Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Default Order at Flaming Wings

I had an extra long work-day recently. It was almost 9pm and I still didn't have dinner. I thought I'd eat along Katipunan as this was on the way home. I wanted something comforting, non-fast-food, and a meal with lots of rice.

Then I thought: Flaming Wings! I haven't eaten there in ages.



I already knew my order: Chicken Tenders meal. Wild sauce. Wasabi dip. Red iced tea. (And rice!) This is, and always has been, my default order. No fail.

The combination of spicy sauce and dips may be unpopular to many. Its double dose of spiciness may cause ring burn but ironically, its comforting. (Somehow I wish it'd be spicier!)

Chicken Tenders Meal
Php 145.00

Beyond the food, Flaming Wings brings back memories from college where my blockmates and I would eat there after NSTP or after a long day from school.

Looking at the kids there, I couldn't help but think about my college days. Life seemed so simple, fun, and carefree--even if at the time I thought that it was the most stressful thing in the world.

I felt old. I also felt weird eating there by myself late at night, occupying the lonely corner table. But I was more than happy to eat my chicken tenders. I savored each piece as if it were my last.



I even ordered an extra cup of rice. (Talk about being hungry and lonely, eh?)

Anyway. Enough rambling.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

MMFF 2016: Maraming Magandang Filipino Films

Some things that I've never done before in light of the Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF) until now:
  1. Watch all entries for that year
  2. Marathon five movies in a day 
  3. Write a blog entry (and pretend to be a film critic)
I watched all eight entries to support the renaissance of the MMFF.

I'm relieved that that there weren't any sequels to "Enteng Kabisote""Mano Po""Shake, Rattle, and Roll", or "Tanging Ina", and I'm glad that there weren't any glaring product placements. 

2016 MMFF Entries
(Image from fhm.com.ph)

Last week, I spent almost the entire day in TriNoma by myself watching five movies straight. If I went earlier, I could've watched all entries except for "Oro" since it wasn't showing there.

It was a crazy experience, with only five-minute breaks before the next one started. I don't think I'll do that again.

I watched the other three movies on separate days.

Picture or it didn't happen. Evidence!

My random thoughts as a normal movie-goer. This is according to the sequence I watched them in:

1. SEKLUSYON
I don't watch horror movies because I'm a scaredy-cat and I end up covering my eyes almost the entire movie. But because this is an Erik Matti film and I've worked with him before, I went for it.

Technically, it's very polished. The awards for cinematography and production design were well-deserved.

Surprisingly, I wasn't as scared as I was expecting. Neither was the audience. No one screamed!

When the credits rolled, I had so many questions. I needed to process the movie. Somehow, I didn't understand it or maybe because there were a lot of loopholes and layers in the material.

(Image from http://mblife.xyz/)

2. KABISERA
While this is very true to the times, I felt like I was watching an extended version of daily news stories about extra-judicial killings and family members seeking justice. I'm numb to these narratives already. (eep!)

Nora Aunor was moving and I thought she deserved the Best Actress Award. Iba siya!

Quotable quote: "Kapag nasa tama ka, hindi ka dapat matakot." 

Sadly, there were less than 20 people in the theater.

(Image from pelikulamania.com)

3. SAVING SALLY
Working in advertising before, I understand how long computer graphics can take to do and render. This is why I admire the painstaking effort poured into creating each scene! The decade-long production is praise-worthy. 

The story is simple but told in an extra creative manner. It's cute and light. I also didn't mind that the characters spoke in English. 

Quotable quote: "You wanted mayhem, chaos, war... but isn't that what love is all about?" 

The theater was almost full and there were lots of kids watching. The audience clapped twice!  

(Image from hexmojo.com)

4. ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK 2
This was the first MMFF entry that I was excited to watch, given how much I enjoyed the first movie. Expectations were so high that, to me, it fell short. But then again, I've never encountered a sequel better than the original. 

It was funny, I have to say. One would be dense not to find it funny--especially the suggestions, different stages of hugot... and oh, watch out for Facundo!

Overall, I felt that I was sitting in a really long client meeting gone bad. It brought back horrible memories of evil clients and demanding celebrities from the advertising world. *cringe*

(Image from thedailypedia.com)

5. DIE BEAUTIFUL
Having a weird fascination with make-up transformations and death, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.

