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When I finally decided to finish my top ten favorite books list I started reading those books again to freshen up my memory.

One such book was Bob Ong’s semi – autobiographical work, Ang Paboritong Aklat ni Hudas. In this book, Bob Ong mentioned a story about this haunted-looking hotel he found while looking for a place to stay in Baguio. I suddenly remembered this story when my husband and I were in Baguio last year. It so happened that. we went to check out this old, dimly-lit hotel along Session Road which reminded of the horror movie “Hostel.” Just one good peek inside was enough for me to tell my husband I’m not going to stay there but he insisted since it sounded like adventure. You see my husband is like… sometimes I don’t know how to describe him. I’m afraid of ghosts and he’s not, I sleep with lights on and he doesn’t and a lot more things. Opposites really attract.

Back to the book, I remember it was my ex-boyfriend (who’s now my husband) who bought it and I just borrowed it out of curiosity because he always laughs aloud whenever he reads it. Somehow, something inside me told me it must be a good read.  Well, knowing my husband, he won’t spend a penny on something that isn’t worth it.

My hunch was right. The book was so hilarious and entertaining that I actually thought of buying my own but since me and the “owner” got married the book became conjugal property.

One thing about Bob Ong is that he writes about his experiences in life, particularly the things that happened to him in his childhood, his former schools, his old teachers, things he read and everything else that is happening in the Philippines. He has a unique way of expressing his opinion about certain things and above all, he writes  with humor that’s easy to relate to.

So what did I see inside the hotel I was mentioning earlier? Nothing scary really, save for the dim, anemic lighting, old and dusty looking walls plus a mean-looking bed that looked like its gonna eat you while you were sleeping. I was so creeped out I dragged my husband out of there so fast that he never had the chance to say anything.

I remember this one rainy Friday night seven years ago when I was still single, I was torn between going home early or grabbing a bottle of beer or a shot of tequila to get happily wasted but I decided to go to a bookstore instead which has become something of a routine for the last 2 months.

I was there for an hour already when I saw this book “Veronika Decides to Die” hmmm very intriguing I said to myself so I bought the book. I was so excited to read it not because I want to commit suicide, though I don’t deny I harbored such thoughts in the past. (Kidding!!!)  anyway the story is about Veronica, a girl from Slovenia who got so tired of her routine life and decided to end it but she didn’t die instead she woke up in a mental institution and found out she only has a few days to live. Now that was crazy! I mean if I am Veronika and I decided to kill myself but then woke up only to find out I have days to live, I might as well go to the rooftop of that building and then jump!!! I mean why wait, right? So back to Veronika the thing here is she waited for that day to come and as the days passed by she realize that she wanted to do so many things, the worst of which is to – guess what – Live! I think it’s worth noting that this is a true story. Yup. Veronika is real although the book did not focus on Veronika alone as there are a lot of people involved. Because of its dark and depressing nature, this is not the kind of book that everyone will like but I find it good nevertheless.

back…. finally

Its been a year since the last time I posted here, I’ve been busy with other things. I guess for one, I’ve been addicted to playing mafia wars in Facebook then Farmville, Yoville, Bite Me, Vampire Wars, Café World and Restaurant City.

I also gave birth to our first child last March 2010 which makes my day a lot stressful but happy nonetheless. I think this is gonna be it for now. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to finish my top 10 favorite books list which is loooong overdue…

Mandarin Oriental Manila

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This visit is long overdue since we’ve been meaning to go there even before our Baguio trip but for some reason we only managed to do it the day after Valentine’s.


Mandarin Oriental Manila is rated 5-stars and was voted the Philippines’ Best Business Hotel. Needless to say I had high expectations. When we arrived, I noticed that the front desk people were accommodating and friendly. Not bad at all. Problem was, I remembered reserving a king size smoking room a week before but upon arriving there they gave us a dual bed smoking room instead saying that a king size smoking room is not available at the moment(!!!). What’s more, they didn’t have a bellman around to help us carry our things. To his credit, the guy at the reception offered to carry our bag but we politely declined since it was just one (hefty) gym bag. Even though we only planned on staying overnight I still believe they should have a bellman ready to carry the luggage of their guests. I don’t know if they only keep bellmen for VIP or expat guests or those people who look they’re going to an expedition to Antarctica.

