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The New Bureau of Immigration Building

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two years ago when I went with P to renew his visa at the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros, this building was being renovated. The office where foreigners went to extend their Philippine visa and other matters was in a small cramped office with makeshift counters made of wood. It was crowded and hot and unsystematic. We had to go back and forth between 2 buildings .

It's now a whole lot better. The renovated office is spacious and airconditioned. They had fliers listing procedures for the various services needed by foreigners from student visa, renewal of ACR, visa extension, etc. The fliers even indicated the estimated time each step would take.

We finished everything before lunchtime except for the release of P's passport. We decided to have lunch as it would be another 40 minute wait. I used to work in PNB, Escolta and one of my favorite places to eat was at the Bacolod Chicken House in Intramuros. This is the original chicken bacolod and none of the chicken inasal restaurants that came later can compare to the taste. Because we were so hungry, I forgot to take pictures of the food. All I have are pictures of our empty plates. Each of us had 2 orders of paa (leg part) and garlic rice and adobong kangkong. Soooo happy!

It was overcast when we stepped out of Bacolod Chicken House, so we took a leisurely walk back to the immigration building. This is King Felipe of Spain from whose name Philippines was named.

I don't know what these ruins used to be but it dates back to time the Philippines was a colony of Spain.

When we got P's passport we decided to take the Pasig River Ferry back. So we walked along Jones Bridge towards Escolta Street where there is a Ferry Terminal. This statue was a gift from the Government of Singapore.

Jones Bridge, Manila...

A view of Pasig river from Jones Bridge....

At the bottom of Jones bridge is the entrance to Chinatown (Binondo)....

The Pasig River Ferry Terminal in Escolta....

We were tired when we got home but happy that mission was accomplished.


Goodbye BCMI

Friday, March 26, 2010

We regularly play Tuesdays and Thursdays with our badminton group in BCMI in Makati. Sadly, the court is closing and a condominium building will take its place. Last night, our group had a farewell tournament for everyone who played with the group. Those who couldn't join the tournament still stopped by to watch and chat and reminisce. The court is not as nice as others but it's our home and this is where P and I met.

The affair was a success. The games were fun, food in abundance and seeing old friends once again. There were 2 teams which was so evenly split that the score was tied at 19 points each team with one match to go, P's match. It was a tough 3 game match but eventually he won delivering the winning point!


The Twerp and Separation Anxiety

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My daughter has always been close to her caregiver who started taking care of her at 8 months. I accepted this fact since I'm a working mother although I am happy that Via does not prefer her caregiver over me when I'm there

Whenever I leave in the morning for work, I kiss Via and she waves goodbye with a flying kiss. She usually doesn't cry. So I was surprised when starting last week, she would cry when I left in the morning and when she's put to bed at night and we're not home yet, she would cry calling Mamee...Mamee.

I read that separation anxiety can last up to 2 years old or even more. Some tips on how to deal with separation anxiety from reading up on the subject:
  • increase her freedom to give her a sense of independence
  • pamper her with extra attention just like you would if she were sick, just don't let it go on too long
  • don't prolong goodbyes, say goodbye and leave no matter how hard she cries and never sneak away
  • develop a ritual goodbye
  • always use positive reinforcement and assure her that you will always be back


Our Lunchtime Habit

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Born out of our frustration in sticking with our gym schedules to lose weight, three of us decided to join our company dentist in running during lunchtime at the multipurpose gym at the office. There are 4 badminton courts there in use during lunchtime but we use the side to do our running.

We go at our own pace. I try to do running 5x around the courts then 2x brisk walking. Every week we will add to the difficulty whether more runs around the court or a faster pace. In between we do some exercises such as bench dips, lunges, and push ups. At the end of the workout we do the abs such as the plank, bicycle and crunches.

The best part is taking a shower after our workout at the newly renovated shower room. I love the shower head!


Friday Night with Friends

Monday, March 22, 2010

Our recently married friend Kler invited us over to their place in Fort Bonifacio. The condo unit was renovated by her hubby who's an architect. One part of the wall was all mirror and gave the illusion of space.

He also changed the lighting and added this blue light for effect. Kler hated it saying it looked like a bachelor's pad, which it was before they married :)



Saturday, March 13, 2010


Egg Sambal Recipe

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I have never thought of having eggs for dinner. However, I decided to try this tasty Malaysian dish because it contains no meat. After going through a few recipes I found online, I decided to try the one I found in My Kitchen Snippets.

5 hard boiled eggs
1 large onions – sliced thinly
1 clove of garlic - chopped
2 tbsp of chili paste or sambal olek (more if you like it spicy)
2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of lemon juice (optional)
Some water
1 tbsp of sugar
Salt to taste

Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in pan and shallow fry the hard-boiled eggs till eggs are slightly browned. Remove eggs and set aside.

Add in garlic and onion and stir well until aromatic and lightly brown. Add in the chili paste and tomato ketchup. Stir for a few second and gradually add in some water.

Add salt and sugar to taste. Return fried eggs to the sambal mixture coat evenly and allow to boil until sambal is reduced in liquid.

Serve warm with rice.

I made slight changes in the ingredients because we didn't have a couple of them. I used chili bean paste instead of chili paste and banana catsup instead of tomato ketchup. Since banana catsup is already sweet, I didn't add the brown sugar. Also I added more garlic because I just love the taste of garlic. It's sooooo good. I will try some more recipes from that blog since there are so many similar dishes between Malaysia and Indonesia.

