Movie: No Other Woman

 Starting the movie with Anne Curtis in her criss-cross black maillot was a sure-fire way to get the guys who’ve been dragged to watch this movie quiet and glued to their seats. I must say, Anne looked like she worked hard to get this body since a few months back, and even as recent as the Preview Ball, she kinda looked a bit on the flabby side, complete with a bit of a bulging tummy made more obvious by her sheer Rajo Laurel gown. In that opening scene alone, she was hot (she made Cristine look fat, especially in that yoga scene when Cristine could be seen sucking in her tummy, now that was hilarious).
Story is quite familiar to just about anyone: married man meets pretty, flirtatious, liberated woman who throws herself at him with no strings attached, gets into a steamy affair, wife finds out, the man has to choose. There was the back story of why Derek was so determined to prove himself, and how Cristine’s father does not approve of him but they seem more like afterthoughts. In any case, these stories almost always end the same: wife gets her husband back, as she should. But what this movie offers is more of a visual treat:  three of the hottest celebrities in one movie. Derek got the best deal out of this as he gets to romance former FHM #1 Cristine Reyes AND Dyosa Anne Curtis, who is arguably the most recognizable face along Edsa right now. And the fashion, at least from Anne Curtis’ side of the ring, was superb. It’s nothing new, but Anne just carries herself so well she makes me want to head to the mall and buy a snake-print bikini. 
Hot stars aside, what really makes this movie stand out isn’t really the plot, but the clever one-liners that give the crowd something to laugh and cry about, and the double meaning dialogue, though so over the top they can never happen in real life, like when Anne and Cristine grabbed the same YSL bag, a symbolic gesture of them fighting over the same man.
The acting is quite good as well. I remember the days when Anne sounded like she was reciting from a textbook and for me, her breakthrough as an actress was in Maging Sino Ka Man. From then on, she became not just pretty face for me but an actress I can actually enjoy without grating my teeth. And in this movie, she did not disappoint. I hated her guts as she shamelessly flirted with Derek, I hated her superiority complex, but I pitied her equally when she realized she was falling in love, I pitied her even as she vowed to fight for a man she didn’t even have a right to fight for. And I loved her when she was apologizing to Cristine for all the mess she did. 
And then you add Carmi Martin into the mix, who is as hot today as she was during her Dick and Carmi days twenty years ago. She’s such a wonderfully good comedic actress (well, she’s a very good but underrated actress, in my opinion, who hasn’t been given her fair share of fame). She could have given both girls a run for their money in her skintight gold lame dress.
Cristine for her part, held up quite well. I mean, she’s nowhere near Anne’s calibre but she broke my heart several times – when she first discovered the affair, when she went to her mother ready to give up, thinking she can’t win against a pretty and rich heiress, when she lost her verbal tussle with Anne by the pool and ran up to her room to pack her bags and break down, and when she finally reconciled with Derek in the last part of the movie. But she should really get rid of the crazy eyes – it makes her look like a bitchy little brat, like someone making faces; all that was lacking was the rolling out of the tongue.
Anyway, some of my favourite lines were:
Carmi (to Cristine): Ang mundo ay isang malaking Quiapo, maraming snatcher!
Also from the same scene, by Carmi: I-pack up mo na ang Lucy Torres mo, at ilabas mo na si Gretchen Barretto! Ako ng bahala sa red stiletto mo!
And the funniest one from Carmi (the Lucy/Gretchen bit lost its appeal since they it was part of the trailer): Pare-parehong p**a lang yun. Ang pinagkaiba lang nila, yung mayaman, original ang Hermes. Yung mahirap, binili sa Greenhills!
Cristine to Anne during the most awkward dinner ever, when she invited Anne for dinner at their conjugal house, with Derek beside her: Alam mo, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Pero sa ganda mong yan, siguro meron kang alam na shortcut. 
Cristine to Anne in their poolside confrontation: Ang marriage parang exclusive village lang. Kelangan binabantayan mo para hindi makapasok ang mga squatter. 
Anne to Cristine, in the same scene which ended with the latter’s walk out: You can call me whatever you like, but I will never be a boring housewife. 
My verdict? Worth your money. I would watch it again, honestly, if only to hear those clever repartees again and just ogle the lead stars. Haha. I would definitely consider buying the DVD. 
PS: Just my observation. Most of the guys I know prefer Cristine but most of the women I know prefer Anne. Guess Cristine is guy-hot while Anne is girl-hot. I seriously prefer Anne, there’s just something about her. But I do recall seeing Cristine for the first time, I think she was 15 then, as a contestant in that defunct show of Paolo Bediones and Miriam Quiambao, and thinking “wow, that girl is so pretty and sexy.” Depends on your taste, I guess. 
Another PS: I watched this movie by myself. Thank goodness for Sureseats – all seats were taken when I got to the cinema and the line was awfully long, but due to my reservation, I got an escort inside the cinema before previews even started — with all the other people shooting daggers at my back, hahaha! Apparently, I was the only one at Market Market who came with a Sureseats reservation. My dilemma was after the movie, my eyes were so puffy and I felt weird coming out of the cinema by myself with puffy eyes. Hahaha.

The World According to Joey: School Edition Part 2

Got Joey’s report card (or paper, as the hubby puts it) last Friday. Grades are okay à lower than what I was expecting but considering that attendance is a major contributor and Joey had been absent for almost a month, it’s a wonder he didn’t flunk at all (he probably got deducted five whole points for attendance, though his exams and seatwork are perfect). 

But, conduct grades need a little work. So I sat down with the kiddo:

Me: Joey, I got your grades. Congratulations! They’re good.
Joey: Yey! Can you get me a new toy (got him the remote-controlled helicopter as reward for getting perfect score in his quarterly exam)?
Me: No, because teacher told me you’re noisy in class. Is that true?
Joey: (turns and won’t answer)
 Me: Joey, is that true? Are you noisy?
Joey: Not anymore!
Me: You mean you were noisy before?
Joey: Yes! But not anymore, I’m good now. Can you buy me a new toy?
Me: (my turn to walk out)
*****
Got the kid new water jug since his old one kept spilling and gave it to him when I got home tonight.
Joey: Mom, it’s the same one as Gabby’s!
Me: Which Gabby? (He has a classmate and a neighbour who share the same name)
Joey: The Gabby who’s a bad student.
Me: Gabby’s a bad student?
Joey: Yes, not like me and my friend. He’s a bad student.
*****
Last Thursday:

Joey: Mom, I don’t want ate to go with me to school.
Me: Why?
Joey: Ringo’s also four and he goes by himself on the school bus.
Me: But you’re still small.
Joey: No! I’m four like Ringo! I don’t need ate! I want to go to school by myself.
Me: No, you need ate to go with you.
Joey: (starts bawling on the floor) But I’m four!
Me: Ok, here’s the deal. If you can take off and put on your shirt, shorts and briefs, you can go to school alone.
Joey: (excited to prove himself; ends up falling on his butt while putting on undies) Mom! I can’t do that!
Me: Then you can’t go alone.
Joey: But I’m four! (starts bawling again)
Well, kids. He thinks being four is the end of the world. 😛

Book: Before Ever After

I have been wanting to get my hands on this book since I heard about it back in July but it was sold out everywhere and I was unfortunately too tied up to make a reservation. Finally got it last week, two months after its release here and finished it all in one sitting yesterday.
While the book took me a chapter to get hooked, Sotto’s words were too well-written to be ignored. It’s even lyrical, with large doses of similes and metaphors and alliteration, and I bet if you read it out loud, you might find yourself saying it with perfectly timed beats. But get past the first chapters and the story picks up steam and gets too interesting you wouldn’t want to put it down. 
Before Ever After tells the story of Shelley, widowed three years ago, and how on the day she decides to live again, gets the shock of her life when a man who looks exactly like her dead husband shows up on her doorstep, claiming to be his grandson. After that, it becomes a whirlwind of Shelley’s recollection of how she signed up for one of Max’s guided tours across Europe and how at each stop, he would tell a particular historical event but through a personal point of view.
The book gets lots of brownie points for me for being well-researched; after all, once you get pass the flowery words, it’s the story that has to draw you in and in this Sotto has succeeded as well. Her description of Europe, peppered with identifiable landmarks and events interspersed with Max’s stories were so seamlessly integrated you could actually believe Max’s stories.
One other thing that I must commend her is for creating a remarkable central character –> I just adore Max, even as he left Shelley just like that. Each of his reincarnations add one more layer of complexity to his personality and he couldn’t have been more perfect, yet flawed, in the end.  I can’t say the same of Shelley though. She seems somewhat one-dimensional and relatively dismissible. I particularly can’t understand why she has to faint a lot of times; fainting is too 19th century and doesn’t really suit the heroine of the novel.
Sotto herself said that she was inspired by the Time Traveler’s Wife; I must say that while both deal with a love story between an ordinary woman and an extraordinary man, the similarity ends there. Before Ever After is better written, researched and intriguing though I must give points to the Time Traveler’s Wife for having a well-balanced pair of lead characters.
There’s also one underlying theme to the book which I found all too similar to a favourite book of mine: that of the family tree in Isabelle’s tomb which shows all the descendants of Max’s family and how he had been watching them throughout the centuries, stepping in to provide help and guidance when they are in need. This is too closely similar to the story of Maharet and the Great Family in Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned; it too has a family tree hidden in a house in Sonoma, with Maharet being her family’s guardian, benefactor, and historian throughout the millennia. Then I read that one of Sotto’s favourite writers is Anne Rice and that explains the similarity.
Needless to say, this book had me reaching for my Kleenex from the middle til the end, and I had to fight the urge to google the places and events she wrote about after I finished reading it at 2am this morning.
And I can’t wait for her next book.

Manila Book Fair Now On!

The three top most things that Ipe and I have in common are: travel and history (they go hand in hand for us), food and books. So you can just imagine we were practically salivating when we learned that the 32nd Manila Book Fair started today at the SMX. We literally rushed through a very hectic work day, beat traffic everywhere and finally made it with forty minutes to spare (it closes at 8PM). We wanted to have first dig at the books before the good ones get sold out. 
Well, what do you get when you set two book worms loose in a book fair with thousands of books? Well, got off the car and left hubby to park and started off on my own. We didn’t communicate except to meet each other at the exit come closing time. 
Our hoard? Well, 20 books in forty minutes! And it set us back only around Php2,300!
The hubby got all sorts of historical and religious books, as per usual. He headed straight to the St. Paul’s, Sinagtala and UST Publishing House booths. Can you believe the ridiculously low prices? He got all ten books at less than Php700! 
The 2nd book from the right, top, is actually quite hard to get. It retails for around Php400 but at the book fair, it was only Php50!
As for me, I circled the lot but figured I can’t honestly look through each given the limited time, so I headed to National Bookstore (typical me), Anvil and WS Publications – all at 20% discount or more. I got various titles from Filipino writers, with the exception of the Great Gatsby which I’ve been wanting to read for years but never got around to buying one. And I finally got Before Ever After which is sold out everywhere!
hubby got the Love Woman and Flowing On from the UST Publishing House booth
Oh, and I got the kid an anatomy book. I know, I know. He’s only four. But better start early right? 😀
I’m already thinking what to buy when we go back on Sunday. 
*The fair is until Sept. 18 at the SMX Ground Floor. You can click here for details on the exhibitors, map, etc. Happy shopping!

The World According to Joey: Angry Birds

Ok, so the Transformers phase is now officially over (or forgotten, for the time being). In comes Angry Birds.


Joey has been bugging me nonstop about Angry Birds. At Tom’s World last weekend, we got the Angry Birds and eraser as prize in exchange for his tickets. 

So when I saw this at the supermarket tonight, I just had to buy it. 

Php199 at SM Hypermarket (MOA)

I think if this obsession extends into the Christmas season, it just might be reason enough to get an android phone or an iPad. Hahaha.

The World According to Joey: Tom’s World


Joey wouldn’t stop asking me to take him to Tom’s World the last week or so and I just had to give in. I didn’t even know where it was and had to google it to make sure. Plus, I was tired and my back was killing me.
But it was all so worth it to see Joey happily traipsing all over the place, trying out one game after another. Priceless!
Gelato time at Cara Mia
Tom’s World is at the 4th floor of Robinson’s Galleria.

Tagaytay Weekend and Food Trip

Went to Tagaytay with my former officemates over the weekend for a bit of sigh-seeing. Since I was the only one familiar with the place (what can I say, back in high school and college, my family would go there practically every week and we’ve witnessed how it transformed from a lazy town to the buzzing tourist spot it is right now), and we had only one day. I had to carefully plan our itinerary. 
I first thought of going boating but with just a few days, I didn’t have enough time to organize this one. I also scratched off the Taal Cathedral as honestly, I’ve never been there although I’m dying to visit it one of these days. 
So I decided to take them to Caleruega. I figured we’d head there straight from Makati to avoid the afternoon sun and the crowd (plus, the weather is so damn unpredictable and rain would ruin our plans). 
you have to walk and climb for about fifteen minutes to get here
I just love this place, especially the camp site. It’s so peaceful and I love looking around me and seeing nothing but an endless expanse of green. I wish it could stay like this forever. If I had millions, I would buy all the farm land in that area so that it will never be turned into a residential/commercial area. 

I forgot to ask our friends if they were Catholics but I decided to show them the church anyway. This is another feature I love – I would have considered getting married there had I seen it beforehand (although it probably would have been a logistical nightmare, what with the number of guests we had): quaint and rustic. 
Up next, we went to Taal Vista. This place actually has one of the nicest views of the Taal Lake. It can get crowded sometimes but the viewing deck is big and you can always sit on the grass if you get tired. Luckily for us, the sun was shining brightly that morning and we were able to see the volcano (Fun fact: Taal used to be one of the tallest volcanoes in the world, but it’s now the smallest. That’s not to say it’s not dangerous; it’s one of the most active in the country).
fine, so I focused more on the tree than on the volcano
After that, we were pretty much famished and headed off to Antonio’s Grill. I actually had in mind Sonia’s Garden but we passed it on the road from Caleruega. 
We were just in time – it started raining heavily and it was zero visibility as soon as we were seated at a cozy table. It got so foggy that we couldn’t see outside the window, not even to where we left our car. 

The last time I was over at Antonio’s Grill, I wasn’t very impressed with the food. So I decided to order something else entirely which proved to be worth it. Everyone looooved the food!
squid sisig
ensaladang mangga – a bit too sour for me though. I wish they’d used ripe mangoes
Bulalo – you CAN NOT leave Tagaytay without eating this dish
lechon kawali – not so crispy but good enough
grilled hito – I can’t remember the last time I ate this fish. But I loved it!
fresh fruit platter for dessert
Guess it’s quite obvious I pigged out that day; in fact, I ate more rice than our two male companions. Hahaha!

Food Trip in Baguio

Seriously, the bad weather prevented us from accomplishing any of the things I had listed on our itinerary so we had to comfort ourselves with finding nice decent restos in the city. 
For our first dinner, our growling stomachs forced us to brave the raging storm (honestly, we really have no choice as the place were staying in didn’t have a restaurant, yet). Problem is, I didn’t research anything even remotely related to food; I usually don’t as I’m always after the scenery and architecture whenever I travel. Plus, hubby and I aren’t picky when it comes to food. 
Anyway, after being turned away by O Mai Khan, this Mongolian place near our hotel (we stayed at the Microtel), we hailed a cab and went to Session Road. 
There aren’t that many appetizing AND sanitary-looking places to eat at. Maybe it was just the rain. We wandered a bit until the cold (17 degrees and raining so the actual temperature is much colder!) forced us to pick a place. 
We ended up at the Flying Gecko Restaurant and Cafe – it’s one of the nicer places, well-kept and apparently, one of the most expensive restos in the area, very popular with the rich locals for their tapas. Each dish costs around Php250-300. 
Clockwise from top left: herbed chicken, pasta, buffalo wings, (forgot the name of the sandwich)
I didn’t really enjoy the buffalo wings; chicken was too dry and it tasted plain but I enjoyed the rice and the vegetable soup – a pleasant surprise since it was the most plain-looking soup ever.
And I must say, I am loving the hot lemon/ginger tea served in a thick cup. Perfect for the weather. 
Loved this! The veggies were so fresh
The restaurant has nice and efficient staff; the guy (I would assume he’s the owner/manager since he wasn’t wearing a uniform) paid extra attention to our table and was on top of every order we had, without being obtrusive. And another plus point for Gecko is the free wifi. 
The time we were there, there was a promotion for Doublemint breath fresheners. You just play a game on their iPad and if you win, you get a tube of the new variant of Doublemint for free. I didn’t really understand the mechanics of the game so I was amazed we won. Ha!

Love doublemint. I have been a fan for a long time; it’s a staple in my kikay kit

For our late afternoon snack the following day, we went to the Cafe by the Ruins. I’ve heard about the place but all the while, I was thinking the ruins were some historical landmark but apparently, the ruins pertain to the home of the first civil governor of Baguio, Phelps Whitmarsh (I believe he married a local – don’t know how true). It was built early 20th century and destroyed during WWII.
This was probably my favourite place during our vacation – ambiance was cozy, laid-back and the menu made me feel right at home – all my favourite comfort foods there! I couldn’t make up my mind. And who’s to say no to hot chocolate?
The bakery greets guests
The cafe offers different kinds of hot chocolate (the local chocolate, in tablea form), depending on the thickness. If you want to go really thick, you can get the dark, bittersweet chocolate. I wouldn’t recommend this to those who immediately think of Swiss Miss when they hear the word “hot chocolate.” A better compromise would be the Chocolate de Agua, which, as the name implies, is dissolved in water. It’s served with very yummy and freshly baked cinnamon toast. 

Chocolate de Agua

Personally, I prefer my chocolate as thick as I can get but I didn’t want to risk my bum stomach which was still recovering from food poisoning, so I chose Rizal’s Tsokolate-e, a sort of in-between the other two types. It’s chocolate mixed with carabao milk which was just bliss. Did I ever tell you that I grew up loving fresh carabao milk? Too bad I can’t find any being sold at our wet market. The ones sold at groceries just don’t taste the same.

 
 

We ordered sotanghon with chicken and mushroom and champorado served with dried fish, and bibingcakes (bibingka), filled with salted eggs and cheese.
Champorado
Dried fish
Rizal’s Tsokolate-e, Sotanghon, Bibingcakes, Chocolate de Agua
 
The sotanghon was a big disappointment – my parents cook really good sotanghon so I had really high expectations, but the champorado was yummy! Plus, it looked great.
For lunch on our last day in Baguio, we went to this little Thai place called Arharn Thai Kitchen, located along Leonardwood Road. It was actually serendipitous, how we came about this place. We were on our way to Mines View when we spied a banner saying authentic Thai Food and decided we will go back there for lunch. 
The place was very homey, which suits me perfectly. Our friends say it’s a bit spooky though – it’s the in-house restaurant at Chalet Tepeyac, one of the oldest establishments in the city and I guess that explains the spooky aura.
We had the chicken sate set meal (served with lemon grass tea – the best tea I’ve had in Baguio, by the way), Thai pork barbecue, and chicken pandan, all served with sweet bagoong. 
Chicken pandan, tom yum, chicken sate, pork bbq
lemongrass tea

The chicken pandan was way too dry but I kind of liked the chicken sate. It was also rather dry but mixing it with the bagoong and side dish made all the diference. I finished my entire plate! 😀 
Food is quite cheap – the seat meal is around Php120, a steal considering the place is not a fast food. Individual dishes range from Php80 – Php90. Drinks are relatively expensive as compared to the main dish. They range from Php60-Php75. 
There’s one restaurant that I really would have wanted to try – Oh My Gulay, but the hubby doesn’t really get along well with veggies, so I guess I’ll just save it for next time.



The World According to Joey: Sugat

Joey cut his finger with the electric fan last night. See, his lolo hid the box fan and insisted on having the desk fan. I first heard the sound of something blocking the blade of the fan, and when I looked at the culprit I noticed Joey staring wide-eyed at me for a couple of seconds, holding his sandwich with one hand and the other one raised. And then he started gulping then finally crying out loud. 
Thank goodness it wasn’t such a big cut; it was actually a superficial one and though it bled a bit, it stopped after a minute or two.
*****
While dressing his wound:
Joey: (pointing his other hand upwards) Mom, is there someone up there who will help?
Me: Help with what?
Joey: Heal my finger coz it has a sugat (wound).
Me: You mean like God?
Joey: Yeah, Jesus can heal.
I’m proud of the kid that he even in his kiddie mind, he can think of Jesus when he needs help (and even when he doesn’t).
*****
This morning, Joey sat beside me and with a serious look, began a conversation.
Joey: Mom, can we put a sign on our door that says I have a sugat?
Me: Why?
Joey: So that my friends will know that I can’t play with them.
Me: But you can tell them yourself.
Joey: No, I don’t want to tell them. Let’s put a sign.
Me: But you can still play. It’s just a small sugat.
Joey: Mom, you know I can’t play with a sugat. I just can’t!
Me: (gives up and falls silent)
*****
Joey has been bugging me to buy him a remote-controlled helicopter which I promised to get him if he gets good grades. Apparently though, one of our neighbours brought home an Angry Bird stuffed toy and Joey is now anxious to have one as well.
Last night, before his hand got cut in the fan:
Joey: Mom, can you buy me an Angry Bird stuffed toy?
Me: Ok, but you have to choose between the helicopter and the angry bird.
Joey: Why?
Me: Because we don’t have money to buy all the toys you want. I can only buy one.
Joey: (silent for a few minutes, then walks to hug me at the waist before presenting his solution) Mom, maybe you can buy me the helicopter on Monday and then you can buy me the Angry Bird on Friday? That way, you can get me both toys.
Me: (ROFL)
 
Kids these days. They have an opinion on everything and an answer to all questions. And to think he’s only four. I‘m scared to think what he’ll be like when he’s much older.