the thursday group

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

the case of the disappearing wednesdays

If you've ever caught yourself at 1:30 on a wednesday afternoon, unwashed and still in your sleeping clothes waiting for the laundry cycle to end, you'll certainly appreciate the good chuckle that comes from lighter-side-of online news.

Now that the weather's gotten warmer, chances are you've taken your sandals out of the closet. Maybe you've gotten the pedicure. And maybe you've also got the band-aids. In an earlier life, wearing tsinelas actually meant saving your feet from the cruelties of closed shoes. Now that they've been rechristened "flip-flops" and come with heels, leather straps, and various other attachments that cut into winter-tenderized skin, they also leave ugly welts and cuts. On my feet, at least. So you can imagine my delight when I read this article that describes how band-aids are in fact an indispensable spring accessory.

Moving on, it's time to free-associate. Shaolin monk:kung fu, ascetic, China, Hong Kong movies, orange robes, bald. How about Lower Broadway, designer clothes, hip-hop, alcohol? Not what first comes to mind, eh? But when the Dalai Lama, media-savvy, gains celebrity status, who's to say there isn't room for a drunken monk?

And here's a late addition to this roundup. In case you found yourself wondering about the true inclinations of our new pope, wonder no more.

That's it for now. Time to retire to my couch spend the rest of Wednesday watching my Shenzhen DVDs. Zai jian! Mingtian jian!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What 7 jeans hath wrought

I was in grad school in NYC when 7 Jeans hit the streets. One look and I felt that my lifelong prayers had been answered. You know, those along the lines of "If I find the perfect pair of jeans (white t-shirt/ shade of red lipstick/ little black dress) I'll be happy." Heretofore reasonably satisfied with my $20 low-rise bootcut Gap jeans, I went manic when I saw those pert, perfectly clad New York asses, and couldn't sleep until I'd dug deep into my student's pockets and got myself my own pair. A hundred and ten dollars at Barney's (yeah, but free alteration!), just below the tax line. While I justified the purchase to myself a hundred different ways, I knew I'd crossed some line and that I'd never be happy with Gap jeans again.

As it turns out, that darned brand started some sort of revolution. Now people are harking back to the good old days when jeans cost "just" a hundred dollars. Check out the extremes that denim has reached.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Things to do in Makati on a Saturday morning

the thursday group

Last Saturday, Poch insisted on bringing me to the Ayala Museum. I didn't feel like being cooped up in a stuffy museum but went with him anyway. Was I glad I changed my mind. It was surprising good! Next time you're in Manila, its a place to check out. Entrance fee is P150 for residents and P75 for seniors and children plus P100/person if you want a guide.

The first floor had paintings that the museum borrowed from the Singapore Museum... from a 1902 painting of Jose Rizal to more recent paintings by Filipino artists.

The second floor was the best part for me... It housed the dioramas from a few thousand years BC up until the end of the Japanese occupation. Plus a video board of the EDSA revolution. Did you know that the British actually occupied the Philippines towards the end of the 1800s? Another fact I didn't realize... Our national heroes weren't tall... Aguinaldo, Rizal, Bonifacio... they were all shorter than me.

The third floor housed the works of Fernando Zobel, Fernando Amorsolo and Juan Luna. I highly enjoyed the works of Amorsolo and Luna.

The fourth floor housed religious artifacts. I didn't get to explore this area as Poch said that it was a little boring. Maybe, next time, I'll get a chance to explore it on my own.

Anyway, check out

By the way, if you find yourself in Makati on a Saturday morning, check out the park/parking lot in front of One Salcedo Place. It turns into a small market selling organic food and other Filipino delicacies from all over the country. Its sponsored by the Bel Air Village Association and is open every Saturday until 2pm.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Quote of the Day

Shy's house, 4:15 pm.

Derrick: Joaquin, come and watch American Idol with daddy.

Reading Rickey's blog though, I realized that we're on the sane side of the Idol fan spectrum. Check out what his readers have to say about yesterday's results show.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Martyr Syndrome

I am sure you've all heard or have met someone who has gone through a similar situation: Girl and boy marry and have kids. Husband turns out to be a hopeless philanderer but wife turns a blind eye to all his daliances. He finally leaves wife for another (younger, trophy) woman. Along the way he gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. Trophy mistress leaves him for another man because he can no longer afford her and she can't bear to take care of a sick, old man. He goes back home with his tail between his legs. Wife forgives all and welcomes him back with open arms like the Prodigal Husband he is. She uses up all her remaining resources to nurse him and is only the one with him at his deathbed. Not all of their kids can forgive nor forget what he's done to their family but most of them show up at the funeral anyway which incidentally, the trophy mistress doesn't even attend.

Is there something wrong with this picture???

This exact situation actually happened to a close family friend of mine. I was aghast at how my Tita Vicky supported her husband even after enduring years of emotional abuse; abandonment and deceit! LOVE (Or is it partly Catholic GUILT? After all, in the eyes of the Church they were still married to each other and maybe she felt that she had to uphold the "in sickness and in health, til death do us part" bit), actually won over everything and in the end, decided to forgive and forget all. A teeny, tiny part of me admires her for her big heart, but a huge part just cringes at the thought! How can she take him back???? Either I am the most un-Christian person I know or maybe I just refuse to be a martyr in this day and age of the independent woman. After all, I have my pride, you know! I understand that pride should never get in the way of any relationship but I believe that women should have a high sense of self-worth in order make quality decisions especially in life's major milestones -- like marriage. I believe that if a woman has such low self-worth, she'll end up with someone who will never be good enough, who will never treat her well -- exactly like the picture she paints of herself. Case in point, I have two friends who have such a low self-concept of themselves that they don't mind if their husbands sleep with prostitutes at stag parties or have flings during their marriage. They argue that men are born to be cheaters and it's up to us women to tolerate this since you can never change their nature. What a crock of sh&t! They have actually tricked themselves into thinking that they don't deserve men who will treat the covenant of marriage as sacred or (even for non-religious people) treat them and the marriage with respect! And, ladies, the worst is yet to come...if their kids see that their mothers constantaly tolerate their fathers' stupidity, daughters will end up disrespecting both parents or worse, end up with philanderers like their dads; and sons will use this as a license to perpetuate this ugliness in their own marriages!

I am so certain that so many people out there will disagree with me and my brand of "tough love" but Jay knows for sure that he can never expect tea and sympathy from me if he ever gets out of line! It literally took years for me to choose someone worthy of marrying but I have absolutely no qualms about going back to being single again if need be. It certainly won't be the end of my world.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Stephen Chow slays 'em stateside

So they finally dragged the movie over to the States. Here's what they're saying. Cool.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

baked ribs recipe

marinate thinly sliced beef ribs (like inihaw na baboy slices, but longer) for 5-6 hours or overnight in chicken powder, salt, pepper and herbs. it didn't taste particularly herb-y to me, but i would put parsley and rosemary and maybe add a little red wine (this is my version already). bake really quick since the wine and marination should make it quite tender already.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Macau in 12 hours

yesterday derrick and i decided to visit macau, a place so pathetically close to HK it always bothered me why we never went before.

8:30- boarded the Turbojet. as usual when travelling with derrick, everything is photofinish! we arrived a mere 7 minutes before boarding. good thing the lines at immigration were short and quick.

9:45- got a map from the tourist center and asked where we could eat a traditional Portugese/Macanese breakfast. told to hop on bus no. 3 to the main plaza, look for McDo (i almost had an attack! McDo for breakfast in a foreign country? what the hell were these tourist officers high on?), turn at an alleyway beside it and have breakfast at any of the coffee shops lining the street. (ah! that's more like it, now they're behaving like true harbingers of culture).

arrived at the plaza and took photos of the fountain and neo-classical colorful buildings, like any self-respecting tourist. found McDo (derrick had the gall to suggest we eat there!) and discovered a small coffeshop manned by Pinoys. ate chorizo bread (more bread than chorizo, but the chorizo was good), smoked ham and cheese on brazilian bread (the smoked ham was delicious, the rest ordinary) and a Macau-style bibingka (tastes like egg-tart, looks and feels like a smallish bibingka-yummy!). had galao (traditional coffe and milk).

visited St. Dominic's Church for some quiet prayer time. the museum of sacred arts on the top floors is very interesting.

walked to the ruins (of course!). took more photos of the steps, ruins and fortress with derrick hamming it up. loved the Museum of Macau. i think i took more pictures there than anywhere. museums and dioramas are my thing. the beautifully resored traditional Chinese sala of old and portugese dining room were exquisitely detailed. i took a picture of derrick offering a drink to one of the chinese statues sitting on a bench (who rudely ignored him). some caucasians commented happily that we were being so silly (better silly than bo-ring!).

bought some repro figurines and a carved wooden panel to bring to canada. so very cheap compared to HK!

we asked the museum guy for a good Portugese eatery. we had reservations at Fernando's but he said it used to be good 10 years ago. so we asked him to tell us where the locals ate. he recommended a lorcha and dom galo. we wanted to see the sights in barra so we opted for a lorcha.

ordered bacalhau fritters (thought it would be salty but it was yummy); clams with coriander, garlic and tomatoes (we loved the sauce and used the warm bread to finish it off); african chicken (to me it tasted like a cross between mild curry and afritada); and baked beef ribs (derrick was in heaven with this one! thankfully the staff were all Pinoy, so i got the recipe).

we paid a mere HKD 310.00 for this feast, which included drinks and the Portugese dessert serradura (milk and cream pudding with crumbled biscuits on the menu, rich and thick vanilla ice cream/sylvanas to my taste buds. nice, but too sweet).

visited the a-mah temple and moorish barracks--nothing special. got lost in the streets of Barra looking for the Penha Church. asked for directions from locals who scratched their heads and smiled and pointed every which way. after minutes of bickering we found the church. outside is a tourist trap of a table selling religious wares for sky-high prices! while waiting for a taxi to take us to the macau tower which we could see in the distance, a man offered to take us there in his mazda for HKD25! we didn't want to be fodder for robbers and the like so we opted to walk down. it was quite a walk but we saw really unique and spacious homes on the steep way downhill (much like the Peak). we found ourselves on the promenade by the lake and decided to walk all the way to the Tower, which was a bad idea because once we got there, we didn't want to shell out HKD70 each to get scared shitless!

more cultural and artsy stuff beckoned at the Museaum of Art. while derrick sunned himself in the open lobby, i drooled over the visual masterpieces on display.

more photo ops at the golden statue (i forget the name) by the promenade (reminded us of Roxas Blvd), then we were off to Sands to try our luck with the slot machines (no such luck!) and partake of the Las Vegas 888 Buffet. too many choices, most of them mass-produced and commercial tasting. i only enjoyed the oysters, prawn, lamb and dessert. the rest? substandard fare for such a hyped-up place. we should have tried Litoral but Sands was nearer the ferry and as usual, we arrived 11 minutes before boarding and had to run all the way to the gangplank.

that's our macau rush-rush trip for you. the weather was cool, the sun shone intermittently, we had a good lunch and took a hundred pictures to prove that we've been there and done that.

Friday, April 01, 2005

There's a God!

I wanted to post this during Holy Week since its bagay, but I didn't want to offend anyone so I'm posting it now na lang.

Ok, I admit it. I'm not the most religious person. I can almost see the ICA nuns shake their heads in dissappointment at my statement. I wanted to be a nun pa naman when I was in gradeschool. Many of my friends today would be surprised to know this, but I used to attend mass at the Magallanes Church with Jo religiously. I even brought that into my college life when I entered St. Mary's college in California. How it all stopped, I really can't tell you. But as unreligious as I may be, I still believe there's a God.

After I graduated from college, I started going out with this Vietnamese-French guy. What he lacked in intelligence (and boy do I admit it today he sure lacked intelligence) he made it up by being a really considerate, respectful, charming and good looking guy. Until that point in my life he was the most serious boyfriend I had. I even stood up for him during an argument with my dad. My dad was shocked that I was dating an electrician with no college degree! Ah-ya! And how did this guy repay me? Well, he cheated on me by sleeping with a mutual friend of ours when I went to Manila for vacation... during the holidays!

So yadayadayada we broke up, boo hoo hoo, I was devastated, my pride crushed, I returned every single item he ever gave me... damn! Why did I do that? I even returned this $500 pair of diamond earrings he gave me! So anyways, the break up was a standard pikon female reaction story. I even cut up every single picture we took together and barged into his house while he was away. You should have seen the look of bewilderment and confusion on his mom's face when she opened the door (yes, he was living at home, again, what was I thinking??) and let me in. I walked straight into his room, fixed his bed pa so I could emphasize the pile of torn pictures on his bed, took everything that was mine and from its secret location, took out the gun he was hiding and gave it to his dad. (yes, he owned a gun, another what was I thinking moment) I went home feeling contented but still fuming from what he did.

I spoke to a guy friend of mine a few days later, "You Oaghta Know" by Alanis Morissette blasting in the background and seething with anger told him how I wanted revenge on my ex. I told him how I wanted to destroy something that meant alot to him, like his Nissan Pathfinder which he was still making payments for. I told my friend I'd hire someone to destroy it while its parked somewhere away from his house. Siyempre I still had the decency to make sure anything like that would be done away from his home since he had little brothers living there. How considerate of me. I lavished in the thought and felt so much better after venting such evil thoughts with my friend. After that I recovered and went on with my life.

A few weeks later I decided to quit my job and move back to Manila to be with my parents. I was finishing my last few days at the office when suddenly I get a call from my guy friend.

"Hey (Bandit), remember you said you wanted to hire some people to destroy _____'s car? Well, I found those people and they have come down from Oakland and are awaiting your instructions." Guy Friend thoughtfully informed me with an air of achievement.

"WHAT??? What the $!@%? are you talking about??? I was only venting you idiot! Have you lost your mind? There's no way I'd be crazy enough to actually hire someone to destroy someone's car?!?! What the hell!!! What do I do now?!" As I calmly replied.

"Oh..." Long pause. "Well, since they've come down from Oakland already we need to pay them some money to tell them to go back or they're not gonna be happy."

Well, now I know you have to spend around $100 to kindly request a few goons to go back to where they came from after a false alarm. I'm not sure what the going rate is now though.

So with a hole in my pocket, I was still able to scrape up enough money to tour the US a few weeks later. I came home a month or 2 later and received a few phone calls from my former colleagues. They said my ex had been desperately looking for me and had called them a few times to ask how I could be reached. Thinking it might be a desperate attempt to get me back, I ignored the news and never called him back.

One day I receive a call from him.

"Hi (Bandit), heard you went on a trip. Hope you had fun. I called to ask you about something." My ex politely said.

"What is it?" I impatiently replied.

"Well, please don't get mad, but I wanted to ask you. You see, a few weeks ago my car was broken into. They smashed all the windows, damaged the insides and took everything. I just wanted to know if you had anything to do with it.

At that moment I had a grin from ear to ear. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. If you could picture it, it was as if the skies had opened, bright sunlight poured down onto me as I looked up into the heavens, raised my hands and said: "There's a God!"

"Gee, I'm really sorry that happend to you. And I am so flattered you thought I had the guts to do something like that. But sorry, it wasn't me." I calmly replied.

"Oh, ok then. Bye." My ex said as he hung up the phone.

I sat there in complete awe. Never did I expect something like this would happen. It was as if I were in a movie or a romance novel gone wrong. Yeah you have vengefull thoughts, but I would never actually wish it on anyone. I called Guy Friend immediately and told him what happend. He assured me he had nothing to do with it and that he honestly sent the mob squad home. Gosh, what goes around really does come around.

So there you go, that's how it was reaffirmed to me that there is a higher power up there. There is a God!

Footnote: But on a more serious note, I don't mean any disrespect to the devout Catholics and other reliogions out there. I simply believe there's a higher power out there. What I want to teach my children in the future is to respect all religions. That no matter what your beliefs are they are there to teach us to do good. Whether my story proved to me that there's a God or that it was Karma, it made me realize we aren't here to simply be. We are all here together and its what we do and how it affects others that will matter in the end.

home-cooked meals

grocery shopping at Great is my one true indulgence, and today i bought 2 rib-eye steaks, foie-gras, baby asparagus, oyster mushroom, cream, cut melons, paper-thin san daniele ham (so expensive!), tomatoes and an apple.

for dinner i served: pan-fried foie-gras on a bed of poached apples and balsamico with toasted whole wheat bread, followed by broiled rib-eye (marinated in red wine, rosemary and crushed black pepper) with creamed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, blanched asparagus and a red wine shallot sauce.

tomorrow for a snack i'll eat the san daniele with the melons.

i realized both meals, for two, costs a mere HKD375! had i been tamad and we decided to go to SOHO, we would've spent more than double.

so my indulgent Great shopping turned out to be tipid, after all.

restos make so much money, no?

but then, we had dinner in a brightly-lit dining area with Lion King on the TV and the dining table resembling a home office. sometimes ambience does count.

what did you eat this week? anything interesting or new?