Monday, October 29, 2007

My (mis)Adventures with Dengue

It was Sunday when I started feeling feverish. Hubby took me to the emergency room at Asian Hospital. My fever was at 38.9C, was feeling cold, clammy and was shaking the entire time.

I was given a CBC (complete blood count). The doctors sent me home and gave me some antibiotics to combat the infection.

Monday, my fever was at 40C and was feeling really lousy. I bite the bullet and had a cold compress. My fever went down and I felt fine.

Tuesday, hubby stayed home with me to keep me company. I was feeling worse than ever. Aside from fever, joint pains and unceasing headache, I was also constantly vomiting. Hubby immediately took me to the emergency room again. I was given another CBC and an IV to hydrate me. We stayed in the ER for almost 5 hours. Hubby was extremely exhausted and stressed.

For the first time in my life, in the emergency room, I had a panic attack. I felt impending doom was to come upon me, I felt like there were steel bands constricting my every movement. Most of all, I felt trapped, extremely sad and felt that I was about to die. I am very thankful that hubby was there to calm me down and assure me that I'm not about to die. It took me quite a while to convince my brain that I'm going to be OK but I did it. It took every ounce of willpower not to succumb to the morbid thoughts playing in my mind. I never want to experience that ever again. It was the single most frightening experience of my life. I sympathize with those who experience panic attacks on a daily basis.

The doctor sent me home but had asked me to get another CBC in a few hours, my platelets have dropped dramatically from my previous CBC and they suspect that I may be having Dengue.

Two days and two CBCs later, I was finally confirmed of having Dengue. My mom had accompanied me to the hospital. By the time I was admitted, I was already feeling better and had no more fever. But I was told by my doctor that I still had Dengue and had to be hospitalized nonetheless.

My spirits were high and was a bit excited about being pampered and catered to my every need :-) he he he. My elation was short lived :-( Little did I know, that Dengue comes with a very nasty and itchy rash.

On my first night at the hospital, my nurse, found me crying in bed and hubby desperately rubbing my hands and legs. I couldn't sleep because of the persistent itch. I haven't had much sleep since the onset of my fever last Sunday and to say that I'm exhausted is an understatement. I was at my wit's end. My nurse took pity on me and gave me a double dose of Benadryl. I immediately felt relaxed....for two minutes and then I started having tremors! I was extremely paranoid that the tremors will become permanent due to an allergic reaction. I had to wait for a few hours for my body to metabolize the Benadryl. Long story sleep! My doctor assured me that sleeplessness is my body's way of coping with the disease.

Funny thing is, despite being sleepless and exhausted, I had high energy the entire time. The human body is a fascinating thing.

My CBC is taken every 12 hours the entire time I was confined to the hospital (total of 4 days). It wasn't a pleasant experience but it wasn't too bad. The worst was really the itching. Nothing helped...not the ointments...not the anti histamines..not even the cold compress. There was no choice but to let the disease run its course.

I was most thankful about the quality of care that I got from my doctor, Dr. Gloria, the wonderful and well trained nurses of Asian Hospital and most of all, from the constant loving care that I got from my mother and hubby. I was also extremely cheered by family and friends who came to visit me, sent text messages and called me to wish me the best.

I urge everyone reading this, please always go to a doctor when you're not feeling well, having fever often is a sign of infection. Always apply insect repellant lotion when you are going to be outdoors. It could save your life.

Huwag baliwalain ang lagnat!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lunch with My BFF

My birthday weekend continues. I spent Sunday lunch with my BFF of 24 years. Jhon-ann. I know, very unusual name.

We started being friends in 1984 when my family moved from Quezon City to BF Homes Paranaque. It was the middle of the school year and I was uprooted from my previous alma mater. This girl, Jhon-ann, who sat beside me, befriended me immediately. We were inseprable up to our senior year in high school when we had a falling out. Up to this day, for the life of us, we couldn't remember why. We just laugh about it and blame it on our youth. But we quickly kiss and made up before graduation and our friendship became stronger than ever.

Over the years, we have kept in touch in letters, emails, phonecalls, Yahoo Messenger and we would occassionally see each other. We have a type of friendship that no matter how many months we don't see each other, we remain very close. When either one of us is in dire need of a shoulder to cry on, we're there for each other. When one of use experienced triumph over adversity, we cheer each other on. There is no jealousy nor competetion between us, unlike most friendships among women. I guess, it's due to the fact that we're bruttaly honest with each other. We have no qualms about saying constructive cristicisms and neither one of use will take offense.

