Monday, August 31, 2009

Surgeons Do Not Cry

I chanced upon a book called "Surgeons Do Not Cry" by Ting Tiongco when it fell from my sister's bag. Yes, even her extra reading is all about Medicine. I picked it up, opened it and didn't put it down until my sister unceremoniously turned off the light for bedtime :p

The book, published by the UP Press is teeming with short stories originally written for a column called Child of the Sun in It is Dr Tiongco's recollection of his ten-year development as a doctor and a surgeon at the UP PGH.

It is a smorgasbord of funny, sad and touching stories much like E.R. episodes only they were real. For someone whose medical background is limited to my sporadic visits to the clinics, the book is a wonderful sneak peek of the kind of life doctors lead and how noble the profession is.

In the process, I have developed an admiration towards Dr Tiongco and all the other doctors who have chosen to give up the possibility of the good life in the States for a more meaningful life serving the country.

God bless all the doctors to the barrio :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Less than 100 eat out - King Panda

When in Eastwood, I usually challenge myself to find a decent lunch/dinner place recessionista style which means it should be less than a hundred bucks. Yes, kuripot reprezent!

Here are my usual places and orders:

Citi Cafe = This is at the 2nd Floor of Citibank Tower. A full meal meaning rice, 1 ulam, soup and dessert will cost you around PHP 50. They have a good variety of lafang too :)

Fazolis = Regular Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce or 1 Slice Cheese Pizza. They have complimentary bread sticks. The Spag and pizza are both under a hundred bucks

KFC = Wow Chicken Steak. I think this is only PHP 50, don't get drink, just house water :p Mcdo has a similar thing, but theirs has drink for PHP 50. I love Mcdo :)

Mang Inasal at the 3rd Floor of Cybermall = Order the SM 1, again, don't get drink, just house water. You only pay PHP 49 hahahaha

Tenderbites = They have a PHP 99 steak which comes with either mixed vege or mashed po and iced tea. My officemates do not like it but I do. Just put lots of Knorr seasoning and hot sauce and it's all good hahhaa

Last night, while wandering around Cybermall, I saw a new place called KING PANDA right beside Tenderbites, with a canteen feel so I thought, pwede! I checked the menu and true enough pasok sa banga hahaha. They have a set meal for PHP 89 that comes with a mountain of fried rice, noodles and 1 large serving of viand of your choice. I chose fish fillet and tausi. I was so full I seriously had to drag myself back to the office. The service was great too!

My gabundok na fried rice with noodles

Fish Tausi, put some chili and it's all set :)

Shawarma Snack Center

We first searched for Shawarma Snack Center after watching Anthony Bourdain's episode on Egypt where he showed a whole goat/lamb being roasted beneath the desert sand. It looked so good we had an instant craving for Middle Eastern food. So we drove to Ermita and finally found Shawarma Snack Center along Salas St.

Since then, we have been back more than thrice in a span of one month :) Somehow the ambience reminds me of Arab St. in Singapore with quaint Middle Eastern joints.

The place is always bustling and has a good mix of local and foreign patrons. Their menu is downright simple and they serve that goat/lamb that we saw in the Anthony Bourdain Egypt episode. We would have ordered if it didn't cost PHP 10,000!!! hahaha

The rest of their menu items are not as insane though. For this visit, I was the only one who pigged out, I had mixed kebab (because I have been dreaming about it for a week :p) and SKP had pickles (which was really good, they make their own pickles) and yogurt shake. We didn't order our usual vegetable platter because I don't think I can finish it but it's also good. We spent less than PHP 300 for the meal :)

This is the newer and i guess more expensive Shawarma Snack Center. We eat on the other side of the street. Kuripot reprezent! :p

Their simple menu


And the panalong mixed kebab

Oh and do not miss the smiling fish in one of their aquariums :p I swear the darn thing smiles once in a while hahaha


From this view (Century Park/Harrison/Makati)

To this view (Manila Bay! yeeey!)

