Thursday, December 9, 2010

Laid-Back Negombo Trip!

Hubby and I have set a once-a-month out-of-town trip as one of our objectives in enjoying Sri Lanka and its neighboring countries.  For this month, the goal was the nearby seaside town of Negombo.  It is situated near the airport (around 30 minutes away) and north of Colombo (around 2 hours away).  We were planning to take our friends who were coming over there but their trip didn’t push through.  We said, what the heck, it’s also a simple celebration of our 2nd anniversary as a couple.

Negombo is often called “Little Rome” for 2 things according to my trusty Lonely Planet:

1)    This is a very catholic town – 75% of those who live here are Catholics in an otherwise Buddhist Sri Lanka.  And where there are Catholics, there are churches!
2)    Many of those who live here have relatives working in Italy.

So off to Little Rome we went.

This is it, pancit!
First to check out the Dutch Fort – I am a Lonely Planet sucker and I take their advice to heart.  As with the Pettah Experience ( and maybe with anything Dutch it pertains to in Sri Lanka, I was mildly disappointed.  I was thinking of a grand fort like Fort Santiago in Intramuros but it was just a tunnel leading to the town prison (why not! Haha!). 

We also checked out Angurukaramulla Temple – another Lonely Planet suggestion.  Where we were toured by a very peaceful Buddhist man (as in I couldn’t help but tell hubby how I thought how peaceful he looks – and hubby agreed).  It was an interesting education about Buddhist philosophy. 

We took the pick of Lonely Planet and had lunch at Lord’s.  It’s a cool, artsy, fartsy place frequented by tourists.  The food was quite good and the service was awesome.

We then wanted to get a nice afternoon massage.  Passing through Ayurveda Pavilions and checking them out in Lonely Planet (looks good) we decided to try some Ayurveda Massage.  Hubby and I chose a whole body massage, got checked by an Ayurvedic doctor and he then prescribed the kinds of oils that will be used.  The oils smelled like Chinese Herbal Tea – the ones prescribed by traditional Chinese doctors.  It was applied on you steaming hot! But the massage was heavenly.

Before heading home, we stopped by Ice Bear Guest House for the best German coffee in town (truly!) and some dessert.

As we were leaving town, we would stop by the churches we saw along the way!

And that capped off our laid-back Negombo trip.

Hmm… now where to in January?

Happily Serviced From Far Away!

I love how many services of our government are getting more systematic and efficient.

Before I left Manila, I had my driver’s license renewed.  I had to change to my married name and I couldn’t go to the mall offices.  I instead went to the QC LTO Branch along P. Tuazon (not the main office) and was finished with my renewal in around 2 hours.  Such a far cry from the old days where you need a friggin whole day just to get your license.  As if you have nothing better to do!

Now, I need to renew my passport.  I just needed to complete an online process to set up an appointment and go there on the designated time (  It seems really efficient – at least they have identified how many they can process in a day and will have to stick to it.  They even have all the requirements listed in the site and indicators of timeline.  Let’s cross our fingers that everything goes well with that when I go home next week!

Part of my requirements is getting my Marriage Certificate from NSO.  Another government office offering awesome service.  I’ve been happy with their e-census application where you an request for your documents online (, pay for it in their accredited banks and the docs will be delivered straight to wherever you want it to be.  Again with clear timelines and all.  Well, our marriage certificate happens to not be converted at the time of request – the ramification was it would take longer to process because it would entail some manual processing.  Lo and behold, I got a message telling me about the situation.  With again, clear timelines – albeit a new and extended one.  But I didn’t care – I would still have it in time for my passport renewal and I am not left wondering what the heck happened to it.  Plus they even sent me a notice when it has been dispatched already!  And that was within the new timelines!

So kudos to these government offices!  You are truly giving us the bang for the taxes we pay and making us proud to be a Filipino!  Not to mention satisfy efficiency freaks like me.  Now I just hope more government offices will follow in their footsteps!   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No Doctor Quack-Quacks!

Last week because of my hyperacidity I had to make a trip to the hospital.  At first I was trying to self-medicate but after a few days and without recovery in sight, I decided to get over myself and just go.  Needless to say I was afraid to make the trip, I just wasn’t really sure of the healthcare status here.   

We went to Lanka Hospitals, it’s just around the corner from where we live.  I wanted to be accompanied by hubby so I had my consultation in the E.R.  It was close to deserted, thank God no gory cases were in sight.  The surroundings was clean and orderly.  It reminds me of Medical City in the Philippines only a notch lower.  Apparently in the E.R. there were just 2 doctors.  One was already in and the other was on the way – seriously?  There were more people in the cashier than doctors!

