Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shinjuku Ren

6:36:00 AM 0 Comments
After a hard day's work, I usually look for something nice to eat. Call it my reward, if you must. Fortunately I found one such restaurant which offers me "comfort" whenever I feel drained from work.

Introduced by colleagues from work, Shinjuku Ren is my "after-work" haven. It is located along Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo) in Makati and is practically "along the way" since I work just in Legaspi Village.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manila's hawker - Makansutra

10:45:00 PM 0 Comments
Imagine the taste of Asia in just one place!

That's how I felt when we ate at Makansutra located at the 2nd floor of Manila Ocean Park in Luneta, Manila.

Inspired by Singapore's hawkers, it reminded me the Lion City...


Hainanese chicken

Chicken satay

Kway teow. I still prefer the one from banana leaf tho

Puto bungbong and palayok!

Dirty ice cream anyone?

Monday, October 11, 2010

For the love of fat - 8065 Bagnet House

1:35:00 AM 0 Comments
I am not even a food critic. I just love to eat and try different places.  So when we passed by Estrella St in San Antonio Village Makati and saw 8065 Bagnet house, I got interested. I became even more convinced to try it out when my friend Felix told us food is great. (I trusted Felix on this one as we always look forward to eating his baon of bagnet that his mom makes :P)

So try it out I did on the weekend that followed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Under the Crescent Moon (3)

3:56:00 AM 1 Comments
My feet couldn’t walk fast enough as I maneuver the flight of stairs. I couldn’t believe I’m rushing like this.

It had been weeks since we last saw each other. Weeks since she was assigned to a project that entailed her to be in another place… Out of the office, out of my sight.

This was the longest I have not seen her. Since we met in the office years ago, we were almost inseparable. Our office mates were in fact noticing the closeness and, though no one was commenting, I know that they don’t agree. I told her about it but she laughed out loud and said “You’re crazy!” So we continued with our lunch dates, our journey home together, our chats, our walks… That was until she was assigned to another place 4 months ago.

We kept in touch. But it was all digitally. Always waiting for the other to be online. Always waiting for status messages. But the past 4 weeks have been silent. Was she avoiding me? Has she noticed that it was more than friendship for me? Had she come to her senses and listened to the whispers of our friends? Oh God! I hope not.

My feet faced the stairs in front of me, taking the steps two at a time. The long ride in the train was almost unbearable. Yet I concentrated on the task at hand. We would see each other again after 4 weeks. I needed to have a good, witty opening line. A line that would make her laugh, just like the old days.

I wonder why she changed? Or was I just being paranoid? I left her an offline message but she did not reply. And it made me worried.

She did not know that I would go and see her. It was supposed to be a surprise. If she was indeed avoiding me then I would know. If she sees me and smile, then I too would know.

My heart was thumping as I almost jumped out at the station. She should be out by 6:45. It was just 6:15. Plenty of time to wait.

I walked slowly, trying to steady my beating heart. Trying to rehearse the line. Thinking of ways to gently nudge her, if she had been avoiding me, yet not sounding accusatory.

I waited…. I paced back and forth in front of the building… never had 30 minutes been so long…

And then I saw her. Rather, she saw me. And it made me stopped at my tracks.

Her eyes made me remember all the things I love about her… the wisdom, even at a young age, the wit the humor. Life…

She saw me and I saw happiness, then as if a switch had been turned off, she glanced down.

She approached me and smiled “Hey John!”, as if everything was normal. I looked at her and searched her eyes. I wanted to drown in the depths of her gaze.

“This is Phil”, then only then did I notice the guy beside her. 

My world stopped. This was all a dream. This cannot be happening…. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lessons for the day

9:35:00 AM 0 Comments
5 things I realized today.
1. It's okay to cry. It doesn't make you weak. It is just a venue to renew your strength.
2. Real friends are always available, even via chat.
3. Doubts may come in the night but the morning always brings new hope
4. No regrets. There's always a reason.
5. Pray. It's what sustains us... And the most important of all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ang Pagbabalik

8:52:00 AM 0 Comments
Paano bigkasin 
Tuwang saloobin
Sa isang taong namatay
At ngayo'y muling nabuhay

Pagkat nagbalik ka
At muling binigyang buhay
Emosyong naging tigang
Ng panahong naratay

Parang napawi
Ilang panahong paghahanap
Pagtugis ng alaala
Ng panahong halos limot na

Salamat kaibigan
Nandyan ka na muli
May masasandalan
Upang lungkot ay mapawi


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adversities and changes

4:12:00 AM 0 Comments
The past 2 months have been a long roller coaster ride. And there is still one week before July says bye-bye.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions the past 2 months: from sadness, to depression, to white hot anger, to frustration, to indifference….

