9-28 October 2015

Roughly 7 days in Manila. Arrived more than an hour late to my mom’s surprise dinner party in Quezon City. A few hours trying to get a taxi at the airport, settling in at the rented airbnb place in Makati, and a few more hours sitting in traffic to get there was worth it.

1 day in Batangas to see a bee farm. Learned a lot there, and a model for what you can do with just 1 hectare of land.

5 days in Tablas. Trekking up hills to see the farms. Homecooked food and hospitality at a friend’s home. Lengthy tricycle rides and catching fish by hand. I was ready to excuse myself from travelling to Romblon island because of the choppy waters, but the weather made it impossible to travel.

2 days in Davao. More farms. More treks up hill. Fresh, organic fruits.

5 more days in Manila. To shop, to rest, to see the doctors for health checkups, to see more of the family. Fort Bonifacio is not a very convenient place as I thought it would be.

A whirlwind of activities. Never enough time.


Manila and Ilocos

7-20 May 2011

We stayed at the Antel Hotel Suites in Makati Ave. Good, clean rooms. Just bad lighting throughout the suite. Makati is still where I’d love to stay when I’m home. But then, it also means it’s too far from Valenzuela. Only managed to go to Valenzuela twice to see the family.

Spent a few days in Laoag and Vigan. stayed in Java Hotel, Grandpa’s Inn. Sightseeing and food. Burning sunshine and being drenched in sweat. Stories from the sister.

Coming home is a tricky balance between seeing the family and trying to soak in the atmosphere of Manila.

But arriving and departing at the airport without family, I think I’ll keep on doing that. Less stress for everyone. And not staying with family – everyone keeps asking why we do that. well, why not?


we grieve for those we’ve lost. when we’re really grieving for ourselves for being left behind. for our memories that have become like stories, it has found its ending.

one generation lost. another to take its place. i have just grown much older.

please join my family in prayers for my lola.

sometimes giving does more harm

it’s Christmas, and it is a season for giving. but even though it breaks your heart to see people in need, please make sure that the money you give

  • will not be used for drugs, alcohol and other vices
  • will go directly to the needs of the recipient instead of syndicates who use these people to tug at your hearts (give food to street kids instead or donate to the charities that houses street kids)
  • will not promote a culture of dependency

it’s become a tradition in manila. postmen, garbage collectors, teachers, water and electricity bill collectors feel they’re within their rights to collect money gifts from those they provide services to.

I WISH THE COMPANIES THESE PEOPLE WORK FOR ACTUALLY TRY TO PUT A STOP TO THIS. As that portrays an image that they don’t pay their people enough to live decently.

it’s not that they’re volunteers. they are paid to do their jobs. granted the salaries are quite low. but who doesn’t feel they don’t have enough? everybody feels the pinch, especially these days, but not everyone would go to the streets and ask for donation to augment their incomes (though that’s done here in the UK, too).

i guess what i hate more is that a lot of people feel obliged to give. if you have something extra, then give. but when there are times that you can pool resources so you can give to a family in need, i had hoped that that will become a priority. after all, charity begins at home.

sometimes i feel that it’s all part of keeping up appearances. for fear that you will be labelled kuripot. or that saying no, or handing over an empty envelope will tell other people that you’re not as well off as they thought you were.

i don’t believe in handouts to salaried people. not whilst there are more people who needs them more. not when a family member needs it too.

truth is, nobody is stopping you to give. it’s Christmas time after all. but i’d rather not give myself. or course the money i give to people who would rather depend on others than do something to improve their situations.

if you see things the way i do, and you get an envelope from your bill collector, please let their companies know how you feel (without naming names, of course).

NAWASA. what, walang website ang NAWASA? shame on you.
Valenzuela local government.

ears bleeding

currently stuck at the condo’s clubhouse because this is where i can get internet access.

but there is a karaoke session going on here. and my ears are bleeding. am trying really hard to appreciate the off-key voice of someone doing karaoke. even as she murders a number of my favourite songs.

restaurant review: Spiral

we went with the whole family on recommendation of a friend.

at P1,800 per head, it was going to be quite an expensive meal by manila standards. but we wanted to treat the family to a good meal. and we were not disappointed.

the restaurant is located in Sofitel Philippine Plaza (used to be Westin) in the CCP Complex right next to the Coconut Palace.

 we gorged on oysters, prawns and champagne for appetisers. then couldn’t quite decide on what to eat next. there’s an endless selection of cold cuts, breads, cheese, sushi, grills, pasta, noodles, curries, and a really long line of desserts. my dad and i were comparing dishes we ate and i don’t think i’ve managed to eat any of what he had! my mom was regretting that she wasn’t able to get any halo-halo as she couldn’t possible eat any more.

we were there from the time they opened at 11:30 until they close the buffet at 3:30.

you cannot complain about the selection of food. and all of the stuff i ate tasted great. my dad was complaining about the prawns which he thought were half-cooked and probably not that fresh. but was raving about everything else.  

if you intend to be a glutton for a day, this is the place to go. don’t go if you’re on a diet or are paying for a bunch of kids who wouldn’t eat as much (kids under 12 go for 50% off and under 5s go free).

Thanks Simon for the recommendation!