And with Royce’ I said farewell

31 05 2009
Royce' - Farewell Gift Rum Raisin Bar

And with this I said farewell...

I SAW quite a number of people leave last Friday.  Not leave for the weekend.  But really leave.

I’m not good with goodbyes.  I have never been.  And I dread it all the time.  But now more than ever, I have realized just how much it is a part of life.

And with bars of Royce’ Rum Raisin Chocolate, neatly packed inside their pretty gift sleeve sealed with their signature gold sticker, I said farewell to my friends.  I really felt like this was the least gesture I could make to let people know that they have my best hopes and intentions as they move forward to new endeavors.

I would’ve opted for the Nama Chocolate in Champagne Pierre Mignon.  But the ice-replacement gel packs last for only 5 hours.  And I wanted my friends to be able to bring the chocolate home with them should they decide to.  So the Rum Raisin Chocolate Bara Royce’ bestseller – was the perfect choice!

Guys… YOU WILL BE MISSED!

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Zap!

 

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Joren bathed in light!

 

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Ryan in orange...

 

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Mark Anthony, Joren (blurred... sorry), Arnel, Mark, Ryan...

 

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With Mark Anthony and Joren

 

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With Joren!

 

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With Ryan and Mark Anthony

 

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Two of my newest friends - Joren and Mark Anthony

 





Turning out the lights

28 05 2009

HOW I wish it were as simple – as easy – as flickering a switch.  Yes, how I wish that causing something to stop operating were really as simple as disengaging a switch.  But the painful reality is that you cannot just say “turn out the lights” and expect it to be over with one rapid action.

This one has been a slow and steady one.  And as with any major changes – in life or “in the ways things are” – you do your best to “buy more time.”  I guess I have been doing just that for the past couple of months.  But now that it’s only a day away, you will realize that it is all too real.  And it is soon to come to pass.

For a couple of days now, I’ve kept my “sad” status on my facebook account.  I even mustered up enough courage to finally add “bitter” to it yesterday.  One well-meaning friend asked why the “bitter”ness.  I guess (I know) that a part of me still resents the “decision.”  I’ve been quietly indignant about it – what can someone like me do? – but as I have said, if these people directly affected by it had found acceptance, so should I.

Maybe there is a point to this (to borrow Mel’s words).  My only problem is that… I’ve yet to see it completely.  I’m keeping an open mind.

I’m quite thankful of all the things I was able to be part of and work on these past couple of months for this group. I’m not really “chummy chummy” with all 54 of them.  But I have found in some of them the kind of friends that I will want to keep.  Thank God that in this day and age, there is really such a thing as being able to keep in touch.

So let me just say a big thank you to some of them.  Sometimes, meeting people is enough to feel thanks.  And from this group I’ve come to know quite a number of people – then and now – who I personally and professionally look up to.  I really hope that they will soon get their fresh starts!  All the best!

Domeng, Agnes, Mel, Jen, Rey, Bong, Orly, Lence, Jet, Melvin, Toinette, Ems, Kate, Lendie, Floyd, Vernon, Marman, Jon, Arnel, Joren, Mark, Ber, Michelle, Grace, Janwyn, Ryan, Jaber, Ronnie, Kenneth, Richard, Jeff, Eric, Erick, Anthony, Felix, Mark Anthony, and Ronoel… and the list goes on…

A shoutout to those who have come and gone before – Cecille, Erwin, James, NevO, Rod, Rafela, Marie, Ging, Carmie, and Drei.

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Elegant table setting at the CDC Lights Out Party, 30th April 2009.

 

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Putting together a storyline for the CDC video...

 

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It was a date - 30th April 2009!

  





Royce’ for a fave Superhero

27 05 2009

ROYCE’ CHOCOLATES remind me that there need not be a special occasion to give someone special something special.  Yes, it’s true that there are so many reasons in this world to give gifts – but I have to say that the best is to give gifts for no reason at all.

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Royce' Chocolate gift bags for a favorite Superhero!

And for one of my best Superhero friends – a chocolate lover at that – I couldn’t help but get some of the best Royce’ Chocolate varieties ever.  These are the ones that I myself really adore… and devour!  Hahaha!

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Royce' Milk Chocolate Bar

 

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A peek into one of the gift bags revealed the Royce' Milk Chocolate Bar!

As the ones I’m sharing here were gifts, I didn’t get to take snapshots of the actual chocolates.  But the packaging are too pretty to not take photographs of.  So, here they are!

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The Royce' Nama Chocolate in Champagne "Pierre Mignon"

I’ve long raved about the unparalleled pleasure the touch, feel and taste of nama chocolates give.  Not to mention the teasing, lingering chocolate notes that they leave on the tongue.  But I have to categorically declare here just how unprepared I was for Nama Chocolate in banana, their latest seasonal offering at their Greenbelt 5 kiosk, coming at the heels of strawberry about a couple of weeks back.  After savoring my first block of this generously cocoa powder-dusted confection, the skeptic in me recoiled at the thought that I had unwittingly deprived myself with so much pleasure all the time I cringed at the idea of throwing bananas and chocolate together in the blender for a refreshing smoothie snack!

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The Royce' Nama Chocolate in "Banana" (seasonal)

Unfortunately, I don’t have shots of my other favorites – the Nama Chocolate in Strawberry (seasonal), “Bitter,” and “Au Lait,” and the Rum Raisin Chocolate Bar.

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Aren't they the prettiest?... Yet another shot of the Nama Chocolates!





From someone left behind

25 05 2009

MY TRUSTY online dictionary defines it to be “sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned.”  It actually offers three senses for the word.  But this one, I think, comes closest to how I really feel.  Though the words “forsaken” and “abandoned” are somewhat strong.

After over three decades of existence, I thought I’ve seen and felt everything there is to see and feel.  And it is while relishing this thought that I realized I couldn’t be any more wrong – I couldn’t have spoken or claimed something so soon.

Because right now, I’m going through this “sadness resulting from being left behind.”

In life, one will experience a loneliness that nobody else can fathom; a loneliness that only the presence of someone can fill.

This is my own belief.  And this is how I feel.  That is why while “move on” and “move forward” may mean the same thing metaphorically, I’d rather take a conscious effort to “move forward” from this.  Or else, I will get stuck.

Yes, I will move forward. But I WILL NEVER FORGET – the people, the good times, the way they made me feel.





Tasks and tastes

25 05 2009

KATE & LEOPOLD, this Meg Ryan-Hugh Jackman starrer I’m watching right now on free TV (Studio 23) just gave me the fitting introduction to this blog post I’ve been meaning to write.

Right in the middle of a heated argument on the merits of the number of times one has to pull down their bread in the toaster “General Electric” made, Leopold told Kate something to the effect of: “When you wake up to the smell of a warm brioche smothered in marmalade, you will realize that life is more than just tasks but tastes.

And I believe so.  Amen to that! That was exactly what I had – both “tasks” and “tastes” – when I decided to finally get my haircut yesterday, Saturday.  Since I get my haircut in Makati – at the same place and with the same stylist for over a year now – I inadvertently turned my “tasks” day into a “tastes” day as well.  I decided to leisurely take my sweet single time and have my “comfort” dishes at three of my favorite places in that city.  Of course, while I surveyed the latest mid-priced wristwatch offerings in the market. Hahaha! (Recession…)

Lately, I’ve been really lazy to get a haircut.  The last one I had was a week before I emceed my good friends Bom and Rizzie’s January 10, 2009 wedding.  As a matter of fact, that is how it has been with me – I only get a haircut when I have something special coming.  I should’ve gotten one before I emceed a very special party last April 30, but I was just so swamped at work that I didn’t have free time.

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit down and on a whim, decided to get my haircut!  I guess a part of me had also realized – and accepted the fact – that there’s only so much that extra-hold wax or reworkable putty can do to tame my hair.  Hahaha!  So I sent a text message to the Bench Fix Salon at Glorietta 4 and requested a 4:00 PM appointment with their Senior Stylist KC Aninao.  I grew up getting my haircut from the friendly neighborhood barber (who’d often come to the house).  But time came when I sort of outgrown the barber’s cut.  That’s when I started experimenting. I’ve been to Salon de Manila (friends called the rates “highway robbery”), a number of other salons, Regine’s, and to at least three branches of Bench Fix – Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, and Glorietta 4.

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Halfway through the haircut...

