Monday, September 28, 2009

013. Aftermath

Saturday morning proved to be a challenging day for us. This is the first time in decades that our area was flooded due to opening of Angat dam rain. Fortunately, our house is not affected although the roads outside were knee deep. As a result, some of our neighbors and relatives requested to park their cars in our garage.

Our house was full of people by Saturday afternoon. The flood has risen until hip level outside so people are flocking to our house to seek shelter. Good thing is that we have lots of food because it's Mom's birthday and she was supposed to have a party.

A disaster can bring the best and sadly the worst out of people. I saw a lot of people helping each other and despite the gloomy weather, people still try to find something to laugh about.

The bad thing was some of our valuables got stolen. It was saddening coz some of these people are those that we're trying to help. Dad just hugged me and said that we can replace those things. We just have to be thankful that we're still safe and dry.

Seeing my mom and dad working tirelessly (despite their old age) to help those who are in need, I can't help but be proud of them.

I hope everyone is safe.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

012. Thanksgiving

Just got back from a thanksgiving mass that was sponsored by my family.
This is in remembrance of the 9-11 attack that happened 8 years ago.

Why Thanksgiving?
As some of you might know, most of my family are living in New York. Our home is in Manhattan and my family/extended family all work in Manhattan as well.

I was watching CNN when they did the breaking news about a plane hitting the twin towers.

I think my heart stopped for a while.

My pamangkin, Rina, works at the Twin Towers (Tower 1 to be exact). It's 9 am and it's a workday.

Can you imagine the fear I felt when I heard that news? My family is in New York and I am all alone here in Manila. I immediately called our NY house but no one is answering. It actually made me feel a little better, knowing the phone is still ringing. Morbid, yes, but I felt relieved.

Do I dare call Rina? Well, I did.

The number you're dialling is out of coverage.


WTH. I don't know what else to do so I called my sister who lives in Chicago. They heard the news and was trying to reach the NY folks albeit unsuccessfully.

At that time, all I can do is pray the rosary and ask for strength and guidance for this whole ordeal.

Around 11 pm (MNL time), the phone rang and I was awashed with relief when I heard my parents' voice telling me that they are all okay. Rina wasn't able to go to work since her baby, Erin, suddenly got sick. It was kinda weird that everyone was running a little late for work. My other pamangkin, Ria, was outside the subway station when the plane crashed. She was able to see when it hit the building. She came home covered in dust. Dirty but safe. I can deal with that. :D

That event made me appreciate how important my family is to me. So every year, we celebrate mass as a family. We maybe in different locations but our bonds became stronger every single day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

011. In search of my Kobe beef

Reposting from my LJ coz I fail big time and trying to test this LJ cut thingy in blogger!  :D

Let's begin with a Q&A...

Q: What is Kobe, Japan famous for? *looks around*
A:  Kobe beef of course! It's one of the luxurious foods in Japan. Yes, they are fed with beer on a daily basis.

As the assumed tour guide for the Filipinos in JHQ, I was requested to take them to the best Kobe beef restaurant in town. I am not really sure if Mouriya was the best but it was highly recommended by the hotel staff.

Armed with a Japanese pamphlet as well as directions for Mouriya, we went out of Rokko Island to go to Sannomiya.

JR station

Long story short, we got lost. *LOL* The directions were a bit complicated so I have to make use of my level 1 Japanese to ask around. We were getting hungry but we kept on looking... :D

Our resident photographer must be hungry, judging by how crappy this pic is. *LOL*

We finally found it after almost an hour

We hurried up since they might close and not fulfill our Kobe beef dream. *LOL*

That's me, almost shouting yottsu (4 people)!!! The waitress confirmed by counting our group. This is where I whine that she didn't trust my counting skills... *LOL*

The restaurant has 3 floors due to the small space so we were seated in the 2nd floor. Little did I know that my life will change that night... *cue dramatic music* JOKE! *LOL*

This is our chef, fixing his apron...

I wasn't able to see him clearly since I'm at the far end of the table. But he fits the profile of my crushes: tall and slim. Suffice to say that I'm interested. *LOL*

Close up.... Tadaaaaa....

*Ruby falls down from her chair* For my JE friends, he looks a little bit like Tackey ne? :D
Thank you, I confiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrmeed that I'm very much interested.

Ooops, before I forgot, our set menu --

hors d'oeuvres


Veggies. Chef is a bit OC with the preparation.

Chef is smiling while cooking the garlic.

He was quiet at the start since he knows we're foreigners. I declared he was mine in Tagalog. He might understand English... *LOL*
Then he asked a simple question in English... "Is the aircon too cordcold for you?"

I replied in Japanese... "Daijoubu desu"

It seemed I found the way to his heart. *LOL* You can see his eyes light up and he asked me if I can speak Nihonggo. I replied just a little (cutely I might add or at least I tried to).

Then he talked... a lot... with me as the interpreter. He asked us where we're from... What we're doing in Kobe... Am  I single... (I wish... *LOL*) If you know me, I am not shy when it comes to foreigner crushes, mainly because I know I won't see them again... so GO GO GO with my love struck eyes and charming personality... Bwahahaha...

In turn, he told us that he was half-half - half Japanese (mom) and half-British (dad). He doesn't speak English really well since he lived in Japan all his life. Would you care to go to the Philippines?

My officemates told me that "di pa tayo kumakain busog na busog ka na ah..." (We haven't eaten yet but you're already full...)

Oopppps... I forgot about the Kobe beef. *LOL*

Guess how much this costs?

Rib Steak Kobe Beef

It costs around 15,000 JPY or ~7,500 PHP or ~150 USD. Expensive right?

Our main meal

This plate along with the hors d'oeuvres, soup, veggies rice and cola costs a whooping 8,000 JPY or ~4,000 PHP or ~ 80 USD. That raw beef above is divided among the four of us. *LOL*

But in fairness, it was a delicious meal... I know I'm biased because of the chef *LOL* but my other officemates said so as well... Delicious but expensive is the best way to sum it up.

The dinner ended with chef requesting to take a pic with me us as souvenir. He gave me his email address so I could send the pic to him. Yes, we're still corresponding although just a few sentences (with hello, how are you doing being the most common)...

1. Everything is delicious if it's prepared by the one you like.
2. Mahal magmahal... *LOL* It's a Filipino pun meaning it's expensive to love. I will be in a big debt if I eat there everyday just to see chef.
3. Save up so you can go back next time and eat there everyday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

010. Desiderata

 Whenever I feel down or uninspired, I recite this from memory over and over again. Coz as the poem said, despite its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it IS still a beautiful world. :D

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

009. Piece of Advice

Broken like a glass?

Felt that you can't be fixed?

Don't try to fix the broken pieces.

Instead, turn the broken pieces into something else.

Stained glass window is more beautiful than an ordinary glass window.

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