Remembering my grandmother

The 8th of March marks my late maternal grandmother’s birthday. If she were still alive today, she would have turned 77 years old. I wasn’t able to visit her grave last All Saints Day and the last time I went to the cemetery was during her interment. Because of that, I had already decided since January that I would visit on her birthday and good thing it fell on a Friday, when I could comfortable wear jeans and sneakers. New façade of San Juan City CemeteryAfter I had passed by St. Claire in Katipunan, Mon and I met in Farmers Market to buy some flowers. I forgot to bring some candles with me, but as it was raining lightly, they would just be easily extinguished. Cemeteries always give out a somber atmosphere, and the gray skies did not help to alleviate the gloom. Looking for the exact place of my grandmother’s grave, we got lost on the first turn because of the weeds growing around it. She’s sharing the same place as her mother and uncle, as seen in the tombstone (though her mother’s was written separately).

Flowers for my grandmother's 77th birthday

We then heard footsteps approaching us and they were made by a middle-aged lady, who probably followed us from the entrance. It was very annoying to hear her jabber about the state of the grave, and offered monthly cleaning services. I was honestly at the point of telling her off because I was really in the middle of deep reflection. It was difficult to think and concentrate when someone was just talking away and pulling weeds and shrubs. What I couldn’t understand was why she chose to do her cleaning while we were there, having a quiet moment in front of the grave. And when we left 15 minutes after, she was already trailing behind us. >_< So, why destroy my quiet time? The realist, suspicious side of me thought that the lady MIGHT take the flowers away, after we left the cemetery.

Home Made Carrot Cake in San Juan City

My sister will be jealous!

Before leaving the area, I told Mon of this place, which my sister and me has chosen as a de facto landmark since we were little. As far as I can recall, we’ve been watching out for this giant carrot because it meant that we were already near the cemetery. We never had the chance to have a look inside, though, so I took the opportunity earlier to finally visit this homemade carrot cake place.

Price list - Home Made Carrot Cake in San Juan CityEven if their prices were ‘reasonable’, we had no reason to buy a whole cake from them. So we just bought two slices, for the sole purpose of tasting them. Looking at the menu for the first time, I though that a whole ‘carrot cake walnut’ was just Php 185 but obviously I have misread it if I were to pay Php 65 a slice. And speaking of the slice, it was smaller than what I’ve expected, but we still bought some because it was embarrassing to setp out empty-handed. So the verdict: I might not return there for a long time but it was nice to have finally satisfied my curiosity after almost two decades. =D

Zombie movie on Valentine’s night

Mon and I were both on halfday leave in the office for Valentine’s Day and it was a sudden decision as well. For today, I wanted a Valentine-related outfit, but alas, I can’t bear to wear anything red nor too dressy. The best thing I can put on, then, was this polo shirt with a black heart on the chest. I also wore this pair of YSL sneakers for the first time. =D

Maroon cardigan, gray Play by Comme des Garcons Black Heart polo shirt, blue L.O.G.G. by H&M skinny pants, Yves Saint Laurent multicolor high-top sneakers, vintage Mulberry wexford briefcase messenger bag

From the office, we just walked to Greenbelt 3 because it was very difficult to get a cab. We had no choice because we still have to claim our tickets for the movie and waiting for an elusive cab to come would definitely eat up our precious time. It was a nice night to walk anyway, because it was quite windy.

Arriving in the Greenbelt area, we immediately noticed how crowded the whole place was. It was dofficult to walk from one place to another, and all restaurants were brimming with people eating and queuing for an available table. Yikes. We had to get our movie tickets first and good thing we have already reserved the night before because if we were to get the tickets right there and then, we’d end up sitting separately or not at all.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Greenbelt 3

The rare occasion when he had his picture taken, with his face full on

As mentioned, every restaurant in the area was full, and the only place available where we can eat was in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Greenbelt 5. We had no extra time to spare waiting because we had less than 40 minutes before the movie started from the time we got the tickets. We immediately ordered for the most possibly-satisfying food they have on the menu and not all of them were even available. Well, we had little time to eat anyway, even if it was our quickest Valentine’s dinner ever. LOL

The only pasta available that night - Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Greenbelt 3

