Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Catholic Pilgrim Blog

I have moved my religious blog, Catholic Pilgrim to a new domain and this time using Wordpress. Please check it out at:


Thursday, July 12, 2007

My new personal blog

Got tired of this old blog so created a new one at Serious Prattle this time using
Word Press. I now believe my friends when they had been suggesting moving to Word Press. Its more flexible and widget friendly.

So see you all around in my new personal webspace!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Serious Prattle : My new personal blog

I was so 'sawa' with my old personal ramblings site so decided to shift to a new one using word press. Yup, wordpress is a lot better than blogger so please do visit my new space at:


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Will I celebrate D day up on Air?

It has been a tough and challenging period. Had some bouts of depression as something I worked on for a long time has not come into fore. Sometimes it has crossed my mind that I shouldn't have banked on a close friend too much but hen I know I learned a lot from the long study. It has drained me financially however.

Anyway, I am supposed to celebrate a milestone in my life soon and for that I had always wanted to be in my favorite city, Paris. Unfortunately it can't happen. Anyway, I had a memorable birthday in Paris last year, thanks to St. Ignatius.

God is good however. He knows I don't like to be in manila for my birthday. I just wanted to be somewhere out there batanes, appari, timbuktu or the himalayas.

Comes the miles ----- yeah I have them enough to fly half way around the world but how will I pay my accomodations and everything else that comes with the trip?

Sydney!!! Yup, Christine has been inviting me for decades to her place but being a corporate slave then, had only so much vacation leaves which must be used to help out my dad in his trips.

Christine is the I in TAFI, the acronym of our high school barkada - Tolentino, Almeda, Flores and Imperial.

I emailed Christine and told her my thoughts. Both of us were really banking on something we had been working for years, unfortunately, the other party was sickly and perhaps lacked enough focus. Both our birthdays are on the same month and just a few days away.

I told her I will start working on my visa. I havent been to that part of the world so I needed to ask how to get the visa. While gathering the documents, my miles suffered a snag which I thought would derail my trip. Fortunately with prayers all was resolved.

I placed all my faith in Him and He works wonders. All of a sudden I decided to call PAL to reserve. They told me there was just one seat left before my birthday. Goodness gracious I had to grab it. Had myself waitlisted the day before though.

I was told the visa will take two weeks. When I finally filed they said one week. Well well well, miracle of miracles, I got it in two days ha ha! Intl visas seem to love me recently.

This means I can fly anytime but--- I can't. I still need to hire the replacement staff in our immigration office otherwise my partner in Manila, Gerry will go crazy. Also, I want to fly closer to winter. Why? It's too darn hot in manila! I am almost melting with the heat so I want to go somewhere really cold.

I think sydney was a good decision for i can mix business with pleasure. My other business partner Nick, is based there as well as our principal, so I guess I really need to meet up.

I just hope and pray I can confirm that wait listed day otherwise, I will be up on air on my birthday boo hoo......and if it turns out that PAL's arrival will be late--- I may leave the airport (after baggage claim, customs etc) after lunch.

Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Just can't wait to fly again. I have a mole under each foot and after a few months of sticking to land, my feet really itch to leave. I guess I took after my dad.

Oh and by the way, Aura, my ex officemate now based in Vienna told me she will also be celebrating her milestone soon and she maybe in Paris for this since their bank branch in the city of lights will be needing her that period. I was sooooooo Inggit!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tagaytay, Taal and unexpected side trips


Last Sunday, Bebeth and I brought Ruben to Tagaytay. She brought her van, fetched Ruben in Makati then passed for me in paranaque as I was nearest to the south expressway.

First stop was Starbucks at Petron station to get some hot drink for Ruben who has not yet taken breakfsast. I brought sandwiches, a large cooler filled with drinks and bottled water.

We reached Tagaytay shortly before 11am and I decided to visit the Little Souls convent I heard from a friend. She gave me a small bottle of holy oil dipped in a Sacred Crucifix which came from Belgium. I wanted to know more about this so since it was too early for lunch might was well visit. You can read more about this in my Pilgrim blog.

One thing though, I will surely return to this very peaceful place.

I researched new places in Tagaytay through the internet the evening before we left and I read much about the new place in town which is the Cliffhouse along the ridge quite near the rotonda. We asked a few people along the road but they don't seem to know this place.

