Category Archives: Family & Friends

From North to South

It’s been a while since I’ve neglected this oasis.  Blogging helped me with my utter boredom in the beginning.  Blogging also helped me cope up with my new life in the Philippines after I’ve left the City by the Bay in the Golden State.  Since my Fourth Month post, I’ve become incognito because my “Sabbatical” suddenly concluded.  Mother told me to discover my life here (which was really an eloquent way of putting things in perspective, while what she really meant was that I must get this ass a job).  Since my plans in Isabela were not as forthcoming as I had hoped, I thought that it would be a good idea to discover what this life has to offer this unsettled heart and this restless soul.  Perhaps my life yearning for something…permanent?  After all, I’m not getting any younger.

First, I went to Manila and found a home in Pasay City, by Celeridad Street, Libertad.  A charming, old home awaited me there, desiccated from domestic affection.  Armed with my pretty junk and stuff I hauled along with me–stuff from my old California home brought to Isabela then Manila, overtime I’ve transformed this place into a real, warm home.  I called this place Atelier Celeridad.  She is still there though I have moved on further south for I did not find what I’m looking for in there.  Manila is vile and it’s a dog-eat-dog world–I totally get the thousand kilometer gap in the society.  You know the story pretty well: the rich, the poor, and hell, not purgatory, in-between.

From time to time, I still visit this oasis of sanity in the desert of madness.  And whenever I visit–inspect the lights, the water meter, etc… her reception has always been very warm and that makes me happy.  At this point, I wish to thank Tin Bartolome and family for allowing me to live here for as long as I want–or as long her son Tim won’t kick me out!

On July 1, 2015, I officially started my new life with Villa Escudero.  I have hung my apron long enough and that “chef” prefix on my name.  It’s a new life, and in the words of Marilla Cuthbert, “tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes.”


The Fourth Month

Today, May 24th, marks my fourth month in the Philippines, specifically in Isabela my home province.  Although four months is nothing compared on how time flies in the States, it does feel so much longer here.  Thankfully, we have internet to keep me sane and keeps me connected to San Francisco at any given day or night.  Being 7,000 miles away is not really that bad when you’re logged on your Facebook.  Looking back from the moment I have embarked on that plane to the long trip from Manila to Isabela, I can pretty much say that I’m a very fortunate fella to have a place to go home to sans rent (just do chores), to have hardworking and loving parents around that pretty much leave you alone on your business, and to have a the world on my hand and the freedom to discover new places, new things and new friends.

Just for the sake of celebrating this sentiment, here are some selected photos and some random thoughts collected from the last four months.


Flying home in style–Mabuhay class (the classless class). What could be more apt than Philippine Airlines non-stop from SFO to MNL? I dined and finished their stock of Courvoisier and opted for San Miguel beer to pacify my crying soul.

In the plane enroute Manila from San Francisco, I drowned my mixed emotions with PAL’s stock of Courvoisier.  I dined well and the attendants very gracious and super hospitable–it didn’t even feel like a flight.  Or maybe because my emotions were so f*cked up and I wasn’t really paying attention on anything else.  Parting was never an easy thing especially after 20 years.  Suddenly, I was off to my new life just like that.  I took my sweater and stuffed it in my mouth, put a pillow on my face and held it tight.  I wailed.  I screamed.  I felt better but never really shook off that feeling until now.

Sometimes, I miss a lot of things about my former home but, I cannot deny that my heart aches for being so far away from my good friends, my brother Paul, his wife Junko, and my little boy (nephew), Paulo.

Paulo Suzuki Ventura

My existence is for this little guy. He’s the sweetest thing in my life.

Oh, and don’t get me started with the dining scene that doesn’t really exist here in Isabela!  I miss having a social sidekick.

Dining, wining, touring, complaining, moving... name it, we do it!

Cocoy Butter and Kanoa Oyl. Dining, wining, touring, complaining, moving… name it, we do it!

And I miss my job.  I miss Maria, Dado et al… and the greatest kitchen/dining team in the world!

Dignitary Dinner 080 cocoy ventura event-36


But then, as per the Bouvier ladies:

Edith B. Beale Jr.:
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too in life.

Edith Bouvier Beale:
Oh yes I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted.

I had my cake in San Francisco and now, I have a different cake–it’s a rice cake!  When I miss people, places and junk, I just have to remember what’s here in Isabela and I’m always given a sense of purpose.

2.22.14kidsfarm 025mangosorting 013 bagoongfarmkids 069

There are lots of happy and grateful kids and many, many new friends, we have tons of Philippine mangoes and I have happy parents.


Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: