Archive for ‘Friends’

22 May 2014

Life’s a b*tch and then Juanderkid dies.

by misslampa
Amer, more popularly known as the blogger Juanderkid was all about finding and spreading light and love.

Amer, more popularly known as the blogger Juanderkid, was all about finding and giving light and love.


The week former Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo passed away, you wrote what remains to be my most favorite Amer Amor quote of all time:

What does [death] tell us about life? That it is indeed fleeting. That we should always be grateful. That a life well-lived and well-served will be remembered long after we’re gone. And that we should not delay love. We should not delay love.

You simultaneously touched on loving and living a full life and being grateful for everything – things we relentlessly talked about whenever and wherever we wanted to indulge our patriotic, hopeful, dream-big selves. It didn’t matter whether we were exploring the cobblestone streets of Intramuros together or simply exchanging messages on Facebook or WordPress at two in the morning; we’d find a way to feed off of each other’s positive energy, love of travel, and addiction to stunning sunsets.


We were supposed to have a repeat of this soon. I guess this means we're gonna get stood up.

We were supposed to have a repeat of this soon. I guess this means we’re going to get stood up.

But I don’t know how to proceed from here, now that it’s you who’s gone. I’m sorry, but right now, I couldn’t care less about all the prose and positivity in the world.

Alam mo, I just find myself really, really stumped.

I was so certain I’d see you again sometime this month or the next, you know. So much so that I had the gall to repeatedly say no whenever you asked for details when you found out I’ve fallen for this awesome guy while I was living overseas.

Anuba! ikuwento mo na kasi, Donna. May malalim kang pinaghuhugutan.

Saka na ‘pag nagkita na lang tayo, Amer. Wala namang masyadong ikukuwento. I think hinayaan ko siyang matapos bago pa man masimulan.

Kahit na. ‘Yan ang mga the best na love story.

And so to make you stop, I’d laugh and tell you I miss you and I love you and I’d tell you about it in time. It was the only time I remember saying no to you because for the most part, ours had been a giving relationship, of supporting each other’s dreams and simply letting the other be. Of not sweating the small stuff whenever meet-ups got cancelled or promises weren’t kept. Of poking fun at each other’s quirks and sharing our intense hatred for incorrectly used expressions and phrasal verbs. (I can still hear you ranting about why people keep using “touchdown” to announce their arrival in a city or town when they didn’t even take the plane to get there. Wala namang gulong ng eroplano na nag-touchdown, ano kaya ‘yon?)

I was looking forward to years and years of our crazy little talks and adventures, dude. :(

I was looking forward to years and years of crazy little talks and adventures with you. :(

I don’t even know why I said no and chose to delay love that one time, Amer. But if telling you all about it now could bring you back, I’d bore you with everything I can remember about that non-love story. I’d break our journalism code of ethics even and throw in some details that never happened if that would mean I’d get to hear you laugh and see your face light up again. Anything to undo the motorcycle accident that took you. Anything to keep me from having to grapple with the reality that you are gone too soon, and for good.

Because in all honesty, of all the plot twists that could ever happen in this life, this having to dream and do and explore and love without you from here on out was something I never saw coming.

Which is also why exactly a week after you’ve left, I’m still bereft of whatever life skill or mindset can get me through this grief. I’m just really, really sad that you had to go.

I still can’t bring myself to say goodbye, Amer. And I’m not sure how long it’d take until things start to make sense. But I’m hoping you’re happy and at peace wheresoever you are Juandering now. I imagine the sunsets we’re so crazy about look even more magnificent from where you’re now watching them.

Also, I bet there’s no one there to infuriate you anymore by using “touchdown” incorrectly. And because I love you, I’m going to try very, very hard to at least be happy about that.






In memory of Amer Amor aka Juanderkid (23 Oct 1982 – 15 May 2014)

I miss you, I love you, and I'll see you on the other side. <3

I miss you, I love you, and I’ll see you on the other side. (PS: I took some of your pictures for this post. I hope that’s okay.)

20 August 2012

GoodRead: Jeffrey McDaniel’s Poetry and On Being Away from Who/What I Love

by misslampa

At about 15 minutes before midnight, the moment I got off my weekly Skype conference call with my sister who’s in Singapore and my parents and brother who are in Manila, this poem came to mind.



We had been discussing for the nth time where we’d be during the holidays, who would be flying where, and from whose pocket the travel expenses would be drawn. In the end, we decided to celebrate Christmas in Manila, which means my sister won’t be with us come December 25. That’s terrible news for silly old me who’s been away all year, and who will be away again for most of 2013. All I wanted was a simple noche buena (Christmas eve dinner) for five.

I know McDaniel’s piece isn’t familial at all, and I also have yet to find a lover whose breathing I would stay on the line for. But right now, many of the faces and places I hold closest to my heart are just too far away for comfort. There’s my bestest friend in the whole wide world who’s tying the knot in October and parents in their 60s who’ll be celebrating their birthdays soon, among others. There are a couple of people I’m itching to see, and it is my hope that they’re also itching to see me.

But the thing is, the more I try to make up for the distance with all the sweetness and smileys and even silences I can cram into the correspondences I keep, the more I realize that slowly whispering 32 I-love-you’s just isn’t enough to bridge the miles between us. And even if I dare break the quota and say I love you for the 33rd time, that sadly won’t amount to much too.

