Why is it already April 10?

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View from the top! The top floor of Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center in Ortigas, that is, which happens to be the venue of our April 9 holiday staycation.

April 9 is Araw ng Kagitingan in the Philippines so it’s a legal holiday, but more than that, it’s my mom’s birthday! :D

So to celebrate, we booked a room here and went swimming in the indoor pool, worked out at the gym (but this was only my brother and M), had North Park food delivered for dinner and watched Oculus on Star Movies.

Now it’s nearly 3am and I’m the only one awake and I can’t believe how fast time flies. In 13 hours, I’ll need to be in the office again working and why can’t staycations last forever? :(

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This is what the room looks like, btw. So it’s not difficult to understand why I really don’t want to go back to reality yet.

Harrry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is playing on the TV and though I’ve seen it so many times before, it’s really not a bad companion in these wee hours of the morning that I’m trying to make the most of my not having to work yet.

Anyway, happy birthday to my mom and my brother too since he’s celebrating his birthday tomorrow. And can’t I just have the ability to stop time please??

This apparently happens in real life.

I was going to post about my recent trip to Batanes. And I may still, depending on how much free time I manage to find/make. But as usual, exactly after something that I think is really cool and interesting happens, in this case a trip to Batanes (one of the most amazing islands of the Philippines), something happens in my life that upstages the whole thing, at least, in terms of ‘What would make people go “WTF?!”‘

Okay. I’m exaggerating. Probably. But you see, for boring old me, whose idea of a great weekend is watching The Walking Dead on both Saturday AND Sunday, it’s considered news when something like this happens. And my friends have told me that this is weird even from their perspectives so… I have validation!

What am I talking about?

He was at my house the other day.

For people to understand the gravity of that statement, I suppose I should talk about who the “he” I’m referring to is. Let’s call him F. And simply put, I used to work with F. He was an employee at our office. Unsimply put, I used to have dinner with him, spend my breaks at work with him and walk to the jeepney terminal after our shift ended with him. I guess you can say we were friends. Or, close friends. At certain points, we very nearly felt like best friends, even in the short time we had known each other. Everyone in the office thought we were together. But we were comfortable enough around each other not to be disturbed by the gossip. We didn’t even bother correcting people. Let them think what they want, we both agreed; we were the only ones who needed to know the truth of our relationship. Except, I didn’t actually know. In fact, I was very confused.

You see, F was the kind of person who was extremely nice to you one second, and then completely cold the next. And I used the adverbs “extremely” and “completely” because they’re really necessary. The arguments we found ourselves in couldn’t be explained by the usual ‘Sometimes people are just in a bad mood’ kind of thing, they were more under the ‘I can’t believe those very horrible statements came out of the same person who just gave me really flattering compliments a few minutes ago’ thing. If that is at all a thing.

I guess I really shouldn’t have been surprised when he showed up at my doorstep. That’s too dramatic. I really shouldn’t have been surprised when I received a text message from him asking if we could meet. But I was. Largely due to the fact that things didn’t actually end well between us. That’s inaccurate. I had no idea that things hadn’t ended yet when he resigned and I’m not even sure if the phrase “between us” is appropriate to use.

On his last day at work, despite having had a lot of laughs during our dinner break, as soon as he left the office we had a fight over text, first about how unprofessional he was being not finishing his shift, but eventually about how he didn’t owe me any explanations and why was I meddling with what time he left the office anyway. It was not pleasant. And it was not resolved. Hence, I thought that that was the last I would ever interact with him. I mean, we hadn’t even added each other on Facebook.

It’s not like I was completely wrong. We didn’t communicate with each other at all after that. Not through text, not Facebook or e-mail or any other means of communication available nowadays. Honestly, it crossed my mind to delete his number from my Contacts List. I ended up not doing so because I thought that in case he did ever text me, I didn’t want to go through the whole ‘Who’s this?’ process. Anyway, I was only right for about a month and a half.

I guess a month and a half isn’t too long a time to not see someone. I mean, some of my real genuine close friends I haven’t seen for longer. But it’s really strange when you think you’ve seen the last of someone and then he suddenly pops up in your life again. That sounds too dramatic again. But that’s really how it feels.

