Something to look forward to in 2009

I can't say that 2008 was a good year for us (although those bunch of foretellers predicted otherwise). This year proved to be tough and rough not only for me but for my whole family as well. Perhaps the only memorable thing that happened to me in 2008 was my trip in Paris and our vacation in Cebu at the start of the year. It was downhill from there.
I lost my job (uhmm well I resigned from my job) in March. It took me a while to accept that fact although I keep insisting to my husband that it's all good. Truth is, there are still pangs of regret whenever I look back and count all the years I spent working in the newspaper.
Lesson learned from this experience: Stand up for what you believe in. Not everybody may agree with you; in fact, there will be some who will leave you hanging BECAUSE of your beliefs. But in the end, you'll be so proud of yourself that you did. I am.
I got another job the same month that I put down the pen and paper. I moved to the other side of the fence. I didn't like it since day one. It wasn't what I wanted to do nor was it something that I wanted to learn. I guess it's not always true that you will grow to love something as days go by. Of course we all know what happened next. I resigned after only a month. I told myself that maybe I needed to relax a bit, to ponder on my decisions, and that's what I did. I just stayed home, took care of the kids, cooked meals, and polished my parenting skills for a month. Then it became two months...three months..four months..until it dragged on. Finally, I realized that I was already jobless for five months (except for the times when I did freelance writing jobs for my former boss and an NGO). I was desperate and so I finally put up myself in the job market. There were offers, yes, but nothing that I was really interested in. It was as if I was a fresh grad again. I had to learn how to write a resume, to dress up for interviews, and find my way thru the LRT and MRT (oh yes, I am a cheapie. I don't ride the taxi except when it's entirely necessary). Then an opportunity came. I knew I wanted to work for this company (where I am presently employed) the moment I walked in their small office in Roxas Boulevard. It was love at first sight. Believe it or not but I waited for two months for this job. I thought they would never call me again. But boy, was I so thankful that they did.
Just this month, my eldest was confined in a hospital due to a host of illnesses. Thank God that he has finally (but not fully) recovered. We could at least welcome the new year together.
Looking back, there are still things that I am so thankful for in spite of the glitches of 2008. On top of the list is my husband who had been so understanding and supportive of me. He stepped up and provided for the family, allowing me to stay jobless longer than we could have afforded under normal circumstances.
There are my sisters who always came to my rescue, looking after their nephews during those times when we had no yaya. I am also thankful to my in-laws and my relatives.
Two days to go and we will all be welcoming 2009. We have high hopes for the coming year. I haven't listed down my resolution but I and my husband have set some goals for 2009 that we plan to achieve. After reaching rock bottom this year, there's no way but up and I am determined to do just that.

The storm is over

I've spent the last couple of days in the hospital. Last Wednesday, we rushed my eldest to the hospital because he was complaining of dizziness, nausea and stomach pains the previous night. He was pale and weak, dark circles under his eyes, his lips dry. I was so nervous.
My pedia told us to confine him the moment he saw my son. A series of lab tests ensued. Our doctor advised us not to feed my son anything, including water for 24 hours.
I won't go into details how I spent the last three nights. The more important thing is we are going home this afternoon. I am so relieved. I want to cry.
I can't thank my company enough who's been so understanding and very thoughtful of my situation, allowing me to take the morning or afternoon off so I could stay with my son in the hospital. They even gave me a fruit basket for my son. My sisters are super! They've stayed with their nephew during the times when I had to go home so I could attend to my bunso. Thank you for all the prayers.

Dull December

While I love the cold weather now, I hate all the illnesses that come with December. My son has been down with cough for two weeks now, and the last time we checked with our pedia we were told that he has bronchitis which could mutate into pneumonia if we don't act fast. He has since been drinking this very expensive antibiotic and three sessions of nebulizer a day which I really hope and pray would work because my son is slowly losing weight due to his bad cough. We haven't bathe him for four straight days now, punas-punas lang muna, for fear that this might aggravate the situation further (okay, I attribute this "practice" to my grandmother). To make matters even worse, my son has developed mumps on either side of his cheeks/jaws. It couldn't have come at a worst time. First the cough, now this. As a result, he had to miss his third quarter exams and, if things don't improve anytime soon (God forbid), he might also miss his first Christmas party in his new school. Kawawa naman. He's been looking forward to the class party since last week. Please pray for my son and his fast recovery.
My youngest, Alamat, also has cough but a milder version (Thank God!). Last night, my husband arrived from work looking haggard and tired. Turns out, he too has the December flu. Ako na lang ang wala (knock on wood) maybe because I have stronger resistance and a full army of antibodies (inspite of my smoking habit). I hope these illnesses in my family will soon be over before the year ends.
Anyway, I hope my classmates (in journ) would forgive me if I missed our class reunion last Saturday because I really had my hands full over the weekend juggling maternal duties with take-home work. The guilt would kill me if I knew that my kids were sick back home and I was at some place drinking and partying the night away. Next time, promise. Count me in.

Intermittent absence


I have almost forgotten about this blog because I've been so preoccupied with take home work, house chores, and catching up on sleep that I barely open my laptop. In the office, I don't browse the net except for instances when we have to download some files from the FTP server. We are THAT busy. I know my life sounds so boring lately but oi, chronic boredom has its rewards. Yesterday, I and two of my colleagues were awarded Employee of the Month (November). I, too, was surprised because this is the first time that I received such commendation from my employer. (I worked my frakkin' ass off in that newspaper for seven years and not even once was I awarded for something or received any increase save for the mandatory yearly CBA salary hike which is more of a right of an employee rather than a privilege). Well enough of the sour graping.
Btw, this employee of the month thing has a set of criteria but I will spare you from the litany because it's quite a mouthful.
The awarding took place without much fanfare but I must admit that it felt good to be recognized by somebody for your efforts. I'm sharing this with you, not to brag or take credit for anything, but just to let you know how happy I am with my new work place. While we all have our own eccentricities and kababawan, my officemates are cool and super kwela. We always have a good laugh. I think that's the most important thing when looking for a place to work. It should make you laugh. As for the tough deadlines and my mundane office life, it's all good.

There's hope!

I was browsing the Internet earlier and thought of deviating from my routine for a while to check the airfare rates of Cebu Pacific. Ever since I made a ticker for my planned Boracay trip, I have been obsessing about it every night.
I already have a date in mind: either we go there from Feb. 27 to March 1 or between March 13 to 15. Guess what, I was blown away by the rates of CEB. I must say Cebu Pacific is the cheapest. Hands down.
Two round trip tickets to Kalibo would cost us about P6,565, not bad especially at a time when most airline companies are still recovering from their losses due to the past oil price hike.
But then, that's just the airfare. Unless we bring our own tents to Boracay, (that is, if they will even allow us to set camp at the beachfront), there's still the accommodations to worry about.
I checked the website called http://www.agoda.com/ for packages and found some hotels quite cheap. Actually I don't really care if we sleep in a bungalow or a one-star resort since we will be out most of the day anyway. But given the choice, I would like to try The Erus Suites Hotel at Boat Station 2. The rooms look nice (at least in the pictures) and carry different themese like modern pop art, baroque, zen, retro, country, etc. Taxes and all, a night at Erus will shave off about P8,000 from our meager savings. Hmm. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Any suggestions?

Comic relief

Allow me to post this compilation of idiocy courtesy of my officemate Ross. These are tongue-in-cheek jokes allegedly quoted from faceless and famous personalities. I hope it will make your day, just like it did with the rest of us in the office when this was forwarded to us. Cheers!


