Jo to the world

18 04 2013
Ms_Jo_0413_00

Ms. Jo and her “dearest eNTeNG,” meeting up in Singapore for the very first time ever. I love how she has always referred to me that way.

MANY PERSONALITIES make me up.  So it is always a monumental task for someone to get me “get me”.  When I find people who do, I try not to lose them.

Where I used to work, I have never been made to feel really understood or really important any better than by Ms. Jo Damian.  She used to be the Senior Executive Assistant to a number of our company’s General Managers (think, Country Managers) before taking on the role of Senior Human Resources Business Partner.  At some point, she was – for all intents and purposes – our HR Manager.  She was a major force behind getting us all here in the Lion City, although nothing was in store for her for doing so.  I guess she got something better – unspoken appreciation, lifelong gratitude, and much love.  She is guaranteed of those, at least from me.

I worked with her on the biggest and highest level programs, and together, we handled most of the Site’s communications.  Our collaborative efforts culminated with the coffee table book “Faces of Memory,” to commemorate all the men and women who were part of our former company.  Call it vain, pointless conceit but that book is on my all–time Top 10 List.  Hahaha!

Coffee Table Book Core Team 04

Our official photo as the Editorial Team of the coffee table book “Faces of Memory”. With Ms. Jo and me are Jack (left) and Alfie (right).

 

Coffee Table Book Core Team 01

This was actually my favorite of all the photos. Haha! I love to have been immortalized in this reclining position. Notice the two wristwatches I have on? I do love stacking them.

 

Coffee Table Book Core Team 03

I’ve always felt that Ms. Jo treats me like her own son. Although she’s more like my big sister.

 

Coffee Table Book - Dedications 00

Ms. Jo wrote me a note on this page of my copy of “Faces of Memory”.

 

Coffee Table Book Core Team 02

What Filipino photo shoot is complete without the requisite wacky shot?! Hahaha!

Ms. Jo was here for a couple of days last week.  And while I missed the dinner in her honor, I was at least able to take her to the airport and see her off.  I put more weight to the latter, knowing all too well that that is one gesture I do only for the truly deserving.

Thanks, Ms. Jo.  And I shall see you again!

Ms_Jo_0413_02

We didn’t play with ramen. But we did have it for lunch. Alvin and I with Ms. Jo at Ajisen Ramen on the day of her flight back to Manila.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_15

Welcome back to Changi Airport Terminal 2!

 

Ms_Jo_0413_16

Ms. Jo took a Singapore Airlines flight back. I don’t know a better way to fly.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_03

Just two small pieces of luggage – a check-in in her favorite shade of purple and a carry-on (which is actually her laptop). The red bag contained lots of her favorite Bee Cheng Hiang beef jerky. The lambskin leather bag is actually my Longchamp Parisi, just joining in for the group shot.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_04

Ms. Jo knows me like the back of her hand. So when she had made it to the end of the line to the check-in, she knew that I would be grabbing that opportunity to snap shots away. She turned around on this one just in time to catch me striking a pose. Hahaha!

 

Ms_Jo_0413_05

This is the proper one.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_06

Alvin and Ms. Jo.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_07

Then it was my turn.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_08

Ms. Jo, in head-to-toe Marks & Spencer, against the backdrop of Changi Airport Terminal 2.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_10

Spectacles – Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarers in white. T-shirt – “Last Night The DJ Saved My Life” from Malaysia. Bottoms – Adidas running shorts. Wristwatch – Philip Stein Signature Large. Bag – Longchamp Parisi in lambskin leather trimmed with cowhide and/or goat skin. Shoes – TOMS in red corduroy.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_11

“Goodbye… it’s time for me to go…”

 

Ms_Jo_0413_12

Just one more for the road

 

Ms_Jo_0413_13

My reflection on the stainless steel frame of the departure area gate. We waited until Ms. Jo had cleared immigration.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_14

One more time for a selfie!

 

Ms_Jo_0413_18

Take away some FRESHNESS – a slice of New York Cheesecake and a venti Caramel Frappuccino.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_17

eNTeNG, Starbucks Coffee, Changi Airport Terminal 2, Singapore.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Happiness is two kinds of ice cream in that waffle bowl thing

14 04 2013
Upper_Thomson_10_EarlGrey_SaltedCaramel

Salted Caramel’s Earl Grey (left) and Salted Caramel (right), served on a waffle bowl.

WITH EVERY step I took towards our destination, it started to feel like whatever ioata of being a food critic wannabe I had in me was slowly melting away, much like artisanal ice cream sliding down the surface impressions on a waffle (cone) bowl.

I felt unworthy in the presence of someone who has succinct opinions of practically every gastronomic establishment on the stretch of Upper Thomson Road, his words buoyed by the waves of the no-nonsense tone of a stern father.  At one point, he summarized one place in just one word that conjured up a vivid image in my head:  I would be better off chewing on a piece of cardboard than any pricey item on the menu.  He was not complaining about the price, he clearly has strong feelings about “getting what you pay for.”

Upper_Thomson_00_Fat_Boy's

One establishment that got high praise from Michael was this burger-and-beer place called FAT BOY’S. We shall come back for the tall, stacked burger. All the beer-drinking ill be left to Michael though.

