Archive for the 'Philippines' Category

laduree et canard

Got these wonderful presents from biancaboo yesterday when I paid her a visit.

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She was recently in Paris and brought home a divine box of Laduree macarons. I miss Paris, and a single bite on one of these takes me to the grand interiors of this Parisian pastry shop and tea salon landmark.

All the way from the Philippines, I got this box of wooden duck napkin rings from biancaboo’s sisters. They are hand-carved and very nice. Thank you very much Manang L and V!

silent night, holy shite

After spending three weeks in Manila I found myself back in Oslo in time for Christmas Eve celebration. This year, Christmas Eve dinner was an intimate affair shared with Knut and three very good friends. Our white retro Malibu glass cabinet turned buffet table was laden with Knut’s perfectly-baked turkey, Waldorf salad, gratinated potatoes and vegetables. We had scallops for the appetizer, while  a cloudberries dessert was served during gift-giving and I came bearing presents from the Philippines. I got a white leather-covered Porto Go iPod docking portable music player from Knut (very cool I love it!) and a bottle of Hermes Eau D’Orange Verte from Neil (hmmm, I love Hermes scents).

The capiz Christmas lantern from the Philippines also made its debut that night and I’m glad it got to Oslo in one piece. I had a little drama at the Oslo airport since it went missing on the baggage carousel. Turns out it turned out on another belt, beh! The running colored Christmas lights I brought from the Philippines decked a fresh pine tree and it was fab! So you see I had loads of stuff from Manila that I had 14 kilos in excess baggage. I had to pay 360 darn Euros at the airport in Manila. Holy shite! Well, that’s that.

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Here’s to wishing everyone a fantastic New Year’s Eve celebration! Stay safe guys! I’ll see you all in 2009!

postcards from manila, manila: week three

My last week in Manila was spent mostly with family – visiting my grandma again in Batangas to say goodbye, celebrating Bernice’s 1st birthday, having dinners and donuts together, and wrapping Christmas gifts. It was also this time when I shared some momentous news with my family, which finally made me happy and complete. 

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A big thank you to my family and friends for spending time with me and making my short holiday in the Philippines yet another memorable and lovely one. Until we see each other again.

I love you all!

postcards from manila, manila: week two

The second week of my stay in Manila started with my dad’s 60th birthday celebration at Party Avenue in Quezon City. The theme was 70’s disco so we all came in the trademark styles of the decade. It was a fun and successful event marking a milestone in my dad’s life as it gathered family and friends in one memorable evening. Two years from now, my brother and I have some party planning to do for my mom who’ll then turn 60.

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Since the news of my arrival has been revealed, meeting relatives and friends ensued and we visited my grandmother and some relatives in my dad’s hometown in Batangas. It was nice seeing my grandmother again, who used to take care of me and tell me bedtime stories when I was a kid. While there, I caught some virus and immediately fell sick. I was sick for like the next few days so I had to stay in before meeting my friends from Rustan’s, and later that week friends from college. 

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I didn’t know that Filipino celebrity crush Piolo Pascual was crazy for me. Haha! The sight of that yummy Max’s chicken reminds me how much food I’ve had since I arrived. I’ve tried the fares of the ever-favorite Jollibee, California Pizza Kitchen, Via Mare, Cibo, Teriyaki Boy, Pepper Lunch (again) and even the Filipino dishes sold at the foodyard of Market! Market! OMG, just look at all these food!

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I’ve also spent some time with my three nieces who I love so dearly. Bea is an active and brilliant student at her school, Bianca trumps me with her English skills, while Bernice seems to be growing quickly and melts my heart with her shy smiles. 

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Bea and her school’s choir participated in a Christmas choral competition at the Powerplant Mall and won the semi-finals! They are moving to the grand finals next Saturday. We were all so proud of Bea as she stood in the front line with her clever stance, brilliant performance, and that Close-up smile. 

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Just yesterday, we took the kids to the Avilon Zoo in Pasig where I had a close encounter with big cats, an albino carabao, the mighty Philippine eagle and other creatures both cute and creepy. It was pretty cool actually.

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One week left in Manila. Aaaaaah! Thanks for looking!

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postcards from manila, manila

The cat’s out of the bag. I’m in Manila!

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I arrived exactly one week ago via a KLM flight from Oslo thru Amsterdam and then to Manila. My brother, who knew I was coming, picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at Sofitel Philippine Plaza where I stayed for one night. My room had amazing views of the Makati skyline, the Manila Film Center where I used to practice and perform with the Manila Children’s Choir, and the Manila Bay with its stunning sunsets.

