Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Favorite Blogs

Almost everyday I feed my hunger for food, travel, Hollywood intrigue, witty reads and wonderful writing by logging on to these:

Crabbie's Hollywood
Philippine Entertainment Portal
Go Fug Yourself

80 Breakfasts
Market Manila

Wanderlust Sha
Ramblings From a Gypsy Soul

My Alchemy
From Manila to HK with Love
Not so Random Thoughts

So Many books, So Little Time!

Currently reading:

A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle (Food, Provence, a Villa, sigh.)

On my "To Read" shelf:

Encore Provence and Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle (Food, Provence)
Angela's Ashes by Franck McCourt
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Ancestor Game by Alex Miller
Bound Feet and Western Dress by Natasha Chang Pang-Mei
The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan (No, not food. China. Another fave topic.)
Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlansky (Food, what else?)
The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher
The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
A Year in the World by Frances Mayes
Jane Eyre by CHarlotte Bronte
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
WhiteThorn by Bryce Courtenay (South africa. Dream vacation. Sigh again.)

Will and Me by Dominic Dromgoole
Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King
Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
A Traveller in Rome by H.V. Morton

Whch gives you an idea how crazy I am about books, how broad my interests are, and how I take on too many things at the same time. I buy/borrow 5 books for every 1 that I finish.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happily reading

a book on history, but not the boring, encyclopeadic kind.

Check out A Thousand Suns by Dominique Lapierre.

History through the eyes of an intrepid journalist who captures the essence of events and the spirit of the people involved and most importantly, writes about hope.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


i like that word. and what it means.

so maybe i should go do more of it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crazy Over Animals

Little Boy doesn't even watch Playhouse Disney anymore. It's Animal Planet everyday. He knows the Mandarin names of the ff:

zebra, giraffe, mouse, horse, dog, cat, hippo, crocodile, dragon, dinosaur, bear, rabbit, crab, pig, lamb, cow, bird, fish, tiger, butterfly, caterpillar, duck and others I can't recall now.

His fave toys are not Thomas but a scary-looking T-rex and his trusty elephant and shark.

Wonder what psychiatrists will make of it. :)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Little Boy in Hospital

It wasn't as bad as the time he was in the NICU, all tiny and helpless, with a caved-in chest, the possibility of a heart murmer or congetinal heart disease looming in the horizon, angry and hungry and unable to eat.

But it was close. My heart aches when I see children in hospital. The IV, the anguish, the feeling of utter helplessness, the lethargy and lack of appetite, eyes that used to sparkle with life reduced to drowsy, puffy slits.

I'm glad it's over and he's back to being loquacious and manipulative. He has started reasoning with me in his usual cheeky, "pilosopo" way. He's back!

Yuppee yoo hay (as he loves to say when he's excited and happy about something).

Friday, May 11, 2007


Happy 5th wedding anniversary to my frequent hiking buddy Pam, whose hubby made her a blushing, "kilig" girl-woman this morning by sending 24 long-stemmed roses anonymously.

Places Pam, sometimes Maya, sometimes Mida, me (and Shy a long time ago) have been to: the Peak Morning Trail, Pok Fu Lam Country Park leading to the Reservoir, Long Fu Shan Country Park, Pinewood Battery Heritage Trail and Long Fu Shan Fitness Trail, Part of Trail 4 of the HK Trail from Black's Link to the beginning of Deepwater Bay Road, Wong Nai Chung Gap Road to Bowen Road, Bowen Road walking trail to Macdonnel Road, Discovery Bay to the DB Golf Club including the highest lookout point.

More places to see: MacLehose Trail, Lantau Country Park, Shek-O (Dragon's Back), Other HK Trails including Tai Tam, Aberdeen Reservoir, Jardine's Lookout, Lamma Island. HK does not feel like HK when we're on these leisurely hikes. It's a whole different world with slightly fresher air, the sound of water caressing rocks, and a shared intimacy with all shades of green. Birdcalls, the breeze, rustling leaves, a view of the harbour with ghostly ships as still as sentinels (seemingly), the chatter of fellow hikers and a cheery "cho san!" (good morning in Cantonese) serve as a backdrop for these hikes. It's rapport, an easy, companionable silence, nature-tripping and exercise in one.