1. An Eat Bulaga contestant was asked by Joey and Vic: Ano sa Tagalog ang grasshopper? Contestant: Ahmm. . .Huling Hapunan?
2. It was an ex-PBB housemate (1st batch) who said this: Big Brother, ginagawa po nila ako laughing stuff
3. In Wowowee, the question was: Kung ang sigaw ay shout sa Inggles, ano naman sa Tagalog ang whisper? The contestant answered: Napkin!
4. While watchng the news yesterday about a kid killed by a bulldozer, our maid commented: Kaya ayoko mag-alaga ng aso eh
5. My friend and I were walking up the stairs of our schools new bldg. She said out of nowhere: Imagine mo kung di ginawa tong bldg, umaakyat tayo sa hangin?
6. My cousin at a DRIVE-THRU: Miss, puwedeng take out?
7. Nadia Montenegro promoting her movie: Please watch The Life Story of Julie Vega, opening na po on the twenty-twoth of November.
8. In a burger joint I heard a man say: Miss, isa ngang amusing aloha at saka kidney meal. Server: Dine in po ba or to go? The man answered: Ayoko ng sago!
9. I was making cookies at home when I ran out of cookie sheets, so I called our maid and said: Manang bili ka nga ng cookie sheet. And she replied: Ano po, solo o litro? (coke is it)
10. My friend said: Ang galing no, yung Ash Wednesday last year , Miyerkules din pumatak!
11. A non-Christian vendor selling a Last Supper painting: Maam bili po kayo ng frame, maganda po ito, Hesus and Company.
12. While watching Apollo 13, after she heard the line: Houston , we have a problem. My ex-girlfriend asked: Sino si Houston ?
13. My aunt was going to the US for the 1st time. She told us: Nagpapabili ang tita niyo ng autistic guitar. Saan ba nakakabili nun?
14. We were marketing for an org event, when one of my orgmates wanted to clear the definition of the types of sponsors (Major, Minor, Patron, etc.) So she asked her grandma: Lola, anong mas mataas sa Patron? Her lola replied: Patron? Eh di Shell!
15. Also in a gameshow. Host: Ano sa Tagalog ang teeth? Contestant: Utong!
16. I once heard an emcee say: Lets give her a warm of applause!
17. One classmate in highschool said, Ang cute naman ng sintas mo, luminou! I corrected him and said, luminous! Then he replied, Oo nga pala, plural!
18. Barker ng bus: Ah Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao, Cubao!!! Pasahero: Boss, Cubao?
19. Sa isang gameshow, tinanong ng host: Anong P ang Tagalog ng storey o floor ng building? Contestan: PIP PLOR!
20. An officemate of ours told us a story about driving alone in her car: Alam niyo, pag nag-iisa ako, feeling kowala akong kasama
21. I had a customer on the line who had a password on his account. I asked for the password but he forgot. I gave him a clue: Its a 4-digit number. He answered, UhmROCKY?
22. I overheard a lady place an order at Starbucks: One cup of chino please.
23. An officemate once asked: Saan sa Quezon City ang Mandaluyong?
24. I had a meeting with a friend and I noticed that both of us were wearing stripes. He suddenly blurted out: Uy, stripes din! Its the color of the day!
25. My sister said of our neighbor who was our arch enemy: Mamatay na sana kapitbahay natin! I told her not to say that, coz it might bounce back to us. Then she said, Ah ganun ba yun? In that case, mamatay na sana tayo!
26. When I saw that I got a missed call, I said, Hey, I got a missed call! My friend said, Anong sabi?
27. From the gameshow The Weakest Link. Host Edu Manzano asked: Anong T ang ibinibigay ng konduktor pag nagbayad ka ng pamasahe sa bus? Ian Veneracion answered: TUKLI!
28. We were reviewing for an exam and we were already dead tired. A classmate said, Hala, brownout! Pagtingin namin, nakapikit pala siya.
29. A call center agent told a foreign customer regarding the changing of the due date of her credit card: Maam, I already changed your monthly period.
30. A home economics teacher asked us: How do you make wet floor and tow duff? Translation: How do you make wheat flour and tough dough.
31. During a shower party for my friend, the married women were giving tips on the dos & donts of sexual intercourse, when the bride asked: Hindi ba kasama yung betlog sa pinapasok?
32. Melanie Marquez: Ang tatay ko lang ang only living legend na buhay pa

Much ado about vampires..take 2!




People in the the U.S. especially teen girls had a lot to be grateful for on Thanksgiving, the first being the opening of "Twilight" over the weekend. Read on yahoo movies that the drama flick hauled in about USD70 million, USD20 million more than the expected digits it would make in the box office. However, we Filipinos should pray harder and hope that the movie will be screened sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you might want to book your seats earlier. Ayala Cinemas are selling tickets in advance.

The color of grass...




Here are two interpretations of the grass skirt ala haute couture. The one worn by Madonna is from Louis Vuitton's latest collection for spring. Mischa Barton, on the other hand, opted to wear Monique Lhuillier. Can you see the striking similarities?


I don't know about you but I prefer Monique Lhuillier's interpretation although bakit parang nagkopyahan sila? However, this is not to say that I heart any of the dresses. Chaka. How many ostriches were skinned to make these frocks?


As with the Material Girl, she has always worn those ghastly fishnet stockings for as long as I can remember. Wala na bang bago? Fishnets only look attractive in the privacy of one's bedroom donned with leather boots, metal spikes, and a whip. Other than that, these should be torched along with your mother's padded blouses, psychedelic armbands, patadyong, and, lo and behold, those colorful jeans (in magenta, orange, yellow, and all the colors you can imagine) that were resurrected recently. What is happening to fashion these days?




Dreaming of Bora

I can't exactly remember how many times I've been in this island probably because they were forgettable except for one thing: how the talcum-like sand first felt under my bare feet. It's nothing I've seen or experienced prior to my first trip to Boracay. And it's the only thing I can vividly remember until now.
If you noticed, I've added a ticker on my page that reveals a countdown until our Boracay trip next year. I haven't discussed this yet with my husband (well now you know after reading this) but I really am bent on going back to this island WITH him in tow for three main reasons: 1) he hasn't been to Bora; 2) it's the next best thing to Bikini Destination; 3) to prove to him that, indeed, the sand is powdery.
Now my problem is the budget. It's not cheap to travel these days especially for us who like to eat A LOT. Last year, we went to Cebu and stayed at Shangri-La Mactan for three days, and another night at Waterfront. While we got our accommodations at Shang on the cheap, our pocket money was mostly spent eating in restaurants (and we didn't even try out any of Shang's restos except during breakfast. Otherwise, we would have begged our way back to Manila).
I haven't set an amount yet but based from our previous Cebu trip, the Bora vacay would probably set us back by P30,000 net. Beyond that and I would have to scrap the whole plan and postpone it indefinitely.
Maybe I should watch the Secret again and hope for the best.

The devil is in the dessert!



If there's one thing that pulls me and Argel together, it's food. Eating is our favorite pastime and our way of coping when we are so harassed in our respective offices. Whenever we can, we see to it that we have dinner dates at least once a month. It doesn't have to be something fancy. So long as it's new, it's good, it's reasonable, it pleases our palates, or it is referred by a friend, then it's good enough for us to give it a try.
Last night, Argel asked me out and I am glad that he did. We rarely go out on dates lately either because my two boys are always tagging along, or we just never had the time. So last night was really something to look forward to. I can't say that it was the most romantic but it was definitely fun. We had a good laugh throughout the evening.
Anyway, we ended up at this restaurant called Wagamamu. It's a new place along N.S. Amoranto (former Retiro) in Q.C. with cozy interiors and friendly staff. I don't know what their specialty is but I would definitely recommend their desserts. We tried their blueberry streussel cheesecake and boy, it melts in your mouth! It's a perfect balance of creaminess, texture, richness, and sweetness. I know the picture is not as appetizing but so far, it's one of the best blueberry cheesecakes I've tasted (The other one was at Cafe George in Cebu). They also serve good cappuccino made from roasted Italian beans. Now, if you want to make your own brew at home, you can take home your own Italian espresso maker which are available in varying sizes from the restaurant's mini store. I've seen a similar espresso maker used by Giada de Laurentiis in her show Everyday Italian and I was so fascinated by its sheer simplicity. They also sell roasted coffee and teabags in cans and paper bags to go with your espress machine. Do give it a try just in case you have nothing to do on a mundane evening.


Text spammers

I hate it when I receive spam text messages in my cellphone. How do these scheming spammers manage to hack our numbers anyway? Yesterday, I got an SMS telling me that I can claim my FREE insurance policy in Makati from this company called CARITAS. They even went as far as giving a person to contact, a landline number, the address where I can claim my insurance policy and a BFAD license. The end of the text read: God Bless. Ok. So these stupid text spammers think they can get away with anything by name-dropping the most influential of all being. Tsk. Tsk. Kilabutan naman kayo.
To begin with, I did not apply for any insurance policy of late. In fact, I am planning to have two of my insurance policies cut off because I feel (after years of paying) that it's completely unnecessary. But knowing how shrewd marketing people are, they won't give up my insurance policy without giving a good fight. I have had few attempts to call one of the insurance companies to inform them that I no longer want to be covered by their services and that they should stop charging me (through my credit card). Their response was rather dizzying. The stupid person on the other end of the line told me that "Sorry mam, it's not that easy to cut off your insurance policy. You need to submit a formal letter explaining why you want to discontinue the policy afterwhich we will review the letter within 30 days."
What the crap?! You're telling me now that I need to go through all that nonsense when all you needed was my confirmation (over the phone) for the policy to materialize two years ago? Kalokohan.
Anyway...
I received yet another spam text this afternoon claiming it was from Pulse Asia. There's no way to verify the veracity of this text but it reveals a list of presidentiables and their ranking. If the results have any grain of truth in them, then I guess I won't be going to the poll stations in 2010 as it has always been in the last two elections.
1. De Castro 19 %
2. Estrada 18 %
3. Villar 18 %
Fill in the remaining blanks.

Pissed!

