September 15, 2011

My daughter's 1st birthday is coming up in a few days, so the wifey and I are currently in "crunch-time" mode. I never thought that planning for children's parties could very tedious. There's talking to caterers, looking for the perfect host, coming up with a party theme, thinking of the entertainment and a variety of other tasks one no less important than the other. Long gone are the days when we would have our children's parties at home with simple food like hotdog & marshmallow on a stick and home-style spaghetti, with the kids you grew up playing with in the village your only guests. How times have changed. Kid's parties nowadays are a grand production in it itself. I mentioned to my wife a few days ago that the pressure of planning for our kid's party was similar to when we planned for our wedding. Its the minimum requirement to have a buffet spread, lunch or dinner at that.  You also "need" to have a photo booth for your guests. Entertainment such as magicians, bubble show, or a puppet show are a must, lest your guests get bored while eating. Who knows what children's parties 10 years from now will be like. I'm thinking along the lines of fireworks displays or Ipod giveaways. I'm shuddering as I type this.

September 8, 2011

Before I saw this film, I've read positively glowing reviews from critics, hailing Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington "the best Filipino movie of 2011" or "the funniest movie of the year". Being the avid movie goer and a person easily influenced by critics, I dragged the wifey to the theater with promises of belly-aching laughter reminiscent to when we watched Kimmy Dora a couple of years ago. Braving the fact that the movie possessed a title that would keep straight males at least 20 meters away from the cinema doors, I went inside with my interest piqued and looking forward to watch a good Filipino-made film in an age where the adjective "good" is hardly ever used to describe the quality of Tagalog films being churned out. Despite the high praises for Zombadings, I had my reservations and felt a lingering dread in the pit of my stomach that my money was about to go to waste.

Zombadings is one cross-dressing hairstylist away from being a wreck. There were few and far-between funny moments. The story is something an amateur film-student would probably come up with on an alcoholic binge. The monster effects were flat-out bad, with the zombies looking pox-ridden rather than monster-looking. You would know that sound mixing was not a priority when you see an actor's mouth closed but complete sentences are being uttered. The editing was atrocious, with jarring cuts that took you from one scene to another without the proper transitions. The acting could be better, with the actor playing Remington having a role of his career. Some cameo appearances (there are many, but some of the characters are pointless) provided the most laughs but ultimately, Zombadings couldn't cross the threshold to becoming a truly funny movie.

Remind me to think twice about listening to raving movie critics next time. My grade for this one: One blow dryer.

September 5, 2011


Finding this off the beaten track restaurant was the first task, as you had to veer off the main road and make your way a few hundred meters to get there. The second task was navigating your way through the dark and under lit path from the parking area that frogs have invaded and now call home. My first thought upon seeing Kainan sa Dalampasigan was, "this could be the type of restaurant that tourists from Manila have horror stories about". My first impression of the place was not really great: it was dark- with the only sources of light being white bulbs that gave you the impression that you were in a warehouse (The restaurant used to be a warehouse in its former life) or being interrogated by the NBI. It also didn't help that our party were the only guests there (that would change as we were only the first to arrive). However, a companion who had previously dined there assured me that the food was great...only if it were available. Their specialty, Tanigue Steak, was nowhere to be found (they had run out). The second specialty, Ginisang Kangkong, was out of stock as well (I was really doubtful about this restaurant at this point - who runs out of Kangkong, of all vegetables!) . Being the impartial, trying hard, amateur food critic that I am trying to be, I had to suspend my judgment until the rest of the meal had been finished.

The meal started off with an "amuse bouche" serving of sinigang soup and a side dish of fried tomato in bagoong. The soup was perfectly sour. If it was made from an instant mix, they did a very good job of cooking it. The fried tomato however, was even better. It wasnt fried all the way through, so that when you broke it with a fork, the tomato juices came rushing out and blended well with the salty, home-made bagoong. I would probably blame this dish for making me go through almost 2 cups of rice when I shouldn't even be having rice for dinner.

The first to arrive was the Dalampasigan Platter, which was a sampler plate of their specialties which included fried shrimps, fried bangus, inihaw na baboy, baked mussels, salted egg and bagoong. The best part of this platter turned out to be the Baked Tahong, which is another of their signature dishes (Thank God it was available this time). The mussels were entirely covered in a cheese mixture and gratinated until well-browned and melted. There was a hint of saltiness to the dish, which I could only speculate as to what it was. Bagoong in the mixture, perhaps?

The second dish was lechon kawali which was a bit on the oily side. Why eat lechon kawali and not expect it to be oily, right? I've eaten quite a number of lechon kawalis and there were a few I remembered that didn't leak out oil whenever I sliced it. This one did. Taste-wise, it was juicy but it could have used more crisping up.

