Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bank of the Pillaging Irritants

About a week ago, their machine captures my ATM card without any reason. I entered my correct PIN, tried to withdraw an amount that was way below my balance, they approved the transaction, but suddenly, the card gets stuck in the machine. So, I had to waste time claiming my card and having it activated.

Yesterday, they debited P8,000 from my ATM account. I had to make a few phonecalls and waste at least an hour before I found out that the P8,000 was payment for my credit card. The haughty girl on the other line justified it by saying that I haven't paid my credit card bills for the last 2 months and that P8,000 was actually less than my credit card bills. What she didn't know was that as soon as I get my credit card bills, I already schedule online payments to be deducted from my payroll account (which is different from my ATM account) as soon as they become due. Unfortunately, BPIDirect had technical problems and they failed to deduct my bill payments from my payroll account. So, yesterday, without even trying to inform me, they deducted P8,000 from my ATM account.

I've already asked for the termination of my BPI Credit Card. I've cleaned out my ATM Account and I've already checked the requirements for getting an ATM for my payroll account. As for paying the rest of my credit card bill, I've decided to be petty and wait for them to sue me. I'll make sure that their lawyers squeeze money from them first before they get the rest of my payments.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Another interesting non-client related work

I had an interesting work assignment yesterday evening - at 6 pm, one of the partners called me up and asked me to "supervise" the wine tasting activity at the office. It appears that the beverage committee for our firm anniversary requested Sommellier Selection to bring in samples of their French wine to help us decide which champagne and wine to serve at the party. Unfortunately, the partners in charge of the event where still meeting with the hotel people so they requested me to join the activity.

When I was going to the venue, I suddenly realized that I was totally unprepared for wine tasting - I was a bit hungry as I only ate a salad for lunch. But when I got to the venue, I was relieved when I saw 7 bottles of red wine in the middle of rows of wine glasses, champagne flutes and cheese boards.

I had a small chat with the french GM of Sommelier, Jerome Philippon. He happily informed me that aside from the 7 reds on the table, he also brought with him 2 bottles of champagne and another 2 bottles of white wine.

I didn't have time to panic as Jerome suddenly started the activity. We started with the champagne - Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and Ruinart Brut. I loved the Ruinart Blanc de Blanc! The Ruinart Brut seemed too vulgar compared to it. All the other "winte tasters" agreed with me.

Next came the white wines - we had Les Amandiers 2003 and Clos Verdots 2004. I'm not really a fan of white wine but I found the Les Amandiers 2003 too sweet and fruity. Most of the others couldn't decide which was better. However, since we were forced to choose one, we got the Clos Verdots 2004.

We were supposed to take a break before we tried the reds but every one of us still felt sober so we decided to proceed with the reds. We started with the regular ones - we had the Reserve Grand Arc 2002, the Clos Verdots 2001, the Les Amandiers 2003 the Mont Aureolus 2001, and another wine that was not worth mentioning here. (It wasn't really so bad but I didn't think I'd want to drink it again so I didn't bother getting the brand.) We loved the Reserve Grand Arc 2002 and the Mont Aureolus 2001. So, we tasted both wines again then decided to vote on it. The Reserve Grand Arc 2002 won. And so did everybody in that room. We were all quite happy when we were tasting the Reserve Grand Arc 2002 again.

After deciding on the regular reds, a few of us dropped out of the activity (most of the males!). So only a handful of us were left to taste the premium reds. We had the Rouge 2003, the En Sol Majeur 2002 and the Le Petit Duc 2002. We loved the Rouge 2003 and the Le Petit Duc 2002. So, 8 happy people tasted both wines again and cheerfully pronounced the Le Petit Duc 2002 as the better one.

Not wanting to waste the good bottles of wine, the 8 (6 females and 2 males, including Jerome) of us stayed and finished off every single drop of wine in the room. We had lots of fun talking about the lovelife (or the lack of it) of the lone male lawyer who stayed with us. It seemed that Jerome was also enjoying himself as he stayed until all of us had to leave.

However, Jerome's alcohol-given happiness was short-lived. When we phoned him for our order this afternoon, we found out that he couldn't remember taking a cab home and has no idea where he left his Treo.

As for the rest of us, we all had to come to work this morning and ignore whatever stomach acidity and/or hangover that we were having.

And me? I just wish that we have as much fun during our firm anniversary as we had last night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I can finally blog!

Nope, I wasn't too busy too blog. In fact, my workload has been quite manageable these past few days that I managed to squeeze in a highly enjoyable non-client related work this morning - I spent half the day looking at photo albums for our Firm's anniversary.

