Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Trip to Tanay, Rizal

A view of Laguna De Bay
Holy Week is a time for reflection and vacation for the family. An overnight trip at Tanay, Rizal on Holy Thursday was what we did. Going to Tanay from Manila is very convenient because the roads are smooth and well-paved. On the way, we had lunch at Paseo - Rizal, an art gallery and restaurant. Lunch of sinigang na ulo, fried tilapia and sizzling gambas filled our hnugry tummies. The food was great and the ambience was cool but the loud music from the karaoke-style singers was a little irritating. It would be better if soft and relaxing instrumental music be played instead.
Lunch at Paseo-Rizal

Paseo-Rizal is both an art gallery and a restaurant
Next stop was our final destination, a vacation house at Pililia, Rizal. The place was quiet and had a good view of Laguna de Bay. The plan was supposed to set-up a tent for sleeping but the room and bed of the vacation house are so comfortable that we skipped that plan and took advantage of the comfy beds. We spent the night reading our favorite books. The following morning, breakfast with a view of the Laguna de Bay was exhilarating and refreshing.
Apple - reading a book and coffee with a view
Winding roads to and from Tanay, Rizal - a cool alternative to Tagaytay or Baguio.
Back to Manila at 9:00 AM but first a stop-over for early lunch at Pico de Pino along the zig-zag roads at Baranggay Cuyambay.  Lunch of calamares, fish fillet and sinigang (again) with ice cream and coffee was lovely and relaxing. The place is popular among travelers because of its cool ambience and lovely huts.

Pico de Pino is a good stop-over to unwind and relax.
 It was Good Friday and a visit at Ateneo's House of Jesu and a station of the cross at the Ateneo's ground was a fitting act to glorify our Lord.
The station of the cross at ADMU grounds infront of the House of Jesu

"We are NOTHING, and yet GOD sent His Son to die for our sins."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Top 4 Fiction Writers

Reading novels is one of my hobby and past time. My love for reading was ignited when I was in high school. Our English teacher, Mr. Razon required us to read a novel and write a book review. I don't remember now the title of the novel I reviewed but it was an action and mystery novel. After that iI started reading Agatha Christie's books about Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Another influence to my love of reading was my mom. She has a collection of novels like Irving Stone's Lust for Life, Airport, Madame Bovary, The God Father, to name a few  at home and during summer vacation I spent my time reading those novels. In college, I came to like Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (books borrowed from the UP Library) because of the influence from my UP friend, Roger Esquivias. Anyway, I want to share my top 4 novel writers. When I say my favorites because after reading one novel, I thirst for more. I either buy from or Book Sale or even download for free if available. My list is not according to any order.

1. DANIEL SILVA. My first on the list is Daniel Silva. I came to discover this author while browsing for books on sale at National Book Store. I found his novel, "A Death in Vienna" on sale for P50.00. After reading this novel, I learned more about the Holocaust. His narration is like non-fiction. Daniel Silva's novel is about Gabriel Allon, an Israeli spy, painter and art restorer who is a friend of the Roman Catholic pope. Daniel Silva is described as "finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever." After that first book of Daniel Silva, I make it a point to buy all his books and every year he releases an Allon novel which I purchase and upload on Kindle. There are talks in the internet on a movie or TV series under MGM TV about Garbiel Allon and there are already suggestions on actors  who should be in the series. If you want international espionage, read Daniel Silva!
What is nice about Daniel Silva's novels about Gabriel Allon is that his characters evolve - they get old,some get married and  and some retires. It's like  Harry Potter who started as a child and ended as an adult.
2. JOHN GRISHAM. I think I started reading Grisham novels after watching several movies based on his books like The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker and A Time to Kill . Grisham is popular for legal thrillers but I also love his novels about the football like Playing for Pizza and Bleachers. Grisham's characters are interesting and when he describes a place, a picture of the place is captured in your memory and there is a feeling that you want to visit that place. If you love legal thrillers, John Grisham is it!
Reading Grisham repeatedly is not boring.
3. LEE CHILD. The novels of Lee Child are centered on Jack Reacher, a former major of the US Army police corps who roams the US and always get entangled and investigates suspicious and dangerous situations. He is actually a big guy not like Tom Cruise who played Jack Reacher in several  Lee Child-based movies. A Jack Reacher book is action-packed and full of violence - it's usually a good "cop" versus corrupt and violent characters. My collection of Lee Child books are more e-copies freely downloaded on Kindle.  :-) If you want action and suspense, Lee Child will entertain you.
I have almost a complete set of Lee Child's books on my Kindle - downloaded for free!
4. DANIELLE STEEL. I am a late fan reader of Danielle Steel. While looking for a novel to read on Kindle, I found  Danielle Steel's "Big Girl" on my Kindle and started reading. After the first chapter, I never stopped reading her books. I finished  four more Kindle books - Legacy, Family Ties, Hotel Vendome and Dangerous Games ( I purchased at Amazon). Then I bought more books from Book Sale and I now have 6 more to read. Danelle Steel's books are more on relationships and conflicts. She has colorful and interesting characters and whenever I read her book, there are instances where I feel emotional and a tear drops from my eyes. Steel;s novels usually have happy endings.
Steel's list of novels is long!
My runner-ups. I read them when they are available but sometimes I don't finish the book because I loose interest because the book is too long, predictable or dragging - DAVID BALDACCI, MICHAEL CRICHTON, KEN FOLLET and HARUKI MURAKAMI.

