Friday, August 28, 2009

Ewan ko Nalang: Politics

Ewan ko nalang ha.

Just to remind the forgetful ones. Ex President Joseph Estrada was found guilty by the higher courts and was ousted by the people, the more knowledgeable people who cannot be bribed, out of Malacanang. Contrary to the just results, he still claims that he is not guilty. Fine.

He was eventually pardoned and became more active in the political scene. Since he lives in a democratic country, no one could stop him from "helping" and reaching out to his thousands of supporters. He still appears to be engaged in politicking. Fine.

But one day, out of irritation because of the failed unity of the opposition in the coming elections, he decided to run again for Presidency, which eventually pushed him to the second place in the presidential polls. Polls may not 100% predict the outcome, but I have to admit that it's still a disturbing and scary result. Definitely not fine.

Didn't we learn our lesson? I may not know if he's really changed his ways or he has been more efficient than before. There is no question that he is sincere in helping the Filipino people and he has lots of supporters, but does he have to run again for Presidency just to prove his goodness?

If he plans to redeem his name by running again and show us that he could do a better job, I suggest don't. Philippine Governance is not a joke and an avenue for redemption. If he wants to help and unite the Filipino people, he may do so in non-governmental organizations, charity works and local offices if he really wants to stay in politics. Presidency should be out of the question.

If he wins, would that put us in a confident light in a global scene? We ousted a convicted president only to put him back again. That seems very indecisive and confused of us as a nation. Do we even have confidence in him to make this country a better place? I'm sure lots of people do, but those people are obviously the self-centered, bribed ones, that do not know better than to rely on their emotions and twisted ideals.

If he's running just to shake the votes of the Filipino people amongst the hungry, young and more capable candidates, then he is doing a good job at it. But do we seriously need this show?

We're already sick of politics and we're tired of partisanship issues. Heck, we're tired of lobbying and trying to oust one president to another. We need a President that is tough, that could really rear the nation towards progress. We need a President that the Filipino majority, not 50% not 60%, but hopefully at least 90%, we can have confidence in. We need a President we can still trust and support. If that's still ERAP, ewan ko nalang.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Busy Girl. Happy Long Weekend.

Our weekend is extended due to a holiday on Monday and it's going to be longer for me because tomorrow I'm officially on leave. Yehey! I just added one day of vacation, which is Friday, and will be back for work on Tuesday! But my leave has a purpose. Tomorrow is intended for the much needed preparation for Harvey's birthday, which means fun work.

Last Wednesday I asked the driver to drop me off at SM Makati for me to buy additional stuff for the party. I got there earlier than expected that I opened the whole department store and joined the flag ceremony. I immediately went to Toy Kingdom, which is huge and a place that I miss. I went to the sophisticated party favors section got five packs of balloons, which cost a fortune. 10 pcs of balloons per pack easily cost me 50 bucks. I totally regret not buying balloons at Divisoria. It never occurred to me that I could borrow an air machine from our neighbor. After ordering 20 pieces of overpriced balloons at a party shop, I still decided to dig the opportunity of adding more balloons into the set, hence the emergency shopping. I also went to National Bookstore and bought crepe papers, art papers and ribbons for additional decoration aside from the banners I bought at Divisoria. I ended up spending almost a thousand for everything. When I got to the office, my colleagues found the added expenses weird. I admit I was possessed. My mother thinks that I'll transform my house into a fiesta house. But nothing could beat my aunt who ordered a birthday tarpaulin just for Harvey. I wonder, are we really doing the party for Harvey or for ourselves just to feed our imagination?

But all's been paid for and done. My credit card is probably bleeding now and I haven't gotten to the part of buying food and groceries yet. That's why I took a leave for tomorrow. I will do my last minute groceries and my "art projects" for the party. And after the day ends, I am scheduled to have dinner with my team in Makati. I guess from the moment that I will wake up till I sleep, Friday is going to be very busy.

Nevertheless, I'm excited. I'll definitely be more exhausted, but at the same time I'm so happy for this long weekend. I smell that it's going to be very promising. Hold the rain (at least for Saturday), the bad vibes and incompetency, and consider me a very happy girl.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lotto is a bittersweet possibility

I had time to kill after work. And I mean lots of time. But good thing I was at the mall because there's no better place to kill time than there. I had a semi-agenda in mind anyways. I had to look for balloons for Harvey's party and canvass stuff to wear for that event. Trying out clothing possibilities is a different thing though. I felt I didn't have the mood. So I was left with circling around shops and department stores trying my best to keep myself busy.

I was on the main hallway when I saw people lining up at a particular stall. Since I had no better things to do, I went towards this silent gathering. There they were, serious looking people, marking their lotto tickets, somehow surrendering their fates to luck that they may be the next multi-millionaire.

Observing them was such a revelation. Their faces were taut and their heads were bent, intently looking at their tickets, as if saying a silent prayer so that it could talk back and tell them the magical numbers. They were dead serious. I could feel the need and hunger of these people. I could even sense that some were already regulars and have speedily marked the supposed lucky numbers they've grown to memorize over time. Some even have scratch papers. Funny that some looked as if they're taking the most difficult math test in the world. Good thing the tickets do not have time limits and just evaporte into thin air.

I'm sure they all need the money. Heck, I badly need it too. Whoever says that they do not want to win the lotto jackpot and become instant millionaires might as well gun their hypocrite asses to the ground. Everyone likes free money and paying 20 bucks per bet is such a small price to pay for that possibility of becoming a millionaire. Even if the possibility is small. Even if the system is drawn by luck.

I stood there purely drawn by the energy and felt the desire to make my bets. Even if I know for a fact that I was never lucky in raffles. I only won once in a raffle draw and it was a cheap laptop bag that I ended up giving away. I've also only personally played the lotto twice. Once with Mitch when we were in CDO and another one when there was this huge jackpot. A couple of bets I had was coursed through other people that's why I'm no expert in betting. I am never lucky in these things anyways and god knew I had no idea which numbers to mark down. I have never given it any thought at all.