Blueberry cheesecake - Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Greenbelt 3

The quickest Valentine's dinner we ever had - Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Greenbelt 3

We barely finished our food, when we found ourselves walking back to Greenbelt 3 for our 8:35 PM movie. We chose ‘Warm Bodies‘, as it was what we were supposed to watch instead of ‘Mama‘ last Saturday. I can’t even remember seeing the trailer of the movie before, but all I know was it features Nicholas Hoult (who played Beast in ‘X-Men: First Class‘ and a favorite model of Tom Ford, and even starred in the latter’s first ever film ‘A Single Man‘ — and yeah, he is also Jennifer Lawrence’s boyfriend).

It was tagged as a “paranormal, romantic zombie comedy’, which was a peculiar but very apt description of what we saw on screen. It was told in the point of view of R (Nicholas Hoult), which after a usual hunting spree with a pack of zombies, fell in love with the human Julie (Teresa Palmer), who was also out with a bunch of humans including her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) and bestfriend Nora (Analeigh Tipton) to forage for medical supplies. The zombie pack attacked the group and R ended up eating the brains of Perry, which eventually reinforced his attraction towards Julie.

I particularly had a good time hearing the hilarious timing of John Waite’s ‘Missing You‘ played on vinyl, during the key moments of the film, particularly when R first laid his eyes on Julie. I knew the song very well because Tina Turner’s version was once use by my old squad as music in one of the most amazing choreography I have ever seen. Anyway, the movie really had lots of funny moments, particularly when Julie was pretending to be a zombie and was acting a bit too much, perhaps based on a canned knowledge of how zombies move. LOL It was also good to see Analeigh in the movie. She was my favorite contestant in Cycle 11 of ANTM, and I was really heartbroken when she got eliminated. I did not realize how tall she really is, not until this movie, because she looked quite small next to the other contestants and Nigel and Ms. Jay. Analeigh has been doing good in her movie career, and her screen time in this movie was well spent. Excellent comedic timing and she was really hilarious in every scene that she was in. Julie, who I first thought to be a blonde and can-actually-act version of Kristen Stewart, looked very familiar. Searching Google after the movie, I was right in guessing that she was the love interest of the protagonist in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice‘.

Tickets for the 'Warm Bodies' movie

After the movie, we went to another Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Greenbelt 3 to have a quick snack and a drink of coffee (Mon opted for a non-caffeine drink). I was surprisingly full from our quick dinner and I even had to push myself to eat this cookie and biscotti. LOL At almost 11:00 PM, the place was still bustling with people but we were lucky to get good seats inside, near the window.

Quick drink and a quick snack - Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Greenbelt 3

Black heart on Valentine's - gray Play by Comme des Garcons Black Heart polo shirt

When we were about to go home, we passed by the row of high-end stores and I was delighted to see Prada’s display window, with Sasha Pivovarova in it. Last October 2012, I expressed my delight to see the new mother doing fashion work again.

Sasha Pivovarova for Resort 2013 on the display window of Prada Greenbelt 3

I’m not a fan of flowers and Mon was fully aware of that. Instead, he gave me this stuffed heart which I will be bringing to the office with me. Happy Valentine’s Mon and thanks for the sweets as well! =D

Chocolates and a stuffed heart from Mon

BIG BANG ALIVE TOUR 2012 (MANILA) POST!!!

Sol Restaurant -  Side Dishes

So yesterday, I had a fantastic day with Mon, Lot (his sister) and Faye. We initially intended to go to Music Bank in Diosdado Macapagal Avenue at around 2:00 PM, but remembered that it will not open until 3:00 PM. We then ate first in Sol Restaurant, few meters away from Music Bank, as we will definitely have a hard time eating a proper meal during the concert. There were few people in the restaurant and all of them were Koreans having, presumably, their late lunch.

