Monday, July 30, 2012


I never knew of the ghost month, August has always been a good month, heck it's the month I was born. It's a rainy month, and rain is good, it signifies a downpour of good luck! Hell no! Not in 2011.

In Chinese tradition, it is said that the gates of heaven and hell open to let Ghosts and Spirits including those of our ancestors mingle in the realm of the living. And as such, no important decisions are to be made. This pertains to contract signing, moving houses, getting married, even swimming since it is believed that spirits occupy water as well. Being born on that month is not part of the list, although now I wonder.

Not to fret, the Chinese are specific, this 2012 Ghost month starts on August 17 and ends on September 15, so it is within those dates that we are to heed. 

What can you do to counter? Nothing! We can only placate them. For the souls of our ancestors we burn incense, we offer food, and if you want to take it to the hilt, burn paper mache shaped like jewelry & clothing. Just make sure you do this outside your house! For the lost souls, offer lit floating lanterns.

What was it in 2011? That was the year that I made a major decision to invest with someone, who now I am sure has an evil spirit, she promised the world (just like how satan was tempting Jesus) using flowery words on how my money will grow, the spirit of greed overtook me, I'm not ashamed to say. Greed can cloud many a judgement. In the end, the flower garden promised turned out to be a bushel of thorns and the devil who promised is nowhere to be found.

And so this year as August closes in, I am covering all my bases, there's no harm. I like the smell of incense, there are many variants to choose from depending on the mood. I will meditate more, more prayers to be said, more thanksgiving for the blessings received. The food, well, I just have to be careful with the rodents, the spirits will not like gnawed fruit being offered to them.

And to the lost souls of the dead and the living, I shall light a candle to guide you towards a better direction.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

of valentine, a pizza place and family

Pinoys love celebrating, it's not enough that we celebrate a special occasion with a pre and post activity, but we do it a whole month long - Christmas, fiestas, charter anniversary, founding anniversaries, even birthdays! So what's stopping us from celebrating valentine's day the whole month of February. That's why it's called the love month!

Actually, that introduction is just my excuse for not creating this post earlier as I intended to do in time for valentine, i'm a a couple of days late... but then again, let's call it suffering from a writer's block which is caused by my designer's syndrome. But that's another story...

Moving along, what I want to rave about this little obscure hotel called THE ORANGE PLACE HOTEL and a "yummy in my tummy" restaurant located there called LOMBARDI'S PIZZA AND PASTA! 

My friend from Guam came home to visit his daughter and called me just before he boarded the plane  from Guam to Manila, and said that he has no place to stay in yet and that he'll be in the Philippines in 4hrs give or take a few minutes! Thank you internet! I searched the world wide web using the popular keywords CHEAP HOTELS in metro manila. And i found this helpful website called and lo and behold the navigation was easy as pie! so i typed in San Juan, since that is the most ideal location for his intended itinerary on his 3 days stay, and found THE ORANGE PLACE HOTEL, which has a room for Php1,500+ a night and in a strategic location. Pinaglabanan St towards Santolan cor Abad Santos St.

For it's price I would rate it an 8 as all others did in the hotel site. Clean, spacious bathroom, nice, clean mattress, no stuffy odor and with a homey lobby at that! In other words, my guest was happy. And I was proud of myself to have found it at such short notice.

About Lombardi's, I had dinner with him and his daughter a day before he had to go back to Guam. So he just decided to try out LOMBARDI's than travel and look for another restaurant and waste time in traffic. That decision was the best decision ever!

LOMBARDI's served delectable thin crust pizzas! It's the closest to the authentic Italian pizza I've ever tasted! The pasta was very good as well! Oh and they had this really nice brick oven and a glass partition so you can see how the food is being prepared. I like restaurants who are confident to show their kitchen, it just goes to show they have nothing to hide and that they are clean!

This time I had time to take pics with my cam phone so i hope it does the food, my friend and his daughter justice... and as I always say... take my word for it.

Here's the brick oven...

This is the pasta I ordered... sorry i forgot what it's called but my friend liked it a lot and he and his daughter almost didn't leave anything for me...

We ordered the Quattro Formaggio his daughter's fave!

And this other pizza which was heaven! oops sorry I do not have a pic of that and neither can I remember the name... Oh well you just have to go and be adventurous with your order.

But the highlight of the dinner was the Panna Cotta with Raspberry! It was DIVINE! Coupled with their fab coffee! Here's the Panna Cotta in all it's glory!

So what can I say... Pizza is meant for sharing and so is Pasta and Panna Cotta! Go and bring them there, if you haven't treated your loved one(s) to a Valentine dinner yet, it's not too late! There's always Lombardi's.

As for my friend and his daughter... they had such a fab time together... it was maybe just an evening but they definitely made the most out of it!

Sabrina eating enjoying her Quattro Formaggio

Don't be alarmed by the cut out hearts draping on the lamps... the lighting fixture is actually very nice without it... about the pic, they're smiling aren't they?

Having fun while waiting for the feast...

Father and daughter...

