Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Crispy Pata, Sisig at Pakbet: New Adventures of the Food Fanatic

One hot sunday afternoon, the food fanatics travelled to the other end of the Kelana Jaya lrt line in a quaint little restaurant called Cagayan to sample a taste of home-- our much missed Crispy Pata, Sisig (with egg!) and pakbet. 

It was a artery clogging taste of heaven. Yummy! Worth every cholesterol and trans fat (or whatever fats) that will probably shorten my entire lifespan for a couple of hours or so. 

Met up with Jay and Tina at the Masjid Jamek LRT around 12nn and despite the heat of the sun, we trekked all the way to Bandar Utama to eat at the Pinoy restaurant. I was excited to eat my favorite Crispy pata which I have missed a lot.  Tina ordered sisig (which is another yummy dish) and just to add some semblance of health on the cholesterol laden dishes we ordered, we had some pakbet. 

There was just something about eating something very pinoy when you're in a foreign country. I guess it adds more "specialness" to the act of eating something seemingly ordinary. We gobbled everything as if there was no tomorrow. Galit galit muna.. There was nothing to complain about the place. It was truly authentic. And for almost an hour there, I thought that I was actually in Manila and not in Malaysia. I just wish they had a honest to goodness authentic pinoy halohalo. I miss that. Kahit na yung chowking version lang.. But syempre the best pa din yung sa tabi ng kalye.. homemade.. with all the germs and bacteria. haha.

After our hearty lunch we walked around a bit and did some window shopping. We then transferred over to nearby 1 utama where I finally managed to find my long searched size of crocs! After almost 2 years of searching I finally managed to find a size for me. Tina and I bought matching pairs. Unfortunately Jay didn't have a size in the design he liked. We were still full but we craved for some Mcdonald's Sundae for dessert so we searched for Mcdo and I had my craving for chocolate sundae filled. 

It was one long day. Going home we got stuck in the LRT station for about 15 minutes. The train just stopped and refused to budge. It was raining heavily so there must have been some technical glitch somewhere. It didn't dampen our spirits though. We were just simply too happy to spoil our day. I was excited to try on my new crocs. Tina couldn't wait anymore, she wore it as soon as she bought it. 

I got home barely having enough time to dress up for badminton. I had to burn the fats off so I was quite excited to play. I played 3 sets before I retired for the night. 

 Another food adventure... Another food craving satisfied..Onto  the next one...
ella wish ko andito ka.. para me kadamay ako sa king new diet--eating diet! haha ;)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Words of Wisdom..(Repost from Jean Pierre)

If the time comes that you are not already sure where you stand in someone’s life, it’s best to leave things behind so that if they drop you off, it will be easier to forget them. Don’t waste time waiting for nothing; when efforts are not recognized, it’s best to ust give things up. You’ve done your part, let them do theirs…

… though it’s hard maybe it's the right thing to do...

From my former students' Eunice and Jean Pierre. 

No further explanations needed. I think the words say it all.. 

Giving up is not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means you're giving yourself the chance to start fresh...all over again...

The Measure of Happiness

... laughing out load while having your haircut.
... eating your favorite food without care for calories
... petting polie while he blissfully sleeps in my lap
... finding charsiew pork in the middle of pasar malam
... travelling close to 60kms just to eat lunch 
... seeing the world's beautiful beaches
... Reading a well written essay by one of my students
... setting up my new WIFI router and not destroying it
... playing a good game of badminton
... eating butter prawns 
... Finding clover at Mercato and Nagaraya at Sogo (pinoy food junkie!)
... tocino on a lazy sunday afternoon
... planning my next travel gimik
... having great songs on ipod
... learning to use my new camera
... taking a great picture
... watching a good movie
... having a nice chat
... getting to know someone
... talking to ella
... talking to my mom and sister
... finding a good book
... spending time with the ones who matter

And there we were, in a kind of harmony; and the evening was so beautiful, that it made a pain in my heart, as when you cannot tell whether you are happy or sad; and I thoughtthat if I could have a wish, it would be that nothing would ever change, and we could stay that way forever... -Margaret Atwood "Alias Grace" 

Does Heaven or Hell Exist?