Long before Paris Hilton coined the phrase "BFF", Jhon-ann and I already had countless letters and trinkets incribed with "Best Friends Forever". So far, the catch phrase remains true to this day.

If one had a soulmate for a friend, I have found mine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Merienda Cena In LP

This weekend, the family had our almost weekly get-together at LP. We scheduled in the afternoon at 4:00 pm for merienda (mid afternoon snack) but knowing our family, it will extend way into dinner time. My mom was in charge of the meal as usual so she made a lot of ulam for dinner as well.

She was a bit inspired with the meal. Aside from steaming huge crabs (which seem to be the staple in our get-togethers) she made guinataang kuhol, adobong adidas (chicken feet)roast pork (not pictured) and a dessert dish inspired by Kusina Salud, guinataang ube.

My mom's guinataang ube tastes better and less sweet than Kusina Salud's. I think this will be one of the most requested desserts in our future get-togethers.

Our Merienda Cena lasted 'till 10"00 p.m. Time really flies, when you're having fun.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Birthday Dinner with Hubby

First of all, thank to everyone who sent emails, phone calls, text messages and personal greetings for my birthday. I'm so touched that you remembered :-) My cellphone was beeping 'till midnight!

I'm so happy, hubby's finally home from his week-long business trip.

Prior to his arrival, he mentioned that he bought three gifts for me and hinted that they were for our home. The idea of him buying anything for the house, scared me. His track record for buying such things is let's say, something to be desired. I love hubby dearly but when it comes to choosing home accessories, he's absolutely useless.

The minute I saw him, he had a big bag from Ikea, one of my most favorite stores. I said to myself that maybe this time hubby hit it right on the mark. And he did! he bought me stainless steel sauce pan, casserole and a platinum teflon frying pan. I was very happy! I was looking at similar things at the mall the other day but decided not to purchase them yet. Hubby even bought a ton of dark chocolates for me to use for my icing recipes. I'm so happy, happy, happy. Happy that hubby's home safely, happy that he made it just in time for my birthday and happy that he bought me gifts that I loved :-)

For dinner, we dined at Hula-Hula Hawaiian Restaurant . It's a small Hawaiian fusion restaurant located in Westgate, Alabang. They serve mostly Asian and American dishes with a Hawaiian twist.

For starters, we ordered the Mussels Wasabi Salsa. It's six pieces of baked mussels with chunky tomato salsa topped with cheese. This was not very good for one simple reason, there's hardly any wasabi in the salsa. It's also overpriced at P200++ per order.

Next, the Pomelo Salad. It's a combination of pomelos, mangoes, iceberg lettuce, fried wonton wrapper with a Thai dressing (lime, patis, sugar, pepper etc) and generously sprinkled with sesame seeds. This salad is so wrong on so many levels. One, the salad was served warm. Two, the mangoes are over riped. Three there's just way too much sesame seeds. Lastly, the dressing is weak, it just tasted like water with a squirt of calamansi. Way overpriced for P200++ per order.

For our main course, we had Mess of Steaks with Smoked Manila Basting and sidings of Baked Beans and Macaroni Salad. The steaks themselves are very good, light and just have the right amount of smoky taste to it. The baked beans has cumin in it and not too bad, a different twist to your usual baked beans. The macaroni salad is also good (but not as good as mine or my mom's). A good buy at P275++. The Mess of Stakes is cravable and it's the best selling entree on the menu.

For dessert we had Coco Pannacota Mango Rum and Buko Lychee Sherbet. As you can see from the photo below, the Buko Lychee was served with a fork. What are we supposed to do, spear the sherbet?

The Coco Pannacota is served with a meringue on top. The custard itself is just maja blanca but without the corn. An ordinary dessert, dressed up to look like something special.

I'm not sure if we'll eat here again. The Mess of Steaks is good but the rest of the stuff that we ordered were duds. The jury's still out.

After dinner, we make our way around the next curb, a five-minute moonlit walk through a small park with a cute little fountain to Bali Blends Cafe. A restaurant and coffee shop that serves Asian dishes and Asian inspired coffees and teas. I ordered the Spiced Chai Latte. Chai is traditionally prepared by boiling loose tea in milk and water. I've never had this before and I was game to try it. I liked it, it's like drinking a cappuccino but with tea and cinnamon.

Hubby had the Minty Caramel Mocha Iced Coffee. This one is also good with just a hint of mint. Not too overpowering.

Hubby was also intrigued by their Banana Parcel. A steamed dessert of glutenous rice and bananas with a drizzling chocolate sauce. It's their version of "suman". Light and not too sweet.

