Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Glorious Bento Days

Garando: "sigh..."

Garando: "double sigh..."

I miss the glorious bento days when I still had that "magic bento box" Garandee gave me.

Why magic? Because since then, I always had the best lunch boxes ever in my entire life! Enough to make me very popular around the office. Ok, only 5 people knew about it, but I guess that's popular enough.

Nevertheless, nothing's more authentic than having a Mongolian make my Japanese Bento.

This is a tribute to some of the best the bentos that have come and gone. May their memory live forever in my sophisticated gut.

bento 01
Exhibit #1

1) Chicken, hard boiled egg and radish boiled in a soy sauce based stew.
2) Baked Greek Kofta with shaved almonds
3) Salad with no dressing (I spilled it all over my desk)

bento 03
Exhibit #2

1) Sauteed sweet & spicy chicken, Chinese style
2) Fried spring rolls, Japanese style
3) Salad: Greens with tomato and steamed broccoli with no dressing (I misplaced it)

bento 02
Exhibit #3

1) Nikujaga: Sukiyaki beef, potatoes and konyaku stewed in a sweet soy sauce broth.
2) Rolled chicken breast katsu with mozzarella at the core
3) Steamed broccoli & a deep fried minced chicken ball

bento 02b
Exhibit #4
(this came with Exhibit #3)

1) Lumps of Japanese rice topped with furikake and pickles
2) Steamed broccoli & deep fried minced chicken ball again

bento 04
Exhibit #5

1) Beef yakiniku
2) Deep fried prawns covered with sliced almonds
3) Rolled tamago
4) Rolled cold cuts with boiled asparagus at the core & the biggest bean I have ever seen in my entire life

If I didn't heat my magic bento box in that blasted microwave in our office pantry I would still be living the dream.

Not much Garandee can do with a warped triangle bento box. Now I have to settle for recycled plastic take-out containers.

Garando: "sigh..."

Garando: "sob..."

Garandee mode:
At least it's microwave safe!

Read More......

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meme: "Have You?"

Tagged by Sheng! Almost everybody else I know got tagged already so I won't tag more people. Feel free to join though!

1. Have you ever been on TV?
Apparently, Yes. My Dad said he saw me clapping my hands on primetime news.

2. Have you ever sung in public?
Yes, and they almost called security.

3. Have you ever dyed your hair blond?
Nope. If I did that I'll pass for an albino already. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I just like to maintain the contrast.

4. Have you ever eaten frog legs?
Yes, it's no big deal. Did I mention I'll dare to eat anything?

5. Have you ever received a present that you really hated?
Someone gave me a keychain with a preserved bug inside.

6. Have you ever walked into a lamp post?
Nope, but I've walked into clear glass a couple of times. Plus I've hit my head on low hanging signs and ceilings quite often. I swear to God I'll find a way to invent that rubber stopper that I can conveniently wear on my forehead.

7. Have you ever cooked a meal by yourself for more than 15 people?
No the last time I cooked for myself I got food poisoning. I cook for others and I'll likely end up in jail.

8. Have you ever fallen or stumbled in front of others?
I've stumbled on some people. Sometimes on purpose.

9. Have you ever done volunteer work?
Yes, but I probably need to do more. I volunteer around the kitchen a lot as Garandee's taste tester, does that count?

Garandee mode:
Grabe mainit! Gusto ako summer! (super HOT! I love summer!)

Garando mode:
Tottemo Achui! Watashiwa shinu! (super HOT, I die!) Read More......

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Discoveries I Despise

Garandee: "DO!! Come here quick!"

Garando: "What? What?"

Garandee: "oooooooh....."

Garando: "WHAT??"

Garandee: "You have one WHITE hair in your nose, sticking out!"

Garando: "GASP! No kidding?"

Garandee: "Come look at the mirror... there! See?"

Garando: "OH MY GOD! It's true! ...DON'T even THINK about it!"

Garandee: "ummmmm... Can I pull it out?"

Garando: "NO!"

