Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I take time each day to be grateful...

I received this in my inbox today....

I'm Grateful... But...
by Marie T. Russell

As I reflect on the tradition of Thanksgiving, I am reminded that Thanksgiving needs to take place every day, and every single moment of eqach day. Maybe that's what mindful meditation is all about... remembering to be grateful and appreciative for every single thing in every moment. Like what, you say? We can start being grateful for every breath which gives us life. We can give thanks for the magnificence of our body which transports us, transforms the raw materials we eat into energy, etc. We can feel wonder at the magic of the blessings of each day... food to eat, loving beings around us, the possibility of creating the life that we dream of. Do you have a dream? Be thankful for the imagination that helps you envision that reality, and be grateful that your dream will come true in as much as you are willing to believe in it.

'Yes, but', I hear. It seems, that even as we express gratitude, that little babbler inside says, 'yes, but...' If I express gratitude for my body, it says, 'yes, but' it is not as healthy or in shape as it 'should' be... If I give thanks for the food I eat, it says, 'yes but' it is grown with chemicals.. When I say I'm grateful for the loving beings around me, my little babbler says, 'yes but' they're not always loving… And so on and so forth.

Upon reflection, I see that the 'yes but' comes from the ego. And even though we have given the ego a 'bum rap' it really is there for a divine purpose — as with every thing and every one else we encounter in our journey of life. The ego's 'yes but' reminds us that as Divine beings (or children of a beneficent Universe or Loving Father, if you prefer) we can aspire to greater heights than we now have attained. The 'yes but' reminds us that we need not settle for what we have attracted so far, but that we can indeed look forward to creating heaven on earth. So, when I express my gratitude and hear 'yes but', I realize that it is not putting down or diminishing in any way my appreciation at the bounty of the Universe. It is simply pointing me towards the next step.

We as humans never seem to be satisfied. Maybe that is the inner prodding of Spirit guiding us to rediscover our perfection and to recreate the Eden that was provided for us all. We might consider that we are indeed blessed, and that we don't even know the best of it. We have unlimited treasures at our beck and call, and to reach them we simply need to open the door and walk through to the other side.

What is the other side? That is the side where we have absolute faith and trust that whatever we desire (from a Higher perspective) is provided for us. It is the knowledge that we are safe... that there is no need to worry, no need to fear. We simply need to do our best, to live our life with the best of intentions towards ourselves and all living things, and we will be "re-reimbursed" in kind through the Law of Cause and Effect.

Take time to be grateful first thing in the morning... count your blessings. And then repeat the process often during the day, and at least once again before going to sleep. Give thanks for the love in your life, the support, the blessings, even the small blessings. Thank the Universe, thank Life, thank the Sun for its energy and light, thank the trees for their supply of oxygen, thank your car for transporting you ('yes, but' the pollution), give thanks that electric cars are becoming a reality. There is so much to be grateful for. We simply need to change our focus from what we don't have, to being grateful for what we do have, and the miracles of life will reveal themselves to us.

So in this month of Thanksgiving, focus on what you have and what you desire, not what you don't have and what you don't want. Remember, what you focus on expands — so if you focus on crime, lack, cataclysm, you can expect more of that to affect you directly.

I have found it much more productive and peace-enhancing to focus on love, peace, healing, prosperity, and all those good things... and I can see that my world is getting much more loving, peaceful, abundant, and happy. And if the 'yes but' is saying that's selfish and unrealistic, on the contrary. The more you focus on love and healing, the more love and healing there will be, not only in your life, but in the lives of the people you meet, and in the whole world.

We can create a better world... It starts with each one of us. `Think positive" is more than a slogan, it is a way of life. So choose your thoughts, your attitudes, your words carefully. They are the seeds for your tomorrows, and for the tomorrows of the world around you. Have a "great full" month.

Love to you All! Thanks for being here!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Filipino Pride

