Share My Comings And Goings

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some Things You Can Do In New York Before You Die

Everyone wants to go to New York! Well, who wouldn't? New York is a leading global city, exerting a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, and entertainment, entitling it to its various nicknames as "The City that Never Sleeps", "Gotham" (of the famous Batman movies) and the Big Apple.For Filipinos, being in the US to them is being in New York! New York city truly has something for everyone. New York city is sure to delight you.

I was in New York for the second time last February 16-28, 2009 to spend quality time with my prince. He lives in New Jersey and commutes to the City (New York) to attend classes at Cardozo Law School from Monday to Thursday. On my first day there, he asked me to list down the places that I wanted to see or things I would love to do while over there. I obliged.

Topping my list is to go to the places I've been to in 2002 when I first visited the City - Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center , Columbus Circle, Central Park and Wall Street in general so I can take pictures of the sites using my digital camera. I am now into digitized coffee table books (no more time for scrap booking). Since I have been to US when digital camera was not yet the craze, I have all my photos of New York in hard (printed) copy and I have to scan them before it can be made into coffee table book. Now at least I have the photos in my digital camera - making it easier not only to do a digitized book but also in uploading it here on my blog.

Wall Street

Columbus Circle

Central Park

Second, I wanted to see those that I wasn't able to see during my first visit (either because it wasn't there yet or I didn't have time to see it then) like the Empire State Building, Ground Zero (the Twin Towers were still standing tall) and the Manhattan New York Temple.

Empire State Building-it may no longer be the world`s tallest building. (it currently ranked seventh), but it is certainly one of the best known skyscrapers, its pencil slim silhouette a symbol of New york City and, perhaps, the 20th century.

Manhattan New York Temple

Third, is to experience the energy and watch the people. Nothing matches the rush of being a part of this huge, high speed, open 24/7, creative madhouse. New York is unique among American cities for its high use of and 24-hour availability of mass transit, and for the overall density and diversity of its population.

Grand Central Terminal - world`s largest railway station and nation's busiest

Well, I thought my list was enough, until I read the book "2001 Things To Do Before You Die" at the Barnes and Noble while waiting for my prince that Monday morning. Within the pages of the book reside all sorts of cool things to do -serious, funny, mundane, wonderful, ridiculous, crazy, or inspiring that I can do while in New York before I hit the twig. Simple tasks to silly pranks, from charitable deeds to risky feats, from sweeping lifesyles changes to dramatic philosophical transformations, from mundane to sublime to the ridiculous like:

February 16, 2009
1. Play in Madison Square Garden
2. Have Yourself Paged at the Madison Square Garden

I met with Zaniah and Maricel at the Madison Square Garden. I told them of my plan of playing there as part of the "2001 Things to do Before I Die" tasks. They are supportive.I thought of playing some jumping rope, or a hula-hoop but I didn't bring any gadget so I just jumped in using an imaginary rope... I had fun!

3. Haggle and Win

With Zaniah and Maricel still, we went to a shop at Times Square and I found the New York white jacket that I am looking for. The store clerk said that it is $38. Although I want it so bad, I didn't have enough money for it. So I put this task to a good use. I pretended not to like it a lot, and tried to check other stuff. The store clerk followed me and offered to give the jacket for $29, then for $27 and then $25 everytime I give him the cold shoulder. The $25 actually sounded reasonable for the quality of the jacket, but remembering that I only have $20 in my wallet, I did not give in. So he was prompted to ask me "How much do you want?". I said "Give it to me for $20 and you have a deal". He said "No, that is too low, but $22 would be ok". I pretended to leave the shop. When he felt that I am ready to walk away, he gave in and so I got the jacket for $20.

4. Ride the Circle Line around Manhattan
5. Take the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty - national monument still stands as a near universal symbol of freedom and democracy

6. Spend a weekend at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City
7. Fall in love on public transportation
8. Be caricatured in Barnes and Noble Ad
9. Be pictured on the front page of New York Times
10. Start at Lake Tear of the Clouds and go by canoe down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty
11. Attend the Blessing of the Animals at New York City's Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine - everything about this cathedral is on the scale of the giants; though technically unfinished, its already the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and it contains the biggest stained-glass window in the country

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hoboken, New Jersey

When it comes to surprises,my prince Mark is the best!He has surprised me in a countless of ways and tonight is another one of those cute love surprises - he brought me to Hoboken, New Jersey!

Hoboken is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. The city is part of the New York metropolitan area and contains Hoboken Terminal, a major transportation hub for the region. Hoboken was originally an island, surrounded by the Hudson River on the east and tidal lands at the foot of the New Jersey Palisades on the west. The view of New York City from there was spectacular! The water and the lights seem to conspire and give me that romantic feeling I could only feel for my prince.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Milford, Pennsylvania

Wanting to see snow at least during the February 2009 US visit, I was glad to be invited to Ate Ellen's birthday hosted by her boyfriend in his house in Milford, Pennsylvania. And I was equally glad that my prince Mark, is willing to drive me there!

