The Month of the Heart of Winter

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Tag Archives: friendship through the years

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
 

for Minerva

Maybe you’ve been waiting for me to write this piece, maybe you’d been waiting long to read something about us –about our friendship, how it’s been for the past 24 years.

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I don’t have a vivid recall how our friendship began, forgive the age here a lot had slipped of my memory already so I’d give my best shot to recall how you, Rosette and I battled the college life, how it was even after the university and how fate drew us back together and became colleagues at work.

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Maybe because our family names were in successive then we became seatmates in school, that’s De Dios-Diumano-Escalante, and because seatmates were normally the first friends in school ours bloomed naturally and deeply as years go by. That even before another D (De Guzman) entered the picture we already had established camaraderie amongst us, talk about the numerous trips at Harrison Plaza with another of our first, first friend, remember Mean Correa? She was probably the one who introduced Manila life and what it’s like outside school. Anyhoo, because she had to shift course after the first semestral we were left with each other once again. And yet, even after the first semestral even if you were no longer in our block we remained steady lunch dates in school. We all loved that chicsilog meal at the school cafeteria, and I remember how you’d always opposed our little splurge over a Goldilocks meal. But there’s no question to it that even from the start you love pizza heartily, we all do, who could ever resist that pizza-all-you-can from wayback, Pizza Hut was love! ♥

Our life in the university was not spared from frustrations, pain 😦  –in failing one major to another, I do remember how you cried buckets when you got that 5.0 in Trigo during the first sem, hehehe. Heartaches? Well, we’re both a little heartbroken maybe because the major crush was wooing someone or maybe that super crush didn’t even paid us a second look at all. Rosette got so lucky to land a boyfriend during our second year and eventually married the same healthy guy. Peace Darwin!

At the end of summer in 1990, I left the university tho not with flying colors, I was officially graduate but nowhere to go while you had to endure one more sem. Our colleagues, Rosette and Darwin, were by now fusing their expertise at the corporate world. While the two of us remained up-to-date with each other’s activity, we wrote letters and you had a number of visits at my hometown but there was no mention of your plans going abroad. In March of 1995, I was surprised to receive that letter from Taiwan and it was from you, I remember how you recount the life you had there, I thought it was all satisfaction and a pine for a bigger and greener pasture, little did I know you were there to fend for your mother’s medical needs, I was clueless until I heard from Rosette and Darwin that you shortly went home after your mother’s passing away. We didn’t get to see each other then, the letters also went occasional until we completely lost contact. It was sad but we eventually get used to it, I’d like to believe now that you got the best of your life during those years that we’re not in sync because I had mine.

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It was a long and winding five years, and then in 2000 we finally ran into each other again, nothing much had really change then except for the few pounds gained you remained to be at your jolliest. 🙂 Rosette and I were already colleagues at work back then and because you needed a post we pushed you hard to be in so we’ll make a happy trio once more. The work life for the past 14 years wasn’t all good vibes and friendship, this time we had our own share of dispute, falling out or whatsoever, things weren’t so easy just like the old days. We had petty fights that led us to become incommunicado for months. We had bad days except that we had a lot of happy times together to conceal the unpleasant ones. Our friendship was rainproof.

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And if I have to recall the last 14 years at work with you it might took me days to conclude this post, it would be never ending so I’d speak of the significant only, those that were unforgettable which I will forever cherish.

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Remember the time when we’re always flat broke even after getting our hard earned pay, we’d usually window shopped and later on get some cheap chow. There’s this one time when you pushed me to try out the food stalls in SM (those little stores in front of the supermarket in Megamall), I felt sorry for us because I felt like we’re eating rice alone but you remained positive and cheerful. From that day forward, I sensed our differences while you go for quantity I’d always go for quality. Admit it, you hated me for having that thought.

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Whoever referred to us that farm-resort in Antipolo was a big lie, remember our little outing turned a nightmarish to everyone? I remember how hard it was for you to shower…from the faucet, even with our aide because you can’t bend down obviously. Uhm, I think the belly was the problem here? 🙂

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Your rolling stunt at the entrance driveway of Limketkai one afternoon, how could we ever forget? 😀 You really know how to crack the ice esp when everyone is shiftless and dry.

