Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our Backpack Chronicles: The Taj (part 1)


I wished I had a blog when Garandee and I went on our crazy backpacking trips a few years back. Now that I have Balut & Natto, I’m glad that I can finally share our old photos and zany stories. Hopefully this will be a good break from our usual conversations and add a little variety to my blog.

Series One: Do & Dee’s quest to check if the Taj Mahal was really made of marble.

getting ready 01

At 6:00am we were up and getting ready for the long trip to Agra!

getting ready 02

We carried our backpacks wherever we went. I’m a very light packer so 50% of my backpack was conveniently allocated for Garandee’s cosmetics, curlers, dresses, toiletries, etc. Not bad for a mobile dresser.

busy streets

This was the scene just outside our hotel at the Main Bazaar in New Delhi. A mecca for backpackers, it’s one of the busiest streets in the city. You’ll spend most of your time dodging cows, rickshaws, travel agents, and cow poo.

on route to office

As people were scurrying off to work, Garando and Garandee were hustling to make it to Agra before lunch!

Garandee: “Chop chop Garando!!! Ay naku…”

Garando: “Heavy po….puff puff…. I hope I won’t get hernia from all this weight.”

hit the road jack

Then we finally hit the highway! As expected, the view was awesome… it felt so… “National Geographic”.


One of the best things about road trips are the stopovers. This was one of the coolest restaurants we passed en route to Agra. The food was excellent, and it gave us a chance to grab some souvenirs and change into more comfortable clothes.

Garandee: "Garando, where's our ride? It's gone missing..."

Garando: "uh-oh..."

continue to part two...

Garando mode:
Yikes! We're marooned!

Read More......

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Honest Weblog Award

"This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion is brilliant."

Weemee Do Honest

My first ever blog award! Big thanks to Gigi for this recognition!

Wow, I can't believe Balut & Natto actually took off. Besides my friends and colleagues, I have met some of the nicest and coolest bloggers who actually came back and shared their comments and laughter. Thank you!

Come to think of it, 3 months ago I was already excited to see 2 unique visits... even if that second visit was apparently Garandee.

Ten HONEST things about me
(in case anyone's interested)

1) I am hairy
2) I am a bit over 6 feet tall
3) I only get a haircut after every 4-5 months
4) I love Middle Eastern & Indian food
5) I can't sleep without a second pillow. (Garandee's too bony)
6) I hate cold showers
7) India is one of my favorite mystical places to visit
8) I only change cellphones when it finally dies on me
9) I enjoy playing in a band (as long as we're not playing "Buttercup")
10) My pet dog is obese

And no, I do not look like "Bigfoot".

I now present the next awardees:
(in alphabetical order)

Anything Goes - I'm enjoying Sheng's very personal journal about living a lovely and happy life in GenSan.
Blogalag - Bley is all over the place! And I like her "personal touch" as she documents her adventures.
Dennis Villegas - Definitely one of most outstanding photoblogs out there. His photos are full of character, coupled with heart warming stories.
Kumareng Grace - Like comfort food, I keep coming back to get my fill of humor, insights, innovative ideas, etc.
My Mommy's Place - The funniest mommy blog ever!
Starting a New Life - I love how Jeanny's blog is so honest & down to earth, and you just got to love the food she posts in there. Yum!
The Doctor Is Out - ...of her mind. LOL! So what goes on in the deepest recesses of a doctor's mind?

The rules:

When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have 7 friends. Show the 7 random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!

Garando mode:
I need more exercise...

Read More......

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Garandee: "Garando, did you already ask about the requirements for getting a drivers' license for foreigners?"

Garando: "Uh, not yet... I was very busy."

Garandee: "Ikaw! I already reminded you so many times! Please get the requirements already. The sooner I can drive, the better!"

Wow, what a sudden change of heart. I remember she said she will NEVER drive in Manila. Anybody who's seen the state of traffic around here will immediately understand why.

Garando: "Ok, before you REALLY start driving, you'll need to graduate from Garando's Defensive Driving for Dummies."

