when it rains, it pours

Standard

Some days just suck.

I should’ve known from the way things were going when the clock struck twelve that today was going to be one of those days.

I tried to channel that glass half-full schtick but it just wouldn’t stick.  I also tried looking for that proverbial silver lining but all I could find was a sky full of rain clouds.

I did get a few minutes of peace and I momentarily forgot about how awfully things were going.  But just when I thought the worst was over–BAM!–another mishap hit me smack in the face.  It was as if the Universe was saying, “Ha! I’m not done with you just yet!”

And sure enough, things came gleefully crashing down.  Like dominoes.  One after the other.

As if that wasn’t enough, a torrential downpour began to fall.  I wanted to shake my fist and yell, “That’s right!  When it rains, it pours!  Very punny, Universe. Very punny.”

episode 2 of the fruh sessions

Standard

Just three days after my first visit, I  went back to The Fruh Cafe–this time with my fellow foodie and one-time basil supplier, Kat.  She ordered a banana and hazelnut crepe while I went with a chocolate crepe.

We couldn’t help oohing and aahing when Kat’s order arrived.  It just looked so… dramatic.  I didn’t get to taste it but Kat enjoyed it so it must be good.

060514 03Banana and Hazelnut Crepe (P59)

My chocolate crepe didn’t look as visually arresting.  It came with chocolate wafer sticks and marshmallows though.  And I couldn’t help grinning and feeling like a kid while eating it.

chocolate crepeChocolate Crepe (P55)

Even though we were no longer hungry, we decided to try the BonChon Style Chicken.  Curiosity won over non-hunger, I guess.  That decision was hands down the best one we made that day because man oh man was the chicken good!  It was so tasty, we couldn’t stop raving about it the entire time we were eating!

060514 04BonChon Style Chicken (P89)

I enjoyed the chicken so much, I ordered the BonChon Style Chicken in a Basket the following day.

Yes, it’s that good.

_____

The Fruh Cafe is located at A. Bonifacio Ave., Tibanga, Iligan City (near MSU-IIT, beside Triple M Sales).

episode 1 of the fruh sessions

Standard
episode 1 of the fruh sessions

I don’t know if it was the hipstery signage or the name of the place but something drew me to The Fruh Cafe the first time I passed by it.  The building looked pretty much non-descript from outside but it somehow evoked images of Maginhawa Street in my head.  I just had a good feeling about the place.

I asked several people about it but no one seemed to know of its existence.  I never got around to visiting it either–up until this month when I saw pictures of my cousin-in-law modeling for the cafe.  I found a link to Fruh’s Facebook page and discovered that it was a creperie/coffee shop.  The photos of the food looked enticing so I decided to give it a go.

My husband and I both ordered pasta.  Shrimp aglio e olio for him and seafood pasta for me.  To our delight, the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente (it’s something that’s very basic to cooking pasta but sadly, most people fail to get it right).  They were very generous with the herbs (yey!) but not so with the seafood.  Both dishes were pretty cheap (P65 for the aglio e olio and P95 for the seafood pasta) so I guess I can’t really blame them.  Most places charge double the price yet they’re only ahead by a single piece of shrimp or a slice of squid.

 060514 05Shrimp Aglio E Olio (P65)

fruh seafood pastaSeafood Pasta (P95)

For the little one, we ordered some ham and cheese crepes.  Unfortunately, he refused to eat it.  He hated the thousand island dressing drizzled on top.  I guess I should’ve ordered one of the sweet crepes for him instead.

060514 06Ham and Cheese Crepes

For dessert, we decided to try the mango crepe rolls.  While Ice Factory’s mango crepe only had slivers of mango in it, this one had big chunks of mango wrapped in crepe.  Ooh la la!  I had an issue with the texture of the vanilla ice cream though.  It wasn’t velvety smooth.  It must’ve been refrozen after it had already melted, hence the presence of ice crystals.  But still, it was a pretty good eat.

fruh mango crepeMango Crepe Rolls

I enjoyed eating there so much, I went back just three days later.  Stay tuned for Episode 2. :D

_____

The Fruh Cafe is located at A. Bonifacio Ave., Tibanga, Iligan City (near MSU-IIT, beside Triple M Sales).

 

(i can’t get no) satisfaction

Standard

Although we were in a hurry to get home after my last lecture, we wanted to squeeze in one more food adventure before leaving.  Since North Pole was just across the street from the review center, we decided to give it another go.

