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TEARDROPS


It’s already 10.40pm and I know I should be sleeping. No matter how hard I tried of convincing myself to sleep now (or I’d be totally bald in the next 5 years), I only get to find myself going back to the middle ground with bothersome thoughts. So I decided to leave a few more words to hopefully translate everything on this blog.

I feel like I've been crying the whole day—In fact, I actually cried so hard in the afternoon while being so... emotionless. Apathetic.

Have you ever experienced that moment of suddenly finding yourself crying out with no reason at all?

I must be really pushing myself into crying. Well at least I still had the energy to make myself believe that.

I knew what this is but I was too complacent to know. I was being so full of myself, believing that I STILL do things righteously without exercising humility and reverence to the One who provided me of every single thing I ask or otherwise.

Now I am contently crying my heart out as I accept all these by heart--that I still make mistakes. Everyone does. But because I put my trust in Him without leaning on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), I am at peace.

I’m dusting everything off and be back to where I should go.

May the Lord help me with all I do.




REVIEW: BUFFALO'S WINGS N' THINGS


My parents used to convince me that pursuing a degree that is inclined with food is more "beneficial" than those that I was considering back in the days. It is because of my mother (well, let me add that she is well acquainted with food and would go berserk to anything that goes along with fascinating cookery) who discovered my quite precise buds and knack to cooking when I was 14 years old.

I hate to agree, but yes, I find joy in adding a salt and pepper here and there, as well as stirring the pan once in a while.

A Super Late Bloomer

I am a foodie. I learned that a couple of years ago when I started to roam around the metro looking for some place to make my own space of sanctuary and peace. Certainly there are some who would agree with me on this, because working more than 8 hours sure is “buwis buhay” (Minsan nga di pa maequate sa buwis na pagkataas taas. Hello, 34% tax. Bite me.) So, I realized that eating outside is one of my ways of relieving stress and no matter how hard I try not to spend quite much on food, there are times I failed myself so much that I try to limit myself from spending (even if it’s necessary) the next day.  But tonight, since it was raining so hard in Shaw Blvd, Mandaluyong, I decided to have my dinner at SM Megamall and headed to one of my heralded “sanctuary”—Buffalo’sWings N’ Things.



Wings N’ Things And All That Come In Between

SM Megamall became my usual “hotspot” in the city when I started working in Ortigas/Pasig/Mandaluyong area in 2009. Now that  I usually go off late, I oftentimes meet with my sister at Megamall and needless to say, do our usual thing together: FOOD TRIP.

Buffalo’s became my afterwork tambayan for the following reasons:

Food. The food is G-R-E-A-T.  The moment I tasted its bestseller and original recipe, ½ pound Champion Buffalo Wings, I wouldn’t want to leave my seat. I told my sister that their Buffalo Wings is the best I have ever tasted yet, right there and then. Also, I just love their beef burrito. Well, I guess that would mean a 5-star rating for both items, right?



Place. Okay, the place that is in Megamall sure is not like those restaurants that we *normal* (disclaimer below. Fail.) people often and automatically think of comfortable, by just looking and judging from afar. In fact, if you’ve gone there, you would probably think that the place is too “open” for people to see how big you open your mouth everytime you try to eat those wings away. But tell you what, the place is actually great. You can see a part of the lower ground floor in such wide vantage point. Well, I find solace by just sitting to my favorite spot right here, below:





Staff. This part is making me smile, by just thinking about it. The waitress and staff are so nice and friendly. By seeing me visiting and dining so often, they wouldn’t ask me of what I’d want and I won’t even bother placing my order. Isn’t it nice to know that someone from one of your favorite restaurants, not only do they call and know you by your name, but they also know your preferences? Ahh. The feels. Heaven.  (Additionally, the good looking ladies at this branch are just amazing. Jeng right here had served me so many times already. Awesome lady. *Ahem-PAY-Ahem-RAISE-Ahem*)


Aside from these three, I would want include that the MAN VS FOOD reruns being played time and again at the restaurant definitely added a few points for them. Why? Well, I’ll be honest. For a tired and hungry person, watching a few episodes of MAN VS FOOD is nothing really great to start with. The challenges were disgusting and so unappetizing—But lo and behold—It actually got me entertained. I have seen a few snippets of it on Discovery Channel or TLC last summer, but I never thought it could be that entertaining.