Could somebody please share with me some witty snide remarks to put off this person who is irritatingly tactless, who thinks she knows everything, and who acts as if she is the most intelligent person in the world?
I have been putting up with her for quite some time now but she's really getting into my nerves. Sure I have some bad bones in my body and I could be confrontational if I want to but I won't go to such extent as to be rude to someone (esp if there are other people around) and embarrass her. I could be nice you know. In fact, I believe that I am fairly nice and cordial to people. But this person...she's nakakairita to the point that I want to throttle her neck and squeeze out all the lard in her! Take note: I am not the only one who's very irritated. My other friends are also pissed at her because she has this way of making people around her feel very uncomfortable. Most of the time, I just let it slide off but I don't know how long I could put up with her. So help me God.

Gift ideas, anyone?

My husband and I are still toying with the idea on what to give our eldest for Christmas. He's six, already in preschool, a smart boy, and has a mind of his own. He also happens to be a huge fan of video games which I am strongly opposed to. Aside from the fact that these games are mostly filled with gore and violence, video games take so much of his attention and time (sometimes even during school days) that we thought it best to limit his "playtime" and only allowed him to play with his PSP on weekends.
Recently though, his biological father (ok..now this makes it even more complicated) expressed his desire to give his son a PS2 as a Christmas present. My answer was obvious. A solid NO. A debate ensued afterwards.
My point was, he already has a PSP so what's the point of giving him a new game console? Besides he's only six and should be out in the park playing hide and seek with other children instead of spending the entire afternoon in deep concentration as if the fate of the world was on his hands!
I went on to point out to him that expensive gadgets such as a PS2 should be EARNED (through good grades, initiative, etc.) instead of giving it just like that. I don't want to sound like the Grinch here and I know that my eldest would be so delighted to receive one BUT I don't think now is the right time. Maybe when he's 10 or 12. But not six.
As much as possible, I try not to give toys to my sons unless we happen to dine at McDonald's or Jollibee. Christmas is still too far to stress about this one but if you have any interesting idea (it doesn't really have to be something tangible) then your comments are very welcome.

Jen-Brad-Angelina saga continues

A new twist to the Jen-Brad-Angelina saga (note that Brad is at the center of the title for obvious reasons) surfaces after Jennifer Aniston commented about Angelina's blatant remarks on her and Brad's romance that blossomed at the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. (Read the full article here)
Angelina has no delicadeza and class. She used to deny the rumors and now here she is telling the whole world how she and Brad fell in love while shooting Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Tsk. I used to admire her especially for her efforts to end global hunger and poverty. Maybe it's her way of diverting the ire and bad publicity being thrown her way. Or perhaps she felt so guilty that she had to think of something on a massive scale that will make up for her mortal sin. Show some remorse! Confess, my dear, confess.

Wooden wonders and more

The bleak economy and ridiculous prices have somehow changed our priorities in the past few months. As a result, we have become smarter, and even cynical if you may, when it comes to spending our money. This Christmas, though, it won't hurt to add a thing or two more to your "to-buy" list so long as you know that you are getting your money's worth.
For homeowners like me, a good piece of furniture is sooo hard to resist. But what exactly is a good piece of furniture? Price is not only the factor in determining quality. Design, material, finish, craftsmanship, and price share equal importance when arriving at a decision. I personally like wood furniture because it has that certain homey feel to it not to mention it gives character to living spaces. Unfortunately, today's market is swamped with run-of-the-mill, sub-standard wooden furniture that leave us with very little options...unless you are one such discerning consumer who knows where to get the good stuff.
If I may suggest, an online lifestyle store called http://www.lombok.co.uk/ is a good place to build around your own Zen-inspired abode with a few pieces from this store. The site carries a complete range of classic furniture and home accents that would truly impress even the most discriminating taste. The long list starts with pretty lamp shades, candles, and windlights, down to coffee tables, cupboards and dressers.
Its chests of drawers are both functional and stylish. I know that bulky chests can look so out of place in a room. However, the finer details such as patinated brass handles and carved edges turn this functional object into a pretty accent piece. The chests of drawers are available in varying sizes to fit every nook and cranny of your house.
The bedroom is the most intimate part of the house hence the centerpiece of this room, which is the bed, should echo the same ambiance. I have always wished for a four-poster bed ever since I saw King Louis XIV's during a trip to France. The wooden beds in this site evoke that same Old World charm and sets the tone for intimacy. All beds are handmade using teak and oak wood among other natural materials. The price may set you back by a few thousands but for a good night's sleep? It's worth every cent you pay for it.
Finally, my favorite part of the house (next to the bedroom, of course) is the dining area. About three years ago, I bought a four-seater dining set made of teak wood and leather. But after seeing the dining tables in this site, I instantly turned green with envy. The designs are exactly what I had in mind -- very elegant and exclusive but not intimidating. Don't you hate it when you have beautiful furnishings that you can't even enjoy because it's too precious you won't even let your own kids go near it?
These dining tables are fully functional and stylish. They also have a round dining table perfect for condo dwellers deprived of precious space.
Wait, I haven't mentioned the best part yet. The site offers what it calls "interest free credit" that offers customers flexible payment modes. Check out the site for more information.

Musings on marriage

I was once asked how marriage has changed my relationship with my then boyfriend and now husband. And my answer then was: not so much. Pondering about it now, I realized that A LOT has changed in our relationship since we got hitched two years ago. For one, we are less tolerant of each other that we have become critical to a fault. I admit that I focus too much on my husband's temper rather than acknowledge his sweet little gestures. Last Sunday, I chided him for being "ma-pride" which was very unlikely of him when we were still on our dating stage. His reply was: "Kasi alam ko na kahit magka-away tayo, magkikita pa rin tayo sa bahay. Wala kang choice kundi kausapin ako unlike nung mag-boyfriend tayo." Tama nga naman.
Lesson learned: Once you get married, you are left with no choice but to work things out. Ergo, separation is never an option.

Gwyneth goes gaga...literally


I still can't get over this infamous photo of Gwyneth Paltrow (courtesy of http://www.omg.yahoo.com/) which instantly demoted her to "worst dressed celebrity" overnight!
Everything in this outfit is just grossly wrong -- from the hair, choice of jewelry, a kitschy black and white dress with lace details, the granny lingerie (if you can even call it that), and those atrocious ankle boots that remind me of Minnie Mouse.
Im no fasyon myself but I would not let this one pass. Maybe Gwyneth was feeling kinky when she picked this outfit, sort of dressing as a French maid and failing miserably. Perhaps it wouldn't have been as dreadful if ONLY she wore the right lingerie. If I were the husband, I would divorce her through SMS and hide from her never to see me again. haha Just kidding.
Seriously, this "kita-ang-kapitbahay" see-through dress lacks creativity, decency and common sense. Gwyneth should axe her stylist, whoever he/she is.
For more photos of fashion disasters, click here http://omg.yahoo.com/photos/what-were-they-thinking/2435

Much ado about vampires
















I've always been fascinated with vampires, but not as much as my friend Riya who's obsessed with them. So it's not surprising that she's been persuading me to grab a copy of the Twilight series and eventually get hooked (like her)on the central character named Edward. I haven't read a book since I finished The Da Vinci Code but I would love to get a copy of Twilight based solely on Riya's persuasion and her numerous blog entries chronicling her fixation about this novel.
Incidentally, I've seen some of the publicity photos of Twilight (courtesy of Access Hollywood) and I must admit that I was smitten by the actor who plays Edward. However, my dilemma now is this: should I read the book first before I watch the movie or vice versa? The problem with movie adaptations is they are shortened versions of literary masterpieces hence they sometimes lack the gritty details of full-length novels. I've seen a couple of movies based on best-selling novels (specifically The Da Vinci Code, A Time to Kill, and Memoirs of a Geisha)and found them somewhat lacking. As a viewer and a natural whiner, I can't help but compare these two versions. More often than not, I end up in regret for pillaging my piggy bank to buy tickets to that movie.
Going back to Twilight, I'm still torn between buying the book and stretching my patience till the local premiere of this much hyped Hollywood flick.

Btw, mukhang hindi naligo si Robert Pattinson in one of the pictures. He admitted it himself in one of his interviews. "I haven't washed my hair in about six weeks. It's disgusting," Pattinson reveals to USA Today. What the heck, vampires don't take a bath!

Fashion victory or fashion victim?


