go.

By the way, the people in Davao were very nice---too nice even. All of a sudden, it is on my list of places in the Philippines I would consider retiring in.

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Date:2009-05-07 14:09
Subject:Join Our Rockband Contest & Win Php15,000!!
Security:Public

We're having Fwiidom Night II at FriiSpirit, the only Wii Lounge located at Katipunan.
And since we're so nice, we're holding a Rockband competition and we're giving away Php15,000++!!!

First place will get Php15,000 + Php5,000 FriiSpirit Gift Certificaties.
Second Place with get Php5,000 FriiSpirit Gift Certificates.

Bands will be judged according to:

Game Score, Rockstar Image and Audience Impact.

This means -- if you can't play, DISPLAY!

As a special treat, we're going to have celebrity judges! Kitchie Nadal, Savannah Lumen and Corinne Ching will be judging this awesome event.

By the way, we're serving free food and drinks at the party so if you're not playing, go anyway!

If you're interested, call or text me at 0929-6986738 or visit http://friispirit.blogspot.com/ for more details!

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Date:2009-04-29 11:36
Subject:Horrible Experience at Hotel in Palawan -- Management Finally Apologizes
Security:Public

Now it can be told.

I had a horrible experience during my vacation a couple of months in Puerto Princesa. The incident aggravated me so much that I wrote an incident report to the Palawan Tourism Board. After several months (and several follow-ups), the management of the Inn has finally apologized.

I'll let the series of e-mails tell the story:


= = =
My Incident Report:

Hello Jeanny,

I don't know if there is a formal template for this, but if need be, I would be more than willing to go to your office to sign.

This is my formal complaint and incident report against the management of De Loro Inn & Restaurant.

First, let me begin by saying that I visited Puerto Princesa last Friday to Monday. I left Manila via Cebu Pacific on January 30, 2009 and left Puerto Princesa via Cebu Pacific again yesterday, February 2.

Upon arrival at Puerto Princesa, I proceeded to Sabang by jeep. Upon my arrival at around 3pm, I went to Bambua Nature Park but was disappointed to find out that the owner downgraded my reservation without prior notice. I reminded them that I reserved a cottage and that I received a confirmation for the cottage. I wouldn't have minded much except the room they were giving me didn't have its own bathroom. Since I was uncomfortable with this idea, I decided to move. To make up for the error, they gave us a ride to Sabang beach where with much difficulty, we were able to procure a reservation at a different inn.

My complaint, however, is not against Bambua. Despite their error, I don't think there was anything malicious about what they did. I honestly think it was a simple case of over-booking. And although it was upsetting, it was something I could understand.

Because of the error Bambua made (where we were initially booked for two nights), we decided to leave Sabang early. After visiting the underground river, we took the first jeep the next day back to Puerto Princesa. Because I was worried about finding a place at such short notice, I decided to call a few inns. I had a reservation for the Lotus Garden the next day but since we were leaving early unexpectedly, I needed a place to stay in for one night. Since our tricycle driver (Nonoy who can be contacted at 0909-757-8359) gave us a brochure of the De Loro Inn & Restaurant, I decided to place a phone call to check if they had a room available.

I called the inn at 2:05PM. A friendly reservation officer answered the call and when I asked if there was a room available, they eagerly told me yes. They then confirmed my reservation of a Standard Aircon room for Php1,200.00.

When I arrived at the De Loro Inn with my companion, we were welcomed with open arms by the staff. I noticed that a woman was observing the on-goings but thought nothing of it. At the back of my head, I figured she was either the owner or the manager. I told them about my bad experience at Bambua and the staff sympathized. My companion then paid the Php1,200.00 and we were given the provisional receipt. We were then given the keys to our room. At that point, I asked if I could use the phone and call the Lotus Garden because I wanted to confirm our reservations the next day.

It was then that the woman suddenly turned to us and ask in a very brisk manner, "Ilang araw ba kayo?" (How long will you be staying?)

I immediately replied that we were staying overnight.

Upon hearing that, the woman started rebuking and shouting at her staff in front of us. Although I am not able to remember exactly what she said, she was shouting something like:

"Bakit niyo ito pinayagan? Bakit niyo tinanggap ito?! Last room na yan tapos kumuha pa kayo ng Overnight?! Narinig mo naman sbe nila di ba? Bukas sa Lotus sila. Eh di doon na sila sa Lotus ngayon!"

