Friday, March 22, 2013

Kramer vs. Kramer

I woke up today with really puffy eyes. Pardon the frivolity, but it was due to a movie I watched last night with my husband. The title was Kramer vs. Kramer.

I first heard about the movie from a professor in law school, probably when we were discussing custody cases in Family Law. It was about an ugly custody battle between a couple who separated, and of course, at the center of it all was a minor kid expectedly aged seven. It was a really old film - Dustin Hoffman was still rugged and a bit handsome, and Meryl Streep didn't know yet how to act, perpetually giving a deadpan with every delivery of her lines.  It wasn't really a spectacular movie, but for me, it hit home.

Ever since I became a mother, movies about kids or parenting or marriage had created a strong, strange tug in my heart. Admittedly, I was already a wuss in movies even back in the day. But now, I don’t just cry – I bawl. I cry my eyes out like an idiot.

At one point in the movie, my husband asked me, “Anong gagawin natin kay Zohan kapag naghiwalay tayong ganyan?” Without batting an eyelash, I retorted, “Gagawin ko lahat para hindi tayo magkahiwalay.”

I meant no offense to broken families -- coming from one myself. But now that I am married with a kid, I have more  reason to instill in my mind that Love is not an emotion, it is a decision. That being said, parties to a relationship can decide that parting ways is never an option. In fact, that should have been done and decided the moment they entered into the marriage, or even earlier if they're lucky.

I didn’t mean to sound all-knowing and deep. Perhaps what I just meant was – go ahead and watch the movie together with your husband. Try to etch every scene of it in your heart. And like those couple, acknowledge that somewhere along the road, there will be fights and bickering, even to the brink of separation. But if the conscious decision to love is not reason enough to stay, then perhaps remembering the scenes from this movie will. Perhaps your own Billy can get you back at your feet and give you more strength to try a little harder, and understand a little more.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Where to eat in Binondo

I haven't done my Where to Eat portion in a while because obviously, I have not gone outside the metro for so long! My new job has put in obscurity all my junkets, but I was okay with it since in exchange, I've been spending a lot of time with my boys.

Anyway, for our second wedding anniversary,  we opted a do-it-yourself food trail in Binondo. This was a more adventurous celebration compared to our first wedding anniversary, when we just had lunch at Chocolate Kiss in UP and then a heavy-movie date right after. Think Incredibly Close and Extremely Loud, where I cried buckets of tears. 

Anyway, here's what you can eat (and expect) at a Binondo Food Trail:

How to get there:
I would not recommend bringing your car for lack of a good parking space. And besides, the trail would require a lot of walking since most of the nooks and crannies were difficult to reach by car. If you have no qualms taking public transportation, that would be better. Just make sure to wear comfortable clothes, take care of your belongings, and ready your parasol. Majinet!

From Makati, take a bus/jeep going to LRT Buendia Station. Take the train and alight at Carriedo Station. Walk a few blocks, don't be afraid to ask around. If you see the Plaza Sta. Cruz with the Carriedo Fountain in the middle, you're on the right track. Enter through the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch (or Arch of Goodwill), and let the foodfest begin!

1. Shanghai Friend Siopao
This was the first on the list- a yummy siopao that's fried! The place was unassuming, so make sure to carefully look for every signage so that you wouldn't miss it. It was located along Ongpin corner Bahama Streets. Each siopao costs P16.00 each, we shared three siopaos. How was that for a cheap date? Kristan said the siopao was good, and I agreed very passionately! Eating it removed my weird fear everytime I would bite any siopao that I was actually ingesting a cat! This one tasted very "veggie", although it wasn't really made out of pure vegetables.

Shanghai Fried Siopao
This is how it's done

2. Dong Bei Dumplings
This was a small stall located at almost the tail end of Yuchengco St. (from the main road, turn to the side where a grocery stall was located). 

Their specialty was kutsay-filled steamed dumplings, which was a healthy and yummy concoction that came cheap at P100 for 8 pieces.

Kutsay-filled steamed dumplings
 Kristan found it a little overrated though. We brought some as pasalubong, but it didn't taste as good when cooked at home. Joyce said their xiao long bao was also good, but we weren't able to try it. Tip: No matter how tempting, do not order softdrinks! I finished these dumplings off with a good old coke, and that sealed the end of the food trail for me!

While we were still full from Dong Bei's dumplings, we walked around and chanced upon this little grocery store called Bee Tin. It's a haven of Chinese products that we would not normally see in a regular grocery store. Kristan brought some fresh dates, while I tried this milk tea. 

This was a little pricey so I was crossing my fingers that they would taste like my favorite Toastbox's cold teh. It was a good thing that they did not disappoint.

3. Wai Ying Restaurant

This was where we had lunch. We ordered Beef Wanton (P100)
Pardon the mess! Not really a good photoblogger, eh?

Beef Chong Fan (P65)

This was a flat dumpling with soysauce. I wasn't able to try this since I made the dumbest mistake of stuffing myself with coke. My husband said they were just okay.

Hakaw (P70)

They were good, one of my husband's favorites!
Siomai (P65, four pieces), which I forgot to take a photo of. 

Milk Tea (at P50 each)

I'm an ultimate milk tea fan! Even before they became a craze, I was already in love with Chowking's Nai Cha. That was why I expected a lot from the authentic ones. They were patiently made through the contraptions shown in the photo below..
Nai cha love!
 And I was so happy with the result! Their milk tea was the bomb.

There were other food stops which we opted to try some other time. The Kainan sa Estero located in an alley beside the estero was known for their crispy fried frog legs. We thought family life was adventure enough for us, so we passed up on the frogs!

Another famous food stop is the Cafe Mezzanine (located above Eng Bee Tin) known for their Soup #5, made out of bull's testicles. The proceeds from the said restaurant were said to go to the volunteer firefighters of Binondo. So if you weren't really a fan of exotic dishes, perhaps these firemen will be reason enough for you to try it out. 

There you go! We had fun doing this food trail. You should try it, too! 'Til the next anniversary =)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


"Hindi ko maipapangakong hindi ako titingin sa ibang babae.. Pero lagi mong tatandaan na ikaw lang ang iniisip ko.. kaya kung makita mo kong may kasamang ibang babae, wag kang magagalit..dahil para sa kin, ikaw un.. At kung hindi mo pa din maintindihan, isisi na lang natin lahat sa peer pressure!" -                              
                                  Kristan to Khaye, March 7, 2011

It's been two years since my husband announced the above informal vow during the reception of our civil wedding. And I must say, he must have thought so highly of me because I've caught him very frequently looking at girls who, in all honesty, are waaay out of my league. In that sense, he is very romantic.

My husband never gives me flowers. Not even once. And perhaps he never will. But he always makes me laugh. A lot. The other day at breakfast, I was restless and tensed about something work-related, when I saw him step out of the bedroom in boxer shorts.

Me: bat lumabas ka nakaganyan??
H: because I'm free.. And sixeh..
In short.. I'm ... FRIXEH!

Syet dba. Ganyan ang eksena sa bahay namin sa umaga.

Yesterday, (a day before our anniversary) he messaged me through BBM:

H: Mahal may pagkain ka ba?
Me: wala, bibili sa canteen later sa lunch. (But in my head, I was all OMG OMG OMG! Himala! Papadeliveran nya ba ako ng food? Nandyan ba sya sa labas with food and all? May surprise lunch reservation sa hotel? Eto naaa!! Dininig ng Dyos ang aking panalangin!)

H: Tanungin mo ako bakit..
Me: Bakit?
H: kasi..gusto ko may pagkain ka.

(Cue in political ad)


Yes, he's corny like that. Too corny in fact that he makes me laugh against my better judgment. But when you're with a guy who makes you feel you can just laugh through anything, you will be comforted that at the end of the day, everything's gonna be alright. And that's exactly how he makes me feel, the corny jokes notwithstanding.

My husband never takes me out to romantic dinners. He shivers at the thought of romance, so if we're eating out, which is not often, we are just "eating out". Nothing really fancy, oftentimes hurried and anxious to go home to our little boy. But he takes me out of the rut- to see the world in a different light. To be kinder, reserved in judgment, and more loving. I tell you, these three adjectives, when applied on a daily basis, consumes a lot of energy. That's why I don't do it a lot! Haha. But my husband walks me through it - every single chance of every single day. So yes, we may not have candle-lit dinners, but he enlightens my soul in more ways than I can ever imagine. And life has been better for me since.

My husband never "babied" me. I am not a pampered wife who gets passes at salons or spa or treated with delicate tenderness that has to be "sundo't hatid" all the time. But he encourages me to be better - practices with me the night of my big hearings (and he plays the adversary counsel so damn good I pray to God I never encounter him in court!), tells me which dress looks more flattering in me while we are inside a girl's dressing room, lets me have the last tiny piece of chicken at mealtimes, patiently waits for me during my dental appointments, and lets me go out at my heart's content. He indulges me with freedom and independence, because he knows I am not one to be caged. I am not really pampered, but that is not to say I am not loved.

My husband is not a big fan of surprises. He despises the idea of "kilig" because for him, love is a decision, not an emotion. And I will be a hypocrite if I tell you I buy that crap of his all the time. Oftentimes, it leaves me wanting to jump at my computer and start typing Cristobal vs. Cristobal, For declaration of nullity of marriage. (Of course I'm kidding. Or not. Well, you'll never really know.) He's not a man of praises, he hardly tells me when I look beautiful or sexy. But he is a man of gratefulness - never forgets to thank me for my efforts at keeping the house, or fixing his things, or for the sheer decision to stay with him. 

The other day, I was telling him, "Mahal, thank you ha.."
H: bakit?
Me: because hindi issue sa yo kung tumataba ako or ang dami dami ko ng pimples. (Ah, girls!)
H: Oo naman. Ganun talaga..
Me: Bakit?
H: I didn't marry your body. I married your soul..

Those were his exact words. I was stunned. And right there and then, I wanted to leave his sight and delete my draft-petition for annulment. #chos

I know that some relationships, wittingly or unwittingly, has become too commercialized these days. And I commiserate with the girls who don't have flowers to post or places to check in to. I totally get you when you look at your friend's post with 50 percent happiness, and 50 percent envy. But I commiserate more with the husbands (or boyfriends) who are thought of having loved "less" just because they don't have the personality (or the money) to join the bandwagon.

Love is not only about big deeds announced everywhere - but it is also about the everyday, small stuff that happens in the confines of your private relationship. It is the silly, the mundane, the love-hate, the annoyance, and the commitment despite of it all. Love is not expecting and demanding to be treated a certain way- but finding the gratefulness to appreciate how you are treated. Love is demanding less - and giving more.

Love is two years of laughter, friendship and spiritual growth. Thank you Kristan, for giving me all of that. I look forward to more!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...