Garandee: "Eeeh?? Can I? Please???"

Garando: "Go away."

Garandee: "I'll get my tweezers... DO!! unlock the door!"

Garando: "NO! I'll cut it myself!"

Garando mode:
How many years left before my nostrils turn white...? Read More......

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our Backpack Chronicles: The Taj (part 3)

read part 1
read part 2

Akbars Tomb

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

I looked left. I looked right. I spotted a shade. I made a run for it.

Running on that blasted carpet was like running on lighted coals. I couldn’t take the heat any longer so I leaped from the carpet back on to the floor. As I landed I was surprised that the floor felt unusually cool under my feet.

I looked down and realized that I was standing on…



Yes! The Taj Mahal was indeed made of Marble!!

Garando: “Why would they even use rubber carpets? The marble’s 10 times cooler…”

Garandee: “Stop over re-acting! The carpet’s fine. I’m walking on it, see?”

Calluses does have its benefits.

We continued to walk towards the entrance of the Taj. Everything about it was spectacular!

The Taj 05

One of the 4 pillars erected on each corner of the Taj. Though the pillars looked straight, it slanted slightly outward so in the event of an earthquake, none of it will fall on the main structure.


The river behind the Taj. One popular myth is about a black Taj Mahal supposedly built somewhere across that river… but no proof was ever found.

The Taj 04

Garandee: “…?? Garando? Where are you?”

stone 01

What was most fascinating was all the intricate designs surrounding the Taj. All were made of semi-precious stones wedged tightly on carved marble.

The Taj 02

The same stones were used for writing the Koran on these huge arches surrounding the Taj.

stone 03

stone 02

Taking a closer look, I noticed that some of the stones were partially damaged, almost as if someone tried to pry it out. It will definitely take more than conventional tools to successfully remove it... heck, I could hardly touch the edges of the stone with my fingernails. It’s tightly wedged!

Taj Mahal Security: “Excuse me, Sir. May I ask what you are doing?”

Garando: “…!!!… uhhh… I was just checking how tightly wedged the stone was.”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

Garando: “It’s not what you think! It was like that when I saw it. I just like…uh… touching.”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

Garando: “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wanna touch you.”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

Garando: “uh…. I don’t touch people, just stones.”

Garandee: “Garando! There you are, let’s go inside already!”

Garando: “Coming dear!”

Taj Mahal Security: “ … ”

The Taj 03

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the mausoleum and I think it made sense because they'd want to avoid such spoilers. In fact, I won’t even write about what’s inside so you’ll have something to look forward to when you get to visit the Taj yourself.


After we finished touring the mausoleum, it was time to bid the Taj Mahal farewell. I couldn’t stop looking back as we walked through the courtyard heading back from where we came.

By this time, Garandee and I were exhausted and extremely thirsty. It was close to 40 degrees, and we forgot to bring our water bottles so we were desperate for water. After exiting the final gate, I spotted some souvenir shops selling water!

Garando: “Dee!! Water!! Let’s go!”

Garandee: “Hai! Chop chop!”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “uhh friend… May I just mention that…”

Garando: “Puff, puff…. Agua….”

Garandee: “Thirsty po….”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “uh, excuse me but you may want to….”

Garando: “Two bottled water please!”

Store Person: “Of course. Here you are sir.”

Garando: “Finally!! glug! glug! glug!”

I must have chugged over half a liter that ice cold water.

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Uh, friend?”

Garando: “Ahhhhhhhh…..that felt good! Yes, you were saying?”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “I was trying to inform you not to buy water from these stores because there is a high probability of it being fake or re-sealed. There are a few more stores over there that are authorized sellers by our tourism office.“

Garando: “ !!!! ”

Garandee: “Wow, good thing I didn’t drink it yet. Do, you should give him extra tip.”

Garando mode:
Read More......

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dee's New Do!

No, she doesn't have a new Garando, she's still stuck with THIS Garando (pointing at my nose). What she did get was a completely new Hairdo.


