Mid-November

Today I met up with my friend J for lunch and yummyummy dessert at BF Parañaque because a) I love the South; and b) We needed to meet so she could give me my bridesmaid dress for when our best friend gets married next month.

We had lunch at Blé, a Greek restaurant, and desserts at Bucky’s Counter. In between meals, we went to nail spas around the area to inquire about their sparty packages as we’re also planning our friend’s bridal shower. We also gave each other updates on our lives, as so many things have happened to us since last we saw each other. I’d been to New Zealand, she’d finally collected her last check from the place where she previously worked.

I guess we just talked about everyday things, but I was really happy to see her again. I’m always happy to meet up with friends and eat at places I’ve never been. 🙂

I suppose I should be writing about my experiences in New Zealand and what it’s like to be an aunt. But for some reason, I’d like to save those stories for when I’m talking to people personally. So instead of posting pictures of my sister’s cute twin boys, I’ll just post a picture of me, my friend J, and our non-brownie desserts a la mode. (Mine came with an espresso shot because #affogato.)

Happy Mid-November and last month and a half of 2015!

buckys

Advertisements

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! 😀 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!

image
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! 😀

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.

image
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!)

Friends, Old and New

I honestly think that I’m one of the most anti-social people I know. But I know that this isn’t exactly a good thing, so what do I do? I make a few friends, just a few friends, but I make friends with the friendliest people I meet. That way, I don’t need to be so social. They do the socializing but I’m still able to make and keep friends. Brilliant, right? Except, I really don’t think that I did this consciously. So having these people in my life may have just been a happy accident, after all. Not that I’m complaining.

spartygroup
That’s me in the middle and all around me are friends from pre-school, grade school, high school, university, former work, current work and the significant others of boys who are close to me

Last Sunday, I celebrated my birthday with these friends at Tints Nail and Waxing Spa in Alabang. I invited just a few people so there would be time to talk to everyone and we could all bond. I prepared some activities (I won’t call them games now because I’ve been told that the term ‘games’ is for children. :P) that had them answering questions about love and life (Kunwari profound!) and identifying the romantic partners of people in history, current events and fiction. I’m a bit sad that no one was able to name the partner of Richard Blaine but that just means that there are still people out there whose throats I can shove Casablanca into who can still see Casablanca for the first time. 😉 We also had an activity where we had to name as many Harry Potter characters as we could and I was happily reminded that I have friends who are as obsessed with Harry Potter as I am, or perhaps even more so. Maybe I should’ve said Game of Thrones instead? But K would’ve won that for sure and she was already the winner for the “Famous Couples” activity.

Anyway, aside from competitive activities (this is now the official term that I will use in substitute of “games”), there was also food–triple chocolate cookies from Bread Monster (I ordered 2 boxes from their ATC branch), cheese pimiento sandwiches (cheese pimiento spread lovingly made from scratch by my mom), and Ritz cheese crackers (contributed by J!). I think they were a hit because I heard compliments for all these items. 🙂

And I have to talk about the spa treatments themselves; they were the reason why we were there. That and because I just think that having a spa party is one of the best ways to bond with your girl friends. Call me sexist but I really don’t think guys have any business getting their feet pedicured. So the nail spa is like a safe place for girls, yeah? Anyway, most people opted to get a foot spa and they gave me good feedback so I’m happy about that. 🙂 As for me, I decided to get a manicure and a pedicure using gel polish. I’m really happy with the results. It’s been 2 days and I’ve done lots of stuff but the polish on my nails have not chipped and neither has the polish on my toenails. They used ORLY polish and it’s so far the best kind I’ve ever had on my nails. On ordinary days, you have to pay an additional P30 for them to use this polish (ordinary/local polish costs only P10 additional) but because this was under the context of a sparty, I actually paid only one big consumable sum. Anyway, my friends left the spa feeling relaxed and they all said that they were satisfied with the service so I would definitely recommend this spa to my other friends.