Feeling spontaneous, I went to the booth and observed the type of ticket the people were getting. Since there was only one set of tickets available, there wasn't much choice. I stood there beside two women and simply observed which boxes to mark, as the ticket has six boxes of 45 numbers each. The ladies marked six numbers per box and it didn't matter which box they marked. At that point it looked like I'm the one cheating on a math test.

In the end I didn't want to think anymore. The first box I marked were the numbers I'm familiar with. My birthdate, Harvey's birthdate, Mitch's birthdate, some silly illogical numbers that pop in my head. My second bet was numbers at random. Thinking about it, it doesn't really matter which numbers I pick. Everyone should learn that there is nothing scientific and certain about lotto. It all relies on luck. I'm sure lots of people pray for it. Some even look at signs, but fact remains that the possibility of winning is slim to none at all.

A friend of mine, who is a lotto enthusiast, would always try to correct my views on this. Luck as it may seem, he said that if I should bet, I should always bet with my heart like I mean it. If the possibility of losing is great, then there is still that slight hope that one would win. That certain positive energy needs all the good vibes and help it could get. He also mentioned about chi, feng shui and attracting positive energies. Too much instructions made my head swirl. In the end I just did what most people would do, pray, hope for the best and simply surrender to the fact that it's all luck. No more rituals, no more thinking, just acknowledging that slight chance to win.

I submitted my two bets and paid 20 pesos for everything. I folded the tickets and kept it in my bag. Mitch met me just a few minutes after and his brother educated me that I shouldn't fold or crease my tickets or else it wouldn't be acknowledged (if I win that is). I envisioned the tickets curled up somewhere in my bag. Oh, great. I thought there goes my chance of winning. I went home and asked my aunt to look after the already creased tickets and confirm the date of the draw. My aunt told me that it was for tonight and it didn't take long for me to see the results online.

As expected, I didn't win. In fact, no one won for this draw. Can't say I was surprised though, but I damn hope it wasn't my cynical mood that destroyed my chances because I know deep inside, just like the rest of lotto gamblers, I hoped to win. Well, there goes my 20 bucks. There goes my luck. I sometimes think that maybe the money is not really for me. Maybe there's no such thing as luck after all but a series of unguided and random events. Maybe my faith and energy in it was too weak. Maybe I already had dirty thoughts about the money before actually winning it. I will never know. There might be various reasons and explanations on why we keep on betting when a part of us knows we'd lose anyways. But I know this. It's fun to surrender to luck and fate once in a while. Win or lose, sometimes you just have to test and see for yourself. You pay and scratch the ticket and leave it up to luck, to the gods, to fate or to the energies. Anyways, however you look at it and whatever you believe in, all of us have a fair chance in winning. But err...just don't expect too much that it's going to be you. This is a form of bittersweet addiction.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby Mania: Gifts

Almost everyone close I know is having babies! Mostly unplanned, yet they say equally delightful. Two of my closest friends in different phases of my life are not the type who'd think that having kids is a priority. I'm sure they have stronger maternal skills, but seriously, they're really not the early mothers type at all. One already gave birth two weeks ago and has transformed into a cool, yet doting mother while my other friend has happily accepted her situation and is bound to get married in two months like her life is instantly played out magically before her eyes.

My two girl housemates before almost had babies at the same period. Now they're married and I'm sure doting mothers. Two batchmates of mine are having theirs. One girl, not really a close friend of mine, had hers unexpectedly. My neighbor is pregnant and one of my favorite bloggers is having one.

Not really a fan of babies, it's always a challenge for me to attend showers and parties related to it. I often feel that I couldn't relate and I wouldn't know what to do with the gifts. Good thing the information is limitless on the net and I could get a hand of a few gift items in one click.

For diaper/nappy cakes and other kiddie stuff click here.
Since I have a fascination for celebration, this is one of the most popular gifts for baby showers. It's so nice to look at and it's very practical.

Going for more organic products for the mothers and the kids, click here.
I'm now into organic products. Nothing beats going natural and the new product additions of this trusted natural soap dealer are specially formulated for mothers and babies. You could go thoughtful and useful with this.

IF you want to be more fashionable and trendy, click here for more information.
This is funky and one of a kind. I love the idea. I first saw this in a bazaar in Rockwell Powerplant.

Of course there is always the usual gift of flowers, designed cakes/cupcakes from leading cake stores and multiply sites like this, and the normal gift items you'd find in department stores. But if you don't want go through the hassle of searching, then I suggest that you should go organic, go for the nappy cakes or the funky kid clothes. It works all the time and it saved me a lot of usual dreaded troubles.

Now moving on to other items.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I am not Congenial, that is all

I had late lunch with my sister in one of our favorite Chinese restaurants ever. It would always be a part of our taste buds and childhood memories thanks to my dad who introduced it to us. Over fried meat dumplings and fish fillet congee, we talked about a couple of things. From trivial to senseless stuff to personal. In the end it veered towards the topic of my distinct personality.

My sister and I are obvious opposites. The whole world knows that. She cited that I live in the extreme side of her being extroverted and congenial. For example, she can easily get along with my friends and I'm sure most of them like her without any of my help. My sister is the type who could introduce herself and enjoy herself with different kinds people, whereas I have no idea who her friends are and unfortunately for those whom I already know, I'm pissed at. One of our differences, amongst a gazillion differences, is that I'm not congenial. She often stresses that I'm not a fun human. Most importantly, she said I'm not an easy person to be with and she fears that I'm digging my own social grave at the prime age of 26.

I don't deny that. I am the first one to admit that I'm not a social person. I have limits with human interactions and it's not something that I hide. If certain precautions failed, I excuse myself and step back. It also goes to show that I don't open up with people too much. It takes a while. It takes time and maybe a certain intense situation that might trigger me to put down my defenses. Meeting up in random parties and exchanging small talks won't do for me that's why I tend to miss out on the certain closeness level with people, especially with ladies my age. They can do it in a couple of drinks, but I couldn't. But just like always, I don't mind.

