3.25.2010

Thursday Thirteen: 13 things about Berto (aka The Hubby)

  1. He is the eldest among 3 brothers.
  2. He has weak ankles. He’s sprained them so many times! Basketball and any sport that requires running and jumping around is a no-no.
  3. He is a technophobe. He’s never turned on the laptop except when he has to use the word processor. He has never surfed the net on his own (I have to give him the evil eye just to “force” him to email his mom and aunt) and Excel downright scares him!
  4. He loves cars. His work has something to do with cars. The only time I see him reading is when he’s reading an article/book about cars. He dreams about cars. He breathes cars.
  5. His handwriting is beautiful.
  6. He is enamored with majestic old churches.
  7. When I met him in high school, he is the type of person whom I would least likely be interested in. (We’ve been together since 4th year high school!)
  8. He abhors reading, refer to # 4
  9. He is a wonderful cook.
  10. He has a magnificent singing voice. I am his biggest fan!
  11. Except for his wedding ring, he doesn’t wear any jewelry.
  12. He cries when someone dies in the movies. He is so affected; I can’t even talk to him immediately after the movie.
  13. Did I mention he loves cars?

Come and play the Thursday Thirteen Meme!

3.24.2010

Visiting the Noynoy Aquino Volunteer Center

One thing my husband and I have in common is that we like Noynoy Aquino.

Everyday, we pass by houses and establishments with yellow ribbon lanterns hanging by their doors or gates, especially the houses in Loyola Grand Villas. We admire them for being so upfront with their political leanings. They have chosen the presidential candidate they will support this May 2010 elections and they are not shy about it at all. One day, we passed by the Noynoy Aquino Volunteer Center in Katipunan Ave. and we saw a sign saying “Yellow Ribbon Lanterns-Ilaw na Dilaw Available Here”. We got so excited! We decided to pass by on our way home and inquire about the yellow ribbon lanterns.

That night, we were delighted to note that the sign saying they were open was still up, but when hubby knocked at the door, only the security guard came to the door. Apparently, they were already closed, they just don’t take down the sign…ever.

Thankfully, the “manong guard” was very accommodating. He answered hubby’s queries. He said the small lantern costs 250 each while the big one costs 1,000 and it is bundled with 2 small lanterns. Pretty reasonable prices. Too bad he wasn’t allowed to sell the lanterns so he just asked us to return the next day. He said the last volunteers leave at around 7pm. Hmmm… sadly, we’re still traversing EDSA around that time.

We didn’t leave empty handed though. The friendly "manong guard” gave us some yellow ribbon stickers (although we already have one stuck on the car’s rear windshield) and some Noynoy Aquino calendars.
Maybe we’ll just come back on a Saturday.

3.17.2010

Thursday 13: Quirky Things About Me (Kwala)

This is the first time for me to join the Thursday Thirteen meme. So I think it is only apt for me to introduce myself to the Thursday Thirteen players. What better way than to list down 13 quirky things about me:

1. I am afraid of heights.
2. When I have to eat alone, I need to read.
3. My favorite color is purple/violet/lilac and I feel the extreme necessity to surround myself with all things purple/violet/lilac.
4. When I see a bookstore, I need to go in; and when I go in a bookstore, I need to buy something, anything.
5. I dream of being a published writer.
6. I am a world-renowned singer…in my head.
7. Unlike other women, I feel no joy in shopping for clothes and shoes. I feel it’s a chore. I only go shopping when I have to. (as in nothing fits me anymore)
8. If I were in a room with another person, mosquitoes will most likely bite me more than the other guy.
9. I am partial to Sony and Sony Ericsson brands for my gadgets.
10. When I eat, I need matching utensils; otherwise, I can’t enjoy my food.
11. I have crooked fingers, they arch so far back, they freak my husband out.
12. I hyperventilate at the sight of blood, but I hide it pretty well.
13. I’m a recovering coffee addict… who recently happily went on relapse.

3.15.2010

Come and Participate in Earth Hour 2010


You have been hearing growing concerns about the sorry state of our environment and mother earth, but you feel the problem is just too big, too complicated or just plain hopeless. Here is a simple way any man; woman or child can make a stand against climate change. Participate in Earth Hour 2010.

