Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eat or Be Eaten: Chinatown

For Papa's 64th birthday, we had to choose one of his favorite restos.  Chinatown was an easy decision, as he has been taking us there for as long as I can remember.

This time, tho, we tried the buffet.  At only P600 net per adult, it was so worth it.  They charge only P420 for senior citizens, too, more than the discount required by law.  (Good job, Chinatown!)  Vada and Boots, since they were below 4.5 feet, had to pay P300 each.  Rain was at P200.  I was bemoaning how it's not sulit to take these girls to buffets bcoz they hardly eat. Not like my boys who eat a lot of everything.

Ate:  The girls take after me.  I was also difficult to feed when I was younger.
Me:  Does this mean they're also going to grow up to be piglets like you?
Ate:  Yes, that was exactly what I was going to say!


Even little Rain got excited by the buffet and filled her plate up, altho her Daddy finished most of it. He also loaded up on the crabs and prawns that were the house specialty.  Yummy.  They even served fried oysters. Ches and I missed Seafood Sam's all of a sudden.

Mama's favorites were the pata tim, lechon macau, and spare ribs.  Yes, she is The Carnivorous One, just like Yoshi, Ate, and ok, ok - me.  This kind of food is so bad for her, but I'm not exactly in a position to lecture her, me with the cholesterol levels that can only be described as off-the-charts for years now (groan). What can I say?  Eat or be eaten.

Needless to say, Papa was happy with the pancit alone.  We were kidding him that he hoarded one kilo of pancit right on his first plate.  Hahaha.  Whatever the birthday boy wishes, right?

Papa:  Ito na talaga ang natupad na pangarap.
Vada:  Papa, ang dami mo namang pangarap!


The girls mainly had fun with the chocolate fondue and soft-serve ice cream.  Yoshi was in charge of accompanying them back to the buffet station every so often to refill their desserts.  Of course, this was only after he had already finished maybe three heaping plates of yang chow fried rice and various viands.

We all had a good laugh when the attendant who showed us to our table told him to eat up bcoz he would be paying the full adult rate.  If she knew our Yoshi, she would have no doubt he can eat up to the equivalent of three full grown adults.  Hahaha.

Bootsie LOVES his buchi.  Chuckles.  Vada laughs at every single antic of Bootsie.  I remember I was like this, too, with my brother when we were younger.

Fyi, this was also Rain's 18th birthday party.  Hence, the formal gown.  Hahaha.  I'm glad I wore my favorite dress from Manang Lei, so hopefully I don't look like her yaya beside her.  

Vada was channeling the chillax look in her jeans, shirt, and flats.  I love it.  If I ever have a baby girl, I'm gonna dress her casually like this all the time .  None of the long, flouncy dresses I myself was so fond of when I was younger, or worse, the slutty outfits I see in little girls whose parents also make them go thru the tragedy of high heels at such a young age.  (Seriously, what's up with that?  Can't wait to give your little daughters back pains?)

These pix were supposed to be of Vada being one of the boys, but Rain ran along and flashed her winning smile.  So I just clicked away.  Whatever makes my favorite kids looking happy like this - has got to be a big hit.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Finding Kate

For some reason, Ate decided she was going to get me a Kate Spade bag this year.  She probably got tired seeing me use my same old D&Bs (from her) and Coaches (from Kaye, Rocky, and Manang Lei) and my one Michael Kors (also from her) in my pix. Or maybe she just loves and misses her baby sis.  Whatever the reason - I wasn't about to argue, right?  Ate can decide to buy me whatever high-end item she sets her mind to, I am so there with my arms wide open to accept it.  Hahaha.     

So every so often she would send me a pix of a Kate Spade bag she happens to see in the shops, to see if I like it and if she should buy it.  I like them all, but Ate is more discriminating - she goes into details like the quality of the leather, whether the bag structure is sufficiently corporate-looking, etc.  She even chooses colors on the basis of the season, so she wouldn't get me a plum-colored bag bcoz plum is "for autumn".  I'm like, Ate, walang autumn sa Pilipinas, now get me that plum bag!  Hahaha.
And then came this classic polka dot beauty, and Ate knew she had found The One.  Finding the perfect bag - or the perfect shoes or dress, for that matter - is a lot like falling in love:  you just know.  




