UPDATED 12-27-2007

So, it was finally Friday. At seven, I just wrapped up my Math tutorial and effectively squelched the demands from the kids for an extension of one hour just to hang around the Mission House by giving them the cryptic “I have a date (plus inane smile)” statement.

I pulled on a black blouse — the only decent, no-ironing-required piece of clothing available from my stock of washed, yet still unfolded, wardrobe — and splashed on my usual cologne  and attempted to tame my scraggly hair with the aid of a clamp. I caught my reflection in the mirror and decided that I looked more blah than ever so I ditched the clamp.

As an afterthought I also ditched the stiletto sandals and opted for my reliable pair of black Islander. Gateway’s just around the neighborhood anyway and I didn’t want to add more worries to myself if I tripped up on some cracks in the dark sidewalks of Cubao.

Anyway, I wasn’t aiming to impress anyone. My cousins, endeared to me by ties of blood, were more viscious than a pack of starved hyenas when it came to teasing other members of their family that it could either leave one permanently traumatized that would require years and years of near-futile psychotherapy to undo the damage or it could thoughen anyone’s hide and immunize one from any other criticisms encountered over the years from people outside the family.

The stilettos would have been my undoing if I’d worn it.

Since I live in the vicinity of Cubao, I got to Gateway first. I exchanged SMS with the cousins who were still on the way from Ortigas area who assured me that they would be there in less than half an hour.

While waiting, I sat outside Pizza Hut and people-watched a bit. However, I made the mistake of looking a stranger in the eye. The next thing I knew, he, a man of about fifty-six with sparse hair and yellowed teeth plus a beer gut (no criticisms intended), walked up to where I sat and fixed me with a smile that only he could personally think was beguiling.

I shuddered inwardly and gave him an arched eyebrow plus American accent, “What do you want, grandpa?” send-off. He looked embarrassed and quickly shuffled away.

Great. I got mistaken for a night flyer.

I informed my cousin, Lanie, who was still in her cab at that moment. She gave a characteristic “Ha ha ha” reply. Very sympathetic, my cousin.

Fifteen minutes later Lanie arrived. We hugged. Bussed each other on the cheeks and proceeded to give each other the customary once-over.

Lanie: Shucks, you look… thinner!

Me: Hmmm, you too! (Lanie was always underweight. Score one for me.)

Lanie: You actually look, um… good this time. How’s your boyfriend? I saw his pic in your friendster, my God! So… antique! (ouch)

Me: Thanks. He’s my showcase.

Lanie: Hahahahaha! Funny ka talaga!

We decided to stay outside while we waited for the other cousins to arrive. Lanie brought me up to date of the things that happened in the intervening six years that we never communicated (she’s a mother now, unmarried, she works as a telemarketer, was  recently promoted, and enjoys her singlehood) while we waited for Tox and Che (and Che’s friend, Lienny).

I’ll just leave it to the slideshow to do the rest of the narrating.

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I have a thing for guys with long red hair… Just look at the two of my favorite anime/game characters:

kenshin himura (battousai)hwoarang, tekken 3, 4, & 5

The one on the left is Kenshin Himura. I used to speed home from school just to catch Samurai X when they still showed it on ABS-CBN. I have OVAs of his wanderings. I cried buckets over his story.

On the right is taekwondo fighter, Hwoarang from the Tekken game series. He was my character of choice during the feverish excitement of playing games with my brother and cousins in the first PS console.

I feel like I’m a teen-ager again *blush*blush* :-)

Double entendre

Notice how in the English language, phrases and words evolve and develop new meanings with the younger generations? The comic strips below are proof that things will not be as they seem as the years pass.

