Archive for August, 2005

Blue Oasis

It’s called Blue Wave, actually.

My sister and I went there with her kids for dinner after we picked up their new passports from the DFA office. I’ve seen it before, though it doesn’t look appealing.

It’s at the corner of the Diosdado Macapagal Avenue and EDSA, in between Roxas Boulevard and the vast track of land owned by SM.

Think of it as a smaller version of Eastwood, set up like Melrose place, sans the swimming pool in the center and all the romantic drama. Instead, the center is an open space with tables and tents, and a stage in the center for live bands.

The local favorites are there: Max’s, Starbucks, Jollibee, Chowking, KFC, Hotshots and Gerry’s. There are also other restaurants if you’re craving for French crepes, Italian pasta, Chinese dumplings, Japanese sushi or spicy Thai dishes.

What’s great is that when you’re inside, you forget that you’re practically in the middle of nowhere, or that there’s a busy highway less than a kilometer away.

MRT, LRT start midnight run

From the inq7 website:

PLANNING an all-night party or coming home late from overtime work? Use the railway systems instead of your cars.

The three railways systems in Metro Manila now operate until midnight, said the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).

The extended operation started Monday as the department

Ano daw?

*Flags a cab along EDSA*
*Opens door, and leans in*

Me: Manong, Project 8?
Driver: *nods*

*Gets inside cab*

Driver: Saan sa Project 8?
Me: Sa GSIS Village po.
Driver: Dagdagan mo nalang, mabagal metro ko eh.
Me: …

Dapat ba mabilis ang metro ng taxi?

Passport in less than an hour?!

I have been spared the long queue and red tape when I applied for my first passport. My mother had the travel agent do it for us.

Several years afterwards, the Department of Foreign Affairs required a personal appearance of all new passport applicants. Luckily for me and for many others, they don’t require this of applicants for renewals.

Four years ago, my friend lined up at DFA for her passport at 4 o’clock in the morning. My other friend who went there at 11 o’clock, was told to come back the following day, because they’ve already reached the quota. When he went back the following day at 8 am, he finished at 3 pm.

I accompanied my sister and her three kids to get their passports this afternoon. She inquired at DFA, and they told her there isn’t any quotas anymore, so we went there at 3 in the afternoon. There were hardly any people left, and the service went pretty fast. We were out of the building by 3:40 pm. Wow.

Of course they’d have to come back again after a week for their passports to be released, but 40 minutes inside a government office is pretty impressive.

Another impressive thing is the dirty ice cream right outside the DFA exit gate. There’s a manong sorbetero with the Reyes ice cream cart that sells the best dirty ice cream I’ve ever tasted.

Shopaholic takes Manila

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Green Hills is definitely a paradise for bargain hunters. From Electronics to Shoes, Clothes to Furtniture, DVDs to Books, shopaholics will have a field day at green hills.

Oh and, here’s a tip for foreigners, always chop of 30% from the asking price.

Taxi tales

I have been really lazy lately, so I’ve been taking cabs all over the city. One of my taxi rides last Saturday is one of the most outstanding ever.

I felt lucky that I was able to flag down a cab in UP, amidst all the exam takers and their guardians.

As soon as I get in and tell the driver where to go, he started singing. Loudly.

It was lucky that I was looking out the window, so he didn’t see my eyes widen. He wasn’t even singing along with the radio. He was singing a different tune.

Listening to the lyrics, I realize that he was singing a song of praise; he was a Born again Christian.

After the song, he asks, “Amen?”

“Amen,” I reply.

Then he goes on about God’s love, etc. I replied with strategically placed Amens.

Interesting taxi ride, to say the least.

Striking it rich in Manila

I suppose it’s also happening in other countries: people resorting to get-rich-quickly marketing schemes.

What spurred this entry is my father’s latest discovery, which he’s (sort of) trying to push us to get into. It’s this “miracle” drops of mineral rich water from Salt Lake, which is said to cure diseases from Diabetes to ermm.. Diarrhea?

Being diabetic, this appealed to him greatly and seemed totally impressed by this wonder water. Asked if he’s already tried it, he replied that he just started taking it last Friday and felt so much better and lighter already! Imagine that!

After High Dessert and Butil and other similar schemes I was not aware off, my sister and I were quite skeptical about this. It’s not just because we know of his track record, but with other similar schemes that promises quick and easy money, you’d soon realize that it’s not that quick and easy.

First, you’d need to pay for a sign up fee and the products. The fees, of course, is not that cheap. My father told us (after my sister said she has a lot of expenses) that his upline borrowed money just for that.

Second, you’d need to be quite a smooth talker, charismatic and know hypnotism to convince people to try and buy the product. There’s already too many wonder drugs around here, so what makes this overpriced liquid better than the rest?

Third, you’d earn more with downlines. Again, powers of hypnotism is required to pursuade people to sign up. I suppose this is fairly easy if you’re talking to people who are convinced as soon as you mention “money making scheme,” but really, how many people are like that?

Pyramid schemes, lotto, gambling…they all promise big rewards. IF you’re a really lucky person, that is. However, I think I’ll stick to working my ass off every month.

Blessed Cubao

Cubao is the last place I’d think I’d hang out in, and surprisingly enough, I had fun in Cubao yesterday.

The Cubao today is a far cry from the Cubao 5 years ago. New malls, better shops, great restaurants… yup, Cubao is shaping up well.

It really was just a day of hanging out: walking around the mall, enjoying great conversation at the coffe shop. What made it memorable was dinner.

My friend Yves and I decided on Italliani’s for dinner. It was already past 9 o’clock in the evening, and it was almost deserted. We sat at a table outside the restaurant, at the edge of its territory. Dressed so casually and sitting almost in the dark, we never thought we’d get notice, much less served.

But they noticed us, and damn, do they serve well. We were surprised at the cheeriness of the server to the point where Yves has to ask him if he was sick. Then the restaurant manager went to our table to ask if there’s anything else we’d like. The cheeriness of the waiter seemed to rubbed off on us, and we started chatting away with the manager, even invited her to sit with us.

So there we are, talking and laughing like old friends. Whenever a crew came to her, asking her to sign their time card, she’d introduce them to us, and stay to chat for a bit too. It’s like having dinner as one big happy family.

Italianni’s is not the most affordable restaurants around here, but with service like that, it’s all worth it.

P.S. Their Penne Arrabiata is superb!

American Pie

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Manileno’s rejoice! You can now get your filling of warm Apple Pie at most branches of Starbucks. Their Apple Pie was only served in Starbucks Baguio (John Hay and SM Baguio) previously.

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