 

Upper_Thomson_18_Fat_Boy's

See what I mean about the beer?

My good friend Michael is back after a five–month assignment at the home of the growing Lujiazui skyline – a place I last beheld about eight years ago.  We find ourselves on this stroll on Upper Thomson Road as I finally take him up on his offer to introduce me to one of the best artisanal ice cream places in the island city.  I usually walk double time, but somehow, the thought of the anticipated gratification necessitated a little more delay.  The pace just had to be leisurely.  Besides, I was carefully taking down mental notes, crafting a roadmap to conquer this seeming slice of gastronomic heaven.

When we started our walking tour, Michael politely called me out on my start-and-stop stride as I snapped away images on my Blackberry Bold 9780.  Before I could even attempt to rationalize my actions as my knack for really documenting my adventures, he was equally quick to surmise that a blog post was probably already taking form in my head.  I would’ve understood – and honestly waited – if any brewing impatience would take the form of him scratching his head or gnashing his teeth but instead he offered that I use his Samsung Galaxy S3.  “It would take better images.”

Anything in colorful font stops me on my tracks.  So I just had to take an image of this blackboard that enumerated the “Flavours Today” in colorful (handwritten) block capitals.  I finished taking my snaps and asked, “Where to?”

“We’re here.”

I saw the sign and it said, “Salted Caramel.”

Upper_Thomson_02_Salted_Caramel_Menu

Reading through this colorful “Flavours Today” menu board was enough to make anybody’s blood sugar shoot up with happiness. I was breathless in anticipation.

 

Upper_Thomson_03_Placing_Order

“Surprise me” was the theme of this ice cream treat. Michael took care of all the ordering.

The place was packed, its off–white interiors offering the illusion of the space appearing larger than it really is.  My generous host of a friend asked me to secure our seats while he took care of ordering an array of scoops he thought to be my best introduction to the place.  The only decision he had to trouble me with was – waffle bowl or waffle cone?  I saw a table against the wall and went for the save – not only was it packed but the queue was long also.

Upper_Thomson_04_Ice_Cream

The ice cream makes it to the table!

Soon enough, ice cream so fresh I swear they could’ve only come straight from the udders of cows finally made their landing.  Smarting under the lash of reality check that I wasn’t the smarter foodie at the table, I made a last-ditch effort to salvage whatever self-respect remained.  Essentially by trying to sound smart.  Hahaha!

“People haven’t really been salting their caramel until fairly recently.  So how long has Salted Caramel been here?”

Michael, who lives nearby, estimated the ice cream house’s emergence to a couple of years back.  He went on to introduce to me the four scoops he ordered for us to share.

Upper_Thomson_07_Stout&Chocolate_Rum&Raisin

Michael’s favorites Stout & Chocolate and Rum & Raisin

“You don’t drink.  But I hope that you’re not allergic to alcohol.  Here we have Stout & Chocolate, and Rum & Raisin.  This bowl has Earl Grey, like the tea, and the house signature, the namesake Salted Caramel.  I like the Stout & Chocolate.  It is usually stronger than this.  I think that (another shop’s name) was the first to infuse alcohol into ice cream.  But it was Salted Caramel that perfected it.”

Upper_Thomson_15_SaltedCaramel_Waffle_Bowl

A very Michael thing to do – once only a little of the ice cream is left, he crumbles the waffle bowl into the paper cup in one quick squashing action very similar to abruptly closing a book shut.

And everything indeed was perfect.  I mean, you cannot call something artisanal – a fact proudly brandished by this shop just beneath its name – and expect everything to be technically perfect.  The profundity of Salted Caramel’s ice cream’s scrumptious beauty and flavors lies in the promise of homemade fresh goodness served in classic and spiked interpretations – Vanilla is comfortably juxtaposed with Stout & Chocolate.

When you find these scoops melting into each other in a waffle bowl or cone, you too will melt away.  Ice cream, after all, is the anti-freeze to the soul.

Upper_Thomson_12_SaltedCaramel_Spoon

I chose to keep my first ever Salted Caramel ice cream spoon as a memento of the experience. I will surely go back!

 

Upper_Thomson_14_SaltedCaramel_Spoon

This Salted Caramel ice cream spoon is set against the backdrop of SHOP Singapore, one of my favorite publication in the island city. I wonder if Upper Thomson Road has ever been featured on its pages.

 

Upper_Thomson_16_SaltedCaramel_Cup

The Salted Caramel paper cup bears a sticker of the logo and colors of the place. Everything is in comforting shades of brown. At this shop, clearly, it takes salt and burnt sugar, one magic moment, to know you’re in heaven.

 

Upper_Thomson_11_SaltedCaramel_Signage

Salted Caramel is housed on a stretch of buildings that bear marks of Singapore colonial architecture.

