Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lord of The Rings

On wedding day, it is traditional for a couple to exchange wedding rings after they say their vows. The rings are a symbol of the marriage and is the one most physically visible things to remind yourself and everyone else of your commitment, more so your status.

Certainly, the circle of a ring represents undying love and the continually renewed vows of the married couple. And as the newlyweds proudly wear their new rings and enjoying their new status in life, chances are neither have discussed anything else about it other than how gorgeous they may be and how happy they are to wear them.

But rings, even as small as they are, come with mechanics for the couple that they should formulate and agree upon. This is more for the obsessive-compulsive. But then again, it's something to think about.

I never wore a ring or any finger jewelry in my life and so I had to adjust to the fact that now, I wear a ring. But I remember having lots of trivial questions that may be petty, but since I deemed myself a newbie in wearing a ring, I had to ask my wife. Questions like, when do we take it off and when do we wear it along with several possible scenarios and variations came into play.
These are some questions you may ponder on.

Do you decide to wear it 24/7 ? Will you wear it anywhere and everywhere you go ? Does that include when washing your hands, taking a shower, going for a swim, handling non-hygenic items ? What to do when it causes pain ?
As for us, we don't wear our rings at home. We only wear our rings when when we go out. It also gives our ring finger a rest. I guess it's also the fact that we'd be using our hands more at home like when we clean the house, wash the dishes, or other chores where the rings may pose wear and tear or much worse get lost.

I personally also take the ring off whenever I wash my hands whether at home or in public. I can't seem to wash my hands thoroughly with the ring on, and I don't want the ring to get wet either, so I take it off and place it in my pocket while I wash my hands. I put it back immediately after drying my hands. So basically, my rule of thumb is that if my hands are going to get wet, I remove the ring for the time being.

One problem I had with wearing the ring for the 1st month was remembering to wear it before leaving the house. It's a new habit that needs to be formed and hopefully you'll get accustomed to it no matter how busy or in a rush you may be in. One technique I formed was to place the ring in a hook in front of my keys. Since I always bring my house keys when I leave the house, it makes remembering my ring a whole lot easier since it's blocking my keys.

One thing I also noticed about wearing a ring is that there are certain hand gestures that you need to modify to avoid getting injured. I'm not talking about punching someone in the face. I'm talking about applauding or shaking hands. I discovered the clapping part during one Sunday mass. When everybody applauded, I found it weird that my hands were hurting a bit while clapping. I realized it was the ring was like a sharp object poking at my skin every clap. I found out that the best and perhaps correct way to avoid this is to clap with hands perpendicular to each other as opposed to smacking your hands together in a mirror image. Another situation is when you shake hands. I'm right handed so I shake with my right hand. That didn't pose any problem since the wedding ring is on the left hand. However, for some strange reason, someone shook my left hand with a firm grip. I found my fingers squished and more importantly, the ring being pressed onto my other fingers. It felt like a construction roller compacting asphalt on a road ( ok, I dunno that actual feeling but it looks like it). I haven't found the proper way of shaking hands with a ring yet. I'm just hoping no one shakes my left hand that hard again.

Also try to protect your ring from anything that may cause it to wear and tear. It's also best to keep it in a safe container when not in use. You wouldn't want to lose your ring to a stupid cat or rat mistaking your ring for yummy cereal.
Remember, you are the Lord of your ring. As you vowed for a lifetime's worth of dedication to your partner, make the ring last too.

Gardening 101

When we moved the only plants in our place were 2 bougainvillas and a couple of weeds. We were so busy fixing our new home we didn't have any time to buy some plants for the tiny ledge and garden.

We were surprised though by my Mom. She left 5 beautiful angel flower plants on the ledge just in time for our house blessing. Eventually she also planted some oregano in between the angel plants and they grew really fast. We've been diligently watering our plants, but had to re-pot them with my Mom's help (she volunteered because she had a bad feeling we might kill the plants!).

To start off your garden you can choose a couple of low-maintenance plants from a nearby gardening store.

We so far have an angel plant, a couple of cactus', oregano and the 2 bougainvillas. We also got some mint and basil during our trip to Tagaytay.

