January 2009


“On My Palette” is on hiatus.

For the meantime, I would like to say that On My Palette has so far reached 5,000 hits in a span of seven months.  Apparently, my Top 3 Most Visited Posts are:

For the tween fan who got caught in the ‘Twilight’ Zone –  179 views; well, it’s about Twilight, what else is there to say? I’m sick of talking about how bad that series was; never saw the movie and never will.

For Filipino Teachers Wanting to Work Abroad – 156 views; Of course, this post gained many hits because there are many Pinoys out there who are always on the look-out for work abroad, especially teachers.  Of course, I prefer teachers to stay and serve their countrymen (we all want to) but it is also not a disservice to offer advice for those who choose (or forced) to leave and earn abroad.

Jo Koy – 140 views; It seems people ARE interested in Jo Koy.  Never a day passed without someone googling his name up and checking out the post I made about him.

And so far, I’ve received the most hits from these 5 countries: the US, the Philippines, Indonesia, Canada and the UK.

Blogging will resume in late February or early March after I finish dealing with some final requirements for graduate school.   Until then, thanks for dropping by!

–SL

stuff-2701Time to put the holiday decors down, store them away, and clean up what needs to be cleaned up.  I don’t normally do NYRs (new year’s resolutions) but this time I need to do some thinking and make some changes.

Packing away the decors and back to the same way it was?… Not if I can help it.

Like…I love blogging (and facebooking).  But I feel there are times, that I’m finding myself spending way too much time on it–time I can’t afford right now.  So stumbling upon this site and reading about it helped me break away from being obligated to blog… (and rethinking about doing away with other addicting internet habits):

1.  I will be busy for my written comprehensive exams. I have a month to prepare for it.  So that means, I will not be blogging and facebooking much until that part of my life is over.  Just thinking about the exams is making me hyperventilate.  Oh, God!

stuff-2682. Preparing also means cleaning up and organizing my notes… my files… my room… my life. I am such a pack rat, I hate throwing away bits of inane fluff and pieces of scribbled paper, too afraid to part with them for I might somehow need them in the future (which never happens).  This crazy habit has got to end!

To finally get on top of the situation: To borrow (and to butcher) a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary, it is not these  stacks and stacks of notes and documents we should conquer but ourselves (Left)

3. And of course, the mother of all NYR cliches… Maybe… just maybe… lose some weight.  I will not add anything more regarding this.  That’s just that.

So there… I don’t know how to end this. Maybe a little goodbye-be-blogging-whenever-I-can will suffice…

So…Bye! Be blogging soon…if I can! And wish me luck….

Bloggers are the New Powers That Be! Behold, we are the new commercial endorsers to be reckoned with.  Companies and businesses should tremble, kiss our rings, and kneel before us for we have the power to make or break your product. Unlike Sharon and Aga, we ourselves buy your products and actually use them, don’t get paid for what we have to say about them, we’re more believable, and definitely way cuter.

With that out of my system, I present some of my favorite meriendas…

Chocolate cake… like what mom used to make:

stuff-271

There are a lot of bakeries selling chocolate cakes in town.  The more established ones (oh, you know who you are!) sell ones wherein they obviously scrimp on the ingredients, resulting to dry, anemic-pathetic cakes that you are forced to buy for your kid’s birthday party for no one else is giving you anything better.  But along came Ms. Polly’s.  I had the privilege of being given these cakes as gifts, not just once but twice for the past two months. Theirs is as close to being home-baked–moist and rich.  It’s just like what your mom (well, at least mine did) used to make!  Great with black coffee on a lazy afternoon…