The problem is that everytime that I try to blog, I encounter a big problem - all 180 lbs of it. B. He's now into blogging and has been using our sole internet connection everytime I feel like blogging. (We each have a computer but since we only have 1 phone line, we're forced to share an internet connection.) I don't mind, though, as I love reading his blogs, which, despite the curses, complaints and the batallion of big words, never fail to make me laugh.

But now that he's into writing his story (he's still deciding if it will be a short story or a novel), I get to use the internet! Yey! Nope, he hasn't stopped blogging, it just happended that he already published his blogs by the time I got home.

Yaiks. Now that I can blog, I have no idea what to write! So, I'll just bore you with details of what I did last weekend.


Oh well, I did write about my weekend but my computer had other ideas, froze and refused to work. But for the curious, here's the quick list of what I did to spare B of the horrible takaw-away effects of my PMS - I had an intense diamond peel at Blue Mountains (it was so great! They were able to take out my facial blemishes without having to do any pricking), followed by a foot spa at the California Advance Nail-Care Specialists (they used an exfoliating lotion that saved them from having to physically slough the old skin from my legs and feet) and went back to Blue Mountains for a Swedish massage (it was pretty relaxing). I was lucky enough to have able therapists (Grace, Glen and Gemma) so I truly enjoyed my day!

Unfortunately, I got a series of not-so-bad-but-really-irritating news as soon as I got home, so I was back to my PMS mood when I got home to B. One of the irritants was the fact that there was no food left for me when I got home. I was so hungry that I called up KFC for some nourishment. I got 2 salads for me (Asian and Ceasar) and a 2-piece chicken meal for B. The Asian salad was edible but the Ceasar was terrible! The dressing was too thick and the usual chicken slices were so microscopic to be even noticed. B's chicken meal was a disaster! The two pieces of chicken were the size of chicken nuggets!!! By the time we finished our meals, we were both in PMS modes.

But B being B, still gave me a hug while he was deep in sleep. As for me, I was my usual batugan self, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

due to the number coding scheme here in metro manila, i can't use our car in makati on mondays. and with the pink fences all over edsa, my travel time from capitol hills to makati has been extended from 1 hour to 1 hour and a half. this means that hailing a cab at 10 am on mondays is as difficult as finding a size 6 pair of shoes at 7 pm during a midnight madness sale in glorietta.

last monday was not an exception. B drove me to quezon city hall where the sheer presence of police officers force taxi drivers to accept passengers regardless of the destination. as soon as i got out of our car, i was able to hail a cab. but as soon as i told the driver about my destination, he started to grumble, curse and drive as if he had diarrhea. he'd heavily step on the gas and the brake pedals in 5 to 10 second intervals. 30 minutes into the ride, it took all efforts for me not to barf. 15 minutes later, i was dreaming of barfing all over his seatcovers just so i can have my revenge. i got to the office in 55 minutes.

since i didn't get to barf inside the cab, i just consoled myself by paying the exact fare in old P20 bills and lots of coins.


on tuesday, while having another check-up, i needed to have some forms signed at the laboratory of capitol med. as soon as you enter the door, you'll see hugh yellow laminated numbers and a sign requesting patients to wait for their number to be called. i got number 29. unfortunately, while mrs. laboratory was entertaining number 28, numbers 34 and 35 stood in front of the counter.

as soon as she finished entertaining number 28, mrs. laboratory entertained number 35. i got irritated and approached the counter and nicely reminded mrs. laboratory that she was supposed to call clients by numbers. mrs. laboratory replied that she didn't take so much time entertaining number 35. as soon as she finished entertaining number 35, number 34 started waiving her documents and her number to mrs. laboratory. when mrs. laboratory started to get the papers, i beat her to it and gave her my forms and my number instead. only after mrs. laboratory finished signing my forms did i leave number 34's documents on the counter. she should thank her lucky stars that i didn't give in to the urge of tearing her documents to pieces.


and since bad luck comes in threes, the atm along jp rizal in makati captured my card for no apparent reason. so tomorrow, i have to claim my atm in makati then have the cubao branch activate it. on a payday. hay.


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on a happier note, i was able to visit Ciara Creates to have a necklace made.

our firm's celebrating its 25th anniversary in makati shang this april. we're required to wear business formals so i'm stuck to wearing a suit. upon the suggestion of francis (of njork, rey insisted on having them sew my suit) i'm planning to use the necklace to dress up my otherwise boring outfit.

i met ciara for the first time and immediately realized that the pictures in her website didn't do her justice. she was much prettier in person. she also patiently explained what type of materials she uses and she let me try on a few pieces. her jewelry are so pretty that i ended up buying a couple of earrings.

the prices of her jewelry are not greenhills cheap but i like the materials she uses. i also like her designs. i can't wait to see my necklace!

