Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jessica and Jennifer on AI...

I didn't really follow the most recent run of American Idol.

In fact, the last American Idol season I completely followed was the one with Jasmine Trias (which was a million years ago! Haha!).

Anyway, just like a million (?) other Filipinos around the world, I only started checking out AI when half-Filipino, half-Mexican Jessica Sanchez's name has often been heard on the radio and seen on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media apps.

We all know the results of AI. Let's move on. We all know she'll be fine.

However, I can't seem to move on from this duet of Jessica and Jennifer Holiday. Haha!

No words. Just no words!

Sundown 2012... check....

Conquered my first half-marathon for the year at the Sundown Marathon 2012 over the weekend.

I was not really planning on joining the run, but it didn't take a lot for MkSurf8 and Chris to get me to sign up for it. I'm easy like that sometimes. Hehe!

The last half-marathon I did was for SAFRA in September (?) last year with Ian. I was supposed to do the Standard Chartered half-marathon last December, but I had to give it up because I was sick during that week.

To be honest, I was a little worried about the Sundown run. I haven't been training for it. Having been addicted to Combat and Pump at the gym lately, I haven't been running as much. The only preps I did for Sundown was a long run with Chris at ECP, another long run at the gym, and a long run in my neighborhood days before Sundown.

Aware of the fact that I am not fully prepped for the run, the challenge I just gave to myself was to cross the finish line. Forget the time. Forget the speed. Just cross the finish line.

And cross the finish line, I did.

Come race day, I tried to get a few hours of sleep before heading down to Nicoll Highway at 11PM to meet Tipz and Chris.

Upon reaching the race venue, it was very encouraging to see so many runners who were all psyched for the event.

The half-marathon started at 1230AM.

I was doing okay for the first 8 kilometers with my time. I was meeting my usual time for running. But then the heat and humidity started to get to me. As I started with my 9th KM, I had to sloooow down because I was worried that I might faint. :-/

I did not recover my rhythm anymore after that.

It was only when I reached the 15th km that I felt better again, after I felt the strong wind followed by a heavy downpour.

At that point, I was just grateful for the rain. It sucked to be running with soaked shoes and socks, but I was thankful for the rain rather than the heat.

I crossed the finish line 22 minutes past 3 hours. The best time I've ever done for a half-mary was 2:50 I think. The worst before this one was about 3:15. I was read to accept a 3:30 race time, so I was really pleased when I saw that my time was actually 3:22. If you're serious about running, you know that every second, every minute in your run time counts and makes a difference. Hehe!

Anyway, that was it.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I just headed to the tent to collect my medal and other freebies. I didn't get to meet Chris and Tipz anymore because they finished waaaay ahead of me, plus I was just too dead tired. I wanted to get home as quickly as possible, shower and get to bed. Hehe!

No post-run pics because I was a pitiful sight. Haha!

Congrats to Tipz on completing his first half-mary! Congrats to Chris for the good time despite his claims that he is not well-prepped (Hehe!)! Congrats to MkSurf8 for getting another "big fish" despite missing the run!

Who's game for SAFRA?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Go on and cry...

"So go on and cry Ophelia
It's the only thing to do sometimes
You know I'm crying too
Right there with you
It's alright Ophelia
Everybody cries Ophelia"
- Adam Cohen

I was recently trying to recall when the last time I cried was.

No, not shed a tear nor get misty-eyed. I mean to really cry until your vision is blurred by the continuous flow of tears, until your eyes turn red, until you have to knock some sense into yourself to stop crying because you're starting to have difficulty breathing.

Sometimes, I worry that if one hasn't cried for such a very long time, it's because something worth crying over is bound to come sooner or later.

I've always thought that it's not true. We are after all in command of our own lives (most of the time).

But then something does happen, and despite thinking that you're strong and that you wouldn't cry, you find yourself in tears.

And you just have to wait until the tears stop...

Photo from here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday night din at Torte...

Usually, the problem with eating out on a Friday night is that most places would be packed by the time I reach the city.

It's the same story whichever city you go to, be it here or back in Manila. Because it's the end of another work/school week, everyone just wants to chill out, have a nice dinner, and enjoy the start of the weekend.

And because a thousand or so other people are thinking the same thing, finding a relaxed, quiet dinner place that serves good food without burning a hole in your pocket can be quite challenging.