We were entertained quick enough and the doctor who checked me was quite competent.  She looked tired (good Lord, who won’t be in that scenario?), asked me questions and wrote out a prescription.  Just like your normal doctor’s appointment!  Phew!  I felt good about the experience and fast forward to today, I think my acids are managed already.  And my tummy ready to take the food trip back home for the holidays!

We then went to the in-house pharmacy for the meds.  They had a pretty sound process.  And what I appreciated was the fact that they put each kind of medicine in an envelope and write the indication.  I just think it’s going beyond what is expected and yeah, it would really help to make the indications crystal clear amidst the plethora of medicines right?  

So on the whole, I was happy that for my first visit to the hospital I didn’t encounter any quack-quacks! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Celebrating 2 Years Together in La Vida Lanka!

Today hubby and I celebrate 2 years as a couple.  We first got together early morning of December 3, 2008 in front of my parents’ house.  It was when he asked me if we could “make it official” as he brought me home after one of our dates.  It never fails to bring a smile to my face when I remember the moment.  If he asked me a day later, I would have killed myself out of anticipation.  Talk about patience.  Haha! 

A year later, we celebrated with a trip to breathtaking Batanes, Philippines.  It was one of our dream destinations and we couldn’t have set foot on the island with a better companion than each other.  We “got stuck in paradise” once more – the first one was when we couldn’t leave Bellarocca in Marinduque, Philippines because of strong winds.  This time was because of a botched Seair flight (I will not take them anymore if I can help it).  But at the end of the day, thank God we were able to spend an extra day in paradise, get the chance to buy art and just lounge around in such a beautiful place that is Fundacion Pacita (   

Today we’re celebrating livin’ la vida Lanka – happily married.  How time flies!  As I was preparing breakfast, a bag of Barefoot goodies greeted me! A surprise gift from hubby!  Hubby gets, well a surprise himself later when he comes home from work ;-) 

In as much as our wedding anniversary trumps our anniversary as boyfriend/girlfriend, I don’t think the latter doesn’t deserve even just a little remembrance or celebration.  It will always be a special day because it paved the way to where we are today.  It is always good remembering that.  And in just 2 short but sweet years, we are in the middle of starting out a new and continuing the love story in la vida Lanka!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sweet Home Sri Lanka!

I’ve been staying at home more for quite some time now.  Like for a full day.  For the past month I’ve been going out everyday for various reasons.  But for now, I really do not need to do anything outside, so home it is!

I thought I’d have a hard time being a homebody.  I guess to me it heightens the fact that it is a different life now.  And going out somehow provided an escape to that feeling. But staying home surprisingly is quite pleasurable.  I organize my day like how I usually do – with Gantt Charts on Excel and a list of to do’s in my planner.  Now instead of meetings, presentations and whatnots, these are chores, writing and classes. 

Aside from Sinhala Class and in pursuit of continuous learning I’ve also enrolled myself in a certification course (done online via teleclasses – like conference calls, oh just like the good old days!).  It is my light and feeds my brain and my soul (more on this later!).  I relish in preparing for these classes – reading the materials and learning something new everyday.  It is also awesome that for a couple of hours a day, I am in a class with people from England, Korea, India, the US, Switzerland, France and Spain among others.  Staying at home suddenly opened me up to a bigger world out there! 

I’m working on a project related to the one above – again more on this later!

I have tons of books to read! 

I enjoy the privilege of the freedom to write with a potentially worldwide audience without the pain of editorial rejection.  Thank God for the advent of Blogging!

I can actually catch up on my favorite TV series – I’m a CSI freak and a big fan of Oprah.  I also found myself following Amazing Race Asia and so sad the hot Filipina-Aussie girls didn’t make it to the top 3.  Not hiring the taxi driver to follow in non-English speaking Korea was a big mistake ladies! 

I love it that I am able to keep in touch with my families and friends – whether they are in the Philippines or otherwise.  Yesterday I was chatting with my cousin in NY and when I was working – the opportunity to catch each other online was slim!  

My (salty) sauce, trying to correct with water... so it needs reduction.
I always try to cook something new at least once a week – yesterday was Lasagna (albeit on the salty side – my bad!).  And as I was stirring my humble sauce into reduction, I realized I am happy to be home.  And making a home for my husband.  I honestly do not know how long this happiness would last but who the F cares?  I have proven to myself that I can actually be truly happy without the identity I have always prided myself in.  That I am happy with just being who I am.  Sweet home Sri Lanka!  
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