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Love, Love, Love, Love…Crazy Love


I grew up with the Gboys as my extended family. These crazy guys from Ateneo are like brothers to my husband, and so they are family to me as well. They spent four eventful years in high school together…so you can just imagine the bond and the love they have for each other. Eventually, a lot of them got married…and some are still getting married. And this post is about the video that some Gboys (including my hubby…what a surprise!) filmed for their beloved classmate, Gibby, who got married to Sab last March 28, 2009. My hubby decided to be part of this video because we know that we won’t be able to go to their wedding as we are already en route to Europe on that day. I watched the filming of this video — which took a whooping four hours or so (for the love of Gibby and Sab) — but, I’ve never imagined that it’ll turn out this nice, and this crazy!!! The song choice is really meant to be corny to add to the humor…and well, the acting is meant to be “boy band-ish” too. Gosh, I have never laughed so hard…I can imagine how pleasantly surprised Sab was during her wedding day with this being part of the wedding reception program. I mean, who would have thought that they have friends (who are all professionals, by the way) who are willing to be this cheezy?! Hahaha! That’s what friendship and love do, I guess. :)

To Gibby and Sab…we love you and we are soooooooo sorry to have missed your wedding. I sorely missed all of you after watching this video, and it has definitely made me feel lucky to have so much love in my life through you both and the rest of the Gboys family. Indeed, indeed…there is much love to go around.

NOTE: This video was conceptualized and edited by John Unson — a really talented guy. You should hire him! You’d be crazy not to. :)

Where to Stay in Paris


Paris is flooded with tourists all year round, but most especially during summer. They say that Parisians escape to their country homes to avoid the mad rush in the metro and almost anywhere during this time. And I guess with the throng of tourists flying in, the hotels are fully booked around this time. But I think there’s a better and cheaper alternative to hotels if you don’t mind cleaning after your own mess — rent a Paris apartment!

There are a number of agencies who rent apartments short term or long term, and they usually have reasonable prices and their apartments are well located. I can really vouch for one agency — My Flat in Paris. We have rented with them for a couple of times already and their apartments are really beautiful, well-located (Central Paris), and well-kept. Their service is superb, too. Not to mention that they speak English really well, so you can go ahead and forget about the language barrier. :) And if you are fairly new here in Paris and wouldn’t want to risk getting lost from the airport to your rented apartment, you can also ask them to arrange an airport pick-up for you and their chauffeur will promptly pick you up at the airport and carry your luggage, too. I cannot overemphasize what a big relief it is to have someone help you carry your luggage. If you’re lucky, your apartment will have an elevator, but if you’re not, you will have to deal with very narrow stairs…and I tell you, it is not easy to trudge all the way up with your bags in tow.

Now, if you are preparing for a really grand Paris vacation, why not rent a designer Paris apartment? A La Carte Paris specializes in such, and I guess they are the only ones who market their apartments as “designer apartments”. I have met the owner of this agency, and I can say that he really takes great effort in providing world-class accommodations and have really put his heart in coming up with great designs for each of their apartments. You should see his office! It’s really nice and warm in there…so I guess you can expect the same in any of their 70 apartments in Paris. Their apartments are also located in Central Paris, and they have already prepared booklets for their guests which has all the information that a tourist will ever need to have a wonderful vacation in Paris. Isn’t it thoughtful of them? :)

For those who are coming over to Paris to work, I think it’ll be a great idea for you to get an apartment near La Defense, Paris’ business district which is just outside the Paris border. I came across the family-owned apartment rental, 5Pierre, which has apartments in the La Defense area. I have personally visited one of their apartments and found it to be nice, practical, and with well-thought-of layout — well-suited for busy professionals.

But of course, apartment renting might not suit everybody. It is still nice to have somebody fix your bed and bring you breakfast — especially if you’re on a holiday. So go on, book a hotel and pamper yourself if you must. Paris hotels won’t disappoint, I’m sure. :)

And We Meet Again


I stared at the little pizza on my hand with disbelief. This was the same pizza flavor I ate some eons ago before boarding the same KLM flight en route to Amsterdam, and then to Paris. Some things never change. I took a second bite and it finally sank in — I’m staying in Paris for the next couple of years and the pressure to learn French is definitely on! I hope I’m not too old to learn a new language. Sigh. Another bite. Thanks to KLM for the free food which distracts my thoughts.

We arrived a little over 10:00 in the evening and the chauffeur was diligently waiting for us outside Charles de Gaulle Airport. I took one look at his sleek car and I wondered if he will seriously load all four of our big luggage there — it might hurt his car! And guess what, he really did load them all up, and even carried all of them up to our apartment in the 7th floor! Nice guy, huh?! We got him through My Flat In Paris, an agency which I highly recommend if you want to rent a vacation apartment in Paris — which is more practical than booking a hotel room, by the way. More of that on another post.

I am writing this post because Paris never ceases to amaze me. When daylight came and I took my usual walking route from our apartment to Champs Elysees, then to Eiffel Tower, the sights still took my breath away — just like when I first saw them. Indeed, some things never change. :)

Allow me to share some Paris sights here. I hope that I will someday welcome you in the City of Lights. Who knows? :)

DFA: Philippine Passport


I read in a blog of a fellow Filipina in France that renewing your Philippine Passport in France is like pulling teeth; and so without further ado, we decided to personally head to the Department of Foreign Affairs to renew our passports before we leave. We could have opted to do this via Pilipinas Teleserv, but we thought it’ll be good to personally process it on our own and see how DFA’s system is.

Well, it didn’t come as a surprise that there is so much room for improvement in DFA’s Philippine Passport renewal process. We arrived at around 7:00am, and braved the long queue of people until 8:30am, only to be told that they have reached their quota and we have to come back tomorrow! After standing in line for an hour and a half under the brutal sun, I just had to summon heavenly powers to keep myself from transforming into something hideously monstrous. :D

Tip 1: Get an appointment if you don’t want to take your chances. Follow this link to secure a schedule: Philippine Passport Application Appointment

What makes me more sad, though, is the presence of scammers/fixers near DFA who victimize unknowing Philippine Passport applicants, especially those who came from provinces. They would sell them anything from forms, pens, pictures, etc…and claim that these are all required by DFA. Their wares don’t come cheap, mind you. Sadly, a lot of people actually fall for these things. :(

Tip 2: Read the requirements of DFA before heading there so you won’t be duped by these scam artists. The list of requirements and fees for Philippine Passport applications, renewals, and replacements, can be found in this link: Philippine Passport Requirements and Fees

After a week, we were asked to come back for our Philippine Passports, but because we were already dreading the long queue, we decided to sign up for courier services instead.

Tip 3: If you don’t want to go back to DFA  to pick up your passport, you can enlist with the couriers that abound inside DFA’s premises. They will deliver your passport for only P100 within Metro Manila. They also do provincial deliveries, but they have a different delivery rate for this.

Recipe: Pesto pasta Alla Genovese


I go to Cibo for my favorite comfort food…farfalle alla genovese. Cibo is owned by renowned chef Margarita Fores, who also by the way owns Adora, and has brought exquisite Italian cuisine to the Philippines. I wish I can ask Margarita for the recipe of her farfalle genovese, but since I can’t, I just searched the Internet for a quick recipe for this dish. I was surprised to have found quite a lot of ways to do it, and so I just combined the different recipes and came up with my own. :)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons pesto genovese (you can add more if you like a strong pesto taste)
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose cream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta noodles (whatever kind you like; I use penne)
  • a drizzle of olive oil (just enough to saute the mushroom)
  • a pinch of salt (I use sea salt)

Preparations:

  • Cut your mushrooms in thin slices, in the size you want
  • I just buy prepared pesto genovese in the grocery, but it is better if you can prepare it yourself. Here’s how to make fresh pesto genovese by a rather quirky chef. Note that the video also includes how to use the pesto genovese in pasta…you may want to ignore that because it’s overly simplified. Hehehe!

Cooking Instructions:

Cook your pasta noodles in a separate pan.

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the shitake mushrooms for a minute. Add your pesto genovese, all purpose cream, evaporated milk. Stir until the mixture looks even, and then add water. Bring to a boil and add salt to taste.

Then, you can add in your cooked pasta…and you’re done! You can put in some freshly ground pepper before you serve. And, don’t forget the bread!