 

WHO?  Salted Caramel Artisan Ice Cream.  WHAT?  Artisanal ice cream, waffles, a lot of dessert stuff.  WHERE?  246F Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574370.  www.saltedcaramel.sgWHEN?    Sunday–Thursday 12:00 NN–11:00 PM / Eve of Public Holiday, Friday & Saturday 12:00 NN–2:00 AM.  WHY?  The ice cream is top notch.  There’s alcohol in some of them.  The staff is nice.  HOW?  The nearest MRT station is CC16 Marymount (Circle Line).  We walked about 10 minutes.  HOW MUCH?  It was Michael’s treat but I think he spent nowhere more than S$ 5.00 per head.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Of a lady, iron and a speech

11 04 2013
Margaret_Thatcher_Headline_00

The headline. 09 April 2013. Singapore time.

A CHILDHOOD spent in the 80’s meant hearing quite a lot about Mrs. Margaret Thatcher – mostly from the evening news and the national broadsheets.  Mommy, my maternal grandmother, would often talk to us about her.  Usually, in the same breath, she would make references to the Marcoses and the Reagans whenever she mentioned the 11–year resident of Number 10 Downing Street.

The headlines a couple of days back read, “’Iron Lady’ of Britain dies of stroke at 87.”

Love her or loathe her, her impact to her country’s politics, not to mention the world, cannot be denied.  Personally, I had made one direct reference to her by way of that speech I delivered at that United Nations conference for students that I went to as a 16–year–old high school student.

The speech opened with a direct quote from the lady herself.  Up to this point, 22 years from when I first delivered that speech, it is something that I can recite, culled purely from memory.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Thatcher.

Speech - Asian Children's Summit 01

The opening part of my now 22-year-old speech. I opened with a quote from the Iron Lady herself. My eldest brother helped me with this speech.

 

Speech - Toastmasters International Best Speaker 00

Three surviving “Best Speaker” pins from Toastmasters International. I must’ve amassed a total of at least five. All these were won for impromptu speaking. You’d draw lots (“your topic or subject matter”) just before you go up to the front to speak. Everything is timed. So you’ve got to have an opening, a body and a closing… all under strict time pressure.

 

Margaret_Thatcher_Headline_01

Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher. May you rest in eternal peace.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Of bees and Leo

9 04 2013
Bee_Tea_05_Chinese

Now always in my wallet. Whenever I will need “bee tea”, all I do is go to the nearest Traditional Chinese Medicine Hall and whip out this handwritten “order slip” courtesy of one of my “new” friends at work.

YOU LOSE your voice and suddenly you see that the words attributed to no less than Russian writer Leo Tolstoy take form.

And all people live, not by reason of any care they have for themselves, but by the love for them that is in other people.”

I completely – literally – lost my speaking voice these past weeks.  There was a time I would get it back, only to lose it after speaking in length at a meeting.  For someone like me who likes to talk – and talks a lot – not to mention, sings a lot too, to lose my voice is simply the most painful thing there is.

Fortunately for me, even in the midst of the daily grind that is the fast–paced life in the Lion City – trust me, nowhere else does life spin faster in dizzying speed – there exist people whose random acts of kindness, without them knowing, breathe life to the very words of the renowned Russian novelist.

Coming back from lunch break one day, they handed me a packet of what is called “bee tea”, which when steeped in almost boiling water, purportedly becomes a potent elixir guaranteed to bring my voice back.  I offered to pay, only to be told by one that he didn’t remember how much exactly it cost because it was the other who handled the payment.  I turned to her, the “other”, only to be responded to with a smile.

I was overwhelmed by the gesture that I must’ve appeared so dumb as to understand their instructions on how to prepare it that they graciously made it for me on the spot.

I loved the tea.  I’ve got my voice back (it was almost “instantly” back).  And now more than ever, my faith in the goodness of people has been renewed.

Sometimes, it takes bees.  Or simply, the love for us that is in other people.

Bee_Tea_03_Ingredients

The ingredients of the “bee tea”. Image courtesy of my friend.

 

Bee_Tea_00

I decided to keep the bees as souvenir. Here they are, comfortable on a mos appropriate page from my current notebook. It says, “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”

 

Bee_Tea_01

Bzzzzz… A tight shot of the bees.

 

Bee_Tea_04

The bee tea is ready! By the time I finished this 900-mL bottle, my voice was all coming back to me. By the end of the day, I had four! I liked it that much.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





That’s why this cake is a vamp

7 04 2013
Cupcakes_Red Velvet Vixen 00

The “Red Velvet Vixen”, the perfect red velvet cupcake that can only be had at Cupcakes by Sonja, #1 C03 Serendra Piazza, For Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines. They’re now on the web at http://www.cupcakesbysonja.com!

IT’S BEEN a decade since I first laid eyes on the countenance of this vamp.  I made the acquaintance through – of all meansFrom Martha’s Kitchen, Martha Stewart’s eponymous cooking show on the FoodNetwork.  Like the show’s host, this new acquaintance was and still is a study in contradiction.  Fluffs of pristine white ensconce a deep dark red inside.  Bad to the core, you can say.  So bad that it’s actually so good.

Red velvet, which traces its roots to the American South, is a stunning red layer cake with delicious cream cheese frosting slathered in between layers and smothered all over the outside.  When made right, it is a cake of a delicate, tender texture with a subtle – almost fleeting – hint of cocoa that marries wonderfully with a straightforward cream cheese frosting that is often never too sweet.

Here in the Lion City, I think that the best rendition of this beloved dessert can be found at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  I first had it at their BEANStro shop at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.  Nowadays, I would get my fix at their Changi Airport Café.