Yeah, I’m quite on the other side with regards to THIS.

Moaaaar!

I guess I would recommend this restaurant for those who like to dine at some place other than the usual hyped up restaurants and food places.

Again, MAN VS FOOD people.



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For more info:

Buffalo's Wings N' Things - SM Megamall 
631-9921 / 09278154344 
or you may tweet them at twitter.com/getbuffaloed



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BALER: WHERE THE SKY KISSES THE SEA














THE HARDEST THING ABOUT DEFEATING THE PURPOSE 


My dreams are eating me up and alive.

It began when my deceased grandmother asked me about one of the simplest yet cringeworthy questions that my 10-year old self would never want to answer: my ambition. Immature as I was, I did not hesitate nor try to think an ounce about it and quickly I answered (for the sake that I have an ambition), “I want to be a teacher.”

I felt that her facial expression was a sign of complete approval. For a once recognized teacher in the municipality, hearing this was something she’d be proud telling our relatives any time shortly.

Fast forward, I believed that being a writer as my full time profession has just been a heaven sent favor. The hobby that I enjoyed doing for the longest time became my ultimate bread and butter. Of course, writing per se isn’t bad at all. I even believed during my first few years in the industry that writing is the product of the musings of our heart, mind, and soul.

Yet, with the ever changing needs of our world, doing things I long deemed as honorable eventually broke everything that I hoped for-- deliberately and profusely.

And it all took place during the first semester of 2014, in the Polytechnic University, Sta Mesa Manila.
****
My Philippine Literature professor wasn’t like any other professor like those who try to look like one. In fact, my professor was apparently like those of fervent followers of Che Guevarra in Manila: black shirt, unwashed pants, and yes, youthful independent aura. Despite all these, I tried to convince myself that I’m a believer of the old adage of “do not judge the book by its cover” while attempting so hard not to be bothered by his radical and rebellious looks at all. However, his thoughts did.

His stance about contemporary Philippine Literature was, if I may say, impressive. I was taken aback by it, as it was my first time to hear something so profound from a literature professor, who never failed to emphasize his ardent passion in the industry. Due to his moving free speeches and allegorical citations, I heard the name Rogelio Ordonez.

****

Rogelio Ordonez is, according to my professor, one of the iconic founders and pioneers of Philippine Literature. His literary pieces were published in the historically and academically acclaimed literary anthology entitled "Mga Agos sa Disyerto" which was published in the 1960s, alongside other renowned Filipino writers such as  Efren Abueg, Rogelio Sicat, and Edgardo M. Reyes. Boy, did I never realize that Ordonez’ story could be this so dramatic, as I listened to my professor utter every bit of it like a complete masterpiece. Eventually, I found myself so engrossed by just about knowing a lot more of his accomplishments.

Curious as a cat, I read a lot of Ordonez work and then, something in one of his write-ups made my world collapse in its entirety.

“The writer must not primarily write for money’s sake. He must write because he wants to write. The taste of the reader is only secondary, if at all. For unless he is ready to sacrifice the reader’s predisposition to value judge the writer’s work on the scale of popularity — not on literary merits — the creative writer loses his social purpose, his creative writing. “

I stopped.

My world stopped.

I’ve been doing things wrong—and I have known it since day one.

Everything that goes bad in between just defeats the purpose.

(to be continued..)

Baguio, The Summer Capital of the Philippines: A Good Place to Soul Search


"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." --Matthew 5:14
I was planning to go back to Camarines Sur, Philippines, this holiday break but, I finally decided to finally go and visit the place I haven't visited in my long 25 years of existence: Baguio.


*****
My intro sure did imply that it was my first time to visit Baguio. In fact, it was also my first time to travel outside Manila, up north, alone (I wouldn't count my lone travel to Camarines Sur way back in 2012 because I am very much used to of going to and fro the place).



In fact, my friend at work called my personal pilgrim as "soul search", but I never intended it to look that way. Going back, it was a really nice opportunity to be in the city on a hill. It was like a long overdue immersion project which I prayed about so hard.