Just when we thought that all eyes where on Obama on election night, there were a few pairs gazing not at the dandy president-elect, but at his wife Michelle and what she was wearing for this momentous occasion. Since the campaign started, much has been written and said about Michelle's fashion sense. There were a couple of hits and misses. I also had my personal favorites, including a black and white floral number that she wore during a guest appearance on The View -- and it's not even a designer outfit.
Admittedly, Michelle has a flair for fashion. And by that, I don't necessarily mean haute couture. She can wear a sundress from Target and still look regal on it. However, Michelle's pick at last night victory party was so-so. The black and red frock was nothing to sneeze at, that's for sure, but unfortunately it didn't inspire the fashion savant in me.
Read on yahoo that the dress was by Narciso Rodriguez, a staple at New York's catwalk. She could have chosen a gown by Oscar dela Renta, Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Carolina Herrera, Christian Dior, or Karl Lagerfeld. Instead, she chose to wear Narciso Rodriguez to Chicago's Grant Park.
If she was to be judged as one of the best dressed people based on that outfit, she would not have been considered a contender at all.
Look at the picture and tell me what's your take on it. (Photo courtesy of INFDaily.com)

Black or White?

Black has always been a recurring trend. Today, Americans have reaffirmed this by voting the first black president to the White House. Aaahh..I just hope the GQ material Obama is not just another trend. I like the guy. He brims with so much promise...and fashion sense.
If it's worth anything, McCain was man enough to concede. That's unheard of here in the Philippines. No Filipino politician accepts defeat. Just look at our government. How many political factions have clamored for a recall of electoral count, claiming that their bet won by x margin. Good God! They should have done that four years ago.
In the meantime, should we even care about the US elections? What good will it bring this third world country? One political analyst said an Obama victory would be favorable for Asian countries given that the Harvard graduate grew up in Indonesia, hence...is more sympathetic to Asians? Do you get the parallelism? I don't either. US has both of its hands full right now -- a looming recession, rising unemployment rate,Iraq war, weak dollar, etc. Sorry guys, but water runs dry even in the promise land.
Again I ask: should we give a damn who wins in the US Election?

sore and sullen

Woke up this morning with a stiff neck which I probably got from sleeping on my side the entire night. I was careful not to move too much, or stretch out my arms as I normally do. But last night, we allowed our youngest to sleep on our bed. He's been sick since yesterday. The last time I checked, the thermometer read 39.5. But he's getting better, thank God. Unfortunately, my stiff neck is not.
I think I should get a massage -- not! Our savings have dried up hence I don't have the liberty to splurge on hedonistic pleasures. In the meantime, Salonpas will do.

Ode to mama

There are still instances when I refuse to accept that my mother died not so long ago. Was it three or four years ago? I can barely remember. I never keep tabs of such dates. I can't even recall how she died. All I know is I was not by her bedside when it happened. I was sleeping, exhausted of the trip back home from Hong Kong, when my brother called me early in the morning to tell me the news.
That year, she knew that she was gravely sick but tried her best to keep it from us. She never complained, though. She was always happy and bubbly. I know that she was always delighted to see me whenever I went home to visit her in the province. The first time that she was rushed to the ER, my aunts told me that she wanted me to visit her. And I did. I took a leave from work and went to the hospital right away.
The following days got worse. Simple headaches made her sleepless every night. Soon, she requested that she be confined in Manila. That's when we knew it was serious because she never complained. Nor did she ever wanted to be confined in a hospital because she said it was too expensive.
We brought her to St. Luke's and the doctor diagnosed her with a swelling in the brain. Nothing serious, our father assured us, and soon she was back to the province while I flew to Berlin for an official assignment.
It was during my absence that her health turned for the worse. But I didn't knew hence two days after I arrived from Berlin, I flew to Hong Kong to cover the opening of Disneyland. I didn't see the fireworks on the last day because that was when I had to rush back to Manila to see my mother at the ICU.
I can still remember how she looked: she was all skin and bones; she had dark circles under her eyes, her cheekbones stuck out like fishbone, lips were dry and chapped. She was too weak to acknowledge me when I entered the room. She just kept staring at me, mumbling under the oxygen mask.
I was told that she had stage 4 breast cancer. God! Wasn't it only a month ago when she started complaining of painful headaches? And now the disease had spread to her lungs and bones!
Maybe you can call me a worthless, uncaring, callous, selfish daughter because that same day, I went home to catch up on sleep and told my brother that I'll be back the next morning to take care of her. I was so exhausted. Unfortunately, there was no next morning. She passed away a few hours after I left. I was too shocked to cry. I was angry at myself. I felt guilty. I blamed myself for leaving her in the hospital. It's still painful until now and I know that the pain won't go away...ever.
I just wished we still had her today. I miss her so much.

I'm "moved"

Since we got married, I and my husband have intermittently pondered about moving to a new house. The kids are growing fast and the room where we are staying is getting smaller to fit in all four of us. We live with our in-laws and although the house is big enough (five rooms and three floors)to accommodate five families, I have always secretly wished that we could someday afford to get our own place to raise our own family.
However,the steep prices of residential properties in the neighborhood have prevented us from doing so. We also have a lot of bulky furniture, appliances, knickknacks and unopened gifts (we received on our wedding)that we have accumulated over the years, kept away in boxes. How are we going to bring all these stuff with us?
Very recently, though, I stumbled upon the website http://www.moveme.com/ The site is dedicated to simplifying a normally complicated process such as relocating to a new house through tips, guides and bits of practical advice.
I know that moving from one place can be so much of a hassle but this site makes it sound a lot of fun. Browsing the site itself is a breeze which I attribute to its user-friendly interface and colorful icons. No wonder it was bestowed the Yahoo Innovation Award and the Yahoo People's Choice Award.
What's cool about this site is you can move to your own home sweet home without lifting a finger. The site has a list of moving companies that are fully licensed and insured. Choose any of these teams to help pack your things, sort out the parking authorisation, disassemble furniture among other things. If you are single and don't have that much to bring with you, you may tap the services of a removal company called the "man with a van" perfect for moving to studio apartments and smaller condo units. This is as efficient as a bigger removal company but way cheaper.

As for families like mine who are stressing over the cost that comes with moving from one place to another, we can all heave a sigh of relief. Check out the rates offered by removal companies and compare prices. It's a shave off your expenses not to mention you can rest assured that you won't end up losing things on moving day. Keep in mind, though, to go through all your belongings and make a list of all the things that you want to bring with you.
Let's all start moving!

Aching for beauty

I just realized that I am getting old. I no longer fancy wearing colorful plastic earrings and bangles. They look so "cheap" and so "trying hard" on me. I hoarded a handful five years ago during a trip in Bangkok. It used to be hip that time, to wear those plastic stuffs I mean. But not anymore, at least not on me.
Then there are my red Chucks that have been gathering dust in the shoe rack. I have attempted quite a few times to match these shoes with my outfit -- jeans, mini dress, shorts, skirts -- but the sneakers just look out of place like a hangnail sticking out from a chair. I bought my first and only pair four Christmases ago and even wore them to a friend's Christmas party. Now, I don't even want to try them on. Partly because molds have inhabited the footbed. Maybe I should start putting my old stuff in a balikbayan box and sell them to ukay-ukay shops. Same goes for my camouflage pants, ripped jeans, Bench towels (with my name embroidered on them), souvenir shirts (Gawd, I think I have one whole box of these), stockings, gloves, and beanies. The list goes on I might end up with just three pairs of clothes.
Soon, I won't be wearing jeans anymore. Don't you just hate old women trying to squeeze their fat arse in denim? The only person over 60 I know who can get away with such atrocity is Madame Ethel. But hey, she always gets away with anything.
Oh well...it's inevitable. And so are wrinkles, fine lines, sagging arms, big puson, athritis, rheumatism, menopause, and death. If there was any consolation, it's the fact that we will all end up in the same destination.

overrun? run over? what the heck!

Am feeling a bit pissed this morning. Let me rephrase that. I SHOULD be feeling annoyed about what happened on my way to work. But being the nice me, I let the incident slide off without giving a (cat) fight.
I usually take the LRT 5th Avenue station on the way to my office in Roxas Boulevard. I was not born rich (although I always wish I was)so I have no choice but to take the public transport. Nothing wrong with that except when you encounter reckless (a.k.a balasubas) drivers plying the treacherous streets of Manila.
No, the accident did not happen at the LRT station. I did not fall off the tracks, thank God. But I was run over by a tricycle. Of all vehicles, tricycle pa. It could have been a BMW, a Corvet, or pede na ring ang Pajero to make the incident a bit more telenovela where the driver will get off the car, help me get up...then look into my eyes and offer me a ride home. Sigh. Unfortunately, I am not Judy Ann Santos or Claudine Baretto.
I'm more of Annie Batumbakal who was ran over by a tricycle as she was getting off the cursed vehicle. Nakakahiya! I was already tearing up, partly because scrapes started to creep up my calf, and partly because everybody was staring at me as if I would die at that moment!
Juiceko! It was embarrassing more than it was painful. In my confusion, I grabbed a tissue paper from my bag and frantically rubbed the scrapes while mumbling incoherent curses.
Anyway, the driver (who was a minor!)sheepishly apologized. "Ate sorry, akala ko nakababa ka na."
Ok ka lang? Hindi mo ko nakita? Buset!

