I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

11 December, 2015

PAF rescue chopper

0800H  today, at the Nuvali field. For Solenad's Emergency Drill.

     The Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopter passed low over our home at around 7 and upon hearing it, my child asked "..airplane?".   Which reminds me how different her childhood is from mine.  At least where identifying aircraft is concerned.  

    You see, I grew up and spent around a quarter of a century, the growing up years of my life, living in military bases...the air force ones in particular.  A huge asthma trigger for me was the smell of airplane fuel,  I knew the dawn was coming when the commercial airlines' engines would warm up, or being tested, at the hangar nearby. And with my father having been a pilot, I did hope to learn to fly too.

   And here, in Sta. Rosa, save for the occasional private helicopters heading South usually over Tagaytay, and the airlines soaring very high above, my child does not hear aircraft.

   Which is probably a good thing, as the noise and air pollution must have done a number on my brain.
    Still...this sight is something I do miss. I could not help but take photos.  Ayala Mall Solenad cinema is in the background, on the right.  The white structure on the left is the new S&R.

01 December, 2015

Now Brewing in Laguna

I now appreciate the fascination for craft beer.  Friends have started brewing these in the neighborhood  (their capacity and the facility is large, to my mind, I hesitate to call it "home brewing").

They had us sample them, and I enjoyed the first one I tasted. (We happened to have spicy chicken wings along with the surprise bottles. Good timing!)

Tuff Tuko with every sip somehow brought me back to Baguio...Baguio just last January.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but there was certainly something "woody" about it. 

Then my friend sent me this flyer, and I also then read the label..."pine hops"...no wonder...!

So what do I appreciate about their beers? Fresh tasting, just the bitterness of beer but no bitter aftertaste.  I've had pilsner in Prague and aside from Baguio memories...this reminded me of the Czech republic. Really.

Merry Christmas friends and family...these are coming your way when I see you!

27 November, 2015

S&R Nuvali

Sorry I have not taken a photo just yet.  S&R opened last November 14, and it was an insane weekend on the road to it.  Luckily, I was not one of those stuck in the jams on either days.

I heard...residents from the Westgrove side of town (who take the Nuvali blvd, which should go through the intersection to Solenad), were stuck for around 45 minutes just on that road, and so decided to turn back, and head for the S&R in Alabang instead.

I happened to be at Shopwise, where I overheard a cashier muttering that the reason their store was empty was that everyone was at S & R.

Nuvali via Silangan Exit

    Past the now famous Eton/Asia Brewery toll exit, shortly after the Cabuyao exit, is "Silangan".  To get to Nuvali from here, you will have to enter the Carmelray Industrial Park or Carmeltown.  That road is a wide avenue bordered by many big old trees.  Beautiful trees.

   In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cogon,  surprise! A branch of San Sebastian College stands, its architecture gothic to mimic the original basilica in Manila.  Wow, San Sebastian here, who knew?

     Then you arrive in Nuvali, and if you have one of the appropriate car stickers, you take either the left or right side of the road. The right turn leads you alongside Avida Settings, and directly across Treveia and Xavier school.  The left one leads to this mass housing development, Avida Parkway I believe, or another Avida.  It is also next to the Venare development, which, if I remember right, is an "Alveo" development.  

    Heck, Nuvali's just too big and has too many villages within it, too many names keep cropping up!

     I can rant and rave about the loss of grassland (sugarland) "till the cows come home" (sorry!had to!), but there's no stopping "development", is there.

       Will they really still have a "home" in a few years...

     My seven year old asked..."are they free-range cows!"  I don't know if she realized how loaded this question actually was...because really, their "range" was just the other side of the road, where many houses stand.

     After the Republic Wake Park, straight on leads to Miriam College, while to the right is the main Nuvali blvd. Montecito is on the left, and straight on to the end is the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road.  And, sigh, the Ayala Mall.

     Ah...Canlubang.  So different now.

   *If you do not go through Carmeltown (and pass its Morningfields village, The Mills Country Club, you will go through busy streets through which there is Ceres village, a PNP camp, a Puregold, Jollibee...  and end up at the Canlubang rotunda, the one between two gates of Nuvali...on the pot-holed street where Camella Homes Dos Rios, and Wyeth, Universal Robina, are located.  This rotunda is NOT really under Nuvali's jurisdiction, but there is cooperation in securing it.

     I proved this once when I saw two men with what looked like homemade cannons climbing into the grassy hill along the rotunda.  I told the gate guard who said they will send the roving team, and they did.  

      The other street leads to the Canlubang Golf and Country Club, AND a route, albeit rough, up to Tagaytay, where the People's Park/Palace in the Sky and Tagaytay Highlands are.  Along the way is also an old Marcos mansion...it still stands, in ruins.  There is also a "Japanese tunnel", which I think I mentioned some years ago...and which was a destination among students looking for thrills (I believe there is a pool of water they swim in?
I would not feel too safe going through this road in the evenings though. It's quite isolated.

10 November, 2015






17 October, 2015

Ryuma's Takoyaki

    If you can find it, outside the Ramen section, on a corner facing the Laguna blvd, hidden past all the kitsch and quirkiness of the main Ryuma...is their Takoyaki stall.  

     Ryuma's fare has improved greatly since it first opened.  The menu is extensive, very reasonably priced, with food portions quite satisfying.  Of course the place is decorated in a surreal, gaudy way...and their weekend dance performances quite...unique...but all this can be fun and entertaining. The mariachi is good by the way.

  You'll forgive them anything because the most important thing is, the food is very good.

     Sometime ago I enjoyed this blog post by gabmesina.blogspot.com, which best captured my impression of Ryuma restaurant.  I like how she blogger said it all, through her words and her photos!  


     I've grown to seek their Takoyaki---tastes so much better than those from kiosks in other places here.  Also, an order is Php 20.00 for 4 balls.  At 5 pesos per authentic ball, this is worth the walk (from where another Takoyaki kiosk is located).   I spied students and employees grabbing some to snack on (to lunch on, even).

20 August, 2015

Save the Philippine Eagle

It hurt to hear about Pamana and the Philippine Eagles.

This echoed in my head. Go to 16:22. Joey Ayala's Haring Ibon.

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Ayala Mall Solenad

I hate to be such a whiner about their having "paved paradise" again.  I will rant about the shrinking habitat again...(really, where are the birds now)...
and I know it is hypocritical of me because, well, I do patronize the shops.

What to do. It is a long weekend, and so if you got here, it's probably because you ran a search. Well, here it is. I know, if I sound unexcited, it's because I am.  The kid is excited...a big mall, like in the city, she says. It is now a city, she says.  Sure, lots of open spaces, as promised.  But really, the birds are going, going...gone.

My glum mood is aggravated by the killing of the Philippine eagle Pamana the other day.  It was an awful surprise to learn that 90% of Philippine eagles released end up shot.  

So anyway...still there are those wing-like roofs that were destroyed by that windy typhoon last year. Roofs where rain will simply flood toward a central locked in area of the roof, and damage gutters, pipes.  As a foreign neighbor once sighed about much of the weather-inappropriate architecture and engineering here..."...and this is a monsoon country.."

These were taken on August 15, when it seems the entire neighborhood plus those from Carmona, up to Alabang, came to dine.

So, everything will be here. There is something I notice---the "gentrification" of the city. I don't know why I chose that word..it just seems so apt.  You see, in the first few posts I wrote about how in 2009 shop girls around here would address customers as "Ate" and vise versa.  They were always very nice and accommodating.  Well, I have noticed that since around 2012, the "type" of "sales associates" has changed. Now they seem more like the Makati retailers...  now more of them welcome you in English. More of them seem like college graduates, more of them undergo special training specific to their brands.

