Wednesday, February 25, 2009


There, I finally wrote it...I'm 37 today and I can proudly say that I feel quite good. I have many wishes but the one I most like to be a reality is one that I share with the clairvoyant.


Journey to Incheon

The flight to Incheon was quite enjoyable given that we were transferred by Asiana Airlines ground crew to a Philippine Airline flight and was generously upgraded to Business Class. I haven't flown Business Class on a regional flight since...well, 1997 so it was a welcome development in an otherwise routine flight in Asia. why was the name of the place so familiar? Was it because it was the relatively new international airport for South Korea that happened to be the topic of many presentations on major airport constructions? It was not the memory I had of a place called Incheon.

In 1950 or 1951 (I didn't bother to check the year.) the UN forces led by the US were reeling from a North Korean blitzkrieg that they along with the infant South Korean armed forces could simply not resist. The UN forces retreated to the tip of the peninsula facing a very humiliating defeat and the total collapse of a free Korea - certainly a big statement for the then aggressive and victorious Communists. China had fallen earlier in 1949 and the Soviet Union was openly supplying arms to the North, whose cadres and armies surprised the newly installed democracy in the South.

Then, in an unprecedented move...just when everyone was about to raise the white flag, a certain general by the name of Douglas Mcarthur led a daring naval landing operation in Incheon. This led to one of the most effective counter-offensives in military history...and the rest, as they say,is history.

I have fond memories of an uncle telling so many stories about the Korean War. He was with the 10th Battalion Combat Team, the first Philippine contingent to a UN sanctioned operation and the first Philippine unit sent to Korea. They landed in Incheon only a few days after the daring operation and fought the North Korean so fiercely that they were often far ahead of the allies in the offensive.

I can only imagine the conditions in Korea back then and how Korea looked like. It was also winter then and they were ill-equipped for the cold weather until the US finally supplied them with the winter gear after about a month. Yet they endured and raised the Philippine flag proudly alongside other UN forces.

Korea now, especially Seoul and Incheon (with its excellent airport), is so much different from what it looked like in 1950. We can only imagine from the photos and can only wish that something like that war never happens again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Miss Teapot

I discovered this nice little place along Marcos Highway, just across from the village were I reside. It wasn't really a discovery in the sense that it was the first time I saw it. The clairvoyant and I have always passed it as we drove to work or returned from the grocery. Always, we've mentioned we'll try it sometime - but always, too, we just didn't have the opportunity to check it out. Then, last night came the call and I must admit that it was my impulsive side that brought me to finally sample what the place had to offer.

I couldn't quite call it a cafe though they have coffee and the size of the place and ambiance pretty much states "cafe." What they did have was a lot of tea and the menu provided one with a nice selection of concoctions whether the preference would be hot or "iced" tea.

I figured the name "Miss Teapot" was a good enough name for a place offering good tea and from what I tasted I would agree that they did have something there. I browsed the menu while asking the crew what they recommended. I was informed that they served their hot tea on a burner. Unfortunately, I figured I didn't have time to savor the taste of hot tea as I was just trying to pass the time while waiting for the clairvoyant to arrive at the village gate. I decided instead to try one of their iced teas, the Chi tea. and sample one of the many cakes they offered. The chocolate cake, after all, beckoned from the time I entered the place.

I must admit I was a bit surprised and was happy when the tea arrived on a tall glass that looked more like a mug. It was a generous serving considering the price was about half of what I would have to shell out for something similar in one of those fancy cafes.

I will look forward to the next visit when, perhaps, I will be with the clairvoyant to jointly evaluate (and enjoy) the tea. After all, I am more a tea person than a coffee person. Chocolate? Now that's a different story and one that would need more space and more blogs posts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I have always claimed and believed that February is my month. It may partly be due to February being my birthmonth or it may be just be pure luck that it is during this month that I have my best days (sorry December).

If history will be the basis for my claim, the facts and trends will surely be on my side. My scores, for example, are always highest for exams and quizzes taken in February. That is why I always was frustrated if one of my teachers or profs didn't schedule an exam during this month. I felt that these were practically lost opportunities on my part as I was always sure to ace whatever it was that was given in February.

Weather is also most pleasant in the Philippines in February and there is that sense of summer approaching. When I was in Japan, I had cold Februaries but these were always tempered by the promise of Spring, often manifesting itself in the suddenly warm days abruptly inserted between windy, chilly times.

I will always love February, whatever it brings. It is my month. It is THE month.