For nothing about using up all the I-love-you’s in the world can make me miss them any less.





A shout-out goes to my friend Exxon Yu, who first made me aware of this short but moving poem. The snapshot of the poem above is also from him.

29 June 2012

Binondo Bites (Part 1)

by misslampa

Established in 1594 (according to this website), the noisy and bustling town of Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world. No wonder it has this very old-world, turn-of-the-century, chaotic vibe about it that locals love to hate and tourists love to love.

You know you’re in Chinatown when you see the Fil-Chi Friendship Arch
and The Minor Basilica of St. Lotenzo Ruiz, also known as Binondo Church.


But it wasn’t that which beckoned my friends and I to brave the tricycle-then-train-then-jeepney commute (not to mention the pollution and the heat and that perpetual smell of incense emanating from every nook and cranny in Binondo) late last year. We came to see for ourselves whether the claim made by those who know their dumplings and their noodles is true: that the best and freshest Chinese food in the country can be found here.

Last November’s Ultimate Food Trip in Binondo team was made up of Juay, Nherz, Amer and misslampa.


We didn’t have time to get that famous red map put together by foodie and walking tour guide Ivan Dy, but with a little help from this very detailed post about doing a self-guided Ultimate Binondo Food Trip (thank you!) plus Juay’s Excel and Google Maps printouts, we conquered Binondo like a boss! And I tell you, what a food trip it was!

We’re nerdy journalism majors and are well-trained in doing online research.


As with all food trips, you must come hungry, and with your friends/lover/family in tow because the only way to make the most out of the experience is to share the food. Para makarami (so as to be able to cover more ground), as they say in Filipino. The trick, really, is to just sample the fare – no matter how good it is. Otherwise, the space in your tummy is bound to fill up, and fill up quick. And if that happens when you are just on your third stop, that would be a very sad thing indeed.

In short, as with many things, pacing and discipline is key.Ü

Anyway, here are some of the fare we sampled, in the order that we sampled them. I’m including the streets on which the food shops are located for the benefit of those who are thinking of embarking on this kind of adventure themselves. They’re not always easy to find, I tell you, but knowing on which street they’re on is a start. I’m throwing in pictures of the signs in front of the store as well, because having an idea of what you’re supposed to watch out for is going to help you greatly.


1 >>>>>

First up, New Po Heng Lumpia House
on Quentin Paredes Street.

This sign isn’t visible from the street, though, so it’ll be good to ask around. The shop is located in what used to be the lobby of an old apartelle, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. The lady who prepared our lumpia said that on a regular day, they sell about 500 of these heavenly pockets of vegetables, seaweed and peanuts at P50 a pop. (exchange rate at P42.33 to US$1 at the time of writing).

The classic Chinese lumpia. No fuss, sans meat, all good.


2 >>>>>

Then we looked around the food shops
along the famous eskinita that is Carvajal Street.

There were lots of pre-packed food, fruits and vegetables, and I find myself amused by the lack of logic in the way the stalls were clustered. We still had a long day ahead of us, though, and this was all I was willing to carry in my backpack for the next few hours:

These knobs of pork and shrimp which are then seasoned with vegetables
are called que kiam or kikiam, depending on who’s spelling. (P150 per pack)


3 >>>>>

Along Yuchengo Street, near the part where it intersects with Roberto Ty Street,
we entered the dumpling mecca that is Dong Bei Dumpling.

They have a limited menu, admittedly, but I didn’t find that a reason to complain. After all, just how many dumplings can I cram into my tummy, right? It’s a very cramped place, though, but this makes it easier for you to watch the demo show of sorts by the window while enjoying your food. During our stay there, one of the staff was making fresh egg noodles.

The egg noodles I just referred to are shown above. And yep,
I did make tusok-tusok the kuchay dumplings (dumpling and chives, P100 for 14 pieces) with the steel chopsticks because they kept slipping. Sue me.


4 >>>>>

We were more salt than sugar people, but we’ve read that Shin Tai-Shang Foods along Salazar Street sells good and pretty single-serve cakes. So in we went.

We were already feeling a bit full by this time and we were just on our fourth stop, hala! Good thing we weren’t in the mood for sugar that day, so all we ended up getting was their green tea plum cake. We even had to share it among ourselves!

It’s small and I still think it’s a bit pricey at P40 a pop, but in all fairness, it’s so compact and dense inside.


5 >>>>>

We weren’t hungry at all when noon came around, but in the Philippines, everybody stops to eat when the clock strikes 12 noon. And hey, we were in the Philippines, right? So our unanimous decision to head to our next stop made perfect sense to me.

We trooped to Wai Ying Fastfood along Benavidez Street, specifically the part which intersects with Salazar Street. And there, we feasted on milk tea (P50), pork and century egg congee (P100) and heavenly hakaw (P65 for 4 pieces).

This shop is the easiest to find, in my opinion. And I’ve been told it has other branches in Binondo, too!




So I’m down five places, and I have around another four or five to go! If I find time tonight to blog about the rest of it, then I’d have Part 2 by then. But for now, I’m signing off to eat. It’s 3p.m. on my side of the world and I haven’t had lunch yet. And between food and blogging about it, guess what this foodie will choose? :-)

Correct. I’m sure that didn’t come as a surprise.