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Pancit Malabon… an all-time Pinoy favorite:

home-061cr2

Pancit Malabon is a Pinoy specialty dish of noodles with an orange-colored sauce and seafood garnishings on top as well as sliced hard-boiled eggs. This one is from Amber’s in Makati (near Cash and Carry), an old food establishment that is already considered an institution around these areas.  I bought pancit from them twice.  Preferring fine bihon or sotanghon, I’m seralulalu-002not much of a fan of thick noodles but I do enjoy a good pancit malabon (or palabok) once in a while.  Better to order ahead by phone and set a time for pick-up or delivery. If you don’t, you’ll have to wait a long time, just sitting at the counter, twiddling your thumbs and looking at Amber’s tired-looking, unsmiling attendants (at right) who seem to be comfortable with their “we don’t care if you wait, we’re already an institution!” style of service. Don’t forget their pichi-pichi and barbeque, too!  All great with ice-cold coke!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And finally, Churros…a second time around:

stuff-2201

Ever since I saw Mario Batali make authentic Spanish churros on the food network, I’ve dreamed of doing the same thing.  It seemed to look so easy! But my ill-fated churros experiment last Christmas taught me never to trust on-line recipes anymore, to not follow their recommended measurements or quantities of ingredients and, according to Paw, to just trust your instincts. However, it did not dampen my hopes of getting it right so I tried it out again… this time with much success.  They came out perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and tasty in the inside.  And the leftover chocolate fondue from Noche Buena sent me to a buzzy, stuff-2741sugary-high mode.

One thing I can’t solve though is dealing with the inevitable gooey mess that it could make.  Just don’t wear your favorite shirt when attempting to eat churros, maybe use a jicara, or lay out your cheapest table cloth, and be ready with napkins– lotsa table napkins, and you’ll be fine.

And if you want to be sure your churros will be a success (and to save time as well)… just get a hold of a trusty pack of ready-mixed Antonio Pueo’s Churros con Chocolate (at left) from the supermarket like what I did.  Daya? Success naman! Hehe…

uzumaki_naruto_1361

I’m ashamedly late when it comes to being a fan of Naruto.  It was only during the holiday break that I was able to watch dvd episodes of the said anime series (I’m still in Season 6).  I knew about the craze but I just glazed over this series on the channels where it was being shown and never had the time to really stop and watch it.  And also every time I heard Naruto’s original dubber’s voice, it had always made me wince and ask, “Is it necessary that he always have to scream like that?”

Well, yeah, as I found out–Naruto cannot be Naruto without the screaming th_kakashivoice, the lovable face, and the never-say-die chutzpah.  I love the characters (even the villains), the neat, clean-crisp drawings, and Masashi Kishimoto‘s long-running story that promises to reveal so much more as the seasons pile up after another-without ever running out of steam (which I can’t say much with some American TV shows like Prison Break, Lost, etc.).  I love and appreciate its cheesy dramatic score; all the cool jounin/senseis/hokages especially Kakashi (absolutely adore him!); and their friendships, strength and love that are often being put to the test in every mission and in every crisis.

I have even grown to be patient and productive with the constant, ridiculously-long flashbacks (of what I already know about) that each character undergoes every episode–by making use of that time to go to the bathroom, make myself a cup of coffee, and text a friend–all done before coming back to the show– without even missing a beat (in Naruto--even their flashbacks have flashbacks!).

naruto-23Themes like trust, faith, betrayal and revenge, teacher-student sagas, level-up fighting competitions and fierce-opponent-turned-respectful-friend story angles (and don’t forget the bloody violence and the occasional minor cursing) have been the main staple among Japanese anime and martial arts movies, and Naruto is no exemption to these formulas.  But like a million others, I am still hooked on the series for many reasons.  What inspires me as I watch Naruto battle it out every episode is his drive to be the best, even if he’s all bloodied up and beaten to a pulp. Also, even to the point of sounding absurdly naive, I perceive that the unconditional love the people of Konoha have for their simple village and comrades in arms as well as in peace and to protect those who are precious to them are the values that I hope are being understood and learned by Naruto fans who are mostly the kids of today.  So that they’ll realize that this love is something that they could bestow upon their own homeland and countrymen as well; and that they would grow up to be the best; to fight for what is right; and if it is their time to take over and rule the country, they’ll do so with the same fierce commitment, an unquestionable integrity, and a wisdom that is as pure as a hokage’s.