What about you, who are your favorite fiction writers?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Learning to use Fr. Pablo's Gadgets for Self-Defense

During our Paskuhan sa Don Bosco Calauan 2017 held last Dec 28, 2017, Fr. Salvador Pablo, SDB showed us his self-defense gadgets - guns, knives, axe, bow and arrows - which he use for teaching the people of Calauan on self-defense. Fr. Pablo says "if you know how to use these gadgets, you develop confidence and in times of danger, you don't need to fight with the bad guys because you can easily defend yourself by using the gadgets and neutralize the enemy."

So Fr. Pablo and his staff volunteers showed Geof, Julia, Apple and I how to use their guns (pellets), bow and arrow, knives and axes. Geof was a cool and consistent shooter. Julia was a  Katniss of "Hunger Games" archer. Apple is a dangerous shooter (be careful hostages :-). In my case, I just observed. I would like to quote Michael Jackson: "I am a lover not a fighter." :-)

Apple: Isang bala ka lang!

Hostage: "Ouch!"

Geof saves the hostage from the hostage taker!

Paskuhan sa Don Bosco Calauan 2017

Fr. Salvador Pablo, SDB
The 2017 edition of the Paskuhan sa Don Bosco Calauan which was started by the families of Andy-Apple Oreta and Alexis Pineda of DBA'78 in 2015 was held on Dec. 28, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Funds collected from generous donors from DBA'78, UP AISC '83, relatives and friends were deposited to the Salesian of John Bosco sa Calauan bank account. The funds were used to support 100 kids for their lunch, grocery bags and prizes for the games. In this edition, the whole event from shopping and packing of grocery bags and conduct of games was managed by the Don Bosco Calauan volunteers led by Lester. Our family assisted in the distribution of grocery bags.

Fr. Pablo sent this message after the event: 

  • "Pls do extend my big THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE CHRISTMAS TREAT OF CALAUAN NINO INNOCENTES, Victims of Typhoons Ondoy, Yolanda n Glenda Relocatees n in danger zones of Pasig river n various dump sides to Calauan death zone of depression n demographic catastrophes.
  • SPECIAL THANKS the TASTIEST embotido (home made by Dina)  we ate for dinner.
  • The presence of Geof n Julia enhanced the giving culture of Batch 78 n 83 n DLSU GREAT PEOPLE n their relatives . Special thanks to CONNECTORS : TETET N ANDY.
  • All your names are now in our perpetual daily prayers n MASSES"
Alexis and my family would like to thank all donors who sent their donations and those who pledged to donate (your donations are still welcome and will be sent to Fr. Pablo):
  • Romy Rodriguez – DBA’78
  • Kenn Ramirez – DBA’78
  •  Cynthia Hardy – Andy’s cousin
  • Arthur Fabia – UP AISC CE Batch’83
  • Victor Macam – UP AISC CE Batch’83
  • Samuel Hernando – UP AISC CE Batch ‘83
  • Albert Fajardo - DBA'78
  • Sebio Nacpil - DBA'78
  • Lanie Alvarez - Nagoya U alumnus
  • Indette Gaspillo - DLSU Faculty
  • Jimmy Bacani - DBA'78
  • Bogs Sebastian - DBA'78
  • Cosette Oreta 
  • Dina Maglalang – Andy’s cousin (Prepared the home-made embotido)
  • All anonymous donors and friends who may have missed in this list :-)

