Category Archives: litrato

(big) family day

it’s not often that my side of the family get to visit us here in manila. so after we had our minor house renovation done and had it blessed last saturday, we had the opportunity to tour my two sisters’ families at Venice Grand Canal Mall.

i’ve been to Venice a couple of years back, thanks to a sponsored training-workshop, and i jokingly told them that “this is obviously an immitation of Venice. it’s too clean!”

but it does have that feel… my sisters’ friends ask on facebook, after posting the pictures, “are you in Macau?” mistaking it for The Venetian Macao hotel. 😀

i’m actually more happy for my parents, who are in their 70s now. they would find it hard to travel and see other parts of the world as i already have. well, it’s just 5 other countries (India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Italy) but it’s still more than their trip score: 0. even if it’s not the real deal, i’m pretty sure they were entertained how different it is to the common buildings and architecture they’ve seen around pampanga and manila.

after an hour of just lounging around, we head back to pampanga. (i have violin practice the next day)

it was fun having a family day that didn’t involve just the three of us. and as i get older, i wish more and more that these bonding moments we have as siblings will become more frequent. 🙂


traveling is <3

no wonder mga galing ng developed countries eh nahilig mag-backpacking trips. you get to see the world and learn from it — the people, the culture, the good and bad.

sa local travel, medyo ok-ok pa tayo lahat eh. it’s like going to a family member’s home. bibisita lang. same pa din (halos) yung ugali so adjustment isn’t really a thing much. except for language siguro. pero mostly, you’ve got living and communicating down pat. iba pag sa ibang bansa.

my first trip outside of the country was to India. and it was a solo trip. exciting and scary at the same time. pero it kinda set the tone for my traveling experiences which is generally well and good. there are instances na maba-badtrip ka sa kapwa mo pa pinoy pero brushing it aside and focusing on the adventure that lies ahead, mapapangiti ka talaga.

the next trip was a barkada trip to Malaysia and Singapore. yun ang adventure talaga. may plus and negative sides ang traveling in a group pero it’s generally more fun. you get to share experiences and when you meet each other, you have that shared memory that you can talk about when you’re all old and grey. 🙂

yung sumunod, another ‘business’ trip. more of study actually because like my first trip, it was for work. lumevel up na nga lang ang lolo niyo: Europe ang destination ko! and it was truly something else. ever since, i’ve been bitten by the bug and wish to see it again as often as i can. and it only emphasized how much Manila could have been such a great city if we appreciate history as well as Europeans do, and plan our cities like they do.

finally, my last out-of-the-country trip was the funnest yet: family bonding in Hong Kong. there, we met-up with my niece and her family and became our unofficial tour guides and travel coordinators, LOL! the highlight, of course, was going to Disneyland. just walking the street with music you’re oh so familiar with brings a wide smile to anybody’s face. i just felt like a little kid again! nevermind the long lines. i was in “The Happiest Place on Earth” and i was really REALLY having a blast and that’s all that mattered! 🙂

kung di mo lang talaga iniisip ang gastos, masayang i-explore ang mundo natin. it feeds your eyes and your soul. it creates that feeling that you’re connected to these other people you don’t know. and the thing is, when they share their country with you, you share your own with them.

SCTEX and NLEX on our first Tarlac (semi-)adventure! :)

i don’t remember ever setting foot in tarlac. so i was quite pleased and excited when i was asked for a lecture in tarlac city over the weekend. A and the little pumpkin tagged along and were mostly asleep during the trip.

it was a bit tiring and traffic was bad on NLEX because of the vacationers and long weekenders. more cars mean higher probability of accidents and breakdowns. on a regular day, because NLEX and SCTEX are now one road network, the trip should only take less than 3 hours from taguig. (i remember Baguio taking only a little over 4 hours from cubao! imagine that!)

well, they are expanding the roads, adding additional lanes, so tiis-tiis lang muna.


arriving late on saturday meant lectures until early evening. by the end of the day, i was really really pooped out. the next day, we started late since the students stayed up late downloading data and doing stuff unrelated to my work. but by the end of the afternoon, we were off and on the road again. it was a rainy trip back to pampanga where we spent the rest of the long weekend. it got a little scary because of the poor visibility but since there were few cars, it was easy to navigate. besides, i have waze. 🙂


Magpatuloy magbasa SCTEX and NLEX on our first Tarlac (semi-)adventure! 🙂

ispeyshal [emergency] lumpia

when your “race’s” reputation precedes you, it’s pretty difficult to stand up to some standards already present. they expect you to shine, excel, or surpass every person they’ve previously met.

i’m kapampangan. i was born and raised in pampanga. and the reputation for being great cooks is the first thing that non-kapampangans assume. “shame on the kapampangan who does not know how to cook!”