Garandee: "Ok po. We have car insurance di ba?"

Garando: "Yes, I got that all covered."

Later at the office...

Garando: "Hello. Malayan Insurance?"

Insurance Agent: "Yes, may I help you?"

Garando: "My wife's about to start driving. How much do I pay extra for Act Of God coverage?"

Garando mode:
Maybe I should only let her drive during Sundays... Read More......

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hang on tight!

Last Wednesday we were scheduled to go to the NSO office in Quezon City to follow up the endorsement that we got from Batangas, and finally request for copies of our Marriage Contract.

Since my car is banned* during Wednesdays, I told Garandee that we will have to commute this time. This got her really excited since she doesn't get to ride jeepneys and the MRT that often.


We rode in one of the jeepneys that'll take us to the nearest MRT station. Luckily this one was almost empty so there was a lot of room to get comfortable.

Maybe too comfortable.

Garandee was looking out the window enjoying the view, when the driver suddenly slammed on the brakes to pick up a passenger. Garandee launched forward, her forehead heading straight for the lady's armpit. Good thing I had quick, action-hero reflexes so I grabbed her arms and pulled her back to my side.

Garandee regained her composure and turned to me, her face all blushed like a tomato.

Garandee: "Sorry po. I'm a beginner..."

I gave her a "comforting" look, then she clung to my arm for the rest of the trip.

*in Manila private cars are banned for one weekday to control traffic in the metro.

Garandee mode:

Read More......

Friday, January 16, 2009


Alice shared this really cool site on her blog called "Obamicon". Her Obamicons rocked, so I told her I'd make my own too! She suggested to use photos of myself and Garandee, and there is just no way I can turn down a request from one of the nicest and coolest bloggers I know.

So here it is... Garando & Garandee have been "Obamiconized"!

Obamicron 01

Obamicron 02

Obamicron 03

Thanks, Alice!

So... anybody else wants to be "Obamiconized" and be pure awesomeness? When you've dunnit, please do show us!

Garando mode:
I'm zzow zleeepyyy.... Read More......

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trifle Revisited

We couldn't get our minds off the Fresh Fruit Trifle that Garandee made for Christmas so she decided to make it again (lucky me!). There's only one problem: We were out of fruits.

We also overspent during the holidays so it's not likely we were going to splurge on strawberries, mangoes and melons anytime soon (they're pretty expensive around here). Garandee had to improvise.

B Trifle 03
Enter the Choco Banana Trifle!

B Trifle 02

A cheaper cousin to the Fresh Fruit Trifle, she used "easy to acquire" ingredients making it more affordable, but maintaining the quality and overall Garando satisfaction. Hee hee.

What's in it:
- Bananas from the nearest palengke (market)
- Chocolate sponge cake
- Custard
- Whipped cream (it's often in stock at home)
- Meiji Milk Chocolate Bar

B Trifle 01

This time, she made layers of custard, bananas and whipped cream all mixed together, sandwiched between the sponge cake, then topped it off with the same stuff. Instead of choco sprinkles, she showered it with grated Meiji Milk Chocolate. It made it look more... "expensive".

Oh! I forgot one last ingredient. LOVE.

What can I say? It tasted awesome and it didn't last the weekend.

Garando mode:
Listening to The Camerawalls debut album and lovin' it!

Read More......

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Garando's Kawawang Trip to Batangas City - part 2

read part one

Our drive to Batangas city was like a scene from one of my favorite cartoons. That scene where a little raincloud would persistently follow Wile E. Coyote, dropping rain and lightning wherever he went.

The weather was so wet & gloomy that the only stopovers we made were at restrooms, washrooms, and toilets. We even had to buy a Kit-Kat to cheer us up.

No matter, after about 3 hours and a few wrong turns we finally reached our objective.

NSO 01

NSO 02

Boy, was this NSO office tough to find! After all that searching apparently it was just right between the garbage dump and the two homeless dudes. Who would've thought of that? They should've just given me those landmarks instead of the postal address. It would've been easier to find...