Being an introvert, it's not a priority for me to interact. I don't find the need to get personal, and even if I do, I treat it with ultimate privacy. I don't interact for the sake of false camaraderie. If the situation calls for it, I can engage painstakingly in small talk, but don't expect me to go beyond that. As an introvert, I have so many inhibitions on people's attitudes. I can immediately spot a person who I might have great tendency of clashing with. It might be because of something grounded in beliefs and personality, but sometimes it could be as senseless as the person's gestures and aura. If I know that it wouldn't work, I stay away from them as much as possible, limit conversations to small talk and just get through with the required interaction. I may not close doors to relationship developments, but I'd rather stay away from doors to possible conflicts.

I may not be congenial and friendly, but I am real. I'm real as the computer you're using. If I don't like to interact, I won't force myself to or else I'll involuntarily do the sulk-and-no-care motion. If I don't like how the interaction's going, it would show. I know this gets me into a lot of trouble. I often get misinterpreted and people with sudden sensitivity simply hate me. They hate my being difficult and they hate my attitude. There's nothing much to say but I'm used to it anyways. But if there's something that I can't do, it's compromising myself for the senseless happiness of others. If I cannot praise someone without puking, I don't praise at all. I can't live my life thinking of how to suit my personality for others' tailored requirements. As long as I don't disrespect and directly hurt, then I don't see there's anything that I need to apologize for, hence the unavoidable trouble.

Lots of people tried to study me and offered words of advice. There were friends, whom I thought really knew me, but ended up to be my part-time enemies. And there are acquaintances and strangers that repel away. I could honestly say that I don't care if it has something to do with their own preferences of me, but I do listen to whoever is brave enough to tell me how he feels about my personality, because if it were me, I'd do the same. But they have to understand that as long as I'm not doing anything wrong and disrespectful, I may explain and exert effort, but never apologize. Anyone could just melt and die out of anger towards me because I'm not agreeable and friendly like the others, but it's honestly not my problem. One time, there was a friend who confronted me because he "felt" that I was not warming up to his new fling like the rest of our friends did. But he didn't consider the fact that I don't easily warm up to anybody new by default. I will never force it and I just the relationship flow naturally. If others could be immediately congenial, I cannot. It's not something personal, but it's just the way I am. In the end he understood and we became friends again.

With all that's written, I know that I may not be your friendly next door neighbor. I'm the type who believes that being civil is a must, but being congenial isn't. Friendship and warming up are not forced in my book. Social engagement does not come easily. I appreciate the effort, but sometimes I just need time. This is me being real. As much as I would want to stress that I'm quite far from being a bitch, some people might not agree, and it's the risk I have to take, but don't expect me to apologize for your uneasiness. I highly respect human beings and I'm far from doing something premeditated to hurt. My personality is not a disease and it permitted me to treasure a few friends who can completely understand me. They stick through it all and it was just luck that they complemented and matched my personality. Not all people are fortunate enough and we all just have to accept that.

This is me being introverted. This is me being real and simple. I always find it weird in explaining myself because in my eyes there is nothing much to explain, really. The world would be better if people should just take me for what I am and don't put extra meaning behind my polite indifference. And even if I don't apologize and immediately become close, I do hope people won't take it against me. But then again I don't expect people to understand my plight and I don't expect people to like me ether. I just hope that if they do, they must really mean it and stay around, or if not, it's best to just stay away from each other with mutual respect still.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The hidden toy store in Divisoria

As most of you know from my previous blogs, I'm planning for Harvey's 1st birthday party. After contemplating, I've already picked the date and narrowed down my plans from decors to simple food. Since I'm technically in financial shambles, I'm working on a strict budget, which means simple menu and decorations.

There were things that I had to cross out. I had to cross out the extensive menu list that I originally planned of serving. I also had to be less ambitious on the theme and decorations. I don't want to strip Harvey of having a real authentic birthday party, but I don't want to bleed myself dry either. Besides, I still have to remind myself that Harvey wouldn't appreciate the nitty gritty details anyways. As long as there will be people and dogs, he'll be happy. He should be. Not every dog gets a birthday party with full effort.

One afternoon I was surfing at work until I came across the site. I was looking for tips on how to do the decorations and balloons myself just to curb the cost, when I read a post about getting party stuff and favors in Divisoria. While reading the very informative blog about a certain toy warehouse in Divisoria, that sells super cheap toys and party needs, I was immediately pumped. So, I immediately called my aunt to know what her plans are for the holiday. She being, an alternative shopper, agreed to make Friday a Divisoria day with me.

I printed the blog and took notes of the location of this certain store named Anding's Toy Store International. 15 bucks for 10 glossy loot bags is not something I could ignore. The timing seems classic.

At around 9 am, my aunt and I were ready to leave the house. I was contemplating if I would still bring a car, but my better judgment told me to take public transportation. The vision of driving after a tiring shopping spree is the least of my favorite things. I'd rather ride a jeep than drive tired. Besides, the mood was willing. So together with my aunt, we commuted from our house to Divisoria.

We took the jeep and had a medical stopover at the Adventist Hospital somewhere in Buendia, but right after lunch, in the dead heat, we took an FX that directly drove us to Divisoria.

Upon sensing we were there, we saw malls and busy people transporting, selling and buying goods. Walking into the busy streets made me feel alive and giddy. Despite the steaming euphoria of seeing cheap, raw stuff, I still focused on my goal.

While walking, I saw a building with a large banner that says "Kiddie Party Favors." I quickly dragged my aunt there and saw that they have good selections of party toys, aids and candies. Although the prices were cheap, it didn't meet the figures I read in the blog, all of which could be found at Anding's Toys Store. Being sensible, I decided to give Anding's Toy Store a try before finally buying from the air-conditioned store.

After roaming around and looking for a signage, I finally took the liberty in asking someone on where to find the famed toy store. It wasn't hard. All the vendors know where.

Anding's Toy International, a popular toy and party store in Divisoria, is at the second floor of an old orange building just across Divisoria Mall in Tabora St. The building may look deserted, but there is a large escalator, which would lead to the vastness of the second floor full of toys. I realized upon getting there that it was not a simple store, it's a wonder warehouse of toys and party needs.

Avoiding temptation, I went to the party needs section and bought some stuff.

