End of the Month Roundup - November 2013

Hello there! It’s been a long time since my last post on this blog. Please pardon my absence because I am getting busier and busier, not because of the Christmas Season, but of the coming D-Day for me and my Beloved.

We are getting nervous and anxious for the things that are in store for us next year. Wedding, particularly the ceremony, is like a baptism of fire, a test of patience and strength of our love for each other.

We have been busy going to Dangwa and Divisoria looking for supplies and suppliers. We talked to our friend who is wedding coordinator. We talked to the manager of our reception venue. We talked and talked and planned and planned. It seems like there is no end to it.

It is physically and emotionally taxing but we found ways to have fun for the wedding prep. I am even thinking of blogging about our experiences. Maybe I will start talking more of our wedding prep next year, after the D-Day.

Yummy shrimps from a street side restaurant in Bangkok Chinatown
Yummy shrimps from the Red Shirts.

I’m finally done posting about our trip to Bangkok Chinatown. I ended this post series with food! I really dining with Foong in Double Dogs Tea Room and the street side seafood restaurant run by the Red Shirts.

November is also a shocking month, not only for me but also for the whole country. Many people were either killed or left homeless by Typhoon Yolanda. People from Eastern Visasyas, Panay Island, Northern Cebu, Northern Palawan and other areas in the Visayas region were severely affected. It is a tragedy of unimaginable degree.

Hearts around the world were moved by the plight of kababayans. Foreign countries and foreigners in their personal capacity sent help to Yolanda afflicted areas. Unfortunately, relief efforts being done were tainted by politics.

It is December now and many people are hoping that brighter days are coming. We can hope and pray for that our kababayans can rise once again like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

Merry Christmas Season to everyone!!!

Help Yolanda's Victims

It seems like tragedies never end in the Philippines. Last October, the central part of Visayas was devastated by a 7.2 earthquake. This month the eastern part of Visayas and other areas in the middle region of the our country suffered the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Ruined community due to Typhoon Yolanda
(Image from Tempo)

The sight of Tacloban City is harrowing. The whole place was flattened by might of Yolanda. Roofs of many building were torn away. Concrete walls collapsed. Fallen trees and posts blocked the streets. There reports that the dead were just placed at the side of the roads because their relatives have no other place for them.

The devastation of Tacloban City is just a portion of the whole damage caused by the super typhoon. Large portion of Leyte Province is still unaccounted for. Communication systems were damaged thus information from that area are sketchy at best. Blocked roads and damaged bridges made many towns of Leyte unaccessible.

Many Filipinos who have relatives in Leyte are worried about their love ones. They can only hope and pray to God that no harm happened to them.

I am appealing, once again, to my fellow Filipinos and readers of this blog to pray for those who were affected by the recent calamities. Let us ask our Lord to have mercy to our kababayans. May He grant eternal repose for those who perished. And for those who survived, may He aid them and strengthen their Faith despite the devastation.

I also appeal for your kind hearts to send help to my kababayans in those places. May we act together so that our kababayan can rebuild their damaged livelihood. Donations can be sent to the following organizations:

1. University of Asia & the Pacific

UA&P Typhoon Yolanda Relief Efforts
(Source: The Bosun)

2. Caritas Manila

Caritas Manila poster for donation
(Source: 100% Katolikong Pinoy)

For details on how you can help please visit Caritas Manila website.

Those living outside of the Philippines who want to help through Caritas Manila may send using the organizations dollar accounts. Here are the details:

Details of dollar accounts of Caritas Manila
(Source: One Rosary)
 Those who want to give cash donations may visit Direct Donations page of the Caritas Manila website for details.

3. Quiapo Church

Quiapo Church

Quiapo Church is also has relief efforts. Those who want to donate in kind may go to Quiapo Church. They also need volunteers for the repacking of relief goods. Visit Quiapo Church website for details.