The best landmark would be right after the huge Yellow cab sign. It is actually besides Leslie's a similar concept area filled with various restos such as Cafe Lupe and Starbucks.

I will show more photos of the Cliffhouse in a separate post. The most popular restaurant in this area from my internet research seemed to be the Italian resto Buon Giorno followed by FireLake Grill.

Although I was curious to try Buon giorno, I was not that keen on eating Itaian food that time, the same with bebeth and most specially our balikbayan guest. Besides, we noticed the place was really full so no chance for an immediate table.

The only place which has a good view of the lake besides the italian resto is Fire Lake so we opted to take lunch here.

Although it was cooler inside the restaurant, we decided to take the table outside for a better view.

The meal was great but very pricey. More details of our meals in another post.

We couldnt leave the area without having a photo against the
lakeview, what everyone goes to Tagaytay for.

Since I kept mentioning Our Lady of Caysasay, which apparently is in the next province, we all decided to trekk to Taal, Batangas. We asked the waiter for directions and he mentioned that it takes him around 45 mins to reach the place when he uses his motorcycle.

Ruben was also interested in going there as he stayed in an antique house right in front of the basilica.

This then was our first stop when we reached Taal, Batangas, the home of the Calanog family situated right in front of the Taal Basilica.

Ruben greets the matriarch of the family who was only too surprised to see him.

Almost everything in the house is a collectors item like these set of old pottery....

and of course my favorite Angels.

Bebeth was so surprised to see this very old turntable, the kind that you need to wind on the side for it to start.

more antiques....

A combination of old and new images of our Lady.

Time for goodbyes to go to our next destination....

The Taal Basilica or better known as the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours.

On the left altar, one can find the statue of St. Martin de Tours in whose name the Basilica was named after. Will write more about the sain in my Pilgrim's blog.

On the right altar, is enthroned Our Lady of Casaysay, whose devotion spanned hundreds of years. I expounded on the history of Our Lady in my Pilgrim Blog.

The image is very small unlike similar ones of our Lady. We went up the back altar to be able to kiss her mantle.

This was the poster which came out during the 400-yr jubilee celebration (2003) of Our Lady of Casaysay.

I bought a couple of stampitas and novenas after the visit.

Before leaving again for the next stop, bebeth had to have a shot beside the street name as this is her maiden name :)

Next stop as requested by Bebeth is the Taal Market. Here you see her buying the famous Tapa. According to the seller, the recipe was handed down from their great grandparents.

Here you see Ruben holding one of their famous 'sumans'. Bebeth bought one bagful which we all took for merienda. Very delicious! Highly recommended.
All i bought was charcoal and native vinegar. Charcoal cost 5 pesos per bag, in manila it's 15-20 pesos. The small bottle of vinegar was priced at only 6 pesos. Great huh!

Now you see Ruben standing behind a store selling native clothes and bags embroidered the Callado way where Taal is famous for.

Bebeth wanted to buy a 'calladoed' Pinya cloth.

As it was past 5pm, I tried to hurry the two since I really wanted to see the church of Our Lady of Caysasay. We had to ask around for some of them were not familiar with this. Some of them still direct us to the basilica.

We finally found it, a short distance actually from the Basilica. Its really the chilren vendors in the basilica area who were familiar with the church.

This is the inside of the church or chapel of Our Lady of Caysasay. Her image is found right at the center of the altar.

The full story of Our Lady including the miraculous spring found a few mins away from the chapel is discussed in my Pilgrim blog.

By the time we finished with the unexpected pilgrimage in Taal, it was already early evening and we decided to hurry back to manila since Ruben needed to catch the last mass.
Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous, hardly moving when we reached Tagaytay. When we reached the area of 'Antonio's', Bebeth suggested going down to take dinner instead of waiting inside the car for traffic to ease.

It was all our first time to try the very famous "Breakfast at Antonio's".

We actually took dinner outside but this photo was taken inside where we took dessert because bebeth was feeling cold. Yeah right, she felt cold despite the pashmina. Very unbelievable to hear when you experience the scorching heat of manila these days.

I have more photos and reviews of our dinner but it will be the subject of a separate post.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dinner at Abe, Dessert at Cupcakes and Hot choco at Mary Grace

I was suprised to learn the other day that Ruben is in Manila.

Bebeth called to ask if I knew and apparently Ruben sent me a text message earlier but was not able to notice it as I was in a meeting.

