One Fam-tastic Dinner

It was no ordinary weekend because my parents came here all the way from Cebu, thanks to Cebu Pacific’s Piso Fare Promo and of course to my sister for booking their flight!

October 22, Saturday, it rained…food! Say pancit canton sandwich for a morning snack; crispy pata, shrimp, sinigang, and nilaga for lunch; pizza and soda, and pandan ice candy for an afternoon snack. Food, food, and more food down to the day’s main event – family dinner at Barbara’s.

At the end of a long ride from Biñan, Laguna to Manila, past a breath-taking sunset we’ve watched from Roxas Boulevard, I was still – errr – so full. But who would say no to good food? Nay, not me.

Barbara’s is located across the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. Like all other infrastructures in the place, the building where Barbara’s could be found tells a lot about the Spanish regime, about Spanish architecture. Brick walls, crystal chandeliers, carpeted staircase, huge mirrors bordered by gold-painted brass meticulously carved with fancy floral designs; doors, windows, and walls all standing with the resemblance of Spanish taste.

We got Tabe 14, not really the best one since a wooden pillar blocked our view of their small stage. But good enough though, we were near the buffet table and the piano anyway. The smell of good food was right there!

In no more than 15 minutes, the buffet started. I snaked my way to the line, holding my huge plate like a child about to receive her slice of chocolate cake. The display was really (and seriously) enticing that all I could think of was satisfaction from good food, but what I had to do was hold it and pick only what I could manage.

I did. Yes, I did pick a little of almost everything in the array. And when I went back to our table, they were all so surprised with the platter I’ve just made. Funny, Mama and Papa couldn’t help asking if I could finish’em all, and it was like I could hear my sister and my brother say, “Seriously?” Maybe the only person who couldn’t care so much was my sister’s boyfriend because we had almost the same platter, plus extra plates of side veggies. Oh well, you don’t refuse to good food.

Fettucini pomodoro, tuna steak, Czech steak, chicken, pork strips, vegetable salad, and oh, rice! And I had coffee jelly for dessert, and the other one I couldn’t remember.

Mama had to remind me every now and then to slow down. Papa was just looking at me with a smile that couldn’t believe what kind of appetite I had. My sister and her boyfriend cheered for me, while my brother, as always, teased me for eating like a pig.

Then, after about an hour, the cultural show started with a serenade of Spanish music by a small string ensemble. And I wasn’t done with my food yet, mind you. Folk dances followed, and maybe it was half way through the entire show when I finally emptied my plate. I felt…victorious. Really. And very full.

Maybe it was a bit “unsophisticated” for a lady in a pretty dress and royal red shoes to empty a pretty huge plate. Somewhat, surprisingly barbaric, in a way.

Well, I thought I had just the right “barbaric” experience at Barbara’s. Amen to a whole day of eating! *Burrrrp* 🙂

One Fam-tastic Dinner

A five-star weekend is "Ohhh yeah!"

Unplanned – that made it more exciting! Good thing I brought extra undies in anticipation of my monthly fl*w (excuse me for mentioning). Hehehe.

Because the original plan was that I drop by the hotel, stay for a while there while Celle and I wait until seven PM to meet our friend, Kath, for some kind of  friends’ dinner date. I had Chicken Piccata and Garlic Spaghetti of The Old Spaghetti House. Great choice though, great dinner! Especially that it was a treat, thanks to Kath, we finally got a taste of her salary, hahaha.
We were almost through with our platters when Celle got a message from her mom asking if we’d want to spend the night at the hotel because there was a room reserved for her officemate, who was yet to check in late the next day. And who was to say no to an invitation to a five-star weekend?
Outside of sleeping in a luxury room, we were to go swimming in the hotel’s pool. Not so big, just too deep. For me and for Celle at least, hahaha! Well, I couldn’t really care much ’cause I didn’t really get myself dipped into it anyway. Because after the panic-buying right after dinner, buying myself a 2-for-150-Php women’s board shorts and a 50-Php white spaghetti top for swimming, the pool personnel told us, “Ma’am, hindi po pwede ang cotton.”
That left me no choice.
Anyway, I’d like to tell a little about my five-star weekend. There’s a fair count of reasons why I enjoyed it a lot, aside from its five-star accommodation, of course. But I’d like to share about the first five.
1. The Lobby. Entering the lobby felt something like instantly being in a different place, maybe somewhere in London, after passing through a glass door. And the people from different races, along with different languages, disoriented me even more. Crap! I’m lost.
But what caught my attention was the architecture and the interior design. I couldn’t help but look around and adore the details of the architecture, the marble walls and pillars accessorized with patterns of gold, the palm trees with their trunks looking fake but their fan-like leaves seeming real skirted by brown tips indicating wither. The center pieces made of several rounded rods inserted with pink artificial stargazers (if I’m not mistaken) at their intersections, the huge mirrors and paintings. Everything was luxurious and so classy, I thought I was drooling over the architectural finery.
At first, I had a bit of the feeling of being out of place but as we stayed longer, I managed to ignore the intimidation, and pulled off a five-star behavior without really having to pretend to be someone rich. Say, it’s all in the attitude.
2. The toiletries. I’m not familiar with Davi but I instantly liked its products once I got to smell and use its shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. At the end of each of the two days, I collected the items, including the vanity kits and shower caps because I got so fond of the small bottles and the boxes!
3. Escolta. Food alone was great! There was a long array of food choices from breads and waffles to ice cream. Viands varied from American to Filipino dishes, Filipino to Japanese. The display was actually overwhelming, I had to stop myself from picking too much. So I had little servings of select food items: a some kind of saucy scrambled egg, two strips of bacon, fried chicken, vegetable samosa, ham, morcon, shanghai roll, cordon bleu, plain yogurt, ube ice cream, waffle topped with a scoop of chocolate obsession, assorted Danish, and perhaps some more I couldn’t remember now.
All of them so good and even better ’cause I had them all for free!!! Hahaha.
4. The pond. It’s right outside Escolta encircling the meditation room near the swimming pool. Medium-sized Japanese kois came near us as we leaned against the low walls of the pond. It actually felt great to sit there watching the kois, some trying hard to entertain us with their tameness (if that’s an appropriate word for fish behavior), some maybe too shy, hiding at the back of water hyacinths off our view, and some just ignoring us feeling like royalties who would never have to pay attention to ordinary people. Snobs and bratinellas! The sound of water falling from four jars, which were pieces of the decoration, was calming as if taking you away from the city. Which was just right outside the hotel walls.
Thing is, the pond has one of the most relaxing corners in the whole place.
5. “Good Morning!” Saturday morning was a good one, having been greeted by a stranger, a businessman I guessed. We were walking down the hallway to our room when we met this man, bringing with him some good vibes and sharing some with us, cheerfully greeting, “Good Morning!” Along with a friendly smile! Just so professional.
Unlimited food, they kept coming up in our room until our tummies had to refuse taking in anything. Maybe it was a good thing Celle’s mom brought us red and white wines. We took Domaine Laroche’s white. I didn’t know what was supposed to be the default reaction of our bodies but good enough it turned out to be a downer at that time. And then, a good sleep.
That’s all for the excerpt of my unplanned five-star weekend!
P.S. Later that day when we left the hotel and went home, we learned that Nicholas Sparks was there at The Peninsula spending his weekend over. (Slash wrist! Not even a glimpse of him.)
Still, big thanks to Celle and her mom, for such a great weekend that made me go “Ohhh yeah!” 🙂
photo courtesy: GROOVENETravel
A five-star weekend is "Ohhh yeah!"