After finishing our business with the NSO, Garandee and I hit the road again. It was getting late, but we were determined to experience an authentic Batangas Bulalo!

Bulalo Restaurant

We checked out "Grace - Sister of Rose" Restaurant after seeing 3 vehicles parked outside. If these people were eating Bulalo and rice at 4:00PM, then it must be good!

There were about three big families in the restaurant feasting on a humongous bowl of Bulalo: Generous portions of vegetables and beef shanks boiled for hours in a delicious beef broth.

But when we got served, we ended up with this...

bulalo 01
Bulalito (Bulalo Jr.)

Garandee and I just sat there, staring at it. Is this a joke or is it because there were only two of us, so we got a bowl half the size of the one the families had? It didn't even have any vegetables in it! I felt like reporting Grace to her sister Rose because I don't remember seeing a "Mini-Bulalo" on the menu. In fact, I don't even remember seeing a menu. I just told them I wanted Bulalo.

Out of sheer greed, I asked the waitress to be fair and serve us THE Bulalo. She took our bulalito away and came back with this...

bulalo 02

Yeah! Now that's what I'm talking about! It was Bulalo with the works! We finally felt like we belonged. We felt accepted in the Bulalo eating society of Batangas City.

bulalo 03

So how did it score? Well the broth was great, it tasted fresh. The meat was a little tough, I was hoping it would fall off the bone but I ended up struggling to slice the meat off with a tiny bread knife. Garandee on the other hand, was watching me mutilate that bone, realizing that she married a savage Neanderthal.

There was no way I could finish it... Garandee ate mostly vegetables like a good vegetarian. We just had the bone put in a doggie bag and brought it home.

Well that's it folks! That just about sums up our kawawang trip.

Total time on the road: 5.5 hours
Total time in Batangas City: 50 minutes

Garando mode:
My butt's still flat from all that driving...

Read More......

Friday, January 9, 2009

Garando's Kawawang Trip to Batangas City - part 1

read part two

Darn it.

She was already preparing breakfast when I woke up!

Sigh... I couldn't help it, the weather yesterday was horrible. The morning was cold and dark, and it wouldn't stop raining. I didn't even feel like getting up...

But I had to.

I also had to endure Garandee giving me THAT look and THAT sly grin while I was finishing up my extra large tortang toron. After breakfast, I hurriedly printed out the directions, grabbed my roadtrip cd's, made sure I had the house keys, and headed out the door. Garandee followed clutching her cookbooks, our chips & drinks, and more cookbooks. Everything was set! ...until we got in the car.

Garando: "Are you ready Garandee??"

Garandee: "Chu! Shempre!"

Garando's Car: ""

Garando: " ?? "

Garando's Car: ""

Darn it!

My car's battery finally ran out of juice, we weren't going anywhere.

Now I'm not about to let a dead battery stop us from getting our marriage contract. I already posted about the trip on my blog! Good thing they actually deliver car batteries in Manila just like they do with Happy Meals.

So I dialled the delivery hotline, ordered for a car battery, had it upsized to a no-maintenance "Gold Type" battery. Lo and behold, the battery was at my doorstep in less than 30 minutes. The delivery man was even kind enough to install it for me because I was too busy holding up the umbrella for us.

Then we were off! For real!

dark n gloomy
dark & gloomy

It took us a bit over 3 hours to get to Batangas City. Ideally it should only take about 2 if I wasn't making stop overs in every gas stop on the highway to relieve my bladder. Again, I couldn't help it... The weather was cold.

to be continued...

Garando mode:
Gone for one day, and my office inbox stack up like crazy...
Read More......

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wake Up Early, Garando!

Garando: "Dee, we must leave very early tomorrow to avoid traffic. Hopefully we can make it to Batangas City before noon so we get another chance to eat some authentic bulalo!"

Garandee: "Hai! PLEASE wake up early OK? You have to be up by 7am or else!!"

Garando: "Eh?! YOU wake up early! The past week I always woke up earlier than you."

Garandee: "NYO. I wake up earlier, I just sleep again. I win."

