Saturday, May 28, 2011

the case of the irate telemarketer

One afternoon, I received a cold call on my mobile phone from a telemarketer. She said she won't take too much of my time. I told her I was busy but I'd give her five minutes. And so she proceeded with her spiel.

After two minutes...

She still wasn't finished with her marketing script and I just had to cut her off. To make the long call story short, she was selling accident insurance and got my phone number from the frequency shopper's card information I submitted to a shopping mall. After giving the seven-figure coverage (which normally wows people, I would think) and asking me if I understood the policy, she started asking me for my credit card information.

Friday, May 27, 2011

isn't it ironic?

Life is like a box of chocolate. Some of its surprises infuriate; some of them light up one's day; some of them leave people scratching their heads.

This post lists down random things that remind me of figures of speech. Are they ironic? paradoxical? oxymoronic? metaphorical? I'm not sure. But they did wake me from my reverie when I noticed them.
  1. Gas stations with shops that serve liquor and sell lighters to customers.
  2. Public utility vehicles that have "No Smoking" stickers prominently placed, but the drivers continue to puff on cigarettes anyway.
  3. A cigarette-smoking traffic enforcer flagging down a vehicle for smoke-belching.
  4. Children begging or hawking flowers to vehicles while their mothers or guardians gossiped on the sidewalk.
  5. "The Neverending Story" ended.
to be continued... 
... someday.

Review: i was underwhelmed by Captain Jack riding on stranger tides...

Though there were a lot of comedic moments surrounding Captain Jack Sparrow, I didn't laugh out loud along with the crowd also watching the fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Maybe because it is the fourth movie in the franchise and Sparrow's antics were getting a bit old. Maybe because the two other members of the original trio, Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner, were no longer around. Or maybe, because he wasn't in command of, or squabbling with [the amputee] Barbossa for, a ship.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

of staplers and staple wires

In food manufacturing companies, there are hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) that prevent unsafe material (physical, chemical, or biological) from entering food from all identified points: packaging materials, the machines used in production, and the raw materials. Once the food reaches the kitchen, though, the control points become less strict although still as critical.

Case in point: Someone dug through the freshly cooked rice in the rice cooker over lunch. He was able to pick out a foreign object among the cooked grains. Of course, I just had to blurt it out (without thinking... again!):

"Oi! There's a stapler in the cooked rice!"

With a fast follow-up:

"Oops, I meant STAPLE WIRE, not stapler."

That made for a laugh. However, if the staple wire weren't spotted, the person eating the rice could have been injured. Now that definitely wouldn't be a laughing matter.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

use of plastic banned, even for food to go

The move to ban the use of plastic bags in the Philippines is gaining ground. Los Banos, Calamba City (to some degree), Cebu City, and Muntinlupa City are some of the places I've been where people are encouraged to bring their own bags. Grocery outlets sell cotton bags and bayong which shoppers can use to put their purchases and can boost their loyalty card points. Bench has the "Bawal ang Mapapel at Plastic" campaign. Senator Loren Legarda filed the Total Plastic Bag Ban Act (Senate Bill 2759) this year. Engr. Reynaldo Esguerra talked about the life cycles of plastic bags and other packaging materials in the Philippine Chemistry Congress.

In Australia, BYOB means "bring your own bottle", a reflection of how the Aussies love to drink wine from their stash when eating in restaurants. In the Philippines, BYOB means "bring your own bag".

Lucban, Quezon also has an ordinance on this. I got my taste of the plastic ban, Lucban style, on Pahiyas weekend. 

Dalcielo's

It's one of the newer restaurants near UPLB. I've tried it once before and decided that this place is nice for special occasions. The dessert I had on my first visit blew me away! It was so delicious that I forgot what I had for dinner just before it was served... I had to eat there one more time.

And so an occasion cropped up. A few friends from work joined me on my second visit to the restaurant. This time, I won't forget what my main meal was. 


However, the stars of the night were the desserts once again. We ordered panna cotta with mango, creme brulee, and blueberry cheesecake. After having a taste of all three, I liked the creme brulee the most. 

Panna cotta with mango


Don't let the size fool you. Hidden in the depths of this small cup is a dessert that packs a powerful punch. The mango gives a tangy contrast to the cream, which by itself, has a licorice-like taste. A light and sweet dessert that could leave you wanting more. 