  • Party Loot bags (10 pcs) for 12-15 pesos (Depends on the design)
  • Banners (pc) for 20-30 Pesos
  • Bubble bottles 10 pesos each
  • Masks (25 pcs) 40 pesos
  • Frisbees (3 Pcs) 20 pesos
  • Pabitin (pc) 20 pesos only (Glossy / foldable)

2 plastic bags and a pabitin in tow just amounted to 320 pesos. Imagine that. I even saw other toys that I wanted to buy for myself. This toy warehouse could also cater to people who are attending costume parties. They have wigs, costumes, masks and props. Don't forget. They're all cheap.

Anding's Toy Store International is truly a hidden gem in Divisoria. The store is perfect for christmas shopping and for people planning a DIY party. Once you've been here, you will never see the toy section of a leading department store the same way ever again. It is where department stores shop for their supplies. Now you know the secret. It's a cheap wonderland I highly recommend!

Divisoria Day: Experience and Tips

Mention the word Divisoria to any Filipino and the concept of cheap shopping comes up. It's where you could find toys, clothes, accessories, household items, fruits and anything else you could think of at to die for cheap prices. That's why it's so popular to people of different walks of life. You thought department stores have it all and they're very affordable, but wait till you get to Divisoria. This is where department stores and high class stores get their stuff.

Going there:

I'm sure lots of people and websites would advise that the best way to get there is via public transportation. Well, I agree. If you're saving on gas and you're admittedly not a very skilled driver, driving your own car in crowded and cramped streets would prove to be highly inconvenient. It would take you long minutes to find a parking spot and even long minutes to get to it because the streets in Divisoria area just disappear over a sea of busy people. And seriously, would you even leave your car on some side street just like that?

Public transportation is via FX found in Pasay Rotonda (Chowking restaurant), LRT Train station and Jeep (Divisoria). It just depends on the taste and accessibility. If you desperately need to bring a car, leave it someplace else accessible to transportation hubs going to Divisoria. For example, you could opt to park your car in Makati and just take the LRT and MRT.

Being There:

You would instantly know that you're in Divisoria. It showcases busy people out in the streets buying and selling their wares. You smell the rotting river. You see countless people pushing carts and calling off low prices of their goods. If you can barely see the road because of the vendors and the number of general public. Take note of these factors and chances are you're in Divi.

As it is not a 1st class establishment, expect it to resemble like a wet market. The raw smell, the poor ventilation, the type of crowd and the dirt-laden streets all contribute to Divisoria's character so don't expect to feel ultra comfortable while shopping because you'll be bumping into dozens of people.

Although Divisoria has airconditioned malls, it would still test one's patience because the aisles are very limited in space and one has to squish himself to reach a specific stall. There are also markings on each aisle so shoppers won't get lost. As far as Divisoria Mall is concerned, they have an extensive food court at the third floor, housing the usual food court stalls we see in more sophisticated malls in the metro. However, other buildings that serve as an impromptu mall or warehouse, may not be well ventilated and marked. So as a shopper, one should observe the specific landmarks especially if you're hopping from one mall and stall to another.

In Divisoria, expect the worst. Since the space is cramped, close proximity with people is unavoidable. Common sense dictates what kind of bag you should bring and how much money you're willing to carry. Be vigilant with your belongings and surroundings, but don't act paranoid. Being paranoid attracts more unnecessary attention. It's good to try to blend in the crowd. Also, expect direct heat, soot and smoke to accompany you while you walk and shop in the area. Suck it in and don't whine.

Another minor thing, most people would wish to wear flip flops, but I strongly suggest in wearing a comfortable pair of closed shoes like sneakers. You could never go wrong with this. There are parts in Divisoria that the streets are wet and there's a great possibility that someone would step on your foot since you'll be walking non-stop on cramped spaces. It's better to wear rubber shoes and any comfortable clothing like cotton shirts and jogging pants.

Shopping There:

Ask a friend. Research through blogs. Asking friends who have been there is helpful. They could recommend stalls that sell good quality goods, and you may never know, one of your friends may be an expert Divisoria shopper. Also, read blogs. There are bloggers out there who write about their experiences in Divisoria. It is a lot of help. They could post pictures, mention the specific location of the stores, give a brief rundown of prices and give tips. A blogger who writes for a kiddie party site mentioned a recommendable toy store in Divisoria. She wrote of the extensive selections of the store and most importantly, its location. The blog inspired me to do my shopping there, and true enough, that post saved me hours of searching. I went there organized and went home happy.

Of course, haggle. Haggle gently and haggle reasonably. The goods may already be cheap, but give an effort to ask for the discounted price...with a smile. It's not also bad to go from one stall to the next. Three stalls of canvassing the same product should do the trick. It also depends on the stocked energy one has to be able to go through different floors and wing. While haggling is always welcome in Divisoria, assess if the haggled price is still reasonable. For example, I wouldn't haggle for the 12 pesos/set worth of good sized, glossy, well designed lootbags that come in 10. I think I've already struck a good deal with that.

Also, watch out for those who are selling big bags. If you're a window shopper like my sister who buys unplanned things at random, it's always cool to buy those big striped plastic bags to stuff it all in. It's hard to keep track of the number of bags especially if you have to put it down sometimes to test other goods.

Most importantly, don't be trigger happy. I know that once you're there it's a wonderland of products. It's a wonderland of cheap toys that you'd never see in department stores or if ever you'd see one, it would be expensive. It's a haven for clothes, shoes and bags that are cheaper than what you'd find in Greenhills. There are lots of trinkets, fruits, accessories and even animals sold on the streets to entice you. Just because the budget in Divisoria tends to be more flexible, it doesn't mean that one has to be spend it all. Find the need for the things you'll buy. Also, the more stuff you'll buy, the heavier your load will be to move around.

If you have to withdraw, discreetly find an ATM. There might be lots of banks, but their ATMS are mostly blocked by vendors or aren't working at all. Don't randomly ask strangers, just ask guards of malls to direct you to the ATM machine.

Lastly, don't bring kids, family members or friends who would most likely destroy the shopping experience. Gauge your companions if they're the type who could withstand walking long distances, be submerged in heat and can talk and relate with different kinds of people. But if they want to experience Divisoria, or you'd just have to bring them along, do the extra effort and research to make the visit swift. Or there's always the river to lose them. (Joke!)

