I realize I haven't written in awhile, and if you've seen my recent Facebook status about my Aunt Pauline/Mommy Y, things aren't all sunshine in this tropical paradise... Any prayers you could send her way would be very appreciated. For those of you who don't have me on Facebook, she's in a deep coma, and we're all extremely worried about her right now.
But to distract myself from this, and because I owe y'all a blog post, and because positive energy is only good in times like these, I thought that I could share what my amazing Chinese birthday celebration (Lao Diat) was like with you.
So, on midnight of someone's birthday, it's traditional (not sure if this tradition is Filipino or Fukien) to have a Salubong (celebration), or midnight birthday snack. So, I stayed up with my family and had some pretty great snackin' foods, and a mango torte. Mangos (especially the tropical, Filipino variety) happen to be my most favorite fruit on the planet, so I went to bed a happy camper.
I woke up that morning to have an ENTIRE lechon waiting for me (roasted young pig made Filipino (specifically Cebuano) style), which happens to be one of my favorite foods on the entire planet. We polished the whole thing off with only 6 people, because eating is a serious undertaking that needs preparation and a girded stomach in the Lim family.
After putting myself into a food coma of happiness, I went to the Mandarin hotel where my cousin has her Feng Shui shop on the first floor, and where the rest of the festivities of the day were going to take place. One of those festivities was a hot stone massage (which was literally heaven) courtesy of my Atsi Princesse. Holy crap. They take spa SERIOUSLY in this country. I walked in to be given complimentary spa slippers, and was taken to a relaxation room where I sipped some pretty fabulous ginger tea. Afterwards, I was led into my OWN massage room complete with massage table, shower, bathroom, complimentary spa/aromatherapy doodads, etc. Yeah. It really IS more fun in The Phillipinnes(™).
After that, I walked downstairs to the shop to wait for the Lao Diat with my family, and 2 minutes after walking in, my buddy Mark walked in with these awesome flowers, pictured here.
|Thanks, Mark! You are a fabulous human.|
At this point, my happiness level was through the roof; just in time for most of my extended family (which is extensive, my mother is the youngest of 9 and almost all have at least 3 children, so I have 20+ cousins on my mom's side and 8 aunts and uncles) to show up wearing red (for good luck for the birthday celebrant). Once most of the troops were gathered, we went upstairs to Tsin Hao, which serves AMAZING dim sum (especially the softshell crab and peking duck... holy crap), and I found that I had a room reserved "For the birthday of Ms. Caitlin" and a customized menu that read "For the birthday of Ms. Caitlin."
These pictures are all on Atsi Princesse's camera, so I'll be uploading them to Facebook eventually, promise. I'll also upload them at the bottom of this post for those of you who don't have me on Facebook, but this will all probably take awhile, check back occasionally. I promise that the feast was ridiculous and way awesome.
I also got many gifts! And more pretty flowers! Like this huge bouquet (all these flower pictures were taken with my Mac, hence why I have them and not the other more interesting ones)!
|Couldn't even fit the entire bouquet in the picture, but let me tell ya what, it's huge, and awesome, and beautiful, and full of many exotic flowers.|
After that, we went to two bars. I just drank mojitos with some of my cousins at one, and then we hit up another called "The Blind Pig."
The Blind Pig is a speakeasy hidden in an alley in Makati, modeled off the 1920's speakeasies of NYC etc. in America. The bar is not only hidden in an alley, but the sign is in braille in front of the door.
I mean, it is the BLIND pig, after all.
The only lighting is candles. Their cocktails and bartenders are FABULOUS. You give them instructions (I want something sweet, slightly minty, and I like cinnamon), and they'll just whip up random drinks that are very very strong, but also extremely delicious. They don't allow flash so we couldn't take many pictures. The music is Billie/Ella, the rooms are dark, and they have the most fantastic truffle fries. Seriously, my kind of place.
After all this, all I can say is:
1) I am one of the most spoiled human beings by her wonderful family that I know and
2) Stereotype us all you want, but I'm telling you now that Chinese people really know how to party.
Just trying to think of positive things right now, but yes, prayers for my aunt Pauline would be super appreciated.
Love you all,
P.S. Song of the day (this recording is one of my favorite versions) is I'll Be Seeing You, the Billie Holiday version, in honor of Mommy Y, since this is also one of her favorite songs.