Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chicken for a hungry soul

For a change, I'm posting everybody's favorite bird---chicken. If you noticed, a chicken dish is rarely featured in my Friday post. I am not very fond of chicken, or I should say, I'm tired of chicken---especially the fried and breaded kind. I admit I have my fair share of fried chicken. It's the first thing that comes to mind when I'm working late and needed a quick fix. Just dial **** or take the elevator and walk across the street, there is a row of fast-food chains serving fried chicken.

When it's past 8 in the evening and everyone was still slaving on their computers, then our hungry eyes would meet over the monitors and we would read each others' minds. Somebody would call delivery and I am always left with a choice between McDo and Jollibee because KFC takes 48 years to deliver, and Kenny Rogers is perpetually late "through the years." Sometimes I would suggest Wendy's or Max's, but I'm always out-voted.

Back to my grilled chicken [from Texas Roadhouse Grill], I know it looks like something Hannibal Lecter would love to serve. But yes, it was really grilled, although I don't remember slathering it with ketchup. I was probably too hungry to care. And here's my favorite chicken, Max's spring chicken (clucking :P) in its headless glory.

Join fellow foodies at Food Friday and Food Trip Friday

Litratong Pinoy: proteksyon [protection]

Di na kailangan lumayo pa, nasa loob ng bahay lang ang mga proteksyon. Kahit maraming benefits ang sikat ng araw sa atin, kailangan pa rin natin ng proteksyon sa ultraviolet rays. At kahit hindi pala tayo nakababad sa ilalim ng araw, may UV rays rin ang mga flourescent lights at computer screens. Kaya hindi ako nawawalan ng sun screen para sa mukha at braso.

At kung may proteksyon sa balat, may proteksyon din ang katawan. Mga food supplements para lumakas ang resistensya at makaiwas sa sakit.

We need not look far to shoot "protection", they're all inside our homes. Sunshine has many benefits but we still need protection from ultraviolet rays. And even when we don't stay under the sun for long periods, there are UV rays emanating from fluorescent lights and computer screens that we need to protect ourselves from. Sun screens to shield my skin from ultraviolet radiation.

We protect our skin, we also protect our bodies with food supplements to strengthen our resistance against diseases.

At kung dati ay lipstick, suklay, at pressed powder lang ang laman ng aking bag, ngayon ay hindi na nawawala ang hand sanitizer. Kailangan talaga malinis lagi ang ating mga kamay, isang simpleng paraan para makaiwas sa sakit at pagkahawa sa mga nauusong virus.

My purse used to contain just lipstick, comb and pressed powder, but now it has become a necessity to carry a hand sanitizer. We need to maintain good hygiene especially hand washing---it's the simplest way to prevent infection and one of the best ways to avoid getting sick.

Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Marcelo Fernan Bridge - Watery Wednesday

I have crossed a thousand bridges
In my search for something real
There were great suspension bridges
Made like spider webs of steel
There were tiny wooden trestles
And there were bridges made of stone
I have always been a stranger
And I've always been alone...

Crossing Mactan Channel through the old Mactan-Mandaue bridge a few weeks ago when I snapped this photo of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. This cable-stayed bridge connects the islands of Cebu and Mactan.

Posted for Watery Wednesday

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Colorful necklaces

My first Color Carnival---colorful bunch of necklaces scattered around my work table. I couldn't resist sharing these colorful pieces after visiting Ebie's Color Carnival post. Not part of my daily get-up, but these complete the outfits of many women in some parts of the world. These necklaces were hand-crafted in Cebu and getting ready for their trip to America soon.

Feast your eyes at Color Carnival

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo-Hunt: utensils

Call it obsession. Call it romance. But rare is the soul who can resist not keeping these beautiful and handcrafted pieces. These are some eating utensils that I've collected and actually use from time to time. The cake server set were crafted from polished mother-of-pearl, the handles were inlaid and decorated with silver-plated design.

Another treasure is a mother-of-pearl caviar dish with spreader---silver-plated at the edges and accented with a small white shell. Since I couldn't afford caviar, I use this dish for dips and spreads, candies and nuts. The napkin ring is polished natural black-lip shell, and the placemat, of course, is made from coconut shell disks. These were all made in Cebu.

Now, how about some over-sized utensils as wall decor?

