Romulo Cafe

My mother’s side of the family met over the weekend at Romulo Cafe, one of those ancestral-homes-turned-restaurant. It looks nondescript on the outside, being located in a quiet residential area in Quezon City, but has really sleek and chic interiors. I would have wanted to for us to stay in one of their cool function rooms, but alas, none was available as it was Christmas season after all.

Out of the five families raised by my maternal grandparents, only two of us have been meeting in the last couple of years–only the eldest and youngest, and their offsprings now. We have been “estranged” with the second family in the last decade following the death of their parents, and the third due to telenovela types of conflicts. (Don’t all families have these to some degree?). An aunt, however, remains in the United States, where she has raised all of her kids and grandkids. If I were to sum, there should have been five children, five in-laws (one unofficial), ten grandchildren (one adopted), six grandchildren-in-law (one unofficial), and nine great-grandchildren. Whew! I hope the time comes that fate will bring all of us under a single roof.

Anyway, back to Cafe Romulo. As with previous visits, I am beginning to wonder why I haven’t been able to have decent photos of all the food that I had. This time, only photographed the appetizers, as we didn’t want the whole clan to wait while we shoot the entrees.

Pomelo salad

Tinapa rolls

Bangus Pate

And my Romulo favorite, Cool as a Cucumber:

Dining at Romulo’s is always good. Aside from the beautifully done interiors with the black and white portraits, the service is excellent. The Filipino cuisine, which the restaurant is famous for, is wonderfully traditional. Dining room is brightly lit, and the restrooms are just amazing. Always worth coming back to. I was glad we met here for Christmas.


In my decade of public service, it was my first time to spend the night in the office last Thursday. Typhoon Falcon dumped so much rain that massive traffic jams were seen all over the Metro. We couldn’t even back out the street! I didn’t even knew that the rains were that bad since I got stuck in an Inter-Agency meeting for seven freaking hours. I just felt so drained as the day wounded up, and I had to contend with not going home.

As always, my thoughts flew to Mischa and how she was going to fare without us there. The good thing is, I didn’t feel as much anxiety as I would have, had we been staying in Taytay. I think I have a permanent fear of floods and typhoons ever since Ondoy brought in muddy water into our house in 2009. The good thing now is that my parents’ house where we are presently squatting, is on higher ground. At least I didn’t have to worry as much since my daughter is safely tucked and watched over by the grannies. I just had to bear with being uncomfortable.

On the whole though, the overnight stay at the office was okay. The hubby and I, along with some colleagues were dry and had stomachs full thanks to the neighborhood Jollibee. We feared a bit that we would go hungry since no fast food chains were providing delivery service. The boys had to run to get us sustenance, and we all found little corners afterward to pass the night. We later found out we did better than some of our friends who insisted on going home and braving the rain. They got stuck in traffic, and were miserable as they waited and waited as the vehicles inched bit by bit on the rain soaked streets. While we were feasting on our Chicken Joys, they were munching on bananas and boiled peanuts brought from street vendors.

Thank God the following was a holiday (Araw ng Maynila). I wanted to lie down and give my sleep-deprived body some reprieve but the toddler wouldn’t let me. But no second thoughts there. My being relaxed as we played the day away while hearing the loud patter on the roof.

Sendai tragedy

The recent series of events, which centers around the major, major earthquake that hit Japan over the weekend has left the world in horror and terror. Those of us who were monitoring the news through the net, Twitter and Facebook, and being glued to the TV, can only watch in shock. It was devastating to say the least. The world watched as building after building, vehicle after vehicle, were swept by the tide. People were seen scrambling for their lives.

It was Mother Earth at her fury.

Many of us even braced ourselves for the possible tsunami that may reverberate throughout the countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean. It was thought to hit the eastern parts of the Philippines, Cagayan Province included, where hubby’s family lives. We prayed and prayed, and thankfully, the tsunami hit the country almost like a caress.

But it doesn’t end there. To date, Japan, Sendai in particular, and its surroundings are still in great danger because of the nuclear plant explosions brought about by the destruction.

We need to call on the Almighty. And we must listen to Him.

malasag eco village

since i posted a blog on camiguin, i think i ought to have a piece on cagayan de oro too.  i could write very little on the side trips though since most of our stay in cdo were spent in our chosen schools, churches and radio stations where we conducted our community education program (which i hope to write about more in a future blog) on migration and trafficking.  or we were holed up in our hotel room.   we really wanted to do white water rafting, which is one of the attractions cdo boasts of but there was just not enough time since one needs to free up a whole morning for it.  there wasn’t much we can do during the short intervals of free time that we had.   and we couldn’t stray far such that we weren’t able to visit its known caves or do ziplining.

we got to go to malasag eco village though.  i must note here that cdo is much like manila–it has all the amenities, perks and other whatnots, though it’s not as polluted nor highly populated.  although with the latter, cdo is fast catching up what with all these local migrants from nearby and far provinces coming to settle there with the lure of jobs because of the industries and businesses setting offices.  cdo is the hub of northern mindanao, much like davao and general santos in the south.  i like it that we can get taxis fast and there was much to chose from in restos, clubs, malls, etc. we, however, opted to eat in the hotel’s restaurant because 1) the food was great the first time we ate there so we came back for more; and 2) we were too lazy and tired to go out anymore after coming “home” exhausted from traveling to and from other municipalities in misamis oriental and giving talks to hundreds of people per day.  we didn’t get to explore much when it came to the gustatory delights that cdo can offer.  anyhow, the hotel was cozy and the staff were nice and really, really accommodating.  it was an old hotel but it doesn’t give you the creepy feeling that you’re in an old building.  kinda like you’re in a grandmother’s house but airconditioned and well-lighted.  our room was a bit cramped but we can’t complain as we’re on a budget and we chose the most standard one with an extra little bed.

in the lobby at the second floor

being silly

the trip to malasag took about 20 minutes.  the taxi took us almost at the city limits into an uphill area of cdo.  i’ve been here once when i accompanied a donor some few years ago.  i again marveled at the beauty as we entered a  forested area.  all became quiet as one becomes in tune with nature.  you could hear the crickets chirping, the birds flapping from a tree to another, and the occasional drip of water.  it’s a wonder to find this in a highly urbanized city.  manila surely couldn’t boast of the same save for golf courses around the metro.

the eco village is simple, unadorned and unobtrusive.  we paid php30 and on we went our way.  the whole compound is predominantly giant, ageless trees.  they’ve been here for generations, never changing, sheltering animals and people under their great trunks and bodies from the rain and sun.  here and there are replicas of dwelling places, which are tacked with tidbits of trivia of the indigenous tribes of mindanao who occupied them.  during our visit, there were natives dressed in local outfits who playing various instruments and dancing to the beat.  it’s a showcase for tourists, both filipinos and foreigners.  there is a souvenir shop and a cafe overlooking the macalajar bay.  it must be prettier during the night when lights from the city down under are all lit up.  living quarters intended for overnight stays are also available.  can’t say anything about the accommodations here though.

on a wooden swing in malasag

the view from the cafe

judy with "him"

a native hut

my team mates

little boy

another house

giant "sungka"

the long and winding road

hotel area

we just got majorly tired after our little expedition.  the compound was on slopes, and while we enjoyed the scenery and the breeze as we came in and started exploring, it was a pain to go back up.  as we reached the way we came from, our tongues were literally hanging out!  lol.  it was fun to be with nature though.  we hardly ever get to breath all that fresh air these days.  it’s good to spend some time in the province where you won’t choke to death on badly polluted air mixed in with the oxygen as you fill your lungs.  all that greenery was a welcome experience.  if you’ve been living in the city long enough, you long for that kind of moments.

my blog is carbon neutral

i’m joining this fight in my own little way.  no, i’m not a fanatic environmentalist, although since i’m a parent, i’m concerned about leaving a better place for my kid(s).  we’re into minor recycling at my parents’ house and i’ve planted a couple of trees at the la mesa watershed.  now, i’m trying for a carbon neutral blog!  as i share my life stories and ideas, it’s a worthy effort to save mother nature even in the least possible but doable way.

basyang and the blackout

we were it at again the midnight of tuesday.  we knew from a forecast that we were expecting a storm to come our way but as always, it caught us by surprise.  or maybe it was the whole experience with ondoy that i haven’t quite shaken off.  i guess i was just a little on the edge of my seat again when i was browsing the news online and saw that signal no. 2 is raised in our little town of taytay.  my thoughts again are on my daughter and that she is alone with yaya.  but it wasn’t raining that hard so i think i slowly let our my breath little by little.  we even had time to make a detour at the grocery so that we could stock up on food.  so we got to bed, hoping somehow that we could get in some winks.  i did.  and then woke up with a start to the howling winds outside the house.  it sounded like roofs were being ripped off the houses, and trees being uprooted.  we turned off the airconditioning unit, and listened, all senses alert for the slightest changes in the air and weather.  we are now so eternally afraid of water and typhoons, having had to deal with floodwaters inside our elevated house with a baby in tow.  i never, ever wanted to relive that moment again.  that night, it didn’t help that power went out just after midnight.  thank god for rechargeable fans!  and thank the heavens it was just winds (but strong at that!), and only little rain.  but the next day, with no electricity yet, i just couldn’t find the will to go to work.  i was so worried about mischa.  our landline phone, which was wireless, gave up on us and yaya telling me she had no load, sealed my decision to stay at home.  it was uneventful since the storm has already gone, having had its fill of stopping by for only a couple of hours.  but there was no freakin’ power the whole day!  i had to fan mischa like crazy almost the whole day.  she couldn’t take her nap, i guess, because of the heat.  i didn’t want to use up the rest of the power left in the rechargeable fan because in my mind, we needed it more at night, and electricity was nowhere in sight.  there was nothing to it but bring out the trusty abaniko and, by the end of the day, my right hand was a little numb.  she kept on waking up every time i take a little rest from fanning her, resulting in a fitful sleep, thus, making her a little cranky.  she also had a little sumpong, with her literally clinging on to me, and did not want to be put down in her playpen.  i felt for her as i knew her rashes are itching like crazy because of the additional heat she had to endure.  she also had the look like she was naliligo sa pawis the whole day with her hair sticking to her forehead and neck.  if only i could explain to her why she was uncomfortable.  it was quite a tiring day as i also had to cook all the raw meat in the freezer for fear of letting it spoil.  had to run to the supermarket to buy liquid sterilizer for all her bottles.  it didn’t help that cellular phone signal was low, my battery was low, and had a hard time communicating with hubby, who later told me how hellishly hot the office was.  we had dinner and did everything else by candlelight.  we tried sleeping and comforting a sleepy and sweaty baby, with hubby and i alternating on the fan, the rechargeable fan conking out on us after an hour use.  you couldn’t imagine our happiness at 11pm when power was finally restored.  hay, the downside of being a parent (but which i would over and over for my kid(s)).  i just don’t want to deal with the constant worrying.

damn meralco!

while we were anticipating the shock that we would be experiencing as soon as we receive our electricity bill for this month owing to the various complaints of people around me and my online communities, i was nevertheless jolted when i looked at it.  an increase of 100%?! what in the name of heavens did we do to deserve this?  lol.  granting it is summertime, and we are experiencing what could possibly be the hottest in my whole life, what with the temperatures rising to 38-39 degrees, i still feel that we did our share of trying to cut down usage of appliances.  although the increase is to be expected in the summer months, this billing is really crazy.  i know i’ve done ranting about this in this post but i can’t help muttering and mumbling loudly because of my displeasure.  i just had to write it.  i wish somebody would put some sense into meralco and all its affiliates responsible for generating/distributing electricity to the households and businesses.  they’re taking advantage of the need of consumers to be comfortable.  arrrggghhh!!!