CBTL_Red_Velvet_Cake_02

The refrigerated display counter at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Changi Aiport, Singapore. Note to self: Check out that yummy-looking Chicago Cheesecake!

 

CBTL_Red_Velvet_Cake_00

This was the first ever slice of red velvet cake I’ve had here in Singapore, at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s BEANStro at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

 

CBTL_Red_Velvet_Cake_03

Who wouldn’t order takeaway if they’d put it that way? I realize I’ve been bringing a sweet little box of dreams with me quite often.

 

CBTL_Red_Velvet_Cake_04

CBTL’s version ia a two-layer. I would love a thicker frosting though. But essentially no complaints.

 

CBTL_Red_Velvet_Cake_07

This cake goes perfect with a cup of good coffee. Between the cake and the mug in the photograph, that’s like the two biggest coffee chains in one frame. Hahaha! Notice the smear of cream cheese frosting on the box’s side? That got some serious licking. Hahaha!

But it was in the Philippines where I really fell in love with this classic confection.  I do swear by Cupcakes by Sonja’s incarnation, which takes a sexier, more alluring approach with its name, the “Red Velvet Vixen”.  On their menu, they list it as a “Traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and topped with luscious cream cheese icing”.  I used to get it every week before the Merlion beckoned.

eNTeNG_Cupcakes by Sonja 02 Box

On my desk at my former workplace, a box of Cupcakes by Sonja treats is a usual sight.

 

eNTeNG_Cupcakes by Sonja 03 Box

This was one of the four boxes which I got from the store before leaving for Singapore.

 

eNTeNG_Cupcakes by Sonja 04 Box

The Red Velvet Vixen is at home sharing a box of six with the likes of Chocolate Surprise and Vanilla Sunshine.

 

Red Velvet Vixen 002

“This is the Traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and topped with luscious cream cheese icing.”

If you’re meeting this cake for the first time, you may find that the moment begs the question, “Why would someone want their cake so red?”  Which to me is like asking Lynn Bracken, Kim Basinger’s Veronica Lake look-alike character in L.A. Confidential why she paints her lips in shockingly bright red and keeps her peek-a-boo locks in platinum blond.

I hear her response, “Because frankly my dear, it is pretty.  Make that, I am pretty.”

I would say that the same holds true for the cake.

Cupcakes - Red Velvet Vixen 03

I have to say that Cupcakes by Sonja’s Red Velvet Vixen is pretty with a purpose. They’ve tied up with the Philippine Red Cross in the past for fund drives like this one.

 

eNTeNG - Red Velvet Vixen 00

eNTeNG ready to devour a Red Velvet Vixen

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





A stopover in Hokkaido on the way to the flat

3 04 2013

YOU NEVER ever forget your first.

The first time I was out of the Philippines, my destination was Japan.  I went there to speak at a United Nations international conference for students.  I carried with me a speech – the original draft of which I still have – with the most appropriate and beautiful opening paragraph courtesy of my eldest brother.

I was 16 years old at the time.  I still vividly remember walking up to the rostrum, faced the crowd and saw that everybody had their headsets on (for real-time translation) to listen to me.  “Just like in the movies (when heads of state would meet just before a disaster strikes),” I told my surprisingly calm self.  I was confident enough not to bring with me the printout of my speech.  Back then, I had unwavering faith in my memory serving me right.  And for the five days leading to the speech, I had had sufficient practice delivering impromptu talks at all the primary schools, secondary schools and the Ministry of Education office that we visited.

I think I got thunderous applause.  But nothing was louder than the one I got after singing a capella before the program closed.  Mine was the only musical number they allowed in what was a strictly formal event.  It was a last-minute addition too.  The organizers asked me to sing after hearing me do so at one of the schools we had gone to.  I was later approached by an Austrian violinist who wanted to offer me a music scholarship in Europe.

Why am I suddenly waxing nostalgic?  And of Japan of all places?  I blame it on Cold Storage.  I blame it on them for setting up this “Hokkaido” gastronomic festival of sorts at the open area of the mall nearest my flat.

I didn’t go to Hokkaido during that trip to Japan.  I went to Tokyo and Yokohama.  But if what I remember of all the gustatory delights I had in those two cities could at least be a faint figment of what the country’s biggest island offers, then I am all for shopping to my heart’s content.

I scoured all the racks radar-locking at anything that resembled my favorite Japanese cookie, the Fujiya Chocochip Cookie Cocoa Country Ma’am.  Apparently, it doesn’t trace its roots to the island.

But it wasn’t any reason to fret.  I love Japanese curry (Hello, Coco Ichibanya!) and there were a lot of choices on offer – scallop, salmon, clam, and octopus.  I equally heart ramen, so this I got in all its broth variations – shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce) and my all-time favorite miso (fermented soybean paste).  The closest I got to the chocolate chip cookie of my dreams was a box of sweet choco soft rusk.  And to top everything off – and to best end a day of nostalgia – was a tub of Hokkaido Ice Cream in Premium Vanilla.

This promotion runs until Friday this week.  And I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and stock up.

