Of Siomai, Wantan Noodles and Dining at Chowking

My beloved is sick for five days but still she went to Ortigas last Friday to attend a seminar for her work. After the seminar, she felt worse and has high body temperature (a clear sign of fever). Before going home to Laguna, she asked for a “masabaw” (soupy) lunch.

I took her to Chowking at Starmall Ortigas. We both ordered Chowking’s Beef Wantan Noodles. I also ordered some siomai to compare Chowking’s siomai with the siomai sold at the stalls inside the LRT/MRT stations.
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Beef Wantan Noodle of Chowking.

Chowking’s Beef Wantan Noodles is just like a more expensive version of Lucky Me! Instant Beef Noodles. However, Chowking’s noodles are thicker than that of Lucky Me!’s and more al dente. It is quite al dente to the point that I thought that the noodles were not fully cooked. Chowking’s beef wantan noodles have big chunks of beef meat and two pieces of siomai-like food, which I believe was the wantan.
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Of course, my beloved left her food unfinished. :-)

The beef wantan noodles of Chowking are not bad and I think that I will eat that if I drop by Chowking again. What I don’t like about Chowking’s beef wantan noodle is the Chinese pechay because they included the stalks of that vegetable. They should have removed the stalks and just left the pechay leaves.
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Oooops…only two siomai left.

Chowking’s siomai is not as good as the ones I buy at Siomai House located in the MRT/LRT stations. Chowking is unreasonable for its siomai that costs 39 pesos with just 3 siomais. Siomai House’s siomai taste better and only cost 25 pesos for four siomais. If you are craving for siomai, don’t go to Chowking but visit the siomai stalls because their siomai is better.
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Siomai is better at Siomai House.

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Losing Patience

“Patience is a virtue,” wise people had said. Apparently, I noticed that I am losing this virtue as I grow old. As I get more exposed to the fast – paced environment of the Internet, I get more and more impatient on the dealings of the things in the real world. Even simple things that I had patience for in the past were not also exempted to the list things that I am getting impatient for.

Now, I tend to demand that things in the real world to move at the speed of 2 Mbps or faster. The red traffic light should blink into green in an instant. The jeepney should be filled in just a few seconds. The traffic should move in the speed of the light. My textmates should reply after few milliseconds. And so on and so on.

This is the effect of being exposed to things that are prepared in an instant, especially in the Internet. I observed that the more the person is exposed to the Internet, the more he/she shortens his/her patience.

Thus, it is no wonder why many products nowadays offer things that produce results in a blink of an eye. Instant cleaning detergent soaps, instant noodles, instant coffee, instant jackpot, instant lover.

Sometimes, I miss the lazy afternoons when I was a kid. Those days when I do not have to be fidgety in waiting on many things.

In our fast paced world, the greatest challenge for me is to keep the virtue of patience within me. As wise people say, “Patience pays off in the end.”


P.S. I am just thinking. What if a person from the medieval era suddenly appeared in our time? I bet that he/she will be overwhelmed with the speed we deal on many things. Too overwhelmed maybe that it may result to his/her death.

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Looking for Halloween Costume?

It is already just one month and few weeks before Halloween and people are already preparing for the Halloween Season. In the radio yesterday, I am hearing plans for Halloween parties, which is announced side by side with the reminders of the upcoming Oktoberfest. Because of these, many people are now looking for Halloween costumes that will make the jaw of their friends drop due to amazement.

Looking for a perfect Halloween costume is not that hard. Ideas for Halloween costumes abound in the Internet. You could even get ideas from cosplayers and impersonate anime or cartoon characters. Even walking around malls will give you ideas for Simple HalloweenCostumes because they are already selling Halloween costumes this early.

Of course, dressing up like one of the monsters in the folklores is still the best way to go. You could act like a werewolf, a ghost, or even a vampire from Stephanie Meyer’s books. Even impersonating singers and actors, and actresses is accepted for the Halloween Season. Thus, it is alright to wear costumes a la Lady Gaga. You could even resurrect Michael Jackson together with his minions his movie “Ghost.”