I will make this again tomorrow morning as I told my friends at the office I would give them a taste if it's successful.


See you Next Week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yesterday, we took P to the Philtranco terminal in Megamall. The Philtranco bus takes people to the Clark International Airport. Some flights, fly out of the Philippines in that airport only. He's taking Tiger Air. He's going home to Indonesia to visit his family for a week. He used to say that he doesn't like saying goodbye and he usually just ups and leaves without telling anybody. So everytime he goes on a trip by himself, I don't expect to take him to the airport. But everytime, when he's about to leave he would ask me if I'm not going with him. He would say the taxi might take him round and round Manila, that it's difficult to make the driver understand, etc. He speaks enough Tagalog to make himself understood and he knows his way around Manila. Men really are such babies sometimes :)

Since the Philtranco terminal in Megamall was walking distance from our place, I thought he would go by himself this time. Besides, he had to be there around 6:30 am. We played badminton until midnight the night before and Via was having difficulty sleeping. So I had all of 3 hours sleep. Well, when he picked Via up (who was fast asleep), I thought it was to kiss her goodbye, but no. He was taking her with him so I had to go as well. I guess he's going to miss his baby girl very much.

I don't function well if I don't get 8 hours sleep. Not only do I look tired and haggard, my skin looks dull and I'm obsessive about skincare :) I went through yesterday like a zombie and didn't get any work done.

The Philtranco bus was right on schedule. I guess it goes around stops in the city to pick up passengers. It stayed about 10 minutes at that terminal. Other terminals are in Pasay, Cubao, Bacoor, and Ermita. The bus schedule and other information may be found in this website:


A Visit to the Doctor

Monday, March 8, 2010

Via has been having nasty coughing for about a week now so we decided to bring her to the doctor. Not to her regular pediatrician because it's a Sunday. We brought her to the STI Megaclinic in Megamall. The place was packed with many patients. Luckily there were two pediatricians that day. We were #12 and the pedia was already with patient #8. I was surprised to find a small play area outside the pediatrician's office. So Via amused herself while waiting.

It's funny because the toy was tied to the stool. That didn't stop one little boy from carrying the whole thing out of the play area though.

More children joined her in that tiny area and there were a brother and sister who were like 5 years old and older that were roughhousing. I got Via out of there because even if they don't mean to, they can hurt really small children. It's up to us parents to keep our children safe although I am trying to avoid being a "helicopter parent" as my friend Bex calls parents who hover all the time.

I'm glad P was with us this time because I never know what questions to ask. Since he's studying med, he had so many questions that the doctor was compelled to tell us that aside from being a pediatrician, she specialized in infectious diseases in children and also held a clinic at the Lung Center.

She gave Via antibiotics and Ventolin in case she has asthma that might have been inherited from me. Via can't be diagnosed until she's about 5 or until the time she is able to blow because the test entails blowing into a narrow tube.

I hope she gets well soon. This cough keeps on coming back.


Bad News All Around

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why is it that bad news come in bunches?

On Sunday morning (February 28), the news of an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hitting Chile was all over the news. I felt as sudden wave of fear. So soon after the earthquake in Haiti in January. It brought to mind all these thoughts and images of the apocalypse, the Book of Revelations, and all the movies I saw about the end of the world as we know it. I am Legend, The Day After Tomorrow, 28 Weeks Later, on. Saturday night we saw the movie The Road starring Viggo Mortensen. That was depressing! I couldn't bear to finish it but P asked my to stay and watch it with him.

Later that day, one of my closest friends sent me a text message that she had cancer. What?! I though she was joking. So soon after her nephew passed away of cancer in January. And she said she didn't want to get a chemo. Just an IV treatment. I have to research this one.

And then all these stories and articles about the Philippine presidential elections and the candidates. Honestly, I still don't know who to vote. None of them seem right for the job. Oh, there is one candidate that I believe can do the job and has demonstrated in the past his ability to get things done without having allegations about his integrity but I doubt he will win. Maybe I'll vote him just the same.

This post hasn't really done anything to cheer me up. The future looks bleak. I hope my mood improves when I wake up tomorrow to a hopefully sunny day.


A 1922 Recipe: Fish Torta

Monday, March 1, 2010

My cousin in Minneapolis asked me to buy this coffee table book for her which also contains period recipes.

I browsed through it to find an interesting recipe that I could try. I found lots! The problem was most of it were in Spanish. My college Spanish was not good enough to translate the recipes. I found this recipe for fish torta (fish omelet) which I decided to try.

1 big fish, about 1 kilo
4 tomatoes, sliced
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cm. fresh ginger
1 small onion, sliced
4 tbsp. lard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Clean the fish. Boil in water to which the ginger has been added. When the fish is done, remove it from the water and take out the bones. Heat the lard in a frying pan. Fry the garlic and the onion. Stir in the tomatoes, the fish, the salt and the peppers. Remove from the fire and cool. Beat the eggs and add them to the mixture. Mix thoroughly. Place a piece of banana leaf in the frying pan in which there is a little fat. Saute the mixture by tablespoonfuls, browning both sides. Serve hot.

The recipe would have been too much for just two of us so I halved it. I used cream dory fillet about 500 grams. I added 5 pcs. chillies, chopped because P has to eat spicy food always. I skipped boiling the fish in water with the ginger. I simply sauteed it along with the onions, tomatoes, garlic using butter instead of lard. It turned out great and I ate too much for dinner.

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