It is ^%#$%%#!! at work. I will not detail it here as I promise myself the vow of silence, aside of course from the fact that I have to abide with the code of silence this industry practices.

So what can I do? Nothing. Except vent my frustration on some things I can control…

Suddenly I need something new. It is time for change.

  1. I changed my desk’s layout in the office. Wish I could change the horrible green paint and the ill-looking layout of our area (gawa ba to ng ahensya? layout) but then I could not. So I just moved my desk where I am allowed and suffered in silence while facing that what-kind-of-green-is-that? paint.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The first automated elections (daw)

4:20:00 AM 0 Comments
This is the 3rd time I have voted for the national elections. So far, my experience has always been a fast voting process. We are not talking about the more-than-a-month-long announcement of winners, okay. In the past, I arrived after lunch and I finish within 30 minutes max. This with no preparation at all - no checking of precint number, no list of candidates.

This time though I came prepared. After all I don't want to stay long as me and my brother needed to go somewhere. But I was sorely disappointed

So we arrived at 9:00 am in our precint at Paranaque High School. We came prepared as we already know our precint number, with a complete list of candidate to boot. Good thing our municipality already organized the precints beforehand. A mailman went to our house weeks before to inform us of our precint number.

But our wait to be able to vote took us almost 5 hours! We could not believe our eyes when they told us to fall in line.

5 precint numbers needed to squeeze into a classroom. 

We were actually a bit lucky as some of the lines were under the sweltering sun. Imagine the 12 noon sun casting its full power on these poor people. 

The line was sooooo slow. They only allowed 2 people to come in every so often. Imagine the line, and 2 people coming in every 20 minutes or so. Not to mention those who attempted to make the usual 'singit', not minding those people who were trying to shoo them away. Talk about insensitivities!
Finally, at 2:30 pm, we were able to vote. Less than 10 minutes and we were done.
No lunch, just water that sustained us all those hours. This is how we complied with our duty for being a Filipino in the country's first automated election.

I hoped the counting will be done in 48 hours as promised.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Under the Crescent Moon (2)

9:05:00 PM 0 Comments
I rushed to the office and punched in my card. Couldn't believe I made it. Ha! This is the second month I was never late. Where before it never bothered me whether I arrived on time or not, the past months had been different. I had something to look forward to when going to work. Really my bad habits have disappeared. 

I went to my desk and tried to settle in. As soon as I opened my mac, a message popped up "Hey, you're in time again! John! Employee of the month! =)" I laughed out loud and the others looked at me. An office mate asked me what was funny and I replied "Nothing. I think I had too much coffee". I sat down and replied to Regan. 

If only I could tell her she was the reason. She made me better. But I dared not. It was enough for her to feel what I felt. It was not yet time. Telling her would only push her away. We chatted for a while but she was called for a meeting. Sigh, we have not had any projects for the past weeks. 

I turned to the work at hand and tried to concentrate. 

Regan had been a good friend the past couple of years. We walked together, we talked. And that was it. I wished I could say more. But that was all we had. I was a fool to let this go on, knowing that I was falling deeper and deeper. Yet, like a thirsty man drawn to water, I was drawn to her. She made me realize what I had been missing from this life. I thought I had it all, but then she came, and I realized I really had nothing. 

She awakened a side of me I thought was forever gone. I thought i could not feel this way again. I thought wrong. 

They said old and bad habits die hard. But knowing her had stopped that. She did not even need to say it. The old habits just disappeared. She made me want to become a better person. It sounded cliche but it was the truth. The list would be long if I enumerate all the things I gave up. Just by knowing her.

But I knew being better was not good enough. I knew I should offer her more. Still I hesitated. Not because I was not sure. I have never been more sure than right now. But I had to fix my life. 