It would also help if you re-pot them. Clay pots are less expensive than plastic pots from department stores/handyman shops. The small and medium standard pots are just about PhP10-20 each. A sack of mixed soil is PhP50.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cheese Stuffed Pork Roll

The first few weeks I was learning how to cook I asked Miguel to choose a dish he wanted me to cook. I told myself that I should just go ahead and try cooking different dishes to build confidence. My brother-in-law's comment in Facebook definitely gave me the boost I needed. He said, "You're an Apolo, I am confident that you have it in you too."

So Miguel chose "Cheese Stuffed Pork Roll". We were already in the supermarket when I had him choose a recipe so we managed to get most of the ingredients right. (Pork chops aren't the best type of meat to use for this recipe).

So here's how I cooked it -

Place a slice of cheese in the middle of the pork slice. Roll it and secure with a toothpick.

Dredge in flour mixture (flour and thyme).

Dip in egg and then coat with bread crumbs.

Deep fry.

Here's the finished product.

As an alternative you can also use ready made pork or chicken tonkatsu (available at SM Hypermarket), the flour mixture though is more yummy, but this is a great shortcut and will save you a lot of time. You can also add sweet ham in the roll.

Pair this up with sinangag and a salad and you got yourself a fabulous lunch or dinner.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Your Septic Tank

I don't know much about septic tanks. I only know that: (1) it's where all your human deposits go to; and (2) it should be cleaned every few years.

Two weeks ago the Maynilad crew knocked on our door and asked if we wanted to have our septic tank cleaned out. We felt we didn't have any authority over it so we said that we'll ask our landlady to coordinate with them. The Maynilad guy said, "Sige bahala kayo, kayo rin..." I felt it was a warning.

And it was a well placed warning because days after some human waste bubbled up the shower drain in our first floor bathroom. I wasn't able to see it since I was sick and Miguel cleaned it up. We thought that it was the small dead rat that brought it up. Also found out that the drain cover wasn't screwed. We brushed it off as a one time incident.

A week later it happened again. Cleaned it up and hoped that it wouldn't happen again. Two days later it occurred again thrice in one day, the last one shored up 2 inches of human waste. It was really disgusting and smelly so we called up our landlady several times that day. We also checked if the other tenants were experiencing the same problem. They weren't.

I heard of stories about septic tanks blowing up (trying to find some evidence about that on Google) and what was happening to our home worried me a lot. I kept bugging our landlady and good thing Maynilad showed up the day after she followed-up with them. It was only then that I realized that your septic tank can reveal your best kept secrets. And it ain't funny because Maynilad found a good amount of non-biodegradable stuff in our septic tank (shared with door B). To put it straight, Maynilad found a lot of condoms in the septic tank and this prevented the water waste from being drained out.

And that's just one of the horrifying stories about the past tenant who stayed in our current home. More about it here.

Lesson learned: Best kept secrets can never be kept. Be a good tenant.

*Maynilad is currently offering free clean-up of septic tanks to Caloocan, Manila and Paranaque residents. Just call 981-3401 or 981-3402 for more information.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Learning How to Iron

I learned how to iron the hard way. I just did it maskipaps. Meaning, I just ironed and ironed wherever and whatever part of the shirt that fancied me. Eventually though I realized that there is a science to ironing so I researched on Youtube and found these really helpful videos.

I followed the tutorial and ironing the right way decreased the time I spend on ironing. Hooray!

Monday, March 8, 2010


I never thought I’d start writing about cooking but things have changed drastically in the past two months and I can proudly say that I have learned how to cook! I’m no wido when it comes to cooking since I can only get by if I have a cook book in front of me. There’s one dish though that I have learned to cook by intuition.


I’d say though that I learned how to cook sinangag from my Dad. His rule is, “Use leftovers!” My first cooking attempt was supposed to produce sinangag. Unfortunately our electric stove scared us so we ended microwaving the ingredients. It turned out okay but it was fake sinangag. Eventually we got our electric stove working and I finally got to experiment on my very own sinangag. Here's my favorite home-made recipe:

left-over rice
egg (2 if there's a lot of leftover)
mixed peas/carrots/corn (a small frozen pack will get you through 2-3 cookings)
Knorr Magic Sarap (just half a pack)
minced garlic
olive oil (or butter)

How I Cook It:
Saute garlic in olive oil and then add the mixed peas/carrots/corn. Add the rice and then mix in the Knorr Magic Sarap and egg. Saute everything together.

It's so easy to make! Miguel thought the sinangag I made was something I brought home as leftover from North Park! Teehee!

I've also used leftovers to make sinangag. Here are some variations I've done:
1. Adobo sinangag (my boys like soup-y adobo so we always have leftover adobo sauce)
2. Afritada sinangag
3. Ham or Maling sinangag (plus egg)

If you don't really know how to cook (like me!), sinangag is definitely something you can experiment on =)

Friday, March 5, 2010


After getting married and settling into a new home (assuming you've made the choice to live independently from any relative or family side), the newlyweds would find themselves in a totally new scenario, living together.

During the boyfriend/girlfriend and engagement phase, you'd probably be together only during dates, social events, parties and out of town. Other than that, you'll go to your respective homes once the day has ended. This time it's different. Ideally, this is going to be the first time both of you would be together for practically the longest time. After all, you just vowed to each other to be together for a lifetime.

And so whatever you were used to when you lived separately will have to be tested whether it would work or not. If you were accustomed to preparing the dinner table and only that, you'll have to rethink your entire habit especially if no ones gonna wash the dishes. Did you used to clean your room only once a week ? Well remember that now it's not just you living alone. So may be you'll have to clean up more frequently.

Pamamahay is the term one writer mentioned to us during a cooking demo. It's basically the couple getting a feel of their new home, new living conditions and new lifestyle and staying home to adapt to the new life together.

The moving-in is the first step, with both bride and groom bringing in their own sets of stuff. The more stuff you have, the more unpacking, organizing and arranging needs to be done. From there, you have to figure out what you don't have and need for the house. You're likely to realize this as the days go by and you suddenly find out that something that was conveniently available, isn't now. In my old house, we had 5 can openers. I was used to opening cans with any of them. It slipped my mind one day when we were going to open a can of pork and beans for lunch that we didn't own any can opener at all. What we thought we had based from our separate old houses was something we needed immediately. Good thing some other cans conveniently have a built-in latch for an easy pull-to-open mechanism.

Is it best to throw out the garbage every night or wait for it to be filled ? Do you keep the frontyard lights on or off during the night ? Do you hang your clothes or fold them ? Would you both like to have a pet or not ? Which brand of soap or detergent would both of you agree on using ? As the weeks go by, things will just fall into place. You would have decided which works best for you.

Both of you will get a hang of things and will do things more efficiently, may it be as big a task as doing the laundry and cleaning the house or as simple as slicing an onion and fixing your bed. Whether you discuss your roles in maintaining your household or just simply do what you do best and help out in the other chores, this will be mastered within months and soon enough, what seemed be impossible and take forever to accomplish may be a like breeze in the park after your pamamahay stage.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Two-Month Top Ten

Last week we celebrated our second month of marriage by having dinner somewhere in Alabang. We were supposed to watch a movie but the show was SRO so we decided to hang out at Bona Coffee Westgate.

The past two months have been fun-filled and filled with adventures and learnings. Here's ten things we won't forget about our first two months:

1. A brand new electric stove will emit smoke the first time you plug it in, so don't panic.

2. Sinangag cooked via microwave is fake sinangag.

3. Ask the delivery guy to remove the travel locks of your brand new washing machine. When in doubt call tech support.

4. Basil plants are quite sensitive to the sun. It prefers afternoon sun too. Oregano, on the other hand, loves the sun and would grow by leaps and bounds when it is happy. Do not touch it since the smell would stick for several hours.

5. It is not a good idea to watch over someone else's kid. And even though you don't have a choice, choose not to do it.

6. When water is scarce use paper plates, plastic spoon and forks and plastic cups. Also gives you the excuse to dine out.

7. Leftovers put together can be a full meal too.

8. Sharp knives are safer than dull ones.

9. Always have the following on hand: onion, garlic, calamansi, tomato since it's the basic ingredient/s of most dishes.

10. The smokin' sink. Bow.

More about our two months here.