Almost two weeks after buying the tools and materials for my leathercraft project, here is how it looks now:
We have never been to Binondo on a Chinese New Year’s Eve and we have dedicated an afternoon to visit the place today. The familiar sight and sound (and even smell) of Chinatown exploded exponentially more than the usual, and it was brimming with red and gold everywhere. I felt bad for the people driving because it was really difficult to move around, with the number of people walking and doing their shopping, as well as lion and dragon dances performed in every street, at virtually every ten minutes.
When we reached the Ongpin North Bridge, we were already drenched with sweat and firecracker smoke, but it was really an awesome experience that I did not mind. I was already wearing a white polo shirt with my red shorts, but decided last minuted before leaving the house to change to a more comfortable shirt. It was a good call because I could have looked more haggard.
We’ve been itching to get our hands on the merchandise being sold, but we decided that it was better to buy them after eating our early dinner. I saw a row of stalls selling beaded bracelets, so I had a mental note to buy something later.
Reaching Waiying Fastfood was easier compared to the wait we did just to be seated. We originally waited on the first floor but Mon went upstairs and was able to get on the waiting list as the fourth person. We arrived at around 5:15 PM and it was already jampacked. When we got our table 15 minutes later, more people came in and it was mayhem. At 6:00 PM, there were people already queueing by the stairs and they get a bit snarky whenever a bunch of people came in and just seat themselves without any regard to the waiting line. It was vicious. LOL
We ordered a mix of dishes we have not yet tried, as well as others we have always loved. Since I started eating here in Waiying with some of my friends (Johann introduced this place to me) back in 2002, I fell in love with the steamed tofu but have never changed my order of either lemon or soy chicken. But since it was Chinese New Year, I decided to try the roasted duck. I don’t have a refined palate and I can’t tell the difference between it and a roasted chicken. However, I noticed that I kept on chewing on bones and had to spit a lot every after bite. Mon, on the other hand, ordered lemon chicken and it was amazing as ever.
They barely changed their prices as well. I can’t remember their listed prices when we were last here, but they were very reasonable as you can see from their detailed menu below:
Night fell and Binondo just exploded more with lights and color. The prices of some of the things sold were lessened as well, maybe because it was already night time and the New Year was barely four hours from that time.
We have entered some of the stores selling figurines and lucky charms, and Mon tried to haggle on golden snakes and bracelets. In one of the stores, we were able to buy three bracelets. Two of the same kind for both Mon and I, and another one for my mother.
Of course, a trip to Manila’s Chinatown won’t be complete without buying soem tikoy, a glutinous rice food traditionally eaten, even by non-Chinese Filipinos during the Chinese New Year. My mother won’t forgive me for returning home without buying some tikoy, so Mon and I just bought two boxes for both of our moms. We hoped to buy from Eng Bee Tin or Salazar’s but the line on both stores were nauseatingly long that I did not mind buying from another store.
We left Binondo at around 8:00 PM, because we have a 9:00 PM movie to catch in Gateway Mall (the Andres Muschietti-directed horror movie ‘Mama’, starring Jessica Chastain). When we first arrived in LRT2 Recto station, there were long lines stretching out to the street of people waiting to have their things inspected before entering the premises. We thought that it would be better to return back to Cubao, given the number of people taking the train.
When we got home, we immediately gave our loot from our Binondo trip to my mother. She was particularly happy with the red garnet one with a money pot (red garnet for divine energy; money pot for, well, money). On the other hand, Mon and I got identical bracelets of citrine and a gourd ornament (citrine for business and career; gourd for health). To be perfectly honest, I don’t put too much importance to lucky charms or luck in general. I have long since accepted that I will never be a recipient of the luck of a draw, but the beaded bracelets look good so I’m fine with them anyway.
So, the year of the Water Snake offficially starts in a few minutes, huh? I might not particularly love snakes, given my great fear of them, but I hope the year ahead will bring me a good career, a thriving business and an excellent health (pretty much what the bracelet in the middle stands for). LOL
XIN NIAN KUAI LE! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It was Mon and I’s 4th year and 3rd month and we took the opportunity to go out with my family and visit the Mind Museum at Taguig. As we only have four gift cards from the raffle before, we purchased two more tickets online because apparently, Brie was over 2 feet. JB was extra excited because he hasn’t stopped asking me about this visit for a month or so. He just had his First Communion a few hours earlier and he only took off his white long sleeves and did not bother changing at all.
By the reception, we presented our ticket print-out and we were given wristbands with “All-Day pass” written on it. First impression was the place wasn’t as big as I expected, but not saying that it was small. But as the kids were already sprinting towards every exhibit they could get their little hands onto, I had no other choice but to chase after them. It was a hands-on museum, but caution must be exercised because some of the exhibits were not to be touched nor manipulated.
And of course, an iconic device of science in action was the Van de Graaff generator. I did not touch the equipment, though, because I have short hair and the visuals would be much better on people with longer hair. So my sister went on to touch the generator and her hair literally raised right after it was turned on. We were wondering, though. Some of the people (women to be exact) who tried the device had almost non-reactive hair, to the point where it took a good 30-seconds before their hair started raising. But we have also noticed that they have treated hair, relaxed mostly, and maybe that was the reason why they had little reaction. LOL
I was just watching the other day on YouTube a documentary describing the time when both the Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sapiens lived on Earth at the same time, and how the skills of the latter had helped them, I mean US, to become the dominant species. The exhibit in the museum was impressive and so life-like that the lady looking at her child by the ground gave me the creeps. Hello Uncanny Valley!