Gasp.  John Keats must have had bags like this in mind when he wrote 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever'.

Ate says this bag is called Ashlyn Belletown.  Giggles.  How snooty is a bag that has a complete name like that?  It sounds like the name of a spoiled little rich girl from a boarding school in London.  Hahaha.

Ate got herself a polka dot sling bag, too.  Of course, my instant reply was, bring your bag when you visit and let's have our pix together!  Hahaha.  We already have a long list of identical or similar outfits we're going to wear together, everything from dresses, shirts, shoes, and bags.  I know some siblings who exert effort to look distinct and separate from each other.  Ate and I, tho - we love to pretend to be twins.  We're crazy like that.    

And as if Little Miss Ashlyn Belletown was not enough, Ate also got me a green sling bag.  She had shown me a pix of her fabulous green bag before, and I coveted it bcoz I didn't have a green bag.  Well, now I do.

This green beauty is called Amy Camellia Street.  Chuckles.  Get a load of her three names.  The trademark bow is too cute, and I love the bright shade and long strap.  I use bags like this when I go shopping or do groceries.  So next time you see someone looking like this in your neighborhood talipapa - that will be me.  Hahaha.    

Me being me, I showed pix of my two new bags off to my office friends before I even got my hands on them.  I could sense them looking at me in a new light, that this person whom they probably know as nothing more than a bunch of snark and feistiness, who spends every working day provoking a fight in the office - has a sister who loves and spoils her.  It's like they're realizing for the first time that I could actually be ... human.  Hahaha.  That reaction is swiftly followed by unmasked envy, and comments like, Ang swerte mo naman sa Ate mo.  Pwede bang maki-Ate rin sa kanya?  Hahaha.  I know, right?

Thank you, Ate.  I love you more than all my bags.  Yes, including all my Cath Kidstons and Hello Kitties even.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Patio Vera By Day

For Mommy's birthday, Ches and I wanted to take her somewhere nice and different.  You always want to do something special for people you love, right?  We settled on Patio Vera, as we figured Mommy and Daddy would like the rustic ambience, which would be perfect for a long, laid-back lunch with loved ones.

I knew we made the right choice as soon as we entered the resto.  We were greeted by the sight of these exquisite little beauties.  

So perfect.  They were not there last time we visited. I badgered our waiter on where they got the lighthouses.  He didn't know exactly where, only that his boss the owner also got them from the same place where she gets the antiques displayed in the resto, "somewhere in Manila".  Ha.  Tracking down these miniature lighthouses = sounds like My Next Project.

There were more vintage bikes in the area now, too.  I remember only the pink one from last time, which I took pictures of bcoz it reminded me of my Ate - She Who Bikes Around Cape Cod.  I just LOVE the way the sunlight is streaming thru the leaves and scattering all over the pebbles like that.  This is the best feature of the resto, I think - the whole serenity and bucolic beauty of the place, that takes you right back to the slow and simple life in the province.  It certainly makes you more patient waiting for your paella.    

The shoes are still there, of course.  Are Patio Vera and Janylin maybe owned by the same person?  Hmmm.

There were other charming antiques I didn't notice from last time.

We ordered a feast of paella, ribs, crispy pata, creamy vegetables, and seafood kare-kare.  We over-ordered coz we forgot they had huge servings.  But oh well, more is always better than bitin, right?  You can always bring the excess home.  I've been highly recommending the resto to friends bcoz (i) the ambience is unique and totally relaxing, (ii) the price is a steal, considering the food quality and size of servings, and (iii)  they serve the only fried halo-halo in town.       

We arranged for the waiters to do a song and dance number for our birthday girl.  They did that while bringing her a slice of their bestselling tres leches cake.  Daddy was teasing Mommy bcoz the waiters also did the Pinoy version of the birthday song - Maligayang Bati, which is perfect bcoz Mommy's name is Ligaya.  Hahaha.  They are so sweet, these two.  They bicker and tease each other to no end.  They are, hands down, Ches' and my peg for The Old Married Couple We Want To Be.    

The fried halo-halo deserves its own solo pix in my blog.  It's special like that.