My photo doesn't do justice at all. Suffice to say that I am so looking forward to the magnificent view of the bay for the next 365 days starting tomorrow!

Yup, my sister and I are saying so long to Legaspi Towers, a place we called home for about a year or so. Legaspi Towers is one of the first condonimiums to rise along Roxas Blvd. This was THE condominium back in the day. Imelda Marcos used to live here daw, not sure how true but Mayor Lim lives here, I saw him in the lift a few times and all those times I was restraining myself from asking him for an autograph or something hehehe

The things we love about this place are spacious corridors and good interiors not to mention the scenic elevator that has a fantastic view of CCP and Manila Bay. I personally will surely miss the carpark attendants who so willingly park the car because I'm an idiot when it comes to parking hahaha

This place has also been witness to the many changes in both mine and my sister's lives. This was where I decided to move back to Marketing after a stressful one and a half years with outsourcing. My sister started her clerkship here, yes that's really her first day of clerkship. Nowadays, she only has one small bag when she goes on duty, exag lang sha dati :)

Most of all, this was also where I relented to my Dad's request many many years ago to give my heart to a fellow Muslim at the same time learning about honesty and respect for other's feelings :)

So yeah, it was in Legaspi that SKP dropped me off after watching ZsaZsa Zaturnah

It was also here that he surprised me with a Wagyu dinner after class

The carpark was also witness to the many hours spent talking about the past, the present and the future

And my favorite, this was where my nephew's little hand got stuck in the elevator because he was too impatient to wait for the darn thing to open :p

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Proud Moro Moment

This is one of my favorite emo songs and I just found out that this was composed by a Moro! I'm so proud :)

Dinner at Cafe Bola

There are only three chow places I like in Greenbelt: Cyma, Cafe Breton and Cafe Bola. We found a cheaper alternative for our Cyma craving at Shawarma Snack Center in Ermita so we opted to go to Cafe Bola. Everythin on Cafe Bola's menu screams comfort but like in Red Mango, I always order for the same thing: Spicy Tuyo Fillet + Scrambled Eggs + Wansoy Salsa. This heaven on a plate can be had for less than 200 bucks!

SKP's usual order here is the Adobong Pusit however he didn't feel like having rice so he ordered Potato Soup and Chicken Bola sandwich instead. The bill was half of that from Manna Garden but equally satisfying :)

Here are some photos:

Potato Soup

Chicken Bola Sandwich

My all time favorite, Spicy Tuyo Fillet

Ramadhan Reading: Standing Alone in Mecca

SKP got me a book for Ramadhan reading. It's called Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam by Asra Q. Nomani. It has about 300 pages, Insha Allah I'll be able to finish it by Eidl Fitr :)

Asra is a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal when she was beckoned to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca and she was determined to go with her son. One thing though, Asra, is not married and her son would be a living proof of illegally having sex or zina which could get her and her son into deep trouble if authorities in Mecca find out. I am only at page 7 so this should be inneresting.

Sukran SKP for the gift :)

P.S. Date should have been 1 Ramadhan 1430 :)

Surreality in one sitting

After a HIGHlarious time watching Hangover, we went to Powerbooks. They were having a Power Sale which was pretty awesome. SKP got four hard bound books for a little over 500 bucks. He also got a VHS for 9 bucks hahaha!

I never buy books though. I like reading but I don't like buying them because I'm stingy like that :P I left SKP to decide which ones he like to get and I looked for the most inneresting looking book. I picked up Surreality by New York-based writer Carissa Villacorta, made myself comfortable at one of the couches in Powerbooks and started to read.

Surreality is the New York version of Twisted by Jessica Zafra without the angst :p It is a compilation of some of the articles Carissa have written for Manila and US publications. It is her story of following dreams without completely leaving out what should matter most like family and friends in a city that never sleeps. It is about creating your own memories, learning from others, being ready for anything life throws at you and having fun while doing so.

I was able to finish it about the same time SKP has finished deciding which books he'd like to get.

