Sunday, April 30, 2006

Trippin' (Volume III)

guess where i was last tuesday... :D


tuesday marked several firsts in my book:
1. i had lunch at Cafe Lupe, Tagaytay (yes, you guessed right. Tagaytay again...),
2. the yeye superfriends finally got to meet the infamous mike, and (more importantly),
3. it was tet's treat (hahaha!).

oh, i almost forgot.

4. two words: cherry stem :)

i slept over monday night at the hotel with the sweet couple (oh, yeah, that's another first for me. don't ask. hehe.). i had a chance to grill, erm, talk to mike before he met the other girls the next day. the three of us had an interesting discussion about life, love, and family (particularly tet's). and all i can say about this is: life is definitely full of surprises...

anyways, we had an amazing breakfast at the Mezzanine of Best Western Hotel.

the food was simply delicious! of course, it didn't hurt that breakfast involved two of my favorite words in the dictionary: buffet and free. ah, i'm so easy to please. :)

we picked up mommy jeanne in bicutan and caryl in alabang. speaking of caryl, i just want to congratulate her for being such an early bird that day :p

the couple were actually our guests of honor during our lunch trip to Tagaytay (congrats on your engagement! ^_^). Cafe Lupe was a good choice. their sinigang na bangus was yummy! and we had an excellent view of Taal Lake, too.

i wasn't too thrilled with my order, though. but let's not go there.

after stuffing ourselves like there was no tomorrow, we ordered dessert (hey, there will always be room for that, full stomach or otherwise). the lovebirds shared a bowl of halo-halo while us girls gorged ourselves over the leche flan and banana split.

it was the first time for me to have leche flan with chocolate syrup on it. and a cherry.

ah yes. the cherry.

it was a pretty long discussion (and debate) but, suffice to say, it was an exciting experience for me (please refer to item 4 above. hehe.). we were only supposed to dare caryl (who, unfortunately for her, just couldn't keep her mouth shut :p) but, what the heck, i just had to try it out for myself. what can i say...not too shabby for a first-timer. ^_~

i haven't been to Picnic Grove for a long time (around 7 years, i guess). the last time i went to the place, there were flea markets and lots of food booths. i got a reality check when we got there because all those clothes and food stands were gone. even if i didn't have any money to spend, i still wanted to check out the merchandise (i'm such a window shopaholic).

so, after admiring the view (i liked the one in Cafe Lupe better), we took the 500 m. hike around the area. it was after 2 pm, the sun was scorching, and there weren't any beverage stands. but because we were a bunch of insane people, we took the hike anyways. caryl wasn't too pleased (who wears 3-inch clogs to Tagaytay anyways??? :p) but she was such a trooper that we didn't rub it in...much :)

well, the walk around the mountain was a good place for pictorials, too, so it was still worth the hike.

it was a tiring afternoon but we all had fun. as usual, sa uulitin!

D'Lagoon @ Lagundi

SOLV held our annual family day event @ D'Lagoon Resort and Spa this weekend. our very generous brother and sister couple offered their resort in Morong, Rizal (thanks, Patrick and Tess!). since the venue is pretty much in my territory (Rizal), i drove straight there instead of meeting up with the others in Crossing.

our day began with a short worship and prayer (which i almost missed) and several games that made my tummy ache from laughing too hard (the perfect warm-up for swimming. hehe.). i mean, who knew we could come up with all those uses for a piece of tissue paper, a mineral water bottle, and a long piece of string. i was definitely surrounded by creative, resourceful, and crazy people. :D

the best part of the day was...swimming! the resort had two pools. a large family pool with a froggy slide and a smaller but deeper one for the adults (with a whirlpool). we stayed in the larger pool at first but after lunch, everybody transferred to the other one. it was fun bonding in the whirlpool and being showered by our human-powered sprinkler (hahaha!).

at around 3:30, we all headed to the multi-purpose hall for the Lord's Day celebration. it was a pretty solemn event, the perfect culminating activity to our fellowship. after, some of us watched the tree-planting activity, courtesy of the Casanova family.

the family that plants together...

uh, grows a tree. (??)

after much kulitan

and Kodakan (i swear, my bros and sisters have to be the most camera shy people i know...),

we all bade goodbye to our housemates for the day

and looked forward to our long weekend (hurrah for Labor Day!).