My husband had eaten there the previous day and he enjoyed the chicken curry immensely.  He was raving about how yummy it was when he visited me at the center at lunchtime.  He said it was nothing like any of the chicken curry dishes he had tried before.  The chicken was coated in mildly spicy batter and the dish was served sizzling hot and smothered in gooey cheesy goodness.

North Pole’s Chicken Curry (P85)

I was eager to try out their other stuff and my husband was curious about their halo-halo so we excitedly crossed the street and went inside.

BAM!

The moment I stepped inside, a wave of heat hit me smack in the face!

Ang init naman dito sa North Pole!” I couldn’t help thinking.

Talk about climate change. Hardy har har.

We glanced at the menu but nothing appealed to me (plus it was just too darn hot) so we left and went to Carmela’s instead.

I was hoping to try their cakes but they had too many orders for Mothers’ Day so they didn’t have any cake slices for sale.  I ordered a lasagna instead.

carmela's lasagnaCarmela’s Lasagna

Bad idea.  It was soggy and very bland.  I’m very picky when it comes to pasta so I had to force myself to swallow each spoonful.

My husband was craving halo-halo so he ordered one.  We knew at first glance that it would be a far cry from the kilig-inducing halo-halo we had the previous night.  The texture of the crushed ice wasn’t as fine and a lot of it had already melted.    Except for the flavor of the ice cream, the ingredients were actually the same as the one at Mooon’s.  They weren’t as generous with the ingredients though.  The halo-halo tasted good but it didn’t knock my socks off or anything.

Carmela’s Halo-halo (P57)

I think we would’ve been able to appreciate it more though  if we hadn’t tasted the halo-halo at Mooon’s prior to ordering this.   Plus, of course, there’s the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.  “As a consumer consumes more and more units of a specific commodity, the utility from the specific units goes on diminishing” (Gossen, 1854).  In other words, the increase in the amount of satisfaction a person gets from a particular good decreases with each additional unit of that good.

dmu
I’ve always had a soft spot for economics (former Economics major in the house!) so I’m tempted to launch a mini-lecture of sorts but I’m not exactly an expert on the subject so I won’t.

Just click here if you find the concept of diminishing marginal utility as fascinating as I do.

to the moon and back

Standard

After a long and tiring day, my husband and I went out to find a place where we could just chill out.  We had already eaten dinner at the pad so we only wanted to have some dessert.

I had done a bit of research prior to the trip and several people recommended the halo-halo from North Pole and the cakes at Carmela’s so we decided to go check them out.  Unfortunately, both North Pole and Carmela’s were closed at the time because of the scheduled four-hour power outage in the area.

And so we went to Mooon Cafe instead.  They only had one dessert on the menu: halo-halo.  I was in the mood for something fancy schmancy so I was a bit dismayed by the lack of options.

But when the halo-halo arrived, all traces of disappointment disappeared.  The texture of the crushed ice was velvety smooth and they were very generous with the ingredients.  They didn’t scrimp on anything!  Ube ice cream.  Macapuno.  Langka.  Leche flan.  Nata de coco.  Kaong.  Cornflakes.  No beans.  No monggo.  I loved how it was just the good stuff.

051014 mooon halohalo bKilig-inducing halo-halo (P65)

It was so good, it made me giddy.  At one point, I even exclaimed, “Maka-kilig lagi ni na halo-halo ay!”

The halo-halo from Razon’s had nothing on this baby.

This halo-halo was by far the best I’d ever had.  It was even better than my forever favorite Ice Blink halo-halo from Bicol!

Since we were at a Mexican-inspired restaurant, we also ordered something from the Mexican Mooon section of the menu.  We just wanted something light so we had Campesinos, crispy flour tortilla chips layered with cheese and tender beef fillings, topped with melted cheese and spiced paprika.

051014 mooon campesinosCampesinos (P125)

The tortilla chips had a really nice texture and the paprika was a really nice twist.  We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and it gave us some ideas on what to do with the flour tortillas sitting in the fridge at home.

We had a really wonderful time and we left with wide grins, full tummies, and joyful hearts.

_____

Mooon Cafe
Rizal Avenue, Ozamiz City
(088) 564-2622

mooon cafe*Mooon Cafe also has branches in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Ilolilo, Davao, and Ormoc.

the journey to oz

Standard

Knock. Knock.

“Time to get up,” my dad called out as I woke up with a start.