A friend sent this article to my inbox today.
Monessa Catuncan
UNITED States Air Force F-16 fighter pilot Monessa Catuncan doesn’t just maneuver an aircraft whenever she’s on air—she also carries the Philippine flag and the pride of the country it represents and the people in it.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon or most commonly known as the “Viper” is a state-of-the- art fighter aircraft. It has been a high-performance weapon system for the US and allied nations for it has been used in numerous air-to-air combats. This specific aircraft has exceeded all the potential threat fighter aircrafts. Its feature as an offense-defense weapon is very precise that it can perform on any weather condition. This kind of plane is a complicated device meant to be handled by highly qualified pilots.. The F-16 or the Viper has played vital roles in most of America ’s wars with the most recent being in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. An F-16 fighter plane is what Monessa Catuncan navigates.
But before Monessa even set foot to the elite US Air Force, this humble Pinay, like almost everybody else earned her way to success.
The twenty-six-year- old Monessa is the youngest daughter of Ramons and Teody Catuncan of Mesquite , Texas . She graduated in 2000 as a Valedictorian in a class of 693 in Mesquite High School . She was then accepted to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs , that same year. While at USAFA, Monessa, aside from pursuing her desired career as part of the US Air Force, served as a Squadron Commander, a Division-1 tennis player, a Glider Instructor Pilot, and a member of the Glider Acrobatic Team, among other essential positions. In 2004, Monessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from the USAFA.
Like all of her colleagues, Monessa went through an Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) before becoming a fighter pilot. However, she didn’t just pass her UPT – she excelled in it.
She then started her pilot career flying a T-6 Texan at the Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta , Georgia . This aircraft is the basic trainer for every Air Force aspiring pilots. After this training, students will then choose whether to fly fighter/bomber aircrafts or cargo/refueling aircrafts. Most of the time, only top students in the class are given the option to fly fighter/bomber aircrafts.
Monessa proved herself, and finished the course as one of the top student-pilots in her class. She was then chosen to fly either a fighter or a bomber aircraft. After her course at Moody Air Force, she went to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio , Texas and Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls to fly the T-38. In her training there, Monessa learned the basics of formation flying, offensive and defensive fighter maneuvering, and surface attack bombing techniques. Monessa went through intense studying and was put in a variety of stressful situations in order to pass this training.
From flying T- 38, she had an option of choosing from different aircrafts like the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Warthog, B-52 Stratofortress, and F/A-22 Raptor, and T-6 or T-38 are also options. After her T-38 course, Monessa requested to fly an F-16 Falcon, and she got what she wanted.
Monessa went through with her training to hone her skill at maneuvering fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix , Arizona where she learned how to control and apply tactics of the F-16 Fighter Falcon, or Viper. Monessa finished her course at Luke Air Force Base with flying colors and was part of the “Lucky number 13” graduate from class 2007. She was the only woman in her group, not to mention the only Filipino to pass the much-coveted pilot course.
Monessa, who just recently pinned on Captain, is now assigned to 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City , Utah . She and her squadron just recently came back from Iraq where they served and supported the Army Troops on the ground through a variety of close air support missions.
The US Air Force is an elite organization and to a pilot, an F-16 fighter plane is a prized possession. Monessa, through her perseverance and hard work, has earned not only the fly the F-16, but also the pride and honor of defending the United States , as well as making the Filipinos proud. (www.asianjournal. com)
(Published October 25, 2008 p.A11 LAWKND)

Monday, November 3, 2008

These I love

My sister Jo, her husband Franco and their 3 young men, Francis, Ivan and Kenu had a short vacation in Metro Manila. And look what they brought - my favorite food!

This is special baye baye, as the more common one comes in brown color. The difference in color is from the sugar used. Baye-baye (similar to Southern Tagalog’s espasol, is made from glutinous rice or pilit, and shredded young coconut strips. Espasol from Laguna differs in texture, they have this starchy coating and they are usually rolled and wrapped in white paper.

This is mamon tostado or toasted chiffon cake.

Biscocho - sweet and buttery, so yummy.

And what is Ilonggo sweets without piaya.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deluge? Our Country is Worth Saving

I see pictures in internet of modern updated replica of Noah's ark. Seeing that I think of the great flood, animals walking in pairs to Noah's ark......Would this deluge happen again, will we be saved again?

“Incredible, a miracle,” my sweetheart said. He’s referring to the bag of bed sheets forgotten yesterday morning by my sister at one of the Chinese stores in Divisoria, retrieved the next day. We did not even have a numbered card to prove that the bag was ours. My sis had bought so many stuff and decided to buy a big sack bag to put everything together. In the process, she forgot to put inside the bag of bed sheets, the raison d ’etre of our Divisoria trip. “That’s a story worth telling over and over”, my sweetheart said.

I just can’t get over this happening in Divisoria, the place refuted to have so many pick-pocketeers, jewelry and bag snatchers……

And I have experiences to prove that true too. When I was young, about ten years old, I used to go with my aunt shopping for her buy-and-sell business. She would buy beautiful and colorful fabrics to be sold to her co-teachers at St. John’s Academy. She would also buy vegetables to be sold to her neighbors at SSS village, Marikina. After Divisoria trip, each of us carried five or more heavy bags. I guess backpacks were not invented at that time yet, he, he. Anyway, that’s so typical of many shoppers coming out of Divisoria. There’s just too much goodies in Divisoria, you can’t stop shopping until your wallet gives up.