Dessert at Red Mango

I told SKP I wanted to catch two movies, Up and Hangover but we finished lunch at 3 and the next movie screening is at 5 so I had to choose between Up and Hangover. I opted Hangover :)

Greenbelt was the destination after the Manna Garden lunch. While lining up to get tickets, I saw a roll up banner that woke me up from my Umami overdose, Red Mango, our favorite dessert place in Eastwood has opened a new branch in Greenbelt, yey! I didn't need to coax SKP into going there because we both love the place. Out of all the frozen yogurt places we have tried, this was really the best. We order the same thing all the time: green tea frozen yogurt. Super refreshing! SKP usually gets his plain, mine I add almond slivers :)

I kinda like the Greenbelt branch better. It is bigger, with more comfortable couches plus a wonderful view of ermmm Makati buildings :)

Lunch at Manna Garden

After Jumu'ah, we left Paranaque and headed to the MOA area for lunch. SKP just came from a culinary tour of Pampanga the other day so he wanted to have something light. We both agreed to go Korean. We wanted to try the one along Macapagal but there were only a couple of cars parked. We didn't want to take chances so we decided to go to Manna Garden in Makati instead. SKP swears by this place and I had been reading about this in some of the blogs I follow, it was a perfect time to try it.

We feasted on the following:

Unlimited Banchan Part 1

Unlimited Banchan Part 2

A slice of the huge Seafood Pancake. This came with soy sauce and chili

Soon Doo Boo Chigae. SKP's favorite Korean soup. I like Yuk Gye Jang but this tasted good also so I'm not complaining.

Total bill per person is close to PHP 300. It was well worth it. Come to think of it, I have never been disappointed with Korean cuisine. After the meal, you're full but not bloated full :P Next time, we will try Min Sook, another Korean place right across Manna

Ramadhan Kareem!

Jumu'ah at Paranaque

SKP was invited by a new friend to pray Jumu'ah at a masjid in Paranaque. He was told the masjid was near Paranaque Public Market right past Duty Free. It was a good thing we allotted an hour to find the place because we really had a hard time finding it. We asked policemen and bystanders if they knew where the masjid is or where the Muslims are (funny how other people react to the word mosque or Muslim like you've just cursed them or something) :) We ended up parking at San Dionisio Church and walking under the scorching heat around the public market to continue our hunt. With a stroke of luck, the nth seller we asked directions from was headed there himself so we finally found the masjid which was right beside Sunduan Restaurant along the highway (which by the way was too far from where we parked so we ended up taking a cab after the jumu'ah).

SKP's new friend said the masjid was built on public land and that he and some friends helped in constructing the masjid. The friend is leaving for Egypt next month and he wanted SKP to see it so that he can continue the work that they have started. I took a picture of the women's area at least and secretly prayed that Insha Allah a benefactor will help construct decent mosques in each of the cities in Manila. SKP's friend did a good job of creating the foundation but I pray that in time it will be more conducive for praying.

In Manila, I have prayed Jumu'ah in the following mosques/masjids:
Quiapo Golden Mosque
- I don't frequent this though because the Qutbah is sometimes in a dialect I can't understand, it can get really really crowded and going there is too tedious for me although I do like the eateries that line up the streets leading to the mosque

Taguig Blue Mosque
- I only went here once when my friend YM invited me for Eid'l Fitr

The one in Tandang Sora
- I went here once, a long time ago when my Dad was still alive. I have sketchy memories of this area but I remember it was pretty difficult to find

UP Romulo Hall
- I would go here when I was still studying in UP. I was bad then, I only went for Jumu'ah when I felt I was gonna get a 3 in one of my subjects :). This is my second favorite place. There's a vegetarian and Persian restaurant a few blocks from here at student-friendly prices

- I only went once. This is where SKP usually prays because he stays in San Juan. This place is huge and it can get really crowded and the Qutbah is Maranao all the way, which I do not understand at all. The only thing I like is the Maranao Restaurant right beside it :)