A friend asked me this question while munching through Mcdonald's french fries and chicken nuggets one lunch time. I've always believed in heaven and hell and I think all of us do in a way. But did we ever wonder what do they look like? A lot of movies have asked the question like Robin Williams' "What dreams may come?" or Meryl Streep's "Judgment City." 

I gave my friend a weird answer. I think I said I don't really know. But I'd like to believe they do. And if they do exist I'd like to believe that all of us will end up in heaven because after all God loves us (in the words of comedian George Carlin, "he loves you!"). Seriously, I'd like to believe that everyone has a place in heaven. 

So what about hell? I don't know. But what I do know is that if I ever end up there, I'd make it the happiest place for me. 

After all happiness is a choice right?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Steamboat Night

Always in search of great food finds, my friends and I went on another food adventure last night despite my being ill and the rains that threatened to dampen our day. We went to Sunway Pyramid and ate at the Steamboat place (I never got to really jot down the name!) across the mall near mcdonald's. For a mere 18RM each, we ate the prawns and other streamboat favorites that we could stuff ourselves with. 

Jay, Tina, Jesse and I arrived about 5 minutes to 5pm (the official opening of the place). Jay was right when he said we had to be there early. By 6pm the place was packed with a long queue waiting outside for the next vacant table. We sat near the buffet table and was immediately started off to my first steamboat adventure by the waiter. We had half chicken soup and half tomyam soup for the steamboat. I basically just took as much prawns and shrimps I could eat. That was it. haha. I tried some of the fish and squid balls and even tried the mini lobsters but I was in prawn heaven most of the time. 

I tried their famous chicken wings which literally flew off the buffet table the minute it was laid there by the servers. Jay had to fight his way through the small crowd to get our much awaited chicken wings. It was worth it though-- it reminded me a bit of Don Henrico's buffalo wings (which I love in Manila). 

After gobbling all those seafood, veggies and meat, we ended the dinner feast with endless scoops of ice cream (I had mango, strawberry and chocolate) topped with coffee jelly. Yummy. I could barely walk out of the restaurant and was burping the whole night long. By the time we all landed at Endah villa, we were all sleepy. hehe. Jesse managed to play badminton (to work off the calories daw) but the three of us just basically sat down and relaxed. 

great food, good company, lots of laughter, and more great food.. what more could one ask for?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A little unwell

There is a saying that "when it rains, it pours." I think the saying goes the same way with respect to my health. I don't usually get sick but when I get sick it really pours. Since coming back from Redang I've been to the doctor three times already. And it looks like I'm going again tomorrow. My ear is terribly painful. Two days ago it was the flu. The week before that it was my ear again. 

It is during these moments that I miss home the most. In manila if I get sick, the doctor is just one room away. Here I have to plan how to get to the hospital. And most of the time I have to wait for at least a day. 

I just wish I could feel better tomorrow morning

Sunday, April 06, 2008

143444 (The Pulau Redang Adventure)

This is not an entry about love-- it doesn't even closely resemble anything about love. I promise you I won’t write anything about people holding hands with matching “pa sway sway pa!” It's not an entry about romantic trysts and lovebirds dating.

But why the famous "numbers" (plus one that is)? 143444 was the vault combination in our room at the laguna redang resort in pulau redang where I spent 3 days and 2 nights last March 29 till the 31'st. The trip was originally set for the end of Feb but unfortunately the weather was not permitting hence the delay.

We left for Kuala Terrangannu Friday night. I felt as if I was on the amazing race since I was coming from work at 9pm and the bus was leaving at 10pm. True to form I had a classic "hazel" blooper moment when my thing just fell out of my bag while running from the monorail to the LRT station in Titiwangsa where Jay and Tina were waiting for me. Afterwards we met Wilai at the PWTC bus station where our journey was set to begin. The bus took 7 hours. We had a quick breakfast at KT (nasi lemak and teh o ice limau) while waiting for the Merang Jetty port to open then afterwards we took a 1 hour boat ride from the jetty to the resort.