Down with Mondays!

There's so much to hate about Mondays and today is particularly loathsome. I was unusually late for work (my definition of "late" is when I arrive on the dot. I'd rather arrive 15 minutes earlier so I still have time for my rituals like yosi, banyo, etc.) I was late because I was stressing on what to wear today. Not that it was a big deal or something. It was just one of my indecisive moments, I guess. Well anyway..na-late ako because of that.
Upon arriving in the office, I did the usual stuff. Timpla ng kape, mag-banyo, turn on my computer, light up a stick and finish my coffee. Did all that in 10 minutes tops.
So I finally sat down my chair to continue where I left. I was kinda happy because I was planning to finish the last part of the level test. Ideally, one set of test takes about 8 to 10 days to finish.
Then the unthinkable happened -- I cannot find the file. It was nowhere in the folders. I tried all sorts of options -- search, advance options,I even downloaded the pandora software (as per my husband's instruction) but to no avail.
Shet! Was I that careless last Friday that I had forgotten to click the "Save" button before shutting down the computer? I tried to recall the events last Friday, particularly my chat with Rhea because I was deliriously hysterical chatting with her in the afternoon. Pero impossible! I mean, saving is habitual as picking one's nose. How could have I forgotten? Baka na-virus. So now, I have to re-write the entire test from Part 1 to Part 3. It sucks!

I heart my job!

It's been a fortnight since I last updated my blog, the reason being I now HAVE a job. I mean a regular job that pays well than what I was getting from freelance writing but not as much as my previous PR stint.
So far, I am loveeeing it here. Of course, having to stress over the level tests is another thing. But this is what I hand in mind and have been obsessing over the last couple of months.
To start with, the office is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Seriously, tahimik talaga. The only sound I hear the whole day is the aircon blowing ice cold air smack into my face. Nakakahiya lang pumasok ng naka-trench coat. Otherwise, inilabas ko na ung mga binili kong coats sa abroad. I don't care if I ride the LRT everyday. Manginig sila sa inggit (or sa katatawa?). Bwahahahaha Speaking of trench coat, I suddenly miss Paris. I only went there once but boy was it an experience of a lifetime. I have my boss, Madame Ethel, to thank.
Anyway, another reason for loving this job is I only work five times a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I'm sure some won't find this sched ideal especially nocturnal species like journalists. I was once (take note: past tense)a journalist and have been used to flexible time (translation: aabsent ka when you feel like it)for more than seven years. I guess that was one of the reasons why I didn't stay long with the PR company. My body clock didn't adjust well. I needed full five months to re-set my inner clock and get used to the 8 to 5 routine.
Finally, and for some strange reasons, I hardly get cranky since taking on this job. I used to get anxiety attacks when I was still a newspaper girl, either caused by my boss or by some stupid mistake. Of course I get tired writing those tests but I DON'T feel it. Alam mo yun? You know you're tired but you don't feel it? It's weird. And I AM feeling weird these days.

Vertigo..and I dont even listen to U2!

Have you ever heard of Vertigo? Learned about it the hard way one afternoon while I was rushing an article. All of a sudden, my vision started to swirl with my head swaying like pendulum from one side to the other. I initially dismissed it as a severe case of migraine but then the swirling continued until I had to call (or was it shout) for help.
Since it was a holiday, I and my husband were the only people in the building that time. He was downloading some stuff from the Internet while I was trying to earn extra money (through freelance writing)
The office was at the topmost floor (4th)so I was already beginning to panic because I didn't think
it was possible for me to get to the car by FOOT. Someone had to drag me all the way down.
The slightest movement (like opening my eyes) only triggered my insides to throw up gooey mix of saliva and undigested rice. (Yuck!)It was that bad. I was starting to tear up and can hear myself sobbing.
Promise. I thought katapusan ko na. It was like riding the roller coaster at Eurostar (at The Fort) ten times without stopping.
I probably threw up three times, and another three upon arriving at Argel's uncle's house who is also the family doctor. I think it was SOP for doctors to rule out obvious symptoms before concluding anything so Tito Lit's wife, who also happens to by my OB, brought out a PT (pregnancy test) and quickly led me to the rest room.
Teka, teka. Im not pregnant. And then the swirling returned again followed by a dollop of thick saliva.
The test came out to be "void" meaning I had to repeat it again after two weeks because there were vague traces daw of the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or (hCG).Ngek! OA namang pagbubuntis ko kung ganon! I never experienced this with the two pregnancies that I had.
Well anyway, I was prescribed Bonamine (to be on the safe side just in case I was really pregnant).
Spent the following day in bed sleeping like a baby (pun intended). I still feel a bit nauseous today but nonetheless better. Now I'm anxious to know if Im really pregnant.
Will let you know as soon as I get the result. =)

A passion for pearls







This is the best time to make your wish list, or if you plan to play Santa on Dec. 25, a checklist for presents to be given away come Christmas. After all, who wants to get caught in the horrendous traffic and dizzying Christmas rush which starts to build up as soon as Halloween is over?
But then if you totally want to avoid the crowd, try online shopping. It's a most convenient way to purchase stuff not to mention there are a handful of sites that offer great deals and huge discounts. One of these sites is http://www.pearl-necklace-jewelry.com/ which sells all sorts of pearls in chic designs.
A woman of style surely knows that a strand of pearl can instantly turn a boring outfit into a classic ensemble thus it's only wise for us women to invest on pearls be it a necklace, bracelet, choker, or simple earring studs.
The pearls at http://www.pearl-necklace-jewelry.com/ are appraised by a IGI Graduate Gemologist who, by the way, also appears on their website and are guaranteed 100% genuine so I guess that's a good starting point.
I know there are a lot of pretty options to choose from in this site so I will give a few suggestions as I am a pearl lover myself.
I personally adore their akoya pearl necklace which goes well with practically everything in my wardrobe. However, you might want to dig deeper into your pockets to have one of these which are priced anywhere between US$119 to US$199. Frankly, it's money well spent given that the pearls are really grown in Japan (and not in China, South Korea or Australia where these pearls are also known to be cultivated today).

For those on a budget, there are equally pretty items under US$100 dollars such as their freshwater pearl necklaces that come either in single, double and multi-layer strands.
A black pearl necklace is another personal favorite, a very versatile and sophisticated piece of jewelry I'm sure even your mother-in-law would approve of it.
The good thing about investing on pearls is these gems never go out of style...you can even pass them to your daughters as heirlooms. Happy shopping!


Despedida de Soltera







My kumare and officemate in MB has finally found her better half in Fil-American soldier Rodel (or Lieutenant as we refer to him). They met through Friendster and after one year of exchanging emails and overseas calls, the two finally met last year. They were inseparable since (except of course when Lieutenant has to fly back to the US).
The two are getting married in the US this year, in December if my memory serves me right. Madaya ka tiray, ayaw mo yata mang-invite! According to Tiray, Rodel popped the question in Island Cove accompanied with a beautiful rock. Asked whether she was surprised, she quipped: "Shempre ineexpect ko na yun noh! (Referring to the engagement ring) Napag-usapan na namin sa phone un." Hahaha .
Anyway, mamimiss kita Tiray! She has always been the life of the party both literally and figuratively, thanks to her infectious, albeit pitchy, laughter and spine-breaking dance moves which we get to see during Christmas parties in MB and at Ricky Reyes' house in Valle Verde.
Here are some pictures of our despedida cum bridal shower for Therese at the Seaside View along Macapagal road. Note that restaurant owner Claire dela Fuente's poster in the background. Kainich!

kitchen solutions



Im a sucker for Food Network shows. Name it, I probably know it. Aside from the recipes I so try hard to copy in vain, these shows provide nuggets of wisdom which I find very useful in the kitchen. While I'm at it, I will try to post at least one kitchen tip that I learned from the experts. It's really for my own benefit as I have this bad habit of jotting down bits of interesting information in scratch paper and totally forget about it the next day.

Today's food for thought:
For those who like garlic in anything they eat, here's a neat trick to get rid of that strong garlic odor in your fingers. After slicing, dicing, pounding, mincing or whatever style you use in preparing your garlic, immediately wash hands in cold water rubbing them with a stainless steel utensil (i.e. spoon, fork, ladle, etc.)
Though I haven't tried it, Martha Stewart swears it works like botox. Just kidding.
Kris Aquino also suggests an otherwise expensive alternative. She uses this liquid hand soap that can be bought from Rustan's. Wipes off any garlic residue. Just ask the saleslady about it.