It took me about a minute or two to recover from the shock: Her hair was 60% shorter, I would certainly not recognize her if she hadn't smiled at me... I'd recognize those big incisors anywhere.

Hair Stylists can be unpredictable.

After reading Gigi's post about how pushy some salons in Manila can be, it reminded me of how hostile they were to me. "Why's that?" you ask...

Because I'm proud to be kulot (curly).

I'm no afro, but my hair is very wavy. When I was in high school I promised myself that I'll drop the clean-cut on my 30th birthday. The moment I reached that milestone, I stopped my regular visits to Bruno's the friendly neighborhood barber shop.

After about 8 months, I began to look like a homeless person so I thought it was about time to head to a salon and put some sense into my hair.

I tried David's Salon but came running out when the stylist told me he wanted to iron my hair.

I went to Bench Fixx Salon, but the stench of hair-straightening chemicals was too nauseating, so I left.

I didn't even think twice of avoiding Going Straight Salon.

I finally went to Piandre Salon in Greenbelt, because people there looked like they knew what they were doing....Or so I thought.

I knew I shouldn't have read that GQ magazine while they were workin' on my hair. I gasped when I looked at the mirror as they were finishing up.


I looked like Palito, one of the institutions in Philippine comedy*.

Now I go to the same salon as Garandee. I've finally found a salon who will accept me for who I am (kulot!) and so far I've been very satisfied with their snipping. It's a minimalist salon manned by two Japanese stylists. Maybe you'd want to check it out too. Satisfaction guaranteed, kulot or not.

Now should I ask if Garandee if her Stylist's dead in a ditch somewhere? Hmmmm, maybe not... looks like she likes her new 'do.

*Check out Dennis Villegas' excellent article and photos of Palito here.

Garando mode:
It's extremely hot tonight... looks like Summer's around the corner...
Read More......

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Practical Valentine


Garandee: "Do! Don't buy me flowers for Valentine's OK? Just save money ikaw."

Garando: "Oh... really? But it would've been nice if..."

Garandee: "Saving your money is better, you've given me too many flowers before."

Garando: "Well... Ok. How about..."

Garandee: "And don't buy me chocolates too. We can buy chocolates anytime anyway."

Garando: "Uh... Ok. Well maybe we can..."

Garandee: "And I don't feel like going through all the traffic and crowded restaurants again so let's just have dinner at home. Valentine menus are expensive!"

Garando: "Ok. Save money. I guess I shouldn't ask anymore if you wanted Häagen-Dazs."

Garandee: "WOW!"

Garando: "..???"

Garandee: "Vanilla po!!"

Happy Valentines!!

Garando mode:
Groan... My body is currently made up of 90% sipon (snot). Read More......

Your Blog is Fab Award

Weemee Do Fabulous

Big, big thanks to Alice Teh for awarding me with the "Your Blog is Fabulous" Award!

Now I'd like to reciprocate this award to Alice, so please go on over to her blog and check out her fabulous book reviews, photos and food adventures! If you're lucky you might even spot "Swinger" in her posts!

This award comes with posting about 5 things I'm addicted to. So here goes...

1) I'm addicted music. I listen to almost every genre out there but my favorites are in my Flash Fetish widget. Check it out!

2) I'm addicted to computer games. Enough for Garandee to brand me as her cute & lovable "Computer Otaku (geek)".

3) I'm addicted to my Office Outlook. My unread emails are like termites. I leave it alone for a day and they triple overnight.

4) I'm addicted to the internet. I used to have a macho, well rounded and plump butt before I discovered the internet. Now it's all flat thanks to all that sitting and browsing.

5) I'm addicted to Garandee's super delicious food. So if she reads this, I get extra points at home.

Garando mode:
My nose is like a busted fire hydrant. Looks like I'm comin' down with a cold... Read More......

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Our Backpack Chronicles: The Taj (part 2)

read part 1


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

I thought we were stuck halfway to Agra.