Sol Restaurant -  Peanuts

Sol Restaurant -  Bibimbap

Sol Restaurant -  Japchae

Sol Restaurant -  Seafood Noodles

So at around 3:30 PM, we finally went inside Music Bank and started singing our hearts out. We had a little hard time looking for some of the KPop songs we would like to sing, but we got there in the end. We spent around two hours, while we were slowly frozen to death by the airconditioning. By the time we got out, I have already developed a runny nose; though I didn’t know if that was because of the room’s temperature or Faye’s virus finally contaminating me (she was not feeling well since Monday). LOL

MUSIC BANK in Diosdado Macapagal Avenue

Oppa Gangnam Style! - Music Bank, Diosdado Macapagal Avenue

Their 'Kahit ano' on the menu - Music Bank, Diosdado Macapagal AvenueWe didn’t actually know if it was a good idea to go to a noraebang before going to a concert, because we would most likely be losing our voice. But we still have a couple of hours to compose ourselves before the mayhem in The Arena. When we got in the Mall of Asia, we saw this crowd at the back of the venue:

A slew of Filipino Big Bang fans - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila

We were to enter in the Coral (Blue) Entrance and there were already a lot of people queuing for the mandatory bag inspection. We did not immediately fall in line because I wanted to make sure that I can sneak my point-and-shoot camera inside. I just observed how the inspection was done and I saw a couple of DSLRs and even point-and-shoots were confiscated by the guards on duty. So I just shoved it deep inside the side pocket of my bag, covered in unused tissue and with my iPod on the top so the guards would immediately see I had nothing to hide. Well it worked but we did not take pictures until we were finally seated in our respective seats.

While waiting for the Upper Box doors to open - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012

The stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

We were seated in Section 401, which was directly in front of the stage. One of our tickets was in Section 404, but as the person who was to sit next to us did not arrive (or the people, because seat numbers four to seven were vacant), there was no need to push through with our original plan of snatching that one seat.

Faye's light stick --- a present from us when we went to Seoul last year - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila

(We haven’t seen any light stick similar to Faye’s <3 We bought this from the souvenir shop in Doota Mall last year)

And then the concert started! After the curtains fell, the boys were revealed to be inside these illuminated tubes, as if teleported from somewhere.

Big Bang after emerging from those tubes - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

Look who's having fun!

Seungri and Tae Yang directly in front of the stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

Big Bang on stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

I did my best with what my camera can do and I noticed that it was far easier and better to take videos, as my hands were not that stable to take photos in low lighting. I managed to take several videos, but bothered only in resizing three of them. I also have uploaded the first one in my previous post. And also, I was not screaming like a banshee in these videos (unlike the 2NE1 videos I took, where I was screaming Bom’s name like it will lead me to salvation). (*Note: Change the quality to “480p” ([in the gear icon above] to view the best quality)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fZyedMYS-8&feature=plcp]

Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila – Fantastic Baby

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdbh1rK45_A&feature=plcp]

Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila – Haru Haru

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJJp3YdpNns&feature=plcp]

Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 Manila – Lies

If I have to be perfectly honest with the whole experience, I sat during most of the middle of the concert because: a) I did not know the songs they were singing, and b) I was really too low-energy (a.k.a. old) to match the energy of the people around me. However, the line-up of the songs was perfectly-made that I cannot NOT stand up and sing along with the songs I knew and loved (e.g. the songs I recorded above). LOL My mental discography was very archaic and I was stuck in Big Bang circa 2008-2009.

T.O.P. with the very girly mouse ears and Daesung walking out of the frame LOL - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

Tae Yang, T.O.P. and Daesung about to leave the stage - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

The crowd in denial that the show was finally over - Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 in Manila

At Php 3,900, we got our money’s worth. =D Compared to the three-thousand plus we shelled out in that joke/milk-the-opportunity strategy called “The Party” last year, Big Bang’s first concert here in Manila was very good, production-wise. Although it was apparent that most of the boys gave a very vocally lackluster performance (Tae Yang’s voice was cracking, and as how Sharon Needles put it, he was Christina-ing it out a lot; and GD seemed to have quite a lower energy). Daesung was the most consistent among the boys and I have new respect for him because of that. There were also a lot of Roselle-Nava-sing-with-me moments, which I didn’t like. =/

