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a merry christmas|2014

And so it’s Christmas

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We were home in Cavite on Christmas Eve even if the 24th was already a holiday, you know that last minute Christmas rush, the holidays wouldn’t be complete and happy without it anyway. Say that we even managed to have dinner at S&R Macapagal despite the store closing early that night, I feel so Christmas already with clam chowder, so babaw lang! 😀 And for a moment I thought we’d spent Christmas on the road once again because the husband ran out of gas, it’s a lesson learned, never take chances because most gasoline stations closes early on Christmas Eve and I bet it’s the same on New Year’s Eve. Arriving home, we had to rush wrapping some more gifts so it’d be ready in the morning. We forced the kids to sleep early so dear Santa can finally drop off his presents, the bigger kiddo a.k.a. SAM was snooping the entire night. Well, I think she’s at that stage right now where she just needs to believe to old Saint Nicholas so she can get her wish without any tough ordeal.

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Like the past Christmases, we need to be up early for the traditional gift opening, well, the kids of course were the star of our Christmas and their huge and expensive gifts.

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And what do you know, Santa was extra generous this year because I got a box too, for the first time in many years my Christmas present came just in time for Christmas Day and my smile was ear to ear. 😛

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I also got the kids initial gift (?), so I’d expect a grandeur one from the “Mom & Dad”?

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Definitely not our Astro Boi…Big Boi or Pompeii? 

And because I became busy during the last few days of work I had so little time to check the mall for the big B’s gift so she ended up helping Ysabel unwrap her huge box. But my big B had her early Christmas gift as early as November –that three new handsome looking pups was more than enough to make her Christmas a merry one.

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Margarita Ysabel, our little miss ♥

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Gian Paolo, our still baby boy ♥

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Samantha Angela Marie, our fine lady ♥

And what is Christmas without showing off the kiddos new collection, I know it’s too lavish these days especially that some kids doesn’t even have a decent tee to wear or totally with nothing on but we’d just like the kids at our house to experience the same thing we did when my sister and I were growing up –new clothes, new shoes, new toys, etc.

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I know my parents were a bit spoiler the reason why we never really felt deprived, and tho it may look extravagant and uncalled for to some, well, haters gonna hate and losers gonna lose more. Sorry, but it’s the season of the year to dress up and be merry and make the kids super happy, so, I think splurging quite this one time shouldn’t draw too many questions and raised eyebrows. 🙂

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So, I wouldn’t list anymore what the kids got from Santa, everything is lurve, that’s it!

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And like the previous years we have visiting cousins and nephews and nieces on Christmas Day.

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We had a decent spread to feed guests even tho we didn’t really observe the customary Noche Buena.

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Leoncio and I were able to squeeze a late lunch at Mahogany Market on Christmas Day, first-timers to sample what Mahogany is famed for. We had an order of Bulalo and Caldereta, I’ll give a thumbs up for the flavorful Bulalo from Alegre’s Canteen (as recommended by Jewel during her visit to Tagaytay) other than the Caldereta was a far cry of my very own concoction, love your own, hehehe. We didn’t stay really long at Mahogany, we’re actually there to buy B’s “ulam”, our special treat to her for Christmas –beef ribs for a soupy meal at home.

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By eve, we drove back to Tagaytay for the annual coffee feast with the maternal. Traffic was heavier and annoying, even the alternate Mahogany Drive was clogged with too many Christmas goers. I was estimating the time because Leoncio had work the following day and seeing the horrible blockage and all was enough for us to make a turn. We’d probably won’t enjoy too because the favorite coffee shop would be jam-packed, seats would be too hard to reserve especially for a bigger group like us, and coffee would be bland and warm. 😦 I assumed we made a good turn because we ended up to another favorite spot in Tagaytay, thank you Bag of Beans for accommodating us and our last minute requests.

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We had bottomless brewed coffee, hot mocha, caramel cappuccino, white mocha, pancakes, lasagna, pizza, burger and their signature raisin loaf and shepherd’s pie.

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It was indeed a merry night despite our decreasing number every year. One day we’ll celebrate Christmas in complete attendance once again, I’m dearly hoping.

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A Merry Christmas still ♥

 

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so, where were we here?

