koko & everything else

koko & everything else

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Daily Commuter: It's a Jungle Out There

From now on, I have higher respect for the daily commuters.

For a few days, exactly three days, I have been riding the bus, the train, the local jeeps and even the tricycles to get from one place to another. It was really a great experience, something that totally made me respect the daily commuters and praise them as if they’re gods and made me realize how messed up the local commuter system.

For one, the signs are confusing. It’s pretty f**ked up and my girlfriend literally had to drag me towards another direction coz I was heading towards the exit stairs of the MRT instead of getting in and going taft bound. Although, yes, I am generally dumb at directions and anything geographical, but I did rode the subways of Osaka when I was a kid, and to tell the truth, the signs there were pretty much understandable even for a child.

Another observation I noticed was inside the actual MRT cart (I dunno what it’s called but let’s just say it’s a cart). We rode the MRT from EDSA TAFT station to CUBAO. And since it wasn’t rush hour or anything, we had the privilege to sit down. And as the train passed by one station after another, it got pretty crowded on the way. Some people had to stand while others try to squeeze their butts in the long seats.

Although, there are actually separate areas for women, elderly, PWD (people with disability) and pregnant women, we decided to ride in the unisex carts. It was fine, generally but what I noticed was these guys who were standing literally faced their crotches in front of my face (I was sitting, so you imagine it). Why on earth do they think it’s the most convenient and comfortable way to do that?

But since I wasn’t really familiar with the ways of the train, I did not do anything about it since most guys were on the same position as the guy in front of me. So I thought I was overreacting and just let it pass. But then, when some of the women eventually got off and some guys took their seats, the standing guys (currently facing the people who were seated) shifted and turned.
I don’t know about you guys, but why is it that a minute ago, the standing guys found it convenient to splatter their crotch images in front of the women as if it’s some kind of on-train entertainment and suddenly makes the position inconvenient when it’s a guy that’s in front of them? Don’t they think it’s a lot inconvenient and awkward when it’s a woman you’re standing in front of?

Then there goes the loading and unloading system. Why is it that wherever there is a “NO UNLOADING/LOADING “ sign, more people flock in it and more jeeps drop by and actually take in passengers. For me, who really doesn’t take the public transport much, had to walk to the “LOADING” area, only to find out that no jeep/bus really stops there. So I had to walk a few blocks again to get to the “NO LOADING/UNLOADING” area to get a ride.

Then there goes the overpass and crossing lanes. There were fences and signs all over, including the “HUWAG TATAWID, NAKAMAMATAY” (DO NOT CROSS, IT’S FATAL-decided to use the term fatal since it literally meant that way anyway), but when I asked an actual security guard to the nearest crossing lane or overpass, he pointed me that way. I swear I didn’t look suicidal but it appears to me that way coz he really pointed me that way… and it clearly stated… NAKAMAMATAY (fatal).

Then there goes the queue. WTF!!!! First, the lines were so long, even with the exact fare lanes. Then people are getting animalistic! I was shoved, pushed and pulled for those three days. I don’t know about you…. But I feel harassed and maltreated for the past days. And it took so much of the energy I had for the day for the commuting part rather than from the actual activity I intended to do. At one point, I got suffocated too. Not just from the heat and vehicular pollution I got exposed with, but also with the fact that the guy beside me smelled awful, just like a rotten fish or something, I AM NOT BEING MAARTE AND I AM NOT KIDDING! He did smell as such and he was so sticky. Our elbows and arms couldn’t help but rub with each other as the vehicle stopped and moved over and over. I wanted to cry!

I mean, WTF! As a citizen, I have the right to have ample space for breathing…. And as a citizen, iot is his obligation to not cause harm to another human being. I am not judging him… I am judging his scent-for-the-day. I mean, who else here carries a ROTTEN FISH INSPIRED PERFUME? NONE! I hope!

So as the third day unfolds and I am about to take the last ride home, all I can say is that IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE… and it is not at all funny. I may sound harsh and people might misjudge my intention, but my real intention upon writing this blog is for the improvement of the commuter’s daily situation. I feel so bad that people actually had to go through it… it is almost inhumane. I mean, the deals of life can be tiring enough, but it gets worse when people had to take public transport. It almost felt like it’s better to walk…. Let us not forget why there are public transport… to make the journey from one place to another generally quicker and more convenient, but with the local commuter situation…. It’s not at all QUICK and definitely not CONVENIENT in any way.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Celebrating Bravery amidst Terror: “A Fire in the Soul: A Cantata” at De La Salle

We all know DLSU is celebrating their 100 years of molding young minds. The night of the 100th year party last year still gives chills to my bones as I know, I am part of that 100 years (well, a few years of that).

