The Month of the Heart of Winter

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2015

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We’ve always celebrated Media Noche grand and bigger compared to Noche Buena, maybe because we never really had a big Noche Buena even way back. We don’t really stay up late on Christmas Eve rather we’re excited to wake up at dawn to check if Santa left something for us.

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*our “field trip” going to Divi market 🙂

On December 31st it’s a tradition that we’ll drove to Divi Market amidst the threat of traffic and crowd, we can’t miss that yearly activity of hoarding cheap fruits and veggies and even fireworks from the streets of Juan Luan & Ylaya. We can’t afford the overpriced supermarket tag during this season so it’s really an effort for us to squeeze the city drive to make our New Year Eve’s festive and truly exceptional among other occasions. So, after picking up 13 rounded shape fruits (said to bring good fortune), some more vegetables and chestnuts and doughnuts, we queued at Contis to get our box of cakes and later on to S&R to get some cheese. We found ourselves dining at the nearby McDonald’s before we finally drove home. Well, it was worth the trip because we got everything we need in one pace.

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Arriving home was a busier sight; we need everything prepared before the big leap, my sister commissioned the boys to perfect the pork bbq, including our favorite baby back ribs and some giant TJ hotdogs, yes, and they’re giant and not your ordinary jumbo. 😀 The kitchen was busy with two pasta dish being readied; of course the matriarch didn’t miss to cook her signature pancit canton and “palitaw”. We had to set up 2 tables this year because the customary buffet table was loaded with everything, the second table was filled with sweets, wines and cheese and…that distorted Salted Caramel Cake we got from Contis, sayang it was so divine-looking pa naman, nonetheless it tasted really good and we don’t mind getting the same cake again albeit the sad-fate of our cakes every New Year. I think we need a good chiller or probably a bigger travel cooler to avoid this from happening every year. The other cake we got, Black Velvet, made it to our buffet table in perfect form.

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The household never sleeps. It’s a directive, at least at our household, that everyone must be up during this occasion. No one gets to sleep in lullaby until the firecrackers and fireworks and horns get into the deep of your ear, loud banging music at the stroke of midnight welcoming the New Year. So even the house helps remained wide and awake and somewhere in limbo because its way their sleeping time. While I remained in high spirit like the past years, excited like a kid to welcome 2015.

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The kids, they’re equally excited

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…and the dogs, they’re agitated 😦 except for my big B who’s more annoyed of the cracking sound outside while our little pup was clueless of what will happen next.

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*Astro’s first of the many NY to come, brace yourself little one! 

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Then, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1! Happy 2015! 🙂

We lit fireworks and some firecrackers (?) as we join the multitude chase off the bad luck and hold close whatever good fortune this New Year will bring. We silently wished and prayed for fresh beginnings, continued blessing and closer family ties, good health and a good amount of resources to aid whatever project will set off this year, well, I have more than a truck full of wishes and wants and hopes and every year the list keep coming but seriously, I have to ask for a bigger and better 2015, a different perspective, a career move (?) which I think should set forward this time, and a lot of things new to wash away the old (including new set of clothes, shoes, bags, etc…ssshhh!).

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A happy and prosperous 2015 to all!

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😛 🙂 😀 ♥

#latepost

 

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. 

 

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I’m thinking that maybe during our past life we have a little Chinese blood or maybe we actually live right at the heart of Chinatown and was once a business folk who ran hopia factory or dimsum house. Hahaha. Imagine if it was true, I’d probably make my “stalker” a million times envious of my flawless porcelain skin, slim body structure and luscious locks. So be thankful that my ancestors decided to make a living in the highlands and do farming instead of trading.

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But you see there’s really something about the Chinese culture that we both love –its cuisine, one of the richest and most diverse culinary heritages in the world. And for that reason alone, we’d always save patience for the worst bottleneck going to busy Binondo.

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One Saturday afternoon we felt the urged to go once more, we’ve missed all the cheap frills that’s why. We left the house at almost noon time, took the public transport like we used to do when going to this side of the city, think about of traffic and parking problems and well, you’ll just love the calesa or kuliglig ride or just walk your way which we’d always do to save time. Because traffic was real heavy that time, the jeepney took a different route which led us to Sta. Cruz and to its neighboring Escolta, Yuchengco, Dasmarinas and Tomas Pinpin streets. Just right, because we’re visiting a restaurant at Tomas Pinpin to prove its oldness and its worthiness, no joke, I suddenly felt so behind after seeing a facebook post that there stood the oldest restaurant in Manila or some says in the country. Imagine it existed during Jose Rizal’s time and it witnessed too many events to account, say hello to 1888. Much as I love the vibe of new restaurant these days my love affair with the old remained to be on top, it’s always a win over experience and I can’t tell why. There’s this something in me that just love the rustic feel and all.

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In 1984 Tojo Antigua Panciteria was burned down after a neighboring restaurant caught fire, it was rebuilt and named as the New Toho Food Center. If you’ve been to Binondo restaurants, New Toho doesn’t differ at all, it’s typically Chinese with cold cuts display, tiled flooring that’s too old I guess, spacious and minimal, no-frill at all and smells Chinese-y even from outside.

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Since it was already way past lunch when we arrived at the restaurant, only few diners were there and eventually we have the restaurant by ourselves. I scanned the menu, it’s nothing out of the ordinary if I may say but I heard camaron is a must, so we had it included in our set.

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We also had Beef in Oyster Sauce, Seafood Chopsuey, Chinese Kikiam and Yang Chow fried rice. All in small serving, so we thought, small is good for two but the food we order can actually fed four. Call us gluttons but if it’s as affordable as this who wouldn’t like to go beyond the limit. Besides we can always take out the left over and reheat at home, nothing goes to waste for us because I can always reprocess it at home.

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Aside from the Camaron Rebosado this Chinese Kikiam was one of the best I had so far! ♥

Our super late lunch was super worth the trip and I’d like to go back sometime to sample their pancit and asado next.

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And because we’re just so near Divi market, we grabbed that chance to walk around, started off from Binondo Church to give thanks for the safe flight to downtown, for the food we just ate and for our daily blessing of simply waking up in good shape everyday. We skipped Eng Bee Tin this time just because we can always bought some at the supermarket now, when we passed by Ramada Hotel I told the husband that we should check-in next year in time for the Chinese New Year, so to witness dragon dancing and fireworks. We stopped at the Lucky Chinatown Mall, our first time to visit; I was wowed at how Divi has become upscale over the years especially the clean restrooms and fancy restaurants. We explored a bit and found some cheap px goodies at the annex building, they sell chocolates and chips, a tub of Pringles for as low as P75. I hoarded a bit of this and that. From Lucky Chinatown, we walked through the nearby 168 Mall but left immediately for fear that I might end up buying stuffs I’d later not use because of its poor quality. We bought plethora of fruits and vegetables because it’s inexpensive and to sustain our no-rice challenge again following that weekend. Now you know I’m kind of in a diet thing again. We almost had all sorts –apples, grapes, ponkan, atis, pomelo. We also got some French beans, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, corn and the famous fried siopao. Oh and by the way, the next time we visit Binondo, we’re trying Ying-Ying Tea House.

I wish all weekends can be like this –laid-back, no rush, I can be in my comfiest crocs and shorts and the husband is in good mood to give in to all my demands. 🙂

But while we’re having some good time that weekend somebody close to our hearts passed away 😦 , our semi-adopted aspin “Pong” already crossed the rainbow bridge. It was unexpected and I felt mournful for this lost, Pong was only four and better days are still coming his way but he gives out. I can only pray for his happiness after life, the life with no more pain, no more abuse, no more hunger. Pong deserves a better life in heaven.

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Run like the wind now Pong!