Maan’s Birthday Dinner at Cova

Maan recently celebrated her birthday and is now officially OLDER than me. Haha. And yet again, we celebrated it with our favorite activity together…EATING! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cova Tapas y Sangria

Cova Tapas y Sangria

We ate at Cova Tapas y Sangria, a contemporary, modern spanish restaurant & bar at Jupiter St., Makati known for one of the best tapas and sangria in town. Being the self-proclaimed foodie that she is, and professing her love for Spanish dishes & SANGRIA, she has been EGGING me to bring her to Cova (because she read this & this) for the longest time. So again, dahil birthday nga naman niya, reservations were made and we had one of the best dinners we’ve had. ๐Ÿ˜€

Earlier that day, I finally bought a new camera, a Canon EOS M, which I’ve been thinking of buying for ages. Matagal ko nang gusto, pero naghihintay lang ng sign kung bibili na ba talaga ako. A few days before Maan’s birthday, while searching in the mall for a gift, I saw that it was on sale. Let me repeat for emphasis, ON SALE. Haha. So I then called Maan, and spoiled my surprise and told her I have a gift for me the birthday girl. Or was it really a gift for myself? Haha, ako na ang may birthday.ย I then explained to her how great this camera was, and what great pictures we’ll have in Japan this December!

So we tried out the camera that night…and hence these pictures capturing our great night, in low light, vivid colors and a low depth of field. ๐Ÿ™‚

Capturing a moment when you were exactly 28 years old

Capturing a moment when you were exactly 28 years old

Shine bright like a diamond (how cliche haha)

Shine bright like a diamond (how cliche haha)

Testing the miniature/tilt-shift effect

Testing the miniature/tilt-shift effect

Free bread is always welcome

Free bread is always welcome

Pintxo de Queso Frito: fried gruyere, honey, caramelized onions

Pintxo de Queso Frito: fried gruyere, honey, caramelized onions

Gambas Racion - shrimp! :)

Gambas Racion – shrimp! ๐Ÿ™‚

Salpicao Ternera: Wagyu beef salpicao, the best salpicao I've ever tasted, and probably the priciest too. haha

Salpicao Ternera: Wagyu beef salpicao, the best salpicao I’ve ever tasted, and probably the priciest too. haha

Huevos Cabreados: Fried eggs, shoestring potatoes, crispy chorizo, alioli - SARAP!!!

Huevos Cabreados: Fried eggs, shoestring potatoes, crispy chorizo, alioli – SARAP!!!

Arroz Negro: soft shell crab, mussels, squid, prawns, alioli - not really my favorite paella but the black ink is definitely worth trying

Arroz Negro: soft shell crab, mussels, squid, prawns, alioli – not really my favorite paella but the black ink is definitely worth trying

Apple Bunuelos: regular apple fritters with speculoos dip

Apple Bunelos: regular apple fritters with speculoos dip

Since Maan is such a foodie (i.e. willing to try anything new, upcoming and the best food anywhere) and I’m just an eater, I’ve been telling her to write reviews here on our blog. I’ve never attempted in reviewing a food place,ย di naman kasi ako mapagkakatiwalaan sa ganyan, kasi para sa akin, lahat ng pagkain, MASARAP! ๐Ÿ™‚ Haha.

Here are some more pictures:

***
Cova Tapas y Sangria: 22 Jupiter Street, Makati
Tel: (02) 478-9700

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The Night

This post is the last part of my 6-part proposal story. Haha. I’ve been writing, or trying to write this, for the last 12 months but couldn’t really sit on it. Mostly becauseย residency has been really very taxing, ย leaving me dead tired on most of my off-duty the moments, dozing off to sleep and not get anything done. But, from time to time, we do get a small break from all these toxicity and get a relatively more benign (not toxic) rotation such as Surgical ICU (SICU), where we go on straight 48 hour duties taking care of only 6 (or more) patients in the ICU, and get 2-3 days off — literally. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, it should be spent on studying and doing our research requirements, but writing my backlog wouldn’t hurt now, would it. Soย anyway, I digress…let’s get this thing going.