Hokkaido_00_Scallop_Curry

Scallop Curry

 

Hokkaido_01_Salmon_Curry

Salmon Curry

 

Hokkaido_02_Clam_Curry

Clam Curry

 

Hokkaido_03_Octopus_Curry

Octopus Curry

 

Hokkaido_04_Squid

These are squid stuffed with rice.

 

Hokkaido_05_Sweet_Choco_Soft_Rusk

Sweet Choco Soft Rusk

 

Hokkaido_06_Shoyu_Ramen

I got sold the instant I saw the tag line: “Only Hokkaido Taste”! This is the shoyu (soy sauce) ramen.

 

Hokkaido_07_Miso_Ramen

Miso Ramen

 

Hokkaido_08_Shio_Ramen

Shio (salt) Ramen and that cute Kid’s Ramen!

 

Hokkaido_09_Ice_Cream

There was only one freezer for the frozen delights. The tubs of ice cream each sells for S$ 9.30, and comes in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

 

Hokkaido_10_Ice_Cream

They were quite proud of the fact that only “Hokkaido milk” goes into the ice cream.

 

Hokkaido_11_Ice_Cream

Why settle for vanilla when there is PREMIUM vanilla?! This was the one I got!

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Almost home

1 04 2013
Darryl_Departure_18_Darryl_Solo

Best friend Darryl on the phone with his wife, Brenda, right after checking in all his luggage. No excess baggage!

I’M NOTHING if not fiercely loyal to my family and my friends (who are actually quite few).  I find that to be very Filipino, having grown up on Social Studies classes that always associated the words “family” and “closely knit” to no end.

A couple other things that I do find to be very Filipino are – as I have always said on this space – welcoming loved ones at the airport or sending them off.  Trust me, stop by the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) at any given time and you will find throngs gathered as if they are there to topple a dictatorship.

I use this as one of two excuses to either pick up or send off friends at the airport.  The other excuse is that Changi International Airport is just so beautiful.  I call it an urban oasis where the tummy can be filled, the senses satiated, and where serious retail therapy can be had.  And I actually only need to hop on the Purple Line and take a couple of short interchanges before I soon find myself within the halls of Terminal 3, imposing with its cavernous, cathedral ceilings that render the place nothing short of hallowed.  I emerge to a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop to my right, ask for their Red Velvet Cake, sit back, and feel that I wouldn’t want to be someplace else.

Yesterday, I was back.  This time, to see best friend Darryl off.

Darryl_Departure_00_Control_Tower

“I see the tower! I see the tower!” “Fast approaching Changi International Airport. Darryl, a stickler for keeping schedules, told me that he had to be at the airport at exactly 4:00 AM.

 

Darryl_Departure_01_T1_Arrival

Darryl arrives at Changi International Airport Terminal 1.

 

Darryl_Departure_04_T1_Arrival

Long-standing friends eventually develop patience for me. Because as you can see, I will keep on asking them to… pose for second here, here, here. Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_03_T1_Arrival

“It should just be here somewhere.” Darryl, though quite sure that every piece of luggage meets the airline standards, still wanted to have a final weigh-in.

 

Darryl_Departure_05_Audemars_Piguet

On the way to the industrial-grade weighing scale by Door No. 5, I saw this Audemars Piguet wall clock. See, we were able to beat our goal!

 

Darryl_Departure_06_Weigh_In

Darryl soon realized that I was actually of no use. Hahaha! Yes, I accompanied him to the airport but I just let him do the heavy lifting all by himself. Haha! Sorry about that. You know me and my camera, we sometimes have a world all our own.

 

Darryl_Departure_07_Weigh_In

Everything was weighing in according to Darryl’s expectations. Good job!

 

Darryl_Departure_08_Weigh_In

Note to self for future reference – that’s how much a 40-inch flatscreen in its original packaging weighs. All of 20.55 kilograms!

 

Darryl_Departure_09_Weigh_In

The stroller for the TV was checked in separately. It’s what airlines call as “irregularly shaped” items (for check-in).

 

Darryl_Departure_10_Flight_Info

Now that the weigh-in is done, It’s time to head off to Row 07 for Darryl’s check-in.

 

Darryl_Departure_12_Information

We couldn’t walk past this very “old school”-looking information counter and not take a snap. At some point I had to mention to Darryl that Singapore should seriously consider lobbying for Terminal 1 to be made into a UNESCO Heritage Site. The place just feels so historical in all its well-preserved glory. I couldn’t say the same for the NAIA, sadly.

 

Darryl_Departure_13_Check_In

“Hold it right there! Say cheese…” (Ok, not really a very popular word right now. Hahaha!)

 

Darryl_Departure_14_Check_In

Darryl goes through his papers while he waits for his turn at the counter.

 

Darryl_Departure_15_Check_In

It was not a long wait. But of course I still managed to squeeze in a self-portrait session. Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_16_Departure_Gate

Row 07 check-in counters are right beside the entrance to the departure area. Time check after clearing check-in? 4:10 AM! Everything’s going on smoothly.

 

Darryl_Departure_17_Breakfast

Time in one’s hands is a good enough excuse to… eat! Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_19_Breakfast

I love it when a place speaks my language!

 

Darryl_Departure_20_KFC

We decided on KFC for breakfast! Very important reminder: Outside food is not allowed.

