36 Things

12 07 2010

36.  AFTER THREE unsuccessful attempts, I’ve finally completed the Starbucks® Coffee Company’s Christmas Traditions Promo Card.  I redeemed my 2010 planner at their Las Piñas store on New Year’s morn, just hours after I was treated at the hospital for firecracker-related injury – also a first.

Starbucks Christmas Traditions Promo Cards

My Starbucks 2010 Planner, plus three bags of New Year's gifts.


35.  I’ve been in the same job for the past 14 years and two months.

34.  My beverage of choice be it at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at Starbucks® is Hot Chai Tea Latte served over ice.  Strong on the freshly steeped tea, easy on the steamed milk.  Unfortunately, neither has perfected it, just the way the Sodexho Coffee Bar at Intel Corporation in Folsom makes it.

The very kind staff at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf didn't mind me taking a shot of their fragrant chai tea loose leaf blend. It was a bouquet of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and fennel, with hints of ginger and black peppercorn.

My chai tea latte over ice is finally served! Notice that it's quite milky white, unlike in the States where they put more of the steeped tea. Chai tea latte should be a mug of spicy black tea with milk and sugar, profuse with notes of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, and black peppercorns.

I've kept these beverage rewards cards all these years.


33.  I’ve been meaning to prop up my Americana Wooden Birdhouse at the terrace.  But I haven’t gotten around to actually doing it.

32.  The first time I’ve ever seen a movie on 3D here at home was when I saw Toy Story 3.  I thought the Dolby 3D glasses over my Emporio Armani prescription spectacles were putting too much strain on my eyes.  I didn’t know the lump that was forming in my throat had managed to escape through my eyes.

Toy Story 3 movie tickets

31.  The best motion picture I’ve seen in the past six months is Up In The Air.

Movie ticket for Up In The Air

30.  During flights, I take photos of the airplane’s wings at 30,000 feet.

Took this photo of an airplane wing on a flight from Penang in Malaysia to Singapore.

29.  I’ve never seen an episode of Glee.  But I never miss watching Royal Pains weekly – on its original time slot and on both its encore screenings on Saturdays.

28.  While I prefer tempura batter to be light and fluffy, I don’t mind the heavy batter Healthy Shabu-Shabu uses on their mixed tempura.  My favorite in their platter is the shiitake mushroom caps.

A small portion of Healthy Shabu-Shabu's Mixed Tempura

27.  Gourmet’s Farm grows the sweetest, most fragrant basil leaves.  I bought one packet, stuck it in the fridge, and forgot about it.  Three days later, when on a whim I made my angel hair pomodoro, I got arrested by the unusually heady, invigorating scent that tearing Gourmet’s Farm’s basil leaves emanated.  Basil had never smelled that good to me!

Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil

Really fragrant Gourmet's Farm sweet basil leaves ready to perfume my pomodoro sauce.

The actual Angel Hair Pomodoro I first used Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil on. Sumptuous!

26.  Mapúa Institute of Technology, where I studied in high school, was near Baker’s Fair where I used to get my favorite hopia monggo.  Nineteen years later, I serendipitously discovered their ube ensaymada.  Simply scrumptious!

Baker's Fair's Ube Ensaymada

Purple yam swirls through the brioche.

25.  I eat noodles using chopsticks from Shanghai that my friend Tenz gifted me with.

Chopsticks from Shanghai, courtesy of Tenz.

My favorite chopsticks piercing through a pile of Beef Tendon Noodles from Kim Hiong!


24.  The big Zara S-A-L-E is going on.  There is one item I didn’t get before – because it was still full-priced.  Hahaha!  I wonder if it’s still available.

Zara S-A-L-E, 2009.

23.  One of my principles in life is:  “Never pay full price!

22.  The only vegetable entrée I consistently ask for everywhere is Ampalaya Con Carne (bitter gourd with beef in a fermented soybean sauce).  At Max’s, I’d rather have that than the all-you-can-eat fried chicken they are currently offering at a very reasonable – almost a steal – Php 165.00.

