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Archive for October, 2007

Best Hopia Ever

I eat hopia.  Once in a while I would buy this inexpensive Chinese-originated treat in a store and take a bite just to fill my empty tummy.

Along with Chef Onille last october 29, 2007 on our way back to the office after an arduous week of training in TESDA in Sta. Cruz, I discovered the best hopia that can topple the most popular and tastiest hopia in the country.

Chef Onille Caballero (an Executive Sous Chef) led me to a very clammy store in Quiapo that only sell hopia of various flavors.  The store’s name was Master Hopia.  I was not excited upon entering the store.  I just followed behind Chef Onille in looking among all the hopia in front of us without looking forward to anything.  I did not expect anything at all since I haven’t seen a Master Hopia deli or branch in any of the leading malls or supermarkets in the metro.

I chose to buy the “hopiang monggo” (a flaky Chinese puff pastry filled with mung bean paste) that cost five pesos each.  The store attendant expressed that it was the freshest among all flavors for it was just pulled out of their oven.  True to its word, the hopia handed to me was still warm.

HopiaThe hopia’s look seems ordinary, boring and not mouth-watering.  It was wrapped in a mundane wax paper then placed inside a small plastic bag that does not even have a print or label of Master Hopia.  I even thought that the owner needs to improve on its merchandising and packaging (walang ka sosyal-sosyal!).  The hopia’s circumference was a bit smaller and the thinkness was thinner compared to the very popular and milky-tasting Eng Bee Tin variety.

But when I had my first bite, I had an out-of-body experience!  It’s like I was gone to Heaven then back to Earth when I swallowed it.  I swear, I never thought that a hopia could be that delicious.

Ano ba English ng hopia?

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When feaks of terror strike, what do you do? Me?

Neil4_7While I hear and receive apocalyptic news and conspiracy theories about the bombing that  happened in Glorietta 2 early this afternoon, the first thing I did when I heard the news was to call home.  After numerous rings and no one answered, I decided to call Ate Gaying (my elder sister) since she often goes to that mall (I suppose for lunch or a quick shopping).  It gave me a big relief when she answered her phone.  I summoned her to call Denden and Erika my eldest pamangkins (nephew and niece) for they are often mall-going geeks.

Late in the afternoon, I received a text message from Erika asking where I am.  I called her right away to make sure if everything was okay.  Erika answered her phone relaying that they were home.  She gave the phone to my younger sister (Jocelyn) asking if I would drop by Nengkoy’s place to hang-out and have dinner.  Upon knowing that everybody was safe, I felt relieved.

One thing dawned on me during my afternoon phone conversation with Ate Gaying.  She expressed that my being a “kuya” (big brother) has surfaced.

It maybe my being Kuya or na praning nanaman ako…

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Economists define GDP (gross domestic product) as a measuring tool for a region’s economy.  It is the total market value of all  final goods and services produced within a region or country in a given period of time.

ManilaIf things will go well, growth will continue and will be consistent, Metro Manila will be on the 30th rank being the richest urban area in world based on its GDP among the 151 urban metros in the world.  This will put Metro Manila on top spot as the richest in Southeast Asia’s GDP.  This is according to the March 2007 research and study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

According to the study, mega-Manila in 2020 will have an estimated GDP worth US$257 billion.  Imagine, Metro Manila will surpass the GDP of Sydney (being on the 32nd spot) and Singapore (on the 40th spot) in 2020?

Based on my knowledge in Inferential Statistics I learned during college days, thirteen years is a long time for estimate.  But! I want to be positive. I want to be auspicious.  I want to be hopeful.  I will be 13 years older during that time and will be on my late 40’s.  The obvious solution so as to convert this survey into reality is by keeping the politicians, the armed forces, the leftists, the rebel groups, the taxi drivers (special mention since I deal with them daily) and the whole metro’s population is to be "behave" until 2020.

Paluin sa pwet ang salbahe!

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I was too haunted, I wanted to stop reading.  I was also too curious and hopeful, I wanted to continue reading.  This is the ambiguous emotion I felt while reading the book entitled “The Kite Runner”, a masterpiece authored by Khaled Hosseini.

Kite_1This is a very powerful novel.  I feel as if every page is a sharp knife cutting deep into my heart, slicing it relentlessly in the most painful way one can conceive.  I was totally immersed in this very gripping story.  I couldn’t stop myself  until I reached the last word of the last chapter.  The book grabbed me until the very end, where I felt not happy, not sad, but hopeful.

Reading the book was like an incredible journey towards Afghanistan, its splendor and its turmoil.  I was taken to magnificient Afghanistan and its horrible nightmare of oppression and violence.

The character of Hassan equals the most brilliantly crafted personality ever to grace the pages of any novel I have read.  Anyone who has a heart cannot resist being moved by Hassan’s moral fiber, his innocence, his nobility in the face of injustices, his loyalty in the face of betrayal and his untimate sacrifice for a friend who has turned on him for no reason other than his own inadequacies.

I admit that I am one who does not read a lot.  But I must say that this is one of the best pieces of modern day literature I have ever read.

