Thursday, April 20, 2017

Firehouse grill, Bonifacio High Street

We were looking for a restaurant to eat lunch at after our daughter's class at BGC. While we have our usual places to eat, we once in a while opt to explore the nearby High Street to check out restaurants we have heard about or where the Clairvoyant has had lunch before (her office is near High Street). We also wanted to try out restaurants to see what food or dishes our daughter would like. That way, we are able to expand her tastes as well as our choices for lunches or dinners.

Truffle fries
Firehouse burger
Grilled halibut - this is serve over a bed of polenta and veggies
I discovered based on our receipt that Firehouse Grill is from the Meat Plus group that has restaurants in Subic and Clark. The branch at Bonifacio High Street appears to be on the more classy/snotty side but is actually quite homey and its no surprise a lot of people, including foreigners, go there to eat. The service is good and the price is just right for a nice meal that's very satisfying in terms of both quality and quantity.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Soru Izakaya, Maginhawa Street

I saw a post on Facebook about a newly opened Japanese izakaya (bistro) along Maginhawa Street. And so one Friday, we decided to check it out.

The restaurant had tasteful interiors and the ambience of an izakaya was certainly there.
Sushi and sashimi bar
The drinks on display included many Japanese spirits
Another look at the interiors from inside towards the door

The bar was loaded not only with typical liquor like the Johnny Walkers but, and most notably, with Japanese spirits. These included whisky (Suntory anyone?), sake and shochu.
Shake (salmon) sashimi

Their version of brewed iced tea was okay though I would have preferred mugi cha for hot days
Ramen for me
Yasai itame and tori karaage with rice on the side
Soru Izakaya was a nice experience for us. It certainly brought back some good memories of Japan. The food was good and the service was okay. It would have been better if we had our other friends with us and perhaps if we went there on an evening to enjoy some beer to go with our food. The restaurant is certainly a welcome addition to the Japanese options in UP Village. Price-wise, we thought it didn't hurt the pocket if you ate here once in a while. It definitely is not for regular lunch for the typical employee or student.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Grab at NAIA Terminal 2

This is somewhat a late post on transport from the airport but it is actually quite useful information for many who are arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Prior to the arrival of ridesharing/carsharing services, you only have airport taxis and conventional taxis as the most viable options for direct public transport from the airport. Now there are more attractive options for people who feel like they are being cheated by the former options. Grab, for example, now provides a more attractive option to people wanting to take a more exclusive transport mode to their destinations (e.g., home, office, etc.). Then there is also the airport bus (UBE) that now provides express bus services for travelers.

Grab booth at NAIA Terminal 2
One can book a ride with Grab staff or wait at this designated pick-up point after hailing a ride using the app on their phone.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maundy Thursday musings

Maundy or Holy Thursdays these days don't really feel like what is was many years ago. For one, people seem to be no longer going to the churches for religious purposes. People appear to go on Visita Iglesia these days more like tourists rather than the faithful on pilgrimage. This is evidenced by the massive amount of selfies and other posts on churches and other religious places visited today and tomorrow. In other words, its more for show than for one to strengthen one's relationship with God. Do you really have to take a photo and post about the church on social media real time? Do you really have to "check-in" wherever you are tonight as you go for your seven churches?

Then of course there are the travelers who take advantage of the long week off to hie away to a resort somewhere in the country or abroad. I'm sure everyone's social media accounts have lots on their newsfeed about friends or acquaintances posts of beaches, resorts, hotel rooms, airports, train stations and others about travel and tourism. It's peak season for tourism facilities in the Philippines and those who can afford to travel do so to escape the heat and other discomforts of Metro Manila never mind how inconvenient the travels would be between their homes and their destinations of choice.

In my case, I have preferred to stay at home during these times of the year. While catching up on work is tempting (I have lots of exam papers to correct.), it seems inappropriate to do that during these holidays. Instead, the Clairvoyant and I have done some housekeeping, clearing various stuff from our cabinets, drawers and other storage. We've also taken the opportunity to spend quality time with our daughter and checking on our parents. That, I believe, is more valuable than going around or somewhere during the Holy Week.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Farewell to another mentor and friend - Prof. Leonardo Q. Liongson

I was a bit in disbelief when I first got a message from a close friend that another mentor, later colleague and friend, passed away. There seemed to be too many deaths the past weeks with a beloved aunt and an uncle passing away only last month. I had to check for myself about the news despite my impeccable source. 

Prof. Leonardo Q. Liongson passed away last April 5. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago and chose to live his remaining years with his capacity for wonder and discovery as if he was a much younger person. A renowned Academician, he was our teacher in hydrology. That was CE 110 to us, which was the first major course in a series of Water Resources Engineering subjects. He was a good teacher and a very serious one. We didn't get to see his lighter side until after I joined the faculty and I discovered how kind he was as well as his intelligent sense of humor. Before he retired, our institute had already submitted documents for him to recognized as Professor Emeritus. He was very much qualified for this recognition but unfortunately some people at the university did not agree. This, for us, was unusual considering the university had recognized others before whose accomplishments were definitely less.

Here are a few photos of Prof. Leony from a few years ago. Many of us like to remember him as the photographer/documenter of our activities at the institute (and previously department). He was always with his trusty cameras, which were the good model point-and-shoots.

Prof. Leony (in red) with Transportation Engineering faculty of the Institute of Civil Engineering during the ICE 2015 Christmas Party
Prof. Leony (left) with junior faculty of the ICE and Alumni Engineers at the ICE 2014 Christmas Party

I recall I've had a lot of interesting conversations with Prof. Leony. He can talk about anything under the sun. We shared an interest in trains and bridges and he was very happy to share a lot of stories and photos he collected about trains and bridges here and abroad. His wisdom from his many years teaching and researching will be missed. Paalam Prof. Leony. You made the world and the country better with your work on water resources, and we will all miss your company! You will always be a Professor Emeritus for us at ICE and the College of Engineering.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunrise in Mactan, Cebu

I have posted a lot of photos of sunrises and sunsets in this blog and on social media. Among my favorites are the sunsets in Panglao, Bohol and Puerto Princesa, Palawan and the sunrises in Tagaytay, Cavite. Of course there are the sunsets over Metro Manila that we have had the chance to take photos of on many occasions from on top of the highest point in our village.

On a very recent trip to Cebu where went on vacation, I noticed for a couple of mornings that the sun rose early and the hues from our room indicated how beautiful they were. Unfortunately, I was still sleepy or too lazy to get up and capture the scenes. On our last morning in Mactan, Cebu, I made sure I would be up early to see the magnificent sunrise from our hotel room. We didn't have professional cameras but our smart phones did a great job capturing the following images. These have not been filtered or altered or enhanced in any way. I guess with such beauty you can't really go wrong with any camera? 

Here are three photos of the sunrise from Mactan, Cebu taken before 6:00 AM and only minutes apart:


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Comfort food: home-cooked pansit molo

My recent homecoming trip to Cabatuan, Iloilo was a most welcome change of pace. I remembered that I used to come home to recharge my batteries regularly including the time when I was studying in Japan. That was almost every year until the streak basically stopped after I came home, got married, and got busier at work. Last month, I finally was able to return to our home in Cabatuan where I have a lot of happy memories that to this day I cherish and remember with fondness.

Among the memories was the good food I ate there. This was usually cooked by my aunts with Nanay Paring and Nanay Nene usually rotating in cooking our favorite dishes. Of course, it won't be Iloilo if we didn't have the popular Ilonggo dishes. As if she read my mind, one of my closest cousins, Manang Dora, cooked molo. This was quite the perfect comfort food for me and the taste brought back a lot of my childhood memories.

Molo just the way I like it
It happened to be quite rainy when I was in Iloilo and so the hot soup and dumplings were just right for us to keep warm during the cool weather. Now I do look forward to the next trip back to Cabatuan. Perhaps that should be soon and with our daughter Ally coming, too, to meet her relatives from Tatay's side of the family.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kaimito season

I was going to write about one of my favorite fruits last month but couldn't get a nice photo. It's a good thing I was able to get this opportunistic shot as a friend was getting some kaimito at a roadside stall along Katipunan Avenue in Balara. We learned last week that the fruits were not necessarily harvested from the many trees in Balara and the UP Diliman campus. These came from Bulacan but were being sold here because the area is already well known for kaimito during its season. In fact, we normally see a lot of pickers with their long poles getting the fruits from the trees near our office. And so some staff refuse to buy because they argue that the pickers and those selling the fruits are basically free-loading from UP's trees. No matter, the price per kilo is 50 pesos, which is still cheaper compared to the 70 to 80 pesos per kilo prices in supermarkets. 

There are basically 2 types of kaimito on sale - the green ones and the violet variety. Some violets are lighter -colored.

My only comment here is that you should go down from your vehicle to select the fruits yourself. Chances are, most of the fruits the vendors will give you if you do not have a suki would be either overripe, bugbog or have a lot of borers (worms?). Always examine each fruit and ones that are too soft are often undesirable. Also try to look for the tell-tale holes that are the indications of borers.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our home in Iloilo

I searched for my father's hometown in Iloilo on Google Earth and Google Maps before but didn't use the street view option. Last time around and after coming home I decided to take another look and to check if Google's street view includes the streets near our home there. Lo and behold! It does include them and the Google survey vehicle even passed in front of our home. And so we now have nice images of our home online. Below are the images that I embedded here using Google's features:

I can now go to Google Maps and click on the Street View option whenever I feel like I need to "go home".

Saturday, April 1, 2017


We start April with something that seems unusual but is actually natural. There's a large, old tree near our home and along one of our favorite walking/jogging routes. The tree is one of those that grow roots from its branches. These roots appear to be hanging at first but they eventually reach the ground and bore into it. The result is quite unique and you won't see any other that's the same as this one or another. My biologist friend says its a rubber tree. And another thing about it is that it grew at the border of Antipolo and Taytay. And so it serves as a landmark for us whenever we go on a walk that we are crossing boundaries every time we pass the tree.

Old tree at the border of Antipolo and Taytay - there are two signs shown in the photo. One is stating that you are crossing over to Antipolo and the other states that you are entering Taytay.
One of the roots of the tree found the power and telephone lines along its way down and ended up with the tree "embracing" the cables and with one root even running along and above the phone line.
That second photo is the basis for the title of this article. "Pulupot" is a term in Filipino or Tagalog used to describe someone or something wrapped around another.