Last Friday, Pg Boy and I were pleasantly surprised to have found a somewhat hidden gem of a chill dining place for a Friday night.

Before the day ended, I did some surfing and thanks to the blog Rubbish Eat, Rubbish Grow, I learned about Torte.

I suggested the place to Pg Boy and he was up for it.

Because I had some errands to do, I reached Waterloo St close to 8PM. On the way there, I was already expecting the place to be full.

To my surprise, I arrive to a very relaxed Pg Boy having a beer while talking to a casually-dressed guy.

Upon reaching the table, I say hi to both of them. The guy immediately welcomes me, introduces himself, and gives a handshake. His name is Jason and it turns out that he's the chef of Torte.

He shows us the menu, and then starts talking about the dishes they serve. After describing how he does the roasted chicken, I was convinced that that was what I wanted. Pg Boy, on the other hand, settled for the fish and chips. The beer he ordered, peach-flavored Belgian beer, was also quite nice.

The nice thing about Torte is that it has almost all the things you may want for a Friday night dinner - al fresco dining, with wooden tables and benches, mood lighting, soft music playing in the background that allows you to chat with your dinner mates, a very friendly chef, and of course, quality and value-for-money food.

The dish Pg Boy and I got each cost $13. I'd have to say that it's quite reasonable and definitely allows you to still have enough moolah for dessert and coffee afterwards.

Jason was trying to get us to try the desserts, but we declined. I wanted to go for a walk before having dessert because I was quite full from dindin.

That leaves me reason to go back again to Torte one of these days. There are more items to try on the menu. I definitely want to try the brunch set.

96 Waterloo Street
#01-07 Singapore Council of Women's Organisation Centre
Tel:  6571 0197

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Chorus Line later...

Surprised Pg Boy with tix to A Chorus Line. Was supposed to watch it by myself before the show ends tomorrow.

But then I decided that instead of getting the more expensive ticket, I should just get the category where I can get two tix for the same price I intended to pay originally for the ex ticket. Hehe!

I tried to be creative with the invite to Pg Boy by making the e-invite above. Hehe. It took him awhile to see that it was him I placed in the middle of the photo because the image was only sent through iPhone. Hehe!

Hope the show is okay.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The way they used to love (?)...

"For years, they did their weekend routine – until 2009 when Anita suffered a stroke. For a while, Anita stopped talking. But one day, she called her husband and talked for one minute just to tell him: “Robert, you are the only man I ever loved in my life.” And then she never talked again." -- from the Philippine Star news article on Anita Magsaysay-Ho

In "The Best and Exotic Marigold Hotel," a wonderful film I recently watched, there was a similar scenario. Graham, the character played by British actor Tom Wilkinson, is that of a retired judge who travels back to India with the hope of repairing a past. When he was much younger, Graham had an affair with an Indian boy. The relationship was put to an end when the guy's parents found out. Graham was sent to another country with the thought that he may have destroyed the life of his lover. Decades have passed, and he makes the journey to find out for himself what has become of his love. He learns the good truth, and in the next few days, Graham moves on (sorry for the spoiler).

What is common among these two stories is that the people involved come from another generation. Sure, one is real life and one is from the movies, but the idealist in me believes that Graham's story is one that has actually happened.

It makes me wonder if people still love in a manner like this today.

Oftentimes, today's generation is accussed of falling in love "differently" from the previous generation. Some blame it on technology. Some blame it on media. There are some who say that because it appears to be "much easier" to find a relationship (or whatever you call it) these days, some choose to give up at the first test that comes the way of the couple.

But again, the idealist in me believes that people who love the way the previous generation "loved" (does this phrase make sense?) still do exist.

Or maybe I'm wrong? Maybe generation has nothing to do with it. Maybe it's really about the person. Some people prolly do spend their lives loving just one person. Some people prolly do spend their lives loving completely just one person.

And for the person who gets to be loved like that, I wonder what he or she feels knowing that. Does he/she feel lucky? Does he/she feel pressured? Does he/she feel guilty (in case, he/she can't love the same way)?

Uhm, I may have a slight idea. LOL!

Random thoughts on a Friday afternoon. Hehe!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

One good movie I recently watched was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - a comedy drama based on the book These Foolish Things by by Deborah Moggach.