 

Darryl_Departure_22_KFC

My platter of a breakfast! The eggs were nice. I particularly loved the crust on the original recipe chicken (fillet). Quite peppery. Some like it hot!

 

Darryl_Departure_24_KFC

Darryl had Blueberry Pancakes and a side of Scrambled Eggs.

 

Darryl_Departure_23_KFC

Something to slather on to the pancakes

 

Darryl_Departure_25_KFC

Breakfast was on Darryl. Thanks a lot!!!

 

Darryl_Departure_26_KFC

KFC has this sweeping view of the airport check-in area. Notice how this scene is beautifully awash in blue.

 

Darryl_Departure_27_Boarding_Pass

I really like the orange-and-white color combination on the Jetstar Boarding Pass.

 

Darryl_Departure_28_Boarding_Pass

For some reason, I find the Jestar logo design to be quite smart, catchy, and with good recall. Speaking of recall, the logo brings to mind a skinny tie I had eons ago. It’s black silk, with – you guess it right – a star subtly embroidered on it. I would wear it to gigs to give me an instant boost of… stardom. Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_29_Darryl

At the airport, a traveler checks and checks again his stuff.

 

Darryl_Departure_30_Darryl

On the way to the Departure Area, guess what Darryl saw? A tarp for QANTAS, the flag carrier of Australia!

 

Darryl_Departure_31_Darryl

We just had to take one last selfie before we hit the road – I mean, before I hit the road and Darryl hit the sky at 30-plus-thousand feet up in the air.

 

Darryl_Departure_32_Darryl

Buh-bye!

It was practically his last day in the Lion City, en route to a place where the opera house by the water is considered to be one of the first marvels of modern architecture.  The route he is taking is by way of a week-long break in the Philippines, then an hours-long layover in Singapore to pick up his remaining luggage, before it would be time to scoot to the Great Outback.

There, his wife Brenda – along with their plans for a new life – awaits.

I know it is still a matter of a few more days to the day.  But it is so close that best friend Darryl can already smell the kangaroos.

All the best, Darryl & Brenda.  You know I will miss you!

Darryl_Departure_33_Flight_Info

I love looking at the Flight Information Board at airports!

 

Darryl_Departure_34_eNTeNG

I would’ve wanted to wear a DLSU shirt in honor of the traveler. But I realized that I don’t have one. HAHAHA! I thought a green shirt would do. But then I saw this “UC DAVIS” shirt and just put it on.

 

Darryl_Departure_35_Skytrain

After seeing best friend Darryl off, it was time to hop on the Skytrain to Terminal 3.

 

Darryl_Departure_36_Skytrain

Inside the Skytrain, I got transfixed on to this ad. Nice visuals. Hahaha! Oh, the key message bears repeating – you get 7% savings on the GST if you shop at the Changi International Airport.

 

Darryl_Departure_38_Skytrain

Gotta have another shot of me in my “bagong gising” (just-out-of-bed) look. Conceited much??? Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_39_Times_Travel

I can buy my month’s worth of magazines at Times Travel in one go! I had to come back later because it was still quite early and they don’t open until 7:00 AM.

 

Darryl_Departure_40_Fascinating_Russia

Changi Airport presents “Fascinating Russia” from 16 Mar – 7 Apr 2013!

 

Darryl_Departure_41_Fascinating_Russia

Prepare to be fascinated by Russia!

 

Darryl_Departure_42_Red_Square

Welcome to Red Square!

 

Darryl_Departure_43_Red_Square

I saw this part of the “Fascinating Russia” setup framed in my Canon IXUS 860IS and I knew right there and then that I want it printed on a shirt and I’d wear it!

 

Darryl_Departure_44_T3

I can’t help but feel so tiny whenever I’m inside Changi Airport Terminal 3. And I’ve always loved the ceiling treatment. I’m not sure if those panels serve a specific, important purpose. Better ask my brother!

 

Darryl_Departure_45_T3_Dining

I can get stuck in Terminal 3 and never want for anything. Haha! This board has my name written all over it.

 

Darryl_Departure_46_Feedback

I love giving feedback. So when I saw this terminal, I knew I just had to write something for all the amazing people behind Changi Airport. Besides, I had plenty of time to kill while I wait for the shops to open.

 

Darryl_Departure_47_Feedback

The keyboard has a very Apple feel to it. Though one of the keys clearly says otherwise.

 

Darryl_Departure_48_Feedback

Didn’t take me long to fill out the online form.

 

Darryl_Departure_49_Red_TOMS

Of all my TOMS, this one in red corduroy has racked up the most mileage. One of my brothers got this for me as a send-off gift on the day I left for Singapore. On the wya to the airport, we stopped by Alabang Town Center. There, he asked me to try on TOMS (he was the first one to go crazy over these shoes) ans whichever I liked, he said he would get for me. The sales people ended packing up what I had on as I decided to wear this pair on my flight.

 

Darryl_Departure_50_Longchamp

Accompanying me while I waited for the shops to fling open their doors was my Longchamp Parisi in lambskin leather. It’s not as obvious given that it is in black, but I can tell by the feel of the supple leather that this bag has been developing a lovely patina.