Vanity is my favorite sin

What was the weirdest thing you did for vanity's sake? I've tried a few ones in my puberty and adult years -- some worked while the rest are too gross to print here.
Here are a few things I've tried:
  • Put toothpaste or lipstick (whichever is available) on a zit. Apparently, the fluoride in the toothpaste dries out the pimple and eventually heals faster. This is, of course, my own scientific musings. It's not yet backed by lab tests and researches.
  • Rubbed calamansi on my armpits for smoother, whiter and attractive kili-kili. This is tedious and so much hassle. I don't know if it really works because I don't do it religiously. Also, I find it very messy because the seeds get stuck in the drain. I'll probably use the calamansi with patis or toyo next time.
  • Rubbed calamansi on my hands to remove detergent residue. It's so diyahe to have hands that are "nangingintab" after a night of scrubbing and hand-washing. Voila! The good old calamansi does the trick. It won't turn your hands like a baby's but it will at least smoothen out dead cells and "deodorize" detergent-soaked hands.
  • Try brushing your toenails with plain soap and water every time you take a bath. I assure you, you won't need to go to the parlor for a pedicure in the next three months.
  • Recently, I had a minor emergency case. Was frying lapu-lapu and was in the act of turning it to the other side when the super hot oil started bursting like a mad volcano. Aftermath? Scalding cooking oil all over my face, neck and right arm. In desperation, I immediately washed off the oil in running water and reached for any cream to soothe the burning sensation. Found a bottle of Face Shop oil-free moisturizing cream. I swear by its efficacy. I only sustained red patches of skin instead of ugly blisters that leave permanent scars. The only side effect: I look like I have a hickie sticking out in my neck.
  • When I was a kid, I was especially fond of sucking sugarcane (tubo). The remaining pulp I used to rub on my teeth because my mother told us it was a good abrasive and it whitened the teeth. Looks like mothers don't know best all the time.
  • Remember when you had your first, uhmm, period? What did your mother tell you? Well aside from "O, pede ka na mabuntis!" I also got the most stupid, grossest and out-of-this-world advice. I was told, half-jokingly, to wipe my face with my first, errr, leak so I won't have monstrous breakouts ever. Yack! At sino namang walang utak ang nakaisip nun in the first place? Kadiri!
  • Still on monthly period, I was forbidden by my elders from taking a bath during my red days. Imagine if you're the type who bleeds for a week? The wisdom behind it kuno was since your pores are open during monthly period, there's a big chance na pasukin ka ng masamang hangin. Resulta? Ikaw ay magiging Sisa. Stopped doing this when I entered college. Nakakahiya sa roommates ko.
These are just some of the silly things I did for beauty's sake. For more wacky beauty tips that actually work, read on...

Eheads reunion concert was a success BUT...

Yes there's a big BUT and I know that everyone who went to the concert last Saturday share the same sentiment. It was bitin not only because the show was cut short due to unfortunate circumstances but in many other ways as well. But first, the details.
Went to The Fort around 3:00 p.m. for the off-chance of sneaking in at the VIP section. Security was kinda tight, they even asked us to leave our yosis and lighter. Sanamagan! It was an open field! Bakit mo ipagbabawal ang pag-yosi? Even air-conditioned restaurants have smoking areas dude.
Anyway, there we were under the 3p.m. sun roasting ourselves until we were sticky and stinky. Walang upuan. Standing only. Ok lang sana if not for the painful gravel that we had to sit on and the forbidding metal rigs that separated the non-paying VIPs and us pobresitas who payed P1,300 just to get us in. Eto ang clincher, may SVIP pa!
I asked the bouncer what SVIP meant. Super Very Important Persons? Special Very Important People? He just laughed at me and walked away. Something was wrong here.
We had to endure the five-hour waiting time. It was already 7 p.m. and the VIP section was barely occupied except for newsmen trying to ambush some concert-goers (including us). Sanamagan! Mga VIP talaga. They know they can afford to be late.
The concert started around 8:15 p.m. and by God, was it sooo worth it! Second song into the concert and I was already hoarse. And yet something was missing. I nor my husband could not quite figure out what it was. Maybe I wanted some drama? Group hug perhaps? Or was it because Ely played it suplado from the very beginning, failing to acknowledge the fans except for a brief "Okay ba kayo jan?" and "Andami niyo ah?"
I was not expecting some head banging or spiels or impromptu speeches. It was not, after all, their style. I guess, for lack of a better word, the FUN was not just there. Yes we had fun but Ely, Raimund, Marcus and Buddy? I did not feel the rapport. They played song after song it was almost mechanical. Heard there were supposed to be two sets, even three according to some, with 30 songs.
Sayang. We could only wish it happened. I know a small part of us wanted to shout "Boooohhhh" when they made the announcement. BUT we were too stunned and civilized as to be so insensitive and stoical. At bago pa makapag-react ang lahat, there was Francis Lumen of MTV Philippines apologizing, bidding everyone a safe trip home. Yes it was a concert that wrote history in many ways BUT...

Maling akala...NOT!

Months after careless whispers started circulating, the much-anticipated reunion concert of Eheads is finally pushing through on Saturday at The Fort! Thank you Lord.
Heard the good news over Magic while on the way to palengke this morning. My husband wanted to go to SM Manila ora mismo to get tickets.
We can't miss the concert. No. Not in this lifetime. We grew up with Eheads as with the rest of the millions who have been clamoring for a reunion since they disbanded. And our prayers have been heard...to the tune of P10 million each (according to rumors)? So what if there's a string attached? It only happens once...and lucky for us people here in Manila because we get to buy the tickets first before scalpers beat us to it. Just think of the fans from Cebu, Davao, Bacolod or saan mang lupalop. They would still need to book plane tickets, hotel accommodations, land transfer if they want to watch the concert, not to mention they are at the mercy of scalpers pag nagkaubusan. Aren't you glad you live in filthy Manila?
Anyway, I told my husband we'll just buy the tickets after lunch. Besides we didnt have cash and had to withdraw from the bank.
To my dismay, SM wasn't selling tickets to the concert. Sa Robinson's ma'am, said the saleslady. Taragis. It was another 20-minute ride. Worse, the ticket world website was down as I speak write. I won't be surprised if the website crashed due to frantic demand. After all, organizers kept the concert under wraps until yesterday when they finally announced that it was after all pushing through. Apparently, Philip Morris backed out as sponsor of the concert (Read full story here)
To cut to the chase, I made the trip to Robinson's Ermita and sure enough there were enough to buy me six. They only started selling daw that morning. I was ticket holder number 3009. God knows when the register will stop clicking.
(Words from the wise: Tickets are cheaper by P71.50 if you purchase them online or through ticket world outlets)
Shet. I hope this won't be another riot. The last time I watched Eheads (I was a high schoolan senior), concert goers broke through glass doors because they refuse to open the gates.
Now it will be at The Fort. I can't help but be reminded of the Wowowee stampede. Or the F4 phenomenon. Wag naman sana. Perhaps I should wear rubber boots and bring an empty mineral water bottle just in case, uhmm, the line at the portalet would be unbearable.
So help me God.

Secrets Men Keep

I learned something today about relationships courtesy of redbookmag.com. Guys just can't seem to resist the urge to look at a (hot) girl even while you're waiting in line together. It's an annoying habit, one that I can't really get over with even if I've been married for more than two years now. But the blog says" this doesn't mean that he will leave you for her or that he wants to make a move on her. It's a radar that won't turn off."
Still, nakakairita diba? And why can't we do the same and get away with it without being judged? At least in my case, I don't need to get confrontational to make him admit that he actually was looking at another girl.
How? My husband and I have (generally) similar taste when it comes to girls so chances are, I'll catch him looking at the same person I was checking out. It's annoying at times especially if the girl is flirting back but oftentimes we just laugh about it.
"Give us an inch and we'll give you a lifetime." This is so very true. Just let him be. Give him space, his own time with friends, let him play PSP without interruptions and he'll love you to bits. It's a bit hard for me given that Im always clamoring for his attention. But it's not easy for him either. So my motto now: let boys be boys even for a while.

Tom yummy

Modesty aside, I consider myself a fairly good cook, a skill I probably inherited from my "mame" who prepares a mean sinigang and adobong pusit which I still can't duplicate until now. Variety wise, Im limited to the usual fare of nilaga, prito, steamed vegetables and anything that has sauteed onion and garlic in it. Im growing tired of it (so does my family but were afraid to say so hehe) so last Sunday, I announced to my husband that I am making tom yum for lunch.
I know it's silly but when I was in Thailand, I never liked tom yum. It was too spicy for me and the cilantro (juansoy) was a bit overwhelming. The only time that I did appreciate this popular Thai dish was when I had it in Boracay, at a restaurant in within the D' Mall vicinity. Forgot the name but they really serve authentic Thai dishes.
Anyway, I referred to a recipe book by Food Magazine and it proved very helpful. Just had to buy some of the ingredients in the market like lemon grass (or tanglad), shitake mushrooms, cilantro, and shrimps. But the key ingredient, surprisingly, was our local calamansi. This is what gives tom yum its sour, almost tart, taste. I also like to put lots of chopped cilantro in my soup which gives a nice flavor.
It was tom yummy! Even I was surprised by how it turned out.
Thank you Food Magazine!