More participants at Photo-Hunters

Steamed lapu-lapu, Thai-style

One of my favorite restaurants in Cebu is Cafe Georg in Banilad. This place is a hangout of coffee and dessert lovers. Their menu offers an eclectic mix---from healthy to sinful, homey to adventurous. I had lunch at Cafe Georg when I was in Cebu recently and opted for this healthy steamed lapu-lapu, Thai-style to go with my steamed rice. This dish was spiced just right and enhanced by the fresh flavor of cilantro. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of Thai cuisine---it's never boring!

Join fellow foodies at Food Trip Friday and Food Friday

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: nakakakilabot [creepy]

Kadalasan, ang tingin natin sa mundo ay kapantay lang ng ating mata. Minsan lang tayo tumitingala, at mahirap naman kung laging nakatungo o kaya tumingin ng pahilis. Sa photography, payo ng mga eksperto ang pagkuha ng larawan sa mga sari-saring anggulo at isama na kakaibang lighting para daw makapaglikha ng nakakakilabot na larawan.
Most of the time, we look at the world at eye level. We seldom look up, and it's a bit difficult to look down all the time or stare diagonally. In photography, experts tell us that shooting images at extreme angles and combined with spooky lighting would create creepy photos.

Ito nga pala ang mga larawan sa loob ng memorial chapel sa Cebu Cathedral Museum. "Carmen collection" ang tawag ng madre na nakausap ko sa museum---galing sa parokya ng Carmen ang tabernacle na ito, gawa sa kahoy na binalot ng inukit na pilak. Sabi pa ni sister, mahigit 200 years old na ang tabernacle na ito.
These are the photos I took at the memorial chapel inside the Cebu Cathedral Museum. The nun called it the Carmen collection---an antique tabernacle from the Carmen parish, made of wood and encased in etched silver. The nun disclosed that the tabernacle is more than 200 years old.

Ito naman ang blown-up na litrato ng tabernacle na kinunan ng isang photographer [na nakalimutan ko ang pangalan] kamakailan. Tinanong ako ni sister kung may nakikita ako sa litrato. Medyo kinilabutan ako nang mapansin ko ang mukha ng matandang lalaki sa antique na Eucharist. Ang paniwala ni sister ay mukha si Jesus ang nasa Eucharist at hinamon pa ako na kuhanan ko rin ang tabernacle kung magpapakita daw si Jesus sa akin. Dahil may pagka-pilosopo ako, biniro ko si sister na hindi si Jesus ang nasa litrato kasi bata pa s'ya namatay. Sagot naman agad si sister na Ama ni Jesus ito kasi matanda na.:P  

In the second photo is a blown-up photograph of the tabernacle taken recently by a local photographer. The nun asked me if I see something different on the blow-up photo. I had goosebumps when I noticed a face of an old man on the Eucharist. Sister believes the face belongs to Jesus and she challenged me to take photos as well to see if Jesus would show his face to me. I teased the old nun that Jesus died young so it can't be Him. The nun retorted that it should be The Father then.
Nakakakilabot di ba? [Creepy, isn't it?]
Marami akong litratong kinuha, iba't-ibang anggulo pero wala akong nakitang mukha sa screen ng aking camera. Ngumiti na lang ang madre at iniwan akong magmuni-muni sa loob ng chapel.  

I took the nun's challenge and photographed the tabernacle from all angles but didn't see a hint of a face at my camera's screen. The nun smiled as if she was expecting it (haha) and left me alone to meditate in the chapel.

Sa dami ng litratong kinuha ko, ito lang yata ang tila may pahiwatig ng isang mukha. Ano sa tingin mo?  

From the many photos I took, this is the only one with a hint of that old face. What do you see?
More creepy photos at Litratong Pinoy

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wishes - Watery Wednesday

click on photo to enlarge

If I had time in a bottle,
If words could make wishes come true,
I'd save everyday for eternity passes,
And then I would spend them with you.

~ Jim Croce

More participants at Watery Wednesday

Monday, July 20, 2009

Apples and Pears - Ruby Tuesday

A plate of fruits---they're pretty but not edible. These decorative fruits are made of inlaid shells...abalone, pen shell and the white pear was inlaid with a shell locally known as cabebe. The red chopsticks and square dish are functional.:P

red chopsticks with a coco shell and twine inlaid plate

More participants at Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cebu Cathedral Museum - Weekend Snapshot

Across the street from the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is the Cathedral Museum, the ecclesiastical museum of the Archdiocese of Cebu. The museum is housed in a former rectory built in 1840 and made from cut-coral stones and hardwood. On the ground floor is a memorial chapel and a small area showing the original flooring when the house was first constructed, during the Spanish regime, the American occupation to the present.