Being a year late in writing, this post is only a recollection of what happened on a very special night last May 22, 2012 — the night that I proposed to Maan. I hope I do justice to what actually happened on that momentous night. For more background to this story, you could read the other parts here:

The day started out with two-dozens of roses being delivered at the OB resident’s lounge. I ordered them just the night before from Islandrose.netย (Thanks to this service, I didn’t have to go to Bambang unlike before hehe). I was sure happy they delivered on the dot! I had a note attached to the roses:

The last time I gave flowers before this was on February 2005, our first Valentine's Day together as a couple, hindi na nasundan, until this. :)

The last time I gave flowers before this was on February 2005, our first Valentine’s Day together as a couple, hindi na nasundan, until this. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hoped that she wouldn’t get an idea because of them flowers. But I thought I just had to do it, a grand gesture to celebrate our 8 years together, and as a prelude to what’t about to happen that night.

I was at the OR the whole morning, and good thing we endorsed early that day and I had enough time to go home and “practice” Haha. That day, I already told a couple of friends what I’m planning and even showed them what I prepared. This includedย a trip to Derma OPD to tell our batchmates Miya and Kathy, (who both screamed at the top of their lungs the moment they knew! HAHAHA) and a one-on-one session with Kitts to andย get a good feedback. My feelings were haywire that day. Di maipinta kung gaano kalakas ang kaba ko! I could literally feel my heart thumping.

The evening came and I fetched Maan from her condo. We arrived at The Bayleaf around 7pm and went straight to the 9th floor at 9 Spoons and climbed up the stairs to go to the Sky Deck. It was a windy and starry evening, with no clouds in sight. Perfect weather, I remembered.

The night started as a regular anniversary dinner, but soon Maan found out what I've been busy doing for the last two weeks!

The night started as a regular anniversary dinner, but soon Maan found out what I’ve been busy doing for the last two weeks!

We chose a table just beside the viewing deck, where we could see the great view of the Intramuros golf course below us and the Manila skyline in the background. The head waiter was there to welcome us as I signaled him with my eyes to prepare my “surprise” for the night, hopefully going well as planned.

Sky deck view. Too bad I wasn't able to get a good picture of this superb view

Sky deck view. Too bad I wasn’t able to get a good picture of this superb view

This calmed my nerves pretty well. I was feeling a little mature that night so I ordered Cerveza instead of the usual SanMig

This calmed my nerves pretty well. I was feeling a little “mature” that night so I ordered Cerveza instead of the usual SanMig, haha

While still indulging ourselves with the awesome view, I asked Maan if she wanted to order first before we take pictures. “YES!” she replied, haha, I knew it, we were starving. So we ordered two appetizers, two main courses, and some drinks. I needed a drink ASAP, just to calm my uncontrollable nerves! My palms were sweating like no end and felt my balls up my throat! Haha.

Honestly, up to the moment that I asked her, I still had doubts as to our readiness to be engaged. “Is this the right time to ask?” “What if she says no?” “What if her parents say no?” “What if we’re still not ready?” But in retrospect, in a decision like this, I think you’ll never, ever be sure. So I just told myself to suck it up and just do it!

Earlier that afternoon, I called my mom to tell her what I planned to do that night. I distinctly remember our conversation:

Ge: “Mom, are you busy?”
Mom: “No, nasa meeting lang, bakit anak? Happy anniversary pala!”
Ge: “Uh, thanks, uh…magpo-propose na ako kay Maan mamaya.” (haha telling her in a matter-of-fact way, not really asking hahaha)
Mom: “Ano?” (parang hindi narinig nang maayos, haha)
Ge: “Magpopropose na ako!”
Mom: “Whaaaaaat!!! Wow!!! Talaga?!? Are you sure? Anong plano mo?” (hahaha, I was laughing really hard when I heard this, parang mix of surpirse and amazement that I’m deciding all of this all by myself!)
Ge: “We’ll have dinner later, then I’ll ask her. Ok na yun.”
Mom: “Wow! Ok. Good luck! Balitaan mo kaagad kami! Sabihan ko si Dad!”

I never told my parents of what my plans was but I’m sure they were hinting me since a few years back, asking me stuff like “Ano na plano nyo ni Maan?” whenever I go home on my free weekends. They’ve known Maan for years already and have always treated her like a daughter. I knew of course that they wouldn’t have any doubts in my decision to marry her.

While waiting for the food, we took a few pictures by the view deck. She told me she was really surprised at me for giving her roses that morning, and two-dozens at that! Haha. (I was still hoping she didn’t have any idea)

This is a great place to unwind after a busy day at the hospital, malapit lang pati!

This is a great place to unwind after a busy day at the hospital, malapit lang pati!

Candle light dinner. Plus pogi points!

Candle light dinner. Plus pogi points!

A few minutes later, the food finally arrived.

