Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Minute Activities for 2009

It's New Year's Eve and I'm online. I haven't been online this time of the year since perhaps 1998, my last New Year's eve during my 3-year stint in Yokohama. That time I had to sneak into the lab to send a few emails. I must admit I had nothing to do at home then and New Year's celebrations in Japan were quite different from those we celebrate in the Philippines. Fireworks displays were in parks, mostly organized by cities and many sponsored by corporations who believe the Hanabi will usher in good luck for them in business.

The past few days have been hectic - but in a nice way. They were not "toxic," which was how we usually described days preceding report deadlines or leading to conferences or seminars. In fact, they were pleasant as they were spent reconnecting with old friends. Healing was also part of the agenda as both the Clairvoyant and I nursed colds since Christmas Day. There was also the opportunity to organize things at home - finally re-installing the stereo component system that was among the things brought up for safe storage during the Ondoy event in September. It was definitely a feel-good situation after sorting through photos, both in print and in digital form.

There's a lot to be thankful for in 2009. I would rather be reminded of even the most simplest blessings and the happy moments in a year that was full of emotions. I would like to believe that after all that went about in 2010, we came out not scathed or scarred or branded but resurrected, reinforced and ready...for 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Interrupted?

The gifts are all wrapped up and grouped and bagged accordingly. A cool breeze announces each December morning. There's the sound of carolers, mostly children singing to homes of their playmates. (Thankfully, there are none of the adults that tend to pressure one to allow them to sing - whether intentionally or not.) Christmas won't be delayed and not even the events of the past quarter - typhoons, massacres and now, a volcanic eruption - can stop this most anticipated season, especially in the Philippines.

We have always been a happy people. In the face of disasters we always come out being able to transcend the challenges, the stresses, the disappointments and frustrations associated with whatever disaster or trials that come our way. I'd like to think that political leadership (or the lack of it) is the only hindrance to us being happy AND wealthy at the same time.

Indeed, if material things are to be the basis for happiness, a lot of us won't even make the cut for many of those surveys that get published in newspapers or online. Formal studies do not do justice at all to how we celebrate Christmas, or more appropriately, how we celebrate our lives. Life after all is what is important and it is the gift of life that we celebrate in Christmas. Come to think of it, we are actually celebrating an Easter - our resurrection after a passion-filled past months.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I've always enjoyed eating at restaurants that help bring back memories of childhood days when life seemed so much simpler. Today, I had lunch with the Clairvoyant at a newly opened Savory restaurant at the nearby mall. Having a light breakfast before an appointment with the dentist, we were quite starving and eager to have a hearty meal. We were not disappointed as we enjoyed the set meal consisting of fried chicken, pancti canton, fish fillet and turon (yup, that's right - turon). I just had to order the almond jelly and lychees to complete the experience.

I believe Savory us among the restaurants that had that signature taste - one that makes you recognize immediately that you were eating there. I consider it alongside Max's, Aristocrat and Ma Mon Luk; though I must admit I haven't yet eaten at Ma Mon Luk and don't have memories of eating at Aristocrat (I may have been too young to remember we ate there before.) If I were to extend this category of childhood dining I would definitely include Shakey's (tasted my first pizza at Ali Mall), the old Jollibee in New Frontier cinema, and perhaps that old resto near COD (I don't remember the name) where I enjoyed many toasted bread (my taste was that simple then). The taste of food in these restaurants were familiar and may I say haven't changed so much through the years (otherwise we wouldn't return to eat there).

Meals at restaurants like Savory bring back nice memories as evidenced by the many older people who ate there. One could overhear that they enjoyed their meals and engaged in conversation, exchanging tales about a past era, and I can imagine them picturing the old branch in Escolta just as what was illustrated in the restaurant. I look forward eating there again in the near future and that next time will be with Tatay and Mama, whose stories I look forward to hearing again and are sure to make the meals even more enjoyable.