In 2007, in an amazing feat, some 2.2 million homes and businesses in Sydney turned off their lights for one hour to show their concern and stand against climate change. After a year, it became a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome ’s Colosseum stood in darkness for an hour. They became symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

Last year, 88 countries participated in Earth Hour, and I am proud to say that the Philippines ranked first in terms of scope of public participation with some 647 cities and towns switching off their lights. Last year, we were in Morong, Bataan having our summer vacation. We sort of participated in Earth Hour, although involuntarily. Even before the scheduled time came, our resort was already blanketed with darkness. There was a black out (sigh).

This year though, hubby and I have already talked about it. We will join the rest of the world on March 27, 2010 in sending a powerful global message: “It’s time to take action on global change!” From 8:30PM to 9:30PM, we will join more than 6,000 cities and towns worldwide in a symbolic act of switching off the lights. Guess what? You can join us! Come take part in this global initiative!

1.Sign up now (www.earthhour.org) to become part of the Earth Hour movement.

2.On March 27, 2010, Saturday, you can show your support by turning off your lights from 8:30PM to 9:30PM. You can do this whether you are an individual, a business, a school or a city.

3.Spread the word. Add an Earth Hour banner to your blog, tag your tweets and update your facebook status. Tell your friends that you’re supporting Earth Hour 2010. Encourage them to do the same!

Let us support Earth Hour 2010!

3.13.2010

Restaurant Style Fried Chicken

We had yummy Sunday lunch today courtesy of the husband. What did we have? Crispy home-cooked fried chicken.

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I remember when I was a child, my mom prepared fried chicken too but the breading was never crispy. Often it would be soggy by the time it reaches the table, still yummy but somehow she just couldn’t duplicate the way restaurants prepare their fried chicken.

Thankfully, there are a lot of commercial products available now with this purpose in mind. Hubby was able to find a Restaurant Style Fried Chicken Mix by Del Monte. It's one chicken recipe that's very easy to follow. One pack is good for ½ kilos of chicken. It contains four packages inside:

• A marinade mix
• A batter mix
• A breading mix
• Gravy mix

The crispy fried chicken was done in 4 steps:

1. Dissolve marinade in 1/3 cup water. Marinate chicken for an hour, turning occasionally.

2. Dissolve batter mix in ¼ cup water.

3. Dip marinated chicken in batter then coat with breading. Deep fry in hot oil for 12-14 minutes then drain excess oil.

4. Dissolve gravy mix in1 cup water until free from lumps. Bring to a boil then simmer for another 3 minutes, constantly stirring. Serve with fried chicken.


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Voila! Yummy fried chicken from your very own kitchen! Yup, no need for delivery.

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Our complements to the very sexy chef!

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We all loved our home-cooked feast as seen here: notice the little girl's wide smile. We also had pork and mushroom soup and some baked potatoes to go with our crispy fried chicken.

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Burp! How about you, what did you have for lunch today?

Photo hunt:Spiral



This is my photo hunt entry for this week, ornate antique (old and dusty) candle holders stacked on top of each other to showcase their spirals. I was getting frustrated in looking for a spiral to take a picture of when i felt the urge to look up Lo and behold the candle holders looking down on me from our lofty altar.
This is one of the benefits of participating in photo hunt, you give ordinary every day objects a second look and actually get to appreciate their beauty.

3.12.2010

A wedding at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Makati


Last December, we were all surprised when our cousin announced that he was getting married. We always thought of him as our baby since he was the youngest in our batch of cousins. I guess he is not that young anymore really, he is 31 years old after all.

The preparations took only less than 3 months. Before we knew it, a date has been set, and we were informed that our darling daughter will be part of the entourage. We were all excited. This is only the third wedding in our family, the first being ours.

The day finally came. It was a particularly hot Monday afternoon. We arrived at the St. Andrew Church, Makati an hour early, as requested. It was ok with us since it also gave our little girl enough time to feel comfortable with the place and the other flower girls. The couple’s chosen motif was gold. Thankfully, the church was air conditioned, so we were all comfortable even while waiting. The priest was very hand on with the wedding. And when I say very, I mean VERY hands on. He acted as the events coordinator at church, planning the arrangement and “choreography” of the sponsors and entourage. He was very particular with the positioning, which aisle they would come from, what they should do once they reach the altar (shake hands with the groom), where they should seat after. During the wedding he also asked the bride to be part of the offertory, something different. I remember my cousin telling me that the reason behind that is because the church itself was really small. Unlike the big churches where the bride and her entourage gets to walk along a long aisle, doing this elaborate choreography was meant to showcase the elegant and expensive dresses, to make all the effort and preparation more worthwhile. How considerate. He was also the director for the traditional picture taking after the wedding, calling on the family of the bride/family of the groom/sponsors etc.

