Thursday, August 25, 2005

The BWIs

I get together with my high school friends maybe six times a year. We used to be a bigger group, but as one after the other married or moved abroad, our group was whittled down to four.

We call ourselves the BWI, short for BWIset. In Tagalog, "bwiset" means to be ticked off. The meaning of those 3 letters changes according to our disposition. Various interpretations are: Beautiful Women In a Set, Bitchy Women In a Set, Bodacious Women In a Set. I forget the other meanings but they can get weird, depending on what we had for dinner.

My friends meet up a lot, but I don't always join them for various reasons. I know they don't always invite me out since I'm not always available, but it's no skin off me because I know that they're my friends.

Anyway, yesterday was Marmie's birthday so we had an impromptu night out. They're pretty much ladies of leisure, so they can easily meet up on a weekday afternoon at a moment's notice. So as my 3 girlfriends gorged on sinigang and crispy pata at Gerry's Grill, I rushed from Makati to meet them. When I finally joined them at Eastwood they were doing some late-night shopping. We all headed to Jack's Loft for dessert.

After salivating over the cake display, they made their orders while I dug into some pasta pomodoro, courtesy of Gai. The arrival of their chocolate and cheese cakes were greeted with the usual squeals of joy. But as they started eating the inevitable comments started coming in - the cake was too dry, there was too much gelatin in the cheesecake, yadda yadda yadda.

At the end of our meal (my first, their second) Gai remarked how we never learn; we just keep going back to Jack's Loft even if the food isn't good.

I couldn't help thinking about that. Habits die hard. But there is some comfort in things that don't change. Marmie hamming it up for the cam. Lisa dispersing her opinions on this and that. Gai bringing us up to speed on her lovelife. And always, always...the rest of us talking about anyone who isn't there. Beware the trips to the bathroom! :)

We wear each other like second skin. But it's like a favorite jacket you can put on and take off at will. Sometimes we are and sometimes we're not. Our lives touch and then go off in their separate directions. But our shared experiences, like the sun's gravity, always pull us back into our well-worn orbits, towards each other.

I could feel bad when I don't get to join them for a trip out of town, but I don't. As a working mom I've already defined my role and my priorities, and I've never looked back ever since Miguel was born. That, I must say, was when I grew up. And I'm still growing.

But what I like about them is that even though my life is different now, they never let me feel like I have changed. Once a BWI, always a BWI.

I just know that next year we'll find ourselves at Jack's Loft again, wondering why we never learn.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Yesterday I was slumped on Miguel's bed, looking glum while he played nearby.

Me: I'm sorry Miguel, I don't feel so good right now.
Miguel: Why?
Me, thinking fast: Because I had a misunderstanding with my friend and it's bothering me.
Miguel: What's a misunderstanding?
Me: It's when you don't understand each other.

He comes over and kisses me. I smile.

Me: Aw, are you trying to cheer me up? (He nods) Thank you Miguel.

I go back to my thoughts. Miguel glances at me, gets a pad of paper from the drawer and asks if he can use it. Sure, I say. A few minutes later he comes to me with a drawing.

Me: What is it?
Miguel: It's a happy ship.

Sure enough instead of the usual jolly roger, there's a smiling face on the flag atop the mast. (jpeg to follow) I smile again and give him a hug. Then he starts writing some gibberish on the pad. He fills it up.

Miguel, handing me the pad: Read it.
Me: What does it say? (I try to hand it back) Tell me.
Miguel: No, you tell me. Just whatever you want it to say.

A bit flustered, I start.

Me: "Mommy, do not feel so sad. I am always here with you."
Miguel: Yes, yes!
Me, smiling: "I love you very much."
Miguel: That's right.
Me, grinning: "You are more beautiful than beautiful."
Miguel: Yes.
Me: "And... (getting ready to grab him) let's play wrestling!"
Miguel: Wrong!
Me: Huh?
Miguel: "Let's eat dinner!"
Me, laughing: Okay!

(For Monday, July 18, 2005, 11:12 AM)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today I am a pig

At eleven Ellen texts us an invite to Amici, the Italian restaurant in Don Bosco Makati. So many people have been raving about the pizza and gelato in this resto run by Italian priests, but I never got the chance to go. I was never sure if it would be open for dinner since it's located in a school. Well Ellen's treating us to lunch, so we say...go!

We enter the quaint restaurant whose main door is located along Pasay Road, and the scent of baked bread and tomato sauce greets us. Mmmmm! I like this already. It seems that we are standing in what could have been an outdoor cafe area, except that the traffic at the Skyway entrance has forced the priests to enclose this space with glass windows and subdued skylights. Nice. Very Italianni's.

Most of us order pasta while 2 of our companions go for sinigang and lechon kawali on the other side of the restaurant. It seems that before Amici's was built, the site was a cafeteria. Walking to the rear you will find a glass case with the familiar stainless steel pans filled with pinakbet and rellenong bangus for those who hanker for Pinoy fare. It is noon and we easily find a table, but in a matter of minutes the place is bustling as the lunch crowd packs in - office workers, families, ladies who lunch, school kids with their folks, and several elderly, white-haired European gentlemen whom I presume to be Don Bosco priests.

Ellen orders Lasagne al Forno; Peachy chooses Spaghetti Vongole e Gamberetti; and I opt for Ravioli ai 4 Formaggi - home made ravioli with mixed Italian cheeses sauce. Yum! When the entrees arrive the aroma of cheese wafts up from my plate. Hungrily we all tuck in and I am instantly sated by the cheese-stuffed ravioli smothered with thick white sauce.

A pan of Sicilian pizza comes in as well and we try not to look like gluttons as each one timidly reaches out for an anchovy-laden slice. (Remember, one slice only! Ladies should not be so obvious when they're acting like pigs.)

To be honest the pasta was filling but not spectacular. The bread would have been good on its own but I could not even taste the garlic on the overly-generous dab of DariCreme. And at around P170 per plate it isn't really that cheap. The pizza? I've only tasted one, so I'll reserve judgement for that.

But the gelato was to die for.

The seven of us chose a scoop apiece. And being Filipino, we all shared flavors: dark chocolate, hazelnut, chocolate with nuts, mint chip, pistacchio, dark chocolate (again), and orange. All excellent, especially the dark chocolate. Oh - but I didn't like the orange, which is not a favorite flavor, but Peachy seemed in ecstasy about it anyway.

So now I have a new craving - gelato on a hot afternoon! I will look to my fellow chocolate fiends Alice and Weng to satisfy this new addiction. You guys should taste it out if you haven't tried it yet. It's open from Mondays to Saturdays, 10AM - 9PM. So there.

I'm soooo stuffed.

How do you say oink in Italian?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"You are invited to view an album"

So I open my email and see that I have another Yahoo!Photos invitation from my shutter-happy friends. Yipee, more pictures! I don't go to all of my friends' gimmicks, but who doesn't enjoy receiving photos? To be honest they meet up so often it's impossible for me to keep up. It's as if they were all joined at the hip - all 20-plus of them. But I knew that Gueli and I were present at my friend's garage sale-cum-ukay-ukay, also known as a "garukay." So I click on the link, and out of the 29 photos, Miguel has just this one close-up with his Tita Binky.


So now it's forever etched in their memories...and yours.