On next attraction

I am a movie fan but I rarely splurge money to movie houses. I rather hoard DVDs and spend the day in bed watching them.  Seeing a movie also becomes pricier these days so I really select the movies I watch.

Before the year ends, I have two MUST watch movies.

One is Jet Li’s The Sorcerer and The White Snake

The die hard fan Jet Li in me will never fail to watch this movie whatever it takes.  His last movie was The Expendables, which I reviewed in this post.

My second film in the list is Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (US Version).

I’m so excited! With or without my friends, I will watch these movies!

Where’s my chicken?

It was nearing 12 pm and since it was raining so hard, we decided to have our lunch delivered at the workplace. We agreed to have KFC and I ordered my favorite fully loaded meal. The delivery arrived past 12, despite calling  them an hour in advance, CUSTOMER SERVICE SCORE down!

Hungry and excited over my hot and crispy chicken, I opened my box and I was given a huge surprise. Where is my chicken????? 

I can extend my patience over the absence of spoon, fork, or perhaps the fixin. Heck, of all items? How could they forget  the main reason why we ordered from them! 

My colleague called KFC and instead of immediately resolving the problem, the customer service representative directed our concern to the branch responsible for the delivery. And the same set of questions were asked! @#$%! All we wanted was the undelivered chicken which happens to be your fault. Why ask too many questions? Thirty minutes later the missing piece of chicken was delivered. The problem was resolved but since it was already 1 pm, I might as well not enjoy my most craved crispy chicken.

Poor Customer Service KFC delivery!

Thank you Starbucks!

I was having a hard time doing my much needed paper at home last Sunday. I just can’t capture my concentration to write.

I used to have quiet Sunday afternoons with my parents. Sundays before meant hearing old songs, sumptuous lunch, and sleepy afternoons. But after a public school was constructed behind our house, we literally and figuratively lost that quiet Sunday life. A choir was regularly practicing in one of the classrooms and our ears would get exhausted over their voices. I’m not however criticizing the quality of their voices. It’s just that we get really tired of hearing repeated songs and vocalization exercises.

Before I waste another Sunday afternoon, I finally decided to look for a place where I could regain my focus in writing. I brought my netbook and with a struggling wallet, I went to the lone Starbucks  in my hometown.

I ordered my favorite Java Chip, glazed doughnut and Kettle Chips and prayed that after spending Php 285, I will finally have progress in my paper.

When I started working  the security guard approached me and offered to attach a cable lock to my netbook. It was my first time to experience this kind of supplementary service.

Photo from sqwander.blogspot.com

I didn’t know that Starbucks provides laptop cable locks to its clients.
As much as I criticize companies who failed to practice proper customer service, I provide high appreciation to innovative and customer responsive companies. Thank you Starbucks!  And to the security guard on duty, thank you for the extended assistance. I will definitely be a loyal customer to Starbucks Marquinton. I hope all Starbucks branches will implement the same practice.

Lesser sleep means more weight

In my younger years, I never thought that weight will become a problem that will haunt me everyday. Years passed and I became the person I never thought of. I used to hate people who weigh everyday and would freaked out over a line of weight gain. Today, I imbibed the person I hate. Every time I stepped on that metal scale, I wanted the pointer to stop or move back. Wait,  this is not me at 138 lbs and still counting… grrrr!

I am not the best person to carry out a diet, I mean a “strict and disciplined diet.” I eat what I want to eat. The next best remedy for me is exercise but the courage to start is the problem. While I lack sleep during weekdays, I overcompensate myself during weekends. I sleep for almost 10 hours and when I wake up, it’s usually past lunch already.

I always thought that sleep deprivation is in one way or another synonymous to food deprivation. When you don’t eat, you are depriving your body of its needed nutrients. In effect, it could possibly lead to weight loss. In the case of sleeping, I thought the system works the same. Lesser sleep means depriving your body of its needed rest. In effect, you lose something and it contributes to weight loss too. To my biggest surprise, I was wrong.

While watching the Philippine Edition of The Biggest Loser, I learned that sleep deprivation could contribute to weight gain and even Diabetes. I googled additional sources and it was true enough. The simplest explanation I received was during the state of sleep, our body is breaking down more glucose. People who deprive themselves of sleep is altering this normal process of our body. In effect, our system can’t fully transform or decompose all those glucose. In the long run, the practice of sleeping late leads to weight gain and worst is acquiring Diabetes.

Lesson learned: Not all forms of deprivation leads to weight loss. In this case less sleep, more weight.

Sleep deprivation equates to weight accummulation.

There is greatness in silence

Today marks the 63rd birthday of the greatest man I’ve ever met.

If only technology came early for us, I would have done the same thing for you. I would write the things I can’t say and share every significant milestone in my life with you. I guess, we are only the two persons in the family to the entire clan, who are negatively perceived as the person of few words. We don’t talk much because we don’t want to become contributors to our chaotic environment. You never gave me advices and words of encouragement, but I realized that a lot of the values and principles I have in life came from you. You gave me the best parenting approach, living by example. Your entire life was a showcase of patience, selflessness, humility, hardwork, respect for elders and silence in mind and heart.

You never read me books. We never talked that much but you gave me the best learnings about life. I can’t even think of a way to honor and gratify you. My entire life and humbled achievements will always be a tribute to the all the love and sacrifices you have endured.