Thankfully, the little girl played her part to a tee, slowly walking along the aisle, gracefully throwing flower petals on the floor…. Simple adorable!

After the wedding we proceeded to the reception hall at the Makati Park and Garden . It was again thankfully, properly air conditioned. Sumptuous food was provided by prestigious Tamayo’s Catering, whose waiters even provided some entertainment when they danced during the food parade. They went ahead with the usual tradition during a wedding, the cake slicing, the ceremonial toast, the bouquet and garter game, the only tradition they left out was the letting out of the doves. Actually, I’m not sure if they forgot or if they purposely left it out.

All in all, the wedding was a success. The whole ceremony and the reception exuded simple elegance. The bride was simply glowing; her bridal gown impeccable, the groom in his suit was simply handsome. The joining of these two hearts was also the joining of family and friends celebrating the new union.

contact information:

St. Andrew The Apostle Church
N. Garcia cor. Neptune sts. Bel-Air II, Makati
Tel No. 890-1796; 897-7743

Makati Park and Garden
J.P Rizal ext Brgy. Pembo Makati City
Ofc: Makati City Hall 2F Mayors Ofc
Tel No. 899-8915; 899-8994

Tamayo’s Catering
Ground Floor, Plaza San Luis, Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila (across San Agustin Church)
Hotline: 526-2222 or you may also call 536-8895; 400-7161; 5367682-Fax
Email: info@tamayos.com


If by any chance you are looking for affordable packages for photo and video coverage,
come and visit BK Pixels Photography. 290-55711 or 09152868944

We also rent out a Photobooth to may your event more fun and memorable:
BK Pixels Photobooth


3.11.2010

Our Experience at Marikina Valley Medical Center

The other day, on our way home, hubby felt a bit dizzy. We blamed it on his hypertension. Excessive climate change can trigger reactions like this and lately, the Philippines has been on the verge of a heat wave. We decided to stop by Mini Stop, a convenience store, to buy juice. We couldn't find a parking spot so we just stop by the side of the road and turn our hazard lights on. To avoid being reprimanded by traffic enforcers, hubby tried to walk really fast towards the store. Bad decision. The dizziness caught up with him and he lost his balance. He tried to regain his composure and placed all his weight on one foot, to no avail since this too buckled. The result: a sprained ankle. When he finally got in the store, he also bought some ice so he can press them close to his ankles as a sort of cold compress. He kept a brave front, but I knew he was hurt.


The next day, he just couldn't get up. His ankle hurt too much. The said ankle had ballooned, too swollen to hit in his shoe. I talked him into going to the hospital. Initially he just wanted to go to the nearest one, but I argued that we should go to one that has complete facilities. I immediately thought of Marikina Valley Medical Center.


We arrived at the emergency room at 7:00 am. There were no other patients. The room was dark, and the nurses, probably already sleepy from their night shift, were slow to approach us, despite seeing hubby miserably limping in. We were greeted by an eager, friendly, smiling nurse. He made me sign the papers, and then he took hubby’s blood pressure. 140/90. hmmm… I seriously doubted the accuracy of this reading since hubby’s pressure is usually 150/100 on a good day. After waiting for some time, the nurse prepared a cold compress.

            

He filled a rubber glove with ice cold water and asked hubby to press it against his ankle. After some more waiting, we were told that hubby was going to be x-rayed and he was rolled off to the nearby room. After a few minutes, we already have the results. Thankfully, no fracture. We were guided back to the emergency room. More waiting. After some time, I was called to the reception area, the Intellicare (HMO) officer wanted to talk to me. She wanted to know if hubby was under the influence of alcohol during the accident. Of course I said no. (as any person with the right mind would answer) Then more waiting…. all the while, we were being attacked by giant mosquitoes. (I noticed there were no warnings or write ups posted on the walls about dengue. How could they when their hospital was harboring hoards of mosquitoes, even the lone mosquito killer at the far end of the room couldn't do help.)