Despite the misadventure in Hula-Hula, our date was very happy, filled with love, laughter and meaningful conversations.

I got the best gift when we got home, an hour-long massage from hubby! I wish it was my birthday every single day :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yahoo! Woo Hoo!

Today, hubby's due back from a week-long business trip in Hong Kong. I'm so excited because it's my birthday too, he'll make it just in time to have dinner with me. I'm a 34 years young today. Still in my teenage years :-)

I spent my morning logged on to Yahoo Messenger and chatted with my cousin Butchie in New Jersey. After an hour of chatting, I realized that I can now talk to him via YM! My dinosaur couldn't handle it before and usually after a few minutes it would crash. With this new computer, we spent almost two hours burning the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) lines.

After our long talk, I got a call from hubby from Hong Kong International Airport, via YM, of course (Internet is free in the airport). His plane is delayed one hour. We spent that one hour talking, joking and laughing about our misadventures this week, away from each other.

I love Yahoo Messenger. It allows me to speak to my loved ones no matter where they are in the world without paying any overseas charges. I spent at least an hour every night talking to hubby while he's away.

Yahoo....Woo Hoo! Thank You!

(Free birthday clipart at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Salad of Beach Memories

I consider myself a very privileged person not because of worldly goods but of worldly experiences that I've had growing up in a beautiful country surrounded by countless pristine white sand beaches.




We often associate a scent or a type of food that we eat with certain memories. For me, some of the happiest memories were collected from family outings at the beach and my honeymoon in Bohol.

I remember when my father was alive, he would often take us to the beach for the weekend in Batangas, Cavite and Quezon since they were the most accessible from Manila. At that time, there were no hotels, just simple nipa hut cottages. As a child, it did not matter to me. I was at the beach, swimming and having fun. As I grew older, started working and eventually got married, I would then explore the more exotic and beautiful beaches of the Philippines. But the memories of those simple childhood beach outings will always be special and cherished.

Nothing reminds more of the beach than eating Lato Salad. Lato is a type of local seaweed that looks like hundreds of minuscule grapes clustered together in one tiny branch. Lato is a true representation of the sea. The tiny grapes smell of the ocean, the taste is slightly salty, the texture, a little slippery. Each lato kernel that bursts in my mouth as I eat it, triggers a memory. A memory of my brother and cousins playing all day in the sand, our skins burned to a crisp, my father and I seated on the shore waiting for the waves to hit us and filling our bathing suits with clumps of sand, my lola in the middle of ankle-deep water in Matabungkay, my mom walking on the shore with my nephew, hubby and I walking hand in hand on the shores of Bohol, my tita teaching us to snorkel in the waters of Dakak. Each tiny little grape is a reminder of the happy times spent on the beach.

I remember also that my dad used to love eating Lato, he called it Aru-rusep and he would tell us that they were grapes from the sea and that they were very nutritious. We did not appreciate it when we were kids but now, I love eating lato, not just because of it's ocean-y taste but also for the memories that they evoke. Hubby loving it is just the icing on the cake.

Lato Salad (for 2)
(The lato must be prepared immediately after you buy it. It will not do well in the fridge.)

1/4 Kilo lato
1 small red onion, sliced thinly (optional)
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
White distilled Vinegar

1. Be careful with handling lato for their bruise easily. wash the lato with cold or tap water, snip off the dark stems, leaving only the stems with the "grapes", drain well. Very carefully toss with cucumber, onions and tomatoes. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, salt pepper and sugar. Mix well. Drizzle over the lato right before serving.

Now, wouldn't you want to evoke some beach memories too?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Serendra and Market Market with Butchie

This post is two weeks late but here goes...

For Butchie's last day here in Manila, we took him to Market Market and Serendra since he hasn't been there yet.

Our first stop was Market Market. It's a gigantic mall that incorporates both the mall lifestyle of air conditioned shops, boutiques, bazaar, service centers etcetera and the market lifestyle where fresh produce, flowers,meats and vegetation are sold. It's a very interesting concept. One of Butchie's first comments was that it resembles a typical mall or market in the US.

We did not get to explore much of the mall, we made a beehive for the al fresco food court and got a sampling of Ineng's barbecue, the most famous food stall in all of Market Market. Normal lunchtime wait for their famous barbecue is 15-20 minutes. Since we were early (brunch time) we got ours in less than 5 minutes. The barbecue was tender and had just the right amount of sweetness.