Blueberry cheesecake


I am not a fan of blueberry preserves (and have yet to try fresh blueberries). This cake did not convince me to convert. However, I liked the smooth texture of the cake and the taste -- it was not too sweet for me. I also thought that all cheesecakes have a sour aftertaste. This one did not.

Creme brulee


The creme de la creme (at least for me). The serving size is big; this dessert is meant to be shared. It balances the sweetness of the caramelised sugar and the creaminess of the custard.  The sliced strawberry on top gives the dish some contrast both visually and taste-wise.

And so I left Dalcielo's with a heavier stomach, a lighter pocket, and a smile on my face. My friends enjoyed dinner as well. Aside from the yummy desserts, we also noticed that the entree (we got the Norwegian salmon salad) and the pasta were meant for sharing as well.

Having said all that, eating at Dalcielo's does not come cheap. This restaurant targets a more upscale audience with meals (from entree to dessert) costing about Php 400 per person... about the same price people pay when they eat out in the Makati area. It's all worth it though because the quality of the food can hold its own against the city restaurants.

Dalcielo's is one of my the go-to restaurant for weekday special occasions. It has good food and it's easy to get there from the office. I just couldn't afford to eat there everyday. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Animals galore in Pahiyas

Animals, real or not, took the spotlight away from the beauty pageant contestants during the Pahiyas Festival. This fiesta honours St. Isidore the Labourer, the patron saint of farmers; hence it was expected that the real star of the festivities is the carabao. It is the farmer's best friend after all.

carabao

Lucban food trip

I went back to Lucban, Quezon for this year's Pahiyas Festival. Aside from exploring the town and looking at the colourful decorations of houses along the route of the procession, I was also here for the food! Dennis and Mico were with me as I tried out the food in Lucban.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pahiyas 2011

waiting for the busbeggingcarabaoballoon at last!personal stashold blackboard
mais con hielo to goSalud's Restaurantinside halo-halo restaurantprocession of San Isidromarching band
sorbeteslambanog in colourstamalead vocalistflower arrangement
kalabawcorn on the cobkiping in the windstairsphotographerpagdungaw
Pahiyas 2011, a set on Flickr.
I went with members of the IRRI Filipino Scientists Association to the annual festivity honouring St Isidore the Labourer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

maki-kain.

The theme of this afternoon's snack break was make-your-own maki. We learned how to make our own sushi rolls; I just had to run off because of a meeting I had to be in.

In the brief time I had to assemble a roll, I learned that:
  1. sushi rice should not be spread over the dry seaweed (nori) like peanut butter;
  2. sushi rice should not be placed on the nori too thickly;
  3. cheddar cheese is not normally used as a filling in maki (although I have to protest... cheese is delicious with pink salmon);
  4. the fillings are placed on one side of the nori, not in the middle; 
  5. the bamboo mat is used to tighten the roll.

In my hurry, I didn't have time to make a proper roll... I did many things improperly: I placed a thick layer of sushi rice on top of the nori; I put the slices of pink salmon and vegetables right at the middle of the nori; I loosely rolled the maki and didn't use the bamboo mat properly.

To make the long story short, I set out to make a maki roll. I ended up with a nori burrito!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

deadlines week

"I am one of those who thrive on deadlines. Nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation."
-- Harry Shearer
I agree with Harry Shearer on this one. As I was handing in my thesis manuscript on deadline day, only one sentence was playing in my head: After submitting this, I could die. Good thing I didn't because submitting was NOT the last step towards getting my degree...

shopping for music

During my short stint as tandem-host of Rotary at Your Service, my music collection ballooned from five CDs to about 20. The music genres I was listening to certainly widened because of this experience. I only listened to R&B and pop before I got involved in the program; now I could stand some "loud" music. Plus, I got introduced to opera (which I still don't understand) by my grad school supervisor.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

GQNC in La Union

bridge to La Union
melissa choosing the stretchesfe and my souvenir hatbefore the exercisesdipti warming upcoach?lenie
before the gamehanding waterwatching the gameserious
cindy after the gameseto measuring the watergina: the facilitatorwho won?they love group picsboy as the anchor
The Grain Quality and Nutrition Centre conducted its team-building activity at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort in Bauang, La Union.