The crispy pata, on the other hand, was for our dear Yoshi, who had his recognition day only the day before.  He got a medal for high honors and special awards for being among the best in Science and Math for last school year. Owww.  I was a slobbering mess, of course.  Yoshi rolled his eyes as usual and said, "I knew you'd be among the emotional parents!"  Hahaha.

Ches and I both went absent from work for this occasion.  You never know, it could be the last time we get to hang medals on our kids, right?  Hahaha.  This was also my sentiment when Boots got a medal in March and we were both down with the flu.

Me, to Boots:  Naku, kelangan mag-attend ng graduation kahit may sakit, baka last time mo na tumanggap ng medal!
Yoshi:  Last time na agad?  Di ba six years old lang naman sha?


It's medal-hanging times like this where Ches and I can relish the thought that, no matter how else we may have messed up other things in our lives, we seem to have done absolutely right by our boys.  And in the end that's what truly matters.        

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And That Was Summer

It was the summer Vada gave the boys Anelsa, from the first litter of her own pet Bloom, who was her Daddy's 7th birthday gift to her.  Anelsa is a mix of Anna and Elsa, the Frozen sisters, since the boys couldn't decide whether to name her Anna or Elsa.  The Ates call her Yolanda, tho - bcoz she leaves behind a massive destruction in the house all the time.  Hahaha. Good one.

The boys were obsessed with Anelsa the first few weeks when we had her, and she was just this itty bitty puppy.  They'd even call home from wherever we're travelling to make sure she's ok.  She's more Yoshi's pet than Boots', who's just a little bit scared of her.  We'd take her to walks around UP, and bring her along when we visit Vada, so she can re-unite with Bloom.  Mother and daughter still know each other, even if Anelsa is so much bigger now.

Anelsa is no much to the beauty of our real-life sisters, tho, especially after I dressed them up in matching Frozen outfits.  Vada gets to be Elsa bcoz she's the Ate and the demure, elegant one, while Rain is like Anna - loud, adventurous, and completely crazy. While Vada is the classic beauty, my guess is that Rain will get all the boys someday.  Just bcoz.

Who needs a baby girl when I have nieces who look like these?  They're too cute. 

It was the summer Boots took taekwondo.  He had a week-long class at Chester's office after Holy Week, and then we enrolled him in classes in Claret for the rest of the summer.  He chose taekwondo among many courses offered for the summer.  It's so him - hyper, fast, and violent.  Hahaha.  He's in yellow belt now, and he's continuing even after school starts.  He loves taekwondo.  Maybe he'll reach all the way to black belt and I won't have to hire a bodyguard when I get obscenely rich.  (Oh wait - that is never happening. Groan.)

It was the summer Yoshi took piano lessons.  He taught himself the piano piece of Wrecking Ball on his iPad, so there was no doubt which class he wanted to take for the summer.  He plays well now in our organ in the attic, which Tita Jenny left behind for him when she moved to the US.  She also recently sent him this black leather jacket that he has been coveting, which would be perfect for his recital that is yet to be scheduled.

He wanted to take voice lessons, too, but my deal was, he had to take it with violin lessons as well.  I've always had this dream of being the mommy of kids who play violins.  (Not violence, Bootsie!) When I was pregnant with Yoshi, I told Ches if there was one thing I would force our kids to do, it would be to learn to play the violin.  Hahaha.  Yoshi's reply to my offer was to roll his eyes and say:  "Maybe next summer, Mom!" Groan.      

It was the summer Ate and I both got so homesick for the summer we spent in Cape Cod two years ago. That remains The Unbeatable Summer Vacation to date.  In memory of that summer, Ate got me these watercolor paintings of scenes that are unmistakably Cape Cod.  The church, lighthouse, and houses all look like the ones we actually saw during our visit.  Beauteous.

Ate also got me this book on Cape Cod, Martha'sVineyard, and Nantucket.  The cover alone was enough to make me cry.  When I see picket fences on the sand with the beach nearby, I remember Old Silver Beach, and all the beaches we went to in Dennis and other places in Mid Cape.  Picket fences + sand + beach = Cape Cod.  (Thank you, Ate!  I love you more than picket fences.)