There are many ideas out there and if you let your creativity free then you can create a costume that will make you the winner of your “Halloween Party’s Best in Costume Award.”
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Tonkatsu Tonkatsu from Tokyo Tokyo

My good friend Jet just proposed to his girlfriend in the lovely island of Palawan. So to celebrate the event and as a send-off treat before he goes to USA, he brought us to Tokyo Tokyo in Trinoma Mall for a dinner treat.

Since we are eating at Tokyo Tokyo, I took the chance to taste their Tonkatsu, which they widely advertised on TV few months ago. I want to know if Tokyo Tokyo’s tonkatsu is really good as advertised.
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I ordered a meal that contains Tonkatsu. It was served on a tray together with rice, toge (bean sprouts) and soy dip. I can’t recall the price but I think it is quite affordable.
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Tonkatsu Tonkatsu!

Tokyo Tokyo’s tonkatsu tastes fine but I think it is not that great. Tonkatsu is deep-fried pork with breading but it is different with the deep-fried pork that was cooked at home. Tokyo Tokyo’s tonkatsu is crispy and easy to munch.

I enjoyed the dinner and it is not just because of the food. We enjoyed the story and the kwentuhan that lasted up to almost closing time of Trinoma. If I ever eat in Tokyo Tokyo again, I might still order another tonkatsu.

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Postcards around Davao Gulf

I was browsing through my collection of photos in my external hard drive, when I chanced upon the folder of my first visit to Davao. It is almost three years since my first visit to Davao and I am missing it so. I miss its delicious fruits. I miss its crystal clear seas. And of course, I miss the ambience of Davao with its nice and friendly people.

I had my great luck during my first visit to Davao. This is because I got the chance to visit all the parts of Davao Gulf, thanks to a mapping project. We traveled on a banca (boat) from Davao City following the coast down to Sarangani Islands to the West. Then from Davao City to the Southernmost part of Davao Oriental, wherein we were rocked by the extreme waves of the Pacific. Samal and Talikud Islands also did not escape our visit. We even stayed a night at Kaputian in the City Samal.

Davao Region is a place of great food and interesting places. I hope to come back to Davao soon. But for now, I’ll just be content with the photos I shot and collected around Davao Gulf:
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 Starfish aplenty in the seas of Davao Oriental

I love Davao Oriental’s pristine seas that are alive with corals and many marine animals. Our fisherman friend told me that I could bring the starfishes to Manila. I pitied the lot of the starfishes so I returned them to the sea after taking some photos.
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Large fishing boat in Davao del Sur
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 The two towers, Davao del Sur

I always pass by these two trees whenever we go to the southern part of Davao del Sur. I dubbed these two as the “Two Towers.”
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In the town of Don Marcelino or Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur, you will encounter these walls “protecting” the land from invaders.
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Dugong tower. New Argao, Davao del Sur

Dugongs are still alive in Davao Gulf and the people of New Argao are working hard to protect them. This Dugong Tower is used to observe the dugongs. Luckily, we saw one dugong while we are on this tower.
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Cape San Agustin, Davao Oriental

This is my favorite photo. This is my proof that I reached the southernmost part of Davao Oriental and met with the Pacific Ocean. This is the Cape San Agustin Lighthouse.

These are some of the photos that I took when I visited Davao. I do hope that I get more photos when I return them someday.

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Hainan Chicken and Roasted Duck

Before one of my friends flew to USA, he decided to treat me for a free lunch. Of course, as a person who likes free food, I gave his treat a go. Since we are in Binondo area and we are sated with the food from the fastfood restaurant, we decided to look for a Chinese Restaurant and this is the restaurant that we found:
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Golden Fortune Hongkong Cuisine

It is my first time to dine in a Chinese restaurant in Binondo. I have eaten in Chowking but that restaurant is not a real Chinese restaurant. Golden Fortune is a nice place. It has courteous and attentive crew, which made me give them a generous tip.
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My friend and I both ordered a meal of one cup of rice with Hainan Chicken and Roasted Duck.