So last Thursday F showed up at my doorstep with a bucket of fried chicken and four pieces of peach mango pie (upon my request, he asked what my mom wanted, too, but my mom wasn’t in the house at the time). And he was super polite to the people in my house and was well-mannered when we ate the food he brought and he asked about my day and how I was and how my friends were and how our colleagues were… And he talked about his new job and his new colleagues and how he has some new hobbies and how he still hadn’t bought that air conditioner he’d been pining for since Christmas…

You couldn’t tell that before that day our last conversation had traces of the both of us trying real hard not to curse at each other and wish the other to go to hell.

By the time we finished eating, the both of us needed to leave. I had to go to work and he had to go back to work. So we tidied up a bit and left the house together. And talked until we had to part ways when I got to my office.

I received another text from him about 30 minutes later telling me he’d arrived at his office and saying thanks again for that afternoon. “Until next time!” he wrote, at the end of his text.

“Like there’s going to be a next time!” I said to my friend when I told her the story.

She shrugged. “Anything can happen.”

Yes, in fact. Apparently.

The Walking Dead Season 5 So Far and Jaws

Right. It’s more than halfway through the season so I think it’s safe to say that so far, this is the best season of The Walking Dead. I mean, of course Season 1 is still the best. But that only had 6 episodes and of course introductions are always great and Frank Darabont is hard to beat. Not that I think that anyone’s trying to beat him. I think everyone pretty much agrees that Season 1 was great. I mean, it’s the reason why this series earned a big following in the first place. Aside from that the graphic novels are great, too. At least, the first issue was. Unfortunately, I never got to read more of it. But I have to admit that I understand the reason why some people have dropped out of watching this series as early as Season 2. Because in Season 2, the characters basically spent 3/4 of the season in Hershel’s farm and hardly dealt with any zombies. It was just full of human drama, which would be okay if this were a different show, but it’s The Walking Dead and people expect zombies. Actually, a lot of human drama would be okay if the characters were great, but Lori Grimes and Andrea are the worst characters on TV ever. It’s really too bad because I liked the actresses they cast in those roles. But I don’t miss that season. Except that Shane was there. Poor Shane. I understand why Rick had to kill him but I really wish he just went on his own and maybe would meet up with the group again later. Like in this season. Although, I think Morgan is the one who will be doing that. Remember Morgan? It’s so strange how a character that only appeared in two episodes prior to this season had such a big impact that when you saw him in this season, you just know something big is going to happen. And he hasn’t even met up with Rick Grimes yet.

Anyway. I really love how they were able to bring this show back. I have to admit towards the end of Season 3, I almost dropped out. The whole Governor and Woodbury thing just didn’t work. And yes, the prison was cool, but it’s really great that they got out of there. Even though it led them to Terminus, where a bunch of cannibals were waiting for their next kill. Well, that’s what the show is supposed to be about, right? Survival adventure.

What I like the most in this season is how they brought back the situations where you can put yourself in and ask yourself the question the characters are asking themselves. They did that a lot in Season 1 and in Season 2 as well and I guess it got lost in Season 3 and 4 because of all the Governor crap.

For example: You see some bottles of water on the road with a note that says “From a Friend”. You’re dying of thirst, but conventional wisdom tells you that you shouldn’t trust anyone. So. Do you drink it? Or don’t you?

It was kind of the same with Randall in Season 2. They debated a long time on whether or not they needed to kill him. I think they should’ve and when I first watched the show I hated Dale for saying they shouldn’t. But after a few more times of watching, I guess I kind of understand Dale’s point, that they shouldn’t become monsters just because the world ended. I honestly think now that if Dale hadn’t made that point, Rick would’ve ended up just like the Governor.

Of course, I’m really writing this blog entry because I’m really annoyed at some commentaries on the Internet. In the episode last Sunday, Rick gave a speech about how they, the characters, are the walking dead, and that’s how they will survive, if they think themselves that way. “We do what we have to do and then we get to live.”

I think it was an amazing speech and I totally got goosebumps when Rick gave it. And they were around a campfire and the thunder cue was just right. Goosebumps, I tell you. And then I went on the Internet and everybody ruined the thing. I guess I should know better. But I really don’t understand why people had to crap all over that speech saying it was too “on the nose” (What does that even mean?) and that it’s so corny when characters say the title of the show in their dialogue. What’s wrong with that? And what the heck are these people looking for in shows anyway? I mean, they’re all free to write their own shows if they think these writers are doing such bad jobs. Let’s see them do better, right?

