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Location: Chicago, United States

I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

We will be leaving for the orient on Saturday 17 February. My wife wants to go to Hongkong first then to Macau. After that, we will go to Manila to visit my parents. Then after 10 days in Manila we will go to Bangkok, from there we will fly to Hongkong then Chicago.

I am using and availing myself all the benefits that is part of being an employee of one of the major airlines in Chicago.

I told my wife to take the vacation now since her company is outsourcing the different department in their company and already laid off 500 people and is still increasing in numbers. So, I told my wife that she has to take the vacation and for us to unwind. We need to go to a warmet place and I want to take the break from the back breaking task of removing the snow at my backyard and my long driveway.

I already gave instructions to my eldest son that he needs to come to the house everynight before he heads for his own apartment to check on the gas and to walk the dog and water my plants.

I gave instructions to the utilities that I will be gone for at least three weeks and so they will have to wait to be paid when i returned back.

I have checked on the payments of the one credit card that I hold and gave payments good for two months and explained to them I will be gone and I don't want to have penalty for late payments of the card.

I have called the police department and told them the days and date I will be gone and asked them to check on my backyard also at night and told them that my son will be coming in and out of the house in the evening to take care of my dog.

The mails will be taken cared of by my mother in law and the garbage, if any, will be done by my son also.

My wife is always complaining of all these actions that I do prior our departure. I was trying to explain to her that there wont be anybody at the house during the day and I will take any house sitter to watch the house and the dog.

Then there is this friend of my wife who called this morning and said he will just send something to his sister in manila -- a small manila envelope he said. The envelope came to day and it is the bigger manila envelope and whatever is inside is so darn heavy, around 10 pounds. I asked him to open it infront of me and I wanted to know what is inside the manila envelope that is very heavy.It is good I asked it opened infront of me and it was a brass plate that is intended for the tombstone of his mother. I told him, I will and refuse to bring that metal plate and he was making me feel guilty and all. He was saying that if in case I needed to send something to my relatives back home when he goes back home, he will be glad to bring it along with him. I told this man that I have never had any intention of sending anything to my relatives back home to anybody. I also told him that nobody will know he is going back home because he always keeps it as a secret. My wife just made a mistake of telling him that we are going back home.

Of course, he is now upset with us and practically I dont' cae. He kept on saying that the tombstone marker is very important and his sisters are all waiting for it. I told him in turn, that that is not my problem anymore and he could just send it via FedEx.

So, Auntie Pattie Koh, I don't know why a lot of our kababayans are like this. Everytime they heard somebody is going back home, they immediately assume that they can just send anything. I really don't like it and then when I cannot give into their demands, I am at fault and the bad guy.

Oh well!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

This day is so boring. I am about to die of boredom. I am like the Prisoner of Senda in my house with this kind of weather. After undergoing a series of below zero temperature, especially after me, just arriving last two weeks from the warm climate of Manila, I do am adjusting to the extreme cold condition.

Now, this past three days, we are caught up with snow storm. It is so hard to clear the snow at the backyard of my house because the yard is so big and there are wide space to plow the snow but no place to dump it except on the side of the fence and underneat the apple trees. My dog is even buried underneat those apple trees and now I am burying my dog with snow and tons and tons of it too.

I did not care to salt the driveway after I have plowed the snow. I am so tired and I smell like carbon monoxide from the smoke coming from the exhaust pipe of the snow blower. My smaller snowblower gave up and is no longer working. I will not bring it to the repair shop anymore. That small snow blower is now history. I am using a bigger one and this has a powerful engine. But the problem with this one, is that I am to use reverse and it takes longer time to maneuver and drag the snow blower around. The throwing power of this blower is very good.

Right now, as I am documenting this as I look outside the window, it is not very promising. The snow is still falling and the sky is becoming very dark and the visibility outside is very bad. I will wait until the weather clears before I clear the snow again.

What a mess.

And so Auntie Patti Koh, I cannot wait to go back to Pinas this Satruday 17Feb and will forget about the snow and the weather that is so cold it is chilling my bones and my body.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

I encountered this lady thru the web site. I was a greenhorn and really does not know anything about the web and most especially the world of Bloggers. I was so bored that day that I decided to follow what my younger brother told me -- go and read some of the blogs that he was reading and he said he was having fun reading it especially the comments of other people on issues and articles that each blogger create and put in his or her blog.

So I did.

Then I was so engrossed reading and understanding these blogs that I have encountered that I decided I want to have a blog of my own.

So I did.

I met this wonderful lady thru the website. I love reading her own personal anecdotes, her personal experiences, daily activities and other things that she liked blogging for people to read and she could share it also and get some input from her readers. I kept on reading her blog, and giving my comments and some times jokes and my sensitivity also. I wanted to have a blog like her.

So I did.

Thru the help of this lady, I was able to have my own blog, where I create and posts all sorts of things that I come across and read. I do read a lot and wanted to share it also to other people. They might like it or they may not. Whatever the readers feels about my blog entries -- that is their own personal opinion. I will still blog.

So, Auntie Pattie Koh. I now have a blog where I could enter, posts and create things that I have read, informations that I wanted to share with other people, intersted in my interests.

You can visit me as long as you want at my blog site IN FRATERNAM MEAM

Thank you wonderful lady. You are a great lady!!

Monday, February 05, 2007


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

I have returned. I was gone for nearly a month and I had a good time. Too bad my wife was not with me because her U.S. passport took some time to be released because of the new provisions that was placed in the passport itself.

Well, I am back and reinvigorated from my trip. I was in the Philippines for three weeks and spent good time relaxing and enjoying my stay there with my ailing parents and the rest of my siblings.

I ate and ate until I was already about to fall on the ground. Such horrible attitude frome.... but I know you will understand me being away from home and wanting to taste the different cooking and visit the different restaurants back home.

Here are some of the places that I have tried:

1. The Penthouse at VIVERE.
One can enjoy the panoramic view of the entire surrounding areas, including the entire complex of Fiesta Mall and the entire Ayala Alabang area, and the Laguna de Bay. It was more romantic at night, when all the lights are flickeing at the Laguna de Bay area. The food is International flavor and ecclectic. The ambiance is very good and the place was well appointed in decors and settings.

2. Hotel Sofitel (formerly The Westin Hotel)
Newly opened Sofitel Hotel along the shoreline of Manila Bay is a sight to be with and to enjoy the cozy atmosphere. We had dinner at their buffet restaurant, the SPIRAL. It was an international flavor restaurant at the lower level of the hotel. I was amazed with the assortment of food on the table, especially the seafood cauldron that has the catch of the day (Curatcha,Prawns,Mussels,Crab legs,Oysters)Then there is the Filipiniana atmosphere Barbeque grill place with live performances of folk dances and music along the bay walk of the hotel. They have a casino inside the hotel also.

3. The Palms Country Club
The place has three major restaurants to choose from and it is very cozy. I fell in love with their Japanese restaurant and their continental restaurant were we had our family private dinner the Sapphire room. The food is excellent with nice presentation. I love their bread and the appetizer bar.

4. Via Mare Greenbelt Park
Just love this place. Owned by Glenda Baretto. They have the best Bisque de Mediterrnae and the Crab in Mango Pao is so excellent, not to mention Prawns Isabela. It is very quiet and the setting is still the same. The appointment of the plants and the furnishings is really very good.

5. Alfredo's Steak House
An institution along Tomas Morato in Quezon city. Owned by Alfredo Araneta(deceased) and is now being run and operated by his wife Milagros Araneta. Manang Mitos was married to my brother in law, who also died of heart attack, so was a widow twice. Surprisingly, still good food and service but surprisingly, majority of the clienteles are chinese. I love their Manggo Macarova for dessert.

6. Serye at Fiesta Mall Alabang
Also part of an institution, Serye is part of the Reyes family restaurant Aristocrat. SERYE is the reverse of the last name REYES. Aside from their regular house order barbecue chicken with Java rice and other pinoy cuisine, I was amazed with their BoneLess Crispy Pata. It was so good and if one is not careful, this can kill you also of cholesterol. The place is very affordable and family type.

I also visited and tried some of the Mall restaurant like:

Movie goers carryout siopaos and other chinese dimsum.

All night breakfast place for TAPSILOG (Tapa,Sinangag $ Itlog),LONGALOG (Longaniza at Itlog with rice), PAKAPLOG (Pandesal, Kape and Itlog) KAPLOG (Kape at Itlog) and of course they also have lumpia Shanghai.

Ramen House with sushi that is very affordable.

Vegetarian and Indian cuisine in very austere serving.

Meals in dahon ng saging and brown paper. One can order rice with tapa, longaniza, sisig, daing na bangus as topping and there is freshly cut tomatoes and salted egg with each order. Then the entire thing is wrapped in banana leaves and wrapped again in brown paper then placed in a brown bag.

Pinoy cuisine fastfood style. I like their crispy hipon.

These are deep friend fish balls, Kikiam Balls, Squid Balls, Shrimp balls, Lobster Balls and it goes with their sawsawan (dip), spicy or mild. All on a bamboo skewer.

Egg Specialist, cooking a one day old chick in a batter then serve with the dip. I almost threw up when I saw the feet of the chich raised up and deep fried.

All Malay cooking and very affordabel with the touch of pinoy presentation.

Pinoy cooking and Ihaw Ihaw.

Fastfood style eatery with all the jeepney driver and bus driver and pedicab drivers. But the simplicity of the food makes it good and very affordable.

Exotic Pinoy cuisine that I did not venture to try. Please forgive me, I am not yet that brave to venture into the unknown.

Pinoy cooking with chinese flavor

Lugaw, Tapa and all Pinoy short orders.

Of course there were lots of dessert places to choose from and snack places. I ventured into places that is very native and more appealing to the Pinly taste buds, like:

Empanada being cooked infront of the patron with Sukang Iloco as their dip with garlic. Dont forget their Okoy, very superb.

All types of rice cakes in their heavy coconut milk and coconut oil toppings witb freshly grated coconut serve in fresh banana leaves.

Merienda of Lumpiang Ubod, Palabok, Dinuguan at Puto and their Halo Halo.

Halo Halo sweets with 12 flavors to choose from.

I love the merienda of Guisadong Miki Bihon. I will come back for it.

And so, Auntie Pattie Koh, when I returned back to the states, I have gained much. I won't tell you. I had fun and I attended the Ati Atihan in Aklan, then we went to Boracay. My kid brother from New Jersey came home also because he was the alternate drummer for the rock group HOTDOGS that performed at the stadium in Aklan.

I will return back again this 17 February to Manila, then my wife and I will proceed to Hongkong and then to Macau then return back to Hongkong for our final trip to Chicago on the 2nd of March.