I can’t recall the price of my Hainan Chicken and Roasted Duck meal but it is will not exceed 100 pesos. I first ate the roasted duck and I find it tasty. That is not bad for my first taste of roasted duck. I guess the cooking is right and it is still juicy. I did not event use any sawsawan (dip) for my roasted duck.
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Hainan Chicken and Roasted Duck

My friend first tasted the Hainan Chicken and he commented that it tasted like Tinolang Manok without sabaw (broth). For those who doesn’t know, tinolang manok is a dish made by boiling chicken meat then adding papaya, chili leaves, and spices. I agree with him that the Hainan Chicken tasted like that. In the future, I might not order another Hainan Chicken.

I enjoyed eating at Golden Fortune. I’ll go back there to taste their roasted duck and taste other Chinese delicacies.

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Ano nga ba ang Kanilang Nadarama?

Hindi ko talaga naiintindihan kung ano ang nararamdaman ng isang anak na iniiwan ng kanyang ina o amang nagibang-bansa upang maghanapbuhay.

Oo, napapanood ko sa mga pelikula ang pagsasalarawan ng hinagpis at pagdadadalamhati ng mag-anak na nagkahiwahiwalay dahil sa kailangang magtrabaho ang ina, ama, ate, o kuya sa ibang bansa.

O, napapanood ko sa mga balita at documentary ang buhay ng mga kababayan nating OFW. Nakita ko ang mga kababayan nating naninirahan sa ilalim ng tulay sa Saudi. Nabasa ko ang mga Pinoy at Pinay na hindi pinapansin ng mga embahada kahit sila na ang inapi ng mga amo nila. Narinig ko ang tuwa ng mga Pinoy na kumain sa Jollibee sa abroad na pawang nasa Pilipinas na rin sila.

Ngunit ang kaalaman ay hindi sapat upang maarok ng puso ang tunay ng sitwasyon ang tunay na nadarama ng ating mga kababayang OFW at ang kanilang pamilya. Ika nga nila, kung wala ka sa sitwasyon nila ay hindi mo malalaman ang kabubuan ng pagiging OFW. Ano nga ba ang nadarama ng isang amang OFW? O ng isang ina OFW? Ano ba ang nararanasan ng mga anak na naghihintay palagi sa pagdating ng kanilang mahal na magulang mula sa ibang bansa? Ano ang pangungulila ng isang asawa na ang asawa ay nasa ibang bansa.

Sa isang taga-labas na tulad ko ay hindi ko iyon maiintindihan. Ngunit sa simpleng karanasan na mayroon ako ay ideya ako sa hirap ng kanilang dinadaanan. Kalbaryo nga na maituturing. Narito lamang ang ilang sitwasyon na maibabahagi ko sa inyo patungkol sa mga bagay-bagay na ito:

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Pasko sa Pilipinas at kaming magpi-pinsan ay masaya. Umaapaw na naman ng pera mula kina tito at tita. Umaapaw na naman ng pagkain sa mesa para sa isang salu-salong pananghalian. At syempre, pahuhuli ba sina tito sa Canada?

M&Ms, Chocolate Kisses, at mga candies. ‘Yan ang kanilang padala. Pinararamdam na kasama rin sila sa reunion ng pamilya.

Masaya ang lahat. Ngunit ‘pag tinitingnan ang mata ni lola, alam ko na ang hiling niya na sana katabi lang ng Maynila ang Canada.

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Alam ko ang pangarap mong tumulong sa iyong ama at ina. Kaya sinabi mo sa akin na gusto mo sanang umalis ng Pilipinas at magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Sabi mo, mas malaki ang sweldo doon at matutulungan mo sila sa pamamagitan noon.