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Oh the sista’s 30 something birthday. Uhm, during her birthday weekend we went to Divi Market to rally around like the throng of Pinoy shoppers who loves bargains, huge discounts and what else the happiness of shopping spree without selling your kidneys. 😀 But because it was a Saturday, almost always a market day for everyone, the crowd was like a nightmare, there were people everywhere and you can’t even get something out of your bag readily. You’re pushed to walk and walk giving you not much time to lurk over pieces of those P20 items or those 3 for P100 items which in a way can pass as a nice Christmas present with the right paper wrapper and ribbon. We didn’t really stay long at Juan Luna even if Nanay felt like spending more time, after haggling for fruits and veggies we headed right away at the comfort of the air-conditioned Lucky Chinatown Mall nearby, besides it rained that day so we had no choice but to cover and feed ourselves because we’re famished with all the sweats and stinky smell of the surrounds, don’t get me wrong I love Divi by all means but not during this season.

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So, the supposed Chinese-y lunch was discarded and we went to Max’s for some comfort food –spring chicken, lumpiang ubod, sizzling tofu, macaroni salad and tocino, yes, SAM and I didn’t let the chance go by without sampling the breakfast fare, our favorite breakfast chow to be exact.

Going home that day was the next challenge, Leoncio was supposed to pick us up but seeing the horrible traffic I panicked (ok, a bit only), it would be a waste of time and energy and gas. So, I thought that GrabTaxi was the only savior that day, thank God for zero booking fees. Wee! 🙂 It wasn’t too hard to grab one because it didn’t took long for me to get a unit, however, it took us like forever waiting for him when in fact he’s already at Jones Bridge and we already walked like halfway of Quintin Paredes St. so we could meet halfway. Traffic was that horrible and annoying. Don’t mind to ask how much it cost from Divi to Mandaluyong, it was like more than double because it was clogged everywhere, even the side streets. I somehow pity the cab driver especially that he remained calm the entire trip despite the bottleneck. Arriving home, we felt drained so instead of getting ready for our next activity we slept the entire afternoon. Good thing that the weather was colder now because they didn’t complain much about the humid Manila weather.

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Next, by 6pm we’re heading to Ayala Center, we stopped at Rustan’s Supermarket first to have a quick snack but ended eating a lot of sushi, sandwich, salad and fresh fruits. Rustan’s Gourmet-To-Go is Love!  ♥

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I needed to buy the kid’s Chuck Taylor because I’m running out of time. The next few weeks will be even busier with commitments here and there. And because I felt a bit generous or I maybe I just thought it’s always nicer to give than to receive , I bought 4 pairs of that old-school Chuck Taylor for SAM, Pao, Ysa and Che. I almost fainted seeing the bill because it means I have to cut some of my personal luxuries for the coming weeks. Hay! Kayo na ang naka-terno ng shoes this Christmas…we didn’t skipped the recently opened H&M in SM Makati, the 3rd branch to open this year and most likely would be my most frequent branch amongst. I was supposed to buy Ysa’s dress but the styles were so-so, we ended up with that denim blue overall which was too perfect for our little girl. I got her a hooded jacket too. And Nanay a knit-sweater to appease her gloomy mood because she had no size of that studded sandals. And some few pieces of gift item for my goddaughters. I’m almost penniless that day after exiting the mall, it was like I was robbed but what money can’t buy was the happiness of those people close to my heart. They’re happy I know. 🙂

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And as if we’re contended of just spending the next day at home, we drove to Paseo de Santa Rosa in the afternoon to beat another traffic jam and to shop whatever was lacking –shoes for Leoncio, dress for Ysa, pants for Pao and to delight my eyes with all that gorgeous looking tops from the favorite outlet shop. Found It! But was too hesitant to take home that Christmas-white top because it was way my budget but I really love it and I’m hoping someone could get it for me, please, my size is 16. We didn’t have too much time and we have to skip the Christmas bazaar near Nuvali, after a quick dinner at Kenny Rogers we drove home. All I was able to take out was the corn muffins and Japanese corn, I feel so deprived and kawawa! 😦

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Even our “special pup” at home is looking forward to Christmas Day! 😛

The following work week was gruesome and will be more gruesome especially that year end and Q4 is nearing, there were also issues hanging around but hey, no one is stopping Christmas and the rush and all the preparations, and parties and get-togethers, and more expenses. Christmas would always be that one time of the year when I feel so energized despite of all the chaos (counting here the ominous atmosphere at the work place) that may pop in.