Love In The Shower

It remains a darn great mystery (and I’m sorry for the cliche). Until now. Unfathomable, as they say.

Why is love so ‘effin’ hard to understand, even geniuses lose their smarts? I’m not a genius of course, but I thought I had some to lose. Early evening was preparing for the night, not a red sky to shepherd delight. I was lazily taking a shower after such enormous effort to pull myself to the bathroom. There, I caught myself trying to figure something, which in the end, still wouldn’t make sense.
Guess I was talking to someone invisible, like the other me, who lives in my head forever. I like her a lot, always busy with productive things like gardening, painting, baking pastries, making high-fashion clothes, all things I wish I should be doing. Just that her world’s so very intangible and perhaps too wonderful to be true. Anyway, that’s a sidebar.
But I went on asking the other me, “What can you say about this shit?” Love.
Silence. And more of it. And maybe the sound of water from the shower and to the drain. Waiting for an answer to no avail, I started.
Love is that feeling you don’t understand, you can’t explain, plus all its pointless cliches.
Love is like the ocean too deep. You fall, you’re drowned.
(Count this joke in.) Love is like the rosary, full of mysteries. (Because love has to be, at all times, mysterious. Period.)
Love is like strawberries, sweet and sour; coffee, bittersweet.
Love is amazingly all-encompassing.
It’s this.
It’s that.
It’s blah blah blah.
While I went on weaving together all I know about what love is and what it’s like, perhaps the other me was pruning her roses and dandelions, so colorful and luscious.
She: Have you come to a conclusion?
Me: Yeah, I think.
She: And?
Me: That there’s no way I can understand it.
She: Makes sense.
I shrugged.
She: How much have you got?
Me: Don’t know. A lot.
She: And a lot more. — There’s too much about love, dear. Too many truths as there are too many lies.
Me: Meaning?
She: Meaning, you’re right.
There’s no way you can understand it now. But check this reality facing you. In love, everything is splendid, everything is terrible. Everything is imaginable, everything is impossible. Everything is worth it, everything is unbearable. Everything is a sweet dream and everything is a nightmare. And every single thing can be a truth at the same time a lie. How tricky, how playful!
There are as much “facts” about love as much as the love stories told. Drowning and perhaps saturating. What should we believe in? Which truths apply to us? And in the end, who’s there to know?
Me: Amazing, isn’t it?
She: Yes, indeed. And may you make sense of it when the right time comes.
Me: Right time?
She: There’s a right time for you to conclude what it really is.
Me: Yeah? When I find Mr. Right?
She: Maybe. Maybe not. Far later, I guess. — I’m afraid, oftentimes than not, love stories go on like they never have to end. Love is a long story, dear. Maybe even longer than life itself.
Me: When’s the right time though?
She: When you’re old enough to conclude your life. Because you have to contribute to the pool of bewildered philosophies.
Me: And what if in the end I don’t have anything to say?
She: Nah. You’re one of those love-crazed people who find love so amazing. You must have one.
Me: Or else?
She: Or else, you won’t die.
Me: Oh, thank you.
And the sound of water from the shower and to the drain. “Nice dream.” *smiles*
Love In The Shower