Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mt. Malasimbo

when you think of Mindoro, the things that come to mind were Puerto Galera, white beach, wild partying, tamaraw and mindoro sling. and when you take pictures of galera, you'll have the sunset, the sand, the party people, boats and this mountain looming majestically in the background.
that's mt. malasimbo.

years ago, when i first set foot in galera, i just thought of the mountain as a nice background that compliments the sea, but now, whenever i go to galera, i am now looking beyond the shore, away from smokes of barbeque grills and past the shops crowding the beach, my eyes automatically head toward the mountain and remember how it gave me an unforgettable climbing experience...

we arrived in galera via a scary ride with the boat that stopped in the middle of the sea due to mechanical trouble and during the time when the waves are in the mood for playing swing and see-saw, good thing i no longer have motion sickness otherwise i'll join the others throwing up in the sea (maybe, at the delight of some fish, eww). we settled our things in the rooms we rented, and unmindful of the drizzle that's turning into a heavy rain, wearing our uniform with our packed lunch and gears, we paced the shore like a marching band with lots of curious eyes going our way. as we reached the cemented street going to the trail, the sound of waves crushing on the shore was overpowered by raindrops racing from the sky. our steps are now faster, and so are the rain...

soaking wet and with adrenalin pumping, the rain stopped as we reached the jump-off point.

we past by a mangyan community, we stop by to what i thought was a falls for some picture taking and from then on, muddy and slippery assault towards the saddle.

actually, i don't mind the mud, i don't mind the assault, i do not mind even the occassional slips and some thorns/weeds prickling my hands and arms as i grabbed them for support, what worries me (and the rest of the group) are these icky little blood suckers called limatik (small leeches).

before our climb, we're already warned that some parts of malasimbo are teeming with these tiny parasites and that they are just there waiting to feast on us. just the thought of them crawling on our skin, biting for that blood meal, and suck until they're full and then they just fall off is enough for some newbies to back off. obviously, we're not one of them. just moments after stepping on their territory, a groupmate has already got hold of one slimy brown creature and proudly showed it to us. the curious that we are, we oogled on it and then later sprayed it with alcohol and dunked it on efficascent oil. we laughed on it, little did we know that a few more steps, a batallion of them has already sensed that lunch will be served early!

as a precaution, or to minimize the bites, we applied efficascent oil on our arms, necks and faces, some put too much that minutes later they're screaming as the oil's very hot hehehe. still, even with the oil and an alcohol sprayer on hand, limatiks still find their way into my arms, neck and even inside my shirt and my pants! argh! i have bites on my back, my legs and my arms. AND THEY ARE ITCHY!!!!!!

the limatik attack upped the adrenalin rush that makes our pace faster and soon enough we reached the saddle, and we're hungry and most of our shirts and socks were blood-stained!

the view at the saddle, although most of the time was covered with fog because of the rain, was more than enough to made up for the bloody experience. we had our lunch there and savor the fresh air and marvel at the view.

we didn't stay long and just forego the summit assault (there's no clearing at the summit and there are more limatik) as it started to rain again and the fog, all of a sudden, had surrounded us. the rainwater and the fog somehow blinded us and we need to make a new trail as we lost our way! the rain pounded even harder, the loose soil was more slippery and some groupmates panic for the rain, the fog and the thought of being lost. i was at the lead group but went back to assist some of my groupmates.

we eventually find the old trail and continue with the traverse. if going up is slippery, double that on our way down. someone joked that if not for the rain and the mud, we can run on this trail! instead, we have to walk with our butts or sometimes just slide our way down, and oh, sliding while sitting on coconut leaves is the fun way to do it.

if we climbed malasimbo with a more cooperative weather, the view must have been better.

we went directly to the beach to wash ourselves and get rid of the remaining limatiks we did not know we still have! one lady groupmate screamed her lungs out when she saw four very fat limatiks on her legs after she removed her trekking pants. me? i got one on my pocket! hehehe.

the limatik experience can be very traumatic, but it's part of every mountaineer's life. this climb also exemplifies what a teamwork can do, and in the mountain, it's just your guts, your instincts and your co-mountaineers that you can depend on.

and while we're still talking about limatiks while resting, a scream from another room disturbed the peace and quiet, it turned out that another lady groupmate saw a limatik on her underwear while taking a shower! see? they can crawl anywhere! i also observed that even though the limatiks were already removed, the skin they've bitten will continue to bleed like you have a fresh wound. scary!

to celebrate the limatik, este, climb, we drowned ourselves with videoke, lambanog and red horse, and what happens next is another long post...


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

it's a Thai!

along with Japanese food, Thai food is one of the best chows i've discovered in recent years that made me a convert, and made me realized there are better, way better, choices than those fastfoods that i thought were comfort foods.

my love affair with thai food started when i was first introduced to THE bagoong rice of sukhothai (i miss this restaurant!) and then it flourished when i worked in a restaurant that serves thai-malaysian-curry themed foods and there i met chicken pandan and it was love at first bite! and with tom yam soup? whoa, i was enthralled by its hotness!

i am, in a way, engrossed with trying different thai restaurants which, by the way, should also be affordable (with emphasis on affordable) and this has brought me (and lyn) to Som's (they now have a branch in morato, the reposo branch which we used to frequent is now closed, and we are yet to set foot on the original carinderia somewhere in the Rockwell area) and Jatujak. but not every thai food we've tried were good, some are also not commendable (take sukhothani and oodly's as examples).

one gloomy afternoon, lyn and i craved for something spicy, tired already of glorietta, we trooped to the Mall of Asia and our feet brought us again near the Entertainment Plaza to Jatujak! The attentive staff immediately attend to us and table and the menu came in next.

as lyn was raving about the pomelo salad in somer palace (or was that sommer palace or summer palace in greenbelt 3, i don't know), we tried the restaurant's version of Pomelo Salad with shrimp. it was my first time to try it and it was just a so-so for me and i thought it was very expensive (P220.00) for such an ordinary taste! and the serving was also small, just a few slices of pomelo, TWO pieces of shrimp, dash of shallots (onions) and other spices plus some lettuce and the thai dressing (which i thought was just a viniagrette). i am not going to order this again.

and the tom yam (shrimp) came. this never fails to amaze us. hmm, i think the taste is better compared to the last time we went there and the price (P195.00) is now more expensive as compared to P172 on our previous visit. we ordered medium size and mild hot, and yet our ears were burning! and we love it. hehehe.

the favorite bagoong rice came in next, nay! before it was only P110 and now P146!!! the serving is still good for three, and still has that porkbits and chicharon and the not so strong bagoong (shrimp paste) after taste. the green mango and cucumber also add some chunkiness to it and make the eating enjoyable.

for the first time, we tried ordering Red Curry beef (P245), and even for its mild hotness, this one is hoooot! i am not really a fan of curry but this got a really nice creamy taste (maybe because of the coconut milk) that compliments the beefy taste (hey, it's beef!). this is a good dish, and you need to stir it well before serving/eating as the sauce has this hobby of staying at the bottom. and one more thing (and possibly the only downside), it should be paired with a plain rice and not with bagoong rice, the taste don't really mixed well.

to down what we've eaten and to combat the spiciness, lyn and i got each other lemon mint iced tea at P45 each, and has that herb taste which is different yet cool and refreshing!

the above prices are still subject to a 10% service charge (this is expensive na ha) but a 10% discount (5% for card-users) for SM Advantage card users can offset it, so happily ever after pa rin. :)
our tummies were full and we still have a take out that is good for one more meal!

i love life! :)

side note: all taken with my camera phone so the details may not be that sharp and the colors were on the distorted side, as usual i did not used the flash.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2008 Holidays, Fixed!

i mentioned in my earlier post that 2008 will be another banner year for travelling because of too many loong weekends, but still needs a proclamation from the MalacaƱang for it to be valid.

guess what, as i browsed the government's official website (out of habit yata hehehe), the waiting is over, there's a proclamation setting the dates of regular and special holidays for 2008!

part of the proclamation (the most important part, actually) is below:

