Sunday, July 21, 2013

Me and My Milk Teas

Sometime back Pie sent me spot.ph's Top 10 Milk Tea Places In Manila.  (Thanks, Pie!)  They are as follows:

10.  Moonleaf
9.  Serenitea
8.  Happy Lemon
7.  Cobo
6.  Saint's Alp
5.  Tokyo Bubble Tea
4.  Chatime
3.  da.u.de
2.  Dakasi
1.  Gong Cha

I don't necessarily agree with the ranking, but all my favorites are in the list, so that is fine.  The list includes two names, tho, that I have not heard of (Cobo and da.u.de), and so I just had to try them, in line with my quest to be The Milk Tea Guru.  Hahaha.

Cobo had a branch in Morato so that is where Ches (and the boys) took me first.  I tried the Cobo milk tea special, and it was good.  Just the right mix of tea, milk, and sweetness.  The menu also included a lot of coffee drinks and snacks.  This particular branch was big and airy, albeit a bit empty the Saturday we dropped by.  I'd definitely make the effort to return to this place, altho I have not seen any other branch except the one across Savory in the mall in front of Antipolo Church.

 

da.u.de was way over at the Fort.  It's a testament to my milk tea addiction, not to mention Chester's unflinching devotion, that we woke up before noon on a weekend just to try da.u.de.  It was worth the long drive, tho, bcoz the milk tea and food were yummy, and the place an experience in itself.

Ches and I shared several pots of passion fruit tea and three tiers of pastries, crostinis, desserts, and ice cream.  I loved the crispy pork and mushroom garnishes in the crostinis.  The French macaroons were also delicate and not overly sweet, like the ones in Moonleaf, except here they were way smaller.  The ice cream, altho yellow, tasted like the green tea Haagen Dazs that Ate bought for me when we visited in Cape Cod and which I snacked on at night. 




The place is one those snooty Fort restos with high ceiling, classy d├ęcor, glass windows all around.  All very conducive for Them Rich People to take long, slow meals bcoz they have nothing more urgent to do than dress up in their designer finery and sip expensive drinks all day.  Hahaha. 





My favorites were the Chevron prints on the floor, and the funky paper cup and printed straws, which I used for my to-go iced green tea con leche.  No wonder the milk tea here costs twice the most expensive ones in Moonleaf, huh.  I also like the 'Hello, is it tea you're looking for?' greeting on the door and paper bags.  It took me a while to connect it with the Lionel Richie song.  Hahaha. 





Aside from the ambience, da.u.de's distinction from other milk tea places is that it is run by the only certified tea master in the Philippines.  Plus, its other branches are in New York and San Francisco, not like most other milk teas which are either from Taiwan or Japan.  Yes, I make it my business to know stupid, useless info like this, again in line with my quest to be The Milk Tea Guru.  Hahaha.


da.u.de is right next door to my old office in QT.  I told Ches - can you imagine, if I still worked in QT, this would be my daily hang-out, and I could get to be oh so snooty and milk tea happy everyday!  Dang, I should never have left.  Hahaha.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rock of Ages


And so one of Rhoel's new rackets involves selling tickets for Atlantis Production plays at RCBC Theater.  Which is how we got to see The Full Monty last time.  This time it's Rock of Ages.

I knew we were in for a night of 80s pop rock, which I was looking forward to, but I didn't expect to have so much fun.  I never got around to seeing the movie version, and when I finally wanted to the night before the play, Ches and I could no longer locate the file he downloaded for me.  So I had kept my expectations low.

There was no need, tho, bcoz the musical was a blast.  I don't care much for the leads, Vina Morales and Nyoy Volante (altho he did hit some powerful notes and had several laugh-out-loud lines).  The rest of the cast, tho, was superb.  Mig Ayesa, obviously, is the biggest star of the show.  And boy, did he look it.  He has, hands down, The Best-Looking Body I Have Ever Seen On A Man In , Person.  Unfairly slim, ripped all around, and oh so smooth-looking.  Not bad at all for a rock star in his 40s.  Thru-out the show he wore slinky type pants that were too precariously low-slung I was worried they were going to fall right off his hips.  Well, half worried and half looking forward, that is.  Hahaha.  I told Ches it seems to be a requirement for these rock stars to have distinctive, elongated faces, like Pepe Smith and Steve Tyler.  No wonder Ely Buendia, with his boy-next-door wholesome good looks, gets all the girls.  Hahaha.