Max's Ampalaya Con Carne


At Maxim's Tea House, Ampalaya Con Carne with Rice can be had to go.

21.  I prefer fried chicken to be doused by nothing more than a good Worcestershire sauce.

Max's fried chicken


Worcestershire sauce does wonders to fried chicken!

20.  My tea of the moment is TAZO Mint Blend, courtesy of my Ninong Allan Paz.  It’s a caffeine-free herbal infusion described as a bracing blend of mint with a pinch of tarragon.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?!

A pile of this wonderful tea from Ninong Allan Paz!


The description of this tea blend alone is half the fun already!

19.  I adore Cibo’s Farfalle Genovese.  This dish of farfalle (bowtie pasta) in a wild mushroom cream sauce with fresh basil pesto is both heaven on a plate and a party in your mouth.

The family size serving of Cibo's Farfalle Genovese


Farfalle Genovese on my plate

18.  Still at Cibo…  I always ask for extra slices of fennel bulb and fronds whenever I have a plate of their Spaghettini Alla Romana (spaghettini with sardines in oil, fennel, and red pepper pesto).

Cibo's Spaghettini Alla Romana

17.  My favorite Chicken Tinola (chicken in a gingery broth with chili leaves) is not my own, but my friend Stave Michael’s.

Stave Michael's Chicken Tinola


This has got to be the best homecooked Chicken Tinola I've ever had.

16.  My favorite commercially available cookies are Mama’s Kitchen’s Mango Chewies from Iloilo City.

A box of Mama's Kitchen's Mango Chewies from Iloilo City


These are the best cookies!

15.  Buon Giorno! at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay makes amazing Bruschetta and Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad – tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella).

Buon Giorno!'s Bruschetta


Buon Giorno!'s Insalata Caprese

14.  Of the many malls, The Podium gets decked in the best Christmas decorations.

The Podium, Christmas 2008.


The Podium, Christmas 2009.


In Christmas 2009, Victorinox Swiss Army held an exhibit at The Podium.


I loved the golden Christmas trees that hung from the ceiling.

13.  Whenever it’s on the menu, I ask for fresh Chrysanthemum Juice.  Here, I get it only at Banana Leaf and at North Park.

Fresh Chrysanthemum Juice at The Banana Leaf

12.  Long before Up and Toy Story 3 wrung my lachrymal glands dry, Finding Nemo had done so seven years earlier.

I found Nemo!

11.  I waited for the results of the voting in the 121st IOC Session, and I was quite saddened when Chicago lost in their bid to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (the 2016 Summer Olympics).

One of the placards in downtown Chicago as the city awaited the announcement of the winning host for the 2016 Olympics.

10.  The Highlander Steakhouse at Tagaytay Highlands makes an excellent Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon.

Tagaytay Highlands' The Highlander Steakhouse's Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon


I served myself with a lot of the smoked salmon! Greeedyyy!!!

  9.  I’ve had the best Chicken Curry dishes at over 30,000 feet up in the sky, on board Air India and Jet Airways flights.  The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine at The Columns on Ayala Avenue and at The Podium is a nice place to go to here at home.  Besides the curry, I super love their Saffron Basmati Rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry at The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine


Saffron Basmati Rice

  8.  I have three notebooks in current (simultaneous) usage status – the Superman notebook I made, the Cardinal Notes from Mikko, and the Daily Notes by kikki.K from Friendship.  They’re for my essays, work, and all other notes of personal importance, respectively.

MIT Cardinal Notes from Mikko


kikki.K Daily Notes from Friendship


The cover of the Superman notebook I made.

  7.  More than ever, I have become really grateful for friends far and wide.  Not a single day passes by without me having conversations with Friendship, Batman, and Superman – no matter how busy each of us may be.






  6.  I’ve developed a deeper appreciation of Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s AC 360O, after reading his memoir Dispatches from the EdgeA Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival.

My book of the moment!

  5.  I woke up with Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning playing incessantly in my head.  Sang it a number of times in the shower.  So it turned out to be a looong shower.

