Everything to Gain, Nothing to Lose

We have been kidnapped. We are being held hostage on a world which we do not belong to. We are all meant to be with God in heaven. Unfortunately, we have developed some sort of Stockholm syndrome, where we have developed a love of this world.

This world teaches us that to get ahead, we must be ruthless. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. It’s a dog eat dog world, and you gotta keep hustling to make it. Someone once told me that at the end of the day, all that matters is your bank account. 

Then here you have God who tells you to not worry about anything. To not even think about what you will wear. To not worry about what you will eat. He tells about the birds who plant no seed or work the soil to grow their own food, but yet they are fed. And of He takes care of such a small animal, how much more could He care for us, who He made, in His own image.

As I read more of the Bible, the juxtaposition becomes more and more obvious. Whatever this world tells you to do, it is usually the polar opposite of what God wants you to do.

I’ve been asking myself a bunch of questions recently. One of them is, “does God love me?”, and my answer is yes. After that question is, “what have I done to earn His love?”, my answer is, “nothing”. Will I ever be able to earn His love? Never. So why does God love me? An idea popped into my head and I asked a few parents, “did becoming a parent help you understand God’s love?”. They answered yes. 

A baby has no achievements. A baby cannot do anything. Babies poop on you, pee on you, barf on you. Yet their parents feel an overwhelming connection with them. Their parents love them immensely, and the baby has yet to even speak! Most parents will go to great lengths to provide the best for their children. Having a baby taught them what unconditional love is. Unconditional means absolute, not limited by conditions. That gives me an idea, a glimpse of how much God loves me. 

I had been kidnapped by sin. My father in heaven loves me so much, that He sent His only son to pay the ransom so I could be free, so I could live with Him in heaven eternally. 

I don’t have a child, but I cannot even imagine letting my own son die for someone I’ve never met. But that’s what He did for me. The more I think about it, the crazier it sounds. I cannot deny that God exists. I cannot deny that Jesus is real, because He is real in my life. I consider myself a pretty smart person, and from a logical perspective, it’s absolutely ridiculous. But I experience His love daily. I have accepted the gift that is freely given to everyone. While in my head, it makes no sense at all, but my heart knows it to be true. And that is what faith is all about. 

My Top 5 Chicken Delivery Restaurants

Sometimes I get really lazy to cook and so Arianna and I opt for delivery instead, and given all the news articles about how fast food beef isn’t really beef, and instead is full of extenders and whatnot, my go to choice is always chicken, because in my mind, it’s the healthier choice. One could argue that the chicken is also engineered or genetically modified, but this is me so bleh.

Here are my top 5 fast food chicken choices, in no particular order.

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For a pizza place, Shakey’s has some pretty awesome chicken. And it comes with Mojo’s! And they recently released a spicy version, although in my opinion, it could use a bit more kick to it. My usual order, 3 piece with 2-3 orders of rice.

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I don’t know if this actually counts as fast food, but hey they deliver so I’m adding it to my list. If you’re pinoy, you’re bound to have eaten at Max’s. Coupled with garlic rice and banana ketchup and I add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. My usual order, 1 whole spring or regular chicken (not chopped and well done), and 2 orders of garlic rice. And it lives up to its slogan, sarap to the bones! (because that’s all I leave)

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I was only recently introduced to their chicken fairly recently, hot darn it’s pretty good, their gravy is delicious too! It’s a bit on the pricey side, and you don’t get to choose what part of the chicken you get.

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Of course KFC is on here. While some like the original recipe, I prefer the Hot and Crispy chicken. No minimum amount for delivery is win! My usual order, 2 piece hot and crispy, extra gravy and extra rice.

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And last but definitely not least, Jollibee. 24 hour delivery and affordable. 200 peso minimum for delivery. My usual order, 2 piece with extra rice and gravy.

Yes. I love rice. And chicken. If Andok’s delivered, this would be a single choice blog post. Because Andok’s is the freaking best.

Man. Now I’m hungry. I don’t know how those food bloggers do these kinds of things without getting major food cravings afterward.

When we finally said “I do”, Part One


Marriage.
Probably the biggest commitment one will ever consciously make in their lifetime. It’s a step one doesn’t consider lightly, it’s a big responsibility to vow before God and family and friends that on this earth. From this day forward, this person will be number one in my life. This person will come before my parents, my friends and before myself. That this person is the one I want to be my side through the good and the bad, that I want to wake up beside every morning, that I want to see before I go to sleep. That I will no longer just have to take care of myself, but make sure that she is taken care of for the rest of her life.
I’ll be honest, until a few years ago, marriage was just a fancy notion I would toy with in my head. I never really saw myself as someone who would get married. But then I met this girl, who i chose to break my own personal rules for. Who never gave up on me even when I was at the lowest of lows. And it took a few years for me to realize that I would most likely never find someone like her ever again.
And on that day, began the journey to March 14, 2015. The day where I would have the people who matter the most to me present, I would stand there in front of them, God, and her, and declare that I will love this woman, with all that I have, that I will try to give 100% of me, 100% of the time, even when I don’t feel like I want to give 100% of me, because that’s what marriage is.

My heart was stolen from me by a beautiful lady whose capacity to love is so immense it could rival the galaxy we call home. Whose loyalty to those she loves is so intense, the fiercest storm would cower beneath her stare. And the day I realized that if I ever lost her, my heart would shatter into a million pieces and that all the super glue in the world could never put it back together.
I always thought of myself as Peter Pan. That I would be the boy who never grew up. But then I understood why Peter left Neverland, he found the girl he wanted to grow up for. The girl he wanted to grow old with. The girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

I love you Arianna. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for saying “I do”. I thank God that He gave me the blessing that is you. May He keep us and bless our marriage for the rest of our lives.

Click this for Pat Dy’s SDE

Photos by Pat Dy

Rings by Anita Del Rosario and Tzee Del Rosario

Pan Seared Salmon with Basil Cream Cheese

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I was recently on PopTalk as a guest judge, and one of the restaurants we went to was Dulcelin, over at the second floor of UP Town Center.

One of the main dishes they served us was a Baked Salmon with some sort of creamy sauce on top. It was so good!

This is the one from Dulcelin, looks amazing doesn’t it?

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So a few days later I wanted to surprise Arianna with a yummy dinner so I got some salmon steaks and tried to make my own version of it. Thankfully, it turned out good! But the one at Dulcelin was way better! If you guys ever find yourselves in that area, it’s a nice place to have a meal with your family and friends and their mango tort is superb!

Here’s the recipe for how I made my salmon.

Ingredients:
2 salmon steaks (fillets would be better)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the salmon (be careful of the bones, they’re quite sharp and can hurt). When picking salmon, the pinker it is, the fresher it is, which means it will taste better.

Then in a small container add the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, cover with cling wrap and put it in the fridge for 30minutes. Fish absorbs flavor quickly, no need to marinate it for long. Make sure to flip the fish at the halfway mark.

To make the Basil cream cheese:
2 tablespoons basil (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon milk
1 small cream cheese block
Pepper to taste

Put softened cream cheese in a bowl, add the milk, and mix until it reaches a whipped consistency. Add the garlic, pepper and basil.

Mix until incorporated and then taste it, then add more garlic or basil depending on how you want it to taste.

Has it been 15 minutes yet? If yes, flip your fish. 🙂

Once you’re happy with the cream cheese, put it in a container, cover and put it in the fridge.

After this, your 30 minutes should be nearly done and you can bring out your fish so that it starts making it’s way to room temperature.

Once the fish is at room temperature, lightly coat your frying pan with olive oil, set your flame to low, and when the pan is hot, put your salmon in, cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, serve with the basil cream cheese and rice or mashed potatoes.

I’ve discovered that I love cooking for people I care about, it’s one way that I express my love. Until my next entry! 🙂

I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!!

November 23, 2013

Taken: November 23, 2013

Scarily excited or excitedly scared.

That’s how I would describe what I feel. For most of my life I haven’t exactly been the most responsible person, barely taking care of myself and much less able to take care of another person. But that’s what love does to people. It drives them to do crazy things. To break away from their comfort zone, to dive headfirst into new territory.

Arianna and I have been together a long time. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, shared many hard moments in time, and also shared many wonderfully amazing moments together. We’ve travelled around the Philippines together, we’ve been to Rome together and we’ve both met each other’s families.

So a question I was getting a lot from people was “when are you going to get married?”, and the main thing that was stopping me was the child in me. I knew I was still not that mature and not that responsible and how can I get married when I’m like that?

So I asked myself, “how much do I really love her?” and for a time it freaked me out, for such a battle within myself I had never experienced before, between the Peter Pan in me and the part of me who wanted to grow up.

After a time, I finally realized that I cannot take care of her if I think and act like a child. I can only take care of her if I grow up. And so I decided to leave Neverland.

I’d like to say that the change happened immediately, but alas, tis could not be so. I’d still have childish moments from time to time, until even today. But once the decision to grow up was made, those moments started reducing in number.

I had dinner with my eldest brother and told him my plans of proposing and he made sure I knew what I was getting into. That marriage isn’t just something you do out of impulse, that you have to prepare for many many things. He showed me that marriage may someday lead to children and children need food, clothing, shelter, love and an education. And it has to be provided for by me. My parents also told me that the decision to be married and to be in love doesn’t just happen one time, but has to be made daily. And so everyday, I choose to love Arianna, and in 10 months, I will make that promise in front of her, our families, and God.

The Proposal and the Ring.

 

The ring

The ring

Planning for this started around June 2013. We had a trip to Hong Kong planned with my brothers and their families for November 2013. Arianna and I both love Disney, and I love Disneyland. What better place to have a proposal in? So I emailed a friend who works in Disney and said that I was planning to propose in Disneyland and I asked if they could please help me out and make the proposal awesome.

So we started throwing ideas out back and forth, I asked my friends for suggestions. While the “how” was being planned, I started looking for the ring. Thankfully, I have a good friend who I have known for quite some time who is a jeweler, and I asked for his help. I told him my budget and he started showing me stones. Good grief it’s hard to choose a diamond. Especially when Arianna’s dad, uncle, and grandfather were all jewelers. That means if I choose badly, they’ll be able tell.. IMMEDIATELY. To top it all off, Arianna had very specific requests of what the ring should be. No pressure right?

Thus began my education in cut, V VS VVS, color, weight blahblahblah. Eventually it came down to two stones. One was bigger but yellowish, the other was smaller but much clearer. Arianna wanted a certain size but everything that size was either out of my budget range or too yellow. Headache.

Aside from that, you have to pick a design too! Good Lord, proposing is stressful! I was choosing from these engagement rings that Arianna and I had looked over together for fun, they were Disney princess themed rings, and I chose the one of Aurora. My sister in law is one of Arianna’s best friends and she knew everything about what Arianna wanted, so that if I needed help, she would guide me in the right direction. So I sent her the picture of the design and I thought it was okay na but later on that day, I get a phone call from her and she tells me, “no, you cannot choose that, it has to be a design that even if she’s 90 years old, it will still look good. The design has to be timeless”.

Goshdarnit, back to square two. (Square one was picking the stone)

So I went back to my friends office and said, “bro we have to change the design”. So I was looking at magazines and using the Tiffany and Co app to try and figure out what design to use.

After about an hour, his mom arrives at the office and he tells her that I’m trying to pick a design. She looks at the stone and studies it, then starts sketching a design. Then she hands me the piece of paper and as soon as I see it, a choir starts singing and a sunbeam shines through the window right onto the sketch. Okay I’m kidding that didn’t happen, but that’s what it felt like. And I knew that that was the ring.

WAIT! I forgot to tell you how I picked the size. Arianna’s ring finger, is my pinky. I figured that out by making pasimple and putting my hand over hers and then quickly looking at her fingers compared to mine.

After that commercial break, the decision on the ring is done, now to figure how how I’m going to propose.

I asked if the parade could be stopped and right there on Main Street in front of everybody, that’s when I do it. They said no.

Okay so I need something else. Our friend who works in Disney as the musical director, his name is Rony. I’ll just say his name now because if not I’ll be typing “our friend who works in Disney ” a lot, and he’s the one I messaged months and months before the actual proposal for help. Anyway, he suggested that we do it in the Stitch Encounter, where these audience participation, but that didn’t feel quite right.

Another idea was that my brothers and I have papers that say “will” “you” “marry” “me” and we bring it out when it’s picture time at space mountain, you know that part when it drops and takes your picture? But it was already done.

All this time I was like “Lord help I don’t know how to do this”, and about a week before our trip I had this idea of writing little notes of Disney quotes and then as we go around the park, random employees would hand her the notes one by one, and then we’d end up in front of Cinderella’s castle, and then that’s when the proposal will happen.

So I asked another friend who works in Disney to please print out these notes on Disney themed paper because I can’t do it in Manila and if I did, I’d have to hide it and I didn’t want risk it being found by Arianna.