Going home:

It depends on the scope of your shopping, but it's always advisable to start early at around 9 am. Most of the stores are already open by this time. Going home just a little before rush hour at around 3 and 4 pm leaves room for a nap at home and a good snack reward for a job well done.

Being in Divisoria is one heck of an experience. Exclusive schools even promote this place through organizing field trips as a form of societal awakening. Divisoria is part of the basic culture in commerce. It mirrors what the old Manila is like to the tee. Walking the streets of Divisoria is like low-end New York when you feel that it never sleeps. Divisoria makes you more alive, and it's adventure to the finest. Those who haven't been here should plan at least one trip in their lifetime.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harvey's 1st year Photo Blog

He was born on August 18, 2008, but I got him last November 1st as an anniversary gift. It was planned.

Time flies when you enjoy it.

November 1st: Harvey's 1st pictures

Got him in West Ave. QC on November 1. He's 2 1/2 months old. He liked curling up and nagpapa-baby pa. On that same day, we went to Tiendesitas and got himleash and dog supplies. Then we went to Serendra to get my cupcakes for my cousin DEN, as November 1 is also her birthday. Harvey gets around.

Mitch was watching over Harvey while I got the cupcakes. The relationship started to brew.

Finally after a long day, I brought him home with his comfy Camo bed and yummy new bone. He finally met the family and got to live in our old house even for just a couple of days.

A couple of days later, we took him to the other house so that he has room to run around. It was there where we saw him run and fly as JRTs are known to do.

Last November 23rd, we had a house blessing. Shots were taken by my cousin Denden who just bought her new Canon SLR. Harvey is one of her first subjects.

December is always a busy month for all of us. Getting food. Attending parties and Harvey's always on the move. Here are some of the December 2008 Shots.

Even though we transferred to our new home, we still had stuff to get from our old house. We sometimes use the old house as our playground.

The pictures of Mitch and Harvey always crack me up. They project that they're not best of friends, but I'm sure they love each other to pieces (harhar). Harvey never fails to piss off Mitch and Mitch never fails to discipline him. Aren't they cute together?

December 20ish my sister and I went to shop for my birthday party. Harvey was with us. Karla was the only one who enjoyed. Harvey and I got bored.

Merry Christmas Harvey! Christmas 2008

Papa's thanksgiving dinner and Pre-New Year events. December 30ish.

*If he wants something, he never tires to get it.

New Year 2009. Harvey stayed up late like the rest of us, but I guess he got stressed with the fireworks. He went missing until we saw him peacefully sleeping in Ate Ne's bed. Fool.

January 20th Rocky's Pancake Birthday treat. I cooked pancakes for Rocky and Harvey helped me deliver it.

April 2009 Random shots
May 2009 Shots. Carwash. Dog Shopping and Taking a Bath

He is becoming more independent now. He can go in and out of the kitchen door as he pleases and he is not a hassle to travel with. Since he is more active, he gets a bath at least once in two days.

Lastly, July 2009, Mitch and I went home one afternoon and decided to have a photo op with Harvey. All wonderful pictures were taken by Mitch Bautista.

For one year I found out a lot of things about you, and with JRTs in general.

1. He likes to run around in wide open spaces. Good luck catching him.
2. He likes to hunt for things and often comes up with dead cockroaches, rats and other stuff he thinks are valuable.
3. He likes to play chase and sometimes gives me motivation for it. (Gets something valuable from you like shoes, bags, etc.)
4. He likes to jog and roam around the village park.
5. He is cool with dogs. He likes to befriend them, but at the end harasses them by playing rough even with dogs twice his size.
6. He is too courageous for his own good. He doesn't recognize size.
7. If he hates you at the moment, he never fails to show it by pulling your shorts and pisses at your feet.
8. If he likes you, he'll never stop getting your attention.
9. He likes parties because he loves people and showing off, which makes him not a good guard dog.
10. He likes squeaky toys, balls and anything he can chase with.

Happy 1st birthday, Harvey! Your party is coming up pretty soon!

Two Reasons to Celebrate

I have 2 major reasons to celebrate today.


Today, August 18th, official marks my 1st year anniversary at work. My fourth job in 5 years and I'm not the type who would stay for six months
if the circumstances were odd and unfortunate. Surviving 1 year and not feeling it just means, I'm enjoying, I'm comfortable and I'm still challenged.

I can still freshly remember what I did on my first day and the quirky impressions I have on my workstations and colleagues. I was timid, shy and very protective of myself back then. Now I'm comfortable and at ease with my surroundings. It really takes a full year to appreciate and absorb that.

I thank God for the weird 2008 opportunities that directed me to this job. Good thing that my colleagues are very bearable. They're kind, funny and smart, some
good people I can really relate with. I thank the type of workstation, benefits and career opportunities that make work challenging and somehow rewarding everyday. It makes people stay and work harder. I also thank the prestige that comes with my company, for having its people proud to be associated with its organization. The opportunities definitely outweigh the difficulties. I could not ask for more.

1st year is a blast getting to know myself, my colleagues and my work expectations. Now that the 1st year of hard work and fun is over, I look forward to smashing, more challenging and more fulfilling years ahead. Now, it's showtime!


Exactly at this date of 2008, Jack Russell Terrier puppies were born and the one with the black eye markings and spotless white body was destined to accompany me in life.

For the second half of 2008, I had greatly pondered and desired for a dog, a puppy. A Beagle and a Jack Russell Terrier were my only preferred breeds. Since Beagles are much easier to breed and look for, I had a couple of sightings from friends and strangers. They were cute, lovable and I'm sure very fulfilling to take care of, but the sudden push and the part where my blood would sky rocket weren't there. I whined, but still waited. I voraciously searched online and asked a couple of people for a Jack Russell Terrier breed. I just had to know the difference between 2 breeds. I even called a certified breeder in Pampanga and was about to seal the deal when Mitch called and told me to book November 1st, our anniversary, for a trip to West Avenue Quezon City.