1000 Places to See Before You Die
Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin
Aguecheek's Beef, Belch's Hiccup etc... by Robert Applebaum
Everybody Eats There by William Stadiem and Mara Gibbs
Chocolate by Mort Rosenblum


Kitchen Stuff:
Le Creuset Pots and Pans
Ceramic Knife Set

Saturday, April 28, 2007

When Hubby is Away...

I watch DVD's that I know he would never watch.

Wuthering Heights- with the gorgeous and wide-eyed Merle Oberon and dashing Laurence Olivier playing, once more, a man unlucky in love whose entire demeanor is cloaked in misery, just like in Rebecca.

Sense and Sensibility (again) - I love Alan Rickman here and can never despise him as sinister Snape in Harry Potter. He will always be dashing Colonel Brandon to me. As usual, Hugh Grant plays a bumbling, stuttering fool. I can't believe a Chinese director filmed this one. I salute Ang Lee. The English countryside is breathtaking! North and South is still the best romantic film for me, followed by Pride and Prejudice (all versions but I like the Keira Knightley one least), then this one, and lastly Jane Austen's Emma (with Kate Beckinsale). I still have more to watch though, like The Buccaneers, Wives and Daughters, Northanger Abbey, etc...and they are all on my Amazon wishlist.

Marie Antoinette- Let's see how Kirsten Dunst portrays the original diva queen.

To borrow:

Notes on a Scandal - the novel by Zoe Heller was absorbing and I like both Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench so it follows I would watch the film version.

The Painted Veil - like English Patient, they say, slow and burning, but set in China. English Patient is my all-time favorite tragic love story. Ralph Fiennes in that passionate bed scene was one fine luvah.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lucky? Blessed?

Just yesterday I thanked my better half.

Suddenly felt lucky/blessed to be loved so tenderly by someone who is a truly "mabait" person, a father in love with his son, a son fiercely protective of his parents, a brother thoughtful to his siblings, a son-in-law my parents are proud of, albeit silently.

He is also noble, apart from possessing other, expected 'husband material' traits. He knew he would marry a package deal when he proposed to me, and his life would never be the same, and yet, he made the choice others would probably balk at. Brave man, my husband of 5 years, but also a loving one. He married me, ME with my idiosyncrasies, inconsistencies, crap, suicidal tendencies and burdens. Me with my obligations and sense of responsibilty, me with my obsessive-compulsiveness and reckless ways. Sometimes I shake my head in disbelief and wonder because my 2 boys love me so much, and yet I am still so sadly selfish and lacking.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


hubby says I have too many favorites.

which translates to: I have too many damn interests it gets confusing sometimes.

at least I'm easy to give gifts to.

some of my "favorites"/interests/wishes/parinig to hubby

1. visits to the spa
2. travelling
3. reading and spending hours at a bookstore
4. writing
5. chocolate, dark, bittersweet, at least 70%
6. baking
7. cooking and owning a small out-of-the-way resto someday
8. entertaining
9. trips to the beach and owning a beach house someday
10. food and nature photography
11. eating
12. watersports
13. hiking
14. sleeping
15. walking
16. backpacking
17. camping
18. going on safari
19. learning how to ski and sail
20. cooking gadgetry
21. hosting a travel and food show
22. hiking along the Great Wall path
23. sleep for one night at the Gobi

my new travel obsession is to take a cooking course, even a short, half-day one, at all the countries I plan to visit in the next couple of decades.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Am I a bad mom?