Happy Birthday to the man whose silence overflows with principles, values, love and greatness.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

Ristorante delle Mitre: Reviewed

Last Thursday, I tagged my friend Abigail to a restaurant that has been the subject of my curiosity for the past months. A colleague and a TV feature have convinced me to visit a restaurant that is owned and operated by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The restaurant is within the historic Intramuros. It is particularly situated across the San Agustin Church and beside the headquarters of the CBCP.

Here are some of the pictures I have taken

The restaurant occupies a limited space but each corner was maximized with details of elegance.

The interiors of the place heavily utilized wood and different Catholic religious items are seen in almost every corner.

Have you noticed the bright portion of the ceiling? The bright ceiling houses this intricate painting.

Though the restaurant has a Catholic theme, the overall ambiance of the restaurant was still homey, relaxing and perfect for quiet and small group lunch or dinner.

These are mitres, the hats that priests wear during liturgical celebrations. This is where the name of the restaurant originated. 

The menu The prices of the food are relatively affordable.

The amount of servings is in my opinion the main weakness of Ristorante delle Mitre. The relatively lower prices does not after all guarantee more than enough food servings.

Here’s what Abigail and I had for dinner

Crispy Calamares in Sweet Chili Sauce for Php 108, a proof of the not so generous servings. This meal by the way comes with a glass of Iced Tea. In terms of taste, I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars. The few pieces of calamares were lack the tenderness and crispiness that I am expecting.  

For dessert I had Mango Crepe

The two slices of Mango Crepe cost Php 68. Reasonable enough when price and quantity are considered. But in terms of taste, I’ll give it an average rating only. The pancake wrap was too thick and I could barely taste the few mango slices.

I didn’t try their pasta and salad dishes. Perhaps on my next visit, I’ll see whether the servings and taste of the other dishes are better than what I have ordered.

The restaurant also serves cakes. I didn’t try them too because I find the slices too pricey. Cakes cost around Php 128 to Php 148 per slice and the sizes are likewise too small.

Customer service is the best asset of the restaurant. When we entered the place, we were greeted by a nun and a very accommodating waiter ushered us to our seat. To my surprise, the waiter has a hearing disability. I learned that the restaurant provide employment opportunities to our brothers and sisters who have hearing disabilities. I commend them for this act of kindness and understanding.

My final evaluation, I’ll give Ristorante delle Mitre 3 out of 5 stars. The place exhibits a great ambiance for dining. It’s situated at the heart of the historic Intramuros that gives you more than enough reason to try the restaurant.

I will never be one of them

Weeks ago, I wrote about the exchange of “parinigan” or non-confrontational confrontations engaged by some of my relatives through their Facebook accounts. I am not supporting any of my relatives because if I were to be asked, both parties have fueled the heated exchange of words.

When there was an exchange of accusations and harsh criticisms among my relatives, I can’t help but remember my late Lola Florentina. I was blessed to have a different Lola. I know she is not perfect and my opinion is so biased. But my respect and admiration to Lola will never cease.  She will remain as one of the greatest and honorable women I have met in my entire lifetime.  I’ve already written post about my Lola in my other blog. This might appear as a repetition but there’s a deep reason why I’ve decided to express my admiration to Lola Florentina.

Lola is overflowing with generosity. My cousins, parents, titas, titos and some of my relatives can no doubt attest.  Whenever our family hosts birthdays and any form of food feast, Lola would always have the largest share. She ensures that everyone has more than enough food to eat. After all the guests were accommodated, the feast is not over for Lola. She developed this habit of packing extra food for the guests especially for the relatives, the families of her sisters in particular. In Filipino, this practice is called as “pabalot” or take out. Unfortunately, Lola has overspoiled some of our relatives with this habit. Sorry to say but I’ve developed disgust over relatives who would demand for pabalot . If the host of the party voluntarily gives wrapped takeout then be thankful.  But please don’t force the host to wrap something for you and your family. I find this habit so selfish and unethical.  There might be other guests and the family of the host could be deprived of the food too. Consideration, discipline and breeding or class, you know? As my friends and cousins call it, don’t be so patay gutom naman.

While Lola was generous in giving pabalot to our relatives, we imbibed the idea of not demanding the same from our relatives. (Thank God!) We were trained to be contented and thankful for the invitation and sumptuous meal given to us.

My Lola was never a backstabber and a conceited person.  She was sometimes too honest and outspoken. But she was never a backstabber and a gossiper. She would voice out her opinions and listen to stories, but she never ruined the reputation of anyone in the clan. She doesn’t plant and spread stories. She was frank but was never harsh, impulsive and careless. She considers the sentiments of the people who might be affected by her words.  She also doesn’t buy the idea of groupings or “kampi kampihan” in the family. She remained to be fair and impartial to her sisters and relatives.

Lola was a very humble person. She was not a rude critique to our other relatives. She would rather help and console a relative in distress. Unlike some who would rant and conceitedly impose what should be done. Fine, so you’re the most  beautiful and smartest of the family. (Oo na ikaw na, kayo na ang magaling). Heck, I hope they realize that their words and criticisms don’t really resolve the problem. For heaven’s sake, can’t anyone realize that the constant exchange of words can’t heal even a small wound, what more to a pitiful bed-ridden elder.

If my Lola will be able to read this, I know she won’t like it. She might even reprimand me for igniting a new bunch of enemies. My intention is not really to flare up the other members of the family. This is my way of saying that I am proud of the life that Lola has made. I have high respect for the contributions of my Lola to the family. And if there’s one thing I can promise to my Lola, it is to remain one with her and never to become one of them.