November 1st, we traveled the almost deserted EDSA highway to West Avenue to visit a Kennel that cares for 2 1/2 months old JRTs. A
s much as Mitch tried to warn me to stay objective and not get bawled easily, I took his warnings to heart, but I was secretly ecstatic. When we reached the kennel, I saw different dog breeds at the side and we were directed to a small corner where we saw a cage where three JRT pups were squished. There were 2 male JRTS and 1 female, almost spotless except for a small circle on her right eye.

I cooed the 1st male JRT first. He has a small spot in his body and one black circle spot in his eye. He was playful. All of them were. He was circling around and jumping to get my attention, the markings of a JRT. The female was definitely cuter, more passive, and very promising. When I was just at the point of observing, the female and the other male JRT just looked at me with their head tilted while wagging their tails.
But there is this one JRT who kept on jumping and nearly squishing his brother and sister, begging to be released from the cage and begging for me to pet him. He was the more active one. His face was cute and he only has two large black markings in his eyes. I immediately locked my eyes on him and he looked back while jumping and squirming around. Just like an automatic response, I pointed him to the kennel owner and I said. "I want that one."

Almost a year has passed and he has given our family so much joy. He gave me another kind of responsibility that I never thought I could accomplish. He's not a perfect dog. He may be smart and very friendly, but he's too active and smart for his own good that it's sometimes painful to take care of him. But in those heated moments, it's not a surprise if I would muster a laugh or two. He's like a child that tests you and just feels sorry afterwards. Pray that he doesn't do it again though.
All in all, I consider him one of the best decisions of my life.

Pix by:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Harvey

Speaking of parties, Harvey's birthday is tomorrow August 18th, which means his celebration is coming up. Being a loving owner of the dog that has given me so much joy, I have long decided to throw a simple birthday party for him. 1 dog year is equivalent to 7 human years, and since time for them flies so fast, birthday celebrations are must. TLC and a good home might be enough to make them feel important, but it's also nice to celebrate it with a bang.

Actually, I'm already in the process of ordering stuff and narrowing down my food choices. It doesn't have to be grand. It just has to be simple and fun for the owners and their dogs. I also have to choose the perfect weekend to hold it, either on August 29 or September 5, but that's quite easy. As long as I can finalize the food, the party favors, the decors and the guestlist, everything else will follow magically. I already have the plans and options anyways, including the help of my sister who's in charge of the invitations.

It's obvious that I'm excited. It's like I'm the one who's having a party. Harvey might not have a clue to what we are preparing for him. My family might not understand, but would just have to stand there and support me. My friends may not entirely get it, but I don't have to explain. I love this dog and a simple party for him is something that I'm ever eager to do even just once.

Dog haters and Harvey-specific haters are absolutely NOT invited.

To Harvey Elizander, Happy 1st birthday, dawg!

*Photo by:

Why a party should be a party

I went to a party last night of all nights for a childhood friend. The event came as a surprise probably the works of his dutiful girlfriend. Since I know what it's like to celebrate a birthday, the intangible importance of it, I willingly went shamefully without a gift in tow. I guess giving gifts aren't common these days anyways.

In the party I saw friends that I like to see and haven't seen a long time, and naturally I saw some of his friends that I don't like to see. It's not a crowd I could control, and it was not my event so I tried to make the most out of it by concentrating on the smashing cheap drink, chips and selected conversations.

During the highs and lows of friendly camaraderie, money seems to be the main topic of discussion. My friends were talking about their jobs and the absence of it. They talk about investments. They talk about franchising. They talk about promotions and marketing. They talk about closing deals. They talk about anything that concerns financial security and financial abundance while I relished the conversation with a 30 something guy with a fun theory about his short hair. Anything but money conversations.

People my age are either boasting or vocally airing out their frustrations about money making and business. They set up goals for people to hear and for people to cheer for. While they were sharing insights on business and on their financial capabilities, I sip my drink and search for other happy conversations to at least take my mind off the responsibilities, financial expectations and turmoils my contemporaries and I are facing.

Our age must have called for these types of conversations. They expect people to relate. Well, sadly I don't. I don't like the talk of money, investments and business plans in a party. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's true that I don't have a business, probably I don't have the mechanisms and heart for one. It's true that my investments are my own personal choice and a secret I hold dear. My plans for the future are something personal and an ongoing internal battle for me to achieve. I realize that I don't have to put those on the table and share it in a party. I'm not the type who would ask about business ventures, money making capabilities and other people's goals in parties because in a way it's a venue for people to enjoy and escape. Everyone should respect that. How could I when I think about the financial struggles and climb of my contemporaries? Money and businesses are lovely to study and talk about, but not in a party. It's not a common thing that people share that leaves happy thoughts and memories in ones' mind. It often gives room for anxiety and expectations.

I may be nobody now and my financial power has remained to a negative. I'm not proud of that and certainly I don't want to talk about it. If there are goals and strategies in mind that I should accomplish, it's not something I would share to the world much more in a place where it's the least subject to talk about. My father often told me that a party is a party, money matters and business discussion don't have a place there. It ruins the entire mood. I guess I got it from him. I know in this age, my contemporaries are restless financial creatures. I may not join the bandwagon, but I understand the pressure in our generation. I have enough of those issues every single regular day of my life. For me, parties should be an escape and not about too much financial discussions. Otherwise I would've just stayed at home and try to deal with it like I always have.

Dorian Gray: The movie 2009

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray when I was in College. The book was published by Penguin Classics that really don't cost much together with Silas Marner, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. I thought it was time to catch up on my classic literature.

Of all the classic books I've read to date this is probably in my top 3. The Picture of Dorian Gray written by Oscar Wilde has attitude. For me, the characters are intricately exaggerated verging to sheer greatness of their kind, flaws and all. The conceitedness, the innocence, the immense beauty and flaws of Dorian Gray make me want to meet him more. The subtle corruption of human relationships is interesting to read. It's a story that tackles morality, perception, beliefs and the ambiguous power of beauty.

Aside from intellectual conversations that made me think of my own perceptions, this book is entertainment at its finest. It's eerie. The characters have flaws left and right. And this mirrors what a human could do to himself and to others just to satisfy the thirst for beauty, acceptance and security of sexuality.

And after years of being fan of the book, we have the movie.