  4.  For three years in a row, Batman has always been the first one to greet me on my birthday.  And there has always been a gift.  I sure hope he does keep that tradition this year.  Hahaha!

  3.  I’m craving for the U.S. Beef Ribcap Tapa & Garlic Overload at Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5.  TheCorporateTeener highly recommends it.  “Tapa” in this context loosely translates to strips of beef that had been cured.

  2.  I believe in this: “There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore…and who always will.  So, don’t worry about people from your past. There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.”

Adidas Samba shoes... my favorite!

  1.  My favorite shoes are still the Samba by Adidas.  They’re the best!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Attempted and achieved to keep a joyous tradition

6 01 2010

A SENSE of fulfillment underscored the first day of the new year – not to mention, the new decade – for me!  First thing on New Year’s morn, I claimed my Starbucks® Coffee Company 2010 planner.

At last, my love has come along!

I earned my first sticker on the promo card on the evening of the 12th of November.  Actually, as if setting myself up for dismal failure yet again, I posted here the challenge I had put upon myself.

For the first time in three years, I made good on this personal goal and had finally affixed a tick beside the words “Starbucks® Coffee Company 2010 planner” on my list.

And yes, I had help.  Thanks to Batman and to Harryboy for the stickers they contributed.  They’re the best!

For posterity... Finally claimed my first ever Starbucks® Coffee Company 2010 planner. And on New Year's morn at that!

Just had to take another shot of the planner.

My Starbucks receipt. A couple of drinks finally scored me the planner.


Does this mean that I will be Starbucks-ing the whole year round?


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Attempt to keep a joyous tradition

13 11 2009
Starbucks 2010 Planner Card 00

"Wish for Joyous Traditions" – the Starbucks® Coffee Company 2010 planner promo card.

I’VE FINALLY earned my first sticker on the Starbucks® Coffee Company 2010 planner promo card.  Oh, not exactly earned.  Make that “forked out 155 pesos for,” which wasn’t bad at all considering the grande Dark Cherry Mocha Frappuccino I got.  The name makes me wonder.  Which is dark?  The cherry or the mocha?  But I digress.

Starbucks 2010 Planner Card 01

"There is a gift for every wish."


Starbucks 2010 Planner Card 04

A "WISH" sticker goes right on top of each "Warm WISHES" coffee mug. A total of 17 stickers are needed – 9 for the holiday featured beverages, and 8 for the regular beverages of choice.


Starbucks 2010 Planner Card 05

The 2010 promo card on top of all else that had been failures in years past. Hahaha!

I got this beverage last night, which I intended to be one of those solo-flight movie nights.  Before my superhero friend and I hit the open road – he usually drops me off from across the mall – I had already checked the schedule.  But still, I went there hoping that my emotions towards the bland options might change when confronted by those “posters intended for theatrical display.”  I’m very visual that way.

Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Not exactly a fan).  Ang Tanging Pamilya (Seriously?!).  All About Steve (Didn’t like the synopsis).  500 Days of Summer (Pass…  My interest waned…).  A Law-Abiding Citizen (Passing up on the gore…).  I turned around and walked away from the cinema.  Having decided against seeing any movie, I put off my plan to get myself either one of my favorite sandwiches at Starbucks® (Hungarian Sausage with Egg and Cheese, or Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich).

I went to National Bookstore instead.  There, I finally saw the new look of the Penguin Deluxe editions of “Wuthering Heights” and “Pride & Prejudice.”  Then I got totally enamored by an unassuming one cubic meter revolving shelf display of – drumroll please – Moleskine®!

Having just gotten my first sticker towards getting the Starbucks® 2010 planner, I was totally into planner/notebook mode.  Before I knew it, I had spent almost two hours going through each variant.  National at Town has actual Moleskine®s for samples you can touch and feel! Yey!  I didn’t realize it would take that long to argue the case between plain and ruled, softcover vs. hardcover, daily vs. weekly vs. monthly views, red vs. black.

But I think I’ve found The One.  I just have to save for it – Moleskine® doesn’t come cheap.  Hahaha!  Now I feel less excited about the 16 more stickers I need.  And it doesn’t help that I’m not that crazy about Toffe Nut Latte and Peppermint Mocha.


Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Before the year ends

12 11 2009
Starbucks Christmas Traditions

Badges of dishonor – Starbucks® Coffee Company promo cards from seasons past, with not too many stickers to show for it!

HERE ARE a couple of years’ worth of futile efforts to score the Starbucks® Coffee Company annual planner.  These promo cards can only shamefully brandish almost bare pages where the adhesive labels of limited edition holiday and classic beverage stickers should have stuck.

Here’s hoping that I finally make good of my personal challenge to get myself the 2010 planner.  I’m thinking of starting tonight.  We’ll see.


Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Separation anxiety

11 11 2009

THERE ARE exactly fourteen pages left on my 16-month STARBUCKS® Date Book & Journal (with weekly calendar views – seven days on one page – and journal pages) from Singapore.  Partner handed it to me personally over dinner at Abé in Serendra, 28th October 2008.  My short account of the sumptuous spread we had that night (bamboo rice, crispy pork adobo, and gising-gising), dessert at Cupcakes by Sonja (chocolate cream pie and pumpkin sweet spice cupcake), and boxes upon boxes of Krispy Kreme we later lugged to her car, was my very first entry on this journal.

Starbucks Singapore Planner 02

My first entries on my 16-month STARBUCKS® Date Book & Journal from Singapore. The accounts earlier than October 28 were transferred from the Moleskine® I retired when I got this one from Partner.

And now, in 50 days, I will have to say goodbye to this planner.  And like most before it, I shall scribble my final thoughts of the year that will have been, close the back cover, and keep it in a box together with its predecessors.

In these times when text messaging has taken care of our spelling skills, when the speed at which information travels has practically obliterated any hope for kids to develop patience as they grow up, and with appointments and reminders conveniently set on calendars we keep in our cellphones, I’ve never stopped keeping an actual notebook – and actually writing in them longhand.

And this particular Starbucks® date book and journal has really served me well.  Just last night, I went through it again, from page one.  And it left like reading a novel – only obviously, an abridged version at best of what really had gone on in my head.  Yes, my thoughts on paper may appear long – worse, long-winded – but they had most likely been condensed.  Writing in cursive allows me that.  Or its exact opposite, accounting for every minute detail.

There’s nothing like setting down in full each letter as they form in my head, cursively connecting them into words without lifting my writing implement of choice from the surface of the paper.  It’s therapeutic.  It’s relaxing.  It’s not letting each emotion, each thought, each feeling…  pass me by.

Anybody and anything that have found their way to my planner’s pages are actually somebody and something in my life.

Starbucks Singapore Planner 00

How the latest page looked like a couple of days ago.


Latest 111009 Entry

Latest entries as of yesterday afternoon.


Notebook - Starbucks 01

Retiring in 50 days...


Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

I keep a notebook

8 07 2009

“’10:26 A.M. … signing off…’” the note reads. – My 16-month STARBUCKS® Date Book & Journal from Singapore. 10:26 A.M.. Friday. 29th May 2009.

Notebook - Starbucks 00

Wrote this down last Monday on my Starbucks® 16-month Date Planner & Journal (from Partner!)

41 days has passed since I wrote that down on my current notebook – just a time stamp and two words.  But they are more than enough to swing open the floodgates of memories.  I know exactly how I felt then.  I know exactly – still – everything around that comment.  I was in front of my laptop at the time.  And when an instant message popped up on my screen, I had to take a pause.  I motioned to my left side to get my royal blue Adidas bag… lift its loose and free flap… unzip an inside compartment… and dig deep for my blue Bic ballpen.  I removed the ballpen’s cap, and as if channeling a troubled and tortured – but nevertheless brilliant – novelist, I let my weary right hand scribble the words down.  For one moment in my life, I felt a hesitation to land the pen on the surface of the paper.  I didn’t exactly know how to make sense of how I felt.  And then, those two words just came out.  Thank God I had that notebook on hand.

Notebook - Starbucks 01

Starbucks® 16-month Date Planner & Journal, a gift from Partner! I love this!