Let's face it. I am not the best mom in the world. I haven't really suffered from true separation anxiety (mine lasted only a day), I felt total freedom when my son started going to school everyday for three hours, and I keep on planning playgroups and after-school activities for him because I feel I can't entertain him for longer than an hour. I want him to be with his peers. I love him, no doubt about that, but I also love my own time. Time to read, surf, chat, watch, walk, eat all by myself. Does this make me a lackluster mother? A selfish one? How will I be with the next one? And I do want another one, and soon. :) Hearing about my pregnant friends encourages the longing in me...

I wish I could plan arts and crafts, song and dance and other stimulating activities with my son. Right now we concentrate on "bookish" stuff like writing, math, mandarin and spelling/reading. I feel like a teacher. Does he have fun with me?

He says he loves me very much. I've got the most affectionate toddler in the universe. I am so lucky and blessed to have him. Does he feel as lucky with me? I see other moms who spend the whole day with their children, and they're truly happy doing that, so what's wrong with me?

I want to be a devoted mom, but I don't want to overdo it. I have to strike a balance somewhere. Excuse me while I hug my son and play with him...

Sunday, January 28, 2007


age 16: I want to be a millionaire by the age of 23, millionaire meaning having 1 million pesos in the bank, 1 million pesos of hard-earned cash.

age 18: I want to travel around the world by age 25, build a mansion for my parents by age 30, and own a yacht by age 32.

age 25: I want to be part of entrepreneur magazine's annual 30 under 30 list. I'm not going to settle down until I have millions in the bank, and even then, I will probably continue to expand my business empire. mwahaha.

age 30: I will never climb the corporate or kitchen ladder, am past the age for the 30 under 30 list, have settled down, haven't traveled the world, am nowhere near owning a yacht in 2 years, and don't have a full-time job, or a business empire.

I do have a loving and faithful husband, a son who adores me, a part-time job that keeps me sane, and all the time in the world to write and read blogs, surf the net, cook, write, read, travel, shop, sleep, think...

Settling down at the tender age of 25 wasn't the obstacle to my lifelong ambitions. If anything, I was inspired to succeed alongside my husband, who was struggling to get to the top, like most men, and women, his age. Yet the force-that-be thought otherwise. At the age of 26 I was a mom, and four months after giving birth I was a full-time mom. And, I thought at the time, there go my dreams.

Of course I bitched about it. Someone as ambitious as I used to be is expected to do so. I felt I had the right to complain about not being able to work, or earn, or feel fulfillment, or be recognized. Hubby graciously let my ranting sessions pass, although at times he would wisely comment on "having your cake and eating it too."

Years later, four years to be accurate, I am starting to realize, bit by bit, that you CAN'T have it all. You can't be a wonderful mom who knows your kids inside out, and be a dragon lady CEO who earns gazillions every bonus season at the same time. You CAN be a great mother and a great businesswoman or career woman, BUT you will not be stupendously successful at both. Something has to give. There will always be a price. Mainly because we don't have the power to be at two places at the same time. And our minds can only think so much, and our bodies can only do so much, and our emotions can only take so much. You either neglect the business, the family or yourself. I don't believe in superwomen. I believe in women who are able to manage their time, but acknowledge that along the way they missed out on some things. Some important things. And while I will never be a complete housewife, I'm at peace with the fact that I have a huge slice of the happiness pie in my home life and a smaller slice in terms of career fulfillment.

In some ways my dreams have changed, evolved, and now involve my husband and son. I suppose it will take an entirely different road to get there, one I could never have imagined a decade ago. When I hear my son laugh or hug me tight and whisper "I love you"; when my husband comes home to an organized, clean flat and a nice dinner; when we talk in the middle of the night about our shared goals for ourselves and our families; when we travel together; when we spend quality time together on weekends, I think of how I could have missed out on all these, if only I had insisted on pursuing my career. So I'm thankful for that bump in the road, the detour to where I am now, a far cry from my 16-year old materalistic, I-will-own-the-world self. Oh, I haven't forgotten the mansion, the yacht, the millions, the traveling, but I'm in no hurry. They will come. I'm currently savoring my life. And time spent away from the heat of the kitchen, restaurant or boardroom is time spent with my rapidly growing boy.