But, of course, it’s pointless getting angry at these things. I mean, it’s not like I’ve never criticized anything ever before either. And I really should know better than to read comments on the Internet. But… There is that feeling you get after watching a show that you just want to talk about it or listen to people talking about it or read what people are writing about it. And because I love the show, I really want it to do well and hope that the next episodes get better that no critic would trash it. I mean, there will always be trolls of course, but who cares about them?

And, Jaws.

My sister-in-law M, my brother J, T and J2 in Amity, Universal Studios Japan. Feb 2, 2015. (I’d like to see how many Japan pics I can work into my normal blog entries. :P)

Perhaps because we passed by Amity at Universal Studios Japan and it took me a while to realize what movie it was from, despite the place having a great white shark hanging upside down from a pole, or because I’ve just heard the line “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” too many times in movies and TV shows and I could never relate to it, despite that I knew it was from Jaws, but anyway, today I decided to finally watch the movie.

Now, it’s a classic and it’s Steven Spielberg so I knew it was going to be good and I decided to watch it in the office in fact and not at home alone at night so I wouldn’t be scared because I’m just a scaredy cat like that, but given that it’s a 1975 movie, I really thought that I would be disappointed with the special effects and things. I mean, it’s 2015. The movie is literally 40 years old. But I guess that’s the character of a true classic, right? If it stands the test of time.

I don’t know about you, but I was so scared of that stupid great white shark and I know we should love all animals and all that but towards the end of the movie I really wanted it to die. And OMG, it died in such a cool way, I totally get why this movie became a classic.

Anyway, new respect for Roy Scheider, whom I always liked in Sea Quest and never knew until now that he was the one who said said famous line, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” And Richard Dreyfuss, to me, has always been one of those familiar Hollywood names but I never knew where he was from and now I know. And he’s funny. I don’t know if he was supposed to be funny in this movie but he was.

Watching movies like this make me understand why people say Hollywood’s gone down the drain. I mean, yes, Inception was amazing, but this is the kind of thing that sticks with you. I mean, I think I might now get paranoid the next time I swim in the beach. This movie is powerful!

I Love the South!

So Cosmo.ph put up an article, “11 Signs You’re A South Girl” and because most (if not all) of the signs mentioned are pretty accurate, I shared it on Facebook. And I found that a lot of other people shared it, too. I really shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve met enough people from the South to know how very much in love we are with where we’re from. I really can’t tell why that is, but I know that it’s mostly unique to the South. I mean, people from the North, I guess, love some things about their neighborhoods, too, but I’ve never heard any of them fawning over their lifestyle, the way we Southerners do. In fact, as of this writing, the article about the South has been shared on Facebook 45,874 times, while the article about the North has 24,609 shares. And considering that the article about the North was written 4 days before the one about the South, I think it means something.

I also noticed that most of the points mentioned in “11 Signs You’re A North Girl” are mostly complaints about having to travel long distances in the horrible Metro Manila traffic, while the article about the South is mostly about fun things. Even the pictures they used are telling–the picture in the North article is a picture of someone’s car stuck in traffic, while the South article has a picture of families hanging out at the open area of a mall on a Saturday afternoon. (All right, there’s no way to tell if the photo was taken on a Saturday but I’m willing to bet it was, considering the number of people in it.)

Anyway, because I’m a South advocate and will argue to my grave that the South is infinitely better, I am very entertained when things like these exist. Which is why I’m relating it to a blog post that was supposedly just about me and my friends hanging out.

One of the items in the North list was:

7. You know where all the good food places are.
North people are blessed with restos in Maginhawa, Marikina, and Kapitolyo. Can’t get any better than those!

Now, I’m not going to argue that the restaurants in those places are bad (because the ones I’ve been to are really really good!), but isn’t this a little bit presumptuous? I mean, you can’t qualify that the restaurants in the areas mentioned are the “best”, because that’s totally relative. There are hundreds of other restaurants in Makati/Tagaytay/Cebu/Bacolod/Wellington/The World that are really really good, too. And obviously, the writer has never heard of Aguirre Ave. in BF Paranaque, which brings me to the first event with my friends that I wanted to talk about.

J’s birthday! It’s usually the first thing my pre-school friends and I get together for every year because J’s birthday is on January 15. This year, because we met up on a Saturday, we had more time than our usual dinner meetup, and so we went Aguirre Ave. establishment-hopping! Well, sort of. I guess you really need an entire day for that, but we were able to go to 4 places, which I don’t think is bad, considering we started at 5 p.m.