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By the way, we were home again last weekend, we had coffee on Saturday night, Tagaytay was so cold already. The following day, Leoncio and I went on some we-time as we hit Tagaytay by ourselves alone, no rush Sunday –coffee, Mahogany market, cheap gas.

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Also, I went to SGAAA (alumni association) on Saturday to see my groupie and to plan more for our very own batch Christmas party. It was nice to be back at the alma matter only that the alumni activity was quite sickening for me because I find it disorganized, I hope they’ll be able to pull out a good team soon because the grand alumni should be seamless and all.

Oh and before I forgot, someone came at the parental house last Saturday morning, swear to God that I didn’t recognize him, I thought he’s someone from the barangay who’s asking for financial support or whatever, you know my Nanay is becoming the savior of these pesky people who’s thinking is we have this money tree of sort that anytime they need to they can easily run to her. When all but my sister and I assumed he’s just one of them, we were very wrong! I know I haven’t written any of him here because he was part of my past, naks! 25 years ago? Let’s go back a bit of high school, he was my one and only crush because he was cool and stylish, talk about new wave and he’s everything it! 😀 I even remember attending Sunday mass regularly because he’s there. And because he knew I crushed him he even sent me a letter way, way back, ok not the love letter I expected, it was sort of a friendly letter only, which I kept for years. Though for sometime it kept me wondering also that maybe some of my friends forced him to do it.  Even after finishing high school, I still find him cute? I still crush him until I found some cute college boys at the university. And by the time I landed a decent job in Makati I’m completely over him because I was crazy infatuated with Ely B. But what puzzle me now, what happened to him? What happened to the boy I crushed for a long time? Of course, he became a man, he became a husband and a father, only that life wasn’t too friendly for him, maybe because he too has his own time lag, he let go of the good opportunities, if ever there were. Maybe he made none-sense of his life during the early years and wasted too much on something, maybe he didn’t treasure people around him that’s why he’s left alone now. Really, I have no idea of what had happen to him and I’m no longer interested to know as well but it bothers me a bit because he looks so old and grimy, no trace of his being in good shape before. I somehow pity the guy this time but I leave everything to God now, may he find his soul back on track. Well, on a side note, I wonder now if he feel a bit of regret after seeing me, bakit naman kase naka-pajama pa ako when he saw me eh, he should had seen me in my boyfriend jeans and my newly ironed-curls later that day, I bet he’d feel more sorry of himself. Ikaw kase eh! Oh well, life is roller coaster and the world is very small so the chance of bumping with people in the past is very probable. He left soon after Nanay handed him a little cash, what a shame? 😦

So what do you know, this forthcoming weekend is very special, Leoncio and I will be marking our 9th wedding anniversary. There is one solid plan to date and I hope it would push without any holdup. And just in case I won’t be able do the anniversary post because I’m busy and drained by then, here’s something for you my dear husband.

Our 9th year came too fast, I was like doodling and dawdling and before I knew it another 365 days of our married life went by. I have many things to thank God this year, foremost, because He gave you a new job at the start of the year and He continued to bless me everyday at work despite the challenges, despite the frustration everytime I’ll receive my paycheck. But despite that little earnings this year, we never felt deprived, we were able to shop to our heart’s content, we were able to dine at our favorite restaurants and we were able to make short distance travels by and by. I thank God that we remained hale and hearty except to some flu and gastric disorders. I thank God that we survived the journey, even childless at this point, we never felt incomplete and miserable.

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‘Ney, I know in my heart we have a long way to go, we have too many more battle to win and we have too many roads to travel. And let me take this chance to say sorry for the many times I yelled at you for no big reasons at all, for the many times I ignored you, for the many times I acted egotistic, for the many times I excused myself doing the laundry and the dishes and for the many times you felt I put you down. You just don’t know how much I love you and how I value us, that waking up with YOU everyday is my only bliss. Happy Anniversary ‘Ney and may God continue to shower our marriage with trust, faith, loyalty and constancy. 