My aunt always warned me, "guard our bags", as she bought more stuff. So I would stand there beside her, while she haggled, and that’s another feel-good experience – you get to negotiate the prices of just about anything and you go home feeling satisfied you’ve had a good deal haggling a P250 priced-goody to P200, until you heard your friend haggling it down to P150! Anyway, guarding our eight bags and listening in amusement as my aunt haggles, at one time I saw about three of our bags mysteriously moving! Nobody’s pulling it in sight, so I looked, mesmerized by their movement to my far left. “Hoyyyyyy”, I heard the store owner shout at a child street beggar. I was dumbfounded, the boy beggar had a two- meter-stick with a 1 ft curved wire at the end, he’d used to pull some of our bags. I felt so stupid at my naivete and slow-thinking about bags moving mysteriously on their own! Fantastic, very resourceful, ain’t he? The beggar boy/thief scampered away from us as and business went on as usual.

Another time, about nine years ago, I went back and forth between Manila and Bacolod as my eldest daughter continued her studies in Bacolod while my youngest daughter and I settled in Makati. That was after the jump, err, I mean after my ex husband and I separated. I traveled, sailing on Negros Navigation or Super Ferry ships instead of flying Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. Ships are far cheaper plus sailing gives me more alone time when I badly needed it. The ships dock near Divisoria, adding to slower traffic. Once, I befriended a fellow ship passenger, a young woman, who like me was badly in need of cash. So we battled it with ship, tricycle and jeeps instead of airplane and taxi cabs. The traffic was so bad at Divisoria, it moved snail-paced for at least 30 minutes. We were talking with each other non-stop when all of a sudden she ran and chased, shouting and asking for help at the same time, as her gold necklace was snatched by a young man. What guts, she’d outran him and yanked from him her necklace and went back to the tricycle with us, everyone around congratulating her. I wonder too, nobody called the police to report such events. Oh yeah, that was because you see no police in sight. That’s how bad Divisoria was before. Yesterday, policemen were all over the place, and I even asked one of them where to wait for jeeps going to Quiapo. He advised to take the jeeps crossing Avenida and walk forward to Quiapo. No way, Jose. We walked further and found a jeep going to directly to Quiapo.

Divisoria’s look has changed over the years. There was Taborra St. before, where my aunt shopped for beautiful and cheap fabrics. There was also Ilaya St. where we bought cheap vegetables and fruits. I can’t figure where they are now. There is the popular 168 Mall now and the Divisoria Mall, full of goodies, nice and cheap. My sister and I, both bargain hunters, went to 168 Mall and looked around for nice curtains and bed sheets. She bought 3 pieces of short curtains from a heap of bargain items for only P85 each. That’s a real bargain! I bought 8 pcs. of salad bowls for P29.75 each. I know they’re not much of a bargain, but I pictured colorful green of lettuce and red tomatoes and maybe bits of yellow corn kernels against the black color of the bowl, and I could not resist, have to buy these salad bowls!

My sister asked for queen-sized bed sheets and was told they’re for P895 a set, consisting of a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two pillow cases. “There are just about the prices at SM Iloilo”, she whispered. “Let’s go and compare the prices with small stalls outside the mall”, I decided.

And what a deal we had. She was able to haggle the prices as low as P300 a set for the queen–size set mentioned above. She bought 2 sets, and also bought 2 more sets of double-sized sheets for only P200 each. Earlier, she bought one queen size sheet set for P320. I urged her to look somewhere else, and true enough we were able to find better deals! We bought Christmas decors too. We were carrying three bags of goodies each when my sister decided to buy a sack bar to put everything together as we still plan to go to Quiapo for more bargain hunting. That’s when she forgot to put one bag full of sheets inside the sack bag. After going home she sent me a text message telling me of the missing bed sheets. I had given up hope she could still find them, so I advised her to charge everything to experience and go back the next day to buy another set of bed sheets. My sister, the ever optimist, hoped and pray she could retrieve the bed sheets and she did!

I related this to my husband and he too was incredulous, although he had a similar experience before in a small grocery store here near our place. We bought stuff inside the grocery store – toothpaste, flour, etc. when something distracted us and we left without getting the change from our P500 bill. We went on to buy vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes, onions, etc. Sweetheart reached out for his money clip and noticed a P500 bill missing and realized we have not gotten back our change twenty minutes earlier from the grocery store. We went back to the grocery store, and all they asked was our sales stub, and voila, they gave back our P400 change. Isn’t life wonderful.

There are stories worth telling over and over. I asked my sweetheart, "So if God would send a deluge again, Philippines is worth saving for its few good men, isn’t it?" He answered, “it certainly is, darling”.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coyote Ugly

"That's an oxymoron", my sweetheart said, referring to the name of the bar we are passing by at Angeles. "A coyote is an ugly animnal, you don't have to add ugly", he explained.