12 hours after our journey started we finally made it to Pulau Redang. The heat was scorching hot but the beach was so inviting. After a quick freshening up in our fully airconditioned room, we trekked to the buffet hall where we pigged out on local and western dishes. I enjoyed the beef and lamb dishes and the roasted chicken was also great. After lunch we went back to the room to dress up for our first trip to see-- the open water snorkeling.

Snorekling in the open water was such a wonderful experience. The coral reef was amazing and the fishes were a sight to look at. I've never seen so many colorful fishes in my life. The fishes were so friendly that you need to only submerge your head in the water and they will actually come to you. We fed the fishes with some bread and enjoyed the cool and clean water. One hour later we headed back to the resort to swim in the pool.

While waiting for Tina and Wilai to shower Jay and I enjoyed a cool beer by the beach. We met the pinoy bartender and a couple of other pinoy resort personnel. Afterwards the four of us headed off to dinner-- buffet number 2. This time they had the roasted beef and man was it good! After dinner the four of us went back to the room and drank the mango rum I brought all the way from the Philippines. I guess it was the fatigue of travelling and swimming that after 4 shots I was sleeping already.

I woke up really early the next day-- 7:00am which is considered still very dark in malaysian time zones. Jay was about to leave for his sunrise photo session so I quickly got dressed and followed him. I walked along the shoreline while watching the sun rise. It reminded of a previous blog entry I made-- the things I'd do if i had 24 hours left to live. Now I'm glad I didnt have to wait till that day came to watch the sunrise. There were a number of early birds--couples and photo buffs in the beach area. Willai said I was easy to spot because I was all by myself playing by the water. I didn't feel alone though. It was just pure bliss. One doesn't get this chance to experience one of nature's miracles too often.

After breakfast we went for a swim in the waters. Jay and I taught Willai to swim (funny, i don't know how to myself hehe). Tina on the other hand decided to go for a walk in the beach. Willai and I had the time of our lives gazing at the hunks that seem to magically appear everywhere in the beach. haha. We thought of nica and how he would be so happy to be there (although he did say he was happy to be back in KL with Roby. hehe)

By 12 noon we were too hungry to swim. We went up to the buffet hall again (its my favorite place in the resort) to eat lunch. The sun was very hot already so we decided to hide for a few hours. I had a short siesta before waking up for our Marine park trip.

The marine park was the island's protected area for sea creatures. About 15 minutes away from the resort, we were taken there by the resort's boats. We fed the fishes and marvelled at their beauty and number. I've never seen so many fishes in one area in my life! There were fishes of all colors-- blue, green, combinations of gold and black, white and black, blue and green, etc. I loved watching the schools of fishes roam around searching for bread crumbs brought by the tourists.

After getting back to the resort, Willai and I went to the resort's shop to buy conditioner. I also bought some souvenirs for myself. After showering, Jay, tina and I went for a walk along the other end of the island on top of the rock formations. We took some majestic pics (see Jay’s flickr site for more of these—http://www.flickr.com/gidiyap_padingdong). Willai joined us a little later and afterwards the four of us headed to the BBQ buffet where I had the best beef bbq (ok, it’s the second best next to Bala’s cooking).

We spent our last evening in the resort drinking the rest of the mango rum and playing cards. We did several rounds of tong its, the classic 1-2-3 pass and bluff. Panalong panalo ang mga sinungaling(Go jay cool! Hehe).Favorite ko yung “Four threes!” ni tina while bringing down only three cards.

The next day itwe woke up early to watch the sunrise one more time. We took countless pictures and the island gifted us with the most magnificent sunrise ever.

After a quick breakfast, we quickly packed up and went back to reality—we took another 12 hour journey back to KL. We finally made it to PWTC at 8pm. We had dinner at the Chinese mamak near Jay and Tina’s place and afterwards Willai and I went back to our homes in Sri Petalling. The vacation was over.

So like I said, this is not an entry about love. But it’s about a lovely time. It’s not anything remotely romantic but it can be sentimental. After all you have a dreamer here telling the story. It was 3 days of beautiful memories—memories that I’ll treasure forever.
For more pictures.. visit my shutterfly site: http://redangadventure.shutterfly.com