Weekend with Frank (the Typhoon)

After 36 hours of no TV, electric fans, computer and Internet – we are back online. Warning: extremely long post. You gotta give it to me, I itched to post!

Tropical Storm Frank changed course and hit Manila directly on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Alfred and I left work together and were both surprised at the strength of the winds and the rain that welcomed us as the glass doors of the building opened to let us out.

As the cab took a right on our street, it was so dark – there was no electricity in our neighborhood but those living right across the creek from us still had their lights on. Since the typhoon had cooled the house, we didn’t mind not having electricity, we did hope that power would be restored when we awoke. It was not to be.

At 3PM, we went down to eat and then confirmed that not only was power still out, but that my grandpa’s house had already been flooded though the water was already receding. My nephews had spent the day with my mom and dad and they even ate our share of lunch. Their moms and dads were already scrubbing their floors when I went out to check on them and the flood waters were already outside our gates. Our house was only built 6 years ago and the floor was elevated to the highest flood level recorded in this area, so we were safe from the flooding. My brother and his girlfriend got off work in the morning but were not able to come home because it was already flooded. They spent the day at Trinoma and were only able to come home at around 4PM when the water cleared.

Though it was still raining, the wind had died down and it was evident that the worst was over. We had also hoped that it meant that power would be restored very soon.

We had planned on malling because Alfred was on leave for Sunday night. We had not been to the mall since he moved to the night shift, and we were both itching to check out some shops. Off we went as soon as the water receded back to the creek and out of the road. We had to walk on the rip-rap though to avoid the stinky mud that was left by the flood. I had to concentrate on avoiding so much as glancing at the water lest I’d feel like falling into it. Eventually I asked Alfred to walk beside me on the sidewalk instead of behind me just so he could hold my hand. Haha.

Getting a cab was easy and so we were in Cubao in no time. The weather was conducive for a cup of coffee so we had some with muffins before we set off window shopping. When we finally went up to Gateway, we hit the shoe stores first but I didn’t find anything I really wanted. Next stop was Fully Booked – since seeing it in Yummy mag, I’ve wanted to purchase an Envirosax and so I did.
This is how my lovely bag looks like and I am totally bummed out that I can’t show you the pic of Alfred modeling the bag for me last night. After purchasing the bag, I met him at the mall’s lounge and I went in to take a pee, leaving him with the rest of our stuff. When I came out, he had already unfurled the bag and put my purse in it. I also actually used the bag for shopping too. We went back in to Fully Booked and I finally got the sequel to the only Garth Nix book I’ve ever read, Sabriel. This one’s titled Lirael and it’s the first brand new book I’ve bought this year. I’ve just been buying previously owned books, remember? I also refused the Body Shop paper bag for my purchases and just plopped them in my reusable shopping bag. πŸ™‚

Speaking of Body Shop purchases. White Musk is my new favorite scent and I love how the Chiffon Sheer Body Mist is so light – it feels soft, smells pretty, and you won’t feel sticky when you spray it on. Mom had it and I just had to get one for myself too! I also bought a gift box that had small bottles of White Musk Sumptuous Silk Shower Gel and Smooth Satin Body Lotion. Body yum! (the shimmer fragrance in the picture is on my wish list)

I also asked the attendant if they still collected the empty bottles of their products and she mentioned that they still do and they returned them to the factory, but there was no promo for it, meaning I won’t get anything in return if I took the bottles back. I don’t care. Knowing that I returned those plastic bottles for recycling is enough for me.

Alfred has been wanting to checkout the Adidas sale since he heard about at the start of the month, so the Adidas shop right next to Body Shop was one of our stops. He didn’t see any of the shoes he wanted on sale but he did see some jackets that he has been wanting to buy since time immemorial (of course he will only be buying one, if he actually gets to buy any). We’ll probably go to Trinoma next weekend (after payday) because he wants to checkout the stocks there too.

Last stop before having dinner was grocery shopping and of course we came prepared with the reusable canvass bag. I restrained myself from buying anything unnecessary and I really do congratulate myself for it. πŸ™‚ After all our purchases were tallied I found that I had enough receipts to get a ShopWise card and earn points. The system was offline though, probably because of the intermittent power outages.

After dinner, we were confronted with a challenge – transport. There was a long queue waiting for cabs outside the grocery and after waiting in line for about 5 minutes and seeing no taxis, we decided to wait somewhere else. Out came my jacket (with hood) and our big umbrella and we walked towards Gateway. After another 15 minutes of waiting and only one other couple getting a cab we decided to move on to another stop, and then another. When we least expected to get a cab while walking towards the main road to just get public transport, we got one. πŸ™‚

As we approached E.Rodriguez, we were hopeful because there were lights on the street and establishments. As we turned right at Sunny Side Drive and then through the streets of our barangay, there was hope because they too had power. Sadly – our street was still cloaked in darkness. Yes, just our street.