The story revolves around seven British retirees, who are brought together by a trip to Jaipur after having stumbled upon inviting photos to the Best  Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Upon reaching the hotel, the travelers discover that it was quite different from what the websites and the flyers presented.

Surprisingly, they all choose to stay and see what sort of adventure would unfold during their stay in the hotel.

The characters in the story each have their own interesting stories to tell. A recent widow, a quarrelsome couple, two adventurous singles, a retired High Court judge, and a retired housekeeper.

In some films with several characters, my usual observation is that it becomes difficult to develop the story of each person precisely because of the number of lives involved.

Not with this film.

The story of each character was played out well and the way that each story was interweaved with one another was neither forced nor hard to believe.

I guess my favorite story would be that of the retired High Court judge played by Tom Wilkinson. He is the only one among the group who has a real connection with India, having grown up in Jaipur and falling in love with a local. He returns to India since his youth in search of the person he has loved to see what has become of that person, if the person has survived the disgrace following the discovery of their forbidden romance.

If I were to be asked what it is about this movie that I liked, I would have to say three things. First is the location. The fact that it was shot outside of the familiar urban landscape made it much more visually interesting. Second, the screenplay was fantastic, at least that's what I thought. Several laugh out loud moments, and several nuggets of wisdom to be picked up during the run of the film. Thirdly, I love that it was very much close to real life. The highs, the lows, the issues each individual experiences was something the audience could (or eventually could) relate to.

I now know what book to read next. I hope I can get a copy here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

8 Days Celebrity Car Boot Sale this weekend...

There's an exciting sale happening this weekend. Hehe.

It's the 8 Days Celebrity Car Boot Sale.

8 Days is a weekly local entertainment magazine. The Philippines has Yes! Singapore has 8 Days.

Dun judge me for reading it from time to time. It's my thing, so leave it be. Hehe!

Anyway, the sale will be happening at Orcard Central this 26 and 27 May and pre-loved items from local celebs will be up for grabs.

There's also an opportunity to have a photo taken with some local celebs who will be gracing the event.

While I think that Filipino actors have more hot celebs, I have to say that Singapore also has quite a number of hottah hottah celebrities.

Google Elvin Ng, Nat Ho, Dai Ying Tian, Pierre Png, and Adrian Pang. Hehe! :) (DYT and Elvin Ng are the guys in the photo above).

Hmm, wonder if I can drag Pg Boy to this event.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Buhbye, PB...

Over the weekend, I received a very sad message via FB from a friend I haven't seen in a long time.

The message was short.

"PB passed on. He committed suicide this morning."

It wasn't the kind of message you'd want to hear just as your weekend is about to start. It's not the kind of message you ever want to receive. Period.

But there it was.

I haven't really seen PB for a long, long time. I didn't know him that well, too.

The time we got to spend together was very short.

It was such a long time ago. I was starting with my professional life. He was still going through college.

One memory I have of him is that we wrote poetry together... literally.

But as I've said, that was such a long time ago.

Obviously, a lot of things have happened since then.

I wonder though what kind of things. What led PB to decide to put an end to things? And as my good friend Carlo said, he's not even 30 yet. A whole life still waited for him.

The photo above is one of the last entries in his blog.

No, I think it was the last entry.

The following day, he did put an end to it all.

Rest in peace, PB. Praying for you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meeting Pg Boy's sis...

Well, it was quite a very memorable weekend. 

In particular, Friday night was.

Earlier during the week, Pg Boy sent me a message. "Hey, my sister will be in town this Friday. You free to join us for dinner?"

My first reaction was, "Seriously, you're inviting me to a dinner with your sister?!"

It was a completely unexpected but a very much welcome surprise.

Pg Boy's sis has flown to SG a couple of times, but this is the first time he's invited me to a dindin with her. 

Oh, wow. This is huge, at least, for me. 

Filipino that I am, my first thought was, "Hmm, I must bring something for her."

I dunno about other people, but meeting a member of your partner's family is a huge thing for me and thus, creates some pressure. Hehe! To a certain extent, the pressure is twice in my situation because I feel like I am also carrying the flag of the Philippines. Haha!

A day before the dinner, I ask Pg Boy that I was thinking of getting her sis something sweet.

Pg Boy insisted that there was no need for it, but I also insisted that I wanted to.

He then replied that I could bring anything durian, since she loves it vmuch.

"Wahlau! Where to find something durian?" was the thought that quickly entered my head.