Surprised and trying to appease her, I said, "We're tourists. No one informed us and we don't know the rules. And you already accepted our money for an overnight stay. You could have explained to us over the phone that you don't accept overnight reservations instead of confirming it."

I was still trying to talk to her but she proceeded to turn her back at me (still shouting at her staff) and proceeded to walk away. I was stunned and embarrassed. I am a paying customer and I couldn't believe that I was being treated this way. I could still hear her shouting despite the fact that she was already in the other room. I asked one of the staff members if she was the owner. They told me that yes, she was.

The staff kept apologizing for the owner's behavior (but in hushed tones because they obviously felt they would be reprimanded further). My companion and I offered to leave because we realized we were no longer welcome despite the fact that we have confirmed reservations and we had already paid. The staff gratefully returned out money and they got our receipt again.

It was a good thing that I also made arrangements with Ellen's Tours for a Honda Bay tour on the phone ride from Sabang to Puerto Princesa. When we informed them that we had confirmed reservations at De Loro, they sent their staff to get the money we owe them for the tour. When we were leaving, the staff had just arrived. When we told them our sorry tale, they immediately sympathized and proceeded to drive us around Puerto Princesa where it took 3 hotels before we could find a vacancy. We ended up staying at the Badjao Inn right beside Kinabuch.

I am surprised and dismayed that the De Loro Inn & Restaurant management would treat us that way. According to their website, the De Loro Inn is a service-oriented company--I can assure you that with my horrible experience, this is not the case. We were castigated and maltreated when we did nothing but show up for a confirmed reservation. We had already paid and we were already given the keys to the room. If the owner just informed us nicely that they were mistaken and that they don't accept overnight stays, I would have been disappointed and upset BUT not angry. Or if the owner wanted to reprimand her staff, she should have done this in private and not made an obvious attempt to make us feel unwelcome. Instead, I ended up humiliated and aggrieved. Simply put, the treatment we received was not acceptable.

Puerto Princesa is supposed to be the most tourist friendly place in the Philippines. We were lucky enough to meet Mayor Hagedorn at the Bajao Seafront restaurant and he welcomed us with open arms. He showed the greatest hospitality even offering us free transportation around the city the next time we visit. In contrast, we were treated badly at De Loro Inn by a resort owner no less. A resort that treats its guests as badly as De Loro Inn has no place in a city that takes pride in its eco-tourism.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Cherrilyn D. Roces

= = =

Finally, Here is the Apology Letter that I waited months for:

Good Morning,
In behalf of the management & staff of De Loro Inn & Restaurant, i would like to ask for apology for what happened last January regarding your booking here. We are very sorry if you got offended by our mistake, and we understand your remorse. We just hope you could find a way to forgive us. We do not intend to portray a badly managed company, it's just that our Manager was having the worst day of her life that time.

Thank you and we hope for your forgiveness...


Mayah Palma
De Loro Inn & Restaurant

DELORO INN & RESTAURANT
PEO Road, Bancao-Bancao
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Philippines

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Date:2009-03-30 15:41
Subject:Binondo Food Trip 1: Dong Bei Dumplings
Security:Public

I've been hearing a lot about the Dong Bei Dumplings restaurant in Yuchengco St. (formerly Nieva) thanks to the bloggers who joined the Binondo food tour. Since I don't have 1,000 pesos to spare to join the food tour, I just made a list of the places they visited with the intention of looking for these places myself. Easier said than done.

So last Sunday, I boarded the LRT and got off Carriedo. I walked over to Sta. Clara church and began the "easy" walk to Ongpin. Unfortunately, the summer heat made the walk almost unbearable and after a few minutes, I was also sweating buckets and feeling light-headed from dehydration.

Unfortunately for me, I was born without an inner compass and soon I was hopelessly lost. Too stubborn to take a pedicab (because I keep thinking it must be just a few meters away), I ended up asking for directions every five minutes. After a long walk. I stumbled onto Yuchengco St. and to my dismay, after I've walked the entire length of the street, Dong Bei Dumplings was nowhere to be found.

I was about to give up and I was prepared to go to that cafe on top of the Eng Bee Tin bakery instead (which is also a stop in the food tour, I hear) when I noticed that Yuchengco St. extends a little bit. I thought, "What the fuck, I am already here might as well see if it's there" and to my delight, there it was. This little hole-in-the-wall that promises some of the best dumplings in town.

