Rogue One Versus Popcorn

Rogue One is one of those movies that Marcus had been waiting but it premiered in the Philippines when we were already busy packing stuffs and going through our travel checklist over and over again. He was all smiles when he heard he’d catch up on it where we would be after four days.

Cold but eager Rogue One fan. Outside Arden Fair while we wait to get our tickets.

 

I’m beginning to get the hang of taking selfies from different angles.

 

We are lucky to be one of those watching in this recently opened cinema in the area.

 

 

Big bucket of popcorn and comfy seat complete Marcus’ experience.

 

Team popcorn.

Did I just say popcorn? Well, Rogue One is one of those movies I fought off sleep by eating popcorn. At some point I knew I slept and twitched and dreamed and talked in Filipino. Sorry American seatmates if I snored as well.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Achievement unlocked: found food in the pantry on my own.)

 

 

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Cold And Sweet

So this is the land of milk and honey and it’s cold.

 

Blown away. He was overwhelmed with everything and this was just the beginning.
Two hours after the long Customs Border Protection queue we finally step into the land of milk and honey.
And the adventure begins. Face to face with a drone though not those he sees in Call of Duty.
He discovered not everything is sweet in a candy store. He just tasted Toxic Waste.

This is just day day one and this the first official post that says we have landed.

***

I had cancelled trips in the past and I don’t want this one to be among them so I never told any of my friends about details of this trip as I don’t want to jinx it.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Happy and fat.)

 

The Red Wheelchair Flies

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no…it’s a wheelchair. Yes, the long wait is over and Marcus and his wheelchair is flying against all odds, against weird baggage weight requirement.

I’ll be there…

Our plan to pack light, just a carry-on bag and one for check in, seems like a bad idea. We didn’t know that what works in domestic flight won’t do in international. We discovered that the weight requirement is strictly enforced per bag so we have to summon our packing talent, or the lack of it, in a whim. It was a good thing we brought one extra backpack to distribute the excess stuffs. We eventually found ourselves waiting to board the aircraft, tired, hungry, sleepy but we made it.

 

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (That expensive jumbo siopao made my day.)

 

The Starbucks Planner Dilemma

Some people by now have already started coming in and out of Starbucks stores. Some in a rush to complete their sticker booklets while some to redeem their own Starbucks planner. Well, not me but however late it may be, this time I seem to reconsider the idea. The dilemma ‘to planner or not to planner’ strikes once more.

That’s because I just realized that after a long time, this year appears to be the year when I should’ve had a planner of some sort.  Stuck in my car last Friday and having finished a heavy rice meal right after I parked at work three hours earlier than usual, I found myself pondering on things that have happened this year. Everything was overwhelming since 2016 started.

Events came in faster than I would have imagined. Marcus got his US visa against all odds; we transferred house on a tight budget and in a short timeframe; I unexpectedly got a new role at work; and everything else—good or bad—in between. It was like a smorgasbord served in front of me all at the same time and the no leftover rule applies. (Ah yes, not close to any Japanese buffet but it’s like the pack of lauriat I found in the backseat that my sister was supposed to take with her when I dropped her back in Alabang. Everything in the paper bag was cold by then but good enough.)

That Chowking meal made me last until the end of the day’s training. A training that had me cancel a vacation I planned long before I got myself in this new account, in this new culture. Oh, and a plane ticket to be rebooked in the process. I now owe wifey Php 6000 more.

So maybe yes I need a planner this time. Maybe I should start using one again to take note of schedules, list of people I need to meet (and avoid), and maybe to doodle while stressed in the parking lot. Assuming I spend a venti everyday until the 30th I think could still get it. But then again that’s almost 2000 pesos for a planner so maybe not—not until I start to realize that I actually need to plan an itinerary in the weeks to come. A cheap notebook seems more appealing for now.

From the PAL office to Acacia. We dropped by to say hi and take a dip in hotel’s pool.

***

Mood: 6/10 Honks! (Rebooking sucks.)

The Last Isol?

Mission accomplished. One of the plans I had for this trip to Bacolod is to get myself, at least, into the Manokan Country. It has been years since I last set foot at this famous Bacolod landmark. So last night it happened, it was a matter of fate, it was a matter of will.

The idea was initially scrapped as my father tried to avoid being stuck in bad holiday traffic. He suggested that we eat at a chicken inasal place just close to the Shopping area. But the waiter has some bad news for him—they do not have isol anymore. It was no isol, no go so we were out of the place in no time. I was all smiles going back to our car.

Traffic to the downtown area wasn’t bad after all. Trip to the Manokan country was uneventful except for me making some effort to keep nanay’s old minivan from stalling. Yes, I was that eager to get my hands into Bacolod’s famous chicken barbecue against all odds.