But since De La Salle University is still commemorating the milestone through a year-long chain of event, here’s another one that will definitely sends chills down your spine. “A Fire in the Soul: A Cantata” is back and its definitely here to stay; well in the hearts of all who shall witness the intense production.

“A Fire in the Soul: A Cantata” is actually based on real events that happened at the DLSU-Manila Campus way back in 1945. It was the war era and the American and Japanese troops occupied the key districts of the country.

The university’s campus wasn’t exempted from the chaos and the moment the Japanese troops invaded the peaceful walls of the school, they left 24 innocent people out of life and 16 Lasallian Brothers slaughtered. The celebrated production is a symbol of bravery amidst terror. And it reflects the truth that while “war turns people into monsters, heroes can emerge from its flames as well”.

“A Fire in the Soul: A Cantata” is created by Gabby Fernandez, directed by renowned director, Peque Gallaga, words by Vicente Garcia Groyon and music by Von De Guzman.

You can catch it on February 26 and 27 of this year at Teresa Yunchengco Auditorium, De La Salle University – Manila Campus, Taft Avenue, Manila.

Cast of Characters:
Franco Laurel (Br. Antonius)
Michael de Mesa (Br. Egbert)
Miguel Castro (Br. Arkadius)
Floyd Tena (Br. Athanasius)
Jonel Mojica (Br. Friedbert)
Al Gatmaitan (Br. Mutwald)
Only Torres (Japanese Captain)
Nazer Salcedo (Japanese Soldier 1)
Gary Fabricante (Japanese Soldier 2)
John Gilbert Arceo (Japanese Solider 3)
Naomi Sison (Alma Mater)
Jaime Fabregas (Narrator)
Conchita Castillo (Narrator)
Dado Jose (Narrator)
Ricardo “Ricky” L. Gallaga, Jr (Narrator)
Tanya Lopez (Narrator)
Louie Zabaljauregi (Narrator)

Schedule and Rates:
February 26, 2012 (3:00 PM) – Matinee Performance
Rates: Regular – Php 200.00; Student – Php 100.00
February 27, 2012 (8:00 PM) – Gala Night
Rates: Orchestra Seats Regular – Php 500.00; Student – Php 250.00
Balcony Seats Regular – Php 250.00; Students – Php 200.00

For more information, please call the DLSU Centennial Office at (632) 524-4611 local 290 or email perla.garcia@dlsu.edu.ph.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simplest Valentine Date: Lunch at Bawais and Coffee at Bag of Beans

It was a windy day with a few scattered droplets of rain but all in all, it was a beautiful day to go to Tagaytay. Valentine’s day is actually a few more days ahead, but since my girlfriend’s schedule is crazy confusing and I am not a fan of driving in Manila on Valentine’s day… just imagine the traffic and all the crazy love birds flocking every decent restaurants there is… and I am so not up for that… It will just ruin the day…

So we decided to celebrate the day of love and all cheesy-ness there is with the celebrated day. I booked a table for two at Bawais. It’s actually a Vietnamese restaurant in the outskirts of Tagaytay. The directions going there is pretty much clear and concise, so even if you had to go into the deep, it’s pretty easy.

My plan was to take my girlfriend to a decent restaurant where we can eat soundly and ejoy good food together. And considering Bawais’ reputation on some of the blog reviews I read, it was the perfect place. And the bonus part was, it was really affordable. I mean, where can you get a decent place in Manila at that price… real nice…

But there’s a catch to it. You need to book in advance and pre-order for that matter. I mean, I really have no clue what Vietnamese cuisine is and with the SMS menu that I got, even reading it was hard work. But I decided to go on with it and just asked for their recommendation.

And here’s what we got….

Appetizer: Cha Gio (Vietnamese Rolls)- P 165

It tasted like Lumpiang Shanghai for me with the extra crisp. Although I’m not a fan of rolls, these are pretty decent

For the Entrée: Bo Kho (Slowly cooked beef stew) – P305

I’m used to the beef stew with the thick sauce. But when I first saw it… my mind kept asking… why is the sauce like that? HEHEHE but when I tasted it, it was real good, the beef was real soft and it actually make you want to eat more…

Another Entrée: Com Suon Cha (Grilled Pork with Egg & Mushroom Pie) – P 295

It looks like a grilled or barbecued pork liempo and it kinda makes you wanna ask for sawsawan (sauce) but once you get a taste of it, the marinate on the pork is real tasty. I am starving at the thought of it. But the egg & mushroom pie was alright, I personally didn’t liked it but it wasn’t that bad either.