Apple distributing soap for washing

Geof and Julia distribute the grocery packs

The father and the prodigal son

Anton sings his favorite songs - "Theme from Titanic"  and Frozen

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Super Pork aka "Baboy Damo" at Rolando's

Menu of "Super Pork" Dishes at Rolando's
 Rolando's "Farm to Table" Restaurant just opened last July 2017 at Road 1, Project 6, Quezon City. Its main specialty is "Super Pork" or "Baboy Damo" dishes - adobo, bagnet, bicol express, crispy pata, kaldereta, kare-kare, etc. Any pork dish uses the "baboy damo"! So when you want to go wild, try Rolando's super pork! Price of pork dishes ranges from P270 - P480. Other Filipino dishes also available.
Crispy Super Pork Adobo and Adobo Rice

Rolando's at Road 1, Project 6, QC
Julia at Rolando's

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

If you go to Hokkaido, specifically at Sapporo and eat ramen, you will always be served their specialy which is miso ramen. But here at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, the restaurant's specialty is a ramen with its soup broth which is very special in Kyushu not Hokkaido - tonkotsu or boiled pork bones. Anyway, we tried the branch at UPTC, QC. And we were not disappointed with the quality and taste of the ramen. The price which is almost the same as in Japan is a little bit expensive (P 350 for a ramen and P500+ for a set). But at least you need go to Japan just to taste an almost authentic ramen. Let's enjoy the ramen! Taste so good!

Awase-Aji Ramen, their specialty - thick creamy tonkotsu soup with noodles cooked just right

Kara-miso Ramen - spicy miso ramen just like Taiwan ramen

Set C - Ramen, Fried Chicken, Rice Bowl
Small Ramen and Fried Chicken and small Rice Bowl Set

Set F - Ramen and Char Siu Rice Bowl
Small Ramen and Char Siu Rice Bowl Set
Texting while waiting for the ramen! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Jeepney resto at Maginhawa St., QC

We have been intrigued by the Jeepney themed-restaurant along Maginhawa St., Teachers' Village, QC. Whenever we pass by, there street is nearly the resto is fully parked. So come one Sunday, we dropped by for lunch.

What is unique with Gerry' Jeepney is that he used the theme of a Jeepney as his concept in designing the restaurant. There are Jeepneys labeled based on destination where you can exclusively dine with your family or group. The atmosphere inside the Jeepney is quite warm, but electric fans are there to coll you down. Old tires are used as wash basins. There is also an aircon room for those who prefer to dine in a room not in a Jeepney.

The food is obviously Filipno lutong bahay. They have boodle sets staring from about P750. We ordered crispy kangkong leaves, sisig, kare-kare, barbecue and their Jeepney rice. Reviews are inserted in the photos below. Our rating of the resto is as follows: Food (2/5), Place (3/5), Price (3/5), Service (3/5), Over-all (2.5/5).

Jeepneys as dining area
A group of about 6 to 8 can dine inside the Jeepney
Old tires as wash basins

Jeepney rice consists of tomates, red eggs, dilis, green onions (Sharing for three)
The hotplate was too hot, so the sisig got burned. 

The kare-kare sauce is ok, but the beef slices are too small.

The kangkong leaves are crispy but you need to eat them quickly otherwise they will now anymore be good. 

The menu. Reasonable price for some. Pricey for some also.