Butchie also bought fish balls in a nearby kiosk. Fish balls are typical street food here in Manila. The best ones are found sold where else? On the streets! I remember once asking a fish ball vendor what his sauce was made of. His surprising answer was Ovaltine! Yes, the chocolate drink. I tried duplicating it at home but no luck. I think the vendor deliberately misled me so that I can't bottle and sell his recipe. He he he :-) There are those that claim that their sauce have 7up in them. Regardless of the ingredients used, the secret of the fish ball has always been the sauce. The the ones with the best sauce are always found in wheeled carts on the streets of Manila. Years ago when I was in elementary and high school, people would dip their sticks of fish balls directly to the sauce container making them unsanitary since a lot of them would double dip, eewww. Nowadays, all vendors serve your fish balls in paper containers and the sauce is drizzled over your freshly fried fish balls.

We also bought some cornick for pasalubong for Butchie's friends and family. Cornick are corn kernels deep fried in oil with a ton of garlic. A local popcorn version but without the pop. New cornick flavors have come out, the most popular are barbecue and cheese. I personally prefer the original garlic flavor, made with real garlic.

For lunch, we met up with Tita Socky and hubby at Serendra. Here I am with Butchie (below) posing in front of one of the many fountains in Serendra.

We chose to dine at Guava Restaurant. It's an intimate restaurant which specializes in guava-based dishes, Filipino dishes and Pritchon.

For starters we had the Pandan Wrapped Ubod (coconut heart) in Watercress Salad, pictured above. The salad is of course made with shredded tender coconut hearts with shitake mushrooms and shrimps wrapped in crepe with cilantro over a bed of crisp watercress. Hubby loves watercress so this was a sure hit for him as well as for use, it's unique, light abnd tasty.

The Guava experience will never be complete without ordering the Pritchon, above. The pritchon is basically sliced suckling roasted pig (with skin on) wrapped in a light tortilla with cucumbers, cilantro and leeks. A wide array of sauce is available for you to choose from. The winning combination is sour cream with chives and sweet chili sauce.

For our vegetable dish, we ordered Ginisang Gulay in Bihod Sauce (Sauteed vegetables in fish roe sauce). This is a modern take to your typical Pinakbet, light yet tasty. The bihod adds a delicious twist. The pinakbet is sauteed in bagoong isda instead of bagoong alamang.

For our meat dish, we had Crispy Tadyang ng Baka (Crispy Beef Ribs) with assorted dipping sauces. This is also a winner. The ribs are crispy yet falling off the bone. A sure hit with everyone.

For our poultry dish, we had Guava's version of the chicken adobo. It's combination of white and brown meat layered on top of each other. The sauce was made with soysauce, vinegar, anise and a host of other spices. This was not a big hit in our group. The over powering taste of anise turned us off.

After such a filling lunch, we make our way to Tea and Theraphy. A tea shop located within the Serendra community. In here we cleansed our palettes with Jasmine Pearl Blossom Tea and Life to the Fullest Tea.

The Jasmine Tea is a blooming tea, it starts out as a dried ball and as soon as the hot water touches it, it slowly blooms into a full flower. Very interesting, may showmasnhip baga :-). I was reluctant to drink this at first because most jasmine teas I've had tasted like sampaguita. This particular tea was mild and very pleasing. I like it. I would probably go back there and order it again.

The next tea that we tried was Life to the Fullest. I'm not exactly sure what it's made of but it's very fruity and a bit strong but pleasant and tasty nonetheless. This is your regular loose leaf tea, no blooming flower here.

To order tea, you have a wide array of choices, each tea has a unique and catchy name and grouped according to the mood that you want to be achieve. Refreshing, calming, invigorating, soothing etc. The teas are served on glass teapots over a votive candle to keep them warm. A very nice presentation which we vowed to copy when we are entertaining guests at home. The teas can also be made cold, upon request.

We also tried the Green Tea Tiramisu. It's very light and a perfect dessert for after such a heavy meal. The green tea in it is barely discernible so it's not too unusual and too unfamiliar.

We took pictures for posterity.

After our lunch and tea, we made our way back to Glorietta to watch a No Reservations. A movie starring Catherine-Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin. The movie was about food, love and parenting. There are funny and dramatic moments. We watched it because it was set in New York City and Butchie loves to watch movies set in New Your City. The movie was good and entertaining but the ending was a bit bitin. Did they get married or what?

Anyway, after the movie, we browsed around Glorietta, bought magazines and Butchie got the allergies and decided to go home early.

I was left in Glorietta to meet hubby for dinner. After our dinner, I missed Butchie already and decided to drive to LP and spend a few hours more with him since he was due to return to the US the following morning.

I miss him already. Come back soon Butchie!