Tag Archives: life

A month ago I was craving for ramen. Instant noodles simply couldn’t satisfy my craving. I was seriously thinking of going out and find a restaurant nearby when I could eat one. Then a restaurant came into mind called “Wang Debak”, which I visited before. My last and only visit there was with a group of friends sometime early this year. We ordered ramen but I couldn’t remember how it tasted like. I didn’t bother about it so much at that time.

Since I couldn’t think of anywhere near to eat and the restaurant was just 10 minutes away from my place, I gave it a go. I called my friend Jayson if he could accompany me and, thankfully, he did.

Wang Debak is located along Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The landmarks are NEDA, University of Asia and the Pacific and Millenia Building. Its adjacent to the 7-11 store along Escriva.

The restaurant is a little small. It can probably cater for 30 people at the same time. The interior is a little bit dark, mostly having brown and dirty white shades. I find those colors for a restaurant to be quiet dull and gloomy but not to the point of being uncomfortable to dine at. That’s just my opinion.

The large Oriental style painting on the wall somewhat compensates for it. The painting depicts the mountains somewhere in Korea or Southern China (a popular style in Oriental Art). It gives customers a feel of ancient Korean civilization and adds a sense of authenticity to the restaurant.

The feel of the restaurant, in general, appears as if you’re eating somewhere in South Korea. It’s like most of the traditional restaurants I’ve been to in Seoul.

In terms of service, I found it good. Above average. The servers were friendly and quick to act whenever we needed something. In fact, we’ve been busy talking that the lady owner actually told me through the server to eat my ramen because it’s good to eat it warm. Appreciated that she went that extra mile : )

Spicy Ramen costs for around 150 pesos. Not bad.

Spicy Ramen costs for around 150 pesos. Not bad.

The ramen I ordered was just the ramen that I’m looking for. The noodles were thick and fine. Not too overcooked. The egg was mixed well and slowly with herbs to form a creamy and delicate soup. It’s quiet spicy. I like spicy food. But I find their ramen extra spicy. What I liked more about it was that the taste of the meat was not dominated by herbs or whatever additives they put in the noodles. That’s usually my complaint in the ramen that I tried in other restaurants.

And oh, didn’t I tell you that the side dishes were really good? I mean, really good. Better than the ones I tasted in South Korea. There was kimchi, and lettuce leaves with vinegar. What I liked most were the baby potatoes dipped into some sort of sweet soy sauce. It was delicate as the taste of baby potatoes mixed so well with the sweet soy sauce.

Hay, why its so hard to explain a food that is really good?

Take note, the side dishes are REFILLABLE!

I highly recommend people to dine at Wang Debak. Other dishes that I tried and people might be interested are their bulgogi and kim bob.

You can check the prices and menus on Zomato: https://www.zomato.com/manila/wang-debak-ortigas-pasig-city

Until next time.

Unforgettable Trip to South Korea Part 1

Wow! Just can’t imagine how long it has been since my last blog post. It feels so strange to write a blog again and seems like I have to re-learn how to post! So much has happened and it’s tricky to determine one event that made the most impact in my life since my last post. There are a number of them and I guess I’ll have several posts on that.

Perhaps one of the highlights of my life recently was the Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN) that I’ve attended last March in Seoul. Model United Nations is a simulation of the proceedings in the United Nations and, sometimes, conferences include other notable international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU) and even the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China. Simulations allow students to get a glimpse of the policy-making process and engage in debates, coalition building, research, resolution writing and many more.

WorldMUN claims to be the olympics of MUN. While I could not compare it to other international MUNs because it was the only one I have attended (I have attended a few local MUNs), I should say that it was the most intense MUN I’ve been to. Imagine having 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students from 118 countries participating in the conference. Each student brings with them their worldview, shaped by their own culture, education and experiences in life. That enriches the debates and the proceedings of the conference. It is just amazing to debate on pressing issues with some of world’s top students.

This year, the conference lasted for 5 days from March 16 to 20, 2015. There were more than 20 committees. I was assigned as a single delegate at the Historical General Assembly where the topic touched on the Bosnian Crisis.

 

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ROAD TO HARVARD WORLDMUN 2015

Probably many would think of the difficulty that went into the 5 days of the conference, but that was just a tip of the iceberg. There were so many things that went before the conference proper. The weekly trainings, the research, the struggle of juggling between MUN and demanding academic and org responsibilities, raising money for the trip and basically planning the whole thing; those needed a lot of effort, patience and determination.

It was so funny how I got into WorldMUN and MUN in general. I saw a link on Facebook around November, I think, and I tagged the Secretary General of the university’s MUN, Nic Espinoza, and another brilliant MUN dude, Jian Manjares. 

Nic and Jian got so excited that the comments section of the post seemed to have burst with their enthusiasm. I didn’t get the MUN fever then, but after talking to Nic and the people who were doing MUNs in the university later on, I realized how fun and fulfilling it could be.

The road to WorldMUN introduced me to local conferences as well. The first one I’ve attended was BenildeMUN 2014, the oldest MUN in the country, hosted by (as the name suggests) the De La Salle College of St. Benilde. I didn’t know what to expect and I had to observe and look at how people worked. From then I took off and became more comfortable doing the next 2 local conferences that I would be attending: Ateneo MUN and De La Salle MUN.

When it came to preparation, I had to thank Nic for his commitment. There were times when the whole delegation would not take trainings seriously. One saturday Nic could not attend training because he had class. So what we did, to his disappointment, was sneaked in and just watch a movie about Kim Jong Un (whatever that was!). Despite being jackasses sometimes, Nic perservered and made sure we could get the best training we could have, given our limitations (in time, knowledge, etc.). So much respect for the guy.

The other members of the delegation were no less than inspiring. We had a bunch of delegates from first to fifth year in the university. I was impressed how the younger members of the delegation took the role of playing diplomats seriously, discussing international issues passionately and critically. We’re each other’s biggest supporter and staunchest critic at the right time. Being a latecomer in the MUN team, I had to ask questions, strategies and rules of procedures from younger batchmen and women. In universities, senior students often act superior to younger students. But in our delegation, we’re like friends. Our relationships were not anchored on hierarchies. I’m also thankful to Dr. de Leon for giving me a few insights to help me in my research.

WORLDMUN 2015 APPROACHING

The day we’ve been waiting for and, I’m quiet scared of, came at last. It was 8:30 p.m. and I was standing in front of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) HQ and couldn’t get a taxi!

I was freaking out because like in previous foreign trips (I only had two by the way before Seoul), I knew that one was expected to come 3 hours earlier before departure time. The departure time in my case is 12 am. Since I couldn’t get a taxi in DepEd, I took all my baggages and went to Escriva Drive which was on the other end of the village where I lived. No one will know how much uncomfortable it was to me. I’ve already worn my thermals to prepare for the cold because I didn’t want to change clothes in the plane. Imagine me walking from one end of the village to another, carrying all my baggage and wearing 1 layer of winter clothes in sweltering tropical heat! That was insane.

When I got a taxi, I was sweating like crazy. I wanted to remove my shirt but thank goodness the taxi was airconditioned so I didn’t have to. The thing was, the sweat dried up and further put stress to my already sickly body. Days before leaving for Seoul, I was doing my fieldwork for thesis and had an exam. Well, I was a little sickly for the rest of the trip in Korea because of all that. Fail!

I arrived at the airport around 9:30 pm, not well into the 3 hour time I thought needed for an international flight. After checking in, I met Mandy and we went to Starbucks at the airport where Alec was staying. Wildy came in later. Nic followed. These people would be my laughing buddies for the rest of the trip.

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JUST LANDED IN KPOP LAND

We arrived in South Korea early in the morning and it was -2 C. I was freezing. That was my first time in a cold country. But that didn’t bother me so much because South Korea was beautiful. I seemed to have forgotten that I was cringing due to the cold.

 

 

Their infrastructure, their roads in particular was wide, no traffic, and the bridges and all construction works extended as long as the eyes could see. “This was what development was like”, I thought to myself.

The moment we arrived at the inn, we just changed clothes and went out for sight seeing. Some delegates attended a Catholic mass. Unfortunately, I found it hard to find an English Christian service around the area even after asking the concierge at the inn and looking online. So I decided to go with Mandy and Alec. We went to Myeongdong and took breakfast somewhere in the narrow back alleys we’ve explored. Alec ordered bibimbap, Mandy some yellow soup or porridge (I guess) and I got noodles. Finally we were able to taste Korean cuisine in Korea. 

Afterwards, we went around Myeongdong, in the shopping areas. It was fascinating because high end shops had their own individual buildings and small stalls occupied the middle of the streets a la cleaner version of Divisoria x Greenbelt in the Philippines.