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Your generosity would always be remembered. When you transferred to Sales and you started to get commissions and perks you didn’t forgot me. We even once conquered Rockwell at dinner time to make use of your free Burgoo vouchers which were valid only at that particular branch. We were naïve then and ordering was a challenge, we got ourselves that Country Fried Chicken which we thought was the best and exemplary but it turned out the average and bland, we’re nothing but the commoner back then and anything cooked with a twist wasn’t a hit at all not until you treated me to a hotel buffet. We braved the Makati crowd one day and went our way to Hotel Intercon’s Café Jeepney, it was nearing Christmas then so we thought it was also the perfect timing to shop a little for ourselves. At Café Jeepney I remember how we devoured a medium rare cut of meat, oh that warm succulent with that juicy pink center –it was love. 😛 Thank you for that posh treat and for the hair iron which you gifted that same year, I would be forever grateful to you and to your kindheartedness.

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It may be the first and last road trip we had but it was well-remembered. The sunset in La Union was once witnessed to our friendship and the waves that night at the shoreline was our only audience as we spoke about everything and anything under the sun. We’re happier even to find out that our spouses jibe, it was a plus point we thought because that meant one thing –we can schedule another trip in next to no time. But not all days are meant to be a happy one nor friendships are perfect, it has its own natural flaws because we’re very human in every inch. I admitted it even before how disappointed I was, how I felt bad, I was unhappy and I guess it was normal, I hope by now you know how I exactly felt that time. And like what I told people, that falling-out will set right on its own, and that no matter how wounded and pained we became it will heal naturally in time. And it did other than maybe some people were really envious of our friendship or maybe they were the selfish kind of friends who never liked me in the picture anyway. Well, I felt I was a threat for doing nothing at all.

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We had more than one million plans –from vacaying to simply eating out, tho I know some were really just our thoughts, I anticipated those. I’m trying to live positively and healthily you know. Don’t laugh now because it’s what I liked to believe after having too much for the last 14 years.

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There was a time when the sweet curls became very in and stylish and you’d always ask me to curl yours or merely straighten so you’d look and feel good about yourself. You loved to be styled only that you’re really very sluggish to do it by your own so I was always the very willing stylish, yes I can’t refuse your pleading generally. Now, I’d miss you most on occasions.

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In December of 2009, few days before your sickness was discovered you invited me to lunch out despite your very weak condition then. Walking was too hard for you and your steps were numbered but you persisted to go out because you forgot to buy me a gift, so, to make up you thought I’d be happy over a lunch treat. I was indeed very happy only that I felt bad seeing how you eat faintly. You’re not at your usual you –cheery and energized because the sickness was drowning you fast.

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Our long talks may have been few during the last months other than you never failed to smile or say hi or bid me goodbye each day, that despite your very bad health you remained in high spirits.

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We had too many memories, some may not be clear in my memory anymore but every workday with you was a memory to keep and ponder.

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And I have more than a million things to say about you, about our friendship, about our lives but I don’t want to hold you back, I want to set you free from any of this earthly things and daydreams.

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You know, it frustrates me when you think and say negatively of things, maybe because I always wanted you to look at the bigger picture and stay positive. Being sick and all was never been easy, but it’s never been an excuse to become lenient about life, you could have done it better my dear, I hate you for leaving soon.

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And you know what, I envy you a lot because people love you so much. Each one had something good to say, how you’d been so nice to them, everyone was so thankful that they’d know you once, everyone was sorry for what had happen to you and everyone will be missing you a hundredfold.

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Minerva,

I’d like to think that you just went on a prolong business trip, that you went on vacay somewhere around, I’d like to believe that one day you’ll come back in your bold old self not the sick one but as we marched you yesterday to your final resting place I know those will never ever going to happen, perhaps not in this lifetime.

My dear, from day one when I learned about your sickness I started to prepare myself that this would eventually happen. But preparing for the inevitable end was never been easy, I thought I was and I want to believe I was all ready for your departure. It just that it disheartened me that you didn’t say goodbye the last time you passed by but I know you long prepared me as well and you want me to accept it as peaceful as you are now.

We would forever be great friends no matter what, I’d be perpetually a second mother to your Chimmy and a good friend to your sisters if they’d allow me to. Your passing away was touching, it was exceptionally inspirational because you became an inspiration to many including me.

Minerva, as you leave and start anew –the everlasting one, this time I hope you’d see things in a different perspective, I hope by now you’d be able to tell between the disparities you’ve gone through. I hope you’d free people close to you to whatever resentment they’d been bearing at this turning point. I won’t ever forget you and your jolliness –it’s been a trademark of yours that’s why it won’t be the same again at the work place. Life was too short for you but it was been good.

And forgive me please for the times you thought I was harsh on you, forgive me for the distress it caused you. You’ve been a confidant all through these years that’s why you know me better than anyone else.

I’ll be missing you dearly. 😦

Elna

 

P.S. I am disheartened too to lose an avid reader in you, one of the very few who unfailingly reads this humble blog. I hope there is a wifi in heaven so you’d be able to read through my everyday journey and battle…