but i think there are just certain things we do that makes us ‘excellent cooks’. one does not necessarily come with the cooking gene in his or her DNA. you get the creativity gene or the OC gene instead and just apply it to cooking. i believe you are one of these: you are strict with the ingredients (completeness, quality, amounts, etc.) or you experiment (e.g. mixing ingredients, spices and cuisine) on purpose or by pure circumstance.

and this lumpia recipe carries with it this story:

during our fiesta, we underestimated the number of guests to arrive. by late afternoon, almost all the food was gone. we had to serve something to our relatives arriving early evening. all the meat — pork and chicken — were already cooked and served. we couldn’t serve hotdogs or canned corned beef could we? Magpatuloy magbasa ispeyshal [emergency] lumpia

Mar and Grace 2016 na nga!

ay, anubayan… pumayag na si Sen. Grace Poe maging VP ni Mar? tapos nanunuhol pa ng ensaymada sa mga Spanish-speaking Pinoys. Ayan o, malinaw na malinaw! “Mar y Grace”. Sa salitang tagalog, “Mar at Grace!”


maling tambalan na nga, eepal pa sa preliminary campaigning at suhol! boooo!

of course, i kid. obviously, these are Mary Grace goodies. it was just a humorous thing we noticed at the office while they were giving these away.

KitKat + Matcha

the Japanese really have it good. daming options sa KitKat!!!

officemate went to Japan last week and met-up with another former officemate who is now living there. and true to our Pinoy culture, siyempre may pasalubong!!! 🙂

IMG_5280-1200actually, i think another officemate now studying in Japan brought some last time. and there was one chili flavored KitKat too. they were not terrible. they were ‘pleasantly unusual’ (?).

so, doc G and doc P, salamat sa pagdala ng pasalubong! 🙂

a new life

when A and i got married, i expected some sort of new life. it was uncomfortable at times having left my bubble of security and familiarity with what i knew that would please me. i had to adjust but it wasn’t as difficult as what i am adjusting to now.

i am renewed everyday. i am being hammered and formed into someone better. because we have been entrusted with a new life, a new person, an entire human being.

i am now a father to a son.


and it is fitting, i guess, that i write this on Ash Wednesday. when we are reminded of what we are and i realize what i am holding in my hands when i burp him at night and when i sway him to sleep. from ashes comes life. from ‘nothingness’ a person is made. and yet the one i cradle in my arms is someone more precious than everything in the entire world.

i am made to reflect what should i value more now. i am blessed with a new life, a new being, as well as being formed into this new life of parenthood.

Orale! BGC review

when the hunger pangs of a pregnant woman strike, you can’t do anything but obey them.

but it was fortunate i had a craving for mexican food as well. 😀

A had been having these cravings for mexican food in november. she’s been asking around in her office if they knew of any resto nearby. we’ve eaten at mexicali and agave and zapata’s already and i guess we wanted to know how another one would compare.

one officemate, she said, recommended Orale! in BGC. and since we lived nearby, it was perfect for us even if it was late afternoon when we went.

it had a rough finish of patchwork of cement on the walls, dark wooden tables and chairs and the menu was written on chalkboards in carved frames. the shelves make a countertop where the kitchen serves your order. on one end of the shelf is the cashier’s counter by the door. above the kitchen ‘window’ is one big mural showing everything mexican. other items on display include beer bottles, a soccer ball, and decorated skulls. (!!!) made me wonder if they were real but i didn’t bother asking… because i didn’t know if i would be fascinated or troubled by it. hahaha!

Magpatuloy magbasa Orale! BGC review

katipunan avenue at night

it’s been a while since the MMDA replaced the U-turn slots with traffic lights along C5 and katipunan. a lot of complaints came out when it was done in katipunan but it greatly improved traffic flow in C5. well, maybe just a little but it was a better than what it used to be. so that’s great news.

and because i’ve not had practice shooting photographs for a long time, i thought i’d test it on katipunan traffic one evening. 🙂 classes are out in ateneo so maybe that’s one reason for the lighter traffic.

Bohol Day 2 Afternoon: Two Churches, a Cave, and Seashells

as i browse through the photos, i still can’t believe that these churches have been damaged by the earthquake last October 2013. if i could walk through the walls again, maybe i would try to soak up all of the beautiful imagery i could than just stand there and take pictures. pictures are great but seeing the real thing and being in awe its proportion to your small size — it’s just an awesome feeling and overwhelmingly so.

from the bee farm, we headed to Dauis to visit Dauis Church. what immediately caught my attention was the belfry which had spikes that i associate with european gothic churches. inside, you see a mix of the old and new (albeit a bit tacky). the new paint on the walls didn’t seem to blend quite well with the antique finish of the retablos and altars. still the artwork on the sanctuary ceiling were a sight.

Magpatuloy magbasa Bohol Day 2 Afternoon: Two Churches, a Cave, and Seashells