"Their (bar) girls are actually prettier than those of the other bars", he defended the girls too.

"And what about the bar girls at Garfield's", I asked, reading the sign, "Garfield's, where the beer is warm and the girls are cold".

"Oh, the beer is actually cold, but yes, the girls are also cold", my worldly sweetheart patiently explained.

You see, my sweetheart lived in Angeles City, Pamapanga, for four years, starting 2001, until we met in Makati in 2005. I gave him an ultimatum, "Give up your 'girls' (about four of them) and maybe we'll have a future together". And he did. He gave up his Angeles apartment and settled in his rented condo unit in Makati so we could get together anytime.

But we visit Angeles, for my sweetheart has lots of friends there. Angeles has changed much through the years. After the SM Mall opened, Angeles became one of the mall places to be. Thanks to Mr. Henry Sy, Angeles is not only the "city of angels" for the old fogeys from all over the world, now it's also a place for hanging out for the local young, "angels" included.

Of course Angeles' "blow-job street", or Santos St., is still there, but new businesses like internet cafes,gift shops, bar/restaurants, hotels, motels, small shops came to thrive there too. I was told that in Santos St. the girls give the best blow jobs ever, and cheap too. But that was years ago, when Clark Air Base is like a little America with its American goodies available everywhere, better hospitals, western standard restaurants, etc. After the U.S. Troops left, the place looked god-forsaken. Now the old and new businesses thrive side by side. Young and sexy scantily-clad girls still ply the street in their stilettos or platform sandals, looking around for gigs. They are the freelancers. Many stand in front of the girlie bars and call/hug/kiss their gentlemen patrons to come inside (them) the bar. And wohoooo, there are more trannies than ever, with their heavy make-up, pouting lips, sturdy legs in higher heels than the female hos. I still rate the trannies in Thailand number one in beauty, though.

New condos and hotels are all over Angeles, you'd wonder if all of them have good business. Let's admit it, Angeles is well-known for its bars and young girls from the province. A contrast to the jaded bar girls in Manila. In Angeles, my sweetheart claims, that many of the bar girls are "pure-hearted", like they came direcly from their work in rice fields to the bar, and most of them think that they came to Angeles just to party and have fun. Hmmmmnnn, maybe the reason why my sweetheart was not able to choose the "one" among the four he was having before. Walang itulak-kabigin, puro busilak ang puso. (Everyone's perfect, can't decide who).

We tried the place with the new sign - entertainment nightly with comedy bar. Ok, my sweetheart who is a stand-up comedian himself was enticed. We went inside, and by golly, I've never seen as many trannies as these in my whole life - all looking tough and greedy for my sweethearts assets (especially his waist bag).

We asked what time the comedy starts, and we were told "any minute now". I asked again if the comedy is in Tagalog or English, and was answered, "if there's a foreigner in the audience, the comedy is in English".

Unfortunately the comedy is on us. After ordering one San Mig Light beer for my sweetheart and one Cali for me, the waiter came with two bottles for each of our orders. We were informed that they double the initial order....and could we please sign our chit. "F**k", my sweetheart responded and we were ready to go. They quickly changed the policy and gave our proper orders. Shit, you can't pull a fast one with my sweetheart. He's a Las Vegas man and a New Yorker too, even when he's born in Pittsburgh. To make the long story short, we were treated to trannies lip synching to Rihanna's songs and other nigger music. The highlight of the night being the "fashion show" of young macho men...and at one time they gyrated their bodies too, as if they were wiggly worms, trying hard to look macho at the same time. But they could not fool me. They're all bakla (transvestites)! I bet the finale of the night is when they take off their clothes. We could not wait anymore for the f***ing comedy, this is already a comedy of bullshit. Ughhh, that was real coyote ugly. Their sign did not say anything about performing trannies. Syet talaga. (F******g shit).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Foxy Boxing

Yes, Virginia, we have foxy or sexy boxing in a girlie bar nearour place.

The emcee said, aping Chris Buffer in a constipated voice, “on the right corner”………. hold it, where's is actually the right corner? The emcee is a he woman, wore a polo shirt with loose trousers. Inside the round counter were young sexy dancers needless to say, surrounded by ogling customers, mostly males. Everyone made noise, either hooting, cheering, laughing or gossipping. The noise reached a higher level when a sexy boxer with super short shorts and barely there top went inside the ring. Okay, did not ask anymore who's in the right or left corner. This boxer had a blue plastic mask with matching blue gloves.