Garando: "really..."

Just getting a copy of our marriage contract requires a long road trip. I guess this is what we get for deciding to have an out-of-town wedding.


On the bright side, it will be another tiny-adventure for Do & Dee.

I better make sure to charge our camera overnight, hopefully I'll have something outrageous to post when we get back. If not, well... I'll post about a toilet.

Garando mode:
I'll sleep extra early tonight. Let's see who wakes up first! Ha! Read More......

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's Cheap and Expensive!

I can iron my own shirt.

I'm fully domesticated and I'm actually pretty good at it. (after over 10 years of intensive self-training and about a dozen burnt garbs, I better be!)

Last Friday I was ironing the shirt I'm planning to wear for our family's post-new year dinner party when Garandee asked me if I can also do her blouse while I'm at it.

Garando: "You mean this white one? Ok sure..."

Garandee: "Please be careful. Check to make sure that the iron's clean to prevent stains, carefully check the heat to avoid burning the fabric."

Garando: "Ok! No worries, you're looking at an expert."

Garandee: "Be very careful! That's very expensive!!"

Now hold on a second... How come whenever we'd go shopping then I'll see her with a shopping bag, before I can even say anything she's quick to tell me, "Wow! it's so cheap, it's such a bargain!!"

Now I'm about to iron it, it's suddenly "very expensive"?

I'm confuzed...

Garandee: "Because when I put it on it becomes very expensive! ...di ba?"

Garando: " ... " (slaps forehead)

Garando mode:
This is me in the office tomorrow.... Read More......

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our Last Meal for 2008

How about that, my first post for 2009 is still all about 2008!

Garandee wanted to end 2008 with a bang. Since we're both crazy about Turkish food, she pulled out her favorite cookbook and cooked up these outrageous Turkish dishes for our last meal for the year.

Our Starter:

mussels in beer batter
Deep Fried Mussels in Beer Batter with Garlic-Flavoured Walnut Sauce

This became an instant favorite! I mean, who doesn't like beer battered seafood? I'm a big fan of fish n' chips, but using mussels instead of cod blew me away! Best when served during drinking sessions.

crushed walnut dip

What really makes this appetizer stand out from all its other beer battered counterparts is the exotic sauce that's paired with it. Its light nutty taste and semi-crunchy texture complemented the strong "oceany" flavor and chewy texture of the mussels.

Our Main Dish:


An Anatolian snack with a thin crispy base smeared with a lightly spiced minced lamb on top. Eat it with fresh parsley and a generous squeeze of lemon. We didn't have lamb so minced beef was a good substitute. We also tried using lime instead of lemon for added flavor and we were oh so right to do that!

chargrilled chicken pomegranate
Chargrilled Chicken Wings in Pomegranate Marinade

Originally a recipe meant for quails, Garandee used chicken wings instead since it was the only poultry we had in the freezer. After marinating, she baked it in the oven a bit before grilling it on an open flame. Since pomegranate is rarely available in Manila (so we think), Garandee told me that this could be the last time she's making it. Sniff... sob...

pomegranate marinade

She was pleasantly suprised to find some of the fruit in SM Makati, and bought one immediately. I've never heard the fruit, so I was looking over her shoulder the moment she opened it up to make the marinade. As she left, I stole a spoonful to get a taste. It felt like eating sweet & sour papaya seeds...

Our Dessert:

4 layer chocolate cake
Garandee's Low Calorie 4 layer Milk Chocolate Cake

Beeyootiful! Melted semi-sweet milk chocolate mixed with cream sqeezed between 4 layers chocolate sponge cake. If that's not enough, she used the filling to coat the cake too. No butter was used in the filling, significantly reducing the calories of this monstrosity. Once you take it out of the chiller, the coating and filling hardens up a bit, but not too much that it cracks when you slice it.

For the record, she finished up to 70% of this cake. Seriously.

Anyway, I placed bookmarks on all these dishes in her cookbook. Hopefully it will convince her to make them all again this year.

Garando mode:
I hardly have 2 days of vacation left...
Read More......