And I could not sleep. It wasn’t hot, it was still raining a bit and it was still quite cool. There were a few mosquitoes buzzing around but they weren’t bothering me – afraid I’d whack them I guess. But while Alfred was sound asleep, I couldn’t. When he woke up, I was just drowsing off. Haha.

I had to call Meralco several times over the evening, early morning, and yes, until this afternoon, to follow up on the reactivation of our service. I swear, between me, my cousins an uncle, I can’t count the number of times we’ve called their customer service hotline 16211. We understand that it’s because of the storm and that they have to address consumers from all over the Metro. But we didn’t even get an explanation for why were the only street that had no power for more than 24 hours already!

What’s worse is that the first time I followed up on my initial report, they said that a crew was sent over and was already at the site – and since my report was specific to this street, naturally that’s where I’d assume they’d be. We waited another hour, then two. Nothing. When we called back, the feedback was that power was restored. Well, duh?! Would we be calling back if it was? So they gave us a new report number. This time, response was not as fast. Up until 3PM all they can say when we called was that we were lined up on queue to be addressed. I asked that they trace whoever it was that reported that power was back in our area because obviously they didn’t go to the actual street that was reported! After I asked for such a report, on the next call, the rep mentioned that the team didn’t actually go to the site, but was just patrolling the area. That’s clear misreporting and mishandling of the report! Ugh.

Anyway, I do not want to continue hating the power company Meralco. There’s no use, right? I was upstairs when their crew finally came and I heard my cousin welcoming them sarcastically. They (including the kids) were singing the Meralco jingle that one would hear when they call the support number (their hold music). Apparently, they had to disconnect our lines yesterday because there was a tree that was in danger of falling due to the winds. They just didn’t come back to fix it right away. Now why didn’t they just note that in our reports and told us that in the first place? At least we’d know that they knew the reason why we didn’t have power!

Please offer prayers for the victims of the tragedy also caused by typhoon Frank.

Anyhoo… I am off to browse and watch TV and DVDs, and charge my phone, and drink cold water, and just show appreciation for our electricity. Haha. πŸ™‚ Oh I do hope I still get to catch a sale or two in the digi world.

Alfred’s 29th Birthday – June 8

This is Alfred’s Photo Mosaic. He gave me his answers to the questions and I ran the search and picked the photos from Flickr.

He turned 29 yesterday – Happy Birthday babe! πŸ™‚

We spent the entire day with his family yesterday, something that we’ve never done before ever. So his birthday was also the day I got to meet his entire family (including cousins and nephews and nieces).

On my way to their home in Pasay, I bought a cake (ube, by their request) and my dad was kind enough to drive me to the store and then to the train station. Alfred was supposed to pick me up at the Taft station and we would walk to their house but he wasn’t there yet when I arrived. I called him and I got the feeling there was going to be an entourage coming to pick me up. I wasn’t wrong.

His two nieces, Ena and Pauline were there, plus his nephew Lance whom I’ve met and spent some time with before. So I met the two giggly girls and they were really nice sweet ones. At their home, I met his two older brothers and the girls’ mom. They were all really warm and welcoming.

So we had lunch (his mom cooked Bulalo, Dinuguan, Hamonado and Pancit – all were very very yummy, no wonder he has a tummy like that). The plan was to have lunch there, and then go our own way after. But since I felt like they went out of their way to spend time with their Uncle Dodong and to meet me, why not spend more time with the kids? I asked if they wanted to come with us and see a movie – they did! We went to SM Mall of Asia and saw Kung Fu Panda. It’s a hilarious movie, comparable to Shrek! Haha πŸ™‚

After the movie, we headed back to their house because a cousin was there waiting. I met him before but that was the first time I met his girlfriend. Later on, this cousin’s older sister, her husband and two teenage kids (boys) came along too. It was a full house, literally.

There were lots of laughter and cases of beer. I drank with them too though I’m not a real beer drinker. There were lots of stories to share and to catch up on. We ended up staying until midnight.

I know he’s very happy, and I’m happy that he is.

Credits for the Mosaic photos:
1. King Alfred’s Tower, 2. Chicken Adobo Bento, 3. My Old School, 4. one headlight, 5. Kianna Dior @ AVN Expo 2006, Las Vegas, 6. beer belly, 7. Paradise, 8. Leche Flan, 9. flambΓ©, 10. “Norouz” is coming!…, 11. These little piggies, 12. Blue Devil

What an awesome kick-off for a long weekend!

A colleague from work, Kiss, wrote a very flattering review for the choco truffles I’ve been making. I love getting comments about what I make, because it affirms it for me. You know what I mean? I make them not so much because I want to make money out of them, but because I truly enjoy doing so. Knowing that they are appreciated is really the icing on the cake. πŸ™‚

I’m already thinking of variations to the Oreo Truffles. I will be trying some things out during my long weekend, which officially started at 4AM.