Now, in Krispy Kreme, I am "Miss". It can get annoying how many times the "miss" is repeated. But I can ignore it.

Sadly,many customers are not "gentrified", to be frank.  These days, the mall parking lot is littered with rubbish. People seem to be tossing their paper cups, tetra paks, soiled baby diapers, food wrappers, right outside their parked cars.  

Outside the All Home store when it was brand new, I glared at two young men who threw their cigarette butts down a drain on the street.  I had earlier looked down into the drain to see trash in it.  These two guys then parked their car, got off, and tossed their butts down.

Is Sta. Rosa getting dirty quickly? It used to be so clean here.

Another scourge is the increasing number of abusive drivers.  Especially within Nuvali.  But I'm too tired to say more now.

12 July, 2015

Fruit Trees and Neighbors

Avocados from a friend's tree down the street...

Rambutan from next door neighbor's tree...

  A mango tree I planted five years ago bore its first fruits; a ten year old pomelo tree I brought along in a drum finally has fruit growing; a guyabano also hanging from the tree; finally tasted the atis before the bats beat me to them (they're sweet!); and a papaya tree is bearing lots of red lady papayas.

  Cooked Thai Tom Kha Gai for the first time with the galangal and lemongrass from my garden. Galangal/lengkwas/langkawas/kha which came from my Indonesian neighbor's garden, and originally from her tutor's Bicol hometown. 

   It doesn't take much, really, the soil here keeps us happy.

   On a sad note, I am mourning, I am delayed in mourning the loss of a lady I befriended three years ago. She who sold me my poinsettia three Christmases ago; from whom I purchased pots of Gynura Precumbens (they call it Ashitaba though that's different) to give as Christmas presents.  She was a cancer survivor, and she was not only a retailer of herbs and plants, but also an advocate of natural food, raw diet.  She not only sold the plants, she made friends with her customers and was sincere in her efforts.  She and her sister sold plants at Solenad, as a test for the future area of the mall. She was looking forward to the opening of the "Market" area of Solenad, where they were offered space.  Now, that space is open, and I looked for her but she was not there.  I was happy to have had a good conversation with her sister. But allowed myself a moment to remember her.



     So this is what they've done to that first, original row of buildings in what is now Paseo de Santa Rosa...

     I had wrongly assumed another building would rise in this spot, after its tenants were moved to other parts of the center.  Instead, I found grass, sky...and a good playground set.

    Perhaps management realized people were skipping this area for Nuvali?

    I got a little bit sentimental. On this spot stood the original strip with the Safari car rental office, Japanese restaurants, and a few offices. I really wish I had photos of the place almost twenty years ago.

    This was where we would stop for breakfast, brunch or lunch, on the way to Tagaytay. This was back when--and I am sure I have said this before--we would take this route up, but not down if it was too late in the evening.  The Japanese restaurants served the Japanese men from the surrounding Japanese companies. They still are around--Umenoya and Ippon Yari, but in other locations.  Pancake House is still there, in the building pictured on the right.

     By the time we moved here, the center of this strip was occupied by bars...it was pretty seedy actually, especially when they opened by twilight and on Wednesday and Friday and Saturday evenings.  It was actually a relief that they knocked this down.    

    Frankly, I find that this commercial area is confused, confusing, and really, not maximized. Well, I don't know about their profits, but from a customers' standpoint...it could be better.  It is too late in the evening for me to expound on this. I'll just leave it at that.  


27 April, 2015

Last of the land

May I selfishly say that I hope they (the owners) never do anything with that grassland? Ah but it is inevitable.

I do keep repeating this.

What a depressing blog!

24 April, 2015

Houses Robbed in the Area Again

These were taken last month, when the PNP, the Fire Department, Emergency and Rescue Services were stationed for about a week or maybe more at the intersection of the Sta. Rosa Tagaytay Road and Nuvali blvd.

They even set up white emergency tents behind these canopies.  Maybe they conducted demonstrations, I don't know.

