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!
Mahjong is my family’s game played in Nengkoy’s house very Friday night. The shuffling sound of mahjong tiles reverberating inside my mother’s living room area every Friday night is literally a weekly occurrence. Every child of Nengkoy (including me) does in fact know how to play this old and traditional Asian game.
And every member of my family seated to play this game would in some way transform into someone different. We would be more focused, more fierce, somewhat smart and strategic as if in a funny attack mode. This is especially true with Nengkoy. She would be so engrossed, she would not mind a word you say if you try asking her what she has done all day or what food has she prepared for dinner.
With our being so well versed with Mahjong, it was easy for us to process and easily understood the mahjong scene representations made by the director of the movie Crazy Rich Asians when my whole family watched this groundbreaking movie last Saturday.
In that mahjong scene between the characters of Rachel Chu (the NY-based Asian-American) and Eleanor (the overbearing matriarch and fearsome mother of Rachel’s boyfriend), we right away understood that Rachelle did the ultimate sacrifice when she let Eleanor win the mahjong game. Rachelle gave up her love, would-be wealth and basically her future with Eleanor’s son. She picked the needed 8-sticks tile to win the game yet she threw and discard it away so that Eleanor could win.
My whole family laughed when we heard Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh) uttered “Pong!” The scene would have actually been better if the characters can do the “sinasalat” act. It is a classic mahjong act in which players would be able to determine the tile they picked without looking at it but by merely using the sense of touch, i.e. by sliding the tile’s character through the player’s finger tips.
If in other Asian movies the fight scene can be so literal – in the form of Karate, Judo or other martial arts – I consider the mahjong scene in Crazy Rich Asian as the ultimate fight scene between the protagonist and the antagonist of the story. This scene actually unleashes the dragon in Rachel and ultimately tamed the bitchiness of Eleanor.
I was seated beside Nengkoy inside the movie house when Rachelle picked her “puro” (the needed tile to win). I heard Nengkoy say, Todas na Sya! Bunot Pa! (Translation: she wins! and with a higher pay).
And since mahjong is played by my family every Friday night, the mahjong scene in Crazy Rich Asian even made me further love this delightful film. The movie was definitely a Todas! Bunot! All-Up! and Syete Pares!
I just have to chronicle this delightful experience! Me, Nengkoy and a couple of my beautiful relatives were treated to a delightful movie all paid for by my nephew Luis. I just have to blog post this event because this is actually the first time that Luis paid for all our movie tickets. And the treat was not just in any other ordinary movie house it was in an affluent and more luxurious venue, the Director’s Club in SM Aura Premier Mall.
The comfortable mechanized la-z-boy seat and the complimentary bowl of buttery popcorn added up to the pleasurable delight of the movie we chose to watch. It was the Mama Mia 2. Like the first version, Mama Mia 2 again made me tap my feet and sing along with the popular tunes of Abba. Some of the songs included in the movie were semi-hit in the Philippines yet I felt silly that I was able to sing along when these semi-popular songs reached the chorus.
Delightful would be the best word to describe Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again. Though the movie was not as fun and as merry if compared to the first version, which included more popular tunes and more comical scenes, the treat by that of my nephew Luis made this movie unforgettable!