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Trippin' (Volume II)

Dinner at Marci's


one of the greatest words in the English dictionary.

when i heard that marci wanted our dinner get together to be a potluck affair, my mind went into overdrive. what to bring, what to bring...

i was the last one to reply to her morning text message since i was busy the whole day and read it when i could finally breathe. i was pretty psyched about preparing my own dish and the most practical and exciting (translation: easy to make) food i could think of was...SALAD! hehe.

so when i finally replied to her message, i found out that everybody already informed her what they would bring:

salad (c/o nads)
pork and chicken barbeque (c/o marci)
pasta (c/o marize)
rice (c/o marci)
cake (c/o carol)

ah, bummer.

appetizer was covered. so was the dessert. which meant i had to bring a dish for the main course. since we already had pork and chicken in the menu, i decided that seafood was my best bet.

ok, so i'm no chef. but i have been experimenting for a while (ah, my poor family. haha!). of course, my "concoctions" were more of
let's-use-the-leftovers variety but my culinary skills are really improving (at least in my opinion. hehe.). so far the most popular of my creations are my pasta dishes. i love italian food! one of my favorite sauces of all time is Sbarro's tomato sauce. so simple yet i can't really get the right amount of acidity...(drooling...)

ok, focus.

after much deliberation, i finally decided to bring a shrimp dish.

most of my close friends know i'm allergic to shrimp. i would say the more operative term nowadays would be was. i was allergic. yep, for about a year, i've been (gradually) exposing myself to shrimps in hopes of getting immuned and eventually overcoming my allergies. and it's working! the worst allergic reaction i got was swollen lips and an itchy throat. not bad, huh?

now all that was left for me to do was to look for an easy-to-make shrimp dish. ah, yes. the power of the Internet.

frankly, i'm actually pretty lazy in following recipes (that's why i can't recreate my old dishes. sigh.). but this was for a special occasion and i didn't want to take any chances. so, thanks to Google, i came across
this recipe.

i'm not a frequent shopper at our local wet market so i wasn't prepared for the actual retail price of a quarter kilo of small prawns - 114 pesos!! whaaaat?? i could almost hear Jimmy's familiar voice in my head exclaim, "And all that can be yours...if the price is right!" i checked my purse and realized that i can't follow the specified amount in my recipe. sigh.

well, thank God these are my friends and i knew they wouldn't kill me for bringing a dish that'll serve probably about four people. as of that day, the total headcount was seven (including two guys). those guys alone can already finish my dish in one sitting. heavy sigh.

but, i already bought all the other ingredients so it was too late to change my recipe. well, since the serving size wasn't that promising, i had to compensate it with presentation. i still had some parsley left and used it as garnish. voila! my Garlicky Buttered Shrimps! :)

the dinner was fun, the food was great, and everybody was satisfied (*burp*).

sa uulitin, girls! (ok fine, and the hubbies, too. hehe.) :D

Happy Birthday, Zach!

sometimes, i just don't know when to keep my mouth shut. or in this case, my fingers.

when jeanne asked me through text message if they could borrow my digicam for her son's (and my inaanak's) first bday party because their camera was stolen a few days before the event, i offered to take the photos instead. i thought to myself that this was more practical because: 1) they would be too busy attending to the guests, and 2) it was the perfect opportunity for me to practice taking portraits and kid shots. of course, the fact that i was too attached to my camera wasn't the deal here. really.

i think my fingers had a mind of their own the moment i replied that i'll make a scrapbook of the photos i took as my bday gift to zach.

naturally, jeanne was ecstatic.

one time, i told rica (who already gave a photo scrapbook as a gift, also) that i wanted to do this for somebody.

here was my chance.

i was the only one from our barkada who came (yari kayo kay jeanne! :p), which was alright since i was too busy taking photos to really chat with anyone anyways.

as i was making my rounds, i realized that that day was probably the one time i most craved for a dSLR. it was frustrating to take shots of kids while they were moving around. though my camera's features included settings for action shots, it wasn't enough. ah well, i just had to make do.

the birthday was really fun. zach looked adorable in his sportscar polo shirt! :)

the party may be over, but my work has just begun.

i had the photos developed, bought the supplies i needed for my scrapbook, and printed out the captions (i really don't like my handwriting). all that's left is putting them all together.

when i was in college, i really loved making knick-knacks and jazzing up my organizer.

but that was then.

this is now.

i guess being in preschool kinda lowered my zeal in arts and crafts. i'm exposed to this kind of activity every single day so i guess once i'm home, i want to do something other than hold a pair of scissors and draw.

so here i am, staring at that pile of photos and paper and waiting for them to volt in and turn into a super scrapbook.

any time now...

hey, a girl can dream. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Trippin' (Volume I)

i haven't been updating my blog lately. not because i don't have anything to write. thing is, i have too many things i want to include that i just don't know how to begin. so, i guess the most logical thing to do is to divide my posts per category: out-of-town trips and parties. :D

anyways, i've been to a lot of places since the schoolyear ended. would you believe i've been to tagaytay three times already since the end of march? and it hasn't even been a month since then!

