Black Hawk down

21 01 2011

An evening of errands at MOA saw three successful exchanges – of a toy at Toy Kingdom, of a shirt at Philisophy Men, and of foreign currency.

 

“MAMA, MY helicopter crashed.”

“Yeah, I know.  Don’t worry.  Uncle eNTeNG will take care of it.”

I would play this scene in my head, and all the time seeing my youngest nephew looking up to my sister-in-law, clutching her apron strings.  Except that in reality, there was no such clutching.  I arrived at my youngest brother’s house and immediately, I was told that the above conversation had taken place, about at least a couple of times.

The helicopter involved was this really amazing remote-controlled toy that we got at Toy Kingdom at the Mall of Asia (MOA).  When we were approaching the vicinity of the store, I asked my nephews if they wanted to go in and look around.  I had to ask because in the couple of days of having them at home, I had surmised that they have this unwritten rule that they should work hard – I mean, “earn” – whatever perk they’d get in life.  I found it to be very mature and very responsible.

The older two said yes and immediately darted through the door, proceeding to the video games section as if they had radar-locked on it.  The youngest one was hesitant.  He said he had nothing in mind to buy.  But I took his hand and told him we would just walk around.

Then he saw the remote-controlled helicopters hovering above us and by the look in his eyes, I knew I would have to get it for him.  The eyes of children don’t lie.

“Do you like it?”

“Yeah!”  He was nodding enthusiastically though obviously shy about his response.  The little slouch of his shoulders gave him away.

“Ok, we’ll get it.  Which one do you want?”

“How much is it, Uncle?”

I took a box and before I could even read how much, my nephew pointed at the barcode and said, “It’s too much.”

“But you want this, right?”

“Yes, I want it.  But I can live without it.  You don’t have to get it.  It’s too much.”

Oh, the wisdom of a six-year-old.  For that, I made the firm resolve to get the toy.  I thought, the parents are there for the strict disciplining.  A little spoiling could come from me.  Hahaha!

I bought the toy and right after the cashier had rung up our purchases and the store staff had tested the actual unit we bought, my youngest nephew ran to me, gave me a really tight hug, and in his Sam Milby intonation said, “Salamat po!”  (Yes, it felt like living with three Sam Milbys everytime my nephews would attempt to speak in Filipino.)

Unfortunately, within hours of playing with it at home, the toy conked out – the blade refusing to rotate, something that the helicopter body itself started to do before crashing to the ground after experiencing what seemed to be an air pocket.

Black Hawk down.  We’ve got a Black Hawk down.

Mama, my helicopter crashed.

So off I went to Toy Kingdom at MOA.  Honestly, I dreaded having to go there knowing that there isn’t really a clear-cut policy on exchanges here in the Philippines (makes me miss the States!).  But I was pleasantly surprised to find my fears unfounded.

The store manager, who was on the phone at the time, cut her conversation short and attended to me.  After stating my case, she summoned a store staff and gave instructions to look into my complaint.  And if the unit was indeed defective, that I be given a replacement right there and then.  How’s that for customer service in the Philippines?!  A huge thank you to Ms. Ehl (I think that’s her name) and to Sam.  Everything took less than 30 minutes – and that was inclusive of about 10 minutes spent to charge the helicopter unit, part of their defect isolation process flow.

I couldn’t wait to see my nephew play with his new favorite toy again.  And hopefully, no more “Black Hawk down!  We’ve got a Black Hawk down!” this time.

Sam tried the defective unit. The blade rotated but the helicopter wouldn't lift off the ground.

 

Sam took a really close look at the helicopter. He articulated his findings and gave me a decision flow. Hehe =)

 

Sam eventually ruled the unit I was returning to be defective. He then tried a new set (the replacement).

 

Finally, we were cleared for take off...

 

...and then a safe landing!

 

Iron Man kept me company as I waited.

 

Requisite stops at the mall are Starbucks...

 

...and Krispy Kreme!

 

This box went to Ninong!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Today in jeans and shirts

19 01 2011

WHEN MY penny-pinching started, my blog post “Life in the time of bailouts” came to be.  Nothing much has changed a couple of years since I wrote that.  If there’s anything that three consecutive days and nights at the Mall of Asia (MOA), and a serendipitous find at the “Shell of Asia” along NLEX further affirmed to me, it is that I will shop only where it says SALE.  Preferably in big, bold, red letters.

Last Friday, while doing the rounds of stores at MOA – for shirts and toys for my nephews – I chanced upon this window display at Lacoste.  I was drawn to how well-put-together the whole ensemble was.  I loved the shirt and the shoes, but it was the pair of pants in royal blue that pulled me in to the store.  Now I could say that the green scarf speaking to Rebecca Bloomwood, luring her to yet another unnecessary purchase, wasn’t so preposterous.

Lovin' the pants in my fade shade of blue!... Lacoste ensemble at their window display in MOA.

