Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UP Survey

The boys and I went to the UP Fair the other night. Yoshi got one of those light-up swords (the useless, cheap kind that self-destructs in less than 24 hours) and we shared cheese popcorn and mango shake while Bootsie had the time of his life walking round and round the dewy grass with Ches standing by to keep him off the muddy part which seemed to be the little boy's preferred destination. (We call him The Little Spinning Top. He's growing up to be even more sutil and makulit than his kuya, I swear. You'd think they don't get any more hyper than Yosh, but then Boots comes along.)

Inside the enclosed portion of the Sunken Garden some punk band was wailing out this song about giving his gilfriend away since he's found someone else to agonize over, several people were scaling a wall marked “UP Mountaineers”, while a number were doing something that suspiciously looked a lot like bungee-jumping on the other side. The major sponsors apparently were Globe and Frenzy condoms as could be seen from their big posters all over the place. Bungee jumping? Frenzy condoms? Tsk tsk tsk. Only in UP can fairs get this crazy.

Mom was just telling me how she heard on the news that pole dancing is now offered as PE in UP. Honestly, can you imagine anything more grandiose and wild and hilarious? I'm sure the slots in this class were snapped up in the first hour of enlistment, in the same way that we physically shoved our way around to get into the much-coveted Sex and Culture Anthro class. It's like what this girl wrote in her blog when her friends marveled how she never seemed to run out of material to write about. Her reply was something like, why should I run out when I study in UP. Hahaha. I'm ever so much worse bcoz it's been more than eight years (gasp! I'm old!) since I graduated from law school, and here I am still blogging and blogging about UP. I guess it also has to do with the fact that we live in Diliman or about 10 minutes away from the campus and I worked in MWC for close to four years where I passed by UP on like a daily basis.

Some time back Gay emailed me a survey of all things UP whose purpose seems to be not so much to yield significant social research or whatever as to refresh our memories of that most fun stage of our lives (or at least mine). And of course it's in Tagalog, in typical UP/public school/jologs fare. The title seems to limit it to Diliman tho. I guess bcoz there are different subcultures in each UP campus and those from other campuses might not be able to entirely relate to the survey. Anyway, it's lucky I kept a copy so I can now reproduce it here (with my answers and not to mention way too much unsolicited information that's not even tangentially referred to in the questions hahaha).

UP Diliman Survey

Student Number?

College? Course?
BA Pol.Sci., Law.

Nag-shift ka ba/na-kick-out? from what to what college?
Nope. Just boring Pol Sci and Law forever.

Saan ka kumuha ng UPCAT?
BA. Cannot remember which floor. Saturday morning.

Favorite GE subjects?
Comm 3 under Antee Hernandez, Anthro with Ron, Eliza, Monch and Eugene (nakarating pa kame sa TanBats kung saan nagkalat si Euge --- yeeck!), STS where Jon was Batman, Tarts was Alfred and I was Catwoman in our report [at nabuntis si -- and -- before our last exam :)], PI with Gigay and Mike, where Ches and Kai made a special appearance in our report and our youngish teacher caught me reading Sweet Dreams during class and ended up borrowing it :)

Favorite PE?
Fencing with Gigay and Hannah (and Rabbi?). Somehow I got the hang of it, tho I've never been the athletic type. I even became part of the fencing team after I trained during the sembreak. I never got to compete tho kase parating sabay sa Econ exams on Sundays. Naks. Hinusayan ko talaga just so I can be able to claim I excelled in a snotty sport at one time in my life. Sabi ni Gigay and Hannah crush lang daw ako ng teacher namin na mukhang maniac hahaha :)

Name your 4 PEs:
1. Fencing 2. Aerobic Dancing 3. Running (at 7 am! with Kai and Joyleen. for which I got my one and only grade of 5 in UP. hence I have 5 PEs here. how pathetic is that to flunk PE. and a PE on something as simple as running, at that. groan.) 4. Stretching (my first PE. with Amor. loved our walks from the Gym to AS, even if I often ended up with a nosebleed hahaha.) 5. Defense for Women

Favorite Prof:
Prof. Ana Maria Madrigal (who gave Nico a poster of Mama Mary after he filed for LOA on our first sem coz she thought he was doing drugs hahaha) and our funny non-Spanish teacher in Span 2 (a riot old woman. who was always making these jologs jokes). Antee, Perlas, Arnel de Guzman. Mirriam Ferrer, Robles, Rey Ty (mga mangilan-ngilan na interesting magturo sa PolSci). Prof. Balane, Barlongay, Catindig (I owe these guys my passing the Bar). Dannycon and DanGat (altho ako lang yata may gusto sa kanya. he's in the most hated list in a UP law blog somewhere). Looking back, UP profs are such characters :)

Pinakasikat na Prof:
Alex Magno, Danny Con. Si Mendoza parati na rin sa TV.