Their Chop Suey leaves more to be desired. First of all, the vegetables weren't blanched, so the green beans were still undercooked, the cabbage had a pale color to it, while the snow peas were just about ready to give up. I'm a big fan of liver, so while I appreciate that this dish had lots of liver in it, I would have enjoyed it more if they had decided to cook it well. It was overcooked and tough.

The dessert came in the form of Halo-Halo, which my companion had been raving about on the way there. I'm quite hard to please when it comes to Halo-Halo because I don't enjoy most of the ingredients they put in it, such as beans. Dalampasigan's Halo-Halo, however, passed my taste buds. There were lots of nata de coco, my favorite topping of all time, the leche flan was creamy, and most of all - there were no beans! Halo-halo purists might find this fact sacrilegious, but that's how I like my Halo-halo. The only downside was that the ube was hard to chew, but I can forgive that.

I'm still at odds over what I think about Kainan sa Dalampasigan. On one hand, I did enjoy the meal we had, some hiccups on availability withstanding. I'm not discounting the fact that there were a lot of items in the menu not available for ordering, house specialties at that. I find it both absurd and amusing that they would run out of Kang kong, which is a ubiquitous vegetable in my opinion. On the other hand, I don't know what to say about the ambience, most especially the lighting, which also plays a part in the overall dining experience. Lighting was so bad, that I feel I didn't even do justice to the food pictures I took (although I'm no professional). I'd like to think that this place would be more charming in the daytime with its rustic appeal, however, I think they should also give importance to dinner patrons. This place is perfect for tourists coming from Batangas where dining options are few and far between. Rather than resort to driving straight to Tagaytay where restaurants abound, try this one for a change. Don't expect a great meal, but you'll be pleasantly surprised anyway.

January 28, 2010

Yesterday was quite busy day for me. It was a good distraction as it allowed me not to feel sad about what happened a few days ago.

I went to my girlfriend's house at Quezon City where I had lunch with her family. I had lechon kawali, sinigang, and multiple servings of rice. I can't remember eating that much in a long while. The rest of the day was then spent hanging out with my girlfriend and her mom, going around the city in search of stainless kitchen counters. We didn't find what we were looking for, but I had fun going to shops in Quezon City, Mandaluyong, and Quiapo looking for stuff.

My girlfriend and I went then to Greenbelt to meet up with my balikbayan cousins for dinner. We ate at a Japanese restaurant called Nanbantei and I was happy that my cousins enjoyed the food. It was fun getting to hang out and talk to my cousins again after a couple weeks of not seeing them. After dinner and seeing my cousins off to a cab, we watched Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. It was a slight bummer for me though because I was hoping to see Solomon Kane instead, but it wasn't being screened at Greenbelt. The movie turned out to be mildly entertaining but it bored me towards the climax. I guess we won't be seeing any sequels for that film anytime soon.

I then brought my girlfriend home to her place and called it a day at 3AM today. All in all, it was a very good day. I didn't have much time to feel sorry for myself, which was good. A couple more days of this and the spring in my step will be back in no time.

January 27, 2010

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life"

I love that quote from the movie American Beauty. It somehow gives a person the hope that no matter how shitty your life turns out to be, the following day will always hold the promise of a better outcome. Inspiring eh?

So I'm going to visit my girlfriend today. Its a much needed and welcome distraction from the past couple of days. We're probably just going to hang out and plan the day as we go along, which should be good for me right now cause it was planning ahead that got me into this predicament in the first place. I'm up for a little spontaneity right now.

I cooked dinner last night too. It definitely got my mood better cause cooking is one activity where you have control over things. Portion size, taste, ingredients, temperature - everything depends on your discretion. I made Pasta Arrabiatta and Pan Fried Dory Fillets. It turned out to be a good, hearty, and flavorful meal for the family, and I'm planning to prepare dinner more often. My culinary degree might as well be good for something and benefit my family right?

This is probably going to be my only post for today. But its better than nothing at all right? I'm optimistic about today, I feel its going to be one for the books. :)

January 26, 2010

I'm feeling a tad bit more optimistic now. I got an hour's sleep in, which got my mood better once I woke up. I'm also getting exercise, which experts say is a good remedy for the blues. And I'm onto my second blog post for the day. Gotta keep moving! Gotta keep moving!

