Getting Used to Fancy Cinema Seats

When Marcus was smaller he almost got stuck in a cinema seat when the foldable chair tilted back in place. Since then he would hesitate to be seated alone for fear of falling in the gap once more. So it did come as a surprise when he immediately loved the first time he experienced watching a movie in a stable and comfy recliner seat. It was back in 2016 in California. It was a Star Wars film.

With our recent preference to avoid Alabang traffic we discovered that Cinema 3 of Solenad in Nuvali also offers such luxurious seats. For P400+ (approx USD7) per person it’s a win-win regardless if I like the movie or not. The recliners make comfy beds when boredom or effect of graveyard shift takes over.

Uptown Mall’s ultra cinema knows how to spoil a kid.

Two days ago we found a better movie deal. Uptown Mall in BGC has what they call ultra cinema which likewise offers recliner seats except that for almost the same price tickets already include refillable snacks of soda and popcorn. Take note, refillable. Soda. Popcorn. Besides the regular buttons to control the seat’s positions, there’s a summon button for the attendant when snacks run out. Thankfully that didn’t happen and our Incredibles 2 started and ended without interruption. Sort of.

Coming out of a short nap, thanks to the spicy Scott PNC burger and the free cheese popcorn and 500ml Coke, I had to excuse myself for a pee break. But what did I miss? None. Not only that the cinema’s toilet is clean, it also has speakers that play clearly the movie’s audio. I could have stayed longer in there and wouldn’t have missed any except watching Mr. Incredible play regular parent for the most part of the movie. This is how all cinemas should be like.

***

New rings after 19 years.

We stayed for three days and two nights in F1 Hotel Manila, BGC to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. The hotel was average and our room is similar to what we had in A Venue Hotel wherein there’s a separate room from the suite’s receiving area.

It’s not an issue that the bathroom didn’t have a tub but it took time for housekeeping to provide a chair for Marcus to use while taking a shower. So his first shower was done seated on the floor. Lesson learned for us: bring our own monobloc chair next time.

The hotel has three pools but the lap pool was under maintenance. Two options left weren’t really good and pool area was quite tight considering Marcus has a wheelchair.

A couple of treadmills in the gym were also down. Towels aren’t readily available unlike in Acacia Hotel. I had good sessions though and what kept me going back was what I like the most in this hotel.

What the hotel lacks in its room and service, it makes up for in its breakfast buffet. F1 Hotel Manila serves remarkable food. I liked everything I had on my plate–veggie curry, Frankfurter, omelette, tortang giniling, Danish, pancakes, etc. My MyFitnessPal app recorded about 1000 calories alone for each free breakfast which was more than enough to fuel my treadmill runs and weight training. FYI, I returned home with just three pounds more.

***

It rained hard so we sought shelter and learned we can afford Denny’s.

The hotel didn’t stop us from enjoying wedding anniversary though. We tried new things like our first Grab car ride and we discovered that we can afford Denny’s. It was also nice to set aside my phone for most of the day while I give more attention to Marcus, watched cable TV movies with him and listen to his perfect impression of his mommy sleeping. Trust me, he nailed it. Good times.

Glad we grabbed a Grab.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Uneventful return to reality.)

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Binignit: Holy Week Comfort Food

I’m still enjoying the third day of my long weekend. This time of the year, the majority of the Philippines commemorate the sacrifices and death of Jesus Christ which is why there’s Holy Thursday and Good Friday both of which are regular holidays. It’s time off for Catholics and the rest of the working class. No bosses, no cares about bad call flow except for those left behind to keep the production running or churning.

I really didn’t do much of the rituals expected during this holy week. Sorry mother but don’t worry I did my own sacrifices. Food were in small(er) portions and working out and running were skipped for two days. No fuel, no go. And yes, I made my own silent prayers. Erm.

The past two days were meatless. So over brown rice and steamed veggies, yesterday I had binignit. I discovered that what I’ve known for the longest time as ginataan is also called binignit. A match on my favorite app confirms my entry. For the nth time MyFitnessPal recognizes my kind of comfort food.

Wifey and my in-laws prepared the binignit like some sort of holy week tradition. I woke up seeing them busy chopping the ingredients right outside our house. They cooked everything in one big pan that was then shared among every household. We got a lot which I thought at first I won’t eat as it’s normally cooked too sweet for my taste but thankfully it wasn’t this time. The Under Armor app says one serving equals two hundred calories. Not bad.

MyFitnessPal is always heaven sent. Until a timely bad news struck. Several news on social media report this morning that the app got hacked. What else is safe way nowadays anyway? The reports say that personal information were exposed, not quite sure if credit card credentials are among them. I’m spared, however. For one I don’t subscribe to premium service and I don’t have a credit card anymore. What only hackers could see on my account are how much eggs, and bananas with Skippy, Nutella, and Speculoos in between I have eaten. Then for two meals already, the binignit.

***

I must be a hermit in my past life. I could stay indoors the whole time and won’t make a fuss about it. So that’s how I spent two extra days, just at home and played games with Marcus. Man, he’s already beating me on driving games.

Marcus taking a break from the hot sun and Forza 6 game.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Now away from home and Marcus’ XBox today.)

Hot, Hot, Hot

Social media has all sorts of challenges. Anything under the sun, name it, it’s there. Most annoying lately is where people eat Tide pods. But I pick my battles and so far I have I tried doing a few. The last challenge I’ve been raring to take is this SamYang noodles challenge that trended few months back.

I always like watching people doing eating challenges–again, except stupid non-food feats. So when my wife asked if I could take the SamYang, I raised an eyebrow to make an arrogant statement. Definitely, I can do it.

Today, lunch was SamYang 2X. The noodles brand have ratings and what I had was half the one seen on viral videos. No sweat, I thought. One serving is 140 grams of spicy noodle that appears very similar to ordinary spicy noodles like chicken yakisoba or pancit canton only that SamYang has a more reddish color that seems to serve as a visual warning.

The first couple of bites were fine. But the spicy taste picks up in the succeeding intake, getting worse even before I reached halfway of my plate. Damn, it was hot. Wifey had a video of me eating SamYang and I’d pay her not to release it. I scrambled for two glasses of milk so I could continue until I finished everything.

Just imagine how the infamous 4X tastes. It must be super really hot but I’m up for it…maybe weeks from now as I try to neutralize the effect of a 500-calorie SamYang 2X and while I recover my dignity for crying over a spicy noodle.

SamYang 2X
Picture of hotness.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I cleaned my plate, FYI.)

Bite-Size Happiness

It’s hard to measure happiness more so identify where it comes from or what really triggers it. Everyone’s stimuli just differ from the others. Happiness could also stem from unexpected sources.

Believe it or not, mine came after a bite from a burger. Well, two bites to be exact.

According to wifey the last time we had a burger was in 8 Cuts Megamall way back in November. That burger wasn’t really expensive so price was not the reason we’ve been burger sober for that long. What deters me though from buying and eating anything that would be detrimental to my daily calorie goal was my ongoing MyFitnessPal entry. That strict. I rarely had cheat days but one happened yesterday.

Spaghetti for Marcus. I usually end up eating the meatballs.

I took Marcus out to see the world outside his Minecraft and Xbox games. He said he wants to visit his kois in Nuvali so we did it after lunch. It was a quick stroll and was on our way home before 4 PM. We brought home a Burger King Whopper Jr. for his mommy.

As I secretly wished anticipated, wifey shared the small burger. What I didn’t expect that such small portion would make my day. If my expertise serves me right I barely had 50g but it was like I’ve eaten a whole Whopper burger with its flavor overwhelming my taste buds. It was almost euphoria.

This doesn’t mean I’d be driving thru that Burger King again soon. MyFitnessPal shows the junior burger is 340 calories with 510mg sodium and that is something I avoid. But maybe yes I would heed wifey’s advise to have my cheat days at least once a month. I heard lately she mentioned Japanese buffet…

***

Mood:2/10 Honks! (Oatmeal for breakfast, please.)

Father’s Day Weekend

Once in a while it pays to get out of our comfort zone and face the world out there. In my terms, the world outside my boring driving route.

I spared Friday for wifey, to meet up with her former work colleagues. It was a trip to Vikings Luxury Buffet somewhere close to MOA which we had to time right due to the UVVRP. Although hours late for dinner, we ended the night full of reminisced memories, free buffet, and free Starbucks. Thanks guys, especially to the couple who brought stuffs from their 10-year stay in the US.