“But my alarm hasn’t even gone off yet,” I groaned.

I reached for my phone to check the time. 4:29.  I had set three alarms before going to bed and I had slept through all of them!

Since my husband and I were meeting somebody at the bus terminal at five o’clock, we had to wolf down our breakfast and leave in a jiffy so we wouldn’t be late.  It was all for naught though because when we got to the terminal, there was no sign of our contact person and it took a while before I finally got hold of her.  She said she was going to be late so we should just go ahead without her.

The only bus that wasn’t bound for Cagayan de Oro (which is in the opposite direction) was a non-airconditioned rural bus bound for Kolambugan.  I wasn’t too keen about taking that bus but we really didn’t have much of a choice.

As I expected, it was pretty cramped inside.  The seats were so narrow and there was hardly any leg room.  Good thing I was traveling with my husband.  Otherwise, I would be sitting shoulder to shoulder with some random stranger.

Despite the bus’s rickety appearance, the ride wasn’t bumpy at all.  Well, except for the part where the road was still under construction but that couldn’t be helped, could it?

The bus was cruising along at a leisurely speed so I was able to bask in the scenery.  Soothing stretches of greenery to my left and enticing sand, sea, and sky to my right.

In one of the towns in Lanao del Norte, we passed this man who, for some reason, made me think of the Tin Man.  He had a log strapped to his back.

“Kinda like a backpack!” I exclaimed.

“Log pack!” my husband said.

Refusing to be outdone, I replied, “Back log!”

And we had a good laugh over that.

Soon enough, we got to this area in Napo where huge cargo trucks lined both sides of the road.  They all seemed to be in limbo and I couldn’t help thinking, “Is this Truck Purgatory?”

My husband explained that the trucks weren’t allowed to pass because they exceeded the weight limit.  So they had to transfer their cargo to smaller trucks waiting just a few meters ahead.

When we reached Kolambugan, I saw a house which made me regret not bringing a camera.  The house itself was just a non-descript bungalow but instead of a picket fence, it had a bunch of old cathode ray tube (CRT) television sets lining the front yard.  Some of the television sets even had dials on them! Talk about retro!

I was still gushing over the TV fence when we got to Mucas and got on the barge.  Twenty minutes later, I stepped foot on Oz.

Just like that, yes.

No flying houses and yellow brick roads for this Dorothy.

to oz

tidbits of thought

Standard

It was the day before Day Zero.  I hadn’t had any sleep and I had just spent half the afternoon standing in line at the bus terminal.  I breathed a sigh of relief and sank into my seat.

“Finally, some much-needed shut-eye!” I almost said out loud.

But then I realized that I was seated next to some random guy so I clutched my backpack and leaned my head against the window instead.  A conversation with a stranger was the last thing I wanted.

Every muscle in my body was sore and my eyelids felt like lead.  I looked out the window at the heavy traffic and giant billboards.

“Hello, Manila.  We meet again,” I whispered as I half-smiled.

It wasn’t long after that I found myself weaving in and out of consciousness.

Although I was in a stupor for a good part of the trip, I did have moments of alacrity.  Whenever I would find something interesting, I would scribble on my imaginary notepad and take snapshots with the camera in my head.

Tidbit No. 1: Juxtaposition and Ambivalence
Tall buildings are a dime a dozen in Metro Manila but one particular building managed to stand out: a high-rise building that seemed to be in limbo.  It looked half-unfinished but also half-abandoned.  It was like seeing the beginning and the end all at once.

Something about its ambivalence stirred something in me.

Tidbit No. 2: Different Strokes for Different Folks
Like in most places, houses and buildings gave way to increasing stretches of green as we moved farther and farther away from the metropolis.  I couldn’t help oohing and aahing over the sheer variety of trees that dotted the landscape.  I imagined painting them, using a certain type of brush stroke for each type of tree.

Tidbit No. 3: The Desolation of SCTEX
But what I found even more riveting were those pockets of petrified land in the midst of all the greenery.  It was as if some maniacal sorcerer on a dragon haphazardly threw down balls of fire, scorching patches of grass.  Leaving behind nothing but shriveled remnants of shrubs standing in mute horror and seemingly delicate magenta flowers clinging onto the branches in defiance.

Tidbit No.4: Sea of Devastation
Those little pockets of desolation along SCTEX, however, paled in comparison to the river of lahar in Porac.  I could only imagine the terror the people of Pampanga must have felt when Mt. Pinatubo erupted all those years ago.  My college roommates’ stories came rushing back to me as I stared in awe at the lahar flow.