Ruben brought us around Vienna last year together with Au.

We all then decided to go out last night at the Fort Serendra area, the Bonifacio High Street as it is the newest place in town.

We first strolled along the area to check on the newly opened restaurants. It was only last January that I was here but since then, so much eateries has opened.

I had wanted to try out the other restos that I have read about such as Chelsea, Brazil, Portico but somehow we ended up again in Abe!

This must be my fourth time here. I usually tend to go here if I have guests so specially the balikbayan ones like Ruben. They tend to choose a place serving good old filipino food.

We actually had a feast starting with Bebeth's favorite chicharon bulaklak (cholesterol delight), and two bowls of kinilaw.

The waiter recomended the Tamarind drink which Bebeth and I tried and boy it was really good!!!

This was followed by our main meal, the signature Bamboo Rice,

another cholesterol filled, Abe's version of Dinuguan (cant recall the actual name but it starts with a T).

and of course I wouldn't miss my favorite vegetable dish, gosh I can't recall the name again but it is made of squash, and some greens. Most of the names in the menu sounded exotic.

This was the first time I noticed the Rellenong Suam na Mais. Apparently it is made of corn and shrimp cooked akin to an omelette.

As I am a soup person, there must definitely one during meals and Ruben chose the Sinigang na belly sa Guava. Actually it was for 3-5 persons but we went ahead and got it.

Finally any balikbayan will not be able to resist trying our good old Manggang buro (pickled mangoes) so despite the tons of orders this must still be part of it.

Obviously we were not able to finish all the 'takaw tingin' orders so we had to request the leftovers taken out.

Because we were really so full, we decided to walk the block to bring everything down. Bebeth suggested we cross the street and take a look at the new Serendra strip made up of more restaurants and shops.

I have heard of this area before but this was the first time I saw it and gosh I was suprised with all the newly opened outlets such as Italiannis, Bos Cafe, Starbucks, Havaianas, Fish o Fun and a lot more.

Took a shot of Ruben and Bebeth trying this gigantic steel decor. One has to climb it then jump a bit as suprisingly it has a trampoline effect.

This was another op art design at the park fronting the strip.

After going around both sides of the serendra shop area, we decided to go back and have dessert as planned at Mary Grace. While walking towards the place, I suddenly saw the small Cupcake snack place and I said I must not miss this. I had been reading a lot about to-die-for Cupcakes by Sonja. We all went in to take a look.

These mouth watering cupcakes surely cant remain on their display areas for long so

I decided to get us one each just to try - Ruben got the nutty type, Bebeth, the one with mint and I chose the one with berries.

Nice simple bags huh? Bebeth showed Ruben the Rest Room while I lined up at the cashier.
After I paid for the cupcakes, I waited outside the shop. I liked the painted antique chairs and tables used. I remembered those furnitures in our old home in manila where we lived with Lola and Lolo. Too bad it was given away when we moved to quezon city.

A few minutes later Bebeth called to tell me they are at Mary Grace which apparently was closing so she had to order their famous chocolate which we can just take outside.

I first thought bebeth meant a chocolate cake but apparently Mary Grace served a very delicious hot chocolate drink similar to our local tablea.
Since we were the last clients to pay, we just requested a pitcher full of iced cold water. The weather outside though almost midnight was really too hot and humid.

Everyone must try this highly recommended choco drink. It is really sooooooooo good. I will need to go back in this place soon just for this sweet delicacy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Scorching Heat!

It's too darn hot in Manila! One can hardly breathe in this weather. Thank God for airconditioning but then some of them like those in starbucks at 6750 hardly functions.
When I out of my bedroom this morning, the living room felt like an oven.
According to the news temperature averaged 38 degrees celsius and may worsen. Rains according to the weatherman may start around May.
I thought it will at least shower this afternoon as suddenly the clouds darkened but I guess the clouds really lacked the necessary water of life.
How I wish North Pole could spare some of their icebergs right now. This really is Global Warming!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Reminiscing Capri while watching "It Started in Naples" DVD

Just finished watching this DVD I bought in New York last year. Its an old classic made in the 60s.
Of course one main reason I bought this was it was the movie was made in one of my favorite regions. I particularly loved all the scenes in Capri where most were filmed.
I remembered our visit to Capri during my 2002 trip with Bebeth. I originally wanted to stay in the place overnight but we couldnt find a place so opted for Sorrento. It was raining the whole time so was not able to see much specially the Blue Grotto which for years I had been wanting to visit.
At least I was able to see the inside of the cave via this movie. I was able to see only the outside part before as the boats were not allowed to go in when its raining. The movie was a very simple love story nothing great but during those times I just wanted to relax and feel good the movie was a welcome treat.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Google buys Double Click

Learned from a friend that google just bought double click for $3.1B in cash! She was reading it from the New York Times but couldnt find the story on the online version.