Dessert: Ban Da Lon (Pandan and Yellow Mung Bean Cake) – P25

I loved this although it really reminds me of Ginataang HaloHalo in a kakanin form. LOL… my girlfriend started laughing when I called it “binuong ginataan” coz it really tasted like that… but I think Pinoys will love this one since it’s really close to the native delicacies

Drinks: Che Phe Sua Da (Iced Coffee with Sweet Milk) – P 95

It was too strong for me. I loved it coz its sweet but its sweetness is too strong like I’m drinking condensed milk (but not that thick). For me, its okay.

Drinks: Iced Tamarind Juice – P 95

What can I say? Its like drinking sampaloc… sweet and sour LOL

Well aside from the drinks, which I really feel I shouldn’t have ordered a soda instead, everything I ate at Bawais was worth every penny and much more. I think they are even underpriced for the ambiance and set-up. And the taste… the taste is simply great… You could add a few more pesos in it… and it will still be worth it.

So after a sumptuous meal at Bawais, we were off to Bag of Beans. I live in Cavite but for so long, I heard of this place called Bag of Beans but I wasn’t able to go there yet. My girlfriend read about it in a blog and she wanted to try the Alamid Coffee (the coffee bean pooped by an Alamid but costs unjustly).

The blog said its somewhere in Tagaytay, I thought it was near Gourmet or something. Then it wasn’t. So I drove to where Starbucks is, it wasn’t there either. It took me a few minutes (15 or 30 minutes) before we finally saw it… (a lady was nice enough to point us to its exact location).

The signage SUCKS. It says BAG OF BEANS in little fonts and a huge PINOY TOPPINGS under it. If they wanted to highlight the PINOY TOPPINGS, then they should have just used it instead of BAG OF BEANS (for crying out loud) You wasted my fuel, my time, and my energy looking for BAG OF BEANS everywhere possible… then I find out, I kept passing by it for so many time… it was smacked ride there in front of the Tagaytay Rotonda beside BPI bank. It was like a secret place… its completely discreet.

So , we came for a reason… to drink that Alamid coffee… then to our surprise… that Alamid Coffee was really freakin’ expensive. What happened was, we ordered for it and then the waiter said we had to buy the whole container of it before we can actually order it for P50 per cup. I thought the P50 pesos was alright so I asked for the price of the container (and it was the smallest one like around less than 50 grams) and it costs P1000!!!!!

What the hell? Why would I spend a thousand pesos for a poop? Even my girlfriend was shocked. So we just decided to order their houseblend for around P90. They are more expensive than Starbucks coz their P90 peso coffee is like the counterpart of the Starbucks Short brewed coffee (even less), and you can get that for like P80 or P85 at Starbucks.

But as consolation, I like the place. It wasn’t too crowded and their deck had a nice view. The whole woody look of the place makes the coffee worth it.

After a few hours, we got hungry and ordered their shepherd’s pie which is like P130, if I am not mistaken. We waited for it then to our disappointment, there goes the P130 pie as big as a deck of playing cards (okay, just a little bigger… but only a little)

It smelled nice so what the heck, maybe it tastes better than it looks… but again, another BOOOOOO on their part. I think I can make better shepherd’s pie than them… they just didn’t brought justice to the shepherds… its lack of taste really makes you depend on the hot sauce they gave… now I thank Jufran Hot Sauce for making that piece of ______ tasted better…

Even with the bad review of Bag of Beans, I tell you… that day was simply wonderful. I planned out a simple day for my girlfriend and surprised her with a rabbit stuffed toy I hid at the car’s compartment (she really loves rabbits… LOL)

But what really made my day so special…. was how she surprised me with her gift. I excused myself for a while to go to the restroom and when I came back, a heart-shaped box was on my chair. And when I opened it… it was this….

I almost cried (but didn’t thanks to the group of ladies who stared and watched me the whole time like I was a TV show or something). It had the sweetest message… and it really makes me realize how lucky I am to have her…

Happy Valentine’s Day to all and may you all be filled with love with or without a partner… it’s really the LOVE you celebrate this day… so go and do that!