Delicious appetizer just because Maan wanted to try the international sausages they had at 9 Spoons haha

Sausage Platter: Delicious appetizer just because Maan wanted to try the international sausages they had at 9 Spoons

Pritson Rolls: Another appetizer we had because it's one of our favorites! It was delicious, but we never finished it and even took some home for take-out, haha

Pritson Rolls: Another appetizer we had because it’s one of our favorites! It was delicious, but we never finished it and even took some home for take-out, haha

Fried Hainanese Chicken

Fried Hainanese Chicken: Maan read somewhere that their Hainanese chicken was great so we definitely tried it! They sure did deliver! Sarap! This came with Hainanese rice on the side.

Crispy Tadyang

Crispy Tadyang: Because I was feeling adventurous and wanted meat so I ordered this fried back-rib. It was good but I’m sure they had better meat selection. Poor choice, boo.

Dahil sobra sobra ang kaba ko that night, my appetite was not as huge as it was. I only ate half of the tadyang, and some hainanese chicken. I didn’t even finish my pritson roll. Maan found it really odd, pero siyempre di ako nagpahuli. Haha. I just told her I was really tired…

She then asked for the menu for us to order desserts. “Naku!” I thought, “Baka magorder siya then sabihin ng waiter na may order na ako!”

A few days earlier, I called Bayleaf to ask if they offered something special for a marriage proposal. The manager told me they could write something on the plates of their desserts. It was perfect, I thought, especially because we Maan and I are both huge fans of desserts! So I finalized the plan with Bayleaf and reserved our dinner.

Another thing I prepared for that night was an AVP. I know that I am not really good with words when I’m speaking, so I decided to just express my feelings through something that I do best: a video of our pictures for the last 8 years. While doing the video, I became emotional seeing how we both grew together, not only physically (haha, tumaba at pumayat na sabay) but also growing with all the experiences we had (surviving intarmed, then med school, and now residency, traveling, eating and studying together). So, for two weeks before the proposal, I was busy browsing pictures, choosing the best ones, recalling all our memories together, and re-ordering them in such a way that at the end of the video is a question that I’ve been meaning to ask her. ๐Ÿ™‚ I chose one of her favorite songs This Way by Jewel, and what else but the cliche proposal song Marry Me by Train. Hehe.

After seeing the possible problem, I then told Maan that I needed to go to the restroom and just wait for me before ordering. “Aha, a good escuse to ask the waiters to execute THE PLAN!

So I acted like I was going to the restroom but actually was heading towards the head waiter. After confirming that the desserts I pre-ordered were already ready, and briefing the waiters on what to do, and asking one of them to take our video and picture, I came back to our table and asked Maan what she wanted.

She wanted the Calamansi cheesecake, and I told her I wanted some Churos and the Mango crepe. So I ordered. Little did she know that all those were already pre-ordered. Hahaha.

Then I told her I had a surprise for her. I took out my iPad and showed her this video:

As the video was about to end, I signaled the waiters to serve these deserts while Maan was still busy looking at the iPad screen:

Will You Marry Me?

I told the waiters to serve these delicious desserts while Maan was still busy viewing the video on my iPad. ๐Ÿ™‚

When the waiters finished serving, sakto!, the video also ended. She saw the desserts in our table and she was saying “Oh my God!”. ย I took the ring out of my pocket (buti she didn’t notice!) and showed her, bent down on one knee and asked her: “Maria Angela de Castro, will you marry me?”

Well, of course she said yes!

She said YES!

She said YES!

We're getting married!

We’re getting married!

We immediately called our parents and texted our friends giving them the great news! Natawa lang ako when a friend asked me, “Congrats! Is it facebook official?!”, haha. We didn’t have internet at that time so when we checked FB after, we were surprised to see that a few others have already expressed their congratulations there. Hahaha! We later finally posted this:

FB

I was really happy that everything went through as planned. Special thanks to my co-conspirators for all your support:

  • Alvin Chu – my batchmate for going with me to Binondo to get the ring, and plan the proposal! Masyadong effort yung may kanta-kanta pa at post-it from friends, haha, hindi kinaya ng schedule ko, but that would’ve also been a great proposal story!
  • Ly-ann Diwa & my other surgery batchmates – Ly for being my co-rotator in Plastics and cheering me on and calming me down nung nawiwindang na ako haha. Nagwork-out din lahat ng plano! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Kitts Mejia, JA Atienza and Meiling Lee – for always being there when I need you guys, especially making me realize that I’m making the rightest decision ever. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Miya Dayrit and Kathy Reyes – for screaming and crying at the Derma OPD! Haha, nabisto tuloy tayo nina Joey! I showed you the video without telling na magpopropose na ako kay Maan, tas nagulat na lang kayo in the end with the question. Hahaha. ๐Ÿ™‚