Yes, I have a long weekend – 4 days – ahead of me. I usually have Sundays and Mondays off work but I volunteered to go to work this Monday since one of my colleagues was on vacation (and she still isn’t back). To compensate, I’m off for Saturday. Then my regular off is here – Sun-Mon, and then I availed of a one day vacation for Tuesday so we can also attend a book launch.

The downside is that I have all this time, but I’m not going anywhere. I really was looking forward to finally going to Bolinao with friends. We’ve been planning a vacation for the longest time but it hasn’t materialized yet. This time last year, we were in Sagada exploring the cave and going up and down mountains just to see the waterfalls (I wanted to provide a link to my Live Space album but the site is down). Anyway, the vacation may still become a reality, as long as everyone’s still interested. There’s still some sun left.

I have not been blogging much lately, and that includes blog-hopping. Part of it is because my PC is sick. Sick, I tell you. Just today, it took me almost an hour just to wait for it to boot up properly. I had to turn it on and off countless times.

Boyf has a pretty good idea what’s causing it but we’ve been delaying dealing with it because I didn’t want to spend for the computer again when I haven’t even paid for the monitor in full. Since I received my leave conversions though, we’re thinking of using some of that money for this. I was hoping it would be for our vacation though (specially since our birthdays are coming up fast).

Hmm.. Blogger now has a blogroll feature and I am going to give that a try in a bit. My blog list and blogroll are both getting longer and longer I’m not sure I want to keep both on the sidebar looking that way. I do like seeing the blinkies though. Oh well.

My dad just woke up and apparently, we’re going swimming today! My mom’s office has an annual summer outing and they get to take their families. This year it happens today. They didn’t tell me beforehand probably because I’m supposed to be working Saturdays.

This means I won’t be getting any significant sleep this morning, I don’t really mind though! My nephew – if you know me or have been reading up on my blogs, you would be able to guess which one – Esban is of course tagging along.

Okay, I gotta stop and get some blog-hopping done before I take a shower or a quick nap.

Hearing Mass. EcoWise at ShopWise. and a Boodle feast – Part II

So hearing mass was the first part of the Sunday night. After the priest dismissed the congregation, Alfred and I parted with Joy. I would have wanted to take Joy up on her invitation to her new apartment and have some pasta that she prepared that afternoon. We had to turn her down though, for two reasons: Alfred really really wanted to eat at a particular restaurant, and we had some grocery shopping to do.

We’ve been to ShopWise several times already, mostly when we needed to buy Pedigree or Alpo for Zune. There was a also a time that we bought vegetables and fruits there for my week’s diet. I’ve seen the banners and adverts they have regarding their reusable eco-friendly bags and always thought that that was a fantastic idea. I never bought one before because we had no real intention to make ShopWise shopping a regular activity. Last night, we decided to buy the bag because, well, as it turns out, we do visit ShopWise almost every other week.

I took pictures of the bag but I’m having a hard time uploading using my mobile phone. Argh.

So we got the bag and the cashier started filling it up with our items (it’s a big bag) and then I read about the reusable bag and their double points promo. For ShopWise card holders, much like SM Advantage, you get points for your purchases. For people using the bag, they get double points for all items that fit in the bag. So the reusable bag has three purposes : 1) reduce the amount of plastic used by Shopwise customers; 2) have a sturdy big bag for your grocery items; and, 3) earn double points for your Wise card.

I really just bought the bag for it’s eco-friendly purpose. I’ve also been declining plastic bags from Ministop, often just carrying or pocketing the stuff I purchase. I also wish they would allow us to bring our own canvas bags when shopping at SM. Or perhaps SM should have their green bags available for clothing purchases, etc., and not just for use in their Supermarkets and with conditions at that.

Anywho, we’ve been really conscious about plastics and waste lately, it figured in quite a number of our recent conversations. I’ve mentioned that the Choco Oreo Truffles ala Bakerella are a big hit and people are actually ordering it from me now. I can’t help but think about how wasteful the packaging is. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it is plastic. So Alfred and I were thinking of alternatives and paper bags just don’t seem a good idea so we got the microwavable plastic stuff (more expensive than the ones I’ve used) and then we’ll just put tags on it to encourage buyers to reuse the container or give it back to us to take a small amount off their next purchase. We’ll see how that goes.

Finally, we could sit down for dinner after running around that massive grocery store. Alfred originally wanted to eat at Hap Chan but I wanted a Boodle feast at Seafood Island. Either way we would be spending around 500 pesos for the meal. Just as before, we thought about how gluttonous we looked ordering a feast for 3-4 persons, while there was just 2 of us. We looked at a family of about 3 adults and 2-3 kids who also ordered one of the boodle feasts. Are they having the 3-4 version, or the 5-6? Hopefully the latter. In fairness, they had additional orders.

Sunburn, waves and water proof paper!

I feel like I’m on vacation right now but I’m just on my regular weekend off. I had such a fun day yesterday – water fun under the sun! I had the best company ever – boyfriend, my friend from work Vanette, my niece Dalnes and my nephew Esban.

Vanette loves swimming. She’s gone to two swimming courses in the three years I’ve known her. We’ve been talking about taking a dip for the whole month of April but didn’t get to go then. Oh when we finally got to go, the sun was really on it’s brightest and hottest! Yesterday seems like the only day in the past week that didn’t have rains in the afternoon. There were threatening rain clouds at around 4PM but they didn’t blow over Taytay (the municipality where the resort is at), and even when it started drizzling as we were on our way home, it was just brief like the wind just blew them over there.

We went to Club Manila East, a resort that’s about 35-45 minutes away from here. This was the same resort that Vanette and I went to 3 years ago with 3 of our other guy batchmates from work (who are all no longer in the company). This visit was in stark contrast to the first one: we were practically alone there on that Friday afternoon while we shared the resort yesterday with hundreds of people! They have more pools this time around though so it didn’t really feel very crowded, except perhaps in the Beach Waves pool.

As my dad drove us in to the entrance of Club Manila East (CME), we were overwhelmed by the number of people hanging around at the gate and the vehicles that filled the parking lot. Thankfully, the queue for tickets wasn’t that long so we were in after about 5 minutes. While waiting, Alfred lifted Esban to see the people on the kayaks. We also saw the sign for surfing lessons up front. At first we wondering, how could they do it? Surely, the artificial waves wouldn’t be that strong. Later in the day, we learned just how possible it was to really ride those waves!

The only thing that kept me from really enjoying the trip to the max was that I caught a cold the night before and it’s just no fun swimming with colds. I also couldn’t stand the intensity of the sun’s rays. It was really awesome that one of CME’s maintenance guys put up our table and chairs about five feet from this pool that had the least people in, and right under a mango tree! Shade! We had the coolest spot ever and we only had to pay 100 pesos for it. Before we got that spot we wanted to rent a hut or a cabana but all of them were already taken. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise really.

The kids really maxed themselves out swimming, it was fun to have them because they could both swim already so we didn’t always have to fuss about them. All we had to was just make sure we had our eyes on them. They did venture out on their own to the Kiddie Pool on the other side of the resort. Dal is very capable to watch her brother though so I didn’t worry too much. They came back in less than 15 minutes.

The first pool we checked out was Beach Waves. Of course, within 5 minutes of our arrival, the kids were on there. Good thing too because the waves just started. Us three adults didn’t get to experience the waves yet in the morning, it’s like the waves went on break or something. So we checked out the other pools and found our awesome shaded spot.

When our pool (yes, I claimed it) was closing at 5PM, we decided to go back to the Wave Pool. Vanette and I would not leave without getting a taste of it (not literally okay). Alfred and the kids went there after lunch so boyfriend already knew why Esban just couldn’t get enough. So off we went and WOW, those are some waves. The whole time I was thinking, real waves are more forgiving! Haha. We stayed for like three cycles, the last one were just at the “shore” where the waves break. It was so much fun. I kept worrying about Esban though because as violent as the waves were, he kept taking them on and pushing forward! I had Alfred and Dal alternately chasing after him. Near sundown though, he was the one who said we should go – he was hungry and looking forward to going to SM Taytay!

The shower rooms weren’t crowded as I though they would be. Thank God. There wasn’t much hassle getting the kids cleaned and dressed up. Esban even came back for me asking me to hurry – that’s just because we thought it was going to rain. We had to take pedicabs to the main street as the shuttle was no longer available (too bad, we were looking forward to taking a ride on those). And then we took a jeepney to SM Taytay. We really just wanted to check it out a bit and maybe find something other than Jollibee to eat, but we ended up eating at McDonald’s! I figured it would be easier to get a cab from there too. Okay, it wasn’t easy, but we did get a cab that agreed to take us home.

Esban fell asleep on the ride home, just as expected. He came up here after lunch to tell me he liked it at CME and wants to go back. That’s just as expected too. I want to go back too sweetie πŸ™‚

Any regrets on the trip? I guess only that I didn’t borrow Edsel’s camera pack to get the digicam water proofed. Another would be that we didn’t ask other friends to tag along. There’s always a next time. πŸ™‚

Oh, this has turned into a long post and I haven’t even mentioned the water proof paper bracelet they make you wear upon entrance. No worries, I’ll have another post on this later with pictures! I’ve just transferred them from the camera and checking them out!

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