Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Belief by Gavin De Graw

I have loved Gavin DeGraw's song Belief for more than a decade and when I discovered this live version, I have come to love it even more than the record. It is just so raw and emotional and Gavin's voice is superb. The video is grainy but despite this, you still hear how beautiful the music is.

Gavin performs a bit of his number one hit I Don't Want To Be and he gets interviewed at the start of this video so you can click on this link to watch the full video but I'm embedding it at the 2:16 mark which is when he starts performing Belief.

video uploaded by dramione85

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Segovia's Cakes and Recipes

I recently brought my grandmother some ensaymada that I purchased from some random place and I asked her how they were. She said they were just okay. She went on to say that her favorite ensaymada is from some place in San Juan and that it was along "M. Reyes" street, near Xavier school. I decided to do an online search for "ensaymada M Reyes" and the first few hits I got were for Segovia's Cakes and Recipes. When I checked it on the map, it was along M.A. Reyes Street and was really close to Xavier. I figured that this must be it. I decided to get some ensaymada from Segovia's to bring to my grandmother (and a few more to bring to my family).

Segovia's Cakes and Recipes is not open on Sunday which is when I normally visit my grandmother so on one free Saturday afternoon in March, I decided to head over to Little Baguio in San Juan to make my purchase. Apparently, Segovia's used to be like a cafe where you can have a sit-down meal with sandwiches but they have done away with that set-up; now they only just sell baked items to go. I decided to get ensaymada, ube ensaymada, and mamon. (I would have tried their cheese rolls as well but they were out of stock when I was there.)

I have to say that when I tried the ensaymada, it lived it up the hype. It was fluffy and not too sweet. It's also not to expensive. (Unfortunately, I can't recall how much they cost; I think the ensaymada was P45 and the mamon was P40.) My grandmother confirmed that this was indeed the right ensaymada place she told me about. Cool! I now plan to visit Segovia's again to get more ensaymada and other baked items (hopefully including the cheese rolls).

Segovia's Cakes and Recipes
# 7 M.A. Reyes St. Little Baguio San Juan
725-2849 / 727-4616

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March Hodgepodge

My aunt, Tita Susan, has been living abroad for many years now. I think the last time I saw her was during Mama's 90th birthday four years ago. As luck would have it, my cousin Fr. John was also in town. Since both of them were in Manila, our family decided to have a reunion at Tito Erwin's place. It was potluck so I volunteered to bring dessert. Since I wasn't sure how many people would be there, I decided to bring a variety of desserts from S&R. The party started at lunch time and there was a whole lot of food which meant that we were eating practically the entire time. We also had live musicians and a lot of song hits so the afternoon turned into a karaoke celebration. We stayed until the early evening before saying fond farewells to each other. Tita Susan left a few days later so I'm glad we were able to catch up while she was here. Fr. John will be here for a few more months so I need to set up a lunch or dinner with him before he returns to Europe.

Speaking of family time, I took my grandmother shopping one Sunday evening. Her birthday was coming up and we were planning a dinner for her so she wanted to have a new blouse to wear. We went to a few shops before finding a nice navy blue blouse that had the right look and fit. We also saw another peach blouse at another shop that my grandmother also liked. She wasn't sure which blouse to get so I decided to get both for her. I'm really happy that I can do these kinds of things for my grandmother.

I also lucked out during a random trip to Maitre Chocolatier along Jupiter Street in Makati. I had a late lunch at Whistlestop Jupiter before meeting my mom along Buendia but she told me she was still some distance away. I had time to have coffee so after my lunch, I decided to check out Maitre Chocolatier which was right next to Whistlestop to see if they served coffee. I had seen this place many times before but I never went in. I used to think it was only a chocolate shop but apparently it is more like a cafe that also serves food and drinks. I was too full for dessert so I just ordered coffee but I also looked around the shop and saw that they had some chocolates on sale at 50% discount, including Ferrero Rocher. Their big box of 24 cost less than P300 and the small box of 12 cost less than P150. Wow!! They were on sale because they were all best before April 1. I decided to get six big containers - 1 for myself, 3 for my family, 1 for my grandmother, and 1 to bring to my game night in March. Needless to say, none of the chocolates really lasted beyond the best-before date. :) (I also want to go back to this place since they have more than a few items on their menu that I want to try.)

Speaking of game night, this month didn't involve any new games. Instead, I got to play games that I had already played before, including The Village, Carcassonne, Kodama, and Roll for It. The most memorable repeat game was Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization. While this game lasted "only" 5 hours (as opposed to the 5 1/2 hours it took me the first time), we started playing at 1 AM and finished at 6AM. We had to clean up my friend's place first before leaving and by the time we we were done, it was past 7AM and the sun was up and it was already hot. That was the latest (or more appropriately, the earliest) game night I've ever had! What also made that Through the Ages game memorable apart from the time we finished playing was the final score. Rocky and Mai were tied with 174 points, I had 173, and Myna had 172. Only 2 points separated first from the last. Wow! That has never happened in any other game I've played! I am just happy that I played this game much better than the first time I played it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Inspirational Lewis Hine

This video recently went viral. This video was created to celebrate Lewis Hine's 16th birthday last March 17 but beyond that, it celebrates the power of the human spirit and the incomparable value of life. At 17 months old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and over the course of his life, he's had 13 brain surgeries already. As if that wasn't enough, he regularly has seizures. Despite all this, Lewis has maintained a positive yet realistic outlook in life. He knows he's drawn the short straw but, as he says in his video, he has coping mechanisms to help him deal with his situation. To top it all off, he even founded Friend Finder. This project aims to help kids who miss a lot of school and can't form relationships with other kids their age form friendships with other kids in similar situations. I have to say I am so inspired by Lewis that I felt compelled to share this.

Of all the lines he says in this video, the one that I found most powerful was this: "My illness may define the length of my life, but it won't define how I live it." It is extremely sad to know that he understands that his illness may not allow him to live the average human lifespan and his maturity to accept this mortality is sobering and humbling.

It is fantastic that throughout this lifelong ordeal, he has found a voice and continues to make a difference through social innovation by creating Friend Finder. You can learn more about it at http://www.lewishine.co.uk/. You can also check out this video:

video uploaded in youtube by Lily Freeston

I wish Lewis a belated happy birthday and I wish him and his project more power and more success.