Regrets are a thing of the past, but I remember them to fuel my future.

Penthouse S3: Questions I'd like to see resolved on the final season.


I am ready to say goodbye to the Hera Club residents if only to get this whole Penthouse story wrapped up. Can you believe the final season is about to premiere this Friday? While the novelty of its campiness has worn off, I would still like to see some sort of resolution for plot points that were left unanswered or addressed vaguely for the past 34 episodes. Pretty sure I'm not the only one having nagging thoughts how these would affect the endgame of the series. 


How are Shim Su Ryeon and Na Ae Kyo related?


The writer is making it appear like they just happened to be doppelgangers. Maybe. But this isn't fantasy/sci-fi so I'm pretty sure we have a birth secret still waiting to be uncovered. If they aren't twins then I'm guessing cousins, perhaps?


Joo Dan Tae's origin story.


Not that it would make me sympathize with the character but heck, give the viewers a plausible explanation why such a despicable human being exists in that world! The character has been making life miserable for anyone who gets in his way since Season 1 and not even a prison sentence could stop him from wreaking havoc as evidenced by the recent finale. I need a backstory fleshed out on why he's deathly terrified of blood on him and possibly expound on the events leading to his mother's death. His chaotic family history might hold the answers why he became a psychopath.


The truth about Ro Na.


One of the best revelations for Season 2 was the truth behind Ro Na's paternity. Yoon Hee revealed it at the most unfortunate of circumstances and Yoon Chul was beyond himself with grief over the truth that had been kept from him for almost 18 years. I'm hoping the prison sentence will heal them of their emotional scars so they can reunite as a family. 


What's up with Miss Jin?


Eun Byul can't seem to catch a break. As if it's not enough that she has Cheon Seo Jin for a mom, Season 2 introduced us to her tutor who's eerily fixated with her. Miss Jin obviously has some deep-seated trauma stemming from the loss of a child and she's found the perfect target in Eun Byul who's starved for emotional validation from a parental figure. What is her background and how did she end up helping Logan prior to the events of Season 2?


The allegiance of the new characters introduced in the Season 2 finale.


With the introduction of Yoo Dong Pil (Ma Ri's husband) and Joon Ki, viewers were left wondering how they'll factor into the lives of the Hera Palace residents by the final season. Considering they were both within the vicinity when Logan met his fiery end... are they secretly allied with Joo Dan Tae? Or will they be another force he has to deal with aside from Shim Su Ryeon's wrath? Please let it be the latter because that would mean character development on Secretary Jo's part if he has been running a long con all these time in behalf of Dong Pil by working as JDT's assistant.


Granted that this will all be addressed properly, it would be a fitting closure to the one of the campiest KDramas I've followed. Just remember, suspension of disbelief is key in enjoying the series. Otherwise, you'd find yourself pulling your hair in frustration why the villains always manage to outwit our main characters. How else would you explain why Joo Dan Tae is still alive after two seasons?😏

February 2021: @roseywritestuff's Favorites.


We're done with two months of 2021! Wasn't it only yesterday when lockdowns started all over the world? Now we're nearing it's first anniversary and I am still (indefinitely) on work from home set-up. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable going out for a longer period in public wearing face shield + face mask. It's too suffocating. Granted this COVID problem is far from over, I hope we can at least get to that period where face shields are no longer mandatory. Face masks, I can live with. 


For my super late February wrap-up, I thought I'd share my recent discoveries/favorites either brought about by personal experience or online budol (a.k.a. I saw a friend post about it on my feed).😂



Blessed Grounds Coffee


I don't present myself as a coffee connoisseur but I appeciate a business that promotes premium quality, locally sourced and freshly roasted coffee beans without putting a dent on your pocket. They're very responsive to inquiries and have become my go-to source for coffee grounds and flat-bottom coffee filters. 


Visit them on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/blessedgroundsph 



Hi, Passion's 1 Line Journal


The closest thing I'll ever have to a diary/planner these days... and it's good for five years! Isn't that awesome? Somebody, it'll be nostalgic looking back through moments I've written down - the wins that matter, the mistakes I've learned from, and the goals that have materialized. 


Visit their website - https://www.hi-passion.net/



Chocolate Cake by Nicole's Choco Caramel Combo


How can you resist a soft chiffon cake layered on top of their amazing chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache filling in between? My sister and I can consume one whole cake in just two days. Shameful, I know.😅 But that's just how good it is! We've had it for two birthday celebrations already in a span of two months.


Visit them on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/chocolatecakesbakedbynicole

Penthouse S2: The campy primetime drama returns with more questions than answers.


I never had the chance to binge-watch Penthouse S1. I got into it late so I pieced everything I knew about the show from the last 5 episodes and scanning through clips on social media. Imagine how miffed I was when they announced there would be a second (and third) season as they literally ended the first one with lots of unresolved issues!😞


Fret not for the hiatus only lasted a month. They're back for Season 2 with even more questions than answers about the over-all plot. I have my theories but I'll wait until the current season is halfway through to see if it still holds water. That said, are you having the same questions as I am? They better have answers for this!


Where is Shim Su Ryeon?

I refuse to believe she died in vain and Joo Dan Tae gets away with the perfect crime. The only character worth rooting for in Season 1 is no doubt alive and may already be lurking nearby planning the ultime revenge against her ex-husband and Cheon Seo Jin. But who is helping her and how did she fake her death?


Something isn't right with Ha Yoon Chul and Oh Yoon Hee's marriage.


True enough, the second episode revealed that it's nothing but a marriage of convenience. But will they develop real feelings along the way? Are they even the real Yoon Chul and Yoon Hee? How did they reconnect? It was gratifying to see them gatecrash the engagement of Dan Tae and Seo Jin though. Nothing screams stealing one's thunder than arriving in a chopper.😂



Why didn't Ro Na return with her mother?


The last time Seok Hoon saw Ro Na, she was happily leaving to start a new life with her vindicated mother. That was three months ago. Within that period, Yoon Hee somehow got herself married and came back to Hera Palace without her daughter in tow. What did she mean by "when I deserve to see her"?


Who was the person in Eun Byeol's room at 3AM?


Cheon Seo Jin's evil spawn has some secrets of her own! While I initially suspected it was her father, her resentful treatment of Yoon Chul at the lobby killed off that theory. Who could she be meeting in private that it had to be kept a secret from her mother?


Lastly, who is the new "murder victim of the season"?


Min Seol Ah's death was one of the primary plot points of last season. Will this season's murder mystery be as compelling? When are they revealing the identity of the victim? The outfit alone narrows it down to either Ro Na, Eun Byeol or Seok Kyung based on what they were wearing during the performance. But will it be one of them? Or will a new character be introduced?


It needs to be said that my favorite scene from the first two episodes had to be Yoon Chul's takedown of Dan Tae. Who knew he had it in him?😏 No wonder the Hera Club ahjummas are so impressed.




Watch this on Viu.

Mr. Queen: Body-sharing Lessons from Bong Hwan and So Yong.


It's been a week since Mr. Queen ended and I am still processing my feelings about its finale. Apparently, I tend to feel this way when I get too invested in a drama's OTP (hello, Goblin!). I mean, I never saw Kim Jung Hyun as leading man material and he turns out to be quite a revelation here as fictional Cheoljong. What's even better is that he and Shin Hye Sun aren't just comedic gold... they also play off well romantically.💑



The story is a remake of a campy Chinese web drama about a modern playboy trapped in the body of a Joseon queen. Hilarity ensues as Bong Hwan tries to fit in the royal court while in So Yong's body (hence, the portmanteau "So Bong"). His vivacious and unpredictable nature brings out a hidden side of her usually reserved personality which intrigues the King as the series progresses. This miffed some viewers who felt BH put in all the work for this relationship to progress only to abruptly return to his original timeline halfway into the finale. 


Me? I felt the story was wrapped beautifully. The anxiety I subjected myself to while watching the finale's livestream was worth it because all the characters had closure. I choose to believe that Bong Hwan, as a plot device, gave Cheol-jong and So Yong a fresh start (free of clan influence) in their relationship. While he was organically integrated into the plot, he was never meant to stay in Joseon forever. Their body-sharing experience, however, opened their eyes to certain truths.


Self-improvement is the end goal.

Prior to the lake incident, So Yong's passive attitude led her to feel suffocated inside the palace. She felt deprived of making her own decisions because their clan was controlling everything. Bong Hwan, on the other hand, was living the life of a consummate playboy. Sharing a body gave the former a much needed personality boost as the latter navigated what it's like to be a woman in the Joseon era. They became better individuals because of that experience: So Yong found her inner strength and learned to use her influence to support her husband in bringing about progressive changes to Joseon; Bong Hwan emerged from his coma with less apathy and the resolve to do better as a person.


They were born to survive politics.


As if it wasn't enough that Bong Hwan fell victim to office politics prior to the accident, he arrives in Joseon at a time when So Yong is no short of haters wanting to oust her as Queen. As a constant political target, So Bong had to rely on a combination of street smart wit and So Yong's memories as she became a formidable ally of His Majesty's cause.