So I went in, sat down and immediately ordered a set of 10 dumplings with chives and as an afterthough, some xia long pao. I also saw a can of Chinese herbal tea and I went for that too. The set of 10 cost 80 pesos. The xia long pao set cost 60 pesos for 4 pieces. The Chinese tea cost 35 pesos. Not bad at all.

After a short wait, the dumplings arrived. The first bite immediately brought back images of that dumpling stand that was located right below the China apartment I lived in. An old woman used to make those dumplings and they were good and filling. Not to mention that they were steaming hot--something always good when the temperature is below zero. I would definitely brave the long walk for these dumplings again.

The xia long pao wasn't the best I've tasted in Manila (Suzhou still wins for me) but it was definitely better than the scores of other xia long pao wannabes I've had (the worse so far was the one I bought at the Salcedo Market--but hey, the pork siomai there is pretty good). The xia long pao at Dong Bei was good and it tasted authentic...except, I'm definitely going for more of the dumplings next time. Especially since they have different varieties. **Mental note...I am getting the shrimp on my next visit.

I made a mental note of the other specialties they had that I needed to try the next time around. The stuffed pancakes are definitely next on my list (after the shrimp dumplings). In the meantime, I contented myself with buying frozen packs of chive dumplings and pork dumplings (100 pesos each for a pack of 14) to bring home.

Can't wait for my next Binondo food trip.

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Date:2009-03-20 10:47
Subject:happy anniversary, piglet
Security:Public

Yes, it’s been a year.
And after one year, I am still in love…or even more so.

Happy anniversary, Piglet.

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Date:2009-01-03 19:38
Subject:Goodbye 2008
Security:Public

I haven’t updated in ages, I know.
No excuses.
It’s just that 2008 was one hell of a year.
I mean it.
It was ONE HELL OF A YEAR.

From relationships that ended (and one that was resolved)…to the fact that I was somehow part of FOUR companies this year (from Chikka to Bizsum to Neuron Global to now NetBooster Asia…oops FIVE including FriiSpirit)…to living in three different places (from Sta. Mesa to Eastwood and now Makati)…I must say that despite the good things 2008 has given me (like meeting who I think is the love of my life), I am happy to see it go.

I have grand plans for 2009.

2009 is my year.

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Date:2008-11-26 13:24
Subject:
Security:Public

Live and love like there’s no tomorrow.
Each day can be the last.

No more regrets.

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Date:2008-10-28 17:14
Subject:She's back!
Security:Public

Piglet is back…and I couldn’t be happier.

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Date:2008-10-25 18:02
Subject:Andy says...
Security:Public

Someone I consider my best friend told me I lacked self-confidence.
No, she doesn’t discount the fact that I’m an arrogant bastard. She just thinks that when it comes to relationships, I always end up selling myself short. Like I always feel that I am inadequate because I am unable to provide financial security and stability.

Something tells me…she’s right.

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Date:2008-10-07 14:50
Subject:Fighting the Blues...
Security:Public

Now that the girlfriend is the States and I’m left on my own for a few weeks, I’ve been feeling a little down and depressed. It’s not that I miss her (although I certainly do), it’s just that without someone else to fuss over, listen to and take care of…I’m left with a lot of time to do a lot of thinking and that isn’t always good in my case.

So I try to keep myself busy. The demands of my day job and the store take up most of my time. If I find free hours, I usually just use it to stay at home, catch up on sleep or watch some DVDs. Andy tries to show that she hasn’t neglected me by showing up once in a while but I really want her to focus on her thing right now, so I try to give her some space.

I did play at the Filipino Poker Tour where I played safe poker. Unfortunately for me, some guy called my push with a measly K-9 (had it dominated with my K-J) and he ended up hitting a full house when a K hit the flop and two 9s showed up at the turn and river. I also sat down in the featured table where I basically folded every hand that was dealt to me. Definitely not good TV.

Another thing I’ve been doing is learning how to cook seafood. Some time ago, I believed I was allergic to any form of seafood, nuts and chicken. Lucky for me, that turned out to be psychosomatic (which is a fancy word that basically tells everyone I’m a little crazy), so I’m now whipping out garlic-butter prawns and toaster-oven fish fillets in my small kitchen.

That’s it for now. Just a small update to let everyone know I’m still alive. A little beaten and worse for wear but I’m still here. Give me a few days and I’ll be as good as new.