And so my story goes of valentine, a pizza place and family... til my next post!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Life on the MRT

As I said, i only blog when an experience is compelling... and today it is.  After a decade I have taken the courage to take the MRT once more, and boy it's still the fastest mode of transit in the metro! On why I decided to go back to a scenario in my past- which is to take the MRT-  is because I just needed to get home.

Just a few months ago I was a victim of a scam, yep it's the typical scheme of promises for a better return for your money, the stuff that greed is made of. Then discovering that the person you trusted was making a fool of you. It was a terrible experience! It was like being in 6-feet deep of mud in my 5'-1-1/2" height!  Just imagine... and probably someone with a very low emotional quotient wouldn't have gotten out of. But with the help and support of family and friends and the sale of my car, I DID! so which brings me back to why I decided to take the old reliable train and get to where I was to where I needed to go. 

Cabs are scarce in Pasong Tamo, Makati area beyond 5pm and my meeting ended at 6:45pm, hence it was either I walk to the nearest mall or I wait it out. I walked. Which seemed the most natural thing people were doing in that area. I decided to eat dinner first at a resto in Alphaland when i noticed that people were going up the escalator, so i asked the waitress what was happening upstairs! And then she said that the MRT Magallanes station was on the 3rd floor! I said to myself  and with conviction, no more waiting for cabs, I'm riding the train!

So here are the realizations I had when riding the MRT... 
Be patient, if you are like me who haven't ridden the MRT for ages, you would have to rely on your logic, there are no signages in the mall telling you which way to the MRT station is. So resourceful as we are as a people we do it the Filipino way... Follow where everybody else is doing - gaya gaya! Secondly, majority of the Filipinos are not voracious readers, so even if the sign was as big as a billboard in EDSA if it's not in komiks form, it will not be read! There were still a few who lined up in the EXACT CHANGE queue who DID NOT give exact change, which held up the line and us waiting to buy our tickets had no choice but give longing looks to 2 trains pass by. 
It's great to be female, the first 2 cabs are dedicated for females, which means you don't run the risk of a "smear campaign" coming from the sweaty men, and getting assaulted by weapons behind the zippers when the train cab is jam packed. 
It's great to be female and travelling alone,  I saw those women with male companions lining up to get on mixed gender cabs even if it was packed like a sardine can, and just chose to see the whole experience through rose colored glasses- maybe bacause of a misplaced sense of loyalty, and a lot of love but who are we to judge... let the world be the world- but of course regardless of how nonchalantly that was said we all know what happens to your senses in there, so enough said. 
We all have our guardian angels, I wasn't sure what station was next, and I asked a lady standing beside me if it was already the Quezon Avenue Station, and she said that it was the next stop. She probably saw that I was not too sure, she said she was alighting on the same station. She waited for me, and when we were safely on the platform she gave me instructions on where I can either get an FX or a cab and a word of caution to just watch my bags and keep close to the security guards when i get to the waiting area. She was my angel.

I am not complaining that I had to sell my car and commute, In fact I am thankful that I sold my car, it saw me through what I needed to do to rebuild. It's allows me new experiences or a re-run of what I had almost forgotten. Experiences in life teaches you a good and hard lesson simultaneously, it depends on you which train, and which experiences you will hold on to, to get get you from where you are to where you want to go... As one of my favorite author would say: “if pain must come, may it come quickly. because i have a life to live, and i need to live it in the best possible. if he has to make a choice, may he make it now. then i will either wait for him or forget him. waiting is painful. forgetting is painful. but not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” 
― Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Isabelo's Garden - The secret AWESOME dinner place!

Looking for something new to dine in? Isabelo's is just that! In a secluded quaint place in Marikina is an unassuming property that doesn't even try to be anything... Lo and behold upon entering the place, it was jampacked with a lot of happy faces as they savor the food served to them!

I don't blame them! Once I got to take a bite of their crackling pork, my smile was from ear to ear... I am a foodie and not a chef so all I can say to describe this dish is it's a very unique version of crispy pata with your not so ordinary sauce of vinegar and soy... there are actually choices that make the pork unique in taste for every dip that you try. It doesn't stop there, the chicken in/with orange is another one to die for! I am a coffee and dessert fiend. And the key lime pie I think was the piece 'd resistance! 

As I said the place is unassuming, The set up is rustic and out in the garden, with pretty different colored tivoli lights and interesting brick a bracks decorating the wooden sheds. 

There is a painting studio (no-smoking area) with different oil on canvass flowers, and other still life subjects. I would say it's perfect for couples, it's something different for barkadas (they serve imported beer) and ideal for families as well since the kids can run around in the garden safely.

As I write my last paragraph on my first ever blog, i realized that I don't have great pics of the food or myself actually eating there... you just have to take my word for it... and before I end I leave you with this tip... visit she has better pictures of the menu and very true to advertising!

Oh and the main reason why you should log on is you would have to reserve and pre-order the food because the owner prepares the ingredients and cooks it herself, then goes out of the kitchen and gives you a courtesy call! talk about personal touch! I love it!!! And i'm sure you will too!