Again, the emcee announced in her constipated voice, “on the left corner wearing red gear, weighing 150 pounds”……I was about to protest to the he woman, the 2nd boxer may not be as sexy as the first one but she definitely weighed less than 110 lbs.

Anyway, who cares, bring it on!

The Round 1 girl sashayed inside the "ring" to the beat of Manila Girl with lively voice of Myra of Put3ska. BTW, Myra is now known as Skarlet, the Jazz performer. She's done now with rock and roll, although she says she's still a rocker at heart. Skarlet has a bar, Ten o2 located at Timog Blvd., cor. Ybardolaza in Quezon City, Philippines, of course. Have you seen Skarlet compete with other singers for Music Ikon of Asia? Skarlet has a distinctive jazz style, at par with Ella Fitzgerald, but Vina Morales won over all the singers with her overwhelming stage presence and sexy get-up. That's what youth and taut body could do for you. Okay, let's get back to boxing.

The Round 1 girl removed her sexy bikini top, fingered herself, gyrated, did the split, I am getting bored.

On on!

"On with the **d-damned boxing", my sweetheart shouted. I believe he's done with staring at jiggling boobs.

Tingggg, that's Round 1. The cat fight, umm, the boxing started - Imagine Gina Carrano with her fist fights but in slow motion. Still people seemed to enjoy - the laughed, betted against each other. Ayyyyyy, boxer no1's left boobs fell to the floor, I mean her bikini top fell. "That's a Kodak moment", observed my dear husband. More hoots. She fixed her boobs inside the bikini top and got on again with the fist fight.

Tingggg, end of round 1. The boxers were given drinks, massaged and psyched up against yhe opponent.

Okay, round 2. A new girl circled the ring, she's the Round 2 girl, Japanese-looking with the facial expression of a fighting cock. I like her, not really pretty, looking feisty with a lopsided grin. She was a comedienne gyrating to Santana's Samba Pa Ti. She took out a lollipop inside her skimpy shorts, showed it off to everyone, inserted it inside her gina and licked it. I raised my eyebrow when she came over to us and placed her lollipop in my husband's drink. Dave considered his drink wasted and ordered another one.

Tinggg, boxing time again. They exchanged lots of slow motion punches, made faces with each other and with the customers. the customers ordered more drinks.......The chubby boxer in red gear was sucking wind. Punch, duck, punch, duck...ooops, she almost fell off the ring.

Tingggg…..end of round 2. Break again. Chubby boxer looked like she wanted to go home and sleep.

Round 3, This is it, the last round. This was the fist fight ala Manny Pacquaio vs. the Golden Boy. May the best girl be short timed tonight. (Short time, meaning paid to go out with the customer for at least 3 hours). Screams and laughter…Ayyyy, the red boxer lay giggling at the counter, the referee counted 1, 2....she stood up and punched the referee. Yayyyy!!

Tinggggg. End of round 3, end of fight. Intermission first before decision. Sultry dancer was on stage. Pinay beauty, wearing very pale lipstick but I can't see her face..... it's covered by her oily hair, yukkk. Did she put on too much leave-on conditioner? Alluring she became when she started dancing. She wore white fishnet scarf for her top and matched it with white lace t-back. They like Santana's music here. It's the same music that I use in working out - belly dancing while imagining myself as good as the Egyptian belly dancers in Saudi Arabia.

The winner – judged by the audience' claps and guffaws and show of love in any form. Are you for Blue gear or for Red gear Boxer? I am kind and considerate, so with much sympathy, I voted for the chubby boxer in red gear who was seated on the counter, two ft. away from me--- I showed my caring by clapping with my trigger-fingerd hands. Blue gear boxer was declared the winner esp. when the Arab/American customer kept shouting Blue gear, Blue gear, Blue gear like a sort of mantra......

In short, we watched 3 fights. I had to laugh at the last Round girl, who was dancing and splitting but when she noticed that her favorite cutomer arrived she went to him, gyrated in front and around him, had him sniff her gina, then actually sat on his face while she was holding on to a rope from the ceiling. She totally forgot about her Round 3 card. My sweetheart said, ”this girl is not so focused in her job”…..”Yeah”, I agreed, “she got distracted”.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to Drink a Tequila Shot

I am a Tequila expert......joke. In some occasions, Tequila is served in our small barrio.

