Search This Blog

Friday, March 31, 2023

Lessons From Our Past

Aloha Everyone,

TV anchors and reporters are working overtime with the breaking news of deadly tornadoes in the South and Midwest. There is a rebound in the financial market. Political pundits have experts to discuss the breaking news taking places in Florida and New York.

What is happening is historical yet studying history, this is nothing new. History unfortunately keeps repeating itself.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Trying to Have Healthier Foods

Aloha Everyone,

Traveling by air for over 10 hours is stressful for you physically and mentally. This is especially true when your normal sleep patterns are affected. 

To overcome and maintain our equilibrium, we purchased Japanese superfoods including tofu, natto and for J.J., wild caught salmon in Olive Oil.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

PreOP at OPTUM & COSTCO Shopping

Aloha Everyone,

It was pouring rain. Cold and freezing, and anticipating road delays, we arrived 45 minutes ahead of our appointment.

The total appointment including waiting time was an hour. My test results will be forwarded to the Surgical Center.

By the time my sister came to pick us up to go to COSTCO, it stopped raining. We purchased Vitamin B-12 and D-3 that would last us for 5 months.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, March 27, 2023

Refrigerator Freeze

Aloha Everyone,

I bit into a frozen apple and then found out everything in our refrigerator was frozen. Cucumbers, pears, Alaskan Wild Salmon. But eggs and avocados with their thick protective skins were spared.

J.J. noticed that at least 5 units on our floor are undergoing major renovation including replacement of air conditioning units, refrigerators, toilet fixtures.  It would be nice if our next period of stay at ESA would be in an upgraded room.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Shopping at Trader Joe’s

Aloha Everyone,

Compared to Makati where our marketing options were limited, there are a greater variety of supermarkets and specialty stores in Torrance, California.

Trader Joe’s has fresh fruits and vegetables, a large selection of frozen foods, multiple brands of bread and cereals, milk and yogurts.

I was able to find Muesli Cereal to add to Fage Greek Yogurt.  One frustrating thing is that for most products, Trader Joe’s promote its own brand. 4 different Muesli packages all had Trader Joe’s brand. We purchased one that seemed most healthy.

Parking is problematic. The store’s design including parking stall layouts and allocations are meant for standard size cars and not the size of Honu.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Visiting our Family in La Jolla

Aloha Everyone,

We were on the road a total of 5 1/2 hours. Plus, J.J. and I spent nearly 3 hours with our son and granddaughter.  The lunch our son prepared was delicious and healthy — curry made of ground turkey, tofu and a variety of vegetables served over steaming white rice.

Our granddaughter arrived home after her Tang Soo Do practice. There was so much catching up to do. The main objective of making such a quick drive was to pick up documents for filing our income tax.

Our daughter-in-law is away in Hawaii for a week visiting her parents. We will see all of them when we go for a longer stay over the Easter holiday.

(Photo of iconic overpass indicates our approach to La Jolla).

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 24, 2023

Getting Back into California Tempo

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I made our first of many Walmart Neighborhood Green pharmacy runs to pick up our prescriptions.

My sister met us with a bagful of tree grown lemon from her backyard at the parking lot of Tokyo Central, a supermarket. 

We are monitoring the financial markets and stock market's reaction to the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Arrival Date

Aloha Everyone,

Due to the time difference, we left Manila at 9:00 pm and arrived at LAX at 6:00 pm on the same day. By the time we took the hotel shuttle to La Quinta Inn located near LAX, we were ready to make up for the lack of sleep. 

The breakfast rooms were packed with eager tour groups ready to begin their Los Angeles excursions. J.J. and I asked our breakfasts as “carry away” so we could eat in the room as one of us got ready.

Happiness is seeing Honu in the parking lot looking clean due to recent rains. Grateful is when Honu’s engine started without any hesitation.

We decided to have a leisurely lunch at Chile’s to wait for our hotel room to be ready. Our choices of cheese burgers served with fries was neither healthy or photogenic. My side dish of garden salad and J.J.’s chili were passable.

Checked in at ESA (Extended Stay America) by 3:00 pm. We have an extra large studio with a king size bed. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Departure Day

Aloha Everyone,

The flurry of activities related to getting our airline tickets with Philippines Airlines took our time and energy until the day of departure. Our returning to Makati Diamond Residences to enjoy their full European-style service and accommodation for a several days worked out well.

Unexpected birthday greetings for J.J. with balloons lasted us throughout the remainder of our stay. Extra cost of 1/2 day for our late checkout, hotel limo service to the airport worked out perfectly until we arrived at the very congested, extremely disorganized airport check-in procedure.

