Archive | April 2011

“Budol-budol gang”

Having recalled how my birthday went last year, an incident popped into my mind. Two days before, something terrible happened. I was on my way to the office when I got victimized by the “budol-budol” gang. I didn’t really know what these so-called creatures do until after that fearful encounter. The jeep hadn’t driven very far yet when the man seated in front of me told me I had spit on my left shoulder. Sure enough, when I looked, something gluey was there but it was clear so I think it was fake. Nevertheless, it was gross, and I was thinking, should I go back and change clothes? But I was considering the time, I’d be late if I did. The man got impatient with the way I reacted so he brushed the thing on my shoulder with his hand, smelled it, and with a disgusted look, told me it smelled awful. By then I was upset already and I got confused why this man was more worried than I am. Soon the others beside me, left and right, was complaining as well, that they had spit on them too and another one explaining that somebody from the jeep beside ours spew out at our direction. Then the man in front of me was practically hysterical now shouting orders and everything. That was when I realized something bad is about to happen to me because I have heard that these wicked people would stir commotion to put on their racket. He ordered me to get tissue and cologne from my bag, anything to get my hands off it, because I was clutching it tight against me. Anyway, to cut the story short, these bad people succeeded. I was looking at him trying to preclude what he was about to do never realizing that I was practically surrounded by his partners-in-crime, literally that is. In a matter of minutes, all five of them got off the jeep taking away my purse containing all my IDs and more or less 10,000 cash.

I was crying in confusion when they left until concerned passengers helped me. One of them was helpful enough and escorted me to a policeman. So we got off at the junction and there, I called my mom and dad. I had to go to the police station to file a report but I waited for my parents first, and thanks to the helpful passenger, he didn’t leave until they arrived. When mom arrived, she brought me a clean blouse so I could change. As for the blouse I was wearing, I threw it away.

I was really angry at that time but after I accomplished what I needed to do, I just dropped the whole thing off and charged it to experience. At this point, let me share a few pointers when one gets victimized by these gangs:

  1. Never fight back. In my case, I was so confused to struggle, but I thank God it went that way. You’ll never know who are with these people and the worst they could take from you is your life.
  2. If alone, try to tell a friend or relative first about what happened. It is also helpful in calming you down if they could get to where you are. Wait in a safe place.
  3. Seek help from policemen on duty. And though you seriously yearn to get justice, wait for your emotions to subside first before taking severe actions. I was told that these gangs are supported by a much powerful syndicate. Even if you could get one in jail, they could easily bail them out and who knows what revenge will be in store for you, especially if you were recognized by them (which is a very likely case). Still, it is advisable to go to the nearest police station to file a report.
  4. Try to recall, despite your confusion, the things that they have taken from you (if you were unaware). Take note of missing IDs, ATM cards, credit cards and other documents. You will need to include these details in the report most specially the IDs. It is important to indicate that you no longer possess them because these gangs might leave your IDs at a crime scene.
  5. Go directly to the banks where your ATM cards were opened. Even if you have no IDs with you, the bank personnel will accommodate you. They will immediately block the old ATM card and replace it with a new one.
  6. Do not forget also to report to your credit card companies that your card had been stolen so that they may block it instantly.
  7. Do not forget to thank God, of course, that nothing more harmful had happened to you. As I’ve said, the worst they could take from you is your life.
  8. When everything else had been settled, try to relax yourself by doing something that you really enjoy. In my case, my parents and I went to National Bookstore where I browsed books and other loves. That time, I was fascinated with craft arts, so I purchased a few scrapbooking items like the ones below =)

Do not forget also to inform your boss what happened if you could no longer report to the office. Back then, I asked my friend Ethel to tell the incident for me, and thanks to God she had been very helpful and comforting. Although it took only half of the day to accomplish all the necessary things, I decided to just stay at home for the rest of the day. I have to admit, I was traumatized by the experience that I no longer wanted to ride public jeeps afterwards. Eventually, the fear was replaced with extra vigilance. I was so concerned about catching the time that day I didn’t notice that I was already being followed.

Oh and lastly, be ready to retell the story over and over to concerned friends and co-workers. It actually helped me got over the situation quickly by doing so. Plus, it’s always comforting to know and feel that generally, people are still kind and they do care. =)

Birthday blasting (of tummies) at ISAW HAUS

The month is coming to an end again and soon it would be May. And then next month would be my birth month. It’s been almost a year since my last birthday. I will be turning 23 err… sorry about the typo error, 28 this June, how time flies!

I remember that last year, I celebrated my birthday with my bestfriend, Lorraine (I celebrated it earlier with my family because the date fell on a weekday). Although we were constantly checking in on each other, we usually do not meet very often because of business, as in the state of being busy (hehehe). So we thought that it was the perfect time for bonding.

We decide to go to the new place which I have passed by on frequent occasions. Its name was ISAW HAUS, promoted by a picture of a very upset white chicken beside it. That’s just reasonable for me of course and I kind of commend whoever created this idea rather than the usual smiley faces of animals who march to the butcher’s den after posing for a caricature. My parents have tried the place before and besides promoting that the food was delectable, it was also affordable. Therefore, it was definitely worth a try.

The place was agreeable and has enough parking spaces. Although it was just by the roadside, it was cool once you get inside and the lightings were not too bright, just right and soothing. They have various table settings too. Out in the open were for big groups or couples, or you could also choose the tables enclosed in the air-conditioned rooms. Bes and I chose one of the nipa huts at the back but the waiter told us they reserve them for bigger groups so we settled on one of the round tables for four by the entrance.

It took us a long while to select from the menu (everything seemed delicious but we have little space in our stomachs) but we finally settled with rice, pork sisig, pancit bihon, isaw and San Mig light? Haha, you wish, that’s Royal diluted with ice. When the food arrived, we were surprised at how big the pancit serving was (for Php80 only). It was a lot really so we had to make pauses in between munching to accommodate everything. At last, when our stomachs were ready to explode, we called it quits and took home the leftover pancit (which was merely eaten up).

The Food

The total bill was Php363, but Bes and I were short of money so we planned to escape but we got caught! As punishment, they took pictures of us holding the bill and posted them on every corner of the place.

Haha, that was just a joke, of course. We lingered on for a while after eating because we were feeling too heavy to move. It was a nice opportunity too, to catch up with chatting until we ended the night very contentedly and promised to go back to the place in the future.

Isaw Haus is very accessible. I’m not sure if they have other branches but the featured one is along Ortigas Extension, just a few walks away from St. Anthony (right across Pamcor). See Logo for telephone numbers 😀

Spiced Up Again

On my way to the office yesterday, I had a brief reminiscent sound tripping when a medley of selected Spice Girls (SG) hits played on the FX radio. At first it was just “Wannabe.” It didn’t have that much effect to me but towards the end, a series of other hits were played like “Say You’ll Be There,” “Spice Up Your Life,” etc. It played on for another 5 minutes I guess before the song ended up with “Wannabe” again.

During those 5 minutes, I felt myself being dragged back to the past when I was just 14 years old. And though I haven’t sung or even heard the songs for about a decade, I realized I still know the lyrics. I guess that’s what you call, knowing by heart.

I loved SG and back in the era of their fame, almost every girl I know, friends, classmates and relatives, loved them too. I had always tuned in to MTV and MYX for their videos and interviews. At first, I recorded them through cassette tapes. Technology was old (hehe) and yet it had been overwhelmingly joyful to listen and was contented to just imagine the videos or how they looked during the interviews (haha). Soon afterwards, I was able to tape the videos too, via the VHS (so delightful!) But for a student with meager funds, I could not afford to buy a lot of VHS tape. They had too many songs topping the hits and too little space in the tapes and so some of the older videos and other interviews were written over by newer ones. (And okay, I admit it, I had other preferences too, like the “famous” Backstreet Boys and Boyzone making the decision on which videos to keep a bit more difficult.)

What made the SG special is that though they were a group, each girl stands out and makes a distinct character for herself. To wit, the girls were:

Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice. Blonde haired and sweet, she loves to wear her long hair in bangs and pigtails, and prefers pink short dresses and originated the 4-inch high platform shoes along with Geri.

Redhead Geri Halliwell, or Ginger Spice is a lot like Baby but is more daring in colours and style.

Melanie Chisholm (Mel C), Sporty Spice, is the tomboy in the group but personally, I think she’s the prettiest. Dark-haired and creamy complexioned, she manages to look very attractive, in sporty outfit naturally.

