Saturday, January 28, 2017

January get-togethers

January often becomes an extension of the Christmas season because there are too many people to meet up and too little time (and the traffic tends to be quite prohibitive so everyone decides to just meet up when the roads are bit less tangled). First of these post-holiday get-togethers was my dinner reunion with friends from my first company. Chari requested that we meet up in the Ortigas area so I suggested Duck & Buvette. I hadn't eaten here in a while and I think everyone else had never eaten there before so when I suggested it, everyone agreed. Thankfully Anna was still in town so she was able to join me, Chari, Bett, Jette, Ric and Lany for the first time in a long while. Everyone also enjoyed the food so it ended up being a good choice for our dinner venue.

My friends Tim and Janice were in Manila post-New Year as well so I had dinner with them in Barcino in Greenbelt. After dinner, Tim was really in the mood to try local craft beers and the nearest one that was still open after our dinner was Big Bad Wolf so we decided to go there. We ended up staying there until the place closed. I can't remember which local craft beer I got but it was a bit too bitter for my taste.

I also met up with Marga and Romy, both of whom I hadn't seen in years. Marga has been living in Europe for a decade already and while she comes home every so often, I had never managed to catch up with her until now. I think the last time I hung out with Romy was when we were still colleagues more than a decade ago. Talk about a throwback evening!

My first weekend get-together was with my college friends. While we normally hold it in someone's house, this year, we decided to have lunch in Cafe Via Mare in our alma mater, UP. I didn't realize there was a Via Mare there. I ended up ordering a whole lot of food but I somehow managed to eat everything. We hung out there until mid-afternoon before a handful of us decided to move to Art Circle Cafe at the Bahay ng Alumni for late afternoon coffee. It was actually really nostalgic hanging out with my college friends in UP, the place where we all met and became life-long friends.

While this one wasn't a reunion, I also met up with my board gaming friends to celebrate Jovan's birthday. We had been talking about going to a karaoke place for a while now but we never managed to go so Jovan decided that she wanted to celebrate in a karaoke place for her birthday. I got there quite late but thankfully everyone was in the mood to sing the night away so I still got to hang out with everyone for a few hours until the place closed.

A week later, I attended the wedding of my teammate Cyd and his now-wife April. It was a lavish wedding and I felt that the first dance, the same day edit video and especially Cyd's speech were very memorable highlights.

Finally, I closed the month out with three more reunions. First was with my team at work circa 2011-2013. We had been talking about getting together for a reunion for a really long time now so I planned things out with Migs and we finally got the folks together at Richmonde Hotel on a Saturday night. I told our friend Case to bring her Splendor and I taught my friend how to play. They ended up being quite intense while playing and they really enjoyed it. Case's daughter also wanted to play Ticket to Ride so I set it up and played this game with both her and Case. A lot of picture taking followed before most people said their goodbyes and I ended up sharing stories with Migs, Magnus, and Jeoff until the wee hours of the morning.

I then met up with my friends from our CSR organization at work for dinner at Locavore in Forbes Town Center. The food here never fails to whet one's appetite and I ended up eating a lot. (My friends commented that I am so much fun to eat with because I tend to eat so much that they feel encouraged to eat a lot too. I'm not particularly sure that's a good thing LOL.) After dinner, we moved to Casa Italia for gelato and coffee.

The next day, I met up with Daday for lunch in People's Palace in Greenbelt. The idea was that this would be a mini-reunion of people who all met Daday during business trips or even short-term assignments in Brussels. Unfortunately, most people ended up being unavailable so it was just me and Patrick who were able to join Daday. I hadn't eaten in People's Park in maybe a decade as well and the food here is still really good. We ended up hanging out until the late afternoon before we all said our goodbyes.

It has been a full and packed month and interestingly enough, as I look forward to February, I realize that my weekend schedule in that month is also full. I definitely don't take this for granted and I'm just thankful that I have so many wonderful people in my life with whom I enjoy spending time (and who seem to enjoy spending time with me, too).

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