So J and I first met up at Larcy’s Cupcakery Cafe, which I realize most people have labeled as a place that sells “overpriced” cupcakes, but their prices really aren’t that different from Vanilla Cupcake Bakery. And they’re delicious, anyway. (Of course, I’m not taking into consideration the homemade cupcakes made by your friends and family; I’m sure they’re a lot more delicious than the cupcakes here, but really, you have to remember that a lot of things are better when they’re made with love by people you care for.) Also, this cafe has pretty chairs and a nice, quiet atmosphere in the afternoon. What more can you ask from a cupcake store? :)

We went to Mandarin Palace Seafood and Shabu-Shabu Restaurant afterwards for dinner and I think I may have just found my favorite Chinese restaurant. You can order a la carte or get food yum cha-style, as there is someone who goes around the restaurant with a trolley full of dimsum. They, so far, have the best hakao I’ve ever tried.

Next, we made a quick stop at Beauty Avenue Cafe. J2 wanted to try their cupcakes and though they ended up being disappointing, their red velvet crinkles brightened our mood. Also, it was hard not to get entertained by the pink-ness of their store. I mean, a pink chandelier?! So amusing, right?

Our last stop was Magnum Opus Fine Coffees, one of my favorite cafes ever. So it was crowded and noisy and the WiFi wasn’t working at the time, but still, they have the best coffee in the South, that yummy Azure of the Gold thingie, and the friendliest baristas, too! :D We stayed past their closing time (11 p.m.), and they didn’t ask us to leave or anything. (Actually, there were still a lot of people even after we left.)

Anyway, it was a super fun day and J said she had a great time, which of course we were happy about because it was her birthday. :) And I hope J3 agrees to having a celebration similar to this, too. I mean, there are so many more restaurants and cafes to explore in the South!

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Clockwise: Beauty Avenue Cafe, Mandarin Palace and Magnum Opus Fine Coffees

Meanwhile, though I pretty much agree with all the items on the list about the South, there was one item in particular that hit close to my heart:

8. Your idea of a Friday night is drinking at someone’s house.
A chill inuman session with friends is always better than a tugs-tugs party with 100 other strangers.

As someone who absolutely hates tugs-tugs parties (Ewww loud music! Ewww strangers!), I am very much delighted that this fact was acknowledged. Especially because I’m super proud that most of these chill inuman sessions that my friends and I have happen at my house!

I don’t know what it is. Are parents in the South also more chill than parents in the North, so it’s not a big problem when someone gets drunk and passes out in someone else’s sala? Although, another item in the list shows that other Southerners can’t explain some things either:

9. House parties always end up in the streets.
Until this day you can’t explain why you and your friends like hanging out in the streets of the village.

We do sometimes end up outside the house and on the street, or, bonus! As my house is near the village park, there are times when my friends and I hang out there, too.

But I’d like to elaborate on our latest inuman session, in case you’re not convinced that “drinking at someone’s house” is a great way to spend a Friday night.

Last Friday, my friends and I got together for a despedida as M had just resigned from the office where we all met, and K was home for a vacation (He is normally in Singapore). And because K2 is an amazing chef (not professional, though, at least not yet), he said he would cook for us! :D

He made Arroz a la Valenciana, Inihaw na Liempo, and prepared a yummy dessert–butter cake with calamansi compote, strawberries, kiwi and orange slices. And, as if those weren’t enough, he also bought sausages and made a nice garlic dip for the chips (and if one was so inclined to use garlic dip on it, roast chicken) that M and I bought as our “waiting food”, i.e. the food we’d eat while we waited for K2 to finish cooking. He was only able to start from around midnight as he (along with V, R and R2) still had work until 11 p.m.

The wait was worth it. All the food was really really good. And though we didn’t go so far as to brew our own beer, there were some drinks that we mixed and everything was delicious enough to merit the hashtag #InumangGourmet, which C used when she posted a photo of the Valenciana on her Instagram.

It was really a fun night. Good food. Good company. And good games! My friends and I played a trivia game about M, on account of this was her despedida, and she’s really easy to make fun of base a trivia game on. ;)

BTW, pictures of the food are here. I didn’t want to post the same image here that I’d already uploaded to another blog.

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NO SELFIE STICKS HERE. Selfies should be made with effort and the perfect selfie isn’t worth it without a few funny/not funny trial selfies! (Also: Camera timers are still useful!)