I was also very excited to visit the Geology section because I’m also such a sucker for anything tectonic-related. They have interesting earthquake-magnitude simulators, fossils of trilobites, ginkgo biloba, ants trapped inside an amber and of course, the hard-to-miss Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
And lastly, I was so excited to go to the Universe section of the museum because I obviously love astronomy. The star-strewn section had a lot of exhibits that the kids can manipulate, and they even had a replica of the Mars Pathfinder next to the phases of the Moon model and the astronaut. They also present a 30-minute show in a planetarium dome next to the life-cycle of a star exhibit. I can’t remember watching anything like it before and I was heavily anticipating it. While we were on queue, we we alongside this group of very uncivilized high school students who kept on letting some of their friends fall in line with them. As the dome can only accommodate 40 people, we had to shut them and give them the stink eye so as to make them stop. It momentarily worked because once we were inside watching the show, we can’t believe how unruly they were that they began hitting each other with their cushions. O_O It was extremely appalling and these people had no place inside the museum. Yuck.
Anyway, the projection of the film was horrible. First, as they are using fish-eye projection, they should have put the projector in the middle in order to maximize the dome-shaped ceiling. Second, I think the projection might be probably good early in the morning because they did not bother adjusting the focus of the lens that you can barely see the supposedly amazing details of the heavenly bodies. Personally, I had high hopes and it was such a waste of time.
It was actually tiring to walk around and chase after the kids and by a few minutes after 3:00 PM, we decided to eat by the Jollibee inside the Mind Musuem complex. I still haven’t drunk coffee for the day and we ordered two cups for both Mon and I, because apparently, they refused to brew just for a single cup. But it was disappointing as well because it had no coffee taste whatsoever and I suspect that they did not bother using new ground coffee and utilized the ones used for serving breakfast earlier that day. Boo Jollibee!
It was a quick snack because JB and Brie were both itching to go to the Science-in-the-Park, the playground next to Jollibee. If I were a kid, I’d go mad with the cool stuff they had in it. They have acoustic-based playthings, as well as the bubble makers and a group of animal heads with viewfinders simulating their vision. I didn’t even know that the King Cobra was colorblind as well, which was ironic because I have a great fear of snakes. We share something together.
After eating and playing, we headed straight back to the second level of the museum to look at what was in store for us. The things there were more technology and innovation-based, chronicling achievement of men in terms of transportation, optics, space technology as well as languages.
And for our last stop, we went to two 3D showing: “Ang Simula” and “Birthplace” A Natural History of the Earth“. Of course we had to fall in line again for the latter and we had poor seats compare to the one we had for the former. “Ang Simula” was directed by Chito S. Roño and chronicles the geological history of the Philippines. I was actually quite ashamed of myself because I have already watched loads of documentaries on geology but not one of them has discussed the Philippines’ origin. It was only there that I knew that the island of Palawan was once part of the Eurasian plate as a product of the continental draft. This show had a narration while “Birthplace” had none. “Birthplace” began with a depiction of the birth of Earth, followed by the formation of the first amino acids comprising the primordial soup of life. Then the stunning visualization of how the single-celled organisms evolved into multicellular to more complex ones. Each of the shows run for about 15-minutes.
Overall, it was an awesome experience. Granted that I did not have time to actually tinker with each one of the exhibits with the curiosity of a little kid but as my nephew and niece already had a great time, I was fine with it. I initially thought that the Bio-Rhythm exhibit was also available for us to see but turned out that we have to pay about Php 200 more for that.
Wonderful Wednesday and it was a perfect day for a lunch with the team. Technically, they are not my team but since I spend most of my work time with them, it did not even matter. As we were not familiar with the area, Mon and I even printed a map of the Fort area just to make sure we won’t get lost. We were already running late but fortunately, the roads were not that congested and we arrived in the venue in just about 15 minutes. The first thing I’ve noticed was this giant cutout of two chefs by the door. It was then I realized that Laudico was actually Chef Lau from the Pinoy Masterchef on TV. As I usually watch the show every morning because I wake up at around 10:00 AM, I suddenly remembered that he was extra critical of Filipino dishes prepared by the contestants. Now it made full sense.
We were the last person to arrive and everybody we’re already eating their pica-picas or appetizers, so we also immediately ordered ours. It was actually a 4-course set and I was a bit taken aback by the serving size of the appetizer but maybe I was not really used to eating course meals. LOL
And the part I was waiting for, the Main Course. I tried this Crispy Tilapia Cocoloco and it has the most amazing tomato curry sauce on it. It was so lovely that I did not even eat the breaded fish and just went straight away to the curry and rice.
But expectedly, the part where Mon was most excited of was the desserts! Similar to the the pica-pica, we were to choose three out of the list. We chose Sans Rival Moderne, Yema Bicho-Bicho and Tsokolate Oh! They also have Halo-Halo sherbet served on little shot glasses.
While eating, we also proceeded with our little exchange gift and I got a coffee maker! ^_^ Thank you so much Rev for giving me that lovely gift! We were also planning a day in Enchanted Kingdom this January and hopefully we will push through with it because it has been years since Mon and I went there.
Surprisingly, the Mind Museum was just across the restaurant and it won’t be long before we go back to the area. Tomorrow, we will be using the tickets that my dear nephew won two months ago at a company event and I’m very excited to see the exhibit inside the museum!