What's better is that I'm not thinking too much about my predicament. I'm actually thinking that my current state might actually do wonders for me. I'll be able to do the things I actually want to do, instead of going back to corporate work, of which I'm certainly going to regret a few months down the road. Maybe a more simple way of living is in order for me this time. Money really isn't everything. Sure it makes life more comfortable, but who said that life was always supposed to be comfortable? A change is in order, and maybe this is God's way of telling me that I should start doing something with my life now. I took the plunge once before, now why the hell am I trying to get back to the place I left? Its probably time to take a new path, finally take the road less travelled in that fork in the road. I'm feeling optimistic now. Its time to shake off the blues...
I was the recipient of disappointing news yesterday. I found out that I didn't get the job I was praying and hoping for since I got back from the States. I'm depressed and hurt about it because I thought I already had it in the bag, that it was a sure thing. Only the tables turned on me. Right now, I don't feel like doing much. I know I'll get over it soon, but the wound is still pretty raw. I'll bounce back from it, thats for sure. I'm going to get back into my groove before you know it, and I'll be up and about in no time. I've been repeating the overused cliches "Maybe it wasn't for me" and "I'll find something better" and "Its just not in the cards right now" and "things could be worse" in my head. But despite trying to make myself feel good about what happened, the news was still a bit painful to take in. Thank God that I have the most wonderful girlfriend who is standing by my side and remains very supportive despite of me. I love you so much!

Enough of the drama though. Hey, the blog is up again. Now that I'm officially considering myself to be part of the jobless statistic, I might as well make the most of out this state by being productive. And what better way to become productive than to update this blog, which no one will read. Don't get me wrong, blogging isn't the only activity I'll do in order to consider myself productive. I'm still going to try to look for a job, try my hand at setting up my own operation, try to write the next great Filipino novel (after Noli Me Tangere...good luck), anything to keep me busy and keep my mind off the dark thoughts. In the end, what I hope to be able to say for myself is that "Hey, maybe being jobless isn't such a bad thing." and "I made the most out of being without a job." Good luck to me and good luck to anyone who accidentally stumbles upon this blog. Cause the sarcasm is back with a vengeance and I don't think its going to be taking a break anytime soon.

May 12, 2009

Kalinawan Resort

I was recently in Davao for vacation, and one of the highlights of my trip was a visit to Kalinawan Resort, one of the newest resorts in Samal Island that offers unique thrills for the adventurous beach bum. This resort is unique in more ways than one, but what sets it apart from your usual, run of the mill resort is that it channels the weekend warrior inside of you by offering activities such as zip-lining, rapelling, and rock-climbing that's sure to get the blood pumping in your veins. Sounds thrilling to you?
Imagine zip-lining from a tree where you rely
on the force of gravity to take you downwards to the next point while crossing a patch of ocean with intimidating rocks jutting out from the water.

Picture in your mind rapelling or rock climbing (the difference between the 2 is that the goal for one is to go down, while the other takes you up) a natural rock cliff, with the sea as a backdrop as you make your descent...or ascent.

That's Kalinawan for you...the adventurous type's wet dream. Oh and by the way, there are no sandy beaches in this resort (apparently, sand is for sissies). No chlorinated pools either. In Kalinawan, you commune with nature. What mesmerizes me about this resort was that its geographical appearance would suggest that a resort could never be built there. Somehow, the owners managed to carve out a resort from a steep cliff, which took my breath away upon fully taking in the sights.

Their idea of a dip in the pool would be swimming i
n a barricaded segment of the ocean, which is pretty deep by the way, but offering you a view of a patch of coral should you want to go snorkeling. They also have a couple of kayaks should you want to channel your inner boatman, and request for a fish feeding session from the owners.

As of the moment, the resort can only accomodate 25 visitors at any given time, as construction is still being done on cottages. Overnight stays are not yet an option, as there are no private rooms available. At a price of P1,750.00 per person for a day trip, which already includes a buffet lunch and snack, its a steal considering the fact that you get to have a unique experience. Speaking of the food, I just have to give props to the food that they served us that day. Their version of kilawin is one of the best I've ever had. And the biko they served us was also memorable. The onwers were also accomodating and very gracious hosts. They also served as our cheerleaders as we conquered our fears to go rock-climbing and rapelling.

Getting to Kalinawan is relatively easy. In our case, we took the Davao-Samal ferry boat. Upon arriving in Samal Island, its less than an hours drive away to Kalinawan, or depending on your driving prowess, it could take less (We fortunately had a Formula 1 driver with us that day). Expect a bumpy ride though, as the paved road turns into a dirt road at the halfway point. When you go to Kalinawan Resort, leave all your fears and inhibitions behind and channel your sense of adventure and danger.

For more information visit their website at
I'm finally back online. After 2 weeks with no DSL, a higher power took notice of my misfortune and misery and decided to give me access to the Internet once again. So, did any of my 4 readers miss me during my brief hiatus?