life of a cuddlebit

my random ramblings


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running with the horde

Yesterday was a day of cancelled plans. Kei and I was supposed to have dinner with his family, My dad and sister (Nicole) was out to go shopping on SM MOA.

Our dinner got cancelled, dad and Nicole came rushing home on a taxi! (wth?!) With a really pale faces to boot! What the hell happened?!

SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia

We were told in between gulps of water and deep breaths that there was a break-in at MOA, the Martillyo (hammer) gang struck again. The robbers carted away jewelries from the department store area, and fired gunshots that caused panic to the shoppers. This was not the first time the robbers robbed SM malls. 

Dad and Nicole just finished dinner and was strolling a bit before going home when the commotion started.

Causing dad and Nicole to run like mad with the crowd for dear life.

Surprise, surprise. The mall is not exactly a stress free place to go, even more if there is a horde of frightened shoppers. 

I am just thankful dad and Nicole are home safe.

Thank you God.

 

In every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. -1 Thessalonians 5:18


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oh yeah!

Bring on the fun! Weekend is here!

I’m off to take a stroll at the mall, maybe paint my toes purple, pig out, watch a movie or just make a huge dent on the couch with a glass of wine in my hand because I’m classy like that and watch Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Weekends are for indulgences and chocolate. Cheers everyone!

 

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes


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ultimate tearjerker movie: Grave of the fireflies 火垂るの墓

Last night, I was happily compiling the movies I plan to watch on the onset of holy week when my mum suddenly said: “Hey, can you look for the movie with the war and the little sister? That cartoon movie. I would like to share it to your aunts.” She was talking about Grave of the fireflies by studio Ghibli.

grave of the fireflies poster

grave of the fireflies poster

At home they always joke that I have a heart of stone, because I rarely cry watching dramas or movies.  I was okay with that, I hate it when I have waterworks gushing from my eyes and nose. It is bothersome to me.

But this one. I could never watch this movie without having to push pause and run to get more tissues. *I have watched this movie more than 5 times already.* 

Set in the city of Kobe, Japan. Showing the life of Seita and Setsuko, siblings struggling to survive the second world war. I would not spoil the story for you by telling it here, just go look for it and see the movie. You wouldn’t regret it.

And I promise you can never look at those canned Sakuma drops candies the same way again.

 

 

Why must fireflies die so young? -Setsuko


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rough crystal

I used to have a neighbor who collected rocks. He is older than me by 10 years (I think, I was only 9 back then.) and is named Erwin.

He always has a ready smile, is chubby, with a moody pet iguana.

I am fascinated by his rock collection that he proudly displays on his window. (He believes in crystal healing.) My best friend Joanna and I usually troop to his place to look as his box of rocks, its like a museum trip, he explains what the rocks are, where he got/brought them, the highlight of his collection was a amber with a prehistoric insect in it.

Most of his rocks are quartz crystals, that he gets from caves. They look like these:

rough quartz crystals

rough quartz crystals -photo from pinterest

While I like the crystals, I am fascinated by those that have color. I like the purples and pinks and those that have bright blue colors. I also discovered what geodes are.

Got to know a bunch of stones like ruby, sapphires, amethyst, moonstone, tiger’s eye, hematite, pyrite, opal, jade, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli, cats eye, spinels, etc.  While we like going to his house to check out his collection, at times he thinks we are a nuisance, after all we stay there for hours, he never got angry at us.

rock collection -photo from etsy

somebody’s rock collection -photo from etsy

One summer day he announced that he was moving out. We were sad. Well not really that sad but sad in a way that we know, there ain’t going to be any looking at the rock collection anymore.

On the day he is going away, he handed out a goodbye present for Joanna and me. He gave us each a rough quartz crystal. Which we kept in a pouch and cleaned with saltwater once in a while. Till we forgot all about it.  And our attention was moved to beading with glass beads till we encountered the glittery Swarovski crystal beads, that we made into our bracelets.

Swarovski crystal beads

Swarovski crystal beads

I loved our crystal bling! Joanna and I went on to creating more shiny crystal bead pieces to wear,  that I seriously thought the crystal Erwin gave us was worthless. It doesn’t shine, it is rough and lets be honest here not as pretty as the polished and faceted crystals. But I kept it because of the sentimental/childhood treasure value. I rarely ever clean it anymore. Its been where I kept it for more than 15 years.

Till I saw a booth on the mall selling crystals. Quarts crystals like the ones Erwin used to collect. Like the crystal I have at home.

They were rough, but the are really shiny, I guess it was cleaned frequently. I stooped down to look at the rocks. The smallest quartz crystal was priced at 3,000+ php. I thought to myself, hey, my crystal is bigger than that…. so it means it is worth more.

Woah! It really was a treasure after all! Even without the flashy bling! Reminding me not to take everything at face value. 

the actual rough crystal that was given to me

the actual rough crystal that was given to me

Sad thing was, we never knew where Erwin went. We did not remember his surname, we cant even find him on facebook.

But really, Kuya Erwin, thank you for the gift and the life lesson. 

 

“There is all the difference in the world between treasure and money.” ― Roderick Townley, The Great Good Thing

 

 

 


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nihonbashi-tei

This time I share one of our food haunts.

We frequent lots of Japanese restaurants but we always come back to Nihonbashi Tei, it is our comfort Japanese/Izakaya (after work dinner out) food.

The place itself doesn’t really look appealing, in fact at times the place reeks of cigarette smoke. A number of Japanese tourists and their escorts are usually seen here. That being said, the place is definitely not a kid friendly or family friendly. But they do have good food at a very reasonable price. That reason alone is good enough for us.

sushi area

upon entry to the right is the sushi area

Their Spicy Toro Maki (lean tuna)  is their best seller. Every table orders this crunchy goodness.

*Kei and I usually fights over the last piece. 

The serving is also huge! I have to eat the rice part first before I can eat the top part.  Crunchy, not that spicy despite the spicy attached to the name, salty and sweet, its addicting.

spicy toro maki -200php

spicy toro maki -200php

We are also never without two orders of their Age Takoyaki. It is very different form the soft and soggy takoyaki sold at mall booths. It has a crunch to it and you can actually see a slice of  Tako (octopus) when you take a bite, they are served on a lettuce leaf drizzled with takoyaki sauce,  Japanese  mayo on the side and a generous amount of bonito (katsuobushi) flakes.

Age Takoyaki -165php

Age Takoyaki -165php

Since I am also a self confessed tofu addict. Agedashi Tofu is always a treat, soft and smooth with a tiny bit of crunch. They serve it with seaweed (nori) and bonito flakes.

agedashi tofu -130php

agedashi tofu -130php

Kei also has his staples. He is rather fond of their Curry Soba.

Savory hot soba in curry flavored broth with pork, and thinly sliced scallions.

curry soba -250php

curry soba -250php

And Japanese fried rice? That is Gohan for you. Rice cooked together with egg, vegetables, meat, shrimp seasoned with dashi and soy sauce.

gohan -

gohan -If I remember correctly this is around 60php

Of course how can we not have the Tempura and Gyoza? When in a Japanese restaurant we permanently get these as the fool-proof food in case we did not like what we chose. 

yaki gyoza -150php   ebi tempura -280php

yaki gyoza -150php ebi tempura -280php

That is all our favorites from Nihonbashi-tei.

I just realized that most of what we always get are appetizers. Whatever, I love them all the same. 

Oh, before I forget, they give out complimentary fruit too! (we got this after dinner)

complimentary watermelon

complimentary watermelon

  • They also charge a 10% service charge to your total bill. 
  • Sake and alcoholic drinks are served here.  you can buy a whole bottle and get them to keep it for you till your net visit. (We never did try those. We get coke in cans)
  • If you happen to visit at lunch time, they have the lunch set menu, that is cheaper. 
  • The wait staff are friendly, although at times they can be too busy that they unintentionally ignore you. The food can also take quite a while. 

nihonbashi tei address copy

Landmark: the establishment is right in front of Hyatt Hotel Manila.

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are my own and based on my own experience with the restaurant. This is not a sponsored post, We paid for this (from) our own pocket. 

 


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the free double up-size is much appreciated

Last Tuesday (March 18), for a work day morning, I went on my usual morning routine of reading my emails.

I usually clear out all my e-mail under the promotions tab, but this made me look at it twice and proceed to save it.

For me? Thank you!

For me? Thank you!

I redeemed this last Saturday. (March 22) Because we usually hang out at Starbucks when we get tired of walking aimlessly at the mall. We go there for a snack, or when looking for something sweet.

This time for the price of a tall coffee, we got a venti. not bad. We chose to go with hazelnut macchiato. We liked it for the “smokey flavor” better than the common caramel macchiato. Sort of unusual, since most people take the caramel version. 

I am actually loving my ‘Starbys’ (that is our term of endearment for Starbucks)  card more now.

my abused starbucks card

my abused Starbucks card

So, Thanks again Starbys and till the next time.


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dancing to happy

I have a bad case of last song syndrome and a dancing bug for the past few days due to Pharell Williams’ song ‘Happy’.

Pharrell Willams

Pharrell Willams

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

But its okay since its such a happy upbeat song.  Just right to set the tone for the weekends. (listen to the music here)

HAPPY weekend everyone!


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a stupid thing I believed in when I was a kid

I always spend my summer vacations in an indoor pool near our home (Manila Downtown YMCA Binondo). Me and my best friend (also my childhood/neighbor) have a year round membership that we abuse every summer, we swim daily after having lunch. Come school days we swim on Saturdays.

The pool of my childhood summers. Photo taken from http://www.whereinmanila.com/

The pool of my childhood summers. Photo taken from http://www.whereinmanila.com/

Summer Days we will swim from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm everyday. Looking like a prune was something we found cool, smelling like chlorine is something we also love. (eww, I know) I also have my default swimming fashion, for some reason I always feel more grown-up when I wear black. Hence the all black swim gear. 

swim gear

Freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly sometimes even a medley of those are pretty much the norm in a day. We even play our own pool games like tag or the “surfing”- the surfing is actually something we made up. We try to stand on a kickboard and hold on to the gutter for dear life. The kickboard tries to float, making standing up wobbly as hell your body should keep it stable or else the kickboard will slip and float to the surface and send you toppling over. Whoever stays standing on the kickboard wins. We also have another version of this sitting on the kickboard. 

A kickboard

A kickboard

But that is not all that there is to our pool adventures.

We usually spot this “certain cool teen-aged girl” just because she always wears a bunch of silver charm bracelet to the pool.  the bracelet caught our attention. Being 9-year olds back then, we thought the charm bracelets (metal) would “sink” in the water and fall to the pool floor, and we (my best friend and I ) will have the liberty of getting one (for each of us) silver charm bracelet too. Back then our motto was ‘finders keepers’.

This looks like our glittery "dream" bracelet Photo from http://1.bp.blogspot.com/

oooohhhh shiny! This looks like the charm bracelet we covet.
Photo from http://1.bp.blogspot.com/

We earnestly searched every summer.

We found a lot of other stuff like: band aids, goggle straps, swim caps, a bra strap, hair pins, earplugs, shampoo etc. But we never did find anything of value in the pool floor.

But its okay. We developed strong lungs diving to the bottom of the pool. We had pretty awesome memories.

 

And we did get our happy ending: By the time we finished high school and our Mums got us our own charm bracelet.


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my awesome Mum

Its my Mums birthday today! *I am looking forward to another awesome dinner. We are the type of family that celebrate birthdays.*

And when it is her birthday the first thing that comes to my mind is  Rocky road ice cream.

photo from christines-cuisine.blogspot.com

photo from christines-cuisine.blogspot.com

She loves that stuff, she can finish of half a tub of ice cream in one sitting. I think that alone is a feat in itself. I can only eat 3 scoops of ice cream and I get tired of it. 