(Erratum: I got the recipe from this miniature GoodHousekeeping magazine and not Food Magazine as previously mentioned)

Retraction

I'm taking back what I've said in my last post. I don't want to be a teacher...well at least not while we are still struggling to stabilize our finances, while the education system continues to be corrupt, and hopelessness continues to thrive in the streets. I know being a teacher is a vocation, and as such you should not expect to live comfortably with a meager salary. Kaya nga vocation eh...kawang gawa. Haayy...bakit ba ang hirap umasenso dito sa Pilipinas? Recently, I was surfing between TV shows when I saw this news clip which attempted to reveal the evil ways of the education sector.
Apparently, one public school received some PC units which turned out to be useless dahil hindi pala gumagana. To make matters even worse, the education sector allegedly spent P200+ thousand pesoses for each rickety computer! WTF?
Ano un, Alienware computer? If this was true, mahiya naman kayo sa balat nio. Imagine how many classrooms you can build with that kind of money? Just think of the many kids who are deprived of education because of few evil souls? Matakot kayo sa karma!

Experience vs Expertise

I am devastated. I just came back from a job interview somewhere in Q.C., optimistic that I would be hired as a preschool teacher. It's always been my frustration to be a teacher, a desire that stemmed from my early exposure as a volunteer for our church. Summers during my teenage years were mostly spent with out-of-school youths in depressed areas, reading Bible stories, singing Christian songs, role-playing characters from the Bible, and essentially teaching kids how to be God-like. But I guess this doesn't count as a "teaching experience" as I later learned.
I was told that they badly needed an English teacher. Check. I think a solid background in print journalism would suffice.
Passionate about kids. Check. I love my two boys to bits.
Flexible. Check. Journalists are the most flexible people I know.
Teaching experience. Well I argued that I had, uhmm, informal teaching experience but my argument was met with a puzzled stare.
Knows how to make a lesson plan. Check...only because I can easily learn that. (Sabi ko nga, "Teacher I can also learn that as long as you teach me how to make one.")
Starting salary -- P9,000 to P10,000. Ha? Come again? I had to ask again thinking I heard wrong.
Inulit pa nia, sabay sabi, "If you have masters then that's an additional five...five hundred pesos. And another five hundred if you are a LET passer, and so on."
What the...@#%! And this is a private school attended by kids whose parents are either CEOs, businessmen, artistas, instant millionaires, politicians, or just plain filthy rich who inherited haciendas from their ninunos.
Do they expect to get decent teachers with that kind of salary? Private school pa yan, hindi pa yan public. Yes I know teaching is a vocation, a noble profession that, unfortunately, doesnt pay well. Pero naman, teachers also need to eat, feed their families, pay the rent and electricity, ride the public transport, and send their children to school.
I was devastated. I thought I priced myself way below my expertise and experience. Turns out, mahal pa pala ang asking salary ko.
Another issue was my actual teaching experience, or should I say the lack of it. I wanted to blurt out "EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER!" di nio ba alam? I could develop that skill if you'll only accord me the opportunity to teach kids.
Obviously, Im as sour as kamias. But who wouldnt? I was so looking forward to taking on this job. I still want to be a teacher, and I could perhaps do PR writing on the side to get me by.
Kaso they'll just call me back daw. Interpretation: Next please.
You just burst my bubble.
Buti na lang birthday ni River. I have another reason to be happy.

Of birthdays, job interviews and gadgets

I have a new laptop, thanks to my benefactor who insisted that he bought me one since I am into the writing business (yes business, not craft) and often used HIS laptop to write my articles. After much convincing and wading through computer shops in Greenhills, I finally found the perfect gizmo for me -- a white Acer Aspire. I am not very particular with specs so long as it had wifi/internet connection, word document, games and powerpoint. It was a good buy, with a few extras altho I have yet to exploit the other features. Saka na. Lo and behold, a week after my precious purchase, I already dropped the laptop twice. Ngek! I guess that's the problem with small laptops, you forget it's inside your bag.
Anyway, it's still running so I guess it's worth every cent that I shelled out (or rather my husband shelled out). Ok. So much about the laptop.
River's turning six tomorrow, Aug. 5, and he cant wait. He's been doing some sort of a countdown since July and says he can't wait to be 10. Curious, I asked why he's such in a hurry to grow up.
"So I could play GTA," he said sheepishly.
GTA? As in Grand Theft Auto?!!! I've seen snippets of the game shown over Attack of the Show. Natakot ako. I swear River is not going to play that game even if he's 20. What the hell were they thinking? Teaching kids to be felons and how to steal cars?

Maling akala

I hope this buzz about the forthcoming reunion of the Eraserheads is not just a "maling akala" as their song goes. My husband and I already registered online to get tickets (apparently this was the only way to get tickets to the "free concert) but we have yet to receive a reply from this site.
If this is a form of viral marketing, ang galing ng nakaisip! It couldn't have come at a better time. Fans have been clamoring for a reunion right after they disbanded...I cant wait.

Yaya to the rescue

Im back though I was never really away (excluding perhaps the three-day "vacation" I took with my sister in Hong Kong last June 26).
For the past two weeks, wala ako yaya which is why I didnt have time to update this blog. Thankfully I have my new yaya, sinundo namin sia yesterday dun sa agency kung san kami parati kumukuha ng yaya.
I've lost count of my yayas who have come and gone. The last one, who left us like a thief (walang paalam!), was apparently pissed after Alamat threw her cellphone in the toilet bowl. Mahilig kasi si alamat magtapon ng kung ano sa toilet. It reminds me of the macacks in India, tipong nang-aagaw ng pagkain tas biglang tatakbo.
I already warned my new yaya about this bad habit of Alamat. Wag mag-cellphone or else. Sana tumagal. Im getting tired of signing up a new yaya every so often. On top of that, mahal ng placement fee sa agency. Our savings are starting to dry up. Need a job fast.
Now I have to catch up on a lot of things...dami tatapusin. Hopefully, this month I'll have a new job and more projects.

Wanna sleep for 1 million years

Im soo tired, very very tired. I just want to sleep but I cant. Got to finish some things, transcribe my intreview, email articles, pack my things, help my son do his homework, atbp... ika nga ni Madam Ethel.

Ulan...

The rain is pounding furiously outside. My immediate thought was: Buti na lang im jobless, I dont have to worry about getting home, getting stuck in traffic, being stranded in the LRT with unfortunate people like me who cant afford to buy a car. (No, not with the ridiculous oil price surge). I dont need to buy an umbrella from the vendors at the Manila City Hall (they should be selling umbrellas like hotcakes now) nor do I need to bring extra clothes just in case I got stranded in the office.
At least there's a good side to being jobless. You get to enjoy rain, hear it, smell it, feel it and own it while it lasts. It's one of those few things that I really love for what it is. It makes me nostalgic. When we were kids (back in Pampanga), we'd always watch the rain by the window. We'd make paper boats and toss it outside then watch it sink.
My brothers would make motorized boats from rubber slippers attached with a "machine" they dislodged from their toy cars.
Rainy days were also a time to gather up in front of the TV while we munched on sugarcane bought from the neighbor. When she was still alive, my mother always bought crickets during rainy days and prepared it adobo style for a hearty lunch. Dinner was composed of live crablets (talangka) blanched in boiling water and eaten with vinegar on the side.
We loved rain as kids because we get to swim at the basement of the house as soon as the water starts seeping in and rise up to our waists. It was always like this during rainy days thus I always made sure that the basement was clean, free of cockroaches and other insects.
Rain also reminds me of Singapore. For some weird reasons, it was always pouring when Im in this city whatever time of year. Many times I was tempted to bathe in the rain but I was too embarassed to do so. Baka bawal? As they say, it's a "fine" city (pun intended).
It has stopped raining outside. And im still jobless.

mood swings

I've been in a nauseating mood swing lately. One day am just contented being a good wife and a mother, the next day I am swallowed by my insecurities that always end up having something to do with being friggin' jobless. This is already wearing and tearing me down. I hate the feeling. I dont want to be depressed anymore or see myself stucked in a muddy rut that I cant get out of.
Sometimes I remind myself why I resigned in the first place: to be with the kids, to be able to cook lunch and dinner, go to the palengke (my favorite place), design accessories, clean our room, watch tv, anything that won't tie me to the office everyday.
It's exhausting doing the same thing for eight years. Parang wala ng bago sa ginagawa mo. That was also another reason why I left my writing job. I felt that everything was already clockwork. The excitement has waned.
Now here I am, pondering about the missed opportunities, the many "what ifs" while I roll the vacuum cable into a neat coil. I miss writing. I miss my friends in that office way before there exists the PRETENDERS. I even miss my former boss' scolding and her shrill voice while she summons the lady guard to carry her things. She was mean, yes, but she had the heart of a mother...always the protective mother to her brood.
I and my colleagues used to joke about her wild temper and how tech-UNsavvy she was. But then the time came when she had to put down the pen. After all, she was not getting any younger although she remained to have the most retentive memory among us. We wept when she left us. I remember I cant even look straight to her eyes because I didnt want her to see my own fear, like a baby taking her first steps.
I heard that they have a new office there now. A stylish one replete with flat screens, two secretaries to answer pesky PRs, and a spanking clean space. Nonetheless, I still prefer our old cubicle, the rickety chairs and computers, the electric fan that wont turn on, the layout board that doubles as our dining table, the dirty floors full of press releases and spilled food. Most of all, I miss the people I worked with back then. At least a few of them who have become my closest friends. They say that you only get to keep five true friends in your lifetime. I guess I found some of them in that office. And if only for that reason, I dont regret working in that office, however despicable the people and environment have become now.