Victoria Adams, aka Posh Spice, perhaps was the darling of the group being very chic and elegant and all.

And last but not the least is Melanie Brown (Mel B) or Scary Spice. Bronze skinned and fluffy perm-haired, her tough appearance gives the impression that she’s the leader. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be called “scary” or anything like that though.

The SG opened up discoveries for me. Through them, I learned the beauty of blending of voices in music. My cousins and I would learn their different parts and we’d sing them together. Sometimes, we’d hit it and sound wonderful but most times we sounded awful and out of tune. It didn’t discourage us though, we’d even associated ourselves to each individual: Lhit was Geri, Joy was Victoria and I was Mel C. (Didn’t I mention that for me, she was the prettiest? Haha!) Zhel, who was the oldest among us, seldom took part in this folly but whenever she did, she was either Emma or Mel B.

Later on, when my cousins got busy they could no longer visit our house frequently, I resorted to my sister Julie, who was ten years my junior, to practice the latest second voices I learned. To my astonishment, I discovered that my sister was a natural-born singer! For a 6-year-old, she managed to make our blendings magnificent so I took the advantage that she followed my every order. Afterwards, when she maybe discovered that I was overusing her talent, she got fed up and started to disobey me. Perhaps she got fed up with SG too, because she continued with singing second voices and all, but with different artists. So much for my singing career (haha, just kidding).

As for me, it took a few more years before I eventually grew out of my SG devotion. I felt sad when Geri first left the group. They were still able to release other songs like “Goodbye,” which encompassed sorrowful feelings ironical for the christmas holidays (it was released in December 1998) and the much lighter “Holler,” but as expected, their fame slowly died down because of this.

Finally, the group was disbanded during the year 1999 in time with my shifting to college studies. I knew I grew out of my fondness for SG by then and possibly diverted to more mature entertainment. But SG made an impact in my life and I know I will always feel nostalgic whenever I hear their songs. They had become part of my childhood and had formed a part of who I am now.

My First Shots at Food

I am naturally a picky eater, it’s very obvious if you look at my skinny body and I’ve grown some fats over the years already! I used to be really really skinny.

So I’m broadening my world when it comes to food. Here are various recipes I’ve made on my own, Remy-style. If you have watched “Ratatouille,” you would understand why. Not that I’m saying these treats are as delicious and yummy. It’s just that there were no cookbooks needed or cooking lessons sought in order to produce these foods. I just needed to see the food and taste it, (because I wasn’t gifted with as keen sense of smell as Remy) and figure out how the ingredients were mixed. One thing that’s good about fixing your own food is that you get to customize them to the likings of your tastebuds and health preferences.

Potato Salad

One day, a friend brought potato salad for lunch and shared some to us. Though I am not a fan of salads because I used to hate mayonnaise (now I just dislike it), the salad tasted good to me. As far as I could remember, it was composed of potato of course, and some carrots and peas and chicken strips. And the rest I think was mayonnaise. So one weekend, I attempted to make one and… not bad! My husband loved it, and so did I. 

Buko Pandan Salad

On one occasion, while I was doing the groceries, my hands involuntary picked up a packet of Mr. Gulaman, pandan flavoured. Naturally, it slept in the cupboard for a few more days. Its use was like serendipity. One night, I was planning to make buko salad for dessert but was too lazy to buy the ingredients. My very eager husband offered to buy buko which was just a few walks away from our apartment, and on the way pick up the cream, condensed milk and fruit cocktails in can. He returned with everything except the fruit but a buko salad is not complete without this. I broke my husband’s heart when I told him it will have to do some other time, and while keeping the ingredients in the cupboard, the packet of Mr. Gulaman fell. Our eyes met and the rest was history… 

Saging con Yelo

I didn’t actually make this, and this is just actually very common even if I did so it doesn’t deserve much attention. I just thought it’s interesting if I used a few drops of blue food colour. The result? A not so yummy-looking green bananas! It looks spoiled but it’s a delicious treat really (with a need to convince people to eat afterwards.)

I know it’s embarrassing to be so thrilled with these simple recipes, but I’m just a starter, I need tolerance at this stage. Next time, I’ll be sharing more complicated recipes. So I better go back to the kitchen now (or rather work and stop daydreaming because lunch is over).