The Summit rises

14 05 2013

I LOVE surrounding myself with people who are far smarter than I am – or ever could be.  That way, if I’m very lucky, one could be a teacher to me.

I love the company of my female friends because while I may be so close to a female first cousin, I still technically do not have a sister.

I love that no matter how much you feel like you already have all the people you need in your life, there will always be room for someone new.  And how you meet this someone new could be the stuff of stories worth looking back to.

I love that even with all the oceans and seas geography puts between people, there is always a way to get in touch.  And keep in touch.

Dinner with Data - Data & eNTeNG 00

One of the definitive farewell dinners I had before leaving for Singapore was of course with the Summit. This was at The Podium, June 2011.


Dinner with Data - Data 03

She handled the extensive buffet spread in style.

Last year, one of my closest friends left the Philippines as one of the principal scholars of the Fulbright Classic Program.  She was one of only three PhD students in a fellowship of nine – how so Lord of the Rings! – and was the only one in Communication.  Specifically, she is taking up her PhD in Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design.

She told me that she is working on “a research that will focus on web video, the politics of the everyday, and the cultural identities we embed, create, and recreate as our mundane interactions become more and more mediated.  This is true especially among diasporic Filipinos.”  Her fascination has always been with the web and visual communication.  And she wants “to be able to author studies that will be of use to societies, especially among Filipinos.”  I remember these to be her words.  I recall these now and I feel that I’m at the mercy of Meclizine HCl.  I get nauseous just attempting to fathom her depth.

But before I could even launch into a dizzying spin, I get reminded that this is the same person who, at one point in the past, orchestrated a shopping day for us by first presenting me with a formal, well-written “project proposal” – the kind that gets presented to venture capitalists.  Depth, a sense of humor, and yes, biting sarcasm are a lethal combination.

I look forward to the right time when we’d share a lazy day in the sun, shop ‘til we drop, have coffee, and trade stories.  Nothing does beat surrounding myself with people smarter than I am.  I’ve found one teacher.  And what’s actually better – I’ve found in this teacher yet another real friend who has my welfare at heart.

Today, the 14th of May is her birthday.  Happy birthday, Data!  I can’t wait to call you Data, MA, PhD!


Data, my friend who I fondly call as “The Summit”, recently participated in the Twin Cities Fulbright Enrichment Seminar. (Photos are hers unless otherwise stated.)



The Twin Cities Fulbright Enrichment Seminar is a melding of cultures and the brightest minds of today. Who says that intellect is not akin to having fun? Here are Data and her fellow participants in a seeming “telenovela” pose. I see the Patriarch of a rich clan caught in the midst of his three warring daughters. Haha!



This photo brings South East Asia and Central America in one frame.



Group Dynamics is one reason to engage in a lively discussion. Or argument. Haha! From left to right: The Philippines, Spain, Germany, and Indonesia. This photo is owned by Patrick Muhire of the Twin Cities Fulbright Enrichment Seminar Group.



Data in another group photo. Again, Data… HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It’s such a vicarious thrill to see you living your dreams. And not stopping to learn more in this world. I already feel smarter just by my association with you. Take care!


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

Eat. Talk. Shop.

8 06 2011

Data & eNTeNG

MY MORTALITY stares at me straight, not in the presence of imminent danger, but when in an eat-all-you-can buffet.

I’ve been to YakiMIX a few times, all for reasons that were beyond sustaining my body’s physiological processes.  The first couple of times were celebrations to see colleagues and dear friends off on their move to Singapore.  The last one last night, a spur-of-the-moment surprise to one of my dearest friends, was one in a series of seeing me off.  I don’t know but something about eventually taking that flight to somewhere 2,390 kilometers away could make someone wax nostalgic about the past.  And want to make memories.

I owe Data – the Daphne Tatiana – everything I know about making short videos.  She gave me a short introduction over coffee at Figaro at The Podium, and I’ve been unstoppable since, producing works that have been used for corporate events and for intimate gatherings.

The Diva approaches the escalator landing.

The Diva right in front of the venue of our first meeting, Figaro at The Podium.

So fab at the buffet. I told her that I loved her color blocking.

The Diva and the swanky interiors.

I felt my series of send-offs wouldn’t be complete without an evening of good food and great conversation with this fine lady.  We realized that so much has changed in each other’s lives – she now teaches at the country’s foremost (state) university, is waiting for word on the next phase of her application to a major Ph.D. program in the States, and is back writing for a major network, something she probably loves as much, if not more than executive producing the first season of Project Runway Philippines.

Yes, so much has changed.  But we are just both so glad that, as she did write on my facebook wall, we haven’t.  Our conversation was free-flowing and it was so effortless to pick up from where we left off.

The Diva's grillers

The Diva's second plate of salad, sashimi, and more grillers.

My first plate, from the sashimi station. I got five of each kind! Yes, even the lemon wedges were five in all!


Five pieces of ebi sushi


My second plate of sushi. Again, five of each, except for a "duo" of salmon and tuna.


My duo of fish sashimi. Norwegian pink salmon and yellow fin tuna, live together in perfect harmony, one on top of the other, on my plate.




My sukiyaki with the Diva's grillers at the background.

Practically the same sentiment I have for YakiMIX.  It’s simply a trusty buffet, with probably one of the widest selections of sushi and sashimi (my favorites!), Cantonese cuisine, and barbecue on their smokeless grill.  A little shopping ensued, including tagging a Philip Stein wristwatch for future purchase.  Of course, we capped the night with luscious desserts and coffee at Segafredo – a couple cappuccinos, and a slice each of Butter Cake for her, and Red Velvet for me.

I’ve missed you, Data!  Let’s do this one more time before I leave.



Red Velvet Cake


Perfect combination – red velvet cake and cappuccino!