It pays dividends to have the right people in your corner.



So Yong lucked out with Hong Yeon and Choi Sanggung helping her adjust to palace life. Their fierce loyalty kept the Queen safe. Even when So Bong drove them mental, they chose to understand her mood swings. They never knew about Bong Hwan but he was no doubt grateful for their friendship while he was in So Yong's body. 



I'm more than happy with with how the PD chose to conclude this drama and I refuse to let anyone invalidate everybody's hardwork (e.g. wanting So Yong dead... WTF?!?) just because the ending didn't pander to their interests. I hope Netflix picks this up real soon because this one's another binge-watch treat.



I will miss you, Cheoljong and So Yong/Bong Hwan!😭 It's been a wonderful 2 months following you weekly.


P.S. Is it wrong to wish for another Shin Hye Sun and Kim Jung Hyun project in the future?💕 A contemporary rom-com, if possible. Pretty please drama gods?!?



Watch this on Viu.



Fancast Series #1: Wicked Fox + Vicious Spirits


I've been meaning to do this since I finished the series a few months back. It's a habit I've developed whenever I start reading something because I want to better visualize the characters as the story progresses. Fancasting Wicked Fox and Vicious Spirits is fun because they have the potential to be adapted as KDramas with all its pop-culture references. So if I were to cast these with current Korean actors I'm familiar with, here's who I have in mind:

January 2021: The Month That Was

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels


One month of 2021 done, eleven more to go. Prior to 2020, the longest time I've had to work from home was when Metro Ayala burned down and the office had to be evacuated for several days to clear out the smoke. Today, it'll be almost a year (11 months on the 17th) since I've last set foot in the office. I still pass by our building when we do our weekly groceries but that's about it for the time being. I miss my officemates. I miss being able to roam around the mall minus the restrictions.


I am, however, thankful to have a job that allows me to keep working from home. Not everyone is blessed with that privilege. So I make a conscious effort to be productive each shift even if I have some household chores to attend to. It's all about time management they say. 


Thank goodness for KDramas that kept me sane!😅 I finished three for the month of January alone so I had some new content. Here's what is worth checking out:


WATCHING


MR. QUEEN. Only four more episodes to go before this wraps up and I am just enjoying all the OTP moments while I can. I am, however, keeping my expectations low. The last time I was this invested over a drama's main couple, it left me traumatized with its ending (*cough*Goblin*cough*). It needs to be said though that Cheoljong and So Bong are now one of my favorite KDrama couples ever. Shin Hye Sun and Kim Jung Hyun are killing it!💗


LISTENING

MY KDRAMA 2021 OST on Spotify is coming along quite nicely. I make it a habit of building a playlist of my favorite songs from the KDramas I watch with my sister. This one's populated with songs from Mr. Queen, The Uncanny Counter, My Holo Love, and Her Private Life. Feel free to follow if you want. 


LOVING

GOMA AT HOME. Who knew Richard Gomez was actually a good cook? His Youtube channel is currently a favorite, even if I can barely afford half of the dishes he prepares. I do like his own take on common recipes because he makes it look so easy. Oh, and that outdoor kitchen is gorgeous!


READING

SWEET ON YOU by Carla de Guzman. I am so behind on my Kindle readings since I've been consuming too much KDramas lately. Will make it a point to finish one book each month to put me back on track. 

KDrama Pick: My Holo Love


If only I was paid to watch KDramas, huh?😅 My Holo Love is KDrama #3 for 2021 and it's still the first month of the year. I had ignored this on my Netflix queue for 2020 and only picked it up when I started The Goddess of Revenge. At 12 episodes, it holds the viewer's interest from start to finish.


The plot revolves around an AI program named Holo, who by some strange twist of fate ends up in the hands of marketing executive Han So Yeon. He is visible to her through a special pair of glasses and the timing couldn't be more perfect since she suffers from face blindess. The catch is that his creator Nan Do, who also looks like him, shares a past connection with So Yeon. Nan Do develops feelings for So Yeon while she is falling in love with Holo. How does a love triangle resolve itself when you're up against an AI version of yourself? 



Then there's the bad guy (and his minions) who wants to use HoloGlass technology to further his sinister agenda. When his connection to a childhood tragedy was revealed, it was immensely satisfying for him to get his comeuppance in the finale.



While it requires some suspension of disbelief, My Holo Love ticks all the right boxes of a good KDrama for me. This is probably my favorite Yoon Hyun Min drama next to Tunnel. Twelve hours of my life not wasted at all.