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this post is so boring that i'm starting to fall asleep as i write it.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

mixing business with pleasure

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On March 29 to April 1, I was requested by our client to attend a workshop on Tagaytay. Since all the other attendees were males, they didn't mind (I actually felt that they encouraged it, even) that B tag along with me (it saves them from having to take care of me.) B wasn't too ecstatic about the idea but he perked up when I told him that he can bring the XBox and the DVD Player. (We're done saving the world as wolverine and cyclops. We also saved Shrek's swamp as Fiona and Puss in Boots. Shrek was a real sissy.)

Day 1

B and I drove to Tagaytay on a warm Tuesday morning (he did the actual drving, I attempted to give directions.) Like any other trip to the south, we stopped at the gas station along the expressway. B got coffee from Starbucks while I ran to the convenience store to buy my Raisinets. Unfortunately, they didn't have stock so B had to endure the rest of the drive with a grouchy wife.

When we reached the rotonda in Tagaytay, we stopped at 7-11 to ask for directions (I was useless in giving it) and to buy essential supplies (san mig light for B and vodka ice and smirnoff ice for me.) Finding the mixed drinks at a little lower than Manila prices cheered me up. (But I'm not an alcoholic. Really.)

We arrived at the Tagaytay Vista Hotel at around 1. Checking in was a breeze as the client already made arrangements with the hotel. The hotel room was spacious and nicely furnished. It had cream walls with dark wood furniture and a king-sized bed. It also had a clean-looking tub. Happy b!

As we walked to our room, the partner in charge of the account sent us a message and invited us to have lunch at the cafe as they had lots of leftovers. B and I pigged out on the not-so crispy pata, the deep-fried happy-to-be-dead-looking tawilis and the decent meal of the hour, chicken pork adobo. the sinigang na hipon would have been perfect had it not given me allergies just a few minutes later. They also served kare-kare which was as orange as elmo and as burnt as B during our adventure cruise in Samui. But, since the meal was free, we were happy. (Ang kukuripot!!!)

After my presentation, I was excused from work, so B and I explored the nearby towns. We literally went down a hill to Santi's were we bought a bar of hazelnut chocolate and a few hundred grams of Emmenthal cheese. The bar of chocolate didn't even get past Santi's doors as the glutton that I am devoured it in a few seconds.

A few minutes of driving also brought us to the Olivarez Center. It had a tiny supermarket, a bowling and billiard hall and a few small shops and an internet cafe. It was the biggest shopping place in Tagaytay. It didn't get my heart beating faster, though.

As the sun hid behind the shadows of the mountains on the horizon (play the Marlborough song here), B and I made our way to Massimo's. We ordered the hot artichoke dip, tomato soup, Ceasar's salad, garden salad, pizza and hanging tenders.

We loved scooping the creamy artichoke dip with the toasted bread that they served with it. The dip was so yummy - it had the perfect blend of artichokes and melted cheese. We also loved the salad that they served - my Ceasar's salad had freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and real bacon chunks. Each crisp leaf was also lightly covered with the perfectly flavored sauce. It was the best Ceasar salad I ever had. I also enjoyed the tomato soup which was sour in a good way. B and I shared the hanging tenders which was well-cooked (which for us means, medium well and not well done) and perfectly seasoned. True to its name, each bite was so tender and gave a burst of flavor. The mashed potatoes that went with the meal was so creamy that it caressed our tongues. We completed the meal with molten chocolate cake and panna cotta. Had it not for the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness, as well as the teasing presence of both hot and warm temperatures, I would have wiped the molten chocolate cake directly to my love handles, the fat would eventually go there anyway. As for B's panna cotta, it was so light that we were fooled into thinking that it didn't pack any calories. It was the perfect-first-out-of-town-after-the-honeymoon meal for us.

After a small chat with the owners and watching lizards eat mosquitos at their porch, we happily drove back to our hotel with our satisfied tongues and over-worked tummies.

Day 2

Unlike our first day where I was able to get off from work early, the second day was a reminder that I was in Tagaytay to work and not to go off galivanting in the countryside. We finished at a little past 7 pm.