My Mum is my most loyal ally and at times my worst enemy. I got her sharp tongue, freckles, panic attacks and a rather short height.  I am always in awe of my Mum. For me, I can never be a quarter of who she is, or what she does. I can also never be as beautiful as my Mum. She is the most selfless, giving, kind, loving, and positive person I know. She can find the positive in every situation, its something I am trying so hard to learn. She says all the right words in every situation. Her beauty radiates in her wisdom, determination, calm, and perseverance. She might not be physically beautiful but hers is the rare kind of beauty. It’s internal. It radiates from the inside out. It draws people to her. It’s the kind of beauty that I also want to have never fades.

 

She stood by me when the times are tough. She has stood by me through every sickness, bad grades, skinned knees, bad relationship/s I have been through. She looked like she had been dragged through hell and back when I got pneumonia and ulcer at the same time she has been by my bed side without any sleep for 3 weeks. She was the one who cried when I got my impacted tooth surgically removed. (this happened twice, I had 3 impacted teeth removed) She is also the one who was with me through the worst depression inducing surgery of my nasal polyps. And still the one who accompanies me to the dentist, E.E.N.T., family doctor and dermatologist till now.

My Mum also got into a huge argument with my Math teacher for my poor grade. The teacher made us copy the test questions from the blackboard, I copied it and solved it like everybody else but the question I copied was actually wrong. (due to my poor eyesight, that time we did not know I had myopia) So all my answers are wrong because all the questions I copied was wrong.  She petitioned for me to get a re-take this time with glasses on. I actually freaking passed. * the school the printed out test questionnaires after my unfortunate experience.

When ex-BF#1 and I decided to call it quits. She is the one I turn to for advice. She has been the shoulder I cry on. I could hear the pain in her voice when I told her ex-BF#1 cheated on me. The friend I vent to. When ex-BF#1 almost got us killed in a road rage incident, my Mum is the one I tell every sordid detail to. But even with all that she never put him down. No negative word. Mum was hurt, angry, upset, not at him and his family but at the way he/they treated me.

She is not a christian, she is a Catholic. But she prays with me. She always lets me know I am not alone. She is the reason I am resilient as I could be. She helped me face the world. She always picked me up, while never, ever putting anybody else down.

 

My mum is one tough mommy, she is selfless. Just last year she had hysterectomy and appendectomy at the same time. Through the whole healing process she is always worried about our day to day activities. And we always come home to her smiling and saying how did your day go? just like nothing happened.

 

My Mum is very compassionate. Having a full time job, being a nurturing mum to child with Cerebral Palsy (that’s my 26 year old little brother, imagine having to carry/look after him), a loving wife and business partner to my moody dad (blame that on andropause) , a supportive mum to my reckless college junior little sister, a kind mum to a rebellious me, plus a very patient grand mum/caretaker to five pet rabbits. She is always busy with doing stuff for us. (meals, packed food provisions, medicines, materials we need, occasional treats,  etc.) Most of the times we never really paid attention to what she does and yet, I know everyday would be chaos without my mum taking care of us.

 

I can also never guess what my Mum would like. I always fail when I go buying clothes for her. She is picky with fabrics. But if there is one thing  I always know is when my mum is going to scream. She screams for a lot of reasons: driving fast, the manicurist tugging her cuticle with a nipper, whistling kettle, a speeding motorcycle passing our side… etc. I can never have a boring day with my mum. We can stay at home wearing ratty pajamas and talk for hours, play chess, watch the television, eat ice cream, grab take-outs, sleep and sleep some more.

A family photo.  L-R Me, Little Sister, Dad, Mum

A family photo. (L-R) Me, Little Sister, Dad, Mum *little brother not in the photo.

Mums, Happy Birthday! We love you very much! 

-Your firstborn

 

A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. — Tenneva Jordan