It was a bit of a comfort back then, to know they existed "in the neighborhood".

Interestingly, on the same week of their presence, that road where you see cars coming from the south (Tagaytay), saw the same type of accident on different days.  Specifically, I saw on different days, cars at the front of the line, bumped from behind.  

My theory is that they were trying to beat the light, but made sudden stops upon seeing the many policemen and women under the tents, thus getting bumped from behind by the next cars.  Quite plausible, considering the mentality of most drivers here huh?

Seriously,  there have been numerous and varied vehicular accidents within this intersection and until a few meters away.  Many involved were motorcycles.

But my title talks about recent crimes, as in this week.  A new house in Santierra in Nuvali was robbed and the robbers shot at security guards.   The news as well as our own village's circular states nearby villages have had robbery incidents as well.  Again.  

Still on Silang

I stopped between mountains to admire this bridge. Nothing special except this road from the bayan ng Silang to bgy. Inchican's Cardiac Trail, goes up and down hills and through forests. 

Along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay highway, just past Sta. Rosa Heights, is Malaga Tiles' very attractive, simple, almost easy to miss Spanish storefront.  And these boys were setting up the crab stall.  Where do these crabs come from?

To the Hills of Silang I Go

Just in the next province, but still with more of that provincial character, many orchards, farms and hills...is Silang. 

The Alta Veranda de Tibig in bgy. Tibig, is an event (mostly weddings) venue in the middle of fields along the road from bgy. Inchican's Cardiac Trail.  See the wires?  Those are power lines, and to the immediate right stands an electric transmission tower.  Pretty house, ugly power tower.

An aside...it's a good thing this is just an event venue, and not a permanent residence.  There are studies that have linked residing (sleeping, living) next to such transmission towers to cancer cases, and even autism.

The left is a big church being constructed.  Very enterprising, indeed.
Alta Veranda de Tibig

Another road toward the Silang town proper but from bgy. Lumil, has the Saint Anthony de Padua church, which I blogged about when it was new around two or three years ago

I passed that church again and the area around it has come alive. That church has seen many weddings by now.  The idea has caught on...

Still on the Cardiac Trail/Alcalde road

View of Westgrove homes and Santa Rosa from the peak of the trail.

Here is the church of Silang.  It is right next to the Municipal Hall, in what is the town's plaza.  Locals along the road point to the corner Jollibee as the landmark.

Locals, especially tricycle drivers, point to Bgy. Tibig's Alcalde road to Cardiac Trail as "the road to Nuvali". This is mainly because this does lead out to the South Forbes and Westgrove's shared road, which turns right to Nuvali blvd and left to the Laguna blvd.  That road crosses a river, a real border separating Silang from Sta. Rosa.  


There Goes The Sky...

   Bitterly saying goodbye to my wide expanse of sky, with all the buildings being constructed.  Electric poles and wires are ugly enough. Shall this, the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road, become the next Alabang-Zapote road?  ...and I mean that in a negative way. 

That shop..the big guys, with cheap China furniture. Killer of quaint little village shops that sell local craft. 

   To be fair, I shall try to take photos of the opposite side to these, the new cinema building at the Solenad, Nuvali, and express sadness as well.

So it is another shopping mall.  This will no longer be a place that will interest balikbayans from the US.
    So much for open air shopping.  Anyway, the shops are nothing special. Just more of the same from Metro Manila.  The famed "outlets" in Paseo de Santa Rosa are no longer a draw, either.  New ones have opened, some have closed.

    As for restaurants...still a bit tricky out here, to gauge what will make it and what won't. Sadly, not many special places to eat as inside BF Homes Paranaque's holes-in-the-wall joints and new interiors.  Still the same old fast food joints raking it in.

M for Mt. Makiling, the view from here. That view will soon be covered, for sure.
That M (or the bee), in anytown, Philippines...anytown, Asia. No place is sacred.
   Apologies for sounding like Eeyore. Too depressing. That I am.  All because I am losing sky.