I actually hesitated to inquire because I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Besides, I didn’t want to risk having to call the pants “that blue stuff on display” – because I’d always articulate my inquiry to sales people rather than point with my fingers – lest I earn the ire of Miranda Priestly and get a dressing down on how this shade of blue trickled down to the masses.  Sensing my indecisiveness, my sister-in-law did all the asking on my behalf.  Php 4950.00 for the pair of pants.  Quite steep for my standards for things I buy for myself.

I told myself that I could save up for it.  Then another voice in my head told me that if I will have to do that, I don’t have a business wanting it in the first place.  So, goodbye Lacoste pants in my favorite shade of blue.

Then came the weekend.  On the drive back from Fontana in Clark we decided to stop for Starbucks, which we found at this gas station that purports itself to be the “Shell of Asia”.  Do you know how it feels like when you know what your goal or intention is and yet so many other things seem more attractive, piquing your curiosity and pulling you to directions other than your original goal?  That’s exactly what happened to me on the way to Starbucks.  And it was because one store screamed: “OUTLET”.  Giordano Outlet, to be exact.

Giordano Outlet at the Shell of Asia along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)

Walking past the Php 299.00 shirt pile, I ran my fingers through the jeans rack and that was where my eye caught a certain shade of blue peeking from what appeared to me as a slice of vanilla gateau de crêpe turned to its side.  Eureka!  And when I checked the tag – reduced three times! – it was just for the very affordable price of Php 750.00.  Sold!  Hahaha!

So here it is, my new pair of jeans.  In the shade of blue that I love.  For a price I was willing to pay.

Giordano jeans in my favorite shade of (royal) blue!

 

(At MOA, I also found a statement shirt that appealed to me in all its cheesiness.  Yes, cheesy but undeniably…  hopeful too.  Hahaha!)

"God is writing my love story"

 

Today in jeans and shirt

 

This is just so cute.

 

Starbucks at the "Shell of Asia"

 

My usual "goodness" is chai tea latte over ice. Sometimes, it's green tea latte, which I discovered through Green Lantern.

 

Starbucks Flourless Chocolate Brownie

 

Dessert and tea

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Last night in penmanship

18 01 2011

I LOVE my penmanship.  And I’m quite critical of it.  So I can say that it takes a lot for me to admire other people’s handwriting.  Last night at Starbucks at the Mall of Asia – I was running three errands after office hours (may post about those too)! – I finally saw the best barista penmanship that committed my coffee name to the surface of a venti-sized plastic cup.

The best barista penmanship that committed my coffee name to the surface of a Starbucks plastic cup.

 

Loved how they mixed my fave chai tea latte over ice!

 

It didn’t matter that she had to do a double take after she must’ve found the name to be extraordinary.  What mattered was that she got the name right and she wrote it perfectly.  And oh, her execution of my chai tea latte over ice was extraordinary too.

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Wrapping and writing

2 01 2011

For the recent holiday season, I wrapped my gifts in repurposed Starbucks paper bags and yellow ribbons. A letter came with each one.

BY THE time I was done tearing Starbucks paper bags apart, I had exactly 38 sheets.  (A large paper bag yields two sheets, the small brown one just unfolds to full length.)  For the third year in a row, I repurposed all the Starbucks paper bags I’ve accumulated over the months, into gift wrappers.

Gift wrappers made from Starbucks paper bags

I put a lot of thought into each gift.  And for added personal touch, I wrap everything by myself, pulling an all-nighter every time.  For this last one, I used up all those sheets of Starbucks paper and 30 meters of the brightest, widest yellow ribbon I could find at National Bookstore.

 

 

 

And I just couldn’t stop at “Season’s greetings”.  I have to write actual letters.  My thoughts and feelings flowed freely through my right hand and out of my blue-inked ballpoint pen, landing on to the surface of contamination-control sheets of paper torn off of my Berkshire cleanroom notebook.

Some of the letters

 

Each letter is really personalized.

 

I wrote all the letters in one sitting. So by the time I was done, I was already calloused. Hahaha!

 

Wrapped inside this one is a book from a popular children's book series. It took me a while to find it. It was sold out at two Powerbooks branches I went to and at a couple of National Bookstores. Fortunately, I did find one – the last copy! – after rummaging through the deep recesses of one National Bookstore's shelves. I made the small yellow ribbon in the car, on the way to deliver the gift.

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Table for three

29 12 2010

What's left of ice cream at a table for three

JUST WHEN I wasn’t really intending to make new (great) friends anymore, I made two really great ones this year.  For quite a while, I’ve resolved that I don’t have a reason for new close associations.  But life clearly does take pleasure in proving me wrong – yet again.

I will always look back with gratitude to 2010 because of Green Lantern and the Flash.  Yes, I’ve never played DOTA with them, and I charge it to the 12– and 14–year age gaps.  But they’ve proven to me a lot of the clichés about friendship that we’ve often found to be painfully trite.  And when you find people who can actually breathe life to all the greeting card corniness in this world, you’d be a fool to let them go.

We find the same things funny.  That’s why no matter how cringe-inducing it is to say this next line – watch out, mush at full speed ahead – I really have to say that there has never been a dull moment with these two superheroes.  They can make the sun shine through on an overcast day.  And in a number of occasions, they have managed to lighten my load – the things I bear that nobody else can see.  I’m supposed to be the wisest in the group, being the oldest, yet in a number of times, I had to acknowledge the benefits of their youthful wisdom.

It’s just a couple of days ‘til this year ends.  And I couldn’t help but recognize how amazing the clarity that comes with being alone in this space and trying to look back to all those times that defined my friendships.  I close my eyes and I see a few times when all three of us would sit next to each other – or share a meal together – sometimes, without speaking a word.  And yet I feel that even in silence, I have had some of the best conversations in my life.  I’ve had it with them.

Green Lantern had already left to pursue his dreams on some distant shore.  The Flash is back home down South.  I look forward to all three of us back at the same table for three and eat, talk and feel like no time has passed.  For now, the memories of our farewell dinner will have to do.

Happy new year!

Your blogger, Green Lantern, and the Flash.

 

I had this angel hair pomodoro.

 

Green Lantern had angel hair pomodoro with grilled chicken breast.

 

The Flash asked for the beef tenderloin steak, served with mashed potato and buttered steamed vegetables.

 

Green Lantern and the Flash

 

With the Flash's steak already wiped out, it was time to go over the dessert menu!

 

Blueberry Panna Cotta

 

A tight shot of the blueberry panna cotta

 

Tiramisu, topped with candied orange peel.

 

We told Italianni's that Green Lantern's leaving on a jetplane in the morning so we wanted the dinner to double up as his birthday celebration as well. They sent this ice cream to our table... and the crew wished him well through a song!

 

Green Lantern and your blogger

 

Green Lantern and the Flash

 

Green Lantern and the crew of Italianni's at the SM Mall of Asia

 

Why so sad, the Flash?

 

That's better.

 

Green Lantern's green tea latte over ice, the Flash's caramel cream frappuccino, and my chai tea latte over ice.

 

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





Traditional dinner at an ultra-modern home

28 12 2010

Le Façade

FRIENDSHIP CAME back home for the holidays.  Just really a few days, to be able to spend Christmas eve with her family.  By the time this gets posted, she will have been about 30,000 feet up in the air, on a flight back to be with the Merlion.  She’ll be welcoming the new year there.

In between those days, she managed to invite me and Brother to dinner at their brand new ultra-modern home.  The invitation was actually first extended over lunch at Cibo, on the eve of this year’s presidential elections.  Knowing Friendship and her family, I wasn’t the least surprised that seven months later, the invitation still stood.

Brooklyn Pizza at Town delivered the night’s dinner – pizza, pasta, and lots of chicken wings.  Home-cooked goodness was courtesy of Friendship’s dad’s crispy pata (crispy trotter) that came with a special dipping sauce.  And of course, steamed rice that I myself asked for.

I couldn’t devote my concentration on the food as I was in awe of the house – from the all-white façade, the floor-to-ceiling glass panels that surround the house on both levels, the staircase, and the all-white interiors contrasted only with accents of dark wood and touches of chrome.  But for me, the best part that demanded my attention – quite a feat as it meant pulling me away from pasta – was the kitchen!  I swear, theirs is a kitchen FoodNetwork TV show dreams are made of.

The only other things somewhat successful at distracting me from my fascination with the kitchen were the array of desserts Friendship and her family spread out.  There were cookies from Ju.D’s by Ju.D La’O of Greenmeadows, a frozen tiramisu cake, a buko pandan ice cream from Pampanga, and a really moist chocolate cake from Cielin’s.

The simple yet elegant place setting

 

My plate. This was just my first helping!

 

Chocolate Cake from Cielin's

 

As traditions would have it, I got my own box of Ju.D's scrumptious chewy chewkies. I could finish this whole box. And I almost did!

 

Hands down, one of the best cookies I have ever tasted!

 

One of the many drink options made available to us by Friendship.

 

The Starbucks tea was actually full loose leaf tea that came elegantly packaged in a mesh pouch like this.

 

One thing that Friendship, her sister and I share is a passion for wristwatches!

 

Friendship's new Technomarine Cruise!

 

So lovin' the ceramic feel and look of this ToyWatch wristwatch!

 

One thing I like about Friendship's sister's new ToyWatch is that it is the exact same one used by Sandra Bullock's character in her Oscar-winning role in "The Blind Side".

 

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





Most at Christmas time

22 12 2010

TWO THINGS came to mind when I first saw what Starbucks had put on their packaging this holiday season: “STORIES ARE GIFTS.  SHARE.

I could’ve very well written it myself.

I miss some people I want to share with the most.

Nothing like these four words to make me miss a few but really important and special people.

 

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