Eversince I was a student, I’ve kept my notebooks well.  I mean, I’ve kept notebooks – I had to.  Definitely, it was a fact of life as some teachers even “graded” them then.  And while as as student I was so selfish to not allow anybody to copy from my assignments, I made a special exception to the lectures I took down.  I would allow a few people to photocopy my notes.  And while in some subjects my quiz and exam scores were more than enough to exempt me from taking the finals, I would always look forward to having my notebooks graded.  It didn’t matter even if the extra credit meant my grades would go shooting through the roof.

I thought I’d stop the “habit” once I finished school.  But I didn’t.  A notebook has become an essential to my daily existence.  As a matter of fact, when I received the gift of a small, rectangular genuine leather sling bag made by a North American design house, the first thing I checked was not the labels.  Hahaha!  I checked if it could fit my notebook-of-the-moment (the Starbucks® one mentioned above).  That has been how a notebook has become the – for lack of better term – focal point of my daily grind.

The other night, before I dozed off, my sights got transfixed on a short stack on my study table – one of many piles scattered all over the desk top as if they were junk.  And I realized one thing.  I’ve sort of chronicled some of the more important moments of my life – both the highs and the lows – on notebooks.  There was the Mead composition notebook someone gave me from the States.   Originally the size of an 8 ½” x 11” bond paper, I customized it to a much smaller version, wrapped it with the Christmas wrapper from one of Batman’s gifts, and decorated it with an image of Batman, cut out from an HBO programme flyer.  I was so proud of this Batman notebook that I had my best friend – the Dark Knight himself – sign on it!

Notebook - Batman

I (sort of) made this notebook!

Then there was the thin “Starbucks®” notebook I made out of loose pages of a Franklin planner that I covered with the sturdy “Starbucks® World of Coffee Guide” pamphlet that I got from their branch in Tagaytay.  Of course, there’s the Rina Albert notebook that Cupcakes by Sonja pastry chef and owner Ms. Sonja L. Ocampo gave me.

Notebook - Rina Albert

My beloved Rina Albert notebook from Ms. Sonja L. Ocampo

And in this arsenal also belongs my Moleskine cahier soft cover notebook.  I get this from Fullybooked in Bonifacio High Street.  It comes in sets of three.  It is only secondary to me – something that I learned about only later – that this notebook is made by the same makers that had provided for the paper needs of legendary artists, writers, and thinkers.  What I really love are the size options, the acid-free paper, the pocket at the back, the defined stitching, and the way the sheets feel after I have riddled them – back-to-back – with my passionate writing.

Notebook - Moleskine 00

My Moleskine cahier and the Starbucks® notebook I made!


Notebook - Moleskine 01

From the pages of my Moleskine cahier (all about food!)

Which now brings me back to what I first thought of when I started writing this.  Why do I keep a notebook?

I guess, for the most part, it has got something to do with my idiosyncrasy to not let go – to really hang on.  Some call “letting go” an art.  But with me, I’ve elevated it to a whole new level all its own.  And I guess I need a notebook for that.  I’m reaching deep inside me and I think, I keep a notebook to help me capture moments that later on, will see me through the difficulty of loss.

And flipping through some of my notebook’s pages, I couldn’t help but smile.  At “opportunities” I missed.  At what I did for some people to cheer them up.  At things I took down and kept keeping until I could talk again to someone I had a misunderstanding with.  At gift ideas I wrote down because I wanted to save up for them.  At “surprises” I wanted to cook up for special someones.

My notebooks are by no means my attempts to write history and amaze people with my factual accounts.  My notebooks are there to account for my life.  To make me remember, especially when the memory gap sets in. Hahaha!

In a matter of days, there will be one more candle to light up and blow out.  And when I really get old or when the time has come to leave, I would be so content and thankful to lie on my deathbed and just read my notebooks.

Notebook - Moleskine 02

Gotta save up for that Maurice Lacroix wristwatch. Hahaha!


Notebook - Moleskine 03



Notebook - Notebook Pile

A notebook pile!