 

Darryl_Departure_51_T3_Information

Again, given that I had a lot of time in my hands, I decided to go to the Information desk and clarify what time the shops will open. Impatient much?!?! Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_54_T3_Elevator

From the Skytrain/Departure Area on Level 2, the Information personnel recommended that I check out the shops on the Arrival floor.

 

Darryl_Departure_55_JiaJia

I saw this panda at a promotional booth and wanted to buy it. Hahaha! “Jia Jia” is the name.

 

Darryl_Departure_57_Slide@T3

See, there’s recreation at Changi Airport. This one is called The Slide @ T3.

 

Darryl_Departure_56_Slide@T3

I don’t think I’ll survive this slide. I got nauseous just staring at it.

 

Darryl_Departure_58_Shorts

Just about anywhere there is a mirror. Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_59_Gelateria_Italia

I took this photo as a shout-out to my Italian big brother Kuya Michele!

 

Darryl_Departure_60_Elevator

I really find the elevators at Terminal 3 to be such marvels of architecure, or in a simpler term, construction. This for me is a conversation piece with my youngest brother.

 

Darryl_Departure_61_Magazines

Yey! Times Travel had finally opened! I immediately hit the magazine racks that occupy almost two walls.

 

Darryl_Departure_62_Magazines

I picked up all the titles you see on this photo. Obviously, I’m a believer of Style, silver linings, and Oz The Great and The Powerful!

 

Darryl_Departure_63_Wall_Clocks

These wall clocks hang above the men’s magazine section. i looked up and saw them as if they were my shining stars. Hahaha!

 

Darryl_Departure_64_Robb_Report

I saw that the Robb Report’s latest edition features wristwatches so I’ve just got to have it! It was a pleasant last-second addition to my already heavy stash.

 

Darryl_Departure_65_Lonely_Planet

First the wall clocks. Now these editions of The Lonely Planet. Singapore and Australia side-by-side. What are these, portents of things to come?

 

Darryl_Departure_66_Times_Travel

“Ring up my purchases please!” Notice that the sales associate was kind enough to double up my carrier. It was THAT heavy. It would be a considerable journey by train so I figured that all these reading materials would come in handy. It was still quite early so there should be plenty of seats on the train on the route back.

 

Darryl_Departure_67_Changi_MRT

Even this escalator ride to the MRT station just has an air of grandeur and elegance that speaks of a budget that didn’t allow for any corners to be cut.

 

Darryl_Departure_68_Changi_MRT

Changi Airport MRT Station

 

Darryl_Departure_69_Last_Text

The last text. See, only a real best friend can make a reference to a nonexistent lovelife. Hahaha! Notice that Darryl’s number is still recorded on my mobile under his wife’s name (who used to use this number). Darryl would keep on reminding me to update my records. I didn’t get around to doing it. Hahaha!

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Postcard from Bavaria by way of Norden

25 03 2013

IN THIS day and age of split–second communication – wall posts, “instagramming” and 140–character tweets – to receive a correspondence written in cursive and on to which is stuck that adhesive label to indicate that postal fees had been paid at the place of origin, is quite a refreshing surprise.  See, someone could still be old-fashioned as to be willing to lick a stamp.  I happen to be one of those.

Steven_Postcard_01

Postcard from (almost) the edge (of the world)

 

Steven_Postcard_02

Post from Bremen

Last week, I found this in the mail, beneath piles of flyers and bills.  The postage stamp says “SOUMI Finland” and I knew from only whom it could come.

Thanks a lot, my little brother Steven!  All the best on your studies.  See you again once you’re back, ok?

Steven_T_Shirt_00

Before his last day of internship (“industry atteachment”) at the office, Steven gifted me with this very nice T-Shirt.

 

Steven_T_Shirt_01

This elaborate detail is embroidered both on the front and at the back.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Grazie for panettone mandorla and buon compleanno Kuya

25 03 2013
Pasticceria_Chantilly_00_Storefront

From where all scrumptious good things come – Pasticceria Chantilly (http://www.chantilly.sicilia.it/), Via Umberto I, 81 98057 Milazzo Province of Messina, Italy. Reach them at +39 090 922 1184. (This and all Pasticceria Chantilly photos are courtesy of Kuya Michele.)

CHRISTMAS IN March made it to our home in the Philippines – in time for Mama’s birthday – after traveling on Lufthansa for 6073 miles from Milazzo in Italy to Singapore, then for another 1475.83 miles on Philippine Airlines from Singapore to Manila.  All those thousands of miles and it had lost none of its charms.

Kuya Michele, my Italian big brother, has gifted me yet again with that star of the Italian Christmas Eve dinner – the panettone.  The first one I got from him traveled with me on utmost comfort on board a Singapore Airlines flight in early January.

This second one was treated no differently – even better I have to say.  Especially since it traces its provenance from Pasticceria Chantilly in Milazzo in the Province of Messina in Italy.  This pastry shop happens to be owned by Kuya Michele‘s brother (Donato) and sister-in-law (Donato’s wife).  Small– to medium–scale family–owned shops never fail to fascinate me and earn my patronage.  Usually, they are purveyors of specialty delicacies with quality that can make large commercial brands pale in comparison.