Thankfully, the room they gave us was not bad, the carpet was nice to the feel and the sheets were spotless. The wooden furniture had a touch of understated class and elegance. My husband for one liked the lighting and the mood it sets. The bathroom was clean and spacious and had more than the usual number of towels you can expect from other hotels. We also had a nice work desk complete with internet connectivity. That was really helpful since my husband brought our laptop along as he’s been waiting for some important email. The internet connection however seemed to be unreasonably pricey at PhP 1,000/day.


A mini-bar, a safe and a TV set rounded up the room’s amenities. The TV however was ancient and the remote barely worked (good job!). Later in the day we dined out in Glorietta and did some shopping before we retired to our room at around 9pm. The next morning, we had breakfast @ Paseo Uno. I enjoyed the pastries, Pizza omelette, German Franks, hash brown, bread and butter pudding and coffee but I still find the buffet breakfast in Island Cove a lot better in spite of the relatively limited choices there. After breakfast we headed for the pool and I was very thankful to see that it wasn’t as crowded as I’ve expected. The pool was sizeable enough and we splashed around for an hour or two. I was told that when Beyonce went swimming there during her visit, she was swimming alone but the entire perimeter of the pool was surrounded by her personal retinue of security personnel.

Shortly thereafter, we started changing and packing our things. Check out time was 12 noon but we left at 11:35 am. All in all, I’d say our stay at the M.O. was just average. I rate it 2.5 out of five.

Cafe by the Ruins (Baguio)

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My husband and I have been planning to go to Baguio for the longest time and finally last February 1, 2009 at 11:45 PM we found ourselves sitting in the waiting area for Baguio-bound buses in the Victory Liner Terminal in Pasay. I’m so excited that I can’t sleep for two days. It’s not my first time in Baguio but thinking that I and my husband are going to be alone for three days really excited me, plus the fact that it’s his first time in Baguio. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been planning our itinerary and when I Googled where to eat in Baguio this café came out, It’s called Café by the Ruins and it’s located at Chuntug street. I have no idea what kind of food they serve I told my husband that the first thing I want to do while in Baguio was try this café. I’m not a history buff but when I searched more about this café I learned that it was once a house owned by Phelps Whitmarsh, the first civil governor of Benguet. The house was built early in the last century and destroyed in World War II. The governor maintained a famous garden where Mrs. Whitmarsh, an Ibaloi, propagated flowering plants and introduced strawberries and vegetable seeds. The bougainvilleas that still bloom at the Café’s entrance adorned the front doors of the family home. Those vines have witnessed the comings and goings of Baguio’s last 100 years.

Café by the Ruins is really cozy and the ambiance is really warm and great. The staff were knowledgeable and accommodating. They readily answered all our questions with a smile. For dinner, we ordered Beef Sinigang and I was very surprised to see that instead of kangkong like we do in Manila, they used pechay baguio instead, which was a welcome change from the usual. We had a generous helping of mountain rice and tasty as it is, I also learned that it’s very healthy and rich in fiber.

As for the drinks, I ordered a cup of hot chocolate inspired by Rizal’s Tsokolate e/a in Noli. My husband ordered Iced Tea that came with honey and frosted sugar on the glass’ rim. For dessert, we had the Pain au Chocolate, a crispy pastry stuffed with warm, oozing dark chocolate in the center. Overall, it was a truly appetizing and delightful experience.

If you’re health conscious and you’ve found yourself in Baguio one of these days, you should try Café by the Ruins.

I bought this book out of curiosity. Well who wouldn’t want to know the secrets of big celebrities in Hollywood? I certainly do! In this book you will find secrets revealed, secrets yet to be discovered and some that will never be. Here are stories of Hollywood secrets like the sex life of Rock Hudson and the secrets of film star Mary Astor’s infamous diary. And then there were the murders- who killed respected director, William Desmond Taylor? And there were Military secrets like the clandestine operation that fooled the Nazis and led to the D-Day landings, the secrets of the heart it says that President Kennedy had an affair with Marilyn Monroe and not only him, but also his brother Robert Kennedy. There are so many secrets in this book now you know why it’s on my number seven :)

I personally think that most of the stories here are normal but not normal in the sense that it is right. What I’m saying is the people featured in this book maybe full blooded Royals but what happened to their marriage can happen to any normal couple. Anyway here are the names of some the Royal Couples featured in this book:

Ø Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Ø Captain Peter Townsend and Princes Margaret

Ø Edward, Prince of Wales and Lady Furness

Ø The six wives of Henry VIII

Ø Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly

If you have a taste for scandals and tabloid fodder you might find this book to your liking.

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