These are few of the many organizations that are aiding our kababayans. The popular ones are Red Cross and the TV networks who are asking for donations. According to their Facebook page, LBC branches serves as drop-off points of donations for Yolanda victims. LBC can be found in many places so those who donations-in-kind can go to any LBC branch.

There are many avenues to help our kababayan. Let us stop the bangayan and senseless blame game. Let us work together. Please help the victims of Yolanda.

Dinner Finale with the Red Shirts

Foong and I started touring Bangkok Chinatown once again after a satisfying merienda at Double Dogs Tea Room. We are walking around the place not to search for souvenirs but to hunt for another place to eat. It is not surprising if the list brought by my travel companion contained the name and rough address of restaurants because Bangkok Chinatown is popular for its food.

The place reminded me of Binondo Chinatown in Manila. That place is also popular because of the food. I believe that Chinese cuisine is a magnet for food enthusiasts everywhere. This is also the case with Bangkok Chinatown.

Foong is looking for a restaurant or street stall that offers a certain pork dish. Too bad that we didn't locate it so we just searched for another restaurant in his list. One of the clue that he found in the Internet is that the crew of that restaurant wear red shirts.

J & K Seafood Restaurant, Bangkok Chinatown
This is definitely not a red shirt.

We almost failed in locating the red shirts and almost dined with the green shirts. Good thing that we noticed the restaurant of the red shirts, which is located just across the road from the green shirts.

Lek and Rut Seafood Restaurant in Bangkok Chinatown
Lek and Rut Seafood Restaurant

The red shirt restaurant that we are looking for is Lek and Rut (R & L) Seafood Restaurant. It is not a formal sort of restaurant. It is more of sidestreet kind where the tables were placed on the sidewalks and the streets. This is the reason why this restaurant is only open during the evening.

Street diners on Yaowarat Road, Bangkok Chinatown

We only had a modest dinner. We only ordered a seafood hot pot or better known as Tom Yum and some prawns.

Our dinner in R & L Seafood Restaurant, Bangkok Chinatown

I am already familiar with the tom yum since I had that during my visit to Koh Samet Island. I actually had tom yum numerous times while I was in Thailand. 

Seafood tom yum in Bangkok Chinatown

This tom yum from the red shirts costs 200 Thai baht.

Delicious prawns at Bangkok Chinatown

The roasted prawns were really big. I enjoyed removing their shells and feasting on the big meat inside. This is what happened to the prawns after I was done with them:

Prawn shells at Bangkok Chinatown

Our dessert is the Bird Nest – Gingko, which I tasted for the first time.

Bird's nest and gingko dessert in Bangkok Chinatown

The bird's nest that I had is not the typical bird's nest that is made of straw and grass leaves. I believe that it is the same as the nests being harvested from our local birds called as balinsasayao.

Red shirts' bird's nest felt grainy but tasteless. The same goes with the yellow-colored gingko fruit.

Our dinner may be simple but what made it special is the friendly chat with a fellow blogger. It will be a long time before I see Foong again. But who knows? I never expected to meet him in Bangkok. I might meet him again in Manila or Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or anywhere in Asia.

A Relaxing Stop at Double Dogs Tea Room

Our adventure at Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun and Bangkok Chinatown is fun but it is also very tiring. My feet are already aching and I am thirsty. That's why I felt so relieved when travel companion Foong asked me to stop awhile in a tea shop.

I find Foong to be a peculiar tourist. He is the only friend of mine that brings a piece of paper containing a list of popular restaurants. Such habit is good since the restaurants that we visited during our trip are truly good. Double Dogs Tea Room is one of the restaurants that is in his list.

Double Dogs Tea Room at Bangkok Chinatown

I wondered why the owner named the tea shop as double dogs. My best guess is that the owner has two dogs and he likes them so much that they graced the name of his tea shop.

Double Dogs Tea Room at Bangkok Chinatown
Made me think if the dogs also like drinking tea.

We immediately settled at a table upon entering the tea shop. We were obviously tired of the long walks and we needed to recharge.

I ordered one bowl of egg soup. We both ordered Bloodhound Beer because the name sounded interesting. Another thing is that the menu said that this beer-mix can be “find nowhere”. A preposterous claim that challenged me so.

Choice of drinks at Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

Aside from tea, Double Dogs' pride is their homemade desserts. We ordered a cake and a homemade ice cream for desserts.

Double Dogs Tea Room is neat. It is cool enough due to the air conditioner, which is perfect for tourists who want to take a break from the heat outside. I like the design of the whole shop, especially the bookshelf. It means that patrons are being invited to stay for a while and read a good book while sipping their tea.

Interior of Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

The waitress that we met is polite but a little reserved. The reason maybe is that she is not fluent in speaking English.

Interior of Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

The Bloodhound Beer came first. Followed in a few minutes by the egg noodles.
Bloodhound Beer of Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

I tasted nothing special nor weird with the Bloodhound Beer. It tasted like ordinary beer. This beer can't be found nowhere but everywhere. Nonetheless, the beer is cold and refreshing. I partnered it with the egg noodles.

Egg noodle soup of Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

I enjoyed eating the egg noodles, though its taste not that different from the ones I had tasted in other places. Or maybe I'm not an expert in judging food since I am not a food connoisseur.

What we enjoyed the most is the homemade cake and ice cream. We ordered a tart named Tarte Au Citron and Kulfi Ice Cream.

Tarte au Citron of Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

The Tarte Au Citron tasted fine. But the award goes to Kulfi homemade ice cream because of its unique and very delicious taste!

Double Dogs' homemade ice cream has three flavors; namely Tradition (with ten spices and the “scent of the Orient”), Dance of Orient (with spices and 23-year aged Guatemalan rhum), and Mixed Fruit. We ordered the first one on the list.

Homemade Ice Cream of Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

I can't explain the taste since I can't fathom what spices were placed in this ice cream. It does not matter because it tasted really good. I guess that anyone who visit Double Dogs Tea Room should order the Kulfi Homemade Ice Cream.

Our receipt from Double Dogs Tea Room, Bangkok Chinatown

We paid a total of 450 Thai baht. I think that what we paid should be lowered since the Bloodhound Beer that we had is just an ordinary beer. Well, at least I tasted a very delicious ice cream and I was refreshed.

I guess it's time to finish the day with another walk around Bangkok Chinatown.


Day for All Saints

Halloween is meant to be a holy occasion. The mere presence of the word hallow (as in “hallowed be Thy Name” in the Lord's Prayer) signifies holiness. But despite of this, people of this generation twisted Halloween and made it a gory and unholy event.

The Devil, he who hates anything holy, is behind all of this twisting of the traditionally holy feasts. He, through commercialism, destroyed Christmas and Valentines Day. The former became a full blown event of relentless buying and feasting and the removal of the Child born in Bethlehem as the reason for the season. The latter became an opportunity to trivialize sex by turning it into source of pleasure.

The Devil is crafty. He didn't attacked All Saint's Day directly. He used the greed of men and the lack of faith of many to create a twisted version of Halloween or All Hallows Eve. The result are Halloween parties where monsters and evil spirits are celebrated. God and all of His angels and His saints were ignored in their feast. It is as if a gatecrasher entered the party and then drove away the host.

The tide of the time is upon us and it will take a long time before it subsides. While we are in this age of twisted values, I guess it is well that we pray to the saints and ask for their intercession. Call upon them everyday and they will bring your worries to God.

As for me, here are the saints who I regularly ask for intercession:

Saints and Blesseds of the Catholic Church

Oh holy servants of God please pray for me; for my Beloved, for our families; for all of our love ones; for our friends; for our neighbors; for our country; for our Pope; for all the bishops, priests, and deacons; for all the religious and consecrated; for all Christians being persecuted; for the whole Church; and for those who oppose the Lord and those who do not know Him.