Happy Birthday Grandma!

This weekend was all about celebrations. On Saturday we celebrated the christening of my newest goddaughter Iverre.

Sunday, the 24th, was my Mom’s day. It was her birthday and we celebrated over lunch at Cyma in Trinoma.


See Amir turning on his charms for Grandma on her birthday Smile


It was a filling lunch and we walked it off right after. Alfred, Kuya and Diane, all had somewhere else they needed to be that afternoon but Mom, Dad, and I, stayed at the mall with the little boy for a while. We had to either take turns carrying Amir around, or chasing after him. He wouldn’t walk because he wanted to run around! 

amir run

Catch me if you can Grandma! Smile

He was all tired out by the time we got in the car and headed home. He slept without asking for milk, nor any of his favorite pillows!

How was your weekend?

Wil’s Steaktown

Tuesday was payday and I asked the boyfriend out to lunch. I told him I’d pay for anything but he couldn’t decide where to go. We settled on an old favorite: Steaktown.

My family has gone to Steaktown for family dinners since I was a kid. It used to be located along West Avenue, then it moved. Next we knew, it was along Quezon Avenue side by side another local restaurant. They served the same meals we had known and loved. I took the boyfriend there a few times and we celebrated some of our anniversaries in that restaurant. They moved again, this time to a more secluded spot, at Sgt. Esguerra. In that last location the restaurant upgraded its look. But the menu still carried the same old familiar fare. They still had the salad bar too.

We were looking forward to a nice Steaktown lunch to kick off Alfred’s birthday week.

Imagine our surprise when upon entering, we found the place to be different. Everything was changed. The biggest surprise of all?


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It is now known as Wil’s Steaktown.

Willie Revillame bought the business. And the entire building it was on apparently. The place was being renovated into Wil’s Events Place. It’s also now a resto/bar where a band plays at night. They don’t just serve steaks now. Imagine my surprise when I saw Kare-kare on the menu. Good thing for Alfred though because that’s what he actually wanted for lunch that day.

Now Wil isn’t on my list of favorite people, and the last thing I wanted to do was to make him richer by patronizing his products. But we were there already and the serving staff were nice enough. So we stayed. It was also very hot outside and I’d rather not go out right away.

They served this very soft bread for starters. I actually wanted more. They offered more but didn’t get to actually serve it. I guess that was okay because I got stuffed with all the food we ordered anyway.

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We don’t normally order appetizers, but I’m happy we ordered these potatoes. They’re baked and stuffed with sour cream, cheese and bacon. I think it was called Boston Potatoes or something. Hah!

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The big bowl of Kare-Kare was supposed to have Ox tail. I’m not sure that’s what was in it. It also wasn’t very special, but it tasted okay.

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It took me a long time to decide what to order because I wanted something to complement the Kare-Kare. But since I couldn’t choose any, I settled on Jesse James steak. That used to be Alfred’s usual order. Actually he was looking forward to ordering the 1 pound steak, but it is no longer on the menu.

My steak was well done and was served with garlic mushrooms and buttered vegetables. I had rice too.

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We had refillable Tanglad Iced Tea that we actually regret ordering. It costs 150 pesos a glass and the boyfriend didn’t like it so much. It was too spicy for him, for a drink. I liked it, but couldn’t drink too much of it. A glass would have been enough.

Though we were quite aware of our running bill already, we decided to have dessert.

Alfred ordered the frozen Leche (I did not write down the actual names, sorry), which is a lot like Brazo de Mercedes, but frozen.

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I got the Mango Torte, which is very similar to Contis’ Mango Bravo minus the layers.

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We ended up with a very hefty bill. The food was okay, but the cost is a big consideration. Because of it, we’d already decided that this would be our last visit to Steaktown. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all for paying good money for good food, we just didn’t feel like this was worth it. Add to that, it’s Wil’s restaurant now and no longer the good old familiar place that my family enjoyed.


When my grandfather was dying, also during the wake, and then for prayers after that, we naturally spent a lot of time singing hymns. Oh I love singing hymns. It’s one of the things I love about our church. Hymns.

Singing hymns gets me through things. A lot of times when you spend time contemplating you have the tendency to either be filled with gratefulness, or be overwhelmed with sadness.  A death in the family is undoubtedly a sad time. But singing hymns during the wake makes all the difference.

In these photos you’ll see three groups singing hymns for Papa – the teenagers with their Aunties (2nd row), the oldies (grandmothers), and the little ones.


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So what got me thinking about hymns anyway? The Pioneer Woman posted an audio clip of her son singing my grandfather’s favorite song, Oh, what a beautiful morning. That post reminded me of when she posted a video of her son practicing As the Deer. Listen to both. Smile

Dad’s Hospital Holiday

On Friday morning, my Mom sent me a message saying she was at the Emergency Room with Dad. Daddy had felt light headed and his blood pressure went low so she took him there. He was okay but was being admitted for more observation. I probably should have rushed then, but I finished my shift, went a little overtime (last day syndrome), took time with lunch, before we finally made it to Dad’s room.

He didn’t look sick at all –

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Now, in 30 years of my life, I have no memory of my Dad ever being hospitalized. He’s been to the ER several times in the last 10 years, but he’s never had to be kept overnight. So this was definitely something new. He stayed for two nights, and was discharged by Sunday morning. He might have overdosed on his new BP meds, so they lessened his medication. He is also on a strict diet now – dunno how long he’s going to sustain it though.

Mom mostly stayed with him, but he didn’t really needed to be looked after. On the first night they took his blood pressure and blood sugar readings hourly. I only stayed until around 8 or 9PM. The next day, readings were only done every four hours.

Guess who else went to visit on Friday afternoon?

He’s really grown up na! He is 10 years old and he’s wearing a shirt that he and my parents got from their Pagudpud vacation when he was such a small toddler! Haha Smile Anyway, he stayed in the hospital until it was time for me to go home. We had argued about dinner too. He wanted Mang Inasal while I didn’t want to have to get off the car to buy the food. It was too hot outside and I was already up a long time by then – my laziness has been amplified. Hihi. Winking smileIn the end he agreed to Jollibee drive-thru. Chicken Joy for him and the boyfriend, Burger Steak for me.

We ate our dinner together at home while Alfred was still sleeping (his shift wasn’t until 3AM). He asked for extra rice and I was so surprised! He’d worked up an appetite, this kid. No wonder he’s growing real fast. Back in the day he would be so picky with food, and would hardly finish his plate.


I went back to the hospital around lunch time the next morning. All I did in the intervening time was see two movies on Fox Family, sleep, wake, dink water, and sleep again. Saturday morning plans had to be scrapped, it was officially time to catch up on sleep.

Shortly after I got to the hospital, my brother arrived – bearing food and drinks too! Hah! And just in time because I was really hungry by then. Amir was supposed to go in for a checkup but they cancelled it on account of Dad’s hospitalization. Since we were there already, Mom took a few hours to herself and went home.

It wasn’t long until Dad was his nutty self – he actually wanted to go out and get himself some coffee. I managed to convince him otherwise and Alfred went out to get him a cup of coffee without sugar. Still, he wanted to walk around. He wasn’t hooked up to a dextrose by then but the IV tap was still on his hand. He had just taken a shower and we were waiting for a change of linens, so he thought he was free to roam around. I couldn’t stop him entirely, but he didn’t go very far. He wasn’t gone 5 minutes before he came back in again.

He kept talking about going home and I really couldn’t see why – the air-conditioning was such a welcome treat. Imagine not having to roast while you sleep?! With everything covered by the HMO, he hadn’t to worry about cost really. But yeah, nothing beats the comfort of your own home. Or maybe he just wanted to go home so he could eat all the oily and sweet food he could grab!

Seriously though, just so thankful that Dad is okay. Thankful that we live so near the best hospital in the country. Greatful that I have a job with free HMO extended to Mom and Dad. Now Dad really has to take better care of himself now. He needs to get back to his old exercise routine, and a better diet. Hopefully that rubs off on us too.

Picnic at the Park

At the Memorial Park, that is.

We had potluck lunch at the Loyola Memorial Park in Tandang Sora to celebrate Papa’s birthday. He would have turned 85 tomorrow, February 27. On Tuesday, it will be the 40th day after his death. We will mark that with a Memorial Mass right here at home, followed by dinner for family and friends (guests).

So here we all are (minus Alfred, who took the photo), just before leaving:

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By the time this photo was taken, we had:

– A sumptuous lunch of chicken adobo, bulalo (deadly!), liempo, and eggplant and mango ensalada. For dessert we had Crema de Fruta and Cathedral Window from Goldilocks. We had plenty of ice for water and soda so we had cold drinks too.

– Setup and taken down Kagawad Walter’s tent. I didn’t know he had one. Mayor Bistek’s face is all over the thing. Okay lang, at least we didn’t have to melt under the heat of the intense sun.

– Two contests! The first one was involved the name Maria and the kids spreading out taking as many qualifying photos as they could. The second was a classic: who could say Happy Birthday Papa the longest! Fun!

We used to go on picnics frequently when we were kids. There was no need for any occasion, we would just decide we wanted to have lunch together and have a picnic. Usually, we’ll have it on the grassy area of the basketball court. Or under the caimito trees lining the volleyball courts. Those days are long gone.

But I foresee more picnics in our future. We’re thankful that there’s ample space beside and above Papa’s grave. They can seriously put a small sunroom out there if they wanted to. But it’s not really necessary. I can imagine that during All Souls’ Day, when the other families are there, we can have one big picnic with them. We know almost everyone who has a loved one buried in that lot.

Mama and I were talking about picnic gear and I remembered the cute colorful picnic plates and utensils at Greenhills. They’re Ikea and I loved them. I should go back and buy a set, for next time.

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