Aiza Seguerra was a revelation in this show.  And I mean that literally, too.  She played dual roles of an activist and stripper (yes, gasp!).  In the former she was hardly recognizable.  Ches was spot-on when he said she looked like a young Nanette Inventor.  Hahaha.  Her love team with the fabulous gay German baker was easily one of the most-applauded highlights of the show.  But it was for her role as stripper that she got even louder hoots from everyone.  She sashayed on the stage in just a corset, confident in her tattoos and excess poundage.  Winner.  I love celebrities who do not take themselves too seriously and are willing to make fun of themselves.

My favorite was still Jett Pangan, tho.  It was hard to reconcile his role as narrator/bar manager/gay business partner with his real persona as The Dawn vocalist, but he totally rocked it (pun intended).  He spent a good part of Act One in a brown sleeveless shirt that said, What Would MacGyver Do?  Hahaha.  So 80s.  (I love MacGyver.   I had like three posters of him in my room in high school.)  His Can't Fight This Feeling duet with Jamie Wilson was my absolute favorite moment in the show.  Which doesn't mean that I ever stopped hoping he would suddenly ditch his silly wig, grab the mic, turn serious and burst into Salamat, which, hello, only happens to be One of The Best Pinoy Songs Ever.     

You know a musical is good if you can't get the songs out of your head long after you've seen it.

Don't stop believin'
Hold on to the feelin'
Streetlights, people ...   





Jon took us to Lusso before the show.  He offered dinner in exchange
for the Lumix lens I gave him to replace the ones he left at a Kyoto train.
Hahaha.  Thank you, Jon.  You're always a classic.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tuhog


Nah, it's not a porn film, it just sounds like it.  It's the latest Eugene Domingo movie, and Randy and I went to see it, of course.  We were not about to pass up a chance to laugh our tummies off for a measly P200, right?

This is not your typical Eugene comedy, tho.  It's labeled in the reviews as a dark comedy, but I think it's more of a drama, really.  The laughs are all there, but there is also a lot of substance and sadness.  The story line and treatment are indie material, but it is by no means an indie film.  First off, most of the actors are mainstream, big-name ones.  Second, it is produced by media giant ABS CBN.  (The term 'indie' came from 'independently produced', meaning financed by starving artist types rather than the usual big-budget film companies.  Yes, another New Thing You Learned From Jewel's Blog.  Hahaha.) 

The whole premise is spectacular:  three strangers (a bus conductor played by Eugene, an old man who spends his retirement money to build the pandesal bakery of his dreams, played by Leo Martinez, and a sex-starved student played by Enchong Dee) get impaled in an MMDA railing in a bus accident.  Hence, the title.  It would have been hard to believe had I not read in Readers' Digest a true story of a similar gruesome accident involving a mother and daughter.

It is not the nonstop rollicking fun that we have all come to expect from a Eugene Domingo movie, but it was fresh, real, well-thought out, with a lot of tender moments thrown in.  In other words, several notches above your usual Pinoy movie fare.  Plus:  Jake Cuenca. 

I've seen this guy everywhere modeling his Bench undies, but he never really held any appeal for me.  In this movie, tho, he was semi-skinhead, so tall, and uber hot.  He's a good actor, too, which is saying a lot for these heartthrobs who are normally just eye candy, nothing more.  You never for one moment doubt that he could be seriously in love with the character of Eugene Domingo.  Sigh.  Jake Cuenca has just successfully bumped off Derek Ramsay in My List of Men I'm Allowed To Have Extra-Marital Relations With.  Dang, where are those Bench undie ads now that I want them?  Hahaha.  (Ches and I saw Derek in person at UCC in Rockwell, and he was ... underwhelming.  Too thin and not all that tall nor special-looking.  I told Ches:  lamang lang pala ng limang paligo sa yo.  Hahaha.  So long, Derek.) 

If my old woman memory serves me right, Tuhog is the first Pinoy film I've seen this year.  It's so deserving of that distinction.

(Randy and I had dinner with Ches at Dulcinea before the movie.  We are both not finicky eaters; his only requirement when we choose a resto is that it serves good desserts.  Hahaha.  We've been going to Dulcinea since we got off college and could afford more than CASAA food.  Hahaha.  I loved the plates on the shelves and, of course, Randy knows exactly what they are and which part of the world they're from.  He actually stole one from his mother's treasure trove.  Hahaha.  They are called maijolicas.  He also knows that the mountains behind us are the Pyrenees.  You already, Randy!)