And since the whole journey was an absolute eye opener for me, I listed a few things that might help those who are planning to visit Baguio alone:

  • If you are on a budget, it is wise to stay in a transient room in Baguio. I stayed at the Good Shepherd Dormitory near the Rotonda. It only cost me around 125 for two days--not bad eh?

  • If you are dreaming to finally see the famous Session Road, sorry to burst your bubble, but it's just a  main road. Nothing grand to see.

  • If you are looking for a place to stay, it is better if you do the scouting by yourself. The people who claim to be working for the Department of Tourism sure would help you look for a "cheapest" hotel, but the most affordable recommendation they can offer would be around 1,800Php per night. 

  • Commute, do not take taxis if you can. The city is so small, you can have the streets and roads all memorized in just three days. Believe me. Besides, the fare there is so cheap that you would want to spend the whole day roaming around the small metro. 
  • If you want to buy the ever popular Good Shepherd Strawberry and Ube jams, wake up early to avoid really long lines.

  • The city's strawberry puto bumbong and taho are just delightful.

  • Wear jacket (or raincoat, maybe) as it will be really cold and, well, wet due to thick fog/moist.

Also, most of the transient rooms in Baguio generally do not have AC. Believe me, even the floor would be really so cold that you wouldn't think about walking barefoot. 
Eulogy for Eulogia

The house of joy and laughter is no longer what it used to be. It was the second night I saw you lying in THAT casket. The house was so dark. Sad. Lonely. Perhaps even the house mourned for you. 

I felt the sadness but I didn't mind; I looked at every corner of the house, but I didn't see what I've been looking for. I tried to take a peek at your room, but I felt pangs of fear--Am probably scared because I might eventually come into my senses and terribly realize you're already gone. OR perhaps the thought of seeing you standing in the dark, smiling at me would give me my premature death. Well, a young woman can horribly imagine. 

I tried to be brave; I looked at your room but all I saw was darkness.  I tried to keep it cool because it was scary. My very moment of great pretension.


I looked thrice at your room; maybe I was expecting you to come out and ask, "tara ne? Nagkakan na kamo? Sisay kaibahan mo?" Although the thought was really nice—thought or a glimpse of a memory—I was on the brink of crying.

I ran upstairs because I can't trust myself with my emotions any longer. The house was empty. It longed for its owners. The living room cannot be called as it literally was; it became a huge, dark, and lonely area of what we called home.

You're gone.

I tried to REALLY keep my cool the day I arrived until I left the town.

Now I'm missing you more than ever, Mama Ying. 

Perhaps I am not as emotionally so strong to hold back my tears--for you.

I will be back. 

We'll see each other—again.
Padangat po mi ikang maray.
Mount Pico De Loro: 5 Reminders For First Time Mountain Climbers

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!""


-Isaiah 52:7



Mount Pico De Loro, March 2014. My First Mountain Hike.

This was probably the most tiring thing I've ever done for the sake of seeing the beauty of the heavens. Or the ground, for that matter.

With the height of 664+ MASL (meters above sea level), Pico De Loro is actually a great mountain to climb for first timers. We started our hike at around 9 AM and managed to go back on the road at 8 PM. It was excruciatingly exhausting, but as we reached the top, it was all worth it. With that, I listed a few ideas for first time hikers who are up and about to climb Mt Pico de Loro.

  • Bring packed lunch and lots of water. If you intend to start your trekking in the morning, make sure to bring your packed lunch and carry lots of water. Do not even fancy that you can actually buy cooked lunch at any point during your trek--that only happens in the city. 

  • Wear appropriate hiking clothes. We were told by a friend that a tshirt, leggings, and a pair of rubber shoes would do--but NO. Make sure you wear appropriate trekking apparel and shoes as there are trails that are rocky, dusty, and slippery due to really pure and dry sand.

  • Bring trekking poles. During the climb, my friends called me 'Moses at ang mahiwagang tungkod' as I carried a long and sturdy stick as an aide for my struggling hiking. My legs were so tired that I couldn't walk. Trekking poles are invented for a reason. 


  • Make sure you are in good condition. Sleep enough. Exercise enough. When you do, you'll make it alive. 

  • Buddy System. Don't try to be brave. Trust me, been there, done that. Always have a guide/professional trekker to guide you as you climb the steepest slope of the mountain. 

Well, it was a worthwhile experience, after all. :)