President Arroyo signed the proclamation on Feb. 18, the day she declared Feb. 25, 2008 (Monday) as a Special (Non-Working) Day nationwide to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.
R.A. 9492 provides that holidays, except those which are religious in nature, are moved to the nearest Monday unless otherwise modified by law, order or proclamation.
This year, the following regular holidays shall fall on the following dates:
• Maundy Thursday (March 20, Thursday)
• Good Friday (March 21, Friday)
• Araw ng Kagitingan (April 7, Monday nearest April 9)
• Labor Day (May 1, Thursday)
• Independence Day (June 9, Monday nearest June 12)
• National Heroes’ Day (Aug. 25, last Monday of August)
• Bonifacio Day (Dec. 1, Monday nearest Nov. 30)
• Christmas Day (Dec. 25, Thursday); and
• Rizal Day (Dec. 30, Tuesday)
Meanwhile, the Special (Non-Working) Holidays for 2008 shall fall on the following dates:
• Ninoy Aquino Day (Aug.18, Monday nearest Aug. 21)
• All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1, Saturday)
• Additional Special (Non-Working) Day (Dec. 26, Friday)
• Additional Special (Non-Working) Day (Dec. 29, Monday)
• Last day of the year (Dec. 31, Wednesday).
As for the Muslims’ observance of Eidul Fitr, President Arroyo ordered the Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) to inform the Office of the President (OP) “on which day the said holiday shall fall.”The President said another proclamation shall be issued declaring the Eidul Fitr date as a national holiday for Muslims “after the appropriate date of the Islamic holiday has been determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar (Hijra) or the lunar calendar, or upon Islamic astronomical calculations, whichever is possible or convenient.”
for more details, go here.

if you read this way ahead your officemates, grab that leave form and be the first one to file that Vacation leave, unahin na ang Dec 24, 2007 at January 2, 2008 para sa napakahabang Christmas at New Year's break.

as for the budget constraints, well...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Go Japanese!

Years ago, my idea of japanese food was limited only to Tokyo Tokyo and the uber-oily Ebi tempura, sashimi was a big no-no (because it's raw), and i don't even know how to use the chopsticks!
But now, aside from mastering the chopsticks, Japanese food, along with Thai food, has became a favorite! Blame it on me for working with the Japanese people (a lot of Japanese!) for the last five years. :) Eating sashimi is no longer an issue to me, in fact i craved for it!

And last week was one of those times that Lyn and I craved for something Japanese, not the generic one that you can find in the mall, we want an authentic one! And authentic it is that we want, Little Tokyo is the place.

I've been to this compound of japanese restaurants a couple of times before but it's the first time that i'll bring lyn here (ang kuripot ko raw kasi hehe) so this makes the visit extra special. :)

With lots of restaurants to chose from (you have to consult the menus of each resto or ask the attendants manning the door just to be sure if the resto has what you're looking for because not all of the restos there have the same thing to offer, example a certain resto do not have sashimi, instead they have a lot of omelets), we settled ourselves in Oinshinbou Restaurant (the first one on the right, inside the compound).

Since we are the only customers (6:00 pm is still early), the friendly filipino staff handed us the menu and take our orders, murmured something japanese (that i didn't understand only the "hai" part) and off she go to the counter. While waiting for our food, we scanned the small restaurant (a Lakers' game is on, and in Japanese!!!) and familiarized our nostrils to its wooden slathered with cooking oil and spices smell. Well, that comes with the authenticity tag. And I also told Lyn that if it's frequented by Japanese expats/nationals, it must be good and authentic (sabi nya: "owws, talaga lang ha?").

In no time, our orders came in one by one.

Tuna sashimi, eight pieces, served in a small bucket full of ice, P198. Fresh and yummy!!!! and we also like the cucumber and grated raddish on the side.
Kani Salad, P238. The serving is already good for two, and has generous servings of crabsticks and ripe mango! This is good! Panalo!!!! So far, the best kani salad we've tasted, it must be the dressing, ansarap, and to top it all, even though the mayo is on the creamy side, hindi sya nakakaumay! This is one good reason to go back here.