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Date:2008-09-09 18:50
Subject:
Security:Public

Almost six months after the fact...

You still leave me dazzled, frazzled...

And hopelessly, irrevocably in love

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Date:2008-09-09 15:16
Subject:Walk This Way : The Launch (at FriiSpirit Katipunan)
Security:Public

WALK THIS WAY: The Launch!

On Friday, September 12, 9pm-Onwards, FriiSpirit (the place to eat, drink and play Wii at Katipunan) launches the much awaited:

GUITAR HERO: AEROSMITH

Play, eat, drink and enjoy all for Free!

EXCLUSIVELY for Bloggers & FriiSpirit members. If you’re either of those, text 0929-6986738 to RSVP. Or better yet, become a member and join the fun!

No one is a stranger at FriiSpirit.

Featuring, special guest for the evening:

LUIS BENESA – Silver medalist for the 2008 WCG Guitar Hero Asian Championship!

Check out http://friispirit.blogspot.com for more details!

Come on, people! You’ve got to ROCK THIS WAY!

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Date:2008-09-05 12:17
Subject:The HoL
Security:Public

Last weekend, the girlfriend and I moved into the Makati studio (now known as the HoL). The biggest shock of my life was realizing that my life can fit into 3 boxes and 8 large plastic bags, mostly filled with boxes and clothes. Still, despite my lack of material possessions, I am blessed with people who love me. So I know I am actually wealthy beyond belief.

Anyway, moving is a lot of work and it is expensive. By the time we were done, the girlfriend and I were exhausted. When I mentioned I might consider moving again to a bigger place next year when I get the promised salary increase in June, the girlfriend winced and asked that we stay at the HoL indefinitely. I don’t blame her.

The convenience of living in Makati (particularly if you work in Makati like we do) makes up for the increase in my living expenses. I’m cooking again and I’ve even started bringing in packed lunches to work (something I was dead set against doing in the past). Of course, the moving expenses drained my bank account but the money saved in transportation expenses should help me back on track.

The HoL is small but it has its charm. After the first day, it really felt like home. In fact, it’s the first time that I’ve felt truly at home in years. The girlfriend and I are having a good time just hanging out and watching cable TV. On our first day, the girlfriend even went swimming in the roofdeck pool and ended up sporting the sexiest tan lines ever. I’ve checked out the gym and although I’ve definitely seen better, it was pretty well-equipped and should suit our needs just fine.

I haven’t invited people over yet because I’d like to buy a few more stuff before I formally open my door to guests. But for sure, I’ll be having some simple dinner parties soon—although due to the lack of space and furniture, expect small gatherings. Donations of beer and liquor would be most welcome during such events.

The girlfriend and I will take some pictures over the weekend. Until then!

= = =

On a different note, I love Google Chrome. It’s the first browser I’ve ever wanted to make love to.

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Date:2008-09-03 11:13
Subject:I won!
Security:Public

I won!!

This article I wrote years ago when I was depressed over a dysfunctional relationship:
http://thefool.tabulas.com/2003/10/02/regrets/#1924252

Won me:

Two (2) Orchestra Center Tickets (P2,400 worth) to the Sept. 5, Friday Opening Night of West Side Story
and
One (1) P1,000 Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Gift Certificate

Thanks to Anton Diaz of http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/ and of course, Mrs. OAP for choosing my story. :)

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Date:2008-08-25 15:55
Subject:where do i find the time?
Security:Public

So last weekend, I went off to Sagada, leaving the girlfriend behind because she had other plans and she didn’t want me to cancel on my friends just because she couldn’t go. This weekend, we didn’t spend quality time together because she had to go off on some company thing.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to this weekend (even if it’s just Monday). There’s even a slight chance I’d be able to move in to the Makati condo on Sunday so I was giddy with excitement. I was thinking that the girlfriend and I could finally spend a quiet Sunday together (since it’s my one full day off), setting things in order at the new place.

So I was at my desk this morning, typing away, when my boss informed me that he needed me during a management meeting. I said yes thinking that it would probably take the rest of my afternoon so I’d have to work late (not something I mind). But he suddenly talked about leaving over the weekend and I suddenly felt my heart sink to the floor.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. People can attest that although I complain a lot about the stress and the sheer amount of work, I secretly love the pressure. But is it really too much to ask that I spend just one full day with the woman I love?

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