Pasticceria_Chantilly_03_Chef_LaMalfa

Pasticceria Chantilly Pastry Chef and Owner, Chef Donato. He is Kuya Michele’s brother!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_05_Chef_LaMalfa

The Master of the House behind some of his wonderful confections, almond biscotti and that beautiful cake!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_09_Pastry_Chef_LaMalfa

Chef Donato and a couple of his signature panettone. I’m inclined to think that one of those was the one that eventually made it to me in Singapore. Then, the Philippines!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_01_Biscotti

Biscotti and everything else delicious

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_02_Display

Another side of the delicious display counter

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_04_Chocolate_Santa

Santa in chocolate!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_06_Dark_Chocolate

Dark chocolate makes me want to sin. Happily.

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_07_White_Chocolate

Pristine white chocolate in various shapes, as well as tender truffles.

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_08_Fruit_Tarts

I think these are fruit tarts. Very colorful. They give new meaning to bursts of color and flavor!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_11_Cakes

I see this and all I can think of is, “Let them eat cake!”

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_12_Cakes

I just love this duo of cakes at the counter. I’m thinking that the one on the left is a chocolate panettone all dressed up for the holidays. The other one is perfect for a kid’s birthday party. Could it be Jack and Jill? But I don’t see a pail of water. What about Hansel and Gretel? Hmmm… it doesn’t look like it.

Panettone Mandorla by Pasticceria Chantilly is top notch.  My family loved it so much that it was practically gone the moment it hit the table.  As expected from the eggs and butter in the batter, this cake was rich and fluffy.  “Mandorla” is Italian for almond.  And that’s the fragrant whiff that arrests your senses the moment you let one of these scrumptious confections free from the cellophane packaging.  Then you see the golden brown crust, glazed with sugar and dotted with toasted almonds that further underscore the delicious variety of panettone that just begs to be devoured, putting your sense of self-control to test.

Panettone_Mandorla_00

Panettone Mandorla by Pasticceria Chantilly

 

Panettone_Mandorla_01

A tight shot of this panettone mandorla’s yummy top. Golden brown. Glazed with sugar. Topped with almonds. Yum!

 

Panettone_Mandorla_02

All the eggs and butter that go into the batter make for a rich, fluffy panettone!

Once again, thank you, Kuya Michele for this wonderful gift of an edible work of art.  And while I did greet you already, I want to greet you here again.  Happy BirthdayBuon Compleanno!

Pasticceria_Chantilly_10_Brothers_LaMalfa

Brothers Michele and Donato

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_13_Kuya_Michele

Kuya Michele came back to Singapore bearing panettone mandorla from Pasticceria Chantilly!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_14_Kuya_Michele

Noodles are for long life. BUON COMPLEANNO, Kuya Michele!

 

Pasticceria_Chantilly_15_Kuya_Michele

That’s all for now. Ciao!

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





The Best Man’s speech

24 03 2013

(I listened attentively while my friend Raoul was delivering his speech as Best Man at Sead and Mitzi’s wedding.  The very moment he was through, I liked a lot what he said that I knew I had to ask for a copy.  As it is always the case with me when I encounter, say, food I fall head over heels for, I turn to a persistent solicitor of recipes. So in this case, I had to have a copy of his speech.  It’s in the sincerity and the unpretentiousness, peppered with just the right anecdotes.  Here is his speech, published with his permission.)

IMG_2122

The Best Man, Engr. Raoul Masangcay, speaks as the newlyweds listen attentively. (Photo by Engr. Aris Gaduyon)

GOOD EVENING.  I’m Raoul.  I am really glad to be here on this occasion to celebrate this wonderful day with my two good friends.  But first of all I would like to raise a glass for the Zildzic and Nuda families for bringing us such a wonderful people together.  Thank you very much!

I met Sead five years ago during my stint in Folsom.  I had the chance to work with him because I needed his expertise.  Right?

The first time I met him, I already knew that he was a good person.  He is kind, very approachable, and easy to work with.  He just has this aura that will make you feel intimidated by him.  I think that is because he is too good looking.

Getting to know him more through our regular meetings and meet-ups (that is when he visits Singapore) I can say that he is a great man, a true born leader, and a very responsible person. I’m really impressed on how he manages the challenges at work and how he makes complicated things look easy to handle.

With such qualities, I am confident that he will raise a good family and will be a very good husband and a great father in the future.

Mitzi, you are really lovely and beautiful tonight.  I’m very happy that you have found what you’re looking for.  I know Mitzi as being a conservative person when it comes to a relationship.  Even back in Cavite I already knew she had suitors that couldn’t win her heart.  That’s why I was so excited when I first heard that she was dating Sead.  And that was before we were able to guess the person she was always talking with over the phone during our night outs and the person who always sends bouquets of roses.  That was very sweet!

When I found out it was Sead, I already knew that there’s a happy ending to this story.

“Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with.  It’s about finding the person you can’t live without.”  And I’m so happy that my two friends have found that person in each other.

I wish you two the very very best as you start this new chapter of your life.  I wish you both an eternity of happiness.

I would like to invite everyone to raise their glasses in a toast.

Here’s to a lifetime of happiness and love for Sead and Mitzi.  Cheers!

.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved