Crimson Hotel’s Sunday Family Brunch

Can I just say this?

I’m not a buffet person. I suck at buffets–if that’s even possible. I haven’t been to a lot, but in all of them, there have always been food items that I wasn’t able to try because I was already too full to get up from the table.

Nevertheless, buffets are always a fun experience. ūüôā

Last Sunday, I was¬†invited by Irene E., the¬†co-founder of the South Writers’ League (SWL) of which I’m a member, to try out the brunch at the relatively new Crimson Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa. I got there early, so I got the chance to look around the main lobby, which, strangely, was on the 8th floor. I’m guessing the other floors below it are reserved for parking.

The lobby itself is a sight to behold. Here you can find the grand ballroom, the concierge, the receptionist, the lobby lounge, gorgeous paintings, and the Cafe Eight where the brunch was held.

When I got to the lobby, I was surprised to see people entering the grand ballroom. I didn’t expect an event to be happening on such a lazy Sunday, but later on I heard singing; I looked at the sign beside one of the doors and saw that there was mass. That discovery was certainly a pleasant surprise. It’s not often you see hotels holding mass in their grounds regularly.

When my new friends from the SWL arrived, we immediately went to the buffet area. It turns out that the Sunday brunch was a new thing and they were calling it the Sunday Family Brunch. The first thing that greeted us was the bar right next to the entrance and the cashier (more on this later), but what made us ooh and aah was the enormous round table full of a variety of desserts. I saw¬†leche flan, fruits, chocolate stuff, other sweets (I’m sorry I can’t remember any of them; my jaw just dropped). To our left was the appetizer buffet full of breads and spreads and cheese and salads and lots of other small stuff the names of which I can’t remember. Seriously. You just go there to EAT, not memorize names, right?

Irene ¬†introduced us to the Marketing and Communications Manager, Alex Aquino. He talked to us about the brunch buffet and told us that it just started a couple of weeks ago. It was relatively new and was their¬†attempt to branch out to the families. The hotel was known as one that catered to businessmen, but they wanted families–especially the ones living in the south, which is suburbia heaven–to come visit them as well. They had the Sunday mass at 11am (yes, it’s regular), and, given the¬†sosyal nature of the families in the immediate area, you know they’d want to attend mass at a hotel. The idea is: go to mass at the hotel, then have lunch there, too.

The selection isn’t as varied as the other buffets I’ve been to, but that’s not to say the food was not as good; it was excellent, actually. You have your stable pork, chicken, beef, pasta, soup, sushi/maki selections. What I didn’t get to check out were¬†the dedicated seafood and¬†dessert tables, though, and I regret this deeply.

**note: I wasn’t able to take a pic of the main dishes because I was too busy eating.

One standout feature of the Sunday Family Brunch is the dedicated kids’ corner. Kiddie food? Got it! They’ve got the staple spaghetti and pizza, but they also have healthier food like the fruit kebabs. Their kids’ corner also had the chocolate lava cake (holy lord, the only dessert I had, and it was divine!), a cotton candy stand, a popcorn stand, and more desserts. Another part of the kids’ corner was the kids’ play area which featured a large screen where the kids could watch cartoons or other kid-friendly movies, tables and chairs that were both for kids and adults (for those who want to stay in the area to supervise their children), and some games.

The idea to have a dedicated kids’ corner seems genius for me. I¬†don’t know about you, but if I had kids, I’d bring them here once in a while¬†because (and I can’t believe I’m just remembering this now) aside from the kids’ corner, the children get to swim in the pool and play in the deck as well¬†(ask about this as you enter the cafe).

What else can I say?

I met new lovely people and got myself stuffed silly with sumptuous food. ‘Twas a happy Sunday brunch. ūüôā

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Sunday Family Brunch
11am-2pm
Cafe Eight, Crimson Hotel, Alabang
Php 1,600 (with unlimited juices)
Php 2,100 (with alcoholic drinks)
Reservations not required but recommended.

For more details, visit their website.

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Plugging the blogs of my new friends Gaby and Jacqui.

Gaby writes about budget travels while Jacqui writes about food and travel.

Read what Gaby had to say about this brunch.
Read what Jacqui had to say about this.

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Friday the 13th bliss

The day everybody believed would bring horrible luck turned out to be one of the best days of my life.

It started out seemingly headed down that dark road when I realized I had left my eyeglasses at home, but things quickly took a turn for the better when a student–who was also my advisee last school year–paged me in the workroom before first period. I saw through the glass door that he had his hands behind him, and when I¬†finally got outside, he had a box of chocolates, our class picture from the previous year, and a rolled up paper on top of the box.

This wasn’t a big surprise, though, since he told me the previous day that he had something for me. What surprised me was that he was actually telling the truth! When he told me about his “surprise,” he made it sound like he was kidding, so I had thought nothing of it until that moment. All of a sudden the fact that I’d go through parts of the day squinting at people and things, and possibly getting a migraine because my glasses weren’t around didn’t seem such a big deal anymore.

Of course I had to take a photo of his gift, so when I got to my desk, I whipped out my phone and snapped a few pics. Then I unrolled the letter and read. I could feel the tears pricking the back of my eyes, but they didn’t fall. All I felt was a tremendous amount of pride in this young man who has grown so much in the past two years.

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His letter reads:

Dear Ms. Marifosque/Fab,

Thank you for being a cool, patient, and AWESOME teacher! Since you are a great teacher, I want to be sweet to you… but being sweet is something I naturally can’t do, so I hope the chocolates I gave you are sweet enough :). I will never forget that I had an adviser/teacher like you. Advance happy Valentine’s Day!

-The noisy, stonehearted, annoying student you’ve had,

***** ūüôā

(If there are errors, like grammar, I’m sorry.)

He wrote in his letter that he was “stonehearted,” and I was saddened to realize that something I told him last school year stuck with him. One day during¬†lit circles in class, I discovered that he was an “unfeeling” person, unable to sympathize with people or be sensitive enough to know if he’s taken his jokes too far.

But because actions speak louder than words, I can honestly say that this kid has grown so much. I was proud of him then but I’m so much¬†prouder now.

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In the afternoon after dismissal, a few of my male advisees and their friends from the other section I handled fetched me from the workroom, brought me outside, and serenaded me with Maroon 5’s¬†Sugar. Then they greeted me Happy Valentine’s Day and gave me their gifts (flowers and chocolates).

The gesture was truly touching, and it reinforced my notion that nothing was bound to give me a headache today. True enough, my day was made. There was no bad luck. ūüôā

image

Ilog Maria Royal Jelly Face Oil

Last December I got this during a Tagaytay road trip. A bunch of friends and I stayed at Belize Tagaytay¬†Bed and Breakfast Inn then went around a bunch of places. We made it a point to drop by Ilog Maria, though, and I’m glad we did.

The place is a honeybee farm, and the people there make hygiene and skincare products using honey as one of the ingredients. A friend had raved about this place, so it was pretty exciting to see it.

The place was tucked away in… Well… somewhere. It was quite an adventure to try to locate the place and to actually journey through the narrow road that led to the farm. I’d show pictures, but most of the ones I took were blurred.

Anyway, the shop. THE SHOP. THE SHOP HAD THIS FACE OIL. And it is GENIUS!

I am one of those people who aren’t blessed with perfect skin, but after just one use of this, I became¬†the biggest fan. You shake the thing first then put just three tiny drops (or big drops if¬†the size of your skin area is bigger) on the palm of your hand before spreading it all over your face. You do this at night before going to bed and you’ll wake up with softer skin.

After a month one of my superiors told me that my skin had gotten better. I initially thought it was the Maybelline Pore Eraser I had just started using at that time, and maybe it helped, but I still credit the oil.

The expiration date is a year after date of purchase, and I hope I can finish it in a year. After a month I had barely diminished the bottle contents. You really don’t need a huge amount.¬†The oil is cheaper in the actual store than if you buy online. Then again, if you don’t like the hassle of going on a treasure hunt-like adventure, then the extra amount shouldn’t be a problem.

The farm sells soap, shampoo, balms, and other things. Check out their website for more details especially on how to get there. The directions they posted are pretty straightforward, so you should have no problem getting there. (Best if you go by car, though.)

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//edit

I’ve had this in my drafts for a few weeks now. I just realized that posting this right after my depressed post seems… bipolar. I also realized that maybe¬†finally finishing and posting this helped me get my mind off the sadder thoughts.

Influx

Doing this in bullet points.

There is a recent increase of the following in my life:

  1. happy and disturbing thoughts. basically just a lot of thoughts.
  2. new friends (thanks to the IYC)
  3. food intake
  4. followers to this blog
  5. positive attention to my curly hair
  6. fear
  7. material blessings (thank you, Lord :D)

To think my Chinese horoscope said I’d have a horrible year.

(okay wait the Chinese New Year hasn’t started yet. uh oh)

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This makes for an appropriate gratitude list, my first one for the year. I realize I need to do this more often because grumpy old me is beginning to show, and I don’t want it back.

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In the coming days there’ll be opportunities for me as well to do things I haven’t done before nor thought I’d be doing, and I find myself initially excited. Then when the high wears off, I find myself becoming worried again.

My first question is this: How do you get rid of the worries?

My first thought is this: You don’t. You learn how to deal, and from this you get stronger and more confident.

I watched this video of Morgana Bailey giving a TED talk about hiding yourself, and I thought it was about introversion. I learned it was about her fear of being seen as a lesbian instead of as herself, and how this fear has prevented her from making a positive difference in society. This got me thinking about the many times I chose NOT to do something because I was either nervous or afraid and this cost me a lot of potentially huge rewards.

To be honest the fear is still there. The fear of failure, I mean. In senior high school, we were given the option to defend our thesis in front of our class and instantly get a high mark or not defend at all (thesis grade remains). I played the numbers game back then and told myself I didn’t need to because my grade for my paper was high enough. In hindsight, I could have killed that defense had I taken that opportunity.

I could have advanced my standing at work had I pushed through with graduate studies instead of letting my residency lapse. My fear? Not being able to juggle work, studies, time, sleep, money, life and come out alive and kicking.

And now, a different fear is setting in. As determined as I am to not let it take over my life, I find it difficult not to entertain negative thoughts.

Ay me, said she.

Perhaps I just need to eat more food.

In defense of Lang Leav

Facebook is a haven for both the inspiring and infuriating. Today I saw the latter on my feed, and this particular one has spurred me to blog.
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¬† ¬†Obviously, this is a screencap of a conversation between two people. I paste it here because it was shared on Instagram and Facebook, which I take to mean it’s for sharing with people. However, since the accounts this was shared on are¬†private, I shall not divulge the name of the person who said this nor of the one who posted it. I merely want to share the cause of my irk.
¬† ¬†One of the poster’s comments was this:
She’s “good” (in the sense that she reached the minimum requirements to be considered “good”) but the way that people are gaga over her work…..parang…people, she’s not THAT good! Her pieces are half-baked and are so….meh…. There are a LOT of better authors out there.
Parang si Cara Delevigne. Di naman ganoon talaga kaganda pero ang daming naloloka sa kanya. (Like Cara Delevigne. She’s not really that beautiful, but a lot go gaga over her.)
¬† ¬†I asked the poster what “the minimum requirements to be considered good” were, and the reply to me was the following:
I am not in a position to answer that since I do not find anything I like in her work And I was told that <college literary portfolio> people do not like her work
¬† ¬†I like Lang Leav’s work. You could say that I’m a fan, but in no way do I go crazy over her work. However, I do recognize the “merit” in her poetry.¬†Her words are plain. Her rhyme and rhythm simple. Her metaphors and figurative language easily comprehensible. She is no Nick Joaquin, Vladimir Nabokov (have you read his love¬†letters?), or Pablo Neruda,¬†BUT her poetry is able to reach people, which is more than I can say for Shakespeare, who, for all his brilliance, easily alienates potential lovers of literature.
¬† ¬†Lang Leav’s work is great material for introducing people to the beauty of poetry. I accept that she’s not the be-all and end-all of poetry, but I believe it’s no reason to decry her work. My students have come to appreciate poetry because of her work, and they’ve opened up to the possibility of more complex literature because they weren’t immediately turned off.
   THIS, my dear friends, is why I will always defend Lang Leav.
//edit
Here are two other opinions on Lang Leav, her work, and of “accessible literature.”

Three am

The problem with waking up early to check is waking up early.

Sleep–I have found–does not cure everything. The back pain is still there, but it wasn’t as bad as last night.

I hear creepy crawly weird noises at three in the morning.

Stan Lee is 92 years old! (My kids are writing about him for their project.)

I need to go home early today.

Rewind

The other thing I hate about today is that all of a sudden all these embarrassing moments I’ve had–even those where I think I shouldn’t have said or done something–came crashing down WHILE I WAS WORKING. So all of these things I’ve done that I believe now I SHOULDN’T have done came back to haunt me.¬†Believe me, these are just small things like using high heels instead of flats for class or biting someone’s head off because you had a bad day. But these came by the droves, so it took all my willpower to not bang my head on my desk.

Can you imagine? I had a wonderful work rhythm and routine already and I was NEARLY DONE then ALL OF A SUDDEN this brain decided to screw with me. Or itself. Whatever.

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Someone tell me: what is the point of blogging if there isn’t even anybody who will read your work?

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Today was actually pretty okay.

I had free lunch, free afternoon snacks, I got rid of things I needed to get rid of, was able to finish half of what I need to finish, and basically had a decent day.

It was just all the thinking that kind of ruined things for me.