Ngumiti na lang ako at sinabi ko na susuportahan kita sa pangarap mo. Pero sa kalooban ko eh sinasabi ko na huwag ka nang tumuloy dahil ayaw kong malayo sa iyo.

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Malungkot ang text na balita mo sa akin: “Kuya, aalis na si mama papuntang Hongkong bukas.”

Alam kong malungkot ka at mawawalay ka na naman sa iyong ina. Bilang suporta ng isaang kabigan at kuya ika’y aking tinawagan. Ayaw mong sumagot at akala ko’y gusto mong mapag-isa.

Nag-text ka sa akin at sinabing: “Kuya hindi kita masagot at kasama ko si mama at kayakap ko ng mahigpit.”

Hinayaan na kita dahil alam ko na kahit sandali ay masaya ka bago pa man siya lumisan.

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Simpleng kwento. Simpleng pangyayari. ‘Yan lang ang aking maibabahagi sa ko sa inyo. Salamat sa inyong mapag-pasensyang pagababasa.

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OFW Blog Awards

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Recycle or be Damned

One night, I saw the TV show of the comedians Maverick and Ariel in TV 5. The show is "Ang Totoo TV" and they went to the town of Morong in the province of Rizal to visit a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) there. MRF is a facility where garbage are processed before they even reach the sanitary landfills. In this facility, garbage are sorted into biodegradable, recyclables, and other.

In the garbage of Morong, the recyclable materials; like plastic, tin cans, metals, and bottles; are collected by the MRF personnel and sold to junk shops. Biodegradable garbage like, spoiled food and plants materials, are crushed and then turned to fertilizers which will be given for free to the farmers.
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Too much garbage...

The policy of the town of Morong to recycle their garbage should be used as a model of the cities in Metro Manila. Everyday, tons of garbage are generated by Metro Manila and these garbage are being dumped to nearby towns of San Mateo and Rizal. Plastics, foodstuffs, bottles, paper and other things are being thrown to my hometown in Montalban. The sad thing is that the citiizens of Metro Manila are concerned with the garbage that they generate.

Another sad thing is the used electronic gadgets that are thrown away as garbage. These type of garbage have chemicals that may poison the environment. It is no easy task recycling electronic components. Good thing that there are companies that can handle such task.

The problem on waste management is a serious matter and the country has haphazard system in managing its garbage. I hope that the MRF in Morong be copied by other towns and cities to protect our environment.
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Maybe I Need a Business Card

Yesterday, I happened to meet one of my colleagues and former college classmates in SM North EDSA. He is with some of his friends, who also happened to be engineers, and they will be watching the movie Despicable Me.

Well, it is good to meet old friends since it was quite rare to chance upon them now that we have our own careers and jobs. Of course we talked about the updates in our lives. He said that he is now working in Makati and an engineer in a big construction company. Before we parted, we exchanged numbers and his friends gave me their business cards. I, on the other hand, do not have any business card with me to give to them. Sigh, another chance to build some connections was lost.

I guess it is time for me to really create my own business card. It is a necessity for me, especially when I am traveling all over the country and meeting different people. A business card will make it easier for me to hand out my contact info without looking for a piece of paper to jot down my contact numbers. A religious pastor that I met once have his own spiritual business cards. If even a pastor is using a business card for his work, then business card for me is a must.

Reminiscing with #SentiSabado

Last Saturday, I got caught in a game played by Filipino netizens in Twitter. This game used the hashtag #sentisabado and participants should tweet anything that happened or could be found during their high school or their grade school days.

Sentisabado stands for “sentimental sabado.” Sabado is Saturday in English. I first noticed #sentisabado in the tweet of @trish_roque. After that, I noticed more and more of my Twitter contacts are tweeting #sentisabado.