Watch this on Netflix.

18 Again: This underrated drama is surprisingly cathartic.


A KDrama adaptation of a US material will either be a hit or miss. I started 18 Again without any expectations other than the knowledge that this was an adaptation of the 2009 Zac Efron flick. It ended with me thoroughly impressed at how the writing team expounded a movie's storyline into a 16-episode series. This underrated drama is surprisingly cathartic. I have been recommending this to friends since the series ended and couldn't be happier when Netflix decided to pick this up. If you're in the mood for a binge-watch, allow me to share my favorite moments that had me laughing and crying throughout the show's entire run.



Ae Rin's "crush" on Dae Young.


This was the part that hit close to home. Admit it, we've all had that one (former) high school crush and batch heartthrob who has turned into, well... a less than ideal version of himself after a decade or two.😅


This complicated thing called Fatherhood.


One of things that sets this series apart was how the writers chose to focus on fathers. They have several faces in the narrative, each with their distinct way of showing paternal influence on the lives of their children. It ain't always perfect but they will always have your best interests at heart. One of the most memorable scenes is Dae Young's father recognizing his son in Woo Young. The revelation has no spoken dialogue, but the forgiveness was genuinely conveyed in facial expressions and body language. 



Before "Han Seo Jun".


Prior to his current stint as the second lead in True Beauty, Hwang In Yeop gained buzz as part of this show's high school crew. Gu Ja Sung was the school bully whose character development left a lasting impression on the viewers. I mean, just look at that grand gesture. 



You're never too old to achieve your dreams.


It took Da Jung nearly two decades before she achieved her dream of becoming an announcer. Dae Young wasted his years in a job where he was unappreciated in order to provide for his family. They had to sacrifice because the children's needs came first. It was ironic that opportunities to pursue their respective dreams presented itself during their time apart as a couple but it made them realize that they were each other's best support system. Da Jung made it through countless rejections because her husband was always there to cheer her on; Dae Young persevered because he wanted to prove that Da Jung made the right choice in choosing a life with him back in high school. 



Unlike some dramas where the writing conveniently forgot details that popped up in the first few eps, this one's consistent with their narrative. An impressive thing to note is how they resolve the conflicts for each arc a character is going through. Even the age-gap thingy was handled tastefully and sensitively as called for by the story unlike the cringe-fest known as Alice (yes, I am still not over it!).


Props to the casting director who found the right actors for each role. It needs to be said that Lee Do Hyun and Yoon Sang Hyun deserve joint credit for pulling off seamless scene transitions between the younger and older Dae Yeong. They were the heart of the story - a slice of life look at how communication plays an integral role in relationships with friends, colleagues and family.

 

Watch this on Netflix.

The Goddess of Revenge: Whatever happened to these plot points?

Kickstarting my KDRama list for 2021 is The Goddess of Revenge. I was initially drawn to this because Yoon Hyun Min, who I loved in Tunnel, was one of its lead stars. The plot follows the story of individuals whose lives were unknowingly linked (and changed) by a scandal from a decade ago. Since it's from a barely known cable network, the show didn't generate enough buzz to even warrant a torrent (thank goodness for Viu!😅).


While it started out strong, succeeding episodes exposed a flaw in its storytelling. My assumption is that this must've been a debut project for both PD and writer (both with no previous credits listed on AsianWiki) which explains why they conveniently forgot certain plot points. Noticeable ones were as follows: 


Lee Hoon Seok's fate 

After a fatal knock at an abandoned warehouse, Kang Hae Ra's abusive ex-husband was never heard of again. Viewers just assumed he died but it was never addressed onscreen.


Tae On's abusive cousin

He was never made to pay for what he did to all those women in that secret room and it was appalling that in later episodes it was revealed that he's still in the country and just waiting for the perfect opportunity to return to the family corporation. 


The Sponsorship Scandal

What really drove Cha Yi Hyeon to give herself up to that sleazy chairman? I doubt it was love. Was it desperation to keep her job? I'd say it wasn't worth it. That mistake managed to ruin her personal and professional life in a snap. 


Hae Ra's resentment

Was it ever explained why Yi Hyeon gave her the job that landed her in an abusive marriage for years? I felt like there was a missed opportunity to address it during the last time they saw each other.



These questions aside, I still enjoyed the series. The lead characters got the ending they deserved and for that I'm willing to give PD-nim and writer-nim a free pass. Although if it were up to me, I would have wanted harsher punishments for the villains and a better exposition on the fate of a character who became the catalyst for this whole revenge plot.