The grand staircase leads to the second floor, an open gallery exhibiting photographs and illustrations depicting the growth of Catholicism in Cebu. There are collections of antique sculptures, chalices and ciboriums and other religious artifacts from the Spanish colonial times.

Entrance fee is 50 pesos.

overlooking the Cebu Cathedral and garden

view of the museum from the garden

a crucifixion mural
Michael the Archangel tramples Satan

not sure if this is Saint Rose

the prestigious Spanish medal

Enjoy Weekend Snapshot

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lasang Pinoy: crusty tacos

Taco-craving is contagious. Look at these crusty beef tacos with salsa, onions, guacamole, cilantro and cheese, spiked with hot and spicy sauce, and you'd feel feverish. Then say the word "taco" to a friend and you'd find yourselves rushing to the nearest Tex-Mex like there's no tomorrow.

A taco lover will tell you that desiring a taco is comparable to an infant's need for milk, a smoker's craving for nicotine, or a shopaholic's hunger for shopping. You've got to have it---now! A confused taco lover may seek medical help, and any reputable doctor would tell her/him, with scientific certainty, that we are all programmed for tacos. From birth to the grave.

Fear not, a certified taco lover is not required to eat tacos everyday, only that he/she holds that the taco is the greatest of foods. S is protesting, asking where does this leave pizza? I don't have a response to that. I am focused on tacos.

May you never go taco-less.

Tacorito - tacos and burrito at Tia Maria

Share Ces' crusty-ness at Lasang Pinoy Sundays

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo-Hunt: rocks

Rocks near the mouth of a cave called Kwebang Lampas in Pagbilao, Quezon

"A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind."

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Rocks inside the cave

A rock islet at Tayabas Bay

Rock on at Photo Hunt

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beef Biryani

My introduction to Middle Eastern food was very recent. After a Fear Factor-ish experience at an Indian restaurant during my "impressionable years", I made up my mind that Middle Eastern food and flavors were too "strange" for my taste. My Middle Eastern culinary experience consisted of kebab and shawarma, and I was OK with that. Until about two years ago when I had to take a Middle Eastern client to dinner. I had zero knowledge on Arabic cuisine so you can imagine my anxiety when the client invited me to dinner at an Arabic restaurant one night. He sensed my apprehension when I told him that I've never been to an Arabic restaurant before, and I didn't know any good ones in Manila. Good thing I called a friend on a hunch, and was directed to Hossein's in Serendra. The client asked if Hossein's serves "halal" food---"ha" what (haha)? Because he speaks unintelligible English, and I don't speak Arabic, I asked the restaurant manager to explain to me what "halal" means. And he did, more or less (he's also Middle Eastern but speaks with a Tagalog accent).:P

Halal is an Arabic word designating any object or an action which is acceptable to Islamic Law. Islam has laws regarding which foods can and cannot be eaten, and also on the proper method of slaughtering an animal for consumption. And yes, Hossein's serves halal food. Dinner was a learning experience that night, and the client relished on educating me about Middle Eastern food and about Islam. And yes, oh yes---I enjoyed every bite! Loved the rich flavors, I almost licked my fingers!

Nowadays, whenever I get a chance, I try small Middle Eastern dishes here and there to educate my palate. I had this Beef Biryani recently at Persian Grill in Megamall.

Beef Biryani is a rice-based dish brought to India by Persian travelers and merchants. It's made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat or vegetables. We are used to meat or fish toppings---meat over rice, but with Biryani, rice covers the's beef with rice topping. And the beef cuts beneath the saffron-seasoned rice were incredibly delicious! Served with Biryani was a dip called Mirchi ka Salan---a chili and peanut curry, the flavor was rich, tangy and spicy and simply yummy!

Basmati rice is a variety of long grain, fragrant rice. When cooked, it's free flowing, not sticky and has a pandan-like aroma and flavor. The rich golden-yellow color comes from saffron, a spice locally known as "kasubha". For decades, saffron, a seasoning and coloring agent, is the world's most expensive spice by weight.

For me, discovering new tastes and flavors is like learning a new language, or visiting a new place. It opens new doors for adventure and learning.

Beef Biryani at Persian Grill

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