I found these while browsing today… Thanks to Evil Richard

Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels

15. Joker’s Boner

14. Rod! Rod! Rod!
13. Archie Beats off
12. Shut up, Sue
11. Spider-spunk
10. Wonder Woman’s eye-lash emergency
9. Captain America, wanker
8. Butt-stroked?
7. Barry Arren, Frash
6. Robin takes off his panties
5. Dr. Doom and Crazy Black Man

4. Wonder Woman – just like a woman only smart
3. Hope she has a safe word

2. Lois’ morning after

1. Oh, Batman. You didn’t.

missing persons

i am numbed by today’s weather so i’d let things slide and allow my [non-existent] concept of morality to be washed down the sewer gratings of this flood-plagued city by wondering the entire night about other people’s lives instead of minding my own business.

here’s another installment for the milk cartons…

stone temple pilot’s vocalist

scott weiland


i loved her in “with honors” 

 moira kelly


he amuses me

 renoly santiago

i’m feeling too lazy today to look for updates about these people. maybe the milk cartons will yield more clues. 

i’ll just satisfy myself by wondering how they are living their lives now…

scott could now be actively involved in crusades against domestic violence.

moira would probably star in another installment of Saw and help up the number of blood donations for red cross next year.

renoly would star as the leading man opposite that cute lady in innocente de ti in the newest telenovela to hit the philippine prime time. airing rights are still fought over by the two rival networks, the kapamilya and kapuso factions. renoly would come to the philippines and do the lambada on noontime shows, resurrecting the long-dead entertainment quality we all missed from the 80s [cringing as i write this].

Pancakes by the Hundred

One of the highlights of my life in the mission house is that on some days I have the opportunity to cook simple meals and snacks for the kids as well as for the occasional guests who come to visit.

Now, I don’t have any formal training or a degree in culinary arts nor did I spend years slogging it in the kitchen until I could make a perfect paella from just the freshest ingredients hours before a party of 50 is scheduled to arrive.  Cooking has been one of those simple joys I cherish in my moments of solitude. I enjoy the moments of preparation, from slicing the ingredients, to the hiss of spices in the frying pan, to the wafting aroma of a simple dish beckoning to those who care enough to sample the flavors of my cooking.

But let me reveal a secret: I usually cook to please myself.

A little background first.

The Korean missionary brought with him from Korea several cast iron molders of a type streetfood common in their country called boong-o bbang. These boong-o bbang are made from flour batter filled with sweet red bean paste. They are shaped like fish, mostly of the carp family.


the humble boong-o bbang

However, when the Korean brought the molders to the mission center, he immediately assumed that anyone could whip up a batter of this boong-o bbang and serve him some piping hot carp pastry with his coffee when he comes for a visit. He just told the staff of the mission house that the ingredients consist of flour and water. Indeed.

And the missionary wanted to give away some of the 60-ton molders (four in all) to the families in the community of Sleepy Hollow to kick start his livelihood program.

There wasn’t any problem with the entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipinos. It was more of how boong-o bbang, or fish bread as we decided to call it to give it some sense of adhesion to our memories, should taste since the Korean wasn’t generous enough to bring with him some samples from his homeland.

We had the families lined up for a workshop on boong-o bbang making. We preheated the molders and flexed our muscles, readying ourselves for the task ahead. We had pushcarts built to accommodate the behemoth molders so the families could peddle the Korean fish bread to the far reaches of this big city.

Yet, the problem remained. How exactly does boong-o bbang taste like?

Some of us theorized that boong-o bbang is a Korean version of the Japanese kamaboko. Yet one of those present in the boong-o bbang flavor development brainstorm proclaimed that it couldn’t be like kamaboko since kamaboko tastes like moldy football socks left in a tub of vinegar water for three weeks (no offense intended… it was only one person’s opinion which I had no chance to verify as of writing). Another thought that boong-o bbang should taste like the Japanese pancakes with cheese, ham, or ham and cheese filling sold in university canteens.

Others in the mission house have already tried developing their versions of the batter. The first trial batter consisted of flour and water, just like what the Korean instructed. The batter was poured into the hot molds, turned once, and voila! — flatfish cakes. And the taste? Don’t ask.

The second batter still had the constant flour and water. The new additions were the eggs and the heaping shovelful of baking soda. Result: passable but could use some sugar.

The third batter consisted of the ingredients from the second batter minus the baking soda, which was replaced with a heaping shovelful of yeast. Then milk was added plus the missing sugar. Result: major gas as the taste developers were also the taste testers. But the taste was better than the first two batters.

Another brainstorming ensued. It was decided that instead of focusing on how it was supposed to taste like, why not develop our own flavors that could appeal to the Filipino palate (deep!).

We had help from an uncle of mine who came to the mission house to bequeath to me a worn and mold-infested cookbook. He had training in the culinary arts so he’s legit. He stayed long enough to laugh at the stories of the failed batters and to teach all of us, from the cookbook, a recipe that changed our view about boong-o bbang.

My uncle assigned me to the task of developing the ingredients. Following the instructions from the Moldy Book of Shadows, Section on Cooking, I gathered

  • flour
  • milk
  • oil
  • eggs
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • sugar

mixed everything in a bowl, transferred the golden batter (ours never turned out that color) to a pouring vessel and poured the contents to the molders.

The result: everybody happy.

Well, not quite everyone. The Korean was miffed. We had completely adulterated his national street food. He didn’t comment on the taste and left us alone in our celebration of a finally perfect batter for the fish bread.

bbang.jpgThat day, we puttered in the kitchen, crammed fish bread in our mouths and laughed at inane jokes. There must have been a hundred of those fishies baked for all of us — including the children — gathered in the mission house’s kitchen.

But until now, we are still looking for any information about boong-o bbang’s original recipe.

Actually, the recipe we have for our fish bread is for pancakes. Sometimes for breakfast, I use the recipe for a batch just enough for the people in the mission house who’d be around early in the morning. I’d ditch the molders and prepare the cakes in a good old griddle. As the pancakes turn golden, I would sometimes catch myself sporting a self-satisfied smile.

And as for the Korean, he hasn’t inquired about his precious boong-o bbang yet.

Salvage from the bin

I found these entries gathering dust in the drafts section… Entry 1 was meant to precede the post about faith’s hospitalization and Entry 2 was meant to fill the void right before the post I called ARRRGHHH.

Entry 1
hmmm… just a thought: how come when i already have time in my hands to do some writing — profound or inane — nothing can be squeezed out from my brain???

here i am, holed up in a dumaguete internet cafe for more than an hour now and nothing comes out, no spark, no spit, no goo… just me and my shrivelled and rain-washed grey matter.

to preserve a bit of history in my life, tate and i went to see the latest pirates of the caribbean installment yesterday. am glad we managed to catch the movie on its last day ‘coz i had already watched it while in manila and since i came back i had been bleeding tate’s ears with my raves of how good i thought those buckaneers were…

had a great time. my only minor annoyance was how dumaguete theaters slash the credits from the movie (isn’t that illegal?)

Entry 2

Me toes are cold.

Me face is warm.

Me fingers are stiff.

Me mind is fried.

Me weight is whacked.

Me self is whacked.

Me location is whacked.


I’m back in the Mission House after almost three weeks in Valencia/Dumaguete. But I can’t call it entirely back since my mom and I have decided to rotate our time between the Mission House and the House my Grandparents built in Cubao.

So, I have decided to muddle things up for my personal life by adding the merry-go-round of my sleeping arrangements now with my feelings of homesickness and of missing the mountains and my mountain man and the freedom of driving my motorcycle and being with uncomplicated people…

So, to make sense of the somewhat confusing arrangement, this means I have to pack up my toothbrush and and spare underwear in an overnight back then drag my lazy carcass out of the Mission House’s gates every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday evenings. It’s a fifteen-minute jeepney ride to Cubao where I have a cot bed waiting for me in Apartment A’s front room. No cooking stove to boil water for coffee, no drinking water, either. At least I have somewhere safe to sleep some nights of the weeks.

I don’t want to exert any more effort for brain activity focused on worrying and analyzing the pros and cons of the entire arrangement.

Bear with me. I’ll recover from this stupor some time soon (hopefully).

Hazy Thoughts

I divest myself of the fear that rankles in my heart. Today I will just let things be — never resisting, never projecting what might lie ahead or imagining what lurks in the next corner.

In this place where I stand where truth tries to grow shall I stay.

For a while.