 

happy birthday sista ♥

sister noun \ˈsis-tər\ : a female who has one or both parents in common with another <wiki>

 

Growing up with a younger sibling was not easy at all, a female sibling to be exact, especially that our age gap was quite big there was a generation gap and it took us long before we finally started to jibe and got on the same wavelength. And we have fights sporadically –big and small, which I think is very normal to every sister who’s both tough and insane and smart. 🙂

I know I’m not the perfect nor the ideal big sister other than I’m trying to be one by being peaceful in all my actions and by doing the right thing (?), and I’m making an effort to create a good relationship because we only have each other and that we should stick together thru thick or thin. Okay, I don’t like this post to sound like a drama marathon because it’s her birthday week. She’ll mark her 30 something birthday on the 26th so this post. And we had a little celebration in advance last Saturday after her shift –a simple dinner at my favorite bistro.

With warm bread to start while enjoying a good convo, catching up like we didn’t see each other for ages.

I had her sample my new favorite pasta dish.

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Spaghetti Vongole, fresh clams, sautéed with garlic, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil and sprinkled with chili flakes.

And had her pick our pizza, I had no idea she wanted the flatbread so we had it.

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Caprese, tomato slice, fresh mozzarella, basil, alfredo sauce, topped with basil leaves

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Someday, somehow I’ll be more giving like if there’s only one cookie, I’ll have her have it or at least give her the bigger half because she needs it more than I do. Sisters are meant to share, to care, to help and to have fun with.

Sister dear, may you have a good life ahead, may you have more healthy years to come and may you succeed in whatever decisions you’ll made. And remember that sisters to sisters we will always be no matter how amount of boo-boo and brouhaha will come to us.

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Happy Happy Birthday Sista! ♥

Let’s celebrate this weekend with the ubiquitous smell of incense and stinky estero and delicious hakaw!

 

pre-christmas meet at lugang café

Maybe because our Piltel days was something very unforgettable and momentous despite the ups and downs, it’s very hard as well to put behind the people I made friends, best of friends to say. And even if age has taken its toll to each of us, and career had its fall down and pick up point, and love life has stopped to some, we remained steady and true to our friendship. No one gets judged or under estimated even else the world turns you down. I’m one happy gal with my P-boys around. 🙂

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During last Friday, Gem and I decided that we meet early this year for the annual get-together ze Christmas party. We see that the timing is perfect this November even before everyone gets busy with parties and occasions. Likewise, we thought it’s nice to hang out once in a while even though there’s no special occasion, we partly missed catching up like the old times. But because of my late notice, okay blame me here folks, Babu and George didn’t make it. They had parties of their own to attend. And surprisingly, when Gem and I thought that it’s just going to be the two of us, Pel showed up. Hooray for his coming!

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I told before that I never liked going to Megamall but these days it’s becoming the venue of dinner dates and meet ups because many good restaurants were opening now at the Fashion Hall, and I couldn’t resist visiting some. And because we’ve set to meet up in Megamall instead of the usual Makati route I picked the restaurant which I haven’t tried yet. Lugang Café isn’t new, actually its main branch is in Greenhills and I remember receiving a supplier’s invite there years ago which I politely declined. Anyhow, that was past and I’m glad I made it right this time because Gem and Pel enjoyed the food and the conversation over it.

Lugang Café specializes in authentic Taiwanese cuisine which I have no idea about, when you say Taiwan I can only account Quickly –taro drink and well the first of the many milk tea franchise. Clueless me! But Taiwan and China and the Chinese people must have done something very good that their franchises and restaurants easily becomes a hit in Manila.

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Like most of the diners that night we had to order the famed steamed Xiao Long Bao, first-grade in my own judgment because of its thin, silky skins and flavorful pork stuffing. The burst of flavors explode in my mouth in every piece, and I think I finished half of the order. Hehehe

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And instead of the regular Hainanese Chicken we went for the Chicken Topped with Scallion and Ginger Oil, and oh my this white chicken is going to be a favorite from now on despite its fatty skin. The generous scallion toppings make a perfect add-on to this incredible delicious poached chicken meal.

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We also had the traditional Roasted Meat Combination with all my favorite Chinese items – suckling pig, pork asado, cold jellyfish strips and century egg. Jellyfish and its gelatinous texture is love!