Milford prides itself for being a delightful place to visit, and a wonderful community in which to live as it is endowed with rich forests, beautiful lakes, and the fresh waters of the Delawware River and the streams that feed into it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Riding Space Mountain and My Disneyland Experience

I couldn't believe I would ever mark this task on the "2001 Things To Do Before You Die" as completed. I am a weakling and wouldn't dare try anything that involves speed and darkness. And basing on these two elements, Space Mountain is the scariest ride of all. It is a roller coaster in the dark, in the happiest place on earth - Disneyland! (ironic, isn't it?). During the ride, I wouldn't open my eyes and I couldn't scream because I was soooo scared.

I was blessed to see Disneyland last September 2, 2000 (Saturday) as part of my first ever trip to the US. My friend, Jeremy Miner, got an 'All -Day Pass' and you can ride all you want! Not wanting to waste a single experience, I let Jeremy take charge and let him take me to the ride that I shouldn't miss (that was my greatest mistake I guess...hahha. We went on so many rides that day that I almost die because all those scary rides almost made my heart explode!). Before Space Mountain, we went first to the Splash Mountain, which is a cute log ride, but it has a huge drop at the end and it was scary also..and..and get wet!

Other rides include: It's a small world after all, tea cups (which Jeremy calls vomit cups), story bookland, space rockets, carousel, pirates of the caribbean, and the haunted mansion. He also took me to " Honey I Shrunk The Audience", and that scared me too because there was a snake in the movie and it was 3D so I kicked Jeremy's butt for that.

Well, after the scary ride, we went on the Tunnel of Love and Autopia (or like Utopia - Perfect World) but it is Autopia (world of cars). I drove, but I kept crashing and my back hurts. Jeremy thinks it was because I couldn't reach the pedals. He teased me that I needed a phone directory to see over the steering wheel hahhaha.

Then we went to toontown where everything looks like a cartoon and there I met Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, and more Filipinos. Yes, that Saturday was a Filipino Day at Disneyland. Every line we stood in had a Filipino family in it and so we were speaking Tagalog all day long. And Jeremy liked it that way...coz it seems that I didn't leave the Philippines at all.

I love the Parade of the Stars so I took lots of pictures. But my favorite is Fantasmic. Fantasmic is the huge show that is performed near a manmade river inside disney land. The stage has a person in the mickey mouse costume jumping around and then the river has a screen of water that is prayed and cartoons are projected on it. There was fire on the water and lots of dancing and amazing special effects. At the end a boat with all the disney characters floated by and the fire on the water stopped. It was quite a visual extravaganza.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Burning Sandalwood Incense

This is the No. 87 task I have completed in the book "2001 Things To Do Before You Die".

I am big on scents and my prince Mark knows this fact. So when he left for Beijing after his internship in the Philippines in August last year and realizing that we will not be able to see each other for a considerable length of time, he gave me a bunch of incense - jasmine, chamomile,rose, lavender, gelsomino, vanilla, bamboo and white tea, and sandalo or sandal wood that I can burn so I could remember him. He also gave me tons of candles to go with the incense and a candle burner.

I really like all the scents and have learned what each scent does so I just choose the right scent depending on purpose. Since the scent of Sandalwood oil or Sandalwood incense clarifies the mind and helps to awaken intelligence, I used it when I need to meditate or when I am thinking over something. It calms my mind, soothes stress and nervous tension, and uplifts my mood. It also enliven courage, purpose, strength and happiness.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Glimpse of Philadelphia: A City of Brotherly Love

I have one of those rare chances tonight to visit another US States for the first time, without any advance planning. My prince brother (Greg Stokes) and his wife (Miriam) has a dinner appointment in Philly and have asked me and Mark to come along. I didn't think twice of course. Previously, I have looked at Philadelphia and checked the Top 5 Things To Do in the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-most-populous city in the United States, and the 49th-most-populous city in the world.

1. Boom. No one anywhere loves fireworks more than the good citizens of Philadelphia. Independence day is huge, naturally, and is spread out over several days, but New Years fireworks are also a fixture.

2. More than just Cheesesteaks. Everyone agrees that Philly is the place to experience an authentic Cheesesteak. No question about that! And as Mark remarked, he can't be in Philly without savoring a bite of these rolls filled with meat and cheese. But Philly is more than just cheesesteaks. It actually has an incredible assorment of excellent cuisine like the Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine where we had dinner. The blending of the two dynamic principles of "food" and the "aloha" spirit is what Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine is all about. European techniques and Asian cuisine meet Hawaiian hospitality to create a fine dining experience unlike any other, and made tonight an unforgettable evening for me.

3. American icons. The country was born here, and Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell still stand as monuments to the US founding fathers.
Although, we weren't able to stop to take a picture, the Bell was an impressive looking object, 12 feet in circumference around the lip with a 44-pound clapper. Inscribed at the top was part of a Biblical verse from Leviticus, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof." The Liberty Bell is composed of approximately 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and traces of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver. The Bell is suspended from what is believed to be its original yoke, made of American elm. The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds. The yoke weighs about 100 pounds.