 

It was in Glorietta 4 that I found a haircut and a hair stylist that really delivered.  I went to the place at 4:00 PM on the dot, and after confirming with the front desk personnel my appointment, was led to one of the chairs, greeted by KC with a smile and the quip, “Ang haba na ng buhok mo, parang di ko na makita kung ano ang ginawa ko dyan!” (Your hair has grown, I couldn’t figure out what cut I made to it!).  But of course he said that just in jest, as he had clearly known that I’ve been asking for the “Prada model” haircut for quite a while now.  I tore the Prada ad from one of my GQ magazines and showed it to him the first three times I asked for the cut.  Now, he no longer needed the visual guide.

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He was the only one who cut my hair – after the “Prada model” specs – to my satisfaction!  He would cut it wet, but would ask for a salon assistant to dry it midway so that he could see the “fall” and then, finish it off with a precise dry cut.

The rest of my day in Makati was spent going through inspecting a number of wristwatches I’ve been so lusting after (for quite a while now!).  But it was not totally a selfish exercise as I was eyeing one of the wristwatches as a gift for someone special.  But the tag prices were prohibitive that I really ended up just window shopping – for now! – and asking for business cards with details of the particular models that took my fancy.  I’ll see if I’d lose sleep over any of them.  If so, I’d be back looking at them again next week! Hahaha!

All the other time not devoted to getting the haircut and going over wristwatches was spent on – what else?! – eating!  At Cibo Café in Greenbelt 5 (where I made my requisite stop at the Royce’ kiosk), I had Spaghetti alla Romana, two glasses of (canned) Tomato Juice, and Chocolate Panacotta.  At The Soup Kitchen in Glorietta 5, I had a full bowl of my favorite Hearty Vegetable Soup, a full Crabstick Sandwich, and a cup of Hot Chocolate.  And to cap my day (already “night” time at this point), I went to Starbucks Coffee in 6750 to get one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – the Hungarian Sausage with Egg and Cheese – with a venti glass of one of their new offerings – the Dark Mocha Frappucino!

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The Cibo Cafe menu cover

 

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My favorite - Tomato Juice! I had two of these.

 

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The Chocolate Panacotta. I'm so loving the dessert spoon!

 

The dark mocha frappucino was perfect as it was, but having had this drink for a while now (first at their Las Piñas branch), I knew better this time to ask that they do away with the chocolate chips!

What more can I ask for.  It was an almost perfect day.  Almost.

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Had Starbucks to-go to cap the day (night)!

 

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Now you know my "coffee name"!

 

 





Keeping up with facebook

22 05 2009

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THINGS HAVE a way of coming back and biting you in the a**.  (Can I really say that three-letter word here?)

When I got up the nerve to brandish here my list of 25 things about me – that I called “eNTeNG’s 25” – I went to great lengths in saying that I was doing it here because… (drumrolls please – a bold declaration up ahead)…  I just couldn’t keep up with facebook!  I guess it was there that people first got “poked” or “tagged” to accomplish this list.

A good month-and-a-half later, here I am, and with my right hand proudly raised, and with my head nodding to my virtual audience, as I pan across from left to right with eye contact firmly established, I declare – I’m hooked on Facebook!

Seriously.

And it all started just a couple of days back when I got sick and had to stay home.  It’s been eons since I last logged in on my Facebook account.  I was definitely surprised to see a lot of activity on my contacts’ “walls” but since nothing really “involved” me, I almost instantaneously hit the “Logout” button.  It was then that I noticed the numerical indicator – a “1” – that was right beside the button that said “Inbox.”

Oh, I’ve got mail!” I said to myself.  I clicked on the Inbox and it was then that my fascination with Facebook began.  Responding to the mail – and surprisingly getting a real-time response back – showed me just how much Facebook could keep me in touch with people in my life.  REALLY keep me in touch.  And in the case of the sender of the lone unread mail in my inbox, establish more meaningful friendships with people than when we were still sharing the same country code.

Though well within the comfort of my room, I felt just how much technology could make me go beyond the confines of four imposing walls and really touch base with people I care about – no matter where they could be on the face of this planet.