Street Food

But I was relieved to find our ride just around the corner, our driver was having a smoke and some street food. I signaled him and we were back on the road in no time.

We finally reached the outskirts of the Taj around 2:00pm. At this point, these extremely persistent sandal-clad Taj Mahal tour guides came rushing towards us. They started to flock so I had to think of something quick before the intensifying aroma made me pass out.

Garando: “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe…. Which one of you’z got the tidiest toe?”

Taj Tour Guides: “ ??? ”

Garando: “You! You will be our tour guide.”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Thank you, friend! You will be extremely delighted to learn about the Taj’s wonderful history of love and tragedy! May I ask where you are from?”

Garando: “Kazakhstan.”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Oh! And how about the lady?”

Garando: “She’s from Mongolia.”

Garandee: “Nyo! I’m Japanese!”

No fuel powered vehicles are allowed within a certain radius of the Taj (I think around 2km) so we had to ride an electric rickshaw which I thought was pretty cool.

The Taj 06

This was the final gate we had to go through before reaching the courtyard of the Taj Mahal. We were expecting to see the Taj Mahal behind that gate, but what we did not expect was how we'd react upon the sight of one of the seven wonders of the world!

Garando’s Tour Guide: “These massive gates were built to shield the Taj Mahal from… uh... pardon me, friend... but I am still explaining the…. “

Garandee: “Chop chop, Garando!”

Garando: "puff.. puff..." (walking really fast)

the Taj

And there it was... in all its glory, THE Taj Mahal. Our jaws literally dropped, we were totally overcome with awe by this majestic monument of love.

Garandee: “Wow, it’s so white ne….”

Garando: “Yes, perfect concept for a Tide advertisement. Let’s go Garandee!”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Uh…would you not want to hear me finish about the gate first?”


The weather was searing hot, probably reaching 40 degrees. We wished we hadn’t left our water bottles in the car, but we had enough adrenaline to hustle through the hot courtyard to the foot of the Taj, our trusty tour guide strutting behind us trying to catch up.

The Taj 07

Visitors must remove their footwear before setting foot on the Taj. There was a footwear counter where you can conveniently leave your shoes/sandals. The counter didn’t have anyone handing out number tags for your shoes so you’ll need to dig through a pile of it when you’re done with the tour. Good thing I knew how my shoes smelled so I can just follow the scent.

the rubber carpet

A long carpet was laid out leading up the Taj. Thinking that I can probably cook an egg on the floor because of the heat, that carpet was an excellent idea!

As soon as I took off my shoes it immediately felt like the cement was grilling my soft, delicate feet so I started hopping frantically to get to the carpet! I made one big leap for salvation, and finally settled my feet on it.

Garando: “AAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!!!”

The carpet was made of rubber. Apparently it was 10 times hotter than the cement floor.

Darn it!!

continue to part 3...

Garando mode:
My apologies for not being able to post more often... It has been crazy in the office and I've been catching up on a lot of work!

Read More......

Monday, February 2, 2009

Free Japanese Lessons

In order for me to make the most out of our visits to Japan, Garandee said she'll teach me a little Nihongo (Japanese) each week. She usually forgets to do it, but whenever she does remember...

Garandee: "Today I will teach you the Nihongo word for 'the day before yesterday'. Can you say, ototoi?"

Garando: "ototoy."

Garandee: "Nyo, it's close but not quite. Again, ototoi."

Garando: "ototoy."

Garandee: "Still not right. Ototoi!"

Garando: "but... it sounded right to me... Ototoy!!"

Garandee: "sigh...." (shakes her head)

Garando: ".... uhhhh.... ototoy?"

Garandee: "Nyo, nyo nyo! Listen to me! Ototoi!"

Garando: " .......Ototooo-i?"

Garandee: " ... "

Garando: "Did I finally say it right?"

Garandee: "So-so. Sigh... I guess that will do."

Garando: "Yey. Can I go use the computer now?"

Garandee: "Sit down! Ok, our next word is..."

Garando mode:
Can I just bring a pocket translator? Read More......