The first time I took a tequila shot was when I was a freelance photographer assigned to take pictures of a resto/bar for a magazine. I was with my editor- we went to Ayala Mall, Alabang. It was a classy place, with Mediterranean theme. We have to experience the ambiance of the bar to be able to write about it in our magazine. A rock and roll band performed while we sampled their food and drinks. I remember myself and my editor gulping Tequila shots to get the feel of it. I think I had three shots. It made my head spin, and okay, in order to conform with the young crowd, it enabled me to be not so self-conscious in nodding my head to the beat of the loud rock and roll music. Recently I learned there's a proper way to drink a tequila shot. Here's how it is done:

1. Slice the lemon (about 8 slices) or lime or
calamansi (slice it in half).

2. Pour a shot of tequila in a tequila glass.

3. Lick your hand - the area between the thumb and forefinger, sprinkle salt. The reason why you lick the area is you moisten it to hold the salt better.

4. On the hand of the licked or moist area, hold between your thumb and forefinger the lemon slice or the lime or calamansi. With the other hand, hold the shot of Tequila.

5. And do the following in succession : Lick the salt, drink the tequila shot, then bite the lemon or lime; or lick the calamansi. Swish it around in your mouth for a couple of seconds and then swallow.

6. Enjoy, but if only you're in legal age, and in moderation.

You could also drink the tequila straight, meaning no salt and lemon, lime or calamansi, especially if it's expensive, it is smooth.... "Quality Tequilas are like quality Scotch. They aren't meant to be gulped, but rather sipped and savored".

Thanks to WikiHow at sa www.flyingvbarandgrill.com/tequila.php.Search Amazon.com for Drinking Tequila

Here's a set of classy tequila glasses to impress your friends - a set of Riedel Ouverture Tequila Glasses at a very good price.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Mateo (Mexico City)
This review is from: Riedel Ouverture Tequila Glasses, Set of 4 (Kitchen)
. . . this glass and, of course, a good tequila. As a resident of Mexico for four years and a tequila obsessive, I have tasted over 70 different tequilas ranging from $5 to $175 per bottle. Riedel's is the only glass that has allowed me fully to smell, taste, and enjoy tequila, and the only glass recognized by the consejo regulador de tequila, Mexico's FDA of the tequila industry. In my quest to enjoy the best tequilas at the lowest prices, I have purchased cheaper wine flutes and just about every other glass that I have been able to find that resembles the Riedel shape; all, however, has been to no avail: This glass's singular construction is unmatched for tequila. Unfortunately, these glasses are not created equal: I have owned 16 of these glasses, and, from time to time, I come across a poorly finished glass--an unsightly stem seam, a rough lip. Moreover, this glass confounds all attempts at describing the color of tequila. Finally, these glasses are not cheap, nor are they very strong--my two-year-old son and I have managed to break twelve already. Nevertheless, this is, at least for the moment, the only way to drink tequila.

For those in search of the perfect tequila, I would like to share some recommendations after having spent thousands of dollars in my own search.

But before I begin, I wish to urge all tequila drinkers to give serious consideration to boycotting Cuervo and Sauza. These U.S.-owned megacompanies have bought up a huge amount of the agave in Mexico and have consequently had an inordinate influence on the production and price of agave, with Cuervo being especially destructive. Competition has become very difficult for other, less financially powerful producers, who have been going out of business/selling off. Depressing to me was Cuervo's recent acquisition of Don Julio, whose 1942 is among my favorite tequilas. Before you buy from these behemoths, consider what they have done to the Mexican farmers, smaller tequila producers, and the ever-rising price of tequila.

Now, on with a few recommendations. Keep in mind that price has been an object for me, and that I have done most of my tasting in Mexico, so I have not been able to try some of the very expensive tequilas or tequilas that are export only. Also, note that I have not included tequilas that are impossible to find in the U.S. In no particular order, then, my recommendations are:
1. Azulejos anejo Difficult to find, but worth searching out, this tequila is among the most flavorful and best-balanced (i.e., between agave and oak) anejos that I have tried.
2. Don Julio 1942 anejo. Okay, it's owned by Cuervo now, it's a bit overpriced, and its flavor strays from agave, but the exceptional complexity is mind-blowing).
3. El tesoro de Don Felipe anejo (At $36-40, a strikingly pure- and full-flavored anejo, this tequila is more readily available in the U.S. than in Mexico).
4. Chinaco reposado a solid, pure tequila, and arguably better than the over-the-top oaky anejo; this tequila has an artesanal flavor).
5. Casa Noble reposado (I was able to buy this for around $40-$50 in Mexico until, like an increasing number of tequilas, it apparently became available only as an export and no longer in Mexico; this tequila sells for around $60 in the U.S. This tequila probably has the best nose of any I've sniffed; unfortunately, however, this tequila has one of those house flavors that permeates every tequila that its fabrica, La Cofradia, makes, and that not everyone will necessarily like).
6. Corazon anejo This is one of the better middle-priced tequilas, notable for its balanced and complex flavor, which edges out Don Felipe's).