Belated Father's Day

I may not be blessed with a flourishing career but God is fair and wise because he blessed me instead with two healthy boys and a husband who works day and night to give us a comfortable life. I wanted to re-publish an article I wrote last year, sort of a tribute to my husband for our Father's Day special when I still worked for that office.
That article was perhaps the most taxing and challenging writing assignment I had in my entire career. Not that I didn't have anything good to say about Argel. In fact, there were tons I wanted to say to him but every time I attempted to start a sentence, there was always a new idea creeping in from nowhere, things that he did for me in the past that would alter my flow of thought and essentially change the flow of the article.
In short, it took me days to write that story. It was brain-draining to be honest. For the first time, I was lost for words and when the story finally got published, readers from as far as Davao whom I didnt even know emailed me with positive feedback. These were young dads, too, who said that they can relate to my story.
Anyway, I wanted to re-post that article here but decided against it. I will instead share the activities we had to celebrate Father's Day yesterday.
Breakfast consisted of omelet that I made with flat leaf parsley and parmesan, toasts, cheese hotdogs and coffee.
With no concrete plans for the day, we took the kids to the garage at naligo kami lahat dun never mind if the kapitbahay thought it ridiculous.
Lunch was at the QC Park only because I still had GCs (remnants from my previous job) to this Filipino restaurant. Wa;a rin naman kaming pera for a buffet lunch at Spiral.
My eldest, Riv, brought his skateboard kaso umulan kaya di makausap pauwi. Nagtampo. (Kanino sa ulan? Aba di ko kasalan yun ah!)
I was so tired that I went straight to our big bed and switched on to National Geographic. Sarap ng ulan especially when you're cuddled under the cold sheets.
Di ko alam, nag-skateboard pala sa labas ng bahay si Argel and Riv. That's Argel. Kahit pagod he always has time for the kids and of course for me (pero siempre yung sakin pag tulog na mga bata..hehe). He'd rather play with us than go out with friends. Kung may lakad sia, gusto nia parati ako kasama.
God is so good. I am really so blessed to have him, and to have a second shot at love.
Yun lang pow.

It's Friday 13th...so be very afraid!

Friday the 13th pala ngayon...I am supposed to be in Batanes now with my partners in our consultancy firm to do some research and legwork. Fortunately, it was moved to June 21 to 24 (kung hindi kami ma-stranded dun.)
Heard that when going to Batanes, you always have to arm yourself with extra clothes since the weather in this isolated island is very erratic pede ka ma-stranded for days. Hopping from one island to another in Batanes is ONLY accessible by plane since, according to stories, the current is so strong even cargo ships cant pass through.
Thinking about it now, Im just happy to stay home and just do the usual chores. But Im really looking forward to go there. Saw pictures and read stories about Batanes in the past pero siempre iba ang first-hand encounter.

Mood: excited

First day of school..mom is not cool na cool

It's Riv's first day of school today. Woke up at 5:15 am to prepare breakfast, gave him a bath and a quick pep talk on what to expect now that he's attending big school.
I was still kinda feeling sleepy this morning since we conked out quite late last night: my husband was reading this self-help book on business administration while I was doing a marathon of reruns and cooking shows.
Saw my son off at around 6:15 and I was more than happy to crawl back to bed and get a few more hours of zzzz.
Then it hit me. It's Riv's first day in his NEW school. Shet! I left my five-year-old to fend for himself and navigate his way around the campus. What if Mang Andrew just left him at the gate? What if he can't find his classroom? Or didn't know anybody?
I was in total panic! How stupid can I get?!! Good thing isang oras lang ang pasok nia today and by the time I realized what I just did he was already on his way home.
Goodness, I was sooo relieved to see him! Learned that all his classmates had their parents in tow waiting at the school's gate. Naawa ako sa anak ko...Fortunately, my son is an independent kid, a survivor.
When asked how he found his classroom, he said: "Sinundan ko ung mga servicemates ko papasok. Tapos nakita ko daddy ni Lance, sinamahan nia ako sa classroom."
Lance was my son's classmate in kindergarten and is now in the same class as Riv's. To Lance's dad, although I've yet to meet you personally, super thank you. The world is a better place to live in because of people like you.

Paradise Lost...and found






I've been to Sta. Ana, Cagayan, recently to take part in their Viray Festival, an annual cultural celebration that brings to mind how the first settlers of this fishing village from neighboring Ilocos arrived in the early '50s via a boat called "Viray."

I tell you, the sheer beauty and mystical allure of the town is beyond words. I guess this was how the first residents of Sta. Ana also felt when they "discovered" this fishing village and never left -for good.

It was a long journey to Sta. Ana from Manila, around 15 to 16 hours including 6 pitstops. I strongly advise those planning an adventure trip to leave Manila in the evening para hindi kayo masyado ma-bore during the trip.

There are only six resorts in the entire town so it's wise to go there during off-peak season para ma-solo nyo ang Sta. Ana.

You could island-hop from any of the six (or five) islands in Sta. Ana and if you are lucky, you might even encounter dolphins along the way. We saw a few on our way to Palaui Island. There are also tiger sharks and great whites, mind you. The waters surrounding the island is hugged by the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea so sightings of these creatures comes with the territory.

Another must-see destination is the lighthouse used to light galleon trades in Spanish colonial times. The ascent to the lighthouse is quite tiring but if my five-year-old can do it (yes, umakyat si River sa tuktok), then there's no excuse why anybody can't do it.

Just check out the pictures...

Fake imitation?





While I have yet to get over my "school jitters" yesterday, here comes another grammatical blooper which I chanced upon while I was preparing my husband's favorite lychee and almond gulaman. Muntik ko ng sabihing, "Shet what a coaccident."
I found this carton of unflavored jelly mix inside the kitchen cabinet. I don't usually read labels especially if I use the product regularly, but I've never seen or heard of this "gulaman" product before and so my iron chef instinct told me to quickly go through the label which read, among other things, "Manufactured in the Philippines."
Ok it's good enough. I didn't know we had local gulaman packaged in a cute carton. As I was about to open the packet, lo and behold, I saw a disclaimer printed on one corner of the carton -- "Beware of fake imitation."
Juiceko po! There goes my lychee and gulaman dessert.
This could only mean two things: the product was already an imitation of another brand and that they are warning consumers of unscrupulous companies "faking" their already imitation product. Hence beware of fake imitation.
Second, and I am pretty sure about this, is that the manufacturer is no smarter than a fifth grader.
Watchuthink?

School blues

Im feeling a bit cynic this morning. Woke up early than usual so I and Argel would not miss the Parents Orientation in our son's new school in QC at 8:30 am. If it's worth anything, the orientation started on the dot pero naman, the moment I sat inside the auditorium and listened to my son's would-be teachers, my first impulse was to get a refund.
Natakot ako! Goodness, these teachers who are supposed to guide and mold our kids to be smart citizens should be schooled themselves!
Being the nitpicker that I was, I busied myself halfway through the orientation jotting down grammatical flaws that were so obvious it was almost hilarious!
This particular teacher, who I think was the day's facilitator, kept on addressing us as "payrents." Ha? "Payrents?"
And the litany goes on... endayvor, bayring, ee-ducation, diskrisyun. At one point, the assistant principal for academic affairs expounded on developing the love for reading among children.
She remarks: "...so that the children is easy to read." What the f+@&k!" Seriously, it's beyond comprehension. Paki-translate nga po.
I have nothing against any dialect. In fact, I am proud of people who embrace their native accent. I don't care if you have an American accent and all that crap so long as you can pronounce the words CORRECTLY and can carry a conversation decently.
At my son's age, he's like a sponge who absorbs everything and if he's being fed wrong information mahirap nang ituwid pag tumanda na! Just look at these teachers, at their age they still pronounce parents as "payrents." Maybe that's what their former mentors taught them and now they are passing it on to their students. It's really frustrating sometimes and I am mortified.
Paging DepEd...