I felt the book.

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Brothers & Sisters

I admit, for the past few nights during my free time I spent a considerable amount of time with the Walker family.  They are the California-based family with lots of riotous revelations, funny humiliations and insane confrontations.  The Walkers are the primary family featured in the American TV series entitled “Brothers & Sisters”.

Brothersandsisterss1The show is not like any of the common family drama.  The ensemble of cast, the writers, the directors and producers of the show were able to present what a typical family is like.  I totally got myself addicted and frantically gasping until I finished watching the whole first season.

The program showed the Walkers’ lives challenges dealing with romance, friendship, parenting, brotherhood, vocation, infidelity, addiction, war and even death. They pushed each other to the limit but continue to work toward living their lives as individuals, while loving each other unconditionally and  trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

I loved the character and traits of Nora Walker (played by Sally Field) because she reminds me of Nengkoy (my mom).  Like Nengkoy, Nora Walker talks a lot and worries a lot.  She gave the voice to those things unspoken in a family.  She dealt with the daily agony that a typical devoted mother would face trying to protect and look after her family may it sometimes be irrational, silly and unfounded.

Brothes_2On the other hand, I find bits and pieces of my personal attributes to the characters of the five adult siblings (Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Kevin and Justin) along with the other kin members.  Their multi-generational family connections are totally distinct and remarkable yet a very caring tribe.

I can’t wait to see what’s ahead with this family…

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Due to the deteriorating English communication skills of Pinoy folks, it has been a prevalent  joke in the Philippines that people would suffer from nosebleed if they hear other individuals speak in straight grammatically correct English language.

Via text messages, millions of pesos have been spent by Pinoy mortals who enjoys sharing the impressive verbal ability of Inday (“the exceptional maid”).  Reading the brilliant thoughts and expressions that gifted Inday makes has been very enjoyable.   Thanks to all  who sent me these crazy text messages in my cell phone.  It surely put a smile on my face.  Nowadays, it has been a popular practice in the country to send and share these funny messages to friends.

Here are the accumulated text messages I received for the past months regarding Inday’s outstanding knack on English communication that surely made a lot of people to suffer from “nosebleed”.

Amo: Inday, bakit nagkalat ang basura sa likod ng bahay?!
Inday:  A change in the weather patterns might have occured wrecking havoc to the surroundings.  The way the debris are scattered indicates that the gust of wind was going northeast causing damage to the path it was heading for.
Amo: (nosebleed)

Amo: Inday! Bakit maalat ang ulam?!
Inday:  The consistency was fine.  But you see, it seems that the increased amount of sodium chloride (NaCl) affected the taste drastically and those actions are irreversible.  I do apologize.
Amo: (nosebleed)

Amo: Inday! Bakit may bukol si Junior?!
Inday: Compromising safety with useless aesthetics, the not-so-well engineered architectural desgn of our kitchen lavatory affected the boy’s cranium with slight boil at the left temple near the auditory organ
Amo: (nosebleed)

Amo: Inday! Bakit nasunog ang sinaing?!
Inday: Heavy fire that exerted by the stimulus affect the best conductor of heat which is steel, causing the “oriza sativa” which is the scientific name for rice to change its state of color, smell as well as taste.
Amo: (nosebleed)

AmoInday! Bakit walang kangkong ang sinigang?!
Inday:  Ipomea Aquatica has become the constant ingredient to this Filipino delicacy which is very helpful in the  digestion during the peristaltic process of the food we take.  Due to the continuous rains and floods, the harvest of the said vegetable has lessen the production in the market.
Amo: (nosebleed)

Amo: Inday!? Bakit may rashes si Junior?!
Inday:  Allergens triggered the immune response. Eosinophilic migration occurs to the reaction site and release of chemotactic and anaphylotoxin including histamine and ostaglandins.  These substances results to increase circulation to the site promoting redness.
Amo: (nosebleed)

AmoInday!  Bakit eto na lang ang sukli sa pinamalengke mo?!
Inday:  Higher stock index and the low flow of investment triggered the inflation of prices, thus, the purchasing power of peso is weak
Amo: (nosebleed)

“Off you go! Under no circumstance this house would relent to such unabashed display of vagrant destitution!”
si Inday, pinapaalis ang makulit na pulubi sa gate (Taray talaga ni Inday!)

“Attached herewith is a list of proposed acquisition in line with my proposal to upgrade your household facilities.  I have already made initial survey of current market prices.  Note however that prices could vary depending on the prevailing exchange rate and aggregate supply and demand which we also monitor on an hourly basis.
si Inday, nagpapaalam para mamalengke

“Much as I want to indulge in the proliferation of such indecent and malicious information, I want to lift the stigma and alleviate society’s perception of our profession.”
si Inday, tumangging makipagtsismisan sa katulong sa kabilang bahay

“Dear Inday,
Walanghiya ka! Magpadala ka ng pera! Nasa ospital nanay mo, dumugo ang ilong  kababasa ng pesteng sulat mo!
Tatay”

Klasik ka Inday!

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.