Meet Me @ The Crossroads

it was my community's first Crossroads Retreat for Men & Women last March 25-26 at my favorite place in Tagaytay - Angels' Hills.

i invited tet and several friends i met during Bo's Lenten retreat last year to attend. vi brought two of her housemates while lida actually brought all of her students in her Group Dynamics class. what a blessing!

the retreat was led by the ever hilarious and inspiring, Kuya Glen Glorioso (from Ligaya ng Panginoon), who was also the retreat master of the last year's Crossroads Retreat for Men.

i haven't been in this place for more than two years. which is why it was such a pleasant surprise to see all the new areas and structures, particularly the villas in the San Lorenzo Ruiz village. each villa houses 10 guests, with one bathroom and an aircon (although the Tagaytay air was more than enough for us).

i stayed in 33A with a bunch of my favorite crazy people. hahaha!

the Crossroads was actually a condensed version of the Christian Life Series. when i was a participant back in 1993 (ok, i was a college freshman that time, you can stop computing now), we attended the CLS every Wednesday during U-break. even if i had my share of my own discussion groups, hearing the talks was still refreshing for me. that weekend was no exception. i felt like i was experiencing the CLS for the first time...i was even tempted to be a member of a discussion group instead of handle one. hehe.

of course, we (the committed bros and sis) were there to serve...and we did. my members are actually four of lida's students. ahh, yes, i felt like i was back in college again, handling members (almost) my age. haha :D

if i was asked to describe the retreat in one word, it would be...well, just one word will not suffice...


a breath of fresh air



yes, fun. :)

although i had to restrain my trigger happy alter-ego, i did give in for a while...hehe.

well, the Crossroads Retreat was a blast, in more ways than one.

i can't wait to attend the next one!

Ending the Year Right

we (the LEAP School staff) had our annual 3-day year-end evaluation at Canyon Woods, Tagaytay last March 27-29. yup, it was right after my retreat. fortunately for me, i didn't have to drive again like i did that weekend. all the teachers stayed in the van of one of the owners of the school. field trip, field trip! :D

unlike our mid-year evaluation (in Tali, Batangas), we got to relax and unwind more on our most recent trip. the first day was spent poring over the evaluations of the different school events and planning for the schoolyear ahead. this was followed by a very revealing and funny round of the pick-a-question-from-the-jar-and-give-your-most-truthful-answer game. even if i've been with these teachers for three years already, there were still a lot of things i didn't know about them. of course, the most popular and scandalous questions revolved around the embarrassing and love stories. but i'm keeping my mouth shut. :D

we spent the second day lounging at Terrazas de Punta Fuego. wow! this was actually one of the regular places for our evaluations but i can never get tired of this place. and the food! too bad i left my camera...sigh. photo opportunities down the drain. ah well, there's always next evaluation.

when we got back to the cottage, it was time for the routine "hot seat," where each staff member was called one at a time to talk to the three owners. hhm, can you say Pinoy Idol? hehe. i chose to go first because i wanted to get it over with. during our mid-year evaluation, i was actually the last. it was an excruciating wait and i didn't want to go through that again!

on our last day, we just had to answer a checklist evaluation on ourselves and our partners. and then we were set to go back to Manila. we had lunch at Alabang Town Center (finally, i get to hang out there...Rica gave me the grand tour before but we really didn't stay very long). i'd say this was the grandest idea because we ran into Bamboo (well, it was more of he passed by us), who was looking way too cute in a blue cap and cotton shirt (sigh)...

A Day of Prayer...and Photos

our cellgroup went on a day of prayer last April 8 at, you guessed it, Tagaytay City. my papa's most recent quip is that Tagaytay has become my new Makati. only with a better view. and fresher air. :D

anyways, flor, lyn, and i stayed in the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary house, one of the favorite places of prayer of the SOLV community. you can actually stay there for the day for free, as long as you ask permission and nobody is occupying the gardens. well, we were lucky because the whole area was all ours! (bwahahahaha!)

after our individual prayer times,

i rounded up the group in the cemetery for our pictorials.

this area has been newly renovated

and landscaped

and is actually a beautiful place

for camera shy people like us...

by the time we were done with our session, it was time to fill our already complaining stomachs. we drove to Chowking and had a very sumptuous lunch. which was followed by an interesting discussion on life...and love. ahem. :)

i'm glad flor thought of spending a day of prayer. it was the perfect way to usher in the holy week.

have a meaningful week, friends.