We left wifey with her friends so we tried the MOA Eye. My first time here but this is Marcus’ first ferris wheel ride.
Red Planet’s lobby has teddy bears. Not free though.
Midnight check in.

Next day, was for Marcus and me. Saturday was supposed to be gun show day but no thanks to my disorganized calendar, we got ourselves booked in Red Planet Hotel Shaw a month earlier than AFAD’s event at SM Megamall.

Not wanting to waste opportunity and gas, we skipped the bigger mall and dropped by Greenhills Shopping Center to get Marcus’ Xbox One controller checked and fixed. 800 pesos later we have a working unit. Seemed worth it.

Still with time to kill on a Father’s Day weekend, we tried finding our way back to Megamall. This is when our luck, or more so mine, would run out. My lack of familiarity with the streets got me entering a one-way zone and got flagged for a traffic violation. It would have been a more costly mistake had it not been for any or all of the following: a really considerate officer, Marcus playing along with my alibi that he’s starving, or my dashcam’s presence that made the officer realize it records whatever he says. Whatever it was, I got away with a lesser fine. We ditched Megamall plans that afternoon.

None today, so must be Tuesday as advised by the officer.

All is not lost however. Thanks to the new Shakey’s as well as Starbucks stores at Caltex SLEX we were able to cap our adventure right. Pizza and Java Chip Frappucino always work for me.

Pizza saved the day.

***

Shorties:

Vikings Luxury Buffet wasn’t what I expected. Located outside of a mall, parking was difficult, coming in on a Friday night made it worse. We lined up for more than 30 minutes before we got our slot. Food wasn’t that remarkable either. It didn’t even matter if I got mine for free. Normally I wouldn’t make a fuss out of it if I’m not paying but I just wouldn’t add this place to my must-visit-again list.

Red Planet Hotel’s experience was much better. Accommodation was worth the price we paid for. At P1500 we got comfy rooms, better ambiance, and friendly staff–from reception to maintenance. It also has parking secured with automated entrance and CCTV. And it has a brand that’s family-friendly than motels that has a logo of a female behind a yellow fan or one that sounds like a female lingerie line that ends with the word secret. If there’s a Red Planet among your options, pick it.

***

Sunday was plain and simple. Despite our close proximity to my parent-in-law’s place, I and Marcus seldom visit them due to not-so-wheelchair friendly route. But this Father’s day I made sure we dropped by. I had to pry Marcus away from his newly bought Spider-Man Xbox 360 game (pre-owned game we bought from Greenhills) and celebrate with everyone else. Did cold turkey on the urge to drink with anyone this year so that I could make myself available to Marcus anytime but this Sunday I asked his permission to have some just for Father’s day. I had two bottles of lights and bananas for finger food which makes me still on track on my sobriety and weight loss goal.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (My second holiday Monday this June.)

I Failed the Shortcake Test

There won’t be any other place that could claim that it was our most frequented place while in the US but the kitchen. Our weighing scale would say aye to that. But we learned something from that stay–or at least wifey did. This Sunday she tried doing the shortcake my brother-in-law taught her and it was almost perfect, not bad for a first timer.

My patience was shorter though. Shorter than the shortcake. Her instructions when she left the house this afternoon were: let the cake settle then you may take a picture of it before you eat it. Obviously my craving got the best of me as it was so soon that I seem to have forgotten which order comes first. Barely five minutes after she stepped out I took the cake out of the fridge and had it for snack realizing too late that the Jello and cream are still sloppy. I took a picture of it still after fixing here and there and I think I deserve a clap for making the damage appear less obvious.

(Postscript: So it’s not only that I lack the patience but I also don’t know my desserts as well. I Just saw the package in our kitchen and it shows that this is actually a cheesecake not a shortcake.)

***

Mood: 4/10 (Marcus evicted me out of his room for snoring last night so I’ll sleep in our own bedroom tonight.)

20/20

For months I have prepared for this day when I and wifey became a couple 20 years ago. And this is where she protests. Hehe. I actually have forgotten about it until she reminded me last night. Anyway, looks like 20 is a significant number this December as a day after this impromptu cake turns unfit for consumption (don’t worry we’ll make sure it happen) we’ll all be into something wonderful again. I love you wifey 😉

 

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (That baked beef for lunch was heaven.)