We had a kind serving of their Golden Fried Rice and House Tea to wash down everything. The little downside, house tea wasn’t free of charge, but for P40 it wasn’t bad either.

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The conversation was extended even after the sumptuous dinner because Lugang Café was very conducive, I don’t know with you but I love well-lit restaurants and Lugang Café’s chic and stylish ambiance with mirrors and chandeliers is love, love, love.

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Another downside of dining at Lugang Café’s Fashion Hall branch, the store closes early so we had to move to Shangri-la Plaza for that extended bonding. We thought of Starbucks but as usual the coffee shop was packed, so we had to move to its neighboring Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which I personally like. Not that I’m dumping SB but sometimes the coffee seems to be bland and lukewarm especially when the queue is very long and ever since they change their pastry supplier the cakes tasted sad. 😦 And Coffee Bean’s baked cheesecake is my ultimate love ♥ but because i’m still full coming from that hefty dinner I passed on the cheesecakes and had iced mocha only this time. We had a night cap at Coffee Bean while also waiting for Leoncio to arrive.

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It’s always a good feel to have the most wonderful friends around, with people who are healthy to be with because the conversation is enriching and the feeling is always communal.

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Merry Christmas Gem and Pel! 😛

 

 

Lugang Café
FASHION HALL, SM MEGAMALL
F Fashion Hall, Bldg D, SM Megamall Edsa cor. J. Vargas, Brgy Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City
M. +63 915 1742243
 

“ber” month

Counting to less than 50 days before Christmas by now and yet I haven’t done any post about the yuletide, the happenings bound to come, the shopping events, the wish list and so on and so forth, I’m too lousy and lazy because work life had been challenging this time, always in a hurry that’s why blogging took a setback. My sundate series almost stopped because I’m losing the oomph to go out on Sundays, above all the early Sundays for the breakfast series too. I’m getting older day by day. And Christmas seem to be sad at this blog… 😦

What the heck? I may be old and grumpy and hollow to some but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop believing about Christmas, I’ll be forever in love with the season no matter how grayish my hair would become, no matter how blurry my eyes will get and no matter how challenging it is for me to listen in Christmas carols in time. Excuse my thoughts but I’m really this, emotional as ever as the season of love and giving draw nearer and nearer. Sigh!

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Anyhow, this year I’m trying to be budget conscious, that’s rule number one, oh well, I think every year it’s basically the goal other than I always end up breaking the rule and spend lavishly during the occasion. Ang sarap kaya mag-shopping! 😀  But I had enough of the previous years, I’m hating the feeling and the aftermath of the holidays especially when there’s nothing left on my birthday. Poorita ang dating! 😦  So, I’ll be firmer this time and I’ll stop going to the mall by the second week of December, which means I have only three weeks to complete my Christmas shopping for family and friends. I hope the fund will be credited this soon so I can take advantage of the less crowded mall.

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*unique, multi-purpose designer papers featuring watercolor drawings from swathe manila 

No worries, I started gifting the family as early as October, the major gifts and my favorite people in tow. I also started buying for my grown-up godchildren and for Leoncio’s side of the family, now I’m down to hunting for unique items for my girls back at the office. If only I had enough fund to buy everything as early as tomorrow morning, hehehe, kidding aside, shopping always gives me that certain feeling of happiness and accomplishment and I bet you also had that same feeling –feeling mayaman! Hahaha…

And seriously, Christmas to some maybe like any ordinary day and to many including me, Christmas would always be the favorite time of the year to be merry, to be thankful, to be generous and to be charitable. It’s the time to get-together, I’m excited to bits only that it worries me a bit that I’ll have little rest and sleep despite the forthcoming long break, I’ll be busy with things left and right certainly, but despite that I’m jumpy to share bed with my big B the entire holidays. Momi can’t wait!

On the lighter side, it’s Friday tonight and I’m blogging somewhere after the ever-unfailing chicken dinner. Tomorrow would be my first rest day after a gruesome work week, this week is awfully argh! I’m trying not to complain but sometimes it really gets on me because it’s tiring, very tiring that it ends me up eating rice on dinner and the sinful barbeque last night, well, at least it makes sense –a good excuse per se to cheat on my meals because I need a pick-me upper! The second rest day for sure would be our date time, over an Italian lunch to conclude the very short weekend.