This must be a better deal than than You Tube not only price wise as the online video was paid via stocks.

Makes me want to pursue a dot come I have been mulling on :)

Showing or hiding the blues....

When people say they are depressed, usually they look gloomy and tend to sulk. However, I now realize that one can be depressed yet wouldn't show the usual signs of depression.

Perhaps I belong to the latter group. Some friends even think I am joking when I laughingly say I am drepssed.

On the other hand, I am not really sure if this last one is better for it maybe skin to hiding the pain which becomes more stressful.

As I mull over this, it dawns on me that prayers and surrender to the Lord is still the best option to get over this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An Impromptu meeting and belated birthday celebration

Lella and I had a scheduled meeting with a potential strategic partner in a business we are concocting when we suddenly remembered to call our schoolmate boyet who we were supposed to meet the past week.
Little did we know that he was free that time and we all decided to meet for a late dinner at the shang mall. Boyet chose Congo Grill as I told him I didnt want to eat in the chinese fast food at the basement as I can't tolerate vetsin. Our earlier meeting was held in that area.
Upon reaching the restaurant, boyet called Alex, who was then in the gym down south and in about half an hour he arrived to join us for that belated birthday treat.
Just felt like posting this as I know God indeed works in wondrous ways. Lella and I had been praying hard for this endeavour we started discussing barely less than a month ago. We plan, we research and brainstorm but most of all pray a lot. He seems to be pointing to us the right people to talk to.
I had tried touching base with many who I thught can join us but our skeds dont seem to match. I think God is saying they are not the right people, I will tell you who you must meet with. Alleluia! and this he did!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

nice quote....

I just watched the DVD of Danielle Steele's "Full Circle" and I can't forget one of the important lines always uttered by a major character, Harry:

"Sometimes you just have to jump off that bridge, and build your wings on the way down"

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Philippine Blog Awards

Wilson Ng called me up one time to request that I stand in for him during the Philippine Blog Awards as he is one of the finalist.

The awards night was held last March 31 at theRCBC auditorium in Makati City.

Of course agreed and even told him I am almost sure he will win as I am a follower of his blog which is full of profound wisdom and advices.

True enough when the winner for the Business and Entrepreneur Blog Category was called, it was Wilson's Reflections of a Biz Driven Life!

Migs Paraz handed the award for the category. Earlier was I was also called on stage to present the award for the best Travel Blog. That was really cool as many know that travel has always been my passion. The winner was Ivan about Town, a blog that I sometimes read as I encountered the author in my multiply site.

One important highlight of the event which I really liked was the invocation said by a priest blogger Fr. Stephen Cuyos (Happy Faith). I would like to quote this below:

So compassionate, so faithful, so loving You are Our Father.
We ask You to increase our faith and our love for You that we may use blogging as an instrument to fulfill Your purposes. May we become bloggers of truth and
promoters of peace.

Help us to be steadfast in our Christian commitment that visitors may find in our blogs a source of encouragement and inspiration. Give us strength to proclaim Your word, that we may play our part in breaking down the walls of hostility in the world and use our blogs to strengthen the bonds of friendship, solidarity and love.

Make our hearts meek and humblethat we may treat our readers as friends, not as unique hits,that we may strive to change ourselves for the better more often than we pimp our site templates,that we may find more time to ease the pain of someone in our own home than to reply to comments left by strangers,that we may interact with our next door neighbors as often as we chat with our blogrolled friends,that we may be more concerned about helping the less privileged than about the number of subscribers to our RSS feeds.

Deliver us, Father, from spams and viruses, from pride and selfishness, and from the temptation to replicate images without permission and copy ideas without crediting the original authors. May we always be united as a network of bloggers and friends working together in Your name. May our blogs lead us closer to You.
We ask all these through Christ,

Our Lord. Amen.