The doctor finally approached us with the prescription bearing medicine we should buy:Arcoxia 120mg for the pain (P70+) and Myonal which was muscle relaxant (P20+). I asked shouldn’t hubby’s ankle be wrapped in elastic bandage as a sort of support? The doctor thought for a while before finally saying ok. She instructed the male nurse to put a bandage on hubby’s ankle. We were waiting and waiting and waiting, until I finally asked what was taking them so long. The nurse said that they were still waiting for the approval from our HMO…again, for some bandages! Argh! Why didn’t they request for that in the first place? Wasn’t that part of their S.O.P treating sprained ankles? I went to talk to the cashier and told her that we’re willing to pay for the bandages ourselves if this is the only cause of delay, when finally the approval came through and the eager, smiling nurse came bouncing back in the emergency room with the controversial bandages. He bandaged the ankle a bit too tightly, but hubby pretended not to mind since this will surely take some more time to undo and redo again.


We finally left at past 9am. It took more than two hours to be treated at the “emergency” room for a mere sprained ankle! And the hospital wasn’t even bustling with other patients at all!

So after that experience, what can I say about the Marikina Valley Medical Center ? Let me start with the positive. They are accredited by several HMOs, Intellicare included. The personnel, doctor and nurses were courteous and polite. The facilities were new and readily available, like the x-ray and the results were available immediately. They had available medical supplies like rubber gloves and elastic bandages. 

The negative: The emergency room is a mosquito sanctuary. It is dark and depressing. I sustained 6 mosquito bites, yes I counted. There were 2 people manning the reception/information area but only one of them knew how to process the health card transactions. That caused further delay in our transaction when the one familiar with HMO transactions had to do leave and the patients’ health card transactions were just left there unprocessed on queue. They x-rayed hubby first before getting the approval from the HMO, if the transaction was declined, we would've been made to pay for his treatments. (This actually happened to us before, but that's a different story)


Update:

I have been receiving lots of comments with this blog post, some positive, echoing my not-so-great experience in this hospital and some negative. I'm assuming they are somehow connected to the hospital (staff or admin) since they kept on defending the hospital. Please understand that this is an old post, but this is what hubby and I experienced then so this blog post is about that experience. I didn't write this to bad mouth anybody or any institution. I am just sharing my experience with the hospital. 

By the way, I was back again last year but this time as an outpatient with a dermatologist. I know, I know. Why come back when I was unhappy with their services before? Well the hospital is near our place, and it had great facilities. I'm not one to hold a grudge and I wanted to try the hospital again, believing it has improved since our last visit. Sadly, I had a horrible experience with the dermatologist and but will not go into details since I believe the bad work ethics of one doctor does not necessarily reflect the whole hospital's quality of service. It was very frustrating though.

That's that =)

3.06.2010

Movie Review: The Fourth Kind


Last Thursday, hubby and I wanted to go home early to catch the American Idol girls perform, but when we were on the highway, the traffic jam was so terrible that we decided to just see a movie and let the heavy traffic subside first. When we reached the mall, we immediately chose to see The Fourth Kind. We've always had this weakness for the horror/suspense movies. So how was it? Here it goes:


The Fourth Kind

(Horror, Suspense)

Actors:
Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Corey Johnson

Back when alien invation and alien sightings were favorite topics in the 1970's, a standard of measurement was set regarding these matters.
When there is sighting of a UFO, it is called encounter of the first kind. When evidence is collected, it is the second kind. When there is contact between humans and the extraterrestials, it is called the third kind, And then finally, when an abduction occurs, this is called the Fourth Kind. This is the premise of the latest scary movie from Universal Pictures.

It tells of the story of Dr. Abegail Tyler, a psychologist from Nome, Alaska who video taped sessions with disturbed patients. Actually, that is what is creepy about this movie. The use actual footages of the videotapes, showing the actual people involved, during their sessions with Dr. Tyler. Unlike other scary movies like Blair Witch Project and The Paranormal Activity, this movie is an actual documentary, based on true stories and facts. Creepy huh?

a word of warning though, the movie contains some pretty graphic scenes that left me depressed for a while.

I admire director and co-writer Olatunde Osunsame's style of splitting the screen into two parts, one part showing the actors and the other showing the "real" people. The only thing that bothered me was the disclaimer that they changed the names of the people involved, and yet they show the actual faces of these people...in compromising positions! hmmm... maybe it's just a hoax...i'm not sure anymore....

Of course, I am not an experienced critic, but what i am sure of is that the movie really did freak me out!

So what did we think? Berto and I actually enjoyed it... and a true testament that the movie did affect us... nobody wanted to get up at dawn. So what if my bladder is about to burst... i will keep it in till morning... when the sun is up and no creepy owl is looking throught the window.... hehehe...
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