Pinaka-ayaw na GE subject
Anything Math and Econ. Dinasalan ko lang ng matindi para pumasa. This includes our subject under Mendoza (Ches' favorite) na may kasamang Stat for our thesis data-gathering or whatever.

Kumuha ka ba ng Wed or Sat classes?
Not in undergrad. In law school, no choice. Tax, Transpo, Med Jur, Poli Law, Insurance yata.

Nakapag-field trip ka ba?
TanBats. Sabit sa Tarlac field trip ni Ches and Kai. First time to meet Ches' family.


APSM forever.

Dorm, boarding house, o bahay?
Boring house-bound forever.

Naka-inom ka ba sa Sarah's o Gulod/ Likha- Diwa?
Only once in Sarah's. When Ches told me he was falling in love with me. Ha ha ha :)

Paboritong fishball?
Sa may Music and Gym.

Me suki ka bang bananaQ vendor?
Yung nasa Malcolm Hall.

First movie na napanood sa FC?
Don't remember watching a movie in FC. Saw a lot of exhibits there, tho. Favorite ko yung Hope for the Flowers painting. We had our Span 20 Belen contest there, too.

First play na napanood mo sa UP?
Portrait of an Artist? Required sa Comm 3. Or nauna yata yung Maikling Buhay ng Apoy, kung saan na-develop si Kai and Dex. Kilig!

Nakapag-date ka ba sa sunken garden?
Never kame nag-date ni Ches dun by ourselves. Always with friends. These days with Yoshi and Boots, sometimes with yayas too.

Sa lagoon?
With my law school blockmates.

Name the 5 most conyo orgs in UP:
AISEC siguro, dun member si Amanda C. e :)

Name 5 of the coolest orgs/frats/soro in UP:
Like Gay answered, basta frat, uncool. I heard the gunshot that killed poor NiƱo Calinao :(

Napunta ka na ba sa fair?

Ano pinakagusto mong gawin sa UP Fair?
Dating gawi. Manginain ng popcorn, squid balls, hotdogs, the whole works.

May frat/soro bang nag-recruit sa yo?
Walang nagkamali :)

Saan ka madalas mag-lunch?
I love the chiken roll in CASAA, the paella in ISMED (yun ang nilibre sa kin ni Jon when we had a Valentine date and for my part I had to bring him flowers. isa sa mga pakulo ng APSM), Rodic's tapsilog, Beach House barbecue and inihaw na talong with alamang and itlog na maalat and monggo. Binabalik-balikan namin to this day :)

Masaya ba sa UP?
The happiest days of my life. It's where I met the love of my life and some of the best friends I've ever had :)

Nakasama ka na ba sa rally?
Once. Start of second sem, 1st year. Against tuition fee increase. Nakarating kame sa Senate. (Maki Pulido led us in singing “Knock knock knockin' on Senate's door...” sa kanyang megaphone.) Sumama lang ako kase ayoko maging MH kay Kai and Dex. Was with Nico and Ches. Gerlin May Catangui was also there. We ate her baon lunch together.

Tibak ka ba?
Nah. I'm apathetic to the bone.

Ilang beses ka bumoto sa student council?
Pag merong kakilalang iboboto. And when I was covering CSSP elections for Sinag. A classmate in a GE class voted for Jewela Espinar as councilor thinking it was me :)

Nakipagtalo ka na ba sa prof mo about politics?
Nope. Sobra akong deadma sa PolSci. Major in tambay lang talaga. In Malcolm, you don't argue with your prof, period.

Nakita mo na bang tumakbo si Fr. Robert Reyes?
Nope. Tho I made it a point to see the Running Oble before I left UP :)

Sino ang student council chair nung freshie ka?
Teddie Rigoroso yata. At ang vice nya ay ang magandang si Frances or something na naging sila.

Sinamahan ka ba ng parent/s mo nang mag-enrol ka nung freshie?
Duh. Hindi ah.

Nagtakaka ba kung saan ang TBA?