B and I valiantly tried to reach Antonio's by 7:30. Unfortunately, it was so dark after the Mendez junction that we missed our turn. We asked for directions from locals who each had their version of the way to Antonio's (I guess there were lots of residents in Tagaytay named Antonio.) After reaching Nasugbu, making frantic calls to office mates and friends, we finally found the road leading to Antonio's. It was the perfect setting for a horror-movie - the road was dark and empty aside from the occasional black cat that would stare at the car's headlights before crossing the street. The road was long and winding and it led us to a huge wooden gate that had a huge closed sign. Damn.

Now it was my turn to endure the rest of the drive back to the main street with a grumpy husband. We decided to have dinner at Breakfast at Antonio's where we had a decent breakfast at dinnertime. The meal was uneventful - we could have eaten at Cafe Breton and we wouldn't know the difference. The good thing about the place was the food wasn't that expensive, they didn't use bags for my hot tea and we got to eat at the porch where gentle winds continuously caressed our faces throughout our meal. The whole time, we reminisced about our college years where we would go to Antipolo to drink. We'd go to the resto that had separate nipa huts with red bulbs as tables and menu's that said "Cole's Law". We remembered that we had so much fun over 10-peso beers and sisig.

Despite the not-so-spectacular meal, we went back to our hotel with a smile on our face, which was easily wiped out by the guards at the hotel when they refused to let us bring our half-eaten burger to our room. Hay. We went back to our rooms and a few minutes later, the resourceful B managed to smuggle in the burger! Ha!

Day 3

Day 3 was good mix of business with pleasure. I had work to do but we were excused from the seminar oom at 5:30. B and I took the opportunity to go back to Antonio's. This time, we didn't get lost going there. But as soon as we entered Antonio's gate, we were lost in another world.

Going to Antonio's is like going through the dark woods to reach the Secret Garden. The place was truly worth the drive with its Asian-inspired decor, black and white photographs, Moroccan chandeliers, huge but not offensive vases of flowers and hundred of candles. The food was also excellent! When I got my salad plate, I was disappointed that it had that bitter arugula (which I hate) but puzzled that it had a tart. But as soon as I started eating the tart with the greens, I was amazed! the sweetness of the tart cancelled out the bitterness of the arugula but left a good flavor on the tongue. I was not surprized when I ate everything, including each arugula leaf. After the tasty soup, we were served our Rib Eye. It was a bit too well done but the tenderness and the subtle flavors more than made up for it. The seasoning perfectly highlighted the taste of the beef. Their flourless chocolate cake wasn't as good as Massimo's molten chocolate cake but their chocolate with mint was definitely a treat! It wasn't too sweet and the mint didn't overpower the chocolate. They also served herbal tea and perfect-tasting mojito's.

Unfortunately, this good eating experience came with a price. Our bill was at least P3000! Hay.

On the way back, we scared ourselves by sharing ghost stories while driving along the dark road. We had so much fun!

Back in the hotel, B helped us make the printer work and I reviewed a major agreement for the rest of the night while B perfected his basketball skills on the XBox.

Day 4

If we didn't hear the news about the heat wave that struck Manila on thurday, we would have been eager to go back to Manila that Friday. Truth to tell, there was really nothing to do in Tagaytay but eat (unless you want to ride the depressed-looking horses next to the hotel). And so, after we wrapped up our workshop in the morning, B and I set out to look for another food adventure. We initially wanted to go to Marina's Garden but no one seemed to know where it was. We then set out for Hacienda Isabella but halfway there, we decided that we wanted to eat in a place with really powerful airconditioners as it was getting too warm. We didn't feel like eating in a garden setting.

So we ended up in Josephine's where we had mediocre fried chicken, bad tempura and good-but-not-great lumpiang ubod. From the way we complained about our meal, it was hilarious that when we finished eating, there was not a morsel of food left on the table! We wanted to take more pictures but it was oppressively hot outside that we decided to cool ourselves at the nearby Casino Filipino. We promptly lost P600.

By mid-afternoon, we were on our way back to Manila. We tried out an alternative route which led us back to the main highway. There we saw the hue sign of Ming's Garden. We were not really hungry but our curiosity won and we decided to stop by.

Ming's Garden had a huge nursery for seedlings and a cozy garden. I enjoyed their halo-halo which had unusual ingredients such as buko-pandan and smoothly shaved ice. Everything there was so easy on the eyes and the mist that automatically watered the plants lowered the temperature to a comfortable level. It was truly a perfect ending to our Tagaytay trip.

For B's version of our Tagaytay trip, you may want to visit:


Yes, he now has a blog (which is good because he writes really well), but he shares it with 2 other negative thinking friends. Read it at your own risk - as their blog address suggests, you can expect the blog to be full of complaints, curses, rants and have i mentioned negative thoughts?


More photos are posted at: