June 24, 2013

Yexel’s Toy Museum: Some things I really need to know, I learned from superheroes

“I’m afraid to grow up because sometimes
it seems things will never feel this beautiful again.”
- unknown
Once in a while when I’m feeling down, I can’t help but long to return to a time where I used to believe in anything and everything, and when simple joy means playing my favorite toys and watching Superman, Captain Planet or the X-Men save the world. At least then, happiness was so easy to find and just one click away from the remote control.
But for some reasons, things don’t always remain the same. I had to grow up, face the world, pay the bills, experience heartache, and learn that Superman isn’t for real. Just like that, and my childhood is over.
I’m glad there are places like Yexel’s, the first extensive toy museum in the Philippines. It is a three-story building featuring miniature to life-size toy collection of young Yexel Sebastian. His wide-ranging and somewhat nostalgic collection made me relive some of my most wonderful memories during my childhood years. Not only that, it also taught me a few lessons in life.
Homer Simpson: (on meeting aliens)
“Please don't eat me! I have a wife and kids. Eat them!”
Gaano man ka-dysfunctional ang family natin, most of the times, only they will love us at our worst and hold us at our weakest. So always cherish your family.
Yoda: “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
Balang araw isa-isa rin silang mawawala sa atin. Ang importante binigyan natin sila ng pagpapahalaga habang kasama pa natin sila. Kung nabuhay nga lang siguro si Darth Vader malamang sasabihin nya kay Luke at Leia na magmahalan kayong dalawa pero wag nyo gagayahin si Cersie at Jamie Lannister. Ew.
Theodore: “Well, I think you look great just the way you are.”
It may take some time to finally found someone who completely loves you for who you are, and accepts you no matter how flawed or imperfect you think you are. Pag nahanap mo na yun, wag na magpakipot pa. Okey lang lumandi minsan as long as that someone is worth keeping for the rest of your life.
Dr. Dhalsim: “If good men do nothing, that is evil enough.”
People of character do the right thing even if no one else does. Magulo na ang mundo. Wag na maging pasaway na istambay sa kanto.
Peter Parker: “We all have secrets:
the ones we keep and the ones that are kept from us.”
Maganda rin na magtago ng sikreto para may mystery about you. Pero naisip mo ba minsan kung bakit pinagdadamutan ka ng sikreto ng iba. Malamang tsismosa ka or you are not capable enough to handle the truth.
Lightning McQueen: “Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beamer.”
Maging mabait sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Kung may Cadillac ka, pasakayin sila. Pero kung inaapi ka, e di banggain mo ng Beamer mo.
Naruto: “Those who do not understand true pain
can never understand true peace.”
Sa dalawang pagkakataon lang naman tayo tunay na nasasaktan – pag hindi natin nakuha ang gustong-gusto natin, at kung iniwan na tayo ng taong tunay na nagmamahal sa atin. And when it hurts so much that you can’t breathe; dapat magpasalamat ka dahil alam mong buhay ka pa. At pag nalampasan mo ito, at natanggap mo na parte talaga ng buhay ang masaktan, you might eventually find the meaning of true peace.
Clark Kent: “People are afraid of what they don't understand.”
Maraming takot sa math, physics at love kasi hindi nila lubusang maintindihan. E pano ba naman kasi takot magkamali, takot masaktan. Fear is the hindrance of realizing our own potentials. Okey lang magkamali, dun tayo natututo.
Astro Boy: “I have machine guns in my butt?”
You have an ability you uniquely possess. Hide not your talents. Kung may machine gun ka sa pwet e di ratratin ang mga halang ang bituka.
Tony Stark: “Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk.”
Minsan kailangan muna natin malaman ang complicated bago natin matutunan ang basic. But always believe in yourself. If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been.
Optimus Prime: “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”
No happiness in the world could equal those felt by the free. Kaya wag mo kulungin ang sarili mo sa mga bagay na nagpapamiserable sa yo. May kapangyarihan ka maging malaya, maging bata uli at maging masaya.
It was quite a day. True that my childhood may be over but that doesn’t mean recess is.
Yexel's Toy Museum
#52 Sampaguita Rd., Pilar Village
Las Piñas City
Tel. No.: 0915-7714777

June 16, 2013

Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino

A barrio lad that I was, I miss the merry fiesta celebration from time to time since I’m already living in the city. It was only lately that I discovered there’s a modified fiesta-style dining buffet in the BGC, reminiscent of the happy old times.
Conceptualized by celebrity chef couple Roland and Jackie Laudico, the never-ending degustacion allows diners to practically order everything on the menu, which will be served in attractive plated tasting portions.
Sinigang martini and balut reconstructed
All organic ensalada
Adobo trilogy
Pork steak
Trio of desserts
You can never have everything in life. Choose only what you need. Too much of anything could kill you.
Chef Laudico's Bistro Filipino
G/F Net 2 Bldg. 3rd Ave., Fort Bonifacio
Global City, Taguig
Tel. No.:  856-0634

June 14, 2013

Bellevue (A Beautiful View)

Everyone comes with baggage. Baggage of doubt, fear, loss, problems. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.
Main wing pool
Deluxe room
Vue Bar
Café d’Asie
Tower wing pool
It was a relaxing weekend. The Southern belle of Alabang helped me unpack some of my baggage in life.

June 10, 2013

Fire Lake Grill Tagaytay

“It’s about contrasts - volcano being fire and lake being cold water. Hot and cold, fire and water; hot food, cool mood.”
- Chef Paul Huang

Known for its sweet contrast concept, Fire Lake Grill offers a relaxing fine dining experience, overlooking one of the most breathtaking views in the South.
Grilled Norwegian salmon
Dark chocolate praline
Hate is not the opposite of love, it’s Lord Walder Frey.

June 9, 2013

Seng Guan: Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas

"Better than a thousand hollow words
is one word that brings peace."
- The Buddha
Most of the time, the combined heat and traffic in Divisoria is quite unbearable, making me feel that if I had hypertension, I think I’ll never get out of that place alive. But another discovery from my soul searching was worth the distressing jeepney ride to the shopping capital of Manila.
A hidden gem (but with a very conspicuous golden stupas) in the midst of a busy and chaotic area, Seng Guan is one of the biggest and most revered Buddhist temple in the Philippines. It is located in Narra St., Tondo, at the back of Philippine Cultural College and a good five-minute walk away from Tutuban Mall. Established in 1936 in honor of the venerable Archbishop Seng Guan (a zealous disciple of Buddha), the temple espouses the Mahayana style of Buddhism.
When I entered the doors of Seng Guan, it felt like I stepped in another world or in Buddhist term, another plane of existence. The temple which houses several miniature and life-size Buddha sculptures and intricate Chinese art works, is almost gilded. Every hall is sparkling in gold and dazzling in red, colors that signify prosperity and happiness. And even though I’m a Catholic, I never felt like a stranger to this beautiful place of worship.
Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha means the “awakened one”
A deity with several hands
After learning first-hand and by keen observation the beliefs and principles attributed to Buddha, I’m letting another religion in my heart.
To live is to suffer. But suffering could be overcome. This is the basic doctrine of Buddhism, anchored on the "four noble truths": 1. Existence is suffering. 2. Suffering is caused by craving and attachment. 3. There is a cessation of suffering.  4. there is a path to the cessation of suffering known as the "eightfold path" - right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.  If only people learn to find contentment in the things that give them lasting happiness, they will achieve the purpose of life which is to end suffering.
The Oriental dragon is a powerful symbol of luck
Every incense stick holds a prayer or a wish
Red wooden half moons determine one's fortune in life
Most of the golden totems have pictures of Chinese couple who died,
believing that their souls would still meet in the afterlife
Another fascinating thing about Buddhism is its belief on karma and reincarnation. Buddhists believe that people are responsible for their own samsara or the cycle of birth and death. Their attitudes and actions (karma) produce the causes and conditions of their next rebirth after death. Anybody who has lived an unscrupulous and depraved life, will most likely be reborn a lowly fly in his next lifetime. The cycle will only be broken once a person reaches nirvana, a stage finally free of any suffering. And speaking of nirvana, could it be possible that I have fleetingly reached this stage the moment I entered the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas?
Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas
My heart welled with happiness, I almost cried seeing such blinding beauty. I stayed in this room longer, savoring and admiring the view from floor to ceiling, from every corner to the center. Hello Buddha you look leaner after all.
Buddha once said that "You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." So before I left the temple, I promised to do more good deeds (hopefully), try to follow the eightfold path, and love myself more. Maybe only then could happiness come into my life like a shadow that never leaves my side.
Now I think I know what that “one word better than thousand hollow words” is. And following the Buddhist ritual, I made a final wish for someone close to my heart.
But I guess I’m gonna cry soon.