Product Description
This elegant slender glass has a lengthy stem and is designed to lift fine Tequila to the level it deserves. Devotees can now appreciate Tequila in it's own glass and give it the respect of which it is worthy...


Online Job for All. Work from home computer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Mom is Diagnosed with Cancer of the Parotid Gland

Si Nanay - ang pinakamagandang babae sa lahat. Nang bata pa ako number 1 fan ako ni Nanay. Feeling ko kamukha niya si Amalia Fuentes. Maski na tinutukso ako ng aking mga kaibigang putik at classmates na napulot lang ako sa basura dahil hindi ko kasingganda ang Nanay at mga kapatid ko, wala akong naramdaman na resentment or inggit.. Sabi nga nila, a thing of beauty is joy forever. Makita ko lang ang Nanay at mga kapatid kong magaganda tuwing magising ako sa umaga, buo na araw ko.

Mahilig siyang magluto noong bata pa kami. Hindi nya tinantanan ang aming portable oven hanggang hindi niya na perfect ang chiffon cake (or angel cake ba yun?). Champion siyang gumawa ng native puto at kutsinta from scratch, mula sa pag giling ng bigas or galapong, pag gawa ng lye hanggang serving with matching kinayod na niyog. Nanalo pa nga siya ng 3rd place sa isang recipe-writing contest.

Magaling siyang mag decorate ng aming maliit na dampa. Ang gaganda ng kanyang mga orchids, makukulay at matataba ang kanyang mga halamanan. Sunod sa uso ang mga damit naming magkakapatid, magaling ang kanyang fashion sense, although hindi siya tunay na kikay mag ayos sa kanyang sarili - baby powder at lipstick lang beauty na siya.

Marami kaming di pagkakaunawaan noong naging teenager na ako hanggang nagkaasawa na ako. Pero habang tumatanda ako, naunawaan ko ang Nanay. Naging magkaibigan na kami.

Si Nanay, ang pinakamagandang Nanay, pinaka kalog na Nanay, tao lang , hindi perfect...kaya noong matanda na ako, saka ko nadama at na appreciate nang husto ang pagmamahal niya.

'Nay, sana hindi na magtagal ang pains mo....magkakasama din kayo ni Tatay sa langit. Mahal kita 'Nay.

Please pray for my 86-year-old mom who is diagnosed with parotid gland cancer after she was hospitalized from swollen throat. Turned out she also had a mild stroke. Because of her age, the doctors advised against chemotherapy or physical therapy. She was brought home today at my sis' house. Please pray too for my sis' strength in taking care of Nanay.

The Girls Who Had Fun

What do you do on a Sunday morning, with  typhoon Ofel banging at your windows, making your ceiling drip with brownish water and you decide to watch TV or go check your email and f****g  sh*t, there's no cable TV, nor internet connection.  Whom do you call?  Not ghost busters, silly.  Friends, that's what friends are for.
So I sent text messages to my BFFs, Nory and Lory and zoom, we went to the base, or what's remained of it after the American soldiers left 20+ years ago.  Of course, business is thriving again.  We've recovered after you, American soldiers left us, abandoned us......okay, okay..I won't be emotional.  I was not here too, I left to work in Saudi Arabia too.  But that's beside the point.  So we still call it The Base, any complaints?

We went to Ralli's Grill and Bar, probably the most overrated place in the base.  The food was outstandingly ordinary but the prices are spectacularly high.  Congratulations Ralli's, you have good marketing people.  We are so sophisticated as regards music so we were contented with the elevator jazz music.  Just lower the volume, please...it disturbs my ear wax...excuse my French, dear gentle reader.

I like the company, Three's Company too, you know.  Yeah, yeah, I'm old.  You young reader, you may not remember that TV show, but who cares.  I said I love the company.  We're all average-looking, not flashy, not seductive, not alluring, we are just girls out to have fun!  It's a relief to be in the company of  friends you could just relax and have fun with, and not be concerned whether you look like a boxer with your sleeveless blouse, whether your fingernails are painted and pointy, and who cares about the weight.  My hubby thinks I look like a race horse, and that's good enough.

I don't like to be in the company of fully made-up young girls who think that sophistication means smoking cigarette and holding it in a vertical way, blowing smoke your way while checking out if guys find her attractive enough.  Go home, and sleep young girl.  You need your brains to grow.

I don't like middle-aged women  dressed like their teenaged daughters, leaving nothing for imagination.  I am tired looking at the cellulite on the thighs, displayed  in full glory with the very short shorts or the micro mini skirt.  And I get chilled in a negative way looking at the plunging neckline where I don't see any cleavage at all but bones sticking out.  Grow up, eat protein, grow old already. 