This movie went beyond the stereotypical image of gays in the Philippines. Although the make-up, the usual pang-ookray, and effeminacy were there, it touched on sensitive issues faced by LGBT community in the Philippines. It felt real. 

Random thoughts:
  • We all need a Barbs in our life. 
  • Christian Bables outshone Paolo Ballesteros. Super deserving of the Best Supporting Actor award. 
  • Biggest plot twist: Gladys Reyes' character isn't Trisha's mom? Whoops! 
(Image from: http://mymovieworld-coolman0304.blogspot.com/)

6. SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Not having watched the trailer and not knowing what the movie was about, I was expecting this to be light and cheery. E yung nakakaiyak pala?!

We've all heard of stories about how the life of OFWs and domestic helpers are difficult. But it didn't seem that difficult to me until I saw this documentary. 

This was my favorite out of all because it was real and it gave a whole new light to domestic helpers. 

I'm glad that a documentary was included in this year's roster and I'm so happy that it bagged the Best Picture award! Truly deserving. 

(Image from manilatimes.com)

7. VINCE & KATH & JAMES
Ang tagal ko nang hindi kinilig nang ganito! 

Random thoughts:
  • Ronnie Alonte's topless scenes, even the shots where it focuses on his boxer shorts, are pleasantly distracting
  • Sometimes, Joshua Garcia looks like Rico Yan and sounds like John Lloyd Cruz. 
  • I love the juxtaposition with "Got to Believe", one of my favorite Pinoy movies. 
  • Shrugging off all the mandatory monologues and tears. 

(Image from rappler.com)

8. ORO
I wanted to watch Oro just because it was shot in Caramoan. One of the places seen in the trailer seemed familiar--the Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

It's disturbing that this was based on actual events. And I didn't know one could mine for gold here in the Philippines!

I thought the movie was bitin as it ended ever so abruptly. "Yun na yun?"



I'm looking forward to the 2017 entries. The bar has been raised so high!

True to MMFF's tagline, I literally saw "Maraming Magandang Filipino Films."

Monday, January 2, 2017

#CrazyGoodFood at Carnivale

#CrazyGoodFood at Carnivale
A new Carnivale is in town and it's here to stay.

This isn't a circus nor is it a Cirque-like performance. Carnivale is a restaurant with crazy good food. 

And by "crazy good food," I mean it.

The food choices aren't those found in the usual carnival. Think of it, rather, as a carnival of food where everything is just crazy good--like fast food glorified to the highest level.

I instantly gravitated towards the burgers. These seemed out-of-this-world especially with its colorful buns. 

Here are my 3 favorite (and must-try) burgers:

1. Gravlax
This is the one with the black bun. These are squid ink brioche buns with salmon in between. The salmon is "house cured" (susyal!) and I can still feel it oozing with sweet and salty flavors with each bite. Writing this makes me salivate and want another! 

Gravlax
(Php 380.00)
2. Duck Burger
This being a duck burger is more than enough reason to try it. And it's so full of flavor! It's distinctly Asian but with a delightful twist. The bun is a beetroot brioche bun--basta, yung red.

Duck Burger
(Php 410.00)

3. Ferrero Ice Cream Burger
Burger for dessert? Why not! This is a combination of all my favorites in between two giant cream puffs--Ferrero, Kitkat, Nutella, ice cream, kahlua, and almond flakes! It's divine. The best part is it's sprinkled with gold dust! (Pwedeng mag-pictorial with gold lips after. Haha!)

Ferrero Burger
(Php 380.00)

Here are some of the other burgers that I was able to try:

Chicken Burger
(think McSpicy and Zinger!)

Wangus Burger
(Wagyu + Angus Beef)

Mac & Cheese Burger
It was so heavy! Ideal for those who are extra hungry.

Aside from burgers, the Yang Chow Risotto, chicken nuggets, and salted egg fries are worth trying!

Yang Chow Risotto
(East meets West!)

Chicken Nuggets that just seem to melt in your mouth.
Salted Egg Fries.
Hnghhh!

Carnivale is the brain child of Chef Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore and the newest venture of my good friend and business partner Ojie Ocampo.  

What I like about Carnivale is how the theme is tightly knit--from the interiors, the food, down to their menu. 

Look--tarot cards! How cool is that?