So now we’re in Hong Kong, and on day 2 we go to Disney. Arianna thought I might propose in Disney but in the hotel room safe there wasn’t anything and she thought “what kind of idiot would keep a ring in his bag?”. This is where I raise my hand. I had hidden it in my bag. In my socks. Why? Because Arianna likes to snoop, and I didn’t want to risk her finding it and ruining the surprise.

Come the morning of our trip to Disney, I go to my brother’s room and ask if he can please keep the ring for me, as I have no bag, and my pants are too tight to have a ring box in it. We get to disney, and we have breakfast with Chevy, (he’s the one who printed the notes for me), and we sneak away from Arianna for a bit and he hands me the notes, which were printed on bond paper, and I panic because I have no idea where I’m going to keep them! Thankfully my niece Maxine had a bag so we hid it there.

Then after lunch Rony messages me to meet him somewhere and I hand him the notes and tell him my plan to propose, and I wanna do it at 3pm. And he tells me that he wants to create the perfect moment, and that there’s an illumination ceremony where there’s a parade and fireworks and music and Mickey lights the humongous Christmas tree and that happens at 6pm, and that moment would be perfect. Obviously this is leaps and bounds better than what I had planned and so taking his advice was the smart decision to make. And I gave him the notes and he said that he was going to shrink them down to a more manageable size.

Oh! I forgot to mention that Arianna wasn’t feeling well and she had a really bad cold. At around 4:30pm, she gets hit with a fever. Rony panics because he suggested the 6pm illumination ceremony and the proposal might not happen because Arianna wanted to go back to the hotel and rest. So we got her tea and give her meds but she still didn’t feel well. She was sitting down on Main Street looking so sick. Thankfully Shiela (my sister in law and her best friend) gave Arianna Biogesic and she almost immediately started feeling better, and Rony and I breathed a huge sigh of relief, because now our plan could push through!

Mind you, everyone who was there, knew that the proposal was going to happen. Everyone except Arianna and Hobbes (my nephew who cannot keep a secret to save his life).

I had no idea what the music was like so I needed to time my giving of the notes to the music, so in the video, you can see me looking over to Rony to cue me as to when to give the notes.

It’s 5:50pm. We are all on Main Street, and the music and parade start. Rony cues me to give the first note. People holding huge snowflakes start walking down the middle of Main Street where the lights have been dimmed because the snowflakes glow in the dark. I had already gotten the ring from my brother Lance, and had the ring box in my front pocket and Arianna was in front of me, and we were watching the parade. I’m so glad I had the notes because I couldn’t talk at all. My heart felt like it was in my throat and my ears seemed to have stopped working, all I could hear was my heartbeat. I’d give her the notes one by one and she’d look back at me and ask what this was all about and all I could do was either say “let’s watch the parade babe” then turn her back to face the parade. During the march of the snowflakes I gave her these notes.

“As soon as I saw you, I knew adventure was going to happen” – from Winnie the pooh

“I made a wish upon a star, I turned around and there you were” – from Bolt the movie

“To spend a life of endless bliss, just find who you love through true loves kiss” – from Enchanted

Then when I was cued by Rony, I gave the second to the last note which said,

“People do crazy things when they are in love” – from Hercules

I think this was when she knew for sure what was happening, she looked back at me with a smile and tears in her eyes, I turned her back to face the parade because that’s when the fireworks started, then at the last big fireworks barrage Rony gives me the signal to give her the last note which said, “let’s live happily ever after”, I turned her around to face me, I bring out the box, open it and start going down on one knee and before I even reach the floor she has her hands over her mouth and is frantically nodding. In her mind, I was kneeling on the floor for a long time and she was thinking it took me so long to say anything so she started nodding already. But in the video, you can see that I hadn’t even reached the ground yet and she was saying yes already.

I put the ring on her finger, she kneels with me on the floor, and as we embrace, fake snow starts falling.

It was a perfect moment. It’s top 1 in my life. Only to be beaten by when we get married, and when we have kids. I cannot describe the feeling. I’d be hard pressed to find a moment where I felt happier.

I’m so thankful that God have me such a beautiful and wonderful person to spend the rest of my life with. I’m so thankful for my brothers Lance and Lorenz, their wonderful wives Kat and Shiela,  also to Chevy and Tzee (who made the ring), and especially Rony who orchestrated the perfect moment that made my proposal so amazing. So now Disney is truly one of my happiest places on Earth.

She told me she didn’t know if she was laughing or crying.

She said yes!

She said yes!

 

Cream of Mushroom Soup Pasta

Living alone means you have to cook and clean alone. Assuming you don’t have a maid. So I came up with this recipe which takes about 30-45 minutes to prepare, it’s made from very simple ingredients, and very easy to do.

Ingredients

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (I used Campbell’s)
5 cloves garlic (minced) (I say minced but I don’t know how to mince so I just try and chop them into small pieces)
Half a stick of butter (unsalted) (and I mean half of the 100 peso butter not the 50 peso one)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (recommend freshly grated, but the grocery one is just fine)
6 strips of bacon (sliced opposite of how they look so you get bacon with meat and fat on them)
Pasta noodles (pick whatever you want, or whatever you have)
Salt and pepper (as much as you’d like)
Rock salt as much as you can pinch with your thumb and two fingers

Medium heat and non stick pan.
Melt butter in pan.
When it’s melted toss in garlic and sauté. (I think sauté means move everything around so it doesn’t burn)
When garlic starts to brown, toss in bacon and sauté. (I really hope I’m using that word right)
When the fat of the bacon starts looking clear and/or the bacon looks somewhat crispy, pour in the can of soup.
In the now empty can, fill it up with water and pour that into the pan as well.
Lower fire to a simmer (which I think means the fire is slightly above keeping it warm), add the parmesan cheese, and stir occasionally.

While you keep the sauce simmering, prep a big pot with water, I’d guess maybe 2-3 cups.
Put pot on the burner, and the burner on high.
Toss in the 3 finger pinch of rock salt into the pot of water. (I don’t know why you add salt. I really don’t)
(Did you stir the sauce? If yes, good job! If no, go do it now!)
Is your water pot covered? If it is, it should help bring it to a boil faster. If it’s not, put your face nearby and enjoy the steam. Then cover the pot.
Are you wondering how much noodles you should cook? Make the “okay” sign with your fingers. That ring should be the right amount of noodles if you’re feeding just you.
So. Is the water boiling yet? If yes, toss in the noodles and set your timer to count down from 9-10 minutes.
Have you stirred the sauce recently? If yes, good job! If no, go do it now!
Stir the noodles every now and then so they don’t stick together.

Stir sauce every now and then while waiting for the pasta to finish.
Prepare strainer for the water and noodles.
When noodles are done, strain noodles.
Kill burners.
Put noodles back in big pot.
Pour sauce in big pot.
Mix.
Serve.
Add Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt as you so desire.

Yay you! Good job!

Daydreaming

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I love Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin. Such a crazy imagination. Daydreaming that he’s spaceman spiff exploring the galaxy and fighting aliens when the truth is, he’s stuck at his desk in school, bored out of his mind because school is… Boring.

I don’t know what other people would daydream about but mine are always about flying. Not like in a jumbo jet or an F22 or even a spaceship. Like Superman. To soar in the air defying the laws of gravity. To be able to go anywhere at all, at anytime at all. Instead of getting into a car, you simply will yourself off the ground, speed through the air, into the clouds, dart in between buildings, avoiding the occasional bird or power lines, laughing at the people in their offices who are so absorbed with their jobs and so bound by the hardship of life that they don’t even bother to look outside their windows.

Remember the movie Hook, when Peter found his happy thought again and once again flew around never land, the glee so evident on his face.

As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to use your imagination. Life happens. You get told that you can’t act certain ways in public. In school your imagination is quelled. Your creativity gets stifled. You may argue that you are taught arts and crafts to contend my point, but growing up and if you suck at painting or putting glue and glitter on paper, do you get a failing grade? No you don’t. But you can fail math. You can fail English.

Schools are designed to make you a certain way. Thank God that now there are specialty schools where you can focus on what you want to do.

Not everyone is book smart. Not everyone is meant to be a doctor or a lawyer. If students fail certain subjects, does that mean they’re stupid? Our school system surely make them feel that way, but what if their genius lies elsewhere? What if their true calling lies in the secondary subjects taught in middle school?

Schools teach generic lessons to students who are anything BUT generic.

School works for most people. But what happens to the others?

Schools are factories trying to mass produce specific products but the end results are snowflakes. And they should be treated as such.

Don’t punish the dreamers. We change the world.