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That same night, I surprised my parents and my nieces as they were dining at the hotel’s signature Spiral Restaurant for my mom’s birthday dinner. My mom was in tears as she was screaming my name, my dad glad, and my nieces in disbelief. It was such a thrill seeing my family again; god I missed them! The last time I saw them was January this year. I decided to come home since my dad was celebrating his 60th birthday (more on this at a later post). My mom also turned 58. And my niece Bernice will turn one on the 18th. Call it triple threat. Hello additional 13,864 kilos! It’s inevitable.

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I kept mum this entire first week because of my blog-reading friends and relatives, who I wanted to surprise too. I surprised my BFF Liz with a phonecall and we met up briefly at Sofitel the day I checked out. Some days later, we went to Rockwell to try out the ultra famous Pepper Lunch owned by blogger Chuvaness. It was both our first time eating there and we weren’t surprised how it’s reached its superstar status. The food was good, prices quite affordable and service friendly. I loved the voice of server Glenn! Haha! We then moved to C2 for its bibingka souffle and kapeng barako with condensed milk. Yum.

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Last Thursday, I met up with fellow LVoer yed who was toting his drool-inducing Soana Sacoche. We had dinner, desserts and dialogues at M Cafe by the Ayala Museum. Yed’s such a cool and stylish guy, with high-brow education and amazing architectural projects under his belt. We dropped by the Louis Vuitton store where I was disappointed by the sloooooow and lousy service. Earlier that night, I checked out Greenbelt 4 and 5 with its rows of big brand name stores and ended up buying something from Marc by Marc Jacobs. 

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17 more days left in Manila.

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It’s so back-to-the-80s.

I was at a Tupperware Party a week ago, where our hostess served waffles, assortments of cheese, fruits and nuts. There was a presentation and demonstration of Tupperware products. I haven’t seen and touched any Tupperware product in a long time, and that moment reminded me my mom’s own collection and how Tupperware had been a part of my life back when I was young in the Philippines.

We would make and refrigerate fruit salad around Christmastime with a Tupperware bowl. We would top our spaghetti with cheese freshly grated with a Tupperware grater. We would store kitchen knick knacks with Tupperware containers in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We would drink from Tupperware glasses during picnics and family outings. My mom would pack school lunches with Tupperware, too. Ah, I remember one unlucky Tupperware meltdown. Literally. We put a non microwave-safe container in the microwave and it melted right before our eyes. Those were the days.

Suddenly, Tupperware is back in my life. And they’re greater, smarter, and more colorful than ever! I ordered these at the party and got home delivery. From top to bottom: Happy Chopper – a fantastic ergonomic solution for chopping onions, herbs, garlic, ham and nuts. It’s so easy to use, just twist the bowl and the cover back and forth with both hands and voila! No tears. No smelling fingers. Only chopped bits of whatever. CrystalPlus Lunch Box – a reheatable food container which can be used straight from the freezer to the microwave oven. Mini-Max – an accordion-type container which can be flattened for storage and expanded according to capacity need. And a silicone baking mat that keeps the oven clean (hate it when pizza cheese drips and gets burned at the bottom), whlie providing a non-stick baking/heating surface for food.

Love ’em!

santacruzan in oslo

HUWAT?!?!

While it is a common thing to hear Filipinos chattering in buses or finding that pancit canton you love in Asian stores in the city, it came as a surprise that a Santacruzan was staged in Oslo last Saturday. Santacruzan is a novena procession commemorating St. Helena and her son Constantine the Great’s mythical finding of the cross. This tradition was first introduced during the Spanish colonization. In modern Filipino times, Santacruzan is a religious beauty pageant held in cities, towns and small villages in the month of May. Young ladies are chosen to participate and represent religious figures (Mary Magdalene, Veronica) and queens. They are escorted by the town’s finest lads dressed in barong tagalog, the traditional formal garment worn by Filipino men. As this procession is also called the May Flower Festival, arks and floats bedecked in fragrant summer flowers are part of the Santacruzan.

But when you’re in Oslo, you also get two police officers on horses paving the way.

   

It reminded me of the days when I would escort for a lady-neighbor or be the Constantine to my cousin who was chosen to be the queen of all queens. And with enough digging, I found a photo of me and the lady-neighbor in one Santacruzan. Here’s me circa mid-90’s.

Guapo, no?


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