Indonesian Embassy
- This is my favorite. I go here whenever I can. It is secured, well-ventilated and the Qutbah is in English. Before, there were only a handful of us women who pray here but now, the room usually gets filled up which is a good sign.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ballet Philippines' Masterworks

So after an artsy fartsy afternoon at the National Art Gallery, SKP and I headed to Silahis Art Gallery in Intramuros (I did tell you he is obsessed) to check out more artworks. We then went home for a quick dinner and change outfit for are you ready for this... Ballet Philippines' gala performance of Masterworks at the Cultural Center of the Philippines hahaha. Grabe, I think I had a cultural overdose if there's such a thing :p

I was really excited because it was my first time to watch and Masterworks is where they perform their best of the best. This kick started their 40th season. I guess this was an important milestone for the company because gracing the gala was Ballet Philippines' founder Alice Reyes who flew in from the US. Manila Symphony Orchestra, UP Concert Chorus and Pianist Greg Zuniega provided music for Bach Concerto, Romeo and Juliet and Te Deum.

(SKP's thespian friend, NR, is a member of the UP Concert Chorus. She was kind enough to give us free Orchestra tickets. Thanks NR!)

SKP's favorite was the Igorot. I guess he likes indigenous stuff. It was okay but I liked Ensalada and Evacuation better. Ensalada because of the soundtrack (?), Ryan Cayabyab's Limang Dipang Tao. SKP told me the voices are all Mr C's. Wow! Evacuation on the other hand was rich in stunts or I don't know what the ballet equivalent is. This performance to me was a celebration of the flexibility of the human form. I wanted to give a standing ovation to the two performers but I got shy so clap na lang. Out of all the numbers, I bet everyone loved Swimming the Ilog Pasig especially the costume, hehe loko lang.

What I like about Ballet Philippines is their commitment to preserving the Pinoy culture and heritage through their dances. Sana, they would also do Singkil or a Maguindanaoan dance soon if they have not done so already :) and oh yes, their Artistic Director, Paul Morales is...cute! :p

A Day at the Museum


I am no art connoiseur but lately, I have been exposed to the artsy fartsy world thanks to SKP's obsession with H.R. Ocampo and Sanso's works. He decided to be an art collecter a couple of months ago and he already has two sketches by H.R. Ocampo and a painting by Sanso. These things do not cost cheap. Put together, these three is close to the vicinity of a car downpayment. That is why, currently, he cannot afford to get another one so he satisfies his visual urge by going to galleries. Last Saturday, our destination was the National Museum. At the reception area, we asked where the paintings are and to our surprise, the lady receptionist told us to go to the National Art Gallery building right across the street. (Sushal! I bet not that many people know there's a National Art Gallery)

At the entrance of the National Art Gallery building are two massive metal casts of Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena both created by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino. Right before the entrance door is a historical landmark of the Constitutional Convention because back in the day, this used to be the Legislative Building. At the lobby, be sure to look up so you won't miss Impy Pilapil's glass chandeliers, her ode to my favorite local delicacy, pastillas.

As you open the two huge doors after the lobby, you will begin to understand why this area is called the Grand Hall of Masters. The massive Spoliarium and other notable works by 19th century painters Juan Luna and my favorite Felix Resureccion Hidalgo are showcased here. These guys brought honor to the country by making waves during the 1884 Madrid Exposition. Of course, other critics say, it was no big deal because there were tons of other artists who brought home awards at that exposition but still...

There are six more rooms, I think, I lost count but my other favorite apart from the Grand Hall is the Hall of National Artists that has representative work from each of the fourteen National Artists for Visual Arts. You will really be awed by the sheer artistry and talent evident in the works and as my friends would say, lumelevel and mga itoh :p As a Moro, I am specially proud of Abdulmari Imao's works unfortunately I wasn't able to take photos :)

The visit to the National Art Gallery was a visual feast, and for only PHP 70 entrance, you cannot really go wrong.