Sino first ever nakilala mo sa UP?
Amor Roselle S. Herrera, leafing thru a Readers' Digest in the AS lobby during registration. Nagpaturo ako mag-fill up ng Form 5. Found out we were both in Block A4. Went to enlist in PE together (kaya kame classmates). That was her first (and only?) jeepney ride in her whole life, I think :)

Magkakilala pa rin kayo hanggang ngayon?
Surely. We try to see each other once a year. She was the candle sponsor in my wedding :)

Ano first ever class na pinasukan mo sa UP?
Comm I under Prof.Perlas. Who can forget her classic line: "Chester, I'm cold ..."

Best clothes mo ba ang suot mo n'ung first day of classes?
Cannot remember what I wore.

Pinangarap mo rin bang mag-laude nung freshman ka?
Nah. Never been part of my agenda.

E nung graduating ka na?
Lalo na.

Last time you've been to UP:
Last week :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Guide to MoA

Having been neighbors with and taking almost daily trips to Mall of Asia for more than two months now hardly makes me the expert about it. But this doesn't deter friends from texting me with questions like, “What's showing on Imax?”, or “Where's the Zara in MoA?”, and “Naka-sale ba?” Etc. So I thought, to save everyone the trouble, why not make a list of things that are uniquely MoA, so everyone will know what to watch out for (in both good and bad ways) when they visit the place. I'm not going to write about the shops and restos and stuff that you can easily find elsewhere, but instead will limit the blog to those that can only be seen in MoA. After all, like its slogan goes, no other mall comes close.

1.The funkiest shirts. Hands-down Team Manila (2/F, to the left of the Entertainment Center, facing the bay). Anyone can draw Ninoy Aquino on their shirts, but what sets this apart is the softness of the material and the way it clings to the body without stressing the bulges. The logo of Jose Rizal in shades is a give-away of how cool and witty and truly Pinoy the merchandise is. (I'm getting me and Ches some shirts from here next pay day. I'm one of those annoying, pretentious types who like to believe wearing a shirt with a political statement emblazoned on it somehow magically converts me into a socially responsible citizen, when in fact I'm just this lazy, apathetic person deep down. Groan.)

2.Must-try restos. Highlands Steakhouse and Highlands China Palace are without a doubt the best places to eat in in MoA. The prices are on the upwards of steep tho and I can find many other more satisfying uses for my salary than to splurge it all on lunch. So instead I'd recommend Azul (2/F, facing San Mig by the Bay). It's one of those small, tony places where the food is good (the paella, especially), the ambience is cozy and quiet, and the price is not (yet) obscene. It's frequented by political presidentiable types tho, so don't go if the sight of them makes you gag (haha). The omelettes in Lifestyle Cafe (2/F near Azul, and G/F One E-Com Center) are my and Paula's favorite comfort food. The prawns in Taste Asia (G/F, fronting Hypermarket) are big, juicy and reasonably priced, and you get to choose how you want them cooked too. The ambience is like that in a canteen tho, so don't bring your date here unless it's someone you've been married to for six years or so (like my Ches).

3.Favorite desserts. I know I said “uniquely MoA” but I'm making an exception on the desserts coz what I will list you can also find in other malls. Why? One, bcoz they're that good. Two, bcoz it's my blog. (Hahaha.) I love the yogurt in White Hat (2/F, before you turn the corner to Science Discovery Center) bcoz it tastes all sour and fruity and not like the overly sweet Nestle variety that Boots and Yosh gobble down on like an hourly basis. My favorite topping is the cheesecake. There's also a Frostings stall (G/F, near the skating rink) that arrived in those days leading up to the Christmas break and I was so happy I felt like it was a personal gift to me from Santa for being a good girl year-round (not). I cannot get enough of the brazo de mercedes cupcakes. Frostings and White Hat you can also find in Rustans, but Hizon's I've seen only in MoA (2/F, stall fronting the cinemas). They sell unique pastries like toasted yema and other decadent-sounding/looking goodies. I love the caramel cake that is perfectly soft and creamy. This stall is sugar heaven.

4.Best value for your coins. The fountains in front (to the right of the globe, near the Dept. Store area) serve a special purpose – the coins thrown in go to the Pondong Pinoy project of Cardinal Rosales. I didn't even know people threw coins in those things. Yoshi loves to do it tho (in fountains and wishing wells and stuff, anywhere we allow him to throw stuff in, I guess). So if you're going to let your kids have fun, might as well do it for a cause, right?