And of course, thank you Maan for giving me the chance to do all of these. Thanks for accepting my proposal as we finally commit to spending the rest of our lives together! I love you very much! ๐Ÿ™‚

Our first picture together as an engaged couple. :)

Our first picture together as an engaged couple. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stella/Slice/Jamba Juice on a Friday Night

Finally, after several weeks of bad, gloomy weather, yesterday was the perfect night to go out. Ge and I went to Bonifacio High Street Central. I love that place, there are just so many restaurants worth trying out. Traffic nga lang ang katapat when you’re coming from Manila on a Friday night.

We initially decided on eating at Nolita but it was jam packed by the time we got there. Buti na lang, or else I would have succumbed to eating so much carbs in the form of pizza and pasta. ๐Ÿ˜› We walked around and finally settled on this place called Stella. Apparently, it is from the company that brought us Museum Cafe, MoMo, Mr. Jones and Chelsea. We’ve tried all but Chelsea. We love Museum Cafe and MoMo but Mr. Jones absolutely sucked. Buti na lang Stella didn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ Adjacent to Stella is the Rocket Room which is a bar which also serves food from Stella and some tapas and pica pica.

The thing unique about Stella and the Rocket Room is that it has a wood fired concept which lends its dishes a smoky kind of flavor. ๐Ÿ™‚

Complimentary bread with roasted tomatoes and herb dip

I got the crusty rye bread and Ge got the white dinner roll with the nipple. Haha! The dinner roll was soft and chewy on the inside which goes perfect with the dip. We had to control ourselves from getting second servings so when the waiter asked “more bread, maam?” I immediately answered no. Bago pa makaorder ulit yung katabi ko. ๐Ÿ˜›

The Stella Salad | Butter lettuce, crispy bacon, sundried tomato bits, candied rosemary pistachios, buttermilk chive-ranch dressing, malagos pecorino

A very refreshing salad! Still didn’t beat Cyma’s Roka Salata though. Ge said he would have enjoyed the salad more if we ordered the ceasar salad.

Stella’s Porchetta | Pork belly stuffed with double smoked bacon, fennel, herbs, served with warm rosemary sultana sauce

The serving size was huge. We were supposed to order two main dishes but the waitress politely informed us that one meal is good enough for two. This was their sosyal version of lechon kawali. The pork belly went well with the sultana sauce. However, kahit na masarap, we found this dish too laden with fat, even the sultana sauce was not enough to get rid of the nakakasuya taste. My brother would have enjoyed this pork dish, being the carnivore that he is. We were not able to finish the two huge chunks of pork that was served to us!

Roasted Seafood “Firecracker” Fusili | Spicy olive and sundried tomato cream, dried chiles, fire roasted seafood, fresh herbs, malagos ricotta

This was our best meal of the night! There were huge chunks of shrimps, salmon and squidlets. When ordering food, I would usually go for the spicy ones. Gerald only acquired liking spicy food when we got together. Food really is an acquired taste. ๐Ÿ™‚

We loved our Stella experience. The serving portions were big, and the price was not too expensive. The food presentation was also tastefully done.

For dessert, we headed to the other side of BHS Central…

There wasn’t anything I wanted in Slice that I thought would be worth the calories. So I headed to Jamba Juice beside it and ordered a Mango Peach Topper–yogurt parfait with mangoes, peaches, bananas, granola, muesli and nuts. When I went back to Ge nagulat ako at ang dami nyang inorder! Caramel cake, banana muffin with blueberries, and a Chocnut-coffee smoothie. The caramel cake was really yummy, it was worth the calories! The banana muffin reminded me of my mom’s baked goodies, moist and flavorful. The Chocnut-coffee smoothie had the distinct chocnut taste and it was not too sweet. My Mango Peach topper from Jamba Juice was disappointing though, masyadong maasim! i should just have gotten fro-yo from somewhere else…

Ang dami nya inorder!

Me and my Yogurt Parfait

Gerald and his Cake

Where can we find wedding cakes na caramel cake sa loob? ๐Ÿ™‚

Banana Blueberry Muffin

Mango Peach Topper–pero bakit bananas ang topping?

Yey, it’s a very long weekend and I’m not going to PGH! Woohoo!!! ๐Ÿ™‚