Sunday, July 14, 2013

How Not To Get Hired

Part of my new job involves screening 60 million CVs and interviewing applicants for various positions in the office.  I was surprised at the sheer amount of craziness I came across with in the first few weeks alone of my being Suddenly The HR Guru.

Some unsolicited advice:

1.  I do not need to know that you went to a school named Jack and Jill for kindergarten.  No, seriously - I don't.  News flash:  where you started your education as a wide-eyed three-year-old is not a deal breaker for me.

2.  I do not need to know that you were assistant treasurer of your third year high school class.  Do I go and bore you with the fact that my husband just got elected PTA president of our son's Grade 4-Solidarity class? I don't, right?  Relevance, is what this boils down to.

3.  I do not need to know that you conducted this training and the attendees commented that 'the speaker is very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject'.  One, it's completely self-serving.  Two, I'm not a nice person, and seeing inanities like this in your CV makes me dump it in the nearest shredder.  

4.  Must you really wear a halter top in the picture you put in your CV?  Don't you have any other ID pix in decent clothing?  Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not easily dazzled by your abundant cleavage.  Especially since I'm hiring financial analysts, not escorts.  Sheesh.

5.  You are allowed to put your graduation pix in your CV, but not if your graduation happened 20 years ago.  MIB apparently interviewed this applicant who looked several decades older than her CV pix, and he famously went on to describe it as a 'fraudulent picture'.  Hahaha.

6.  Please do not tell my secretary to schedule our interview after your office hours, bcoz you don't want to be absent from work.  If you love your current job so much that you can't be away from it for a few lousy hours in search of a better opportunity, then whydahell is your CV floating around in Jobstreet?

7.  Neither should you ask my secretary about our company, products, manpower, and all that stuff.  Last time I checked, you do not pay her to do your homework.  Applicant, meet Google.  

8.  When I ask you to tell me something about yourself, I'm just trying to be nice and put you at ease.  I'm not really interested about the minutiae of your weight-loss program or the whole history behind your being a third generation old maid in your family.  Three letters:  TMI.

9.  When I start speaking in Filipino, that is your cue that your English has successfully given me an earbleed. Which means you should stop speaking in a foreign language you so clearly have not mastered, otherwise you just end up sounding like a second-rate, trying hard copy paste.

10.  When I ask if you have any questions, that is your perfect opportunity to grill me about the package, people, or everything else about the job and company.  Do not - I repeat, DO NOT - ask me what my destiny is.  Why can't you just be normal, for gosh sakes?

The following is a true story:

Me:  Do you have any questions?
Applicant:  What is your destiny?
Me (dumbfounded):  What do you mean?
A:  Your company slogan, Committed To A Destiny.
Me:  Oh, that.  (Yada yada about being among the top pharma companies, but inwardly thinking, company slogans are not supposed to make any sense.  Like mission vision values, which are just nice words put together to make companies look serious, but which do not actually mean anything. Duh.)
A:  If you don't mind, I have a suggestion.  Maybe you should also explain that to your guards.  I asked the one on duty, and he had no idea.  Me:  But he's a security guard!
A:  It still would be nice for them to know, don't you think?
Me:  No, I don't think that's necessary.  (With eyebrows rising way up to the ceiling and throwing all pretense of civility out of the window.)

Next!!!
              

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Just As Long As We're Together

After so many goodbyes, welcomes, and all that drama, the girls and I are all back together.  We are now officially and blissfully inseparable.

These are the people whom I've worked with every single weekday for over three years now.  (Well, except for Karen, who joined us a little later, but who surprisingly fit right in.)  They hugged me when I was at my lowest points, helped me out immensely when things got too toxic, stood up and looked out for me at every turn, laughed at all my gross jokes, shopped and pigged out with me everywhere.  They're the first to text me when there's a good deal coming up, at Forever 21 or Cebu Pac or Alba.  They're the ones who know when I'm actually in Claret attending something for the boys but pretending to be somewhere work-related, and who I want to have lovey-dovey pictures with in the office (hahaha), and even that I was hoping to turn over my Ascof Natural Super Mom Award to the next winner so I could fulfill my lifelong dream of doing a farewell walk a la Binibining Pilipinas.  Hahaha.  This is the gang who's into all our private jokes that it all takes is one look and one word like 'Father', 'itlog' or 'destiny', and we're off giggling like a pack of lunatics. They make our little department look good bcoz they're fast and efficient, but at the same time loud and crazy.  (Well, except for Ann, who is our only Resident Good Girl.)  They give me so much more credit and love than I deserve.  I'm so proud of them and will fight for them to the end.          