5.What to avoid at all costs. The foreigners selling lotion and perfume and magic potion stuff at a stall called Holy Land (to the left of the skating rink). I was on my way to Frostings one time, when this tall, hairy person with 'Israel' printed on his shirt, materialized from out of the blue right under my nose and asked, “Do you know my country?” I shook my head no so he insisted, “What? You don't know my country?” I shook my head more emphatically and sped away. I'm all for being friendly and hospitable to foreigners, but I detest people who violate my private space. Hel-lo. I go to the mall to unwind, not to be accosted. (I told Ches the story and wondered why they had to travel all the way to the Philippines to sell their magic power toiletries of all things. According to him, it's bcoz in Israel they wouldn't be able to use the pick-up line “Do you know my country?” Hahaha. This is why I love Ches.)

6.The coolest place to be. And I mean that literally. Well, where else but by the skating rink. So I guess this is where people will be hanging around in summer. The trivia here is that this is the first Olympic-sized rink in the country and apparently you can't even join the event in the Olympics unless you had an Olympic-sized rink. (How uncool is that. As if we needed any more bias against impoverished nations like ours.) On the Fridays that Ches and I went out on dates we would see this group of young guys playing – you'll never guess – hockey. Ok, there's basketball, and there's badminton - but hockey? In scalding hot, Third World Metro Manila? For me this has got to be the height of phoniness.

7.For mothers like no udders. MoA is supposedly one of the first malls in the country to have a Breastfeeding Station (2/F, near the ATMs and cinemas). I have no idea what it looks like inside (Boots has weaned himself before I moved to my new job so I had no reason to use the room), but I'm betting it's much nicer than the small room and spare stool I was offered in Rustan's when I asked where I could possibly sit down to nurse Boots. And I have no doubt it is much more conducive to letting milk down than in, say, the bank or the grocery – among other very public places I have been compelled to do the deed in several times in my breastfeeding career. Sigh. Motherhood. So thank you, SM, for making mommy's lives a little bit easier (not to mention a lot less embarrassing).

8.Winner freebie. Every Friday and Saturday at 7 PM MoA hosts a free pyromusical show by the bay. It's only about 5 minutes or so but this is long enough for the crowd that patiently gathers and gleefully applauds every glorious burst of light and color. (I recorded the fireworks show on Chinese New Year in my celfone, and it is Bootsie's favorite thing to watch in there. A guaranteed tantrum-stopper.) You can watch this anywhere from the long stretch of restos in San Mig by the Bay, but what I would suggest as the best seats in the house would be the row of restos in the 2/F, namely Gumbo and Via Mare and Pink Pepper and stuff, coz there you can just sit down and enjoy the show without having to crane your neck.

9.Cheap thrills. The lemongrass chicken in Hypermarket (at only P135 for one whole spring chicken). The takoyaki balls in the stall near Go Nuts in front. The banana caramel cake in Lifestyle Cafe (for only P50). The green bags that are being hawked all over the place. (For only P35, you get to do your bit for climate change, so grab one and use it already.)

10.For the home. There's a row of houseware shops in the 2/F before Highlands Steakhouse. I love going in and out of them and buying just little things or just getting ideas for this house project that we're working on (that I don't even want to blog about just yet for fear of jinxing the whole project). My favorite is Color and Life bcoz I haven't seen it anywhere else and it sells exquisite birdhouses and floral-painted pots and ceramic pitchers. A bit on the pricey side but my friend Randy has taught me a love for fine things. I also discovered that Living Well has quaint products from Gourdo's which I loved way back when I was still in QT and Mailyn and I would go to their nearby store at The Fort. I go to Dimensione too bcoz they have wooden picture frames and small pieces of furniture that are painted white and treated in such a way that they look aged and perfectly shabby chic.

There are so many other things to love about MoA. The fact that it's the most wheelchair-friendly mall in the country. (It was designed in such a way that you can get down from the bus stop or in the parking lot and go all the way to the sea wall navigating your wheelchair with ease bcoz there are ramps all over the place.) The strong breeze any time of the day that deludes me into thinking I'm thin enough to be blown away by the wind. The free rides to take you around the complex. The Mall of Asia marching band. Pollo Loco and Chocolat which have got to be my favorite chicken and chocolate restos respectively.

Oh, there are baffling things too like Marionnaud which sells a single tub of lipstick for the price of one week's worth of my groceries, and Calliope which since I moved here has only ever displayed double-knitted woolen clothes of the kind worn in freezing weather. But for the most part – I love this mall.