And don’t forget the value of and victories earned from hard work–and all that literal back-breaking training and practice that Naruto, Lee, etc. had to endure in order to reach their goals!  Which leads me to the real world — particularly about the oldest of all my nieces and nephews–Pchie.  It was like yesterday when she was just a small toddler playing with dolls and wanting to be carried around.  Now she’s all grown up and getting ready to level up and be a part of the working-and-tax-paying force. She has left for the Land of Smiles and Tom Yum soup to undergo more training for her work as an aspiring flight attendant for a certain airline company (can’t say the name–they’re not allowed to talk about it dsc035611online… which is a shame because it could be full of real-life juicy drama and suspense that are deemed worthy to document and blog about).

Trying out her new uniform (right) and showing off her FA pose.

stuff-219She has to master a new language and learn a new culture (Hint: It’s where Naruto comes from… No, not Konoha…) and memorize other professional airline data and jargon in a short span of time.

Posting the characters on the wall helps her study at home (Left).

I’ve watched her lose sleep, lug her textbooks as thick as encyclopedias to and from training school, and study (and sometimes cry) her eyes out for dsc00462the past two months during the first leg of the intense training in Manila.  Like a genin doing chuunin exams, she has passed the ‘preliminaries’ and have to go through more arduous training abroad before she gets to finally ‘graduate.’

Pchie studying hard in their training room (right)

With bated breath and fingers crossed, we are all hopeful, happy and excited for her.  We’ll be praying for your success and safety, Pchie-chan! And as they say in those anime shows, “GANBARE! (Do your best!)”

The year has come to an end and I’m hoping for a more fruitful year ahead.  2008 may have its good times but there are things that have happened that we would rather forget.  Many of us (which I find highly unusual) lost someone we know during this year mostly succumbing to illnesses and other health impairments.  I pray that things would be better somehow and all our loved ones will be safe in this Year of the Ox.

Just like the rest of the holidays, it also rained (slightly) on New Year’s eve (this is also the first rainy new year’s day in my experience).    And, for the first time too, I decided to try out several feng shui tips to bring in good luck.  I usually do not believe in feng shui but I know it won’t hurt if you put up a bagwan (a fortune mirror charm), a severed rabbit’s tail or something else on top of your front door.  Whatever rocks your boat, it’s fine with me as long as you’re not hurting anybody…

So this year, I experimented (and also just for the heck of it) to see if New Year feng shui tips really work (to see the results…well, I have to report about it at the end of 2009, I guess).  I tried out several feng shui advices that they say could bring in good luck while ushering in the new year like not sweeping the floor on New Year’s Eve (or you’ll bring out the good chi, um, I think); opening the windows to bring in luck; buying round-shaped fruits because they’re supposed to bring in money and harmony (?); putting money bills in an ang pao (lucky red packets) and placing it under your pillow, etc.  I maybe game with all these but I draw the line when it comes to lighting up firecrackers (deathly afraid of them) and wearing polka-dots (…just…can’t..do…it).

Here are some pictures taken at home during the Eve:

stuff-227

A feng shui expert who was interviewed on TV said that one should have 12 to 13 kinds…repeat, KINDS, not pieces, of round shaped fruits since 12 and 13 are considered lucky.  Was she serious or was it just bad grammar? Of all the feng shui tips, I find this to be the most idiotic.  Where can we possibly find 12 or 13 kinds of round fruits when December is definitely not the season for fruits?  But I went out and bought them anyway–ended up with eight kinds of fruits (8 is also a lucky number, right?).  Yes, I’m a sucker sometimes.  But hey, it’s for research, right?

stuff-233

Filling in a bowl of rice with 88 pieces of coins (and other lucky charms).  This advice includes cooking the rice after three days.  I had to break my piggy bank for this… Just kidding.

stuff-229

Serving sticky rice cake, biko (to improve family ties).  A combination of bread, wine and cheese were also served which is an Italian feng shui tip to bring in prosperity and good taste.  Of course, I’m kidding! If you fell for that last one, you’re a bigger sucker than I am.  They just happened to be in the picture, that’s all.

stuff-231

Here’s to a better and sparkling year ahead for all of us!  Grumba and I wish that 2009 will truly be a Year of the Oks na Oks! Cheers!