Fortunately, I remembered that Goodwood Park Hotel was having a Durian Fiesta until the end of June.

So from Buona Vista, I rushed to Orchard to get a box of durian puffs. Whooopppee! The puffs were placed in a nice box, and in a nice carrier. That certainly had to add to my pogi points. Hehe!

From Orchard, I headed back to BV where Pg Boy, his best friend Ho and Pg Boy's sis picked me up.

As I got in the car, I flashed my best (nervous) smile to Pg Boy's sis and gave her a good handshake.

We then headed to Ghim Moh Road for chili crab dinner. Pg Boy's best friend did the ordering and we ended up having too much food.

Initially, I was quite nervous but then I knew that I had to put my best foot forward.  

And do that I think I was able to accomplish.

Eventually, I felt more myself and found myself talking to Pg Boy's sis about things. Even though I was the newbie in the group (Pg Boy's sis has known Ho for the longest time), I'm glad that I didn't feel like the newbie.

Major pogi points for Pg Boy for sitting with me at the back of the car after dinner. And more pogi points for not feeling uncomfortable when I placed my hand on his thigh while his sis was there. He even placed his arm over my shoulder as we drove to…. lol… Geylang, where we had durian. 

Because I stayed on the other side of the island, I had to leave earlier to catch the bus and the last train headed to my area.

Right after dinner, when we got back inside the car, I got my durian puff goodies and handed them over to Pg Boy's sis. She was surprised by the gesture, and she was also grateful.

Yesterday, I naturally asked Pg Boy about his sister's feedback.

He gave good feedback from his sis, so I was really happy about it. Pg Boy was also happy that I've finally met a member of his family.

When he asked me how I felt, I said, "I'm glad I survived, given that I met the toughest one." Hehe!

He then replied, "Oh, but you haven't met my Mom."

I replied, "I'm not worried about your Mom. I've always, always charmed Moms." And we both just laughed.

Pg Boy's sis - check. The folks in Pg - up next. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Margarita night...

Nice dinner at Kantipur along Verdun. Yum flavored margaritas at Cafe Iguana in Clarke Quay. Lively convo. Good buddies. All that's needed for a fantab HOHOL night.

Thursdays really are my favorite day. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Movie date night... Fabulous 30...

Movie date night on a Monday. Hehe.

Fabulous 30 is a Thai film that's currently in cinemas here in Singapore.

Pg Boy and I were supposed to watch this movie last Saturday. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get tix in advance.

Since his flight out of SG for work is tomorrow instead of the usual (which is today), we agreed to meet at next to catch the flick later.

Having seen a couple of Thai films and liking them (hello, Love of Siam), I am crossing my fingers that Fabulous 30 would not disappoint. Hehe!

Whooppee! :)

Brunch at Paul in Ngee Ann...

Where another cafe used to be right next to Kinokuniya (I can't remember if it was TCC) in Ngee Ann now serves as the home of Paul Maison De Qualité 1889.

Paul is a French bakery restaurant that recently opened in Singapore. From what I've read, the place is quite popular in countries where it has branches.

The last time I headed down to Ngee Ann, I noticed that there was a new restau. I was quickly intrigued by the new place upon seeing from afar that 1.) the interiors looked very nice, 2.) the place was packed (a good indicator that it's a must-try), and 3.) there was a queue just outside the dining place. 

Last Sunday, I got all excited when Pg Boy told me that the birthday brunch for their friend Alynn was going to be at Paul. Orchard on a Sunday is a bad idea, but I thought that it should be okay since we were going to be there early.

Our small group of four met up at Paul around 1130. Pg Boy didn't have to wait that long to get a table, I think. (I say I think because I went around to buy some stuff for Moms Day.) Our table was very near the bakery of the cafe, which gave us a good view of all the baked goodies. I was more excited about the breads rather than the brunch menu. Hehe!

Anyway, I ordered the Crepe Complete - turkey and cheese in a pancake topped with a fried egg. It also came with a small portion of greens. Alynn had something similar but with mushrooms. Ho had roasted chicken. Pg Boy had one of the croques.

For dessert, we got a fruit tart, a lemon tart, Napoleon, and macarons. I must say that I enjoyed dessert more. While the crepe tasted nice, I would have added a few more dollars to what I paid and I could have had a bigger brunch plate at one of the other brunch places around the island. The desserts (and most probably the breads) would be the main reason to head to Paul. 