Another theory given by our friend China (who had to brave the fiasco at the topmost seats, along with two other people), was that GD sensed the overwhelming bias of the crowd towards T.O.P. and he was already resigned over that fact. LOL I didn’t even know how factual that theory was but I think that he still gave a decent job, albeit the low energy. Also, we were wondering why he did not perform his latest single, Crayon (whose video shown before the concert even started has sent the crowd to a shrieking frenzy). But I was extremely envious of his Givenchy Rotweiler shirt. Ugh. LOL

Freshened up! - Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM Backpack and Gucci messenger bag

With Faye after the concert --- while looking at the interestingly-dressed members of the crowd =D

Guess who has an exam the morning after? HAHAHA

Naturally, we were hungry after the event but as almost all the establishments were closed by 10:30 PM (the show ran few minutes over two hours), we did not even bother eating a snack. We actually had the choice of going to McDonald’s but it was jam-packed, so we decided to just part ways. The rain also did not help. I forgot to bring an umbrella and I just had a gray cardigan inside. As I was more worried of the vachetta parts onn my backpack, more than myself getting wet, I just buttoned it around my bag, liek a new-born baby. I didn’t want any watermarks to ruin the leather. LOL

We’ve heard that SNSD (or some other group from SM Entertainment) will be going to Manila next year. Lot is one BIG SNSD FAN and she will most likely watch their concert, if ever they would organize one. But as the light sticks are probably insanely marked up here, we will be just buying some in Seoul this December when we go back. I might even buy a few more just to sell when that happy day comes. LOL

My lucky nephew

Earlier, our company had a Family Day and I tagged along my nephew. Mon, on the other hand, brought his mom and youngest sister with him, Anne. It would normally be a Halloween Party but they decided to shake things up a little and make it a different event. The last time JB and Anne saw each other was two years ago, also on our company’s Halloween event where my nephew dressed up as Wilderness Explorer Russell from Disney’s ‘UP’, while Anne went Hawaiian for ‘Lilo & Stitch’.

Halloween Party two years ago - Anne and JB doing their best Disney

I have to admit, I missed making a costume for my nephew, especially on how I have painstakingly made and researched every little detail on that Russell outfit:

DIY-Russell from Disney's UP badges sash - Halloween costume

Russell 'UP' Halloween Costume - detailed with badges

But one good thing that this lack of costume brought to me was the less opportunity to stress over what he would wear. It was just come-as-you-are and leave-your-kids-with us, so Mon and I were able to just go around the area, while the kids do their stuff.

The kids are all grown up now - JB and Anne two years after

What can you do with an orange dot (or maybe circle)?

They had several activities: tour of all the work areas, safety demonstration, singing and arts. They were able to get lots of candies and freebies, but compared to the previous years, a Halloween party would still be better.

Obligatory picture with "The Wall" - Gray Play by Comme des Garçons shirt, Bench jeans, white Yves Saint Laurent  'Y' patent sneakers and Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM backpack , and my nephew using my Comme des Garçons  Homme Plus Canvas Tote as his goodie bag

Mon with his Mon and little sister

They were to raffle off prizes and I was hoping that my nephew’s name gets picked for the tickets to the Mind Museum. But ‘lo and behold! He was called as second to the last person for the prize! I was really happy because I’ve been wanting to go to the Mind Museum in Taguig City because it is supposedly a kick-ass science museum! We now have to pay just for two people but it wasn’t bad at all. =D

My lucky nephew claiming his prize

The Mind Museum at Taguig tickets errrr.... technically gift cards

I was never lucky with raffles or games of luck since I was a kid. There was even an instance during a Christmas paryt of a church where they gave out prizes to everyone as long as there were gifts on the table. Unlucky me had to be the last name in the fish bowl and there were no more prizes left. That cemented my reputation of being unfortunate to games of luck. Since then, I’ve never been a believer of luck but hard work. LOL Good thing he did not inherit my raffle luck but my older brother’s. When we were kids and up until now, he’d get picked in raffles to win a complete set of G.I. Joe toys, house appliances and even an iPad. Ugh.

I don't know why my nephew kept on doing this pose - Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill

Now we have to schedule a date to visit the museum. Their website states that kids below two feet have free admission. I was under the impression that my niece, Brie, was still under two feet. But alas! She’s almost three feet! The kids are really growing up so fast and I feel old. We will most probably visit the museum by the first or second week of November. =D