Without having a chance to get in touch with our families from the Philippines Airlines lounge, the two of us boarded the plane.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Update on Philippines Airlines

Aloha Everyone,

We received a phone call from the guest relations department of Philippine Airlines stating the following:

1). Our departure will be on the later flight, tomorrow evening LV 9:00 pm.

2). We have assigned seats.

3). Philippine Airline will give us a small cash compensation. It is sufficient to pay for our LAX hotel.

Doing two loads of laundry using the in room washer/dryer. Things are getting accomplished.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, March 20, 2023

LAX Reservations

Aloha Everyone,

The Asia Tower unit owner’s secretary showed up at the agreed meeting time. It was basically to settle the electricity bill and turn over the unit keys.

A farewell lunch with Joy gave us a chance to do a little catching up with one another’s affairs until our next meeting. 

J.J. was able to get our LAX hotel reservation confirmed. We are happy that in the midst of PAL’s rescheduling, we have made positive progress.

One of the difficulties we face as pedestrians is that vehicles and motorcycles do not stop even if you have the right-of-way. Today, a large passenger van literally block the road enabling us to cross the street.  Another time, a policeman waved us on halting the traffic with his hand with palm stretched out and waited for us to complete the crossing.

The weather is breezy, the sky above is blue.

It’s unseasonably cool for end of March in the Philippines.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Our Saga with PAL Continues

Aloha Everyone,

We went to the Legazpi Sunday Market to look for fresh fruits. This morning we purchased a freshly baked bibingka for our breakfast with coffee at the Makati Diamond Hotel, but otherwise our mind was not on food.

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) issued us new online tickets via email to J.J.’s iPhone. We stopped by at the hotel’s business center to have them print copies.

J.J. is spending an enormous amount of time trying to seek clarification on the contents of the message which is unclear and could be easily misinterpreted — perhaps done on purpose?

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Preparing for Stressful Departure

Aloha Everyone,

Received email from Philippine Airlines informing us that the flight our reservations has been canceled. Reason given is for aircraft maintenance requirements?

Reviewing options being offered all sounds as if the airline is doing us a favor. In the best case scenario, we will be taking a later flight, pay 1/2 day stay at Makati Diamond Hotel and we will arrive at LAX in the evening, requiring us to stay one night at a hotel in LAX. The delay will also mean that we will be checking in at the ESA (Extended Stay America) at a higher daily rate.

After not running the engine for 4 1/2 months, Honu may require to have the battery jump started. The parking facility will be closed after hours. We are dealing with a domino effects due to our flight changes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 17, 2023

Preparing for Our Transition

Aloha Everyone,

Merienda Treats for Security Guards - to show them our appreciation for their services and to bid them farewell, we gave them meat buns from the Honolulu Cafe in Greenbelt 3.

Gifts for in-house laundry - The two of us prepared two large bags of clothing and miscellaneous items which we will not be taking with us and gave them to the in-house laundromat manager. J.J. also gave each of their two employees generous monetary gratuity. The laundromat manager was very happy and kept on asking us when are we coming back.

Email from Detsy informed us that the owner’s rep had a death in her family. Detsy is still in “very, very cold California.” J.J. and I agreed to meet the owner’s rep on Monday, March 20 in the lobby of Asia Tower to settle our utility bills and return the keys.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sunday Treats

Aloha Everyone,

As we are now counting down the number of days remaining in the Philippines, J.J. has a few Filipino food he would like to enjoy again.

Seeing a large lechon or Filipino roast pig being delivered, J.J. asked if he could purchase a half kilo. The proprietor obliged and next thing you know, the seller was surrounded by other eager buyers.

Not wanted to witness any butchering of the pig, I walked away. A woman was selling roast beef package lunches. I told her that I am vegetarian. She smiled and said, a small bite of roast beef is healthy for you :-). J.J. bought a couple of small slices for me.

Before leaving the Legaspi Sunday Market, we purchased our favorite bibingka (coconuts rice cake with egg). It takes approximately 15-30 minutes to bake one over the hot charcoal fire. The bibingka maker said he usually makes 200 pieces or until they ran out of eggs.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Anime Fan Con at Glorietta Ayala Mall

Aloha Everyone,

Mostly in their preteen to thirty something, Anime Fans were there to see and to be seen. On the first day of Anime Fan Con, we heard loud cheers and clapping. Coming out of the nail salon, J.J. and I saw about a half dozen people dressed in costumes of Anime character. They seemed willing to pose for photographs but heard no exchange of conversations.