Just beside the restau, the bakery would be found. The few hours we sat there, there wasn't a moment where there was no customer buying baked goodies. Really nice. 

What Paul can improve on is the service. It's kind of challenging to get the attention of the wait staff. Sure, the place was packed but that has never been an acceptable excuse for me. 

Nevertheless, I think I will go back to Paul to try the mains or if I happen to be in the area, and I'm craving for some nice pastries or freshly baked bread.

Where to find Paul: Ngee Ann City Tower B, 3rd Floor, next to Books Kinokuniya. Open from 9am to 9pm daily.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farewell, Nana…

Over the weekend, I received an email from my former colleague Grace.

The subject line read: AMHo.

I already had a feeling what it was about. It was going to be sad news. 

I was right.

The email read. "Hi Angelo.  AMHo passed away last night. - Grace"

AMHo is no other than Anita Magsaysay-Ho. When I was still with Magsaysay, that's what everyone called her. Her daughter Doris Ho was DHo. Anita was AMHo. 

She was also called Nana by many. A term of endearment her grandsons, granddaughters used to call her. But then others started refer to her as Nana as well.

I was fortunate enough to have met Nana. It was on two occasions. Both were thanks to being part of the Corporate Communications team of Magsaysay.

The first time I met her was at a dinner hosted by DHo for the President of one of our Japanese shipping partners. 

It was a gathering of big names. The Japanese ambassador to the Philippines then was there. Tessie Sy-Coson was there. Washington Sycip was there, among others.

Of all the people present at the dinner, it was Nana who got me starstruck.

I was a fan of her work. Having an artist for a father, I was lucky enough to be exposed to Nana's work for as long as I can remember.

When all the guests have left, Grace, fellow colleague Sam, and I had the opportunity to have our photo taken with her. I was a bit shy because I was with the company boss, but then I thought it may be the only chance I would have a photo with her. 

And that's how the photo above came to be.

The other instance I met her was during her nth birthday at the Tower Club. I was there to do photo coverage. 

Again, big names of Manila's high society were there, but it was Nana who got my attention. Her and two of her colleagues - Arturo Luz and Mauro Malang. I was fortunate enough to have a photo with both artists as well.

One thing I remember about that night was seeing how AMHo was very much in love with her husband Robert Ho.

A guest singer was singing one of Nana's favorite song. He came over to Nana, and held out the mic to her. She sang a few lines while lovingly looking at Robert who sat beside her. Everyone cheered Nana afterwards.

I may not know her enough, but it wasn't difficult to see that Nana was still very much in love to her husband.

And so I wasn't surprised very much when I read the lines below in Millet Mananquil's wonderful article on Nana:

"… until 2009 when Anita suffered a stroke. For a while, Anita stopped talking. But one day, she called her husband and talked for one minute just to tell him: “Robert, you are the only man I ever loved in my life.” And then she never talked again."

Nana loved Robert in a way that very few are familiar with today. Mr. Ho was really lucky, I think. Anyone who has had that kind of love is lucky.

That was the last time I ever saw Nana, I think. 

I left Magsaysay afterwards. My only source of news on Nana was Grace, whenever we would meet up. 

And now, she's gone.

But Nana will always be remembered through her masterpieces, and her contribution to Philippine art. 

Thank you, Nana, for sharing your gift.

Before I left Magsaysay, I was lucky enough to be given two prints of her. Well, they're not really authentic prints. They're replicas. However, they are prized possessions because Nana signed both replica prints.

Those two pieces now hang in my room back in Manila. I hope my family's looking after those pieces. 

Here is a nice article on Nana.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I've been meaning to write about things, but just haven't found the time. 

 For some reason, I've been finding myself quite busy with all sorts of things these past few days. :-/


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Still can, can...

Just a random blah on a Thursday morning.

I'm hitting 33 this year and that's giving me things to think about. Things I haven't really thought about when I was, uhm, 23.

Some thoughts scare me, but really the only way to go is forward, right?

Anyway, a little thinking this morning on the way to work in a packed MRT and I realized that what I have hoped to achieve by the time I turn 30 could still be achieved by the time I turn 40.

With the position I am in right now, it actually doesn't look too difficult. I just have to stick to that figure and keep it in mind.

Whew! Relief. Still okay.

Still can, can. :-)