Perhaps she would wait. Perhaps I should tell her. But it would be unfair for her. Years divide us. An unlikely couple they would say. And sometimes I wanted to agree. But our difference in years only made us connect more. She has wisdom beyond her years; I feel the years slipping away when we talk. 

I should tell her what I was feeling. I debated time and time again. I did not have the courage, not yet. It was enough for me to let her feel. 

"John, lunch?", a message from Regan. "Sure", I replied. Maybe I would tell her. Maybe this was the moment. But then... the words would not come out. Not yet. Not all of the old habits have disappeared. Perhaps later, when I had the courage to come out clean. 

For the moment, I would bask in her presence.

Written April 18, 2010

Under the Crescent Moon (1)

8:56:00 PM 0 Comments
Inspired by a friend...

I looked at her and secretly smiled. There she goes again, doodling while biting her lips. I watched as she tucked her hair behind her ears and looked down at the paper she was writing on.  To others who would look at her, it would appear that she was not listening to what her boss was demonstrating. But i know, just by looking at her, that she was in deep concentration. It was in the way she bit her lips, how her forehead creased in the middle, and the way she tucked her hair just so...Yes, she was definitely thinking about the work at hand. 

She suddenly looked up and saw me looking at her. I smiled and looked away, but not before I saw her smile back. I turned to my mac, not at all guilty that she caught me looking at her, again. 

It was difficult what Regan and I had. Friendship, yet more than that. But all we had really was just talk. Yet she made me feel alive. More alive than I ever felt for the past 10 years. 

My reverie was cut short when a message popped up on my laptop, "John, the usual later?", it was Regan. And the usual was her term for our long walk to the train station before we go our separate stops. "If you want to", I typed back. "It's settled then" and she punctuated her answer with a smiling emoticon. 

Yes, it was settled. It had been like that for a couple of years now. We waited for each other, then the long walk from the office to the mall, before we reach the train station. Along the way, we passed by stores and discussed whatever caught our attention at the time. 

I finished the work at hand, then attended to my meetings. There was a lightness on my step. I guessed there always had been. Ever since she arrived and we discovered each other. The day passed by quickly. I guess it always does especially during work days when I had something to look forward to. Before long I was shutting down my computer and she was in the lobby, waiting. 

When she saw me, she smiled and turned to walk, waving goodbye to our other office mates. They shouted a greeting at me and I waved back as I fell into step with Regan. We were quiet but it did not bother me. The quiet was soothing. And before long, the conversation started. 

That was when my world... our world stopped. When Regan and I had this special place, in the midst of the other people walking hastily, we slowed down. We savored the sites, the talk, the quiet, being together. 

I knew I love her and she knew it too. But we never talked about it. But it was there. And i knew she felt the same way. How can she not, when she is here? Everyday for the past 2 years?

She was everything I thought I would never find. So I stayed and endured our walks and our talks -- when she was so near yet we remained apart. I wondered how this could go on.  Perhaps I should tell her. One day, when I get the courage. But not right now. 

The train stopped and my station was announced. I carried my backpack and waved goodbye to Regan. "Tomorrow?" I asked and she answered "Sure, always", her eyes twinkling. I laughed and went out the train. I looked back and she was still smiling at me as the doors closed. 

Yes, tomorrow again. And always after that. Soon I will tell her. 

Written last April 17, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moments of AX

5:36:00 PM 0 Comments
After 5 years, AX had its summer outing. However, this was done in mid-February, before it was really summer.  The laughter, games and bonding are normal images. What struck me was the beautiful sunrise, and the moments of AX people, as they bask in the new day...

The new day dawns at Palm Beach Laiya, Batangas

Mr. Roy Babia, seemingly going to visit his hacienda

Mr. Babia, on the sandless beach at morning low tide 
The beach floor. All rocks!

Sweethearts Neil and Kim basking in the morning sun...

Just woke up (Taj, Nante and Ted)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


5:27:00 AM 0 Comments
Look back
How good it was.
Bliss and contentment
Joy in the present.

Yet the cloud arrived
Distracted the mind
Questions arose.
Clouded emotions 

Move on?
To the future unknown
Joy unsure
Destination hazy

Turn back?
To the joy that was
Is it the same?
Has it remained unchanged?

Decide soon...

20100324 © elleesteban

Sunday, March 21, 2010




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