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Through Facebook, I didn’t feel alone savoring my steaming hot “sinigang na bangus” (milkfish in steaming hot sour broth with fresh vegetables) as the torrential rains ravaged the outdoors (climate change sucks!).  As I devoured my dinner, I learned that one good friend – way down under in Adelaide – just cooked her own “sinigang na hipon” (shrimps in steaming hot sour broth with fresh vegetables).  Posting about it, she earned raved comments from people who praised her cooking prowess and those who wanted to partake of the very Filipino dish.  Yet another friend, quite coincidentally, quipped that he just had the exact same dinner as mine – and went further by relishing the thought of how much the fish belly fat made him so happy!

Somewhere on my wall, another one of my best friends first ranted that she was “hungry!”  And then much later on proudly declared that she just had chili crabs and didn’t get any allergies at all!  Quite obviously, her dinner choice could only mean that she is right now, in the Garden City, where yet another one of my “bestest” friends is.  Through wall-to-wall comments, I couldn’t help but smile when these two important “girl friends” of mine decided to meet up and hang out.  And knowing these two, meeting up could only mean great dinner, animated conversation, and lots of retail therapy. How I wish I could find myself in the middle of their shop-‘til-you-drop adventures and good-humored people-bashing.  Hahaha!

Before I knew it, I had been online – “facebooking” – for about six hours!  Very much just like right now.  I found someone with whom I could share my thoughts about the two-hour Season 5 finale episode of the hit ABC series Grey’s Anatomy. And in the same person discovered a “geek” who also watches Chuck, 24 and The Big Bang Theory, as well as a wide range of movie and book genre.

And there’s this one person whose work in Korea can’t help but fascinate me to no end.  Through his comments, I realized how boring my office existence could be sometimes (Hahaha!).  But more importantly, he made me chalk up the Gulf of Mexico, the Santos Basin in Brazil, and Africa as dream destinations.  Not to mention that he just promised to send me songs I love! You know who you are – Harry Stamper or A.J. Frost!

I’m loving Facebook.  With it, as the Kara DioGuardi-co-written American Idol Season 8 coronation song says, “there are no boundaries.”  It helps keeps communication lines open.  It allows people to share sides of their personalities and lives that you wouldn’t see from 9 to 5.  It can make a better friend out of you.  It can make a more caring person of you. And with a comment like “…is disappointed – FALSE ALARM!”… Facebook can stop you dead on your tracks.  Hahaha!!!

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Cocoa in numbers

21 05 2009

 

THIS HAPPENED last Monday.

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I don’t normally snack before lunch time.  But I could already hear my stomach grumbling furiously.  So grabbing something to bite was in order.  But unfortunately, my meetings then were running a bit late.

 

So I turned to my seat mate, our company’s Quality & Reliability Manager, and asked if she had something I could munch on.  She stepped out of the room and in an instant came back with a box of chocolates she said she didn’t really want.

 

It was a Lindt EXCELLENCE 85% COCOA DARK SWISS THINS.  I took one bite of one of the 2” x 2” thin squares and instantly fell in love.

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I felt like I literally melted in my seat.  The “thins” – each “engraved” with the signature Lindt cursive brand logo – have a deeply intense, dark and bitter chocolate taste that smelled robust and full-bodied.  The “crunch” that came with each bite would later give way to a velvety smooth texture as the chocolate melted on my tongue.  I guess this kind of dark chocolate doesn’t really appeal to everybody’s palate.  But it does to me.  Some who tried it said they’re just fit to be used for baking or probably thrown in to a pot of boiling water to make “Tsokolate eh!

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Having tremendously enjoyed this box of chocolate brought back to mind the beautiful box of STARBUCKS COFFEE COMPANY® *STARBUCKS® ORIGIN SELECT CHOCOLATES* that I bought at their store right across our company’s corporate offices on Prairie City Road somewhere in the Golden State, right around one Christmas time.

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As you can see from the pictures, the box could actually pass off as a “Celestina minaudiere,” complete with metallic chrome hardware – the snap lock.  Inside this box came individually wrapped miniature chocolate blocks of Starbucks’ special “Origin Select Chocolates” – Venezuelan 45% cacao, Ecuadorian Arriba 66% cacao, Mexican 50% cacao, African 34% cacao, African 54% cacao, and Venezuelan 73.5% cacao.

 

I won’t go to great lengths as to how I recollect these chocolate pieces tasted.  They’re all in the pictures.  Hahaha!

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