Those two kinds of company, I don't like to go with.  Because with that kind of mind frame and self-image, one look at me and  they smile with condescension - at my love handles, at my unbuffed  fingernails,  my rubber shoes, etc.
So we BFFs, had a round of drinks after the average food with spectacular price and decided we've  had enough and we look for a better hangout.  Who cares if there's almost zero visibility with the rain pouring hard  and strong winds blowing our umbrellas away.  Lory, a great lady, our good friend,  kept driving despite the floods.

Next destination:  Gerry's Grill.  San Mig light for Lory, screwdriver for me and pineapple shake for Nory.  The grilled squid was divine. Okay, we had two orders of those.  We would  be bursting if we eat more.

Next and last destination:  Pier 1.  Vodka Cran was ok, Halo-halo (mixed sweets with crushed ice and milk) was good for Nory and Lory.  Okay, Banana Margarita for all of us too......Cheers!

Okay ladies, time to go home.  I have to watch The Buzz (local showbiz talk show). Hopefully there's cable TV now

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Sweet Tita Cinder

She had the sweetest smile, reminding me of delicious pineapples she served after lunch. She always treated me as a VIP, whether I was a young girl , a rebel student, young housewife, hardworking single mom. My parents spoke to her in Tagalog, when actually her dialect is Bicolano; Tatay spoke Ilonggo and Nanay spoke Tagalog. She spoke to my baby cousins then, Maritess and Josefina (Little, they nicknamed her) in English, Tagalog and Ilonggo. She was a sweet person, with soft melodic voice and gentle ways. I wonder if ever she screamed or raised her voice when she taught in class, as she was also a teacher.

 The earliest memory I have of her was when we visited them at La Granja. She served us juice and pop corn for our snack. I thought she was pretty cool. I think she served us adobo for our lunch. I was maybe 3 1/2 years old. We took pictures afterwards - that's why I remember some details of the visit. Maritess, Little and I played with dolls. She always encouraged us to have our summer vacation in their house. She also allowed her children to have their vacation with us in our house in Isabela. Our childhood mischiefs and stupidities elicited only laughs and good-natured anecdotes to be told to our parents later.

She had eight children over the years. Tragedy in her family started when Little became a victim of hit-and-run, and died just after she graduated from college. The whole family, the whole clan grieved with her. Years later, Uncle Memong, her husband died. Shortly after, her eldest daughter, Maritess, died when the ship she was aboard sunk. Maritess was found very near an island, meaning she was able to swim quite a distance to the direction of the island. After this third tragedy, Tita Cinder had a stroke, was half paralyzed and was not able to talk. Through physical therapy, she was able to make sounds but her speech did not return to normal.

Patsy and I, her 3rd and only daughter now that the older two had died, bonded like sisters. Her sons Boboy and Sonny had been generous to me and my daughters. Second to my own family, they are my closest relatives. The usual family competition that is a trademark of some relatives did not happen between our families. I attribute that to my sweet Tita Cinder who always showed by example that cousins are looked after, not competed against. Yesterday, Tita Cinder transitioned to the other world, to be with our Creator, to be with Uncle Memong, Maritess and Little. No more pain and suffering for her.

Tita Cinder, or Estela Escobedo Palis to many, your gentleness and generosity of spirit is unparalleled. I will miss your sweet smiles and soft-spoken words, but surely you're happier now where you are. Hugs and kisses to our loved ones there in heaven.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moving On

So Chicatime (my raison d'etre for this blog site) died.

I am forever fan of celebrities, movie stars, politicians, entertainers, etc. Chicatime was my favorite before; its one the chismisan site for badmouthing celebrities. But there are many more like:

These are sites for Western celebs.


This site is a toned-down a little bit, but the gossips are still hot.


And these are for local (Philippine) celebrities, some entertainers became global but they're still Pinoys.


This is straight (without swardspeak) goody celeb write ups by Ricky Lo but the comments posted are hilarious, from a group called Wanbol University, with Ms. Tapia, Bossing, etc. the exchange of communications from the commenters are more fun reading than the article itself, lolz.

Another gossip site for Philippine celebs:


I like to read these too:

Kitty Go's blogsite: http://chichitsthefan.blogspot.com/

Read about her here:

And from from a self-proclaimed OFW:


I have two other blog sites, aside from Friendster .....the reason why I don't write as much here.

The first blog site that I joined since 2004 is where I write all my gripes, rants and raves.
The other site is where I post my creative works, a sort of portfolio where friends and relatives see samples of my works, and to a selected few, I post pictures with corresponding gossips. My friends/readers on each of these sites are as different as night and day, and I intend to keep it that way.

Hmmnnn, I wonder what I will be posting here.....