Tarot Cards as Menu

Hulaan kita? Lol.
Restaurant facade

Interiors with carnival-inspired murals

Looking up

I've been there twice. The first was during its soft opening and the latest one was to celebrate its grand opening day a few weeks ago. 

Daming tao!

The first time we were there! Soft opening!

During the grand launch.

Carnivale makes a great venue and experience for a barkada or family get together.

As someone who lives in Quezon City, dadayuhin talaga ito since it's in the MOA area in Pasay. But the trip is and will always be worth it for #CrazyGoodFood. 

Carnivale 
@Carvniale_PH
2nd Floor, S' Maison, Conrad Hotel,
Seaside Boulevard cor. Coral Way, MOA Complex
Pasay City, Philippines

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My BigSkinny Wallet: Best Wallet Ever!

Above: Old wallet full vs Empty Big Skinny
Below: Empty old wallet vs full BigSkinny
I've never been happier with my Christmas gift to myself this year: a BigSkinny wallet.

BigSkinny is the world's thinnest wallet. It's 10 times thinner than leather due to its nylon-microfiber material, which reduces wallet sizes by more than half.

I came across this on Facebook months ago because I always got hit by their ads. I got curious but at the time, I thought the logo looked cheap on their wallets.

Last week, I finally went online and ordered myself the RFID-blocking wallet. Aside from being skinny, it prevents others from scanning personal info from cards.

This cost P3,100 (including a P50 discount for signing up and delivery charge). I noticed that this was the most expensive one, probably due to the RFID-blocking properties.

To my surprise, it came the next day--and it's really light and skinny!

My wallet has always been bulky. In fact, it wouldn't even fold properly because of all my cards and receipts. With the BigSkinny full of the same stuff, it's now the same size as my old wallet--but empty!

If you look at my BigSkinny now, you wouldn't think that it's a special wallet nor does it look skinny but just imagine all the stuff in there.

It's definitely worth every cent. Best wallet ever.

Life Planning for 2017

Given how anxious I was after our first session and how this year panned out, I was more than excited to consult with Stargazer again to plan my life for 2017.

In fact, I was more than an hour early last Tuesday!

When I went in her office, I kept babbling about how her predictions came true.

The session formally started when she took out her pastel crayons and she drew my aura. It seems brighter now compared to the last session. It's now more yellow and green rather than red.

Left: First session; Right: Second session

"2017 = presenting yourself," Ms. Star wrote on a piece of paper. This was my theme for next year.

Throughout the session, I gathered that creativity, sacrifice, and balance will help me.

First, we'll see more creativity next year. My consultancy will progress as more projects and referrals are in store. Ms. Star also encouraged me to write more. Nakaka-insecure as I've never considered myself to be a good writer. But let's see!



Second, sacrifice will be needed: hard work, getting myself out there, and enduring stress.

"Mukhang babalik at babalik ka sa first love mo, e," she says, referring to advertising.

I expressed my concern over it.

"Why don't you want to go back?"

"Nakaka-stress," I said, "Parang hindi worth-it ang pagod."

She then reminded me about sacrifice and that stress may be integral to the job. She then said that perhaps it's where I'm meant to be.

"Don't resist it and don't close your doors to opportunity. Continue to put yourself out there."

Interestingly, my love life will be a sacrifice next year as I'll be busy focusing on myself and my career.

Lastly, attaining balance in both my physical and spiritual life will help. This came after I consulted Ms. Star about seeing abandoned footwear. She advised me to pray, seek guidance, and to ask for intervention.

Before our session ended, I asked Ms. Star if she could finally reveal what she mentioned last year about "something big” coming. She hinted that it might be an offer that I couldn't refuse but she couldn't say what it was as not to interfere with my destiny.

"There are things that you need to experience for yourself," she says.

Ms. Star explained that the experience is for me to gain wisdom. If she interferes, how will I learn from it? (As trivia, she inexplicably gets sick if she does!)

This is what I like about Ms. Star as a life coach. She leads you by telling you things that you should know. She doesn't interfere with your karma but at the same time, she lets you live your life as to experience and learn from it.

Isn't that what we're all here for?

Before leaving, Ms. Star gave me a black tourmaline stone from Brazil. She told me to always keep it in my pocket to ward off negativity. I also got a key chain that attracts success! 

2017, let's do this.