Chicken Teriyaki Bento (i forgot how much exactly but it's more than P200). The chicken, i thought, was dry, maybe overcooked but still tasty (maybe because of the msg?), the veggies side dish is also overcooked (i prefer my veggies to be crispy), the rice is definitely good, not so dry and not so sticky, just right to compliment the chicken and the veggies. But, the star of this set is not the chicken but the mashed potato and the raddish/cucumber/sweet we-don't-know-what-veggies that goes with it. hmmm! creamy (what's up with creamy?) and the taste is very different from, let's say Kenny Rogers' or even World of Chicken's, because it's creamy (yay, there goes that word again)! It save the bento box from being forgettable. And oh, the miso soup is also good.

Hah, life! You'll forget your diet or worry about that bulging tummy because of these.

oishi ne!
(sorry for some distorted colors, i used my camera phone for this set and also, turned off its flash).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Breaking the code

i psyched myself to finish the remaining breakdown of expenses, and i know i can do it even before lunch time. my momentum is building up, suddenly, the boss asked for a little favor: "Please read and correct a certain memo." i said okay for i know it's going to be simple.

as usual, i was wrong. forgive me, but my little brain has abandoned me:

"We would like to inform you of the pick-up of your child(ren) at the get-off point during take-home and the measure to be taken in the near future.

1. Current situation
The parent is supposed to meet his child(ren) and pick up at the get-off point, before the bus arrives at the pick-up point, considering that the period when the bus leaves ___ and arrives the pick- up point (except the blue pas high school student holder).

However, when the bus arrives at the get-off point, the parent and/or the equivalent is not found there. As the bus has to wait for the parent, that might cause bus operation afterwards and also troubles the parent who looks after with kindness until those who do not come on time to pick up, come there.

2. Confirming matters and the measures to be taken
The parent should pick up their children at the pick-up point at designated time, in principle.Under the special circumstances, the family maid and/or the driver comes to pick-up point to receive the children, the parent should confirm whether they are at the pick-up point.
With some special reasons, in case that the parent who is asked by the another parent to pick up will tell the bus attendants to receive the other children.
The parent and/ or the equivalents shall wait for the bus to enable the attendants to confirm them.
The parent shall inform the bus company and/or the bus delegate of his/her cellphone number or landline

The School Bus Committee expects the current situation will be highly improved. However, if it is no development, it will be discussed in the School Bus Steering Committee and the new measures taken by imposing the penalty will be examined.
Therefore, we strongly request the parent to follow the rules and observations.
Thank you for your consideration."
i don't know what's wrong with me, but i don't get this. dapat sanay na ako sa ganito as i am doing the "translation" every now and then, but this time, i need to read, re-read, re-re-read and read more.
lost in translation.
and there's one more coming. waaaah.
good thing, it's friday! happy weekend, kanpai!

Friday, February 08, 2008

More of Anawangin

my first time in Anawangin last year was a memorable one, despite the rain and the huge waves that come with it and some "supernatural" experience, i remember being mesmerized by its natural beauty. i promised myself to be back.

last weekend, that promise was fulfilled. Yapak Mountaineers had its first team building in Anawangin (the area, especially Pundaquit, is now the favorite location of some of boobtube's primetime soaps like Marimar, Kung Fu kids, Maging sino ka man and was featured last year in The Probe Team), and i realized that Anawangin is even more beautiful when the sun is up, when there's no rain and the water is calm.

i giggled with excitement, not with the team building but with the anticipation of a better weather for an endless photo ops! i am bad i know hehe

the team building took the whole saturday, but it doesn't stop me from taking some shots, besides, i am not the only one hehehe.

the discussions and group dynamics were fun and actively participated in (i even had a mini-monologue when the topic shifted to knowing your priorities and touched budgeting, whoa!).

anyways, when the activity was about to end, we were asked to go on the shore for meditation, but i cannot concentrate because i was facing the sun directly and it's so hot! so i just excused myself and do this. :)

after the team affirmation, lyn and i went around and explore the area to look for the best spot for sunset (we tried climbing the nearby mountain where i took one of my all-time favorite shots, naks, but give up the idea halfway as we didn't bring a headlamp/flashlight). but it doesn't dampen our spirit as i just realized that the cove itself is a good spot for sunset.

we'll be in Anawangin again next month...

Happy weekend everyone, Kanpai!


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