I LOVE my girls.  No matter what everyone else says or how our future eventually pans out, I know that work will continue to be gratifying, manageable, and even loads of fun - just as long as the girls and I are together.





Monday, July 08, 2013

The Awesome List 6

1.  Cool CEOs of top companies like E who is not only brilliant but also so warm and self-deprecating.  I would so go and work with him if he wasn't with the SM group.  Hahaha.  One of the things I learned from working for 13 years now is that it's often the brightest bosses who are the most humble.  I guess it's a given that for you to be CEO, you have to be smart, but to be kind and generous and funny while you're at it, when you have no need to - that is the coolness.

2.  Colleagues who appreciate what you've done at work, even if they happen to be on the opposite side of the political fence

3.  Finding small precious things that you can't ring for easy location - like an earring or memory card.  (Thank you, Lord.  I promised not to be maldita for a week if you would let me find them.  I know Boots was the only one around when I said that, but I intend to keep it, anyway.)

4.  Lucking out on long-forgotten wads of bills in boxes and pockets of bags while cleaning up your closet in search of other missing things.  Yay!

5.  Man of Steel block screening at Eastwood courtesy of Robby and with other PMS friends.  Of course,   the boys were not about to pass up the chance to dress up in their awesome costumes from their beloved Tita Jenny who supplies them with All The Cool Stuff.  I was envious so I borrowed Yoshi's Captain America shirt.  Fitting into your nine-year-old's clothes = cheap thrill.







6.  Another block screening, this time of Monsters University at Rockwell, courtesy of Ches' officemate. Boots' review:  'This is the funniest movie I've ever seen!'




7.  Trying out new foodie finds like Nomama, courtesy of MIB's never-ending lunch treats

8.  The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight, and all the other good books I've read so far this year - Bossypants (I LOVE Tina Fey), Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, Beatrice and Virgil, Pigs In Heaven, Good In Bed, Bright Shiny Morning, The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce, I See You Everywhere

9.  Hello Kitty shirts and printed skinny jeans galore at Uniqlo.  I'm usually anti-fad, but if the fad involves jeans with prints, I'm so there.  I've stocked up on several pairs from Forever 21, Promod, Gap, Zara. Major hoarder mode.  Hahaha.

10.  Getting even more love at work now that they've compared me with the competition.  Me already!

11.  Being blessed with the perfect in-laws





  
 12.  And while we were at Centris, Boots also tries the 20-feet bungee jump that Yoshi did last summer.  Gasp.  Ches is clearly the source of the boys' sense of adventure, coz I have absolutely none.



13.  And the perfect in-laws include Lola Thelma and her family who are always so generous to us.  She gave me exquisite Godiva chocolates and a picture book so fabulous it deserves its own separate post.  The boys love Kuya Jonathan, too.  He taught them all about Minecraft last year.

Yoshi:  Where did you get your Minecraft?
Jonathan:  Oh, it's just pirated.
Y:  Wow, you also have pirated stuff in Shanghai?
J:  It's China - everything is pirated.

HAHAHA.





The glorious Manhattan skyline!  I miss.
14.  My regular dates with Randy to nourish our sugar fix and catch up on our other unhealthy activities


 

15.  Hanging out with my favorite gang at Zao and Pasto in Eastwood.  Dendee and Donemark also join us, but they leave early before I remember to whip up my camera.  They're the kind of lifelong friends we have where we don't have to exert any effort and the funniest topic of conversation for the night is something as inane as colonoscopy.  (Rhoel:  There's something there that wasn't there before!)  They're also the kind of friends I have who think nothing about loudly blurting out how my boobs seem to have grown, and I have no qualms telling them it's all just thanks to La Senza.  Hahaha.  



Jon and Malen also bring me a Hello Kitty snow globe from their latest Taipei/Japan family adventure. Owww.  I LOVE these people.


 
16.  Mango Bravo delivered right to our doorstep, courtesy of my sis-in-law

17.  True friends who stick with you no matter what everyone else says

18.  Priceless statements from my boys.

Boots:  Mommy, I'm ambidextrous!
Me:  Huh?  How did that happen?
B:  I use my right hand to hold my spoon, and the left to hold my fork!

HAHAHA.  Classic.