It was not long before we found ourselves seated around a yellow linoleum covered-table where a pair of sinamak and patis (toyo for you Manileños) bottle waits. Nena Beth’s place was buzzing with activity. The servers are going back and forth,  entertaining customers from one table to another, carrying chicken parts on stick to the kitchen and coming back out with plates of nicely done barbecue along with orange-colored garlic rice among any other orders. The smoke leaking from the kitchen that carries the lingering aroma of chicken inasal complements the experience.

All good things do not last though.  Just like our isol on our plate. And to make it worse, the waitress advised us that they too have ran out of this delicious chicken ass. The other chicken parts were also good but the isol was our favorite—even Marcus liked it. The news made me realize that maybe that was the last good isol I could ever had.

There are news that the Manokan Country will soon be gone to give way to a new commercial buildings and the signs are all over. SM’s parking lot adjacent to the street of Manokan Country does not exist yet the last time I was there. SM is now like a giant slimy blob monster waiting to devour the Manokan Country. Let’s just all hope that the place would be relocated, somewhere easier to access, so that we continue to experience and taste Bacolod’s authentic chicken inasal.

Us and the last isol on stick.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (If only I could extend this vacation more.)

Living in an Acacia for Two Days

When I was a little boy we lived in a place that has this big acacia tree. It was the landmark of that place from which we’ve heard stories about a kapre living in it who would take children who are nearby when nighttime falls. During daytime we would play under it but we have to watch out for the seasonal hairy caterpillars that could give anyone a bad itch that stays for days.

Years later I would find myself at an acacia again. This time it is taller, bigger, and a lot different from the one I used to know. This acacia neither has any hairy caterpillar dangling from it nor does it have scary folklores. It is the acacia where I would want to be at anytime. It is the Acacia Hotel Manila in Alabang.

The acacia sans the hairy caterpillars.

Thanks to online promos, and wifey’s knack to find one, we once again got a good deal from dealgrocer.com that allowed us to be closed to the Lawsons who were then booked in Bellevue. The deal landed us a discounted accommodation in Acacia Hotel which I say must is one of the most strategically located hotels in the area.

On Saturday, June 6, we got a room that has something the previous ones do not have. The sparkling blue water peeking in through the wide glass window immediately got our attention. Marcus loves swimming pools so the fact that there is one right outside our room on the third floor was a welcome sight. With our bag unpacked halfway, Marcus and I were on our swimsuits in no time.

Because Spongebob is a stuffed toy so he got Batman in the pool instead.

Looking down from the pool area I confirmed the hotel’s proximity to other establishments. From there the new Commercenter (that recently opened its cinemas) is a few steps away with its Yellow Cab Pizza Co. branch clearly visible. Right across on the other side of the Acacia Hotel are McDonalds and IHOP restaurants. And anyone who needs some medicines, like I did due to a nagging toothache, the Mercury drug store is just right behind the hotel. At the same area are banks that you could use especially if your account has more than enough to purchase an Audi which by the way has nearby a showroom. Another car dealership along Commerce Avenue is BMW. (I haven’t been inside any of it but I dreamt about entering one. If only dealgrocer.com offers car discounts that we can’t refuse.) The Acacia Hotel is also in the middle of two popular malls in Alabang. The Ayala Town Center is located about a kilometer away and on the opposite direction one would find the Festival Mall.

Night at Acacia Hotel Manila
Busy night traffic shot from the pool area.

Dining at the Hotel Acacia Manila is definitely something to look forward to. The dining area is surrounded by glass windows with a high ceiling that isolate anyone from the noise of traffic outside yet at the same still get the hotel guests see the activities of the commercial district while they enjoy a romantic dinner or a sumptuous buffet breakfast.

Breakfast at Acacia Hotel Manila
Buffet breakfasts never fail to make us smile

The friendliness and service of the staff are also remarkable. Worth mentioning is the pool attendant who checked if there is something he can do to help when he saw Marcus trip in the pool during our nighttime dip. And then there’s the teamwork of the hotel receptionist and room service who made sure that they find Marcus’ Spongebob stuffed toy which we forgot to pack on our last day. You never know how your gestures made our two-day stay something that we will remember.

The breezy pool area did not stop us from taking a night dip.

***

The initial plan was just for an overnight stay but we soon learned that my sister and family aren’t leaving for Bacolod on Sunday. It was a good thing that wifey found another discount through dealgrocer.com that made us avoid paying P8K plus for another day. She made the deal using the HP Envy she got from the Lawons. Thanks!!!

Incidentally, we checked out Monday, June 8, which was exactly a week after we had Marcus’ EMG/NCV session at Asian Hospital and Medical Center.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I am hoping that these inquiries about our house will translate to a sale soon.)