4. Philadelphia Museum of Art. The PMA is, perhaps best known for having Rocky leap up its steps, but there's an amazing permanent collection inside.For a personal touch, (I hope Miriam and Greg wouldn't mind), this is where they have their first kiss!) That makes Philly not only the City of Brotherly Love but also where romantic love abound.

5. Going Green. One of the largest municipal parks in the world, Fairmount Park offers acre after rolling acre of pristine beauty.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wearing A Wig and Doing The Hustle

I have done these two tasks featured in the book "2001 Things To Do Before You Die" during the Office Christmas program last December 2007. The party has a retro theme and we danced the "Do the Hustle". I had so much fun wearing the afro wig and doing the hustle to the surprised of everyone at the office.

Some Things To Do in San Francisco Before You Die

Here are some of the fun things I love to do while in San Francisco. And guess what? Three of those tasks are included in the "2001 Things To Do Before You Die".

1. Get out of the Bay. Since San Francisco is known for the beach, I can't miss going to the Bay for anything when I'm there. I usually take in the view strolling along the water, the way locals do. In the "2001 Things To Do Before You Die", I found two tasks which have something to do with the beach:(49)Walk on the beach in Winter and (182) Have a Picnic on the Beach in February. I have completed these tasks during my recent visit in San Francisco last February 3-11, 2009 when it is still considered "winter time". My friend and I was driving one night along the bay when I remarked "the beach is so beautiful. It is so much like the Philippines". He said nothing but secretly headed to the beach. When we were there, I hurriedly got out of the car and walked and ran on the beach. Oh boy it was soooooo cold! But it is alright. At least, I have marked this as my No. 49th completed task.

I have completed the No. 182 task when Ate Dearie, Mommy Diola, Remus and I went sight seeing along the Bay area last February 4, 2009, barely a day since I got to San Francisco. Ate Dearie brought lots of food (fried rice, shrimp, chicken, banana, vegetables, etc.)that we can munch on when we get hungry while strolling. We didn't know that she also brought spoon and fork, paper plates, paper cups and a galloon of bottled water for everyone and had actually planned on eating at one of the picnic tables near Golden Gate beach. It was like a real "picnic on the beach in February". I wondered if my ate Dearie has previously read the book "2001 Things To Do Before You Die" and wanted to complete this task. But anyway, the food was too good that we forgot to take a picture.

2. Ride a Cable Car in San Francisco (143). Another San Francisco cliche? Maybe, but don't sell it short. Clacking down an impossibly steep hill with the bay sparkling in the distance is something everyone should experience at least once.And it is one of the tasks featured in the "2001 Things To Do Before You Die".

3. Fabulous food and drink. From top tier dining destinations (like the restos at the Fisherman's Wharf to the buffet places of the Mission, this place is indeed foodie heaven.

4. Golden Gate Bridge sunsets. This is an absolute don't miss activity for me while in San Francisco.

5. Alcatraz. Sure. here's another thing you shouldn't miss! To experience the confinement and history of the Rock at the place itself and the revamped audio tour, with its gravely voice inmates and guards and the ferry ride to this place, is worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting A Professional Makeover

I had a professional makeover for free, just before my graduation in Law school. I had it through the famous Fanny Serrano Boutique, who was then looking for models to pose for a makeover. I sent a write - up and I was chosen from the many who applied. I’m not sure then if it meant I was good at writing that I convinced them I was a good subject, or if my looks was so awful that I deserved a makeover? Whatever that was, I was glad I did it. Not only I got an idea on how to improve my looks through the wonder of cosmetics, but also I found fulfillment to find that getting a makeover is actually one of the tasks featured in the book “2001 Things To Do Before You Die” and I could mark this task completed. I also barely recognized myself after the makeover. And as an added treat, my makeover story even came out in the CHiC Magazine last November 2, 1998 while I was already serving a full-time mission. The article showed the “before” and “after” pictures with the article below:

“This young lady hopes to be a lawyer someday. To prepare herself for her future profession, she opts for a polished image. What concerns her most is that she looks older than her age. For her makeover, her brows are shaped to emphasize arch. A combination of brown and gray eye shadows is used to highlight her eyes. Dark brown eyeliner really opened them up. For contour, brown blush is swept across her face blending it up onto her hairline. Bronze lipstick on her lips defines shape of her lips. She does away with her nerdy eyeglasses for a new look that makes a lot of difference – one that spells class and competence.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ivy Ivy

One of the reasons why my recent trip to the US is rather special to me is being able to be in the five (5) States, which are homes to Ivy League schools - Cambridge, Massachussetts (Harvard University), New Haven, Connecticut (Yale University), New York (Columbia University & Cornell University Ithaca), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (University of Pennyslvania) and New Jersey ( Princeton University).

The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The term is most commonly used to refer to those eight (8) schools considered as a group.The term also has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism.

All of the Ivy League's institutions place near the top in the U.S. News & World Report college and university rankings and rank within the top one percent of the world's academic institutions in terms of financial endowment. The Ivies are all in the Northeast geographic region of the United States. They are privately owned and controlled, although many of them receive funding in the form of research grants from federal and state governments.

Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts Crimson

Columbia University New York City, New York Lions

Brown University, Rhode Islands Bears
Cornell University Ithaca, New York Big Red
Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire Big Green
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts Crimson
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey Tigers
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Quakers
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut Bulldogs

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eating Dimsum for Breakfast!

The first item on the list of the completed tasks in the book "2001 Things to Do Before You Die" is to "Eat Dimsum for Breakfast".

I have completed this task in a number of times over the years mainly because there are many Chinese restaurants in the Philippines that start serving dimsum as early as five in the morning or sell dimsum as take-out at night and I saved it for breakfast the following morning. Also, my family has already learned how to prepare my favorite dimsum, so it is not unusual for me to eat dimsum for breakfast once in awhile. I was also privileged to stay at Chinese hotels during my travels in Hongkong, Macau, Beijing and Shanghai and the buffet breakfast menu contains various dim sum items.

Dim sum (literally meaning "touch the heart") is the name for a Chinese cuisine which involves a wide range of light dishes served alongside Chinese tea. It is usually served in the mornings until noon time at Chinese restaurants and at specialty dim sum eateries where typical dishes are available throughout the day. Dishes come in small portions and may include meat, seafood, and vegetables, as well as desserts and fruit. The items are usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate.

Dim sum can be cooked by steaming and frying, among other methods. The serving sizes are usually small and normally served as three or four pieces in one dish. It is customary to order family style, sharing dishes among all members of the dining party. Because of the small portions, people can try a wide variety of food.
The dimsum I have eaten for breakfast includes shrimp dumpling, congee, siomai, rice noodles, taro dumpling,

Shrimp Dumpling: A delicate steamed dumpling with whole or chopped-up shrimp filling and thin wheat starch skin. It contains peanuts, garlic, chives, pork, dried shrimp, Chinese mushrooms in a thick dumpling wrapper made from glutinous rice flour or Tang flour. It is usually served with a small dish of chili oil.

Shaomai (Siomai): Small steamed dumplings with pork inside a thin wheat flour wrapper. Usually topped off with crab roe and mushroom.

Rice noodle rolls: These are wide rice noodles that are steamed and then rolled. They are often filled with different types of meats or vegetables inside but can be served without any filling. Rice noodle rolls are fried after they are steamed and then sprinkled with sesame seeds. Popular fillings include beef, dough fritter, shrimp, and barbecued pork. Often topped with a sweetened soy sauce.

Phoenix talons: These are chicken feet, deep fried, boiled, marinated in a black bean sauce and then steamed. This results in a texture that is light and fluffy (due to the frying), while moist and tender.

Steamed meatball: Finely-ground pork is shaped into balls and then steamed with preserved orange peel and served on top of a thin bean-curd skin.

Lotus leaf rice: Glutinous rice is wrapped in a lotus leaf into a triangular or rectangular shape. It contains egg yolk, dried scallop, mushroom, water chestnut and meat (usually pork and chicken). These ingredients are steamed with the rice and although the leaf is not eaten, its flavour is infused during the steaming. Lo mai gai is a kind of rice dumpling.

Congee: Rice porridge served with different savory items. The porridge one will see most often is "Duck Egg and Pork Porridge"

Taro dumpling: This is made with mashed taro, stuffed with diced shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and pork, deep-fried in crispy batter.

Crispy fried squid: Similar to fried calamari, the battered squid is deep-fried and normally served with a sweet and sour dip. One may also get a variation of this dish prepared with a salt and pepper mix. In some dim sum restaurants, octopus is used instead of squid.

Spring roll: a roll consisting of various types of vegetables — such as sliced carrot, cabbage, mushroom and wood ear fungus — and sometimes meat are rolled inside a thin flour skin and deep fried.

Tofu skin roll: a roll made of Tofu skin

Taro cake: cakes made of taro.

Egg tart: composed of a base made from either a flaky puff pastry type dough or a type of non-flaky cookie dough with an egg custard filling, which is then baked. Some high class restaurants put bird's nest on top of the custard.

Mango pudding: A sweet, rich mango-flavoured pudding usually with large chunks of fresh mango; often served with a topping of evaporated milk.

"2001 Things To Do Before You Die"

The main reason for my month-long vacation here in the US is to spend quality time with my prince, for at least two weeks. He lives in New Jersey and commutes to the City (New York) to attend classes at Cardozo Law School from Monday to Thursday. Today, I decided to tag along with him and looked around while he was attending classes. After checking in some shops, I found myself in one corner of the Barnes and Noble in Union Square.

While over there, I stumbled upon a book entitled "2,001 Things to Do Before You Die" which I found really cool and fascinating. Within the pages of the book reside all sorts of cool things to do -serious, funny, mundane, wonderful, ridiculous, crazy, or inspiring that one can do before he hits the twigs. Simple tasks to silly pranks, from charitable deeds to risky feats, from sweeping lifesyles changes to dramatic philosophical transformations, from mundane to sublime to the ridiculous. I excitedly typed up in my blackberry the "tasks" that I have already done and completed. I have counted up to "375"! I found a number of tasks which I can do while I am here in New York/New Jersey to add up to the list. I am really excited and looking forward to doing it! I am also planning of writing about each task and tell how I was able to accomplish them. So watch out for it in this blog.

1. Have a dimsum for breakfast
2. Pay your parents back for college
3. Shake hands with someone famous
4. Get a professional make over
5. Suddenly decide and leave for a trip
6. Stay in bed all day
7. Give someone a reason to believe in God
8. Lobby
9. Start a Barbie collection
10. Write a letter to the editor
11. Discover a new talent
12. Communicate without words
13. Spend one month without a car
14. Spend one month without television
15. Spend one month without a radio
16. Donate books
17. Interview your friends on video camera
18. Read to children
19. Listen to Mozart's Requiem without interruption
20. Give a taxi driver some advice
21. Write your high school teacher a thank-you note
22. Become familiar with duende
23. Take an acting class
24. Spend a day with a toddler
25. Protect the innocent
26. Dry some flowers
27. Go on a silent retreat
28. Start a new political party
29. Travel alone
30. Teach someone to read
31. Read, understand, and memorize three poems
32. Haggle ...and win
33. Press some flowers
34. Learn to play an instrument
35. Catch fireflies
36. Visit a monastery
37. Learn to sail
38. Attend a Catholic Mass
39. Fast for three days (just bread and water)
40. See the Great Wall of China
41. Ride Space Mountain
42. Spend some time in a third world country
43. Surf
44. Catch the bouquet
45. Roll your own sushi
46. Sit in first class
47. Send someone a "just thinking of you" card
48. Have your palm or tarot cards read
49. Walk on the beach in winter
50. Rearrange all the furniture in your living room
51. Leave your umbrella and take a walk in the summer rain
52. Watch a baby being born
53. Read or listen closely to "I have a dream"
54. Vote
55. Plan the perfect April Fools' Day prank
56. Become a Scrabble Champ
57. Win an argument
58. Let someone else win an argument
59. Try on your partner's clothes
60. Call your mother
61. Change your first name
62. Clean up your room
63. Fly a kite
64. Swallow your pride
65. Inspire someone
66. Send everyone you know a valentine
67. Give a rousing or moving speech
68. Go night-swimming in a light rain
69. Scream as loud as you can
70. Write to an athlete you particularly admire
71. Impress the boss
72. Line dance
73. Travel the globe
74. Interview your grandparents about their childhoods
75. Win a trophy
76. Mediate a dispute
77. Change jobs
78. Love more than once
79. Live beyond your means
80. Witness a miracle
81. Surf the net
82. Box
83. Keep track of love
84. Win an election
85. Chair a board
86. Learn to eat rice with chopsticks
87. Burn sandalwood incense
88. Play with puppies
89. Make a photo album or collage for your best friend
90. Watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on a big-screen TV
91. Read the Bible
92. Witness a revolution
93. Put glow-in -the-dark stars and asteriods in your room
94. Catch a butterfly, then let it go
95. Protest something
96. Learn how to give a great back rub
97. Submit your manuscript
98. Smile at someone on the subway
99. Collect seashells
100. Sleep on sundried sheets
101. Start a conversation with a stranger
102. Organize a family reunion
103. Throw a surprise party
104. Admit that you don't know
105. Start a tradition
106. Play Santa for a needy family at Christmas
107. Write a fan letter
108. Hit the road
109. Teach English as a second language
110. Catch a snowflake on your tonque
111. Tear down a wall, literal or otherwise
112. Go fishin'
113. Don't take the day off; take two
114. Do nothing
115. Soak in a hot tub
116. Become the president of something
117. Show up
118. Shut up
119. Get a really good foot massage
120. Cut off a bad relationship
121. Chuckle
122. Change your mind
123. Learn the difference between early and late
124. Take your time
125. Frame all your accomplishments
126. Congratulate and praise lots more people
127. Smell the flowers, the cooking, the rain and the sweat
128. Be gainfully self- employed
129. Be a big sister to a kid
130. Watch the sun rise on a Hawaiian isle
131. Bake brownies
132. See how far you can swim underwater
133. Own a King-size bed
134. Move
135. Take a walk in the woods at night when it's sbowing
136. Write what you remember before you forget
137. Hand up on an unwanted caller
138. Play badminton
139. Write an anonymous letter
140. Keep a journal
141. Get involved
142. Finish school
143. Ride a cable car in San Francisco
144. Ride a merry-go-round
145. Stop making New Year's resolution
146. Live without a phone for a full seven days
147. Practice smiling
148. Separate from your significant other for one month
149. Buy a sarong
150. Visit the sick
151. Stretch every muscle everyday
152. Eat your vegetables
153. Enjoy the moment without expecting it to last
154. Be the last to stop applauding
155. Mend a broken heart
156. Figure out how to make enough money
157. Have only one PIN number
158. Teach leadership
159. Eat dessert first
160. Get a facial
161. (can't be written)
162. Get to know your neighbors
163. Drink the milk from a coconut with a straw
164. Take a course at or get a degree fro Harvard
165. Get out of debt
166. One day spend $1000 in cash on at least six things
167. Pursue the one you love
168. Fall asleep counting your blessing
169. Learn to use a gun, but never have to
170. Grow long hair
171. Be a pen pal
172. Float
173. Partake in a demonstration
174. Depose a witness
175. Use a seesaw
175. Move an audience to tears
176. Wear pajamas all day long
177. Know where you stand
178. Eat candy for breakfast
179. Tell your age proudly
180. Be the life of the party
181. Smile,relentlessly, at a grumpy person
182. Have a picnic on the beach in February
183. Start a trend
184. Order from the kid's menu
185. Shop at a farmer's market
186. Play with your food
187. Reread old love letters
188. Rekindle a flame
189. Set an example
190. Discover the roots of your first name
191. Ask for a discount
192. Astonish and amaze yourself
193. Sign autographs
194. Become familiar with the facade of Notre Dame de Paris
195. Change someone's mind
196. Do it in the road
197. Have passion for your work
198. Let the phone ring
199. Practice sitting up straight
200. Fall in love on a first date
201. Start a pillow fight
202. Invite your friends over for a slumber party
203. Be a godparent
204. Wow your friends with your karaoke routine
205. Wear a wig
206. Make a fuss over your mom's cooking
207. Sweep someone off his feet
208. Lose your cool
209. Pretend you don't speak English
210. Wear sunglasses at night
211. Watch a session of Congress from the visitor's gallery
212. Achieve greater family happiness
213. Read the fine print
214. Face everyone else in the elevator
215. Wear a lei
216. Love a teddy bear
217. Wonder
218. Play in Madison Square Garden
219. Forecast the future
220. Wear the pants
221. Press the mute button
222. Moonlight with your hobby
223. Throw strikes
224. Leave the place in better shape than you found it
225. Leave the bed unmade, the toilet seat up, and the toothpaste cap off - just once
226. Write out your plan for life
227. Buy nothing for a weekend - not even public transportation
228. Cry copiously
229. Approach each new year with unchecked enthusiasm
230. Spot oxymorons
231. Let someone else win
232. Memorize people's scent
233. Absorb
234. Wear your seatbelt
235. Learn to read music
236. Hula-Hoop
237. Mesmerize
238. Leave work early and take your family to dinner and a movie
239. Listen to the sound of love
240. Splurge on the wedding dress of your dreams
241. Stand the test of time
242. Spit off the Eiffel Tower
243. Paint your toenails
244. Make your own pizza
245. Daydream for a whole day
246. Tell fortunes
247. Toast marshmallows
248. Genuflect and bow your head
249. Get around, get off, get away, get ahead, and get together
250. Watch an egg hatch
251. Fall head-over -heels in love
252. Take part in heaven on earth
253. Be more careful esp.around ladders
254. Open all the windows
255. Get engaged at least once
256. Ask him to marry you
257. Breath deeply
258. Kiss people on both cheeks
259. Create an annual family ritual of some kind
260. Amaze
261. Decide on a favorite color and a lucky number
262. Take one day at a time
263. Brainstorm
264. Laugh out loud
265. Keep the sabbath
266. Have a day of rest
267. See if acupuncture works for you
268. Play with clay
269. See a full eclipse
270. Appreciate the love handles
271. Contemplate your navel
272. Study the lessons of history
273. Touch your elbows behind your back
274. Rent a jukebox
275. Meet your lover at a motel
276. Negotiate a better deal
277. Network
278. Share the profits
279. Supplement your income
280. Clean up the mess
281. Give up being perfect
282. Bathe in the lap of luxury
283. Be childlike, not childish
284. Read bedtime stories
285. Read the Beatitudes
286. Caveat emptor
287. Know the way out and the way in
288. Consider the opposite
289. Wear a virtual reality helmet
290. Allow yourself an outburst
291. Sing in a glee club, a capella group
292. Come from behind
293. Meet the love of life's ex, and shook her hand and say "thank you"
294. Fall in love on public transportation
295. Tell everyone special to you that you love them
296. Spend a few days in a place where you are the minority
297. Understand what loneliness really means
298. Buy the best seat in the house for a play with great reviews
299. Roll down a small hill
300. Hustle
301. Quarrel calmly
302. Drop names
303. Ask for a raise
304. Give raises
305. R.S.V.P
306. Be serious
307. Let your hair down
308. Save your leftovers and give them to the hungry
309. Sin no more
310. Soap up your partner
311. Stroll the Champs-Elysees
312. Win a spelling bee
313. Do lunch with
314. Surround yourself with trust
315. See the good in those with whom you differ
316. Hear a newborn baby cry
317. Mingle
318. (can't be written)
319. Immerse yourself in another culture
320. Stop daydreaming and seek your fortune
321. Read all the stuff that come home from school
322. Reach out and touch someone
323. Start with the air you breathe and list all the good things in your life
324. Get eight hours of sleep every night
325. Lead, follow, or get out of the way
326. Live without a cellphone
327. Locate and call a childhood friend you haven't communicated with at least twenty years
328. Try being a vegan
329. Write all that you remember of your family history for the next generation
330.Invite all of the childhood friends you can find to a reunion at your residence
331. Detect a forgery
332. Sing at a wedding
333. Become so good at white water rafting that you can be a guide on the most difficult rivers
334. Travel the world by reading
335. Overcome adversity
336. Survive
337. Comfort the afflicted
338. Have your own website
339. Gather a bunch of friends for a Halloween hayride
340. Live within your means
341. Release balloons in church
342. Get your teeth whitened
343. Be a game show contestant
344. Put down the toilet seat
345. Enjoy Intercourse, Pennsylvania
346. Take a month of weekends
347. Go back to where you came from
348. Wear flowers in your hair
349. Spoil kids every once in a while
350. Be extravagant with your praise
351. Have a best friend who's really honest when you need it
352. Let your hair down
353. Wear a milk mustache in a "Got Milk?" ad
354. Thank everyone
355. Be accountable
356. Sing back- up
357. Define your utopia
358. Be intimate with
359. Have great friends
360. Have friends in high places
361. Have friends in low places
362. Exercise restraint
363. Cultivate grace
364. Eat a ripe mango
365. Witness a death
366. Play spin the bottle
367. Speak your piece
368. Speak your peace
369. Tour the Louvre
370. Read aloud Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
371. Squeeze a glass of fresh orange juice
372. Eat less fat
373. Eat more fat
374. Count up everything in these pages you've already done
375. Live