The game sounds fun so I joined in. Some of tweets reminiscing my school days include:

1. “Waking every Saturday morning to watch Disney cartoons.” – Well I like those times when I only turn on the TV during Saturday morning and watch old Mickey Mouse cartoons, Silly Symphony, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, Timon and Pumba, and many more. Maybe it is good to be young again.

2. “Watching informative shows like 5 and UP. Atom Araullo and Chyna Hortaleza are youngsters back then.” – I grew up watching such informative shows. Other shows are Batibot, Sineskwela, Mathinik, and Hiraya Manawari. It seems that local TV nowadays abandoned its responsibility to educate the youth.

3. “Hearing my classmates debate on what is the best boy band: A1, Westlife or Backstreet Boys.” – My girl high school classmates went gaga over these boy bands while my male classmates are talking about Linkin’ Park, Limpbizkit, and Eminem. That’s our music back then. No Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber yet.

4. “Piko, patintero, agawan base, block one two three.” – The time when computer games are never heard of yet. We always go out of the house to play with our neighbors these street games. We are all sweaty, exhausted, and sometimes bruised after every game but we really have much fun.

Well, these are some of my reminiscing and it kinda made memories of childhood flash back in my mind. I miss a lot of things in my childhood days. These reminiscing made me enjoyed #sentisabado but what is more enjoyable is the fact that you see hundreds of Filipinos sharing their memories of their childhood. It is great to see hundreds of tweets wherein you could say that, yeah! That same thing happened to me too. And that is delightful.

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MMDA Male Urinal is Clean and Fragrant

I had been aching to take photos of one of the refurbished MMDA male urinals, which are scattered all over Metro Manila. These MMDA male urinals are the novel idea of the former MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando. During Fernando’s term, these urinals are pink in color and are famously called as “pink urinals.” The new MMDA chairman decided to change the pink color of the urinal into green.

For those who do not know, MMDA stands for Metro Manila Development Authority. The role of this agency is to beautify the metropolis and ease the flow of traffic.

Finally, I got my chance during my brother’s entrance exam in UP. I took the photo of an MMDA male urinal located along Commonwealth Avenue across the Ylanan Road entrance of the university.
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MMDA Male Urinal
 Ooops! Somebody’s inside. :-P

Well, I have wanted to take a photo of the MMDA male urinal because I saw this interesting adage:
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MMDA urinal is malinis and mabango.

The words printed on the MMDA male urinal says: “Ang urinal na ito ay malinis at mabango” (“This urinal is clean and fragrant).

Funny claim huh? But in fairness, that urinal is indeed clean and not that odious. However, I do not know the case for other MMDA male urinals. Many people complained about these urinals. They said that it is unsanitary. Others defended the urinals, especially the jeepney and taxi drivers that its usual users.

How about you guys? Are the MMDA male urinals really “malinis and mabango?” Or should we remove them for health reasons?

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Halloween is Coming!

September is the month that ushers in the season that we Filipinos call as the “Ber” months. The start of the “Ber” months is the unofficial start of Christmas Season in the Philippines. As of now, morning TV shows already started the countdown to Christmas Day.

However, before we reach Christmas Day, we have to pass through a nightmare. Not the nightmare that you have whenever you sleep but the nightmare and horror that is celebrated during the Halloween Season. Halloween is just a recent celebration adopted in the country but that does not mean that this season is a dull one. Halloween is a good time to scare people with scary costume and horrifying stories. Some people even use Halloween as an excuse to show up in the craziest costume they could ever think of, especially the amazing cosplayers around the country.

Halloween Season is costume season. It is the best time to crank up your mind and think up of a great Halloween costume that will amaze your friends on parties and happenings. There are many ideas that could be found in the Internet. You could buy costumes from malls and you could even spice up your scary attire by using some Halloween Contact Lenses .

So, before thinking of your Christmas list, maybe you should think of a good costume to celebrate Halloween. Remember, it is only once per year when you walk around in costume without anyone thinking that you are out of your mind. Advanced happy Halloween!