WANTED: Decent Water Supply


I wanted to document this lingering problem we've been having for more than a year now (1 year and 4 months as of this writing) to show how incompetent our water district is and how the LGU turns a deaf ear to your pleas if the barangay captain isn't a party-mate. Curious? Read on.


Since Summer of 2019, we have been experiencing reduced hours of water supply which Metropolitan Cebu Water District conveniently blamed on El Nino. We were disappointed and had no choice but to adapt to the situation. It's been 1 year and four months since then. Our area now only has 4hrs (5hrs, if we're lucky) of water each day from 2AM-6AM.  


When pressed for answers, the agency's call-center agents are of absolutely no help at all. They're ill-mannered and lack the basic customer service skills. Considering they're the frontline of the business, telling a customer "wala jud ko kabalo, mam" (I do not know, mam) or "atong production ray makatubag ana" (It's only our production team who can answer that) when we call to ask for answers or even assurance speaks volumes of how little they value the consumers that pay for their salaries. What's worse? You cannot even contact the said production department. They're like unicorns whose existence remain mythical to the people.


Allow me to revisit the timeline of the issue:


before April 2019

No water supply in Gonzales Compound from 10PM - 3AM, a situation that has been going on for close to seven years already.


April 2019 - December 2019

Water supply from 2AM - 6AM because of El Nino and the situation with Jaclupan and Buhisan Dams.


January 2020

Talamban reservoir has (apparently) not fully recovered and water supply is still unbelievably low that if we're lucky, certain areas of Camputhaw are given water from 4AM - 6AM. I say "certain areas" because Back Solid and Dignos have water 24/7 and we are situated right in the middle of those two puroks. My mother, a senior citizen, wakes up at 1AM every single day just so we can store enough water to use for the rest of the day. That's 2 pails, 3 water barrels and 4 large basins to serve a family of 6. 


February 2020 - present

The pandemic has done little to fast-track the resolution of Cebu's water problem. In fact, it only made it worse. Water automatically stops at 6AM every day as if someone is controlling our water supply. I no longer remember when was the last time I took a bath with running water still available. Yes, we have adapted... but does this mean we have to settle for this kind of service? 


It's been more than a year and I am not seeing any solutions from MCWD at all. You say there are projects being started? Release it to the public. Give us the status of their progress, if there's even any at all. Because I deserve to get my money's worth. I am paying almost 2K each month when we only get 4-5hrs of water each day while subdivisions and condos enjoy uninterrupted supply.


I have tried all the available resources to get this issue a proper audience with the authorities. I sent emails to MCWD's General Manager, the Cebu City Mayor's office, the Administrator of LWUA, Michael Dino's office, Bong Go's office and yes... even the Presidential Complaint Center.  


Did I receive a reply? Nope.


8888? I called that too. Nothing but empty promises.


So forgive me if I'm unimpressed at the rhetoric of going after the capital's water concessionaires when no one bothers to lift a finger and help Cebu out with this issue.😕

RECIPE: Butterscotch Chips Cookies #RoseyvsFood


One of my favorite go-to recipes when I feel like baking is cookies. After several failed attempts (runny batter, dough not rising, using almond flavor instead of vanilla extract), I have finally gained that confidence to produce a batch that this household devours with gusto. And while the chocolate chip variant is an all-time favorite, butterscotch is turning out to be quite addictive as well. That sweet and salty combination is just too hard to resist... we can't stop dipping our hands into the cookie jar every chance we get!😉


The recipe I'm following is from The Salty Marshmallow. Normally I tweak the measurements after the first attempt but this one came out perfectly so I'm sticking with her instructions and adding my own take in the process.


What You'll Need

  • 1 bar unsalted butter, softened (I use Buttercup or Baker's Best as alternatives)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips


To Prepare

  1. Using your mixer, combine butter and the sugars for two minutes until creamy. Add vanilla extract. Add the eggs. Mix again.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk all dry ingredients (flour, salty, baking soda and cinnamon powder). Gently add to the mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated. Manually fold in butterscotch chips. 
  3. While others would freeze the dough as a whole, I prefer scooping them into equally-sized balls, place them on plates lined with parchment paper before freezing for 45mins. 
  4. Preheat oven at 200°C for 15 mins.
  5. Arrange dough balls on baking sheet. Do not overcrowd. 
  6. Bake for 12 mins at 180°C, take it out of the oven and let it cool for 3 mins before transferring to wire rack. 
  7. Enjoy!