Honestly though, I prefer to shop in the Philippines where our malls are like EVERYTHING. Foreigners who’ve been to the Philippines would know. The high end or low end stuff will depend on which mall you go into. And for me its more easier to navigate around our malls because all the smaller shops are there. In South Korea, the malls I’ve been too were practically the department stores we have here. Just one component of our malls.

This is my opinion though. Maybe other people prefer the way it is done in South Korea or the country has more than what I’ve explored.

SOME REALIZATION AND FIRST DAY OF CONFERENCE

When I was in South Korea, I had some inner urge to speak Tagalog rather than English. Growing up I used to speak only in Tagalog. But when I went to college, I still spoke in Tagalog frequently but English basically was the first language that I was using. Honestly, I have to admit, that unfortunately, English is viewed in the Philippines (like in many countries) as more sophisticated, it’s thought to be cool and signifies higher social status and education.

In South Korea, I felt pride in speaking a language I can call my own. People there spoke Korean and, to some extent, English. 

Later in the conference, people spoke a whole lot more languages. Some I didn’t even know to have existed! The first day, there were multitudes of people in Kintex. People of all colors and languages. Undergraduate and Graduate students from 118 countries. Imagine that! I met people from Canada, South Africa, Indonesia, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Britain, Italy, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, India, Taiwan, France, Belgium, Spain, United States, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom and Mexico. That was just during the first day. During the orientation!

In that situation, I felt pride in speaking a language that only I and the people from my country understood. It differentiated me and the Filipinos from other people in the conference. The feeling of having your own identity and unique characteristic seemed to have electrified me deep into my bones. Although with UA&P delegates I still spoke in Tag-lish (Tagalog x English) most of the time, I’ve never felt as proud of my language and as proud of being a Filipino than when I was in South Korea.

Funnily, I had to leave for a moment during the orientation because I forgot my wallet in the café near Daehwa train station (thank God I got it back).

In that short amount of time though, I had some time to reflect. I sensed an irony. Despite being proud of my country, language and culture, I was surprised how shocked I was by the multitude of people and felt intimidated talking to other delegates, especially to Americans and Europeans. I didn’t think they were imposing their superiority as what colonizers did to Filipinos in the past. It was my own conception of inferiority (and I believe its true for many, not all,  delegates from developing countries) that made me feel no good compared to them.

As I continued walking towards the café, I further held on that thought. Looking back though, there was a lingering thought inside me thinking that hierarchy is not an ever present reality, its a choice. Sometimes it is us who impose it on ourselves. 

There was also something in my mind that I learned from long ago, that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness. That all individuals are endowed by God with potentials. That not one of us are the same. That all of us are created different. And that difference is designed to complement than to spark conflict with one another. That no one is too big or too small because of his race, religion, culture and language. What defines us is the amount of determination we have, the way we treat other people, and the passsion we have in whatever we do.

WorldMUN is a wonderful opportunity for many of us to overcome that fear of being different. WorldMUN is where people are given the chance to understand the beauty that lies in the diversity of people around the world. WorldMUN is where young people can channel their desires of making a difference in the world and put them into action.

I got my wallet back and walked toward Kintex. I haven’t fully grasped the reasons to overcome my fears, but I got part of the answer that would guide me in the next four days of the conference.

———-

Part 2 to follow.

Hey it’s my birthday!

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So it’s my 19th birthday. Yahoo! I couldn’t believe that times have gone so fast! It seems to me that my childhood days were only just yesterday. But it’s not. I came past adolescence, have graduated from high school and now on my way to finish my MA, hopefully, in two years time. And it was the things that happened all throughout those years that kept me busy to reflect on life. What have I achieved? What did I miss? Where did I fail? And have I learned from my mistakes?

These questions are just plain boring and corny, even sentimental, during other days of the year. But it is during my birthday that those questions gain significance.It is because one’s birthday is supposed to be a moment of reflection.

For me, I have a lot to celebrate. I have loving parents, wonderful siblings, a bunch of equally wonderful uncles and aunts, funny and helpful cousins, ‘fantastic’ high school friends, my ‘awesome’ poleco blockmates, my UAP CAS mates and even strangers like my landlords and landladies who have shown goodness to me throughout the years. I thank God for good health and equally good education. Also for direction and never failing love. Whew, please permit me to be a ‘corn’ in capital letters since its my birthday! And its my blog!

But as much as I want to be thankful for all my blessings from God, I also want to focus on things that I have to improve. Of course I’m human and not perfect like everyone else. And there is something about imperfection that is interesting to think about, especially during birthdays. I remember Martha Stewart’s words on gardening. She said that it is the garden’s imperfection that allows the gardener to move and cultivate. It is because there are things to be worked on that movement and action are stimulated. The same with our character. It is because we are imperfect that makes us move and do good to change whatever there is in our thinking and actions to correct.

As for myself, there are five that I can think of. First is to control my temper. That kills me a lot especially when times are bad. I, most often than not, blow my top during tense situations. I also love to argue for the sake of arguing! (Isn’t that funny….and stupid?) I wish I have more patience and less enthusiasm for argument. But I hope I can work on that in God’s grace.

Second is honesty and integrity. I must admit that I’m a kind of know-it-all person, and that attitude is a flash point between me and many people, most particularly THOSE who have that same trait as mine! I also tend to paint an image of myself as being perfect and clean without acknowledging the fact that I TOO have mistakes to deal with before poking on others’ noses.

Third is laziness. I remember in Dante’s novel, Inferno and Purgatorio, that SLOTH can be the root of many evils. That includes tardiness and lack of respect or genuine concern for others’ time. And you don’t accomplish anything in your life with that which is more bad. And that is ringing a bell on me because I have several papers to write but I’m BLOGGING. Never mind!

Fourth is over-thinking. I am always pulling the HAMLET out of me when papers come or during exams. I always aim for the best, and because of that I could not even accomplish a single good.

Fifth is prodigality. I tend to spend money like there’s no tomorrow (this is a Filipino saying which I just translated because I think it also makes sense in English). That is why I should pull out the economics part of my Political Economy education to make me the ‘economic man’ I should be. I am not a SELF-MAXIMIZING individual (but thankfully because of that I am not one of those ungodly rationalist scumbags). So I guess I could now write in my paper for PET that Hume and the positivists are wrong to assume that all men are rational, as they defined it! I for one is not–again, thankfully I am not! Haha.

But let’s see if I can improve, in God’s grace, at least three of these come my 20th birthday.

Enough of this. I have to end blogging because I have school works to do. Better to write papers now than to cram (AGAIN?). I must say that I am thankful to those who sent their messages on Facebook and twitter, and those who found time to call and, even, greet me personally. That really made my day.

I am looking forward for my 20th and, even, 80th birthday (that’s how ADVANCED I am) in God’s grace.

What will I become in the Future?

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I have this tendency of going online just to google anything that interests me at the moment. This evening after doing school work, I chanced to think of searching a random professor’s bio. From reading the bio, I happened to open the website of the research center of UA&P. And for some reason my random internet searching took me to the alumni site of the university.

The particular article that I got into was the 2011 Bar exam passers who were alumni of the university. To my surprise many were not from my course, Political Economy, or Industrial Economics. As you can see, many of them either took Information Technology or Management before studying law.

It seems to me that those people from courses I would not expect to study law were the ones who actually did. You see, I’m coming from a pre-conception, like most people in the Philippines, that pre-law courses should have to do something with politics or economics. That explains my reaction to the article that I read in the alumni website.

But when I think of it, life is really that surprising. I don’t know if the guys or girls from other courses today who seem to lack much interest in current events or anything political under the sun would someday be in the field of law or politics.

That I think proves that we can’t speculate what people will be in the future based on what they are now. They might not like this or that today, but maybe in the future they would change their mind and do something else where they can find more interest and fulfillment.

And that should not create confusion or anxiety for the future in any way. As so long as we stand firm in our belief in the truth and we do good in whatever way we can, we can be assured that no matter where we go, we will be contended and happy.

With that thought, I also reflect on myself. What will I become in the future? Will I be the person I want to be?

We’ll that’s the question that I am yet to answer myself, and for each and every one of us if we ask the same question.

But I am not implying that we are not in control of the future. We are in certain ways. It is just that sometimes things happen a bit differently or there are better options that came about so we changed our mind, so as our plans. But if we are really determined to pursue our dreams or goals in life, our idea of the future must meet with our actions. That is, we should work hard to be the kind of person we want to be.

Of course, God has to be there in our life. For without the light of God, we are like walking in the darkest night without even the spark of light to guide us in an uncertain path ahead of us.

And now back to the question, what will I be in the future and what will be my brothers, friends and classmates be in the future? These questions are yet to be answered and I am looking forward in knowing those answers.