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

Noodles and dumplings to make friends over

6 06 2011

Shi Lin's Noodles with Sesame and Peanut Sauce

IT WARMS the heart whenever my friendships extend to the better halves.

And when someone’s hubby tells her something like, “Let’s have dinner out.  I’m craving for those noodles from eNTeNG,” I feel like my being a foodie wannabe – not to mention my current fixation with a restaurant – gets the validation it hasn’t sought deliberately.

I think there’s also such a thing as the elusive x-factor when it comes to food.  Sometimes the palate is enticed by a secret ingredient that could make you go “mmm …” and ask, “What is that?”  And before you know it, you’re hooked.  Sometimes, it’s all a matter of excellent execution of a dish that you’ve always had at home, or for which you have your own recipe (which you purport to be the best).

For me, lately, this one dish has been Noodles with Sesame and Peanut Sauce, something I’ve been whipping up to considerable success at home.  It’s been haunting me incessantly these past couple of months that I’ve often found myself suddenly turning to the superhero to my right, in the middle of a hectic workday, blurting out, “Let’s have dinner at Shi Lin!”  And as of last check, we’ve had for three nights, each one spaced just a couple of days apart from the other.

When you realize the kind of commute that I have to take to make it to Shi Lin – from all the way down south of Manila to Mandaluyong, braving the rush hour, unperturbed by unpredictable tropical weather and the parking lot that is EDSA – you will come to acknowledge the passion I have for this bowl of noodles.  After all, I console myself with the thought that Spaniards centuries ago did commission expeditions that circumnavigated the world in search of spices.  My little sacrifice to make it to the third floor of The Podium where Shi Lin is on, clearly pales in comparison.

I discovered Shi Lin on my own and have since dined there by my lonesome on four occasions.  I would relish every opportunity to say “table for one, please” and every time demanding to be seated at the booth section.  I was not trying to be a difficult customer.  I just always knew I needed all that table space.  I may only be one, but I eat for two – sometimes, more.  This is a fact that cannot be denied when I go through my receipts – my lists of “constants” around which “on-the-whim” selections would be made.

My “constants” make my first round – the Noodles with Sesame and Peanut Sauce, the Mushroom & Vegetable Dumplings, and the Fresh Tofu.  The star of the noodles is the noodles itself – Chinese in provenance, but almost Italian in texture.  I say “almost” because unlike Italian pasta taken off the boil a few minutes short of package instructions, Shi Lin’s noodles don’t have a slightly uncooked center – but do have that “give” that at first would seem resistance to your bite.  I love how the noodles’ paleness becomes awash with the deep orange hue of the sesame peanut sauce, perfectly thinner than I had expected.  The lone bok choy felt more ornamental than intended for sustenance.  But the generous sprinkling of onion leeks more than made up for the greens, its sharpness the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the sauce.  I could go through a couple bowls of these easily, as had almost always been the case.

My first bowl

What usually becomes of my first bowl. Hehehe.

This was a second bowl. Yes, I eat for two! So sue me! Hahaha!

I’d borrow The Flash’s reaction to the mushroom & vegetable dumplings.  “Boss, ma-umami talaga yung mushrooms, noh?  And ano kaya yung greens?  Medyo may konting pait sya pero very nice with the mushrooms and the dipping sauce.”  (Boss, the mushrooms really burst with umami goodness!  What could the greens be?  They’re kind of bitter but go very nicely with the mushrooms.)  A quick check with the kitchen revealed the greens to be bok choy.

Mushroom and Vegetable Dumplings

The dumplings are chockful with real fresh shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. No extenders!

The fresh tofu was freezing cold, but its temperature was never an issue in enjoying it – I actually think it wouldn’t work as well when hot – unlike its delicateness that put my chopsticks skills to a test the first time.  But the difficulty the dish’s texture foisted on me only made the first bite worth it.  Silken tofu, swathed all around with a special dark sauce (hoisin?), served as the canvas Jackson Pollock-ed with savory bonito flakes and thinly sliced onion leeks.  Jiggly in my chopsticks on its way to my mouth, the gleaming smooth curd danced in explosions of creamy and sharp flavors.  Such a tease!

Fresh tofu... super love love L-O-V-E this!

This first round, with all its scrumptiousness, actually satiates – but not quite.  Not because the portions were lacking.  But because food at Shi Lin is just so good.  My second round usually consists another noodle dish – either the Braised Beef Noodle Soup, the Beef Noodle Soup, or another one of the sesame peanut – and a couple more dumplings – the Xiao Long Bao (finely ground pork dumplings in broth-filled dumpling wrappers) and the Pork & Shrimp Shaomai (pleasing to the eyes in its artistry, as to the belly in its soupy goodness).

Xiao Long Bao

Freshly shredded ginger is taken with the xiao long bao! Ninong super loves ginger!!!

Pork & Shrimp Shaomai

Now, that really is an edible work of art!

Dumplings galore!

Sometimes, we'd ask for the Salt & Pepper Squid.

Being in Shi Lin makes me feel like I’m in the shrine of amazing Taiwanese cuisine that I’m bound to follow my own tradition.  The first round.  The second round.  Then, a couple of drinks.  The Organic Plumberry Iced Tea and the Organic Passion Berry Iced Tea wash everything down perfectly.

It’s amazing how my fixation has made me dine here for three times in the space of seven days.  What’s more amazing is that I’ve forged, over noodles and broth-filled dumplings, new friendships that’ll last me a lifetime.

And yes, the kind that extends to the better halves.

Bonding over great food recommended by me: The Flash, Thea (my newfound friend and SunLife Advisor), and Iron Man. And oh, "the LV Speedy" in a special participation.

The Flash, my one and only Ninong, me, and Thea.

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

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.