Passing By Connecticut: A Picturesque Gateway to New England

After tasting the authentic New England cuisine and culture for a few days in Boston, we headed to New York to go home to my prince family in New Jersey. On board a bus, we passed by Connecticut, an easy drive from Boston, Massachusetts for a picturesque view of the southern gateway to New England. Connecticut is rich with rolling landscapes, dainty villages centered upon town greens, lots of hiking and bicycling trails, and many antique shops. From the bus window, I took a picture of New Haven, Connecticut but it didn't turn out well so I downloaded the above picture with permission.

New Haven is the third largest municipality in Connecticut, after Bridgeport and Hartford. It is located in New Haven County, on New Haven Harbor, on the northern shore of Long Island Sound. Quite interesting to me is to know that New Haven is the home of Yale University, another Ivy League University that I have been hoping to see. I'm fascinated with Yale's rich 300-year history and it's beautiful architecture. Also the Gothic Sterling Memorial Library and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which is home to a preeminent collection of rare materials, including a Gutenberg Bible are part of the reasons why I want to see Connecticut. But oh well, I'll have my chance in time. For now, I am satisfied that I can say I have been to Connecticut and counted it as the 26th US States I have been to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Boston: The Hub of the Universe

Once considered the "Hub of the Universe", Boston still clings to a pride developed as the birthplace of America. There's history and culture at every turn, and I feel lucky that I have visited Boston during the Valentine weekend last Feb. 12 to 14, 2009, as the venue for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society conference.

With the limited time I have in Boston,I made sure that I'll be able to do the "Five Reasons To Go to Boston" that I have read in a book sometime ago.

1. The Freedom Trail

-I walked along Paul Revere's fated path for a glimpse of living American history.

2. Cultural Encounters

-Boston world-class music scene includes Symphony Hall, several impressive collections of art abd a vibrant strongly supported local arts scene.

3. Red Sox Nation

Boston's baseball team is the one thing that will bring the entire city to its feet or its knees. During our visit to the Prudential Tower, we were able to see the stadium where the games are held and how big of a deal it is for the people of Boston to cheer and rally behind every game of the Red Sox, Patriot and Celtics. Even Yankees credit card is not welcome in this US State.

4. Wicked Good Food

- Part of the Law Society conference is a Dinner at the Quincy Market for the authentic New England cuisine. There are also independent restaurants owned by local chefs which put this city next to New York and San Francisco on the culinary map.

5. Harvard Halls

-The country's most well- regarded institution is also one of the oldest and most beautiful. From ivy-laced brick buildings to the namesake square on the edge of the campus, I was able to see this must-visit neighborhood on a single leisurely stroll.

And because it is Valentines, my prince gave me a bonus tracks by bringing me to Beacon Hill Chocolate, Cheers and a leisurely walk of Boston in a freezing winter climate.

Friday, February 13, 2009

HARVARD University and the Three Lies about the John Harvard Statue

Everyone would know that Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and a member of the Ivy League, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A, but very few would know about the origin of the name Harvard.

I was privileged to visit Harvard University last February 12-14, 2009 as the venue for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society conference. We were toured around the historic Harvard and have taken pictures at the John Harvard statue prominently located at the Harvard Square. On the Statue, the following words are inscribed: John Harvard, Founder, 1637. We were later informed that none of the three inscriptions are true. As the farthest delegation, the Philippine chapter attendees (Comm. Roy Almoro, Atty. Zaniah Siton, Atty. Maricel Sulit, Atty. Kinggay Tandan and myself) were given a tour of the campus by Harvard law students Christian Robinsons and Joshua, and we were told of the Three Lies about the Statue: it was not John Harvard (but the son of the Mr. Hoar), John Harvard was not the founder and that the establishment of Harvard University was not in 1637. The truth is this: initially called "New College" or "the college at New Towne", the institution was named Harvard College on March 13, 1639, after a young clergyman named John Harvard, who bequeathed the College his library of four hundred books and £779 (which was half of his estate). When asked why no one made the effort to change the inscriptions, they just said "just so they could tell about the three lies about the John Harvard statue"..haha.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A week in San Francisco (Feb. 3 to 11, 2009)

This is actually my 5th or 6th visit here in San Francisco. I have seen most of the tourist spots here before, so I have this week-long vacation dedicated to my bestfriend Dearie. It is her birthday on the 10th (i guess she's turning 18, let me ask her!) and I just let her plan the itinerary. Whatever she had planned, I'll go for it! Of course, I also want to meet my other friends like Judee Abalos, Jeanne Serrano and Mike Olsen among others.

So here's a sneak peek at my itinerary here in San Francisco.

February 3
I arrived in San Francisco in the evening and as expected my bestfriend Dearie was at the airport to welcome me. As soon as we got out of the airport, I felt the chill and realized I'm no longer in the Philippines.

February 4- morning
Fort Funston

Fort Funston is a rugged stretch of coastal headlands, sand, and dunes south of Ocean Beach. In some places, the dunes reach heights of 200 feet or more. At the foot of Fort Funston’s cliffs is a wild and windy beach suitable for walking or horseback riding. Trails down to the beach scale the steep dunes with Dutch sand ladders (which help prevent erosion). On the beach, you’ll see shells, sand dollars, seaweed, and other signs of marine life. These great sandy bluffs, combined with the steady ocean breeze, make Fort Funston one of the premier hang-gliding spots in the nation.
ALthough I didn't walk there, Fort Funston is also the site for the Battery Davis which was the first of the casemated batteries. The barrels of its two massive, 16-inch guns weighed 146 tons apiece. Battery Davis served as the prototype for all 16-inch gun emplacements built in America after 1938. Explore Battery Davis from the Sunset Trail.

February 4 - morning
Holocaust Memorial

A certain George Segal created this memorial which overlooks the San Francisco Bay at Land's End. It's just northeast of the Legion of Honor. The memorial invited a swell of emotion as I join the lone standing figure and gazed through the barbed wire fence.

February 4 - Afternoon
San Francisco Zoo

Northern California's largest zoological park features approximately 1,000 exotic and endangered wildlife. I visited Grizzy Gulch, home to two grizzly bears and strolled through the African Savanna habitat. I also experienced the wonders of the Children's Zoo and visited the Gorilla Preserve, Penguin Island, Koala Crossing, and Lemur Forest among others.

February 5 - morning
Golden Gate Park

Historic San Francisco landmark in Golden Gate Park since 1879 boasting rare tropical flowers and plants from around the world. Architectural gem with five distinct galleries.

February 5 - Evening
Shopping at Macy's

February 6 - morning
Shopping at Stonestown Mall

February 6 - afternoon

Formerly a military post, the Presidio is a national park and recreational paradise featuring spectacular vistas, meandering trails, and historic and architectural treasures.

Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf
One of San Francisco's premier Bay attractions: a festival marketplace with more than 110 stores, 13 Bay view restaurants and a variety of fun-filled attractions for all ages, including the world-renowned sea lions, street performers and live daily entertainment.

February 7 - morning
Oakland Temple

February 7 - afternoon
Meeting Judee and Jean

Jeanne Serrano and Judee Abalos are my two friends in San Sebastian College Institute of Law and they are both in California now, and both happily married. Jeanne lives in Vallejo while Judee lives in Sacramento.
In order for us to meet even briefly, Judee invited both me and Jeanne for her cousin's birthday at their house in Vallejo. It was a great visit. I enjoyed the food - all Filipino, the videoke and the companionship and friendship of long-time friends.

February 8 whole day
East Bay Ward
(Linger Longer)

Every second and fourth Sunday, the East Bay Single's Ward has this Longer Linger thing after Church service. I enjoyed being there and meeting lots of great people. I felt like a celebrity too - because my bestfriend Dearie only has good words about me and she keeps on repeating that to all those in the ward.

February 9 - morning

February 9 - evening

February 10
Ate Dearie's Birthday Celebration
Moonstar Buffet

Videoke at Home (House of Sisig)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Quotation of the Day

Travel Philippines

Travel Philippines

Travel USA

Travel USA
New York - View from the Empire State Building

Travel Australia

Travel Australia
Opera House - Sydney