Last weekend, I and my whole family celebrated Nengkoy’s 82nd birthday. And every year, we make sure that Nengkoy’s birthday is celebrated in a grand way. The whole family would spend overnight in an opulent resort out of town.
But this year was a little different. Though it was still an overnight out of town, it is now held not in a luxury resort but at a more private place. The venue this year was a little different and a lot farther from Manila. It was a 5-hour travel by land. We held it at the super huge and lavish house of Thatcher and Alexis, my niece and nephew-in-law or the two of the plenty grandchildren of Nengkoy.
And like every other year that was, this year’s celebration was a blast. And an addition to the already huge family has joined us, our little boy Arziolo joined the fun filled celebration.
Nengkoy gave us a scare last year when she suffered from some numerous serious ailments. We hope that this year would be a very good year for Nengkoy health wise. The whole family only has two wishes for her. That would be good health and continuous luck in her mahjong exploits.
My family is so nutty like a fruitcake! It has been weeks that some members of my family were contemplating on revisiting and spending the weekend at Okada Manila, the iconic oceanfront integrated resort here in Manila. We then decided to visit one Saturday.
And while everyone was fixing and getting ready to do the “pasyal” (translation: stroll) everyone were suggesting what to do and where to eat while inside plush and lavish Okada. That is until I raised the idea of dropping the plan of going to Okada and we should instead go to S&R where unhealthy American food are available. My nephew Luis reinforced my idea when he expressed that he is craving for some delicious Clam Chowder which Nengkoy also loved and never misses to order every time we dine there.
While we were in the car heading to sophisticated Okada, everybody then decided to do a detour. We agreed to replace the long-ago-planned weekend destination, that is, from the grand and luxurious Okada Manila to the huddle-filled and unsophisticated food court of S&R membership-shopping store!
I ended up enjoying the Clam Chowder, a big chunk of pizza and two pieces of crispy fried chicken! And since we are there, I decided to buy a tray of huge muffins and a big bag of toilet paper rolls. While munching on the greasy pizza, I contemplated that my crazy family’s detour to S&R food court was in agreement to Leonardo Da Vinci’s notion that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
We have now reached the time of the year when we start to reflect on the year that was. The compilations are starting to come out for the best songs, movies, Facebook and Instagram posts, fashion and all other bests for the year.
It is also the time for reflection on a personal level: new people we met, new food we have tasted, amazing new sites we’ve visited, new skills we’ve learned, virtues we’ve acquired or maintained as well as the surprising circumstances we have encountered along the way. It is also the time when we reflect how we’ve been as a human being and what we want to be in the next year.
As for me, I guess all I can do is be the best person that I can be to those who need me. And to those who don’t need me, just wait and see because sometime next year you would realize that you do crave and long for me. Hahaha! I may not have a new set of resolutions but I will definitely do my very best to stay out of the treacherous waters that would be swirling around next year.
It is the end of the year and it feels like a lot of people are tired and need a break. I hope that next year would be more peaceful, meaningful and fruitful for everybody. Let us hope for the best!
Happy New Year and lots of love from me and my mother, Nengkoy!
Like any other Christian family, my family every year is at the heart of Christmas. 2018 Christmas celebration is no different from the yearly revelry that occurs at Nengkoy’s abode. This year though is a little different because there is a little additional member of the family, my 8-month old grandnephew Arziolo.
And as usual, I am the designated person to take photos of the party. There were so much photos I took last Christmas Eve that I was able to create a short video out from it. Enjoy watching…
From Nengkoy and my whole family, let me again greet everybody a very Merry Christmas! And since this post covers a YouTube video, let me express how vloggers would invite viewers by saying: “Hi guys!!! Don’t forget to press the like button and subscribe in this channel!” Hahaha!
About two weeks ago, Nengkoy, I and my family had an early dinner in one of the posh and popular Filipino-fusion cuisine restaurant just beside the lobby of the deluxe and swanky Conrad Hotel (hahaha! I refuse to name the restaurant). It was my first time tasting Pares in that dinner.
Pares is the Filipino’s common reference to a Braised Beef Stew usually paired with garlic fried rice and a bowl of clear soup. Pares is a common dish served in carinderias (small local eateries) usually found along the side streets of Manila.
Since it was my first time, I don’t really have an idea how a good Pares tastes like. That is why I did not know if the version of the posh restaurant was way superior as compared to other Pares-es served in customary, regular and more economical carinderias.
My adventurous nephews however are more well-versed than I am in terms of the taste of Manila’s street food and cuisine. My nephews particularly Denden commented that the Pares served in Café Adriatico is way more delicious as compared to the version served in the restaurant we were having dinner at. He nevertheless commented that the food presentation by the posh restaurant was way more gorgeous as compared to the plain and simple Café Adriatico dish.
When I try to recall if Café Adriatico serves Pares, without batting an eyelash, I reminded Denden that Café Adriatico does not serve it. He then informed me that Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja dish is actually a Pares disguised in a modest presentation and is called in a different appellation.
My other nephew Luis confirmed this observation and stated that indeed, Beef Ninja of Café Adriatico is a Pares dish. Both agreed that though it needs improvement in terms of food presentation, Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja is among the top three Pares-es they have ever tasted.
This inspired me to order Beef Ninja when I had the chance to dine at the 40-year old Café Adriatico in their Malate, Manila branch. While doing some photo shoot of the dish, I wonder which came first in terms of evolution. Was it Beef Ninja of the 40-year old restaurant or was it Pares served in carinderias? I may not know the birth of Pares and how it really tastes like, I nevertheless savored the delicious flavor of one of the best Pares (in disguise) dish on the planet.
Baristas spend years perfecting their latte art. Tons of milk and espresso has been spent so as to achieve a beautiful design. But when you visit Celia’s Café in Alaminos City in Pangasinan, they actually have a machine that can actually have your favorite selfie photo be printed on your coffee.
I don’t know of a café in Manila that offered this same cool feature and going to Singapore or Hongkong would be too expensive if I wish to have my photo printed on my coffee. That is why I did not missed my chance of having this coffee experience when I last visited Celia’s Café, my family’s favorite café in the northern part of the country.
Celia’s Café is located at SSS Building Marcos Avenue, Palamis Alaminos City, Pangasinan
How would you feel seeing your baby photos on Youtube? That is what I thought of while I was uploading a collage of Arziolo’s photo on Youtube. I hope that this baby would be glad in case he sees this when he grows up or he can always just press “report” and relay his reason for flagging this video.
Arziolo is Nengkoy’s great-grandson by the way… These photos are too cute not to share for everybody’s viewing pleasure!