My reminiscence of these borrowed memories, however, was interrupted by the high school kids behind me.

“What a weird-looking sea!” they exclaimed.

I honestly didn’t know whether I should be amused or mortified.

“That’s lahar,” I couldn’t help saying.

Their eyes grew wide for a moment and they nodded in comprehension.

Although these kids initially had no cognizance of lahar, they were still in a way correct.  This may be a river of lahar but it could just as well be a sea.

A sea of devastation, that is.

a-hunting we will go

Standard

One of my favorite childhood memories was the annual Easter egg hunt my cousins and I used to have.  Our parents would boil dozens of eggs and we would all gather together and color them on the eve of Easter Sunday.

At sunrise the following day, our parents would hide the eggs in my grandmother’s garden then wake us up and we would all run around in our pajamas looking for the eggs.

Although I never ended up with the most number of eggs, I always found it to be such a wonderful experience.  So when I became a mom, it was one of the first things I placed on my to-do list.  Although my son was just a year old last year, I decided to give it a go.  I let him paint two eggs and go on an egg hunt.

We did the same thing this year but I added one more egg.  A lot of our art supplies were missing so I had to make do with what I could find.  The little one didn’t seem to mind though.  He was completely stoked about painting the eggs.  He did a pretty good job, didn’t he?

fresh from the oven

Standard

“Why don’t you go check?” said my dad as we pulled up in front of the tiny store near the bus stop.

It was scorching hot but I got out of the car anyway and ran excitedly to the lady at the counter.

“Sorry, it’s not yet available,” she said.

My heart sank and I turned to walk away.  I had only taken two steps when the guy in the kitchen suddenly called out, “Wait! It’s almost done!”

Huzzah!  I wanted to do cartwheels right there and then.

After a minute or so, I walked out of the store carrying two bags of bibingka (a type of Filipino rice cake) that had just come straight from the oven.

Image

Everyone in the car was just as excited as I was.  We all wanted to gobble up the bibingka right away but they were still piping hot.  We had to wait until we reached the next town so we wouldn’t end up with burned hands and tongues.

They were definitely worth the wait though.  They were so good, I couldn’t help thinking, “With bibingka as yummy and fluffy as these, who needs toppings?”

———-

*Available at the store in front of the bus/shuttle stop near Laguindingan Airport at P10 apiece

fare thee well

Standard

When my sister was a little girl, she and my grandfather planted an avocado seed in our front yard.  It grew and grew and after many years, it finally bore fruit.  The avocado from that tree was the creamiest we had ever tasted.  It wasn’t hairy or bitter like most avocado fruits sold in the market.

We loved that tree dearly.  Not only because it produced the best-tasting fruit, but more importantly because it was my sister and my grandfather who planted it.  We worried about it incessantly during typhoons.  It was the first thing we checked as soon as the sky cleared up.

We found out fairly recently that the avocado tree was actually planted out of bounds.  We hoped the owners of the adjacent lot wouldn’t cut it down when they start construction.  We were assured it wouldn’t be touched.

So imagine my consternation when I went outside one day and saw one of the construction workers cutting down about half of the tree.  I was ready to raise hell then.  But they told me they were just lopping off a few branches.  They weren’t going to chop down the whole tree.

The avocado tree had five fruits then.  It produced a lot of blossoms after that.  It seemed as if it was pleading its case.

“Look, I’m going to bear much fruit! Please don’t cut me down!”

Every single day, I would sit on the balcony and marvel at the sheer number of blossoms and how big the fruits were getting.

“They’ll be ripe soon.”

“The avocado will be ready in about a week.”

“Just in time for your sister’s arrival.”

We all monitored the fruits’ progress.  I guess we all had that fear that we would wake up one day and find that the tree had been chopped down.

I never thought it would be today.

My dad had just got back from an errand when he burst in and said, “They’re chopping it down!”

I immediately ran outside and saw the construction workers mercilessly butchering our beloved tree.

“The roots are in the way,” they said.

But they could’ve warned us.  Our attachment to the tree wasn’t a secret.  We declared how important that tree was to us.  The least the owners of the lot could have done was tell us that they were chopping it down.

We could’ve at least taken a picture of our beloved avocado tree with all its blossoms and fruits.

We could’ve at least said good-bye.