Oh, and I have to say that because I chose them for my sparty, they gave me and 4 of my guests discount cards that entitles us to a 10% discount on their services for 1 year. 😀 This was actually the deciding factor for me. I went to many different spas in our area to canvass and I chose Tints because for only P1000 more than another spa that I liked, I got 5 complimentary treatments and discounts on our next visits!

I’m only sorry that I didn’t take more pictures, but sometimes taking pictures of the activity kills the spirit, doesn’t it? And btw, the photo here was taken by the only boy in the room, J2’s boyfriend, who is also my high school friend, J3. (Forgive me, 5 people in the party had names that started with J.) He was only there to pick her up though. He wasn’t invited because, well, No Boys Allowed! 😡 Hahaha!

So it was another successful birthday party for me, if I do say so myself. As I mentioned in this entry, I try to celebrate my birthday differently every year, not just for myself, but because I want my friends to have a good time whenever we all meet up. They said they did, and I consider that to be one of the best birthday gifts I’ve received. 😀

Because “Party of the Year” was ripe for the taking

I’m kidding of course. It was most definitely not the “Party of the Year”. Or maybe it is, but only to me. But I think my friends had fun, and I’m glad about that.

You see, my high school friends and I used to celebrate our birthdays with each other. Especially J, since her birthday is in the summer. She would invite people over to her house and there used to be 20 or so of us. Now though, everyone else is busy with their own thing and we hardly see each other anymore. We only get updates on each other on Facebook, and that’s just not the same. Plus, I miss my former officemates, too. I’m sick of getting jealous, looking at their pictures whenever they all go out with each other. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t quit that job at all. And yet another plus, I had to celebrate my birthday with my current officemates, too. We’ve been inventing so many occasions that it’s nice to have a legit reason to meet each other and be drinking on a Sunday.

So really, I just used my birthday this year as an excuse to see all my friends. I would’ve invited more if I could but there were money matters in the way. Sorry about that. Anyway, I had a really fun time. 🙂 It was nice seeing friends I hadn’t seen for a long time, and also those I’d seen less than 24 hours before Sunday night. 😉 And I’m glad they got along. I mean, they mostly did, didn’t they? There weren’t any fights that broke out, and I think people found the games fun. Because yes, there were games. It was really a kids’ party, because you know, I’m in denial of my real age and time is merely an imposed construct anyway.

Dinner was inihaw na liempo, barbecue chicken, inihaw na tilapia, pancit bihon, sinigang na hipon and some pichi-pichi from my friend.

For dessert, we had 4 layers of Leche Flan.
Blowing of Candles! And everyone sang the Happy Birthday Song while clapping their hands.
Obligatory Birthday Photo – After blowing out the candle, we pose for a photo. It’s tradition!

But you know, this was Sunday night and my birthday was really on Monday. Some of my friends waited until midnight so they could greet me as soon as September 17 came ’round, which was the point of having the party on a Sunday night. I’m so happy my friends made it even though it was Sunday. Because Sundays are usually family days, but maybe my friends and I are close enough that we’re all like family? Haha. Ang senti lang.

Anyway, my actual birthday was spent with my family. My parents and I went to a resort in Laguna for swimming, and for dinner, we ate at Sam Won Restaurant in BF Pque. And the waitress remembered me from a meal I ate there 2 weeks ago. What good memory she has. Not that I wasn’t thankful. She remembered what I ordered back then, too, which was exactly what I wanted again this time so ordering was easy.

(L-R) Kuya, Papa, me and Mama in the best Korean restaurant in the Metro. At least, according to me and based on my experiences.

It was really a fun and interesting 24 hours, September 17, 2012. Of course, September 17, 2011 was interesting, too, because I was in New Zealand at the time and we were celebrating the Peñafrancia fiesta at my aunt’s house. And my birthday last 2010 was interesting, too, because it was spontaneous and it involved very different people from the people who were at my birthday party last Sunday. I like celebrating my birthday. I like it because I get to see my friends and do happy things like watch a movie, eat delicious food and play silly games. The gifts and cakes and attention are just bonuses. But even if they weren’t there, and even if it rained so the day wasn’t perfect, it was really fun, and it was a really happy birthday. 🙂