The following day, on our way to a supermarket, the two of us made a detour so I can go down to the mall center to get a closer look.  As you can see, there were souvenir shops of t-shirts, trinkets, flags, plastic swords and food. The entire Anime Fan Con is a big moneymaker for the organizers.

Behind bleached skin and long eye concealing wigs, these participants were faceless and nameless. Similar to adults having taken over children Halloween costume parties, Anime Fan Con attracts older, young at heart.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Reyes Family Tree

Aloha Everyone,

Over a leisurely lunch, I questioned Maricar and Marina trying to fill in the blank spaces of The Reyes Family Tree which Detsy had helped me get started.

J.J. and I are just focusing on our generation since we are now the elders of the Family. There are 8 siblings, including J.J. who is among the younger one half.

Going over the number of children, grandchildren, their names took most of our time between eating. 

Marina, Maricar’s 6th child out of 10 is the accomplished chef I’ve previously mentioned. Marina spent a couple of weeks last winter in Spain and France as a part of a mission to serve in Lourdes. This year, she is again planning to join her aunts and extend her travels to Italy including Rome and Florence. Marina is not a casual tourist. With her intense focus and passion on food, we can imagine how this travel will further develop her culinary skills.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Wonderful Medical Checkups

Aloha Everyone,

Anxiety is a natural reaction whenever you see a doctor. Dr. Uy, a sympathetic doctor went over the results of J.J.’s lab tests and declared him “healthy”!!!

It seems some of his conditions are from the high salt and and high sugar of the Filipino diet. She also said that air pollution might be a cause for his cough. J.J. cannot tolerate masks while I cannot step outdoors without one.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

I Will Miss My Daily Route

Aloha Everyone,

Store clerks, restaurant staffs and security guards greet me warmly when they see me walking. I try to complete close to 5 miles a day which often means going to Greenbelt 3 on the 3rd floor twice a day.

J.J. will go to one of 4 of his regular coffee shops or restaurant to wait for me.

Safety, cleanliness, feeling of security are all positive factors. Yes, I will miss my daily route.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Red Crab

Aloha Everyone,

Oh, how J.J. loves crabs! It warms my heart to watch him enjoy this crustacean. He ordered toasted coconuts crab, fried shrimps and Filipino spinach.

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo, which is served piping hot has some similarities to HaloHalo  It’s like a sweet soup. But HaloHalo remains my favorite Filipino Dessert. 

We had so many leftovers for J.J. to make a full meal. He is planning a return date prior to our departure.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, March 5, 2023

New Restuarant - Reality was Disappointing

Aloha Everyone,

On most days, the two of us take this corridor where photos of enticing dishes beckon us to come into their restaurant. Today we finally decided to give it a try.

No wonder these professionally executed food photos are necessary to get potential diners to make a long detour.  Poor location, ho-hum services and unfortunately the food was a sad representation of the beautiful photo.

I must say that ordering their blueberry cheesecake saved our lunch.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Cousins from Two Other Branches

Aloha Everyone,

They flew in from Australia and from different parts of the USA. One group of family members are here for a few days to attend a family reunion in Bacolod, a city in Southern Philippines. The other flew in to take care of family business in Manila.

The two of us have not seen J.J.’s cousins who are residing in Australia since we left for Europe and settled in Hawaii.  Grateful that Maricar offers her home with Marina’s fantastic food to give everyone a chance to get reacquainted.

Special features for today’s party were desserts.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Dispensing Medications

Aloha Everyone,

Common over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Aleve can easily be purchased without prescriptions, right? Not in the Philippines. You need to have a doctor’s order unless you are like us, foreigners. What is amazing is that J.J. and I needed to purchase additional Vitamin D3.

We showed our empty bottle to pharmacist, and she asked how many do we need? They are dispensed by piece, individually packed, so we purchased a total of 60 pieces just to last us until we return to the USA.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Creating Niche Market

Aloha Everyone,

Most Americans associate turkey and trimmings with Christmas dinner. However, in Japan and Philippines where people don’t usually consume turkey, Christmas is celebrated with huge buckets of panko fried chicken.

Not to be left behind, Chili’s Philippines has an Annual Burger Day on March 8th and Serta to promote their expensive mattresses also has a party with free cocktails and they coined it “Serta World Sleep Day”.

Especially in these tough economic times, even well-to-dos have to be reminded of when to indulge.

Aloha -- Cathi