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Oh wait, my breakfast tomorrow would be a repeat of the last two Sundays. Monge bread with homemade ham and emental cheese! ♥

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For now, happy Friday folks and may all of you have the soundest sleep tonight! 😛

 

osaka ohsho

If you’d ask, I have a very little circle of friends at work. It even became smaller as the years passed by because some already left, one decided to be a homemaker, something I’d so envy of, another one passed away already, which I’m missing badly, while some are still colleagues at work the friendship is questionable by now. In any case, you can’t please everybody and probably I became a “sore eyes” to one of them, the rationale of her talking behind my back and her under-the-table deals. Poor SHE because I have people around who’d warn me of her doings. 😦

Looking back, losing her was disappointing for a while because I trusted her and I valued our friendship but like I’d always say to dear self, I don’t need to waste my time thinking what went wrong. It’s not my loss especially that I still have the other two who remained to be our common friend other than I get to hang out most with the two because they’re both unbiased and unpretentious, unpresumptuous, they’re too cool in fact, no hang ups and they can deviate work and personal issues. So, I’m seeing myself going out with these two repeatedly.

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Mid-week at work two or three weeks ago, killing time at Segafredo near the workplace while there’s a heavy downpour. Because we were too serious with our subject I forgot to take photos of the sandwiches and pasta and coffee we had. It was my first time actually at Segafredo and I’m seeing myself going back to lunch out once in awhile.

The following day, ze Friday, the close female friend invited me to dine out after work, we’ve done this before, just the two of us after a hefty work week, we just wanted to have a tête-à-tête over a good meal, it’s like a little treat for ourselves because we think we’ve ended the week well, more than at par enough. My presentation was an achievement that week, some had commended it while the superior didn’t even bother to give me a pat on the back. 😐 For a change from our usual routine of going at the nearby Promenade, we decided to take it a little distant and found ourselves at the SM Mega Fashion Hall. Because we’re not regulars of the big mall, we had a hard time picking up a dinner place, for awhile we considered getting some ramen or that famed baked bun with BBQ pork filling but both places had queues we can’t imagine. We’re old you know and thinning patience is very understandable.

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I spotted Osaka Ohsho and asked her if she would consider Japanese by any chance. You see, she is this close female friend with health issues too so I have to make my choice a lot like healthier everytime we’ll eat out. But the good thing with her she is knows her limit and embraces the word discipline with no buts and what ifs. Anyhow, because Osaka’s vibe looks very inviting and no queue at all we gave it a try.

I ordered our dinner with the close female friend’s approval of course. So to save time from getting a decent set, we had the Fuwatoro Set which was already good for 2 persons or 3 in our case. It comes with a Fuwatoro Teshin Han, two servings of miso soup and two servings of fruit.

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Our Mabo Tofu Fuwatoro Tenshin Han Set P650. Premium steamed Japanese Koshihikari Rice enveloped in a fluffy egg omelets dome immersed in a sweet, spicy, & savory sauce with soft Japanese tofu, bell peppers, and ground pork. I so loved this especially the fluffy egg. ♥

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The set came with 6 pieces of original Gyoza. Gyoza is Osaka Ohsho’s signature, as they claim it’s the number gyoza in the world. Okay, I also love their gyoza because it’s meaty, juicy and tasty. And like what the rest had said, it’s really good and you can easily finish a set. I won’t mind going back to have gyoza alone, 12 pieces for me please and Kirin Beer! Hehehe

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Had an order of Beek Sukiyaki as well which came too sweet for our taste, I think they overdo the sweet soy broth here nonetheless my CFF enjoyed the noodles to its last bits.

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We didn’t order any cold drinks and requested house tea to wash down everything. It was a lovely dinner time with my close female friend, a.k.a. Mrs. C. We might book another dinner or coffee with the close male friend soon. The never ending catching up, you know, and mind you I don’t mind the small number of friends. 😀

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*the generous close female friend who insisted on shouldering the bill, thank you Mrs. C! 

 

 

Osaka Ohsho Philippines
3/F Mega Fashion Mall, SM Megamall Bldg. D
T. +632 631-7074
M. +63 917 828-5011