The October Tradition

Too happy. 🙂

This is the 6th year of the Norman-Leslee Double Birthday celebration. And guess what? We are still counting. Yay!

Norman was a former student whose birthday falls almost the exact same date as mine. It just happened one time in 2006 (he already graduated from the uni and has started working), that he decided to celebrate his birthday with me and his other classmates in that particular course that I handled.

Well, I can’t blame him. I am such a charming, funny, lovely, sexy, can’t-get-enough-of-Ms. Leslee kind of teacher. Ok… ok… Don’t kill me. 🙂

Since he knows that my special day is just a few days from his, he made it his mission to always give me a free pass on his lunch/dinner celebs (read: singit). I always have a birthday cake even if it is his birthday! Yay! I am loved and blessed.

Anyway, the rest is history. We have been doing this celeb every year. It has been a tradition that we hope to keep as long as we can.

So this October is no different. The usual suspects in this double-birthday celebration are Norman, Chico, TJ and me. Other former students who were their classmates in that course join from time to time. But these four are the constants. Too bad TJ lives in Singapore as of the moment so he is MIA. He missed the great food, moist cake and most importantly the juicy chika. Oh well.

Call time was after work. And look what welcomed me when I arrived in LB?! The most vividly-colored rainbow I have ever seen this year. My jaw dropped. I forgot for a moment that I was driving. My heart was just singing.

Pardon the crappy shot. I didn’t do justice to the rainbow. I only know how to use Auto from my camera for now. I tried adjusting those ISO and F whatever then I shifted back to Auto. Eeeee. Too complicated. Other joggers and bikers were smitten too. For a moment, everybody in my hearing distance was talking about it.

Chico being the ever paimportante has to be fetched (again) in his office. And since he has several offices, I have to figure out where the fudge he is. Ok. He was in the Student Organizations and Activities Division (SOAD) office this time. Fine. And how many certificates can you count? What the… 🙂

We decided to hold our birthday dinner in Arla’s. Upon arrival, we learned there was Arla’s no more.

It turned out Cafe Antonio absorbed the resto. But no need to fret. The fave dishes like Soy Grilled Chicken and stuff are still intact. Cafe Antonio bought all the rights and privileges (say what?! I don’t know how you call that) of all the former resto’s recipes. So the menu is the same plus the great coffee, drinks and what-have-yous of the coffee shop. It’s a win-win situation if I may say. No need to jump places. All are in one now. Yay!

Chico being the ever maasahan reserved a table for us earlier. That was wise since the place is cute and cosy and can fill up quickly.

These are what we got.

Fish and Chips
Pork Tenderloin Steak with Mashed Potato
Seafood Spinach Fettucine
Soy Grilled Chicken with Brown Rice
Nachos with Chili Beef and Cheese

And I forgot to take photos of the drinks. I had my usual iced tea. This one is Chico’s which looks very interesting and sinful. I pass. Hello 59 kilos.

Red Velvet Frothiccino

And we are ready to eat.

(L-R) Norman, Norman’s girlfriend Cha, Chico and me

The food is so yum, I believe. The plates were extra clean afterwards save for the shells and bones that litter.

The usual reminiscing happened as well as updates. We don’t get to see each other very often especially since we rarely frequent LB nowadays. But I cannot help but feel unusually grateful that this kind of relationship lasted despite the odds. As what they say, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” We surely have a will because we lasted 6 years to continue this October tradition.

The customary blowing of cake happened. Norman never forgets to include me in his cake. He is such a sweet soul.

Plus, look what I got?!

Turkish CAY BARDAK!!!!
Ama cok guzel!!! Masallah!
Cok cok coooooook tessekur ederim Chicocim. Ama siz cok severim.

Thanks Chico for that much coveted cay bardak aka Turkish tea cup. 🙂 Thanks for the extra effort of getting one for me from your recent trip to Turkey. I SO LOVE IT. I SO LOVE YOU NA. Eeeeek.


I love birthdays. I am a sucker for birthdays. More than the fear of getting older by a year, this special day is for thanksgiving.  Not everybody is given a chance to have another year of lease in this world, a chance to do things right, a chance to experience more, a chance to experiment more, a chance to live a life that God intends us to have. Birthdays make me pensive too. It makes me think of how I was the previous year. Was I nicer? kinder? more patient? more loving? What values were I able to cultivate? What trials were I able to pass? Who were the new people that I got to meet? Which new experiences did I enjoy the most?

Birthdays are more than just an ending, ending of a year that we want to hold on to and keep because we don’t like the idea of getting old. But birthdays are new beginnings, beginning of new challenges, new experiences, new life.

Soon I will be celebrating a milestone in my life. Oh yes, I am about to enter that number which I still have to make peace with. I am anxious and excited all at the same time. But if this celebration is a prelude to the kind of life that I will be having in the next 365 days of my new year, I am more than willing to usher it in excitedly. Oh yes, I am looking forward to that big THREE-OH. But not just yet. Big gulp. 🙂



Norman is really known as Nelson Aman in real life. There was just something wrong in my brain that semester when I kept calling him Norman instead of Nelson come recitation time. The name stuck. He will always be Norman to me. Advance happy birthday sweetie. I wish you all your heart’s desires.


Cafe Antonio is located in 5024 National Hi-way, Brgy. Maahas, Los Baños, Laguna.

You can reach them for reservations in this number: 09064550522

You can also check their website for the list of their menu and other updates: 

Ang Nawawala (What Isn’t There)

September 20, 2012

My sister and I found ourselves in the University of the Philippines Los Banos. We were there for a purpose. Aside from eating Isaw and Proven in Raymundo, which was a great disappointment because there was no Proven to be found (wala daw makuhanan sabi nong nagtitinda ng isaw), we were set to watch one of Cinemalaya’s independent films entitled “Ang Nawawala”.

After seeing their teaser in one of the FB wall posts of my friend a few weeks ago, I told myself I have to watch at least one of their featured films. I managed to force convince my sister to join me. I just have to grab those tickets.

And who else would be the best person for the job but Chico, a former student turned friend turned colleague turned nemesis turned forever maasahan. The tickets came with great seats, the perks of being a faculty (in our case, friends of a faculty).

Chico being the uber busy that he is (read:paimportante) has to be fetched from the Infirmary then brought back to ONE of his offices to pick up his things before we can go to the auditorium. The certificates and trophies that litter his cubicle give you a preview of the kind of life he has. 🙂

I miss this friend.

So, we were all settled and ready to watch the film.

An open forum with the film makers ensued after.

I aint giving any review or analysis of “Ang Nawawala” as I don’t know how to. But one thing that my sister, Chico and I agreed on while waiting for dinner that night was that it would have been nicer if Gibson’s last line were, “Mom, it’s me, Jamie”.

And speaking of dinner, it was a struggle to choose where to eat afterwards. We landed in Mio Cucina, a quaint little resto offering authentic Filipino-Asian food boasting of fresh ingredients. Aside from the fact that it is not as busy as the other student hang-outs, the menu selection is great.

Chatters with spoonfuls of rice, sole fish fillet and kare-kare completed the day. It was a night well-spent.

Thanks to these people who joined me and were such great company.

On the way home, we were flagged down by a guy and his flash light. I wasn’t thinking of stopping thinking he might just want some donation for a certain cause. But then again, I stopped. It turned out a train is coming. What the hell.

There wasn’t even a hint of signal except for that flashlight-waving guy. That was scary. We were happy we stopped.


You can check out everything about “Ang Nawawala” here:


Mio Cucina is located in the driveway behind Community Cable Vision (CCV) along Lopez Avenue — the road leading to UPLB. You can contact them here: (049) 536-3311.


The ugly food photos were taken by Chico. There. Happy? 🙂