Naturally, I would have high expectations for the actor playing Dorian Gray. This is the man that should emulate beauty at its finest. This man should be able to charm everyone and make people weak, boys and girls alike, on their knees. Surely he should be universally handsome and breathtaking for his own good. Ben Barnes is a safe choice. He has the heart throb aura girls would freak over. He is quite in the middle of becoming a man, but still in his 'boyish' stages. It would just now depend on how he will bring Dorian Gray to life. Coupled with Lord Henry Wotton played by Colin Firth would be a treat.

I know there have been old movie and tv adaptations of this novel, but this one promises to delve more on the eerie and murky parts. I loved it when the movie LXG (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) included Dorian Gray into the team line up. He was played by the dashing Stuart Townsend, a much mature version of a character who ended up to be the traitor. As expected. I can't wait! I hope this gets shown here in the Philippines fast!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rocky's Quasi-Homecoming

I'm not an emotional person. I don't cry easily and I seldom feel my heart would involuntarily crush. With limited and selective interaction that I have, there are just few times that I did cry (in public or not) and usually it's because of frustration and anger never out of loneliness and heartwarming moments. Funerals don't even count because I get moved when helpless people are crying and general aura of loss and sadness is quite impossible to counteract.

But when Mitch and I went to the Vet to finally bring Rocky home from his confinement, I felt my heart lurched. Upon entering the office, Rocky stood up and went wild, happy wild, upon seeing Mitch, his master. Mitch patted him and soothed him with words that Rocky couldn't understand. But the mere presence and the contact made Rocky think of his family, his home. Rocky kept on looking at Mitch intently as if a dog's attempting to do a mental telepathy. His eyes, his whimpering, his uneasiness speak of home.

It's truly a hard and tough time for Mitch to see his dog, his first ever baby, in an unfortunate condition. I couldn't imagine what I'd do if it were to happen to Harvey. But now that the bills have been paid and Rocky is home, there are certain things that the master needs to consider. This is where morality and true love come in. The heart and mind would clash, but at the end the welfare of Rocky would always be the top priority. It might be the the master's hardest decision ever, but whatever Mitch decides, I would support him.

*Pix by Mitch Bautista

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Runnr: To Run or Not to Run

I read in a newspaper this morning that a specialty running store, simply named RUNNR, is now open at Bonifacio High Street. Naturally, I would’ve skipped to other announcements since clearly this store has nothing to do with my life right now. But amazingly I read on and felt a budding interest in getting physical. I was intrigued and amused on how the store boasts its wide array of shoes, attire, accessories and gears. From technologically assimilated selection process to the impressive display of gears and accessories, this store has it all with edge.

I’m not a runner and I doubt if I would ever become one soon, but the mere fact that this store interests me makes me wonder if I should take my desire of leading an active (sporty) lifestyle seriously. Running seems to be a basic and a good activity to start. But I should never get too excited though. Basically, I just like the store. Let’s just see where this interest will take me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why can't he shut up sometimes?

Willie Revillame is probably one of the most successful TV hosts in the history of noontime shows of this country. I'd give him that. It's not easy to do the same thing every single day especially on national TV. Through the times he has proven himself a capable host, entertainer and creative genius. I could just imagine the intense work that comes with charming audiences internationally and locally, creating new segments, doing side projects (albums) and maintaining the entertainment quality and credibility of the show.

No wonder that with the show's smashing ratings and W.R.'s ultimately "masa and jokester" appeal, the management of the media company gave him absolute power. He chooses the sponsors, at some extent he has power to fire and hire people on the spot, he can easily manage cash flows and he can dictate how his program will play out. Time and time again we have all been witnesses to that.

As I somehow admire his dedication and capabilities as a host, I'm not quite amused on how he chooses to air his grievances, irritation and malicious jokes on national TV. I'm not at all surprised to regularly find out that he finds himself in yet another squabble with the MTRCB or with another celebrity. Sometimes his mouth is unstoppable and his arrogance reeking. Just like what he did in vocally pouring out his irritation on seeing the live feed of Cory Aquino's burial in his show. True he has a point, but he could've vented out his issues privately, screamed his head in the office of the management during commercials. But no, he decides to show his irritation like a child in national TV. He calls it being real, I call it being immature and inappropriate. But he apologized, the Aquino family accepted, that should be the end of story.

I cannot list down every little joke that personally offended me. Most of the times, I let it pass because I've accepted that it's who he is. It's practically a hopeless case. But when I found out the story of this woman, filing a complaint because the host allegedly linked her husband to one of the dancers, which included remarks that had affected her children, family and relations, I thought he really had gone too far. He needs to be accountable. He needs to learn a lesson.

He may be good at making people feel at home, cry and pour out their sentiments at his most faved show WOWOWEE, but sometimes his arrogance gets the best of him. He cannot, even for the life of him, shut up. He defends it by stressing out the he is just being real, but in being real one doesn't have to be hurtful or vulgar. Having fun doesn't necessarily involve hurtful remarks. He has avenues for that, certainly not on National TV. Waiting for the opportune and formal time to vent out his frustrations and issues doesn't make him any less effective or real. It makes him a professional. It adds to the overall package of a good host. For now, it's always going to be a love-hate relationship with him.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Animo La Salle parin

While I was eating, sleeping and watching Ratatouille, I didn't know that there was a basketball clash waiting to happen. De La Salle Archers and Ateneo Blue Eagles were on this afternoon. I just found out now that they had an all-out basketball war, thanks to the ever updated, emotional and intense status messages of my friends in Facebook. 90% of the status in Facebook is all about the intensity of the game, which Ateneo won after an overtime. From what I've read in Facebook, the fight was intense and worth the watch.

I have no news now on what's up with the UAAP basketball team. Of course as a Lasallian, I would always want my alma mater to win, even if I don't know how young and fresh our team is. I don't know who's good now. I guess being a fan of basketball died in me when I graduated.

When I was in college, it was the height of De La Salle's Green Archers. Throughout my stay there, we were the champions. Every year, every season we dominated the UAAP men's basketball division. I admit I was an avid supporter. At least I knew the names of our lineup. I was very proud of my team and where I was studying. I may not be the die hard basketball fan down to the technicality, but I watched the games.

I also became educated about basketball in a way. Never in my life would I imagine myself watching a live game even if it was NBA, but there I was taking the lrt and mrt just to get to Araneta Coliseum. I was one of those whose voice croaked the morning after from too much screaming. I was one of those who squished and screamed wearing a green shirt. I was one of those sweat-faced girls who recounted the glorious moments right after the game. If I was blogging then, I would've blogged on the spot. I was a fan, one of those who hated Ateneo's guts to the core, but not to the point of throwing bottles at them, that's too uh...jologs.

But now, I have no idea what's happening in the world of UAAP basketball. I don't know the standings. I don't know the players even if I stared at them right now. I believe I stopped becoming a fan when I graduated. It was like that phase of my life just died a natural death. Actually that figures because I wasn't a fan of basketball to begin with. I just loved watching the game because I knew we would always win. I would get to gloat and feel the pride.

But I guess the world is round and nobody stays too long at the top. I heard Ateneo won the game today after an overtime and La Salle isn't the top team anymore. Part of me thinks my batch was the lucky charm...not! In short I hate the news because there's always a glaring difference when you lose to an arch rival. I could only imagine the current students of La Salle get annoyed and Ateneo students gloat till they drop. I hate the feeling, but the hate now just passes by. It never stays. After all it's just basketball. And win or lose in basketball, I'd still be proud of my Alma Mater. At least we are not that hungry.

A New Perspective: Why Exercise won't make you Thin

This news cheered me up.

From a person who's been a master of gaining and maintaining weight that I could probably put up my own weight gain consultation camp, it's quite easy conclude that I eat so much than what I intend to burn. You might be thinking that I eat cups of rice, creamy viands, dessert, gulp coke and crunch on all amount of chips in between office hours. You might think that I eat more than six times a day, all belonging to major 'modern' food groups of Sugar, Oil and Salt. You think that I shouldn't whine if I couldn't put my pants on, that my case is useless except when I undergo cosmetic surgery's medical intervention. But sadly, I'm not that kind.

I do eat food, real good food. I do not deprive myself, but I know I'm not really going overboard. I eat breakfast, usually a bagel, coffee or occasionally a simple combo meal at Mc Donald's, just like what other people eat every morning. Then I don't have snacks in between. I eat lunch next. My lunch sometimes comprises of a fairly healthy Country Style Sandwich or a pasta dish or one cup of rice with a viand, which is usually fish. I have dessert sometimes, but my dessert is like a one serving type leche flan. I drink water, but sometimes I drink Pineapple juice. For snacks, I don't eat snacks except when I think I'm about to have my menstrual cycle when my appetite sometimes goes haywire. For dinner, depends on my late night work, I'd grab a simple Cheeseburger meal at McDonalds, have noodles at Chowking or enjoy a simple dinner at home. Just like everybody else. I seriously think I'm not going overboard with anything. Everything is manageable. It's true that I appreciate food. I try out different things. That's why it annoys me that when people find out that I want to eat this at a given time and proportion, they would immediately think that I'm hopeless. I'd hear endless side comments. But when in fact if they do eat the same stuff that I do, certain side comments wouldn't erupt. What's the difference?

Sure my physical outlook isn't what you would call "fit," but that doesn't mean I should starve myself to death. If there's one thing that I can't do is totally dissuade food and starve. If I starve myself, my mind goes crazy, my mood gets jolty and my life is ruined. I need to have good food, not necessarily many, but good food. I just hope they would understand that.

Also, it's safe to assume that I eat normally, but I don't burn as much that's why I'm easy to gain weight. That is true. I don't walk long distances at work. I don't exercise. I don't do anything physically stimulating. Aside from I have no time (which is more of an excuse), I don't have the heart for doing exercise. I just don't. Probably that's where the problem lies. But honestly, I'd rather work on the exercise part than depriving myself of good food. I'd rather face the music and exercise like crazy than have to diet and "starve." Or so I thought.

I also have to count in my medical condition. I have a serious Polycystic Ovary Syndrome that helps build up unnecessary fat in the abdomen area. This condition stores fat and one of the major effects is immediate weight gain. You could also count the genes aspect and the body make-up of a person.

But disregarding any medical or genealogical condition, experts and health buffs told me that exercise is useless without any proper diet. There are just some food that you would have to cut back. They testify that while exercise promotes good health, discipline and movement, it's not necessarily the sole agent of instant weight loss like what most people have envisioned. While certified dieters who have lost a relatively good amount of weight without doing any exercise at all just strengthen this claim. Dieters just avoid almost everything like Rice, Pasta, Bread, cheese, milk, Cafe drinks, dessert, meat. But they do lose weight. The impact, they say, if one does it right, is instantaneous. But I know I've read somewhere that following a strict and 'unofficial' diet leaves a person in a grim outlook. The mental aspect would be affected and the mood would be undesirable. I know an officemate who fed on Light Coke and Mentos all day without eating any meals. She ocassionally feasts on banana. She lost a lot of weight fast, but I doubt if it was healthy. Meanwhile, my boss on the heavy side just enrolled at a gym with a personal trainer and does exercise regularly. She also stays away from food such as rice and all the food that could help in gaining weight. Double Pain, I say.

In a nutshell, we immediately think that intensive exercise promotes good health and helps us lose weight. It may not be fast, but exercise has lots of benefits. Others say that they don't exercise but they do "starve" or go on a strict diet. Their weight loss may be fast, but I dare not risk my other faculties. Personally, I chose to go on an exercise than diet. But is this the real path or the lesser evil?

I just recently read in TIME that losing weight is not achieved through exercise. Experiment and analysis show that the more you exercise the more you get hungry. A percentage of those who do exercise gain weight more compared to people who don't do anything, but with a controlled food intake. I instantly lit up. If there's a serious way of losing weight without medical intervention, intense exercise or "intense" diet or starvation, I'd do that in a heartbeat. Sorry to my fitness buff uncle if he gets to read this, but this article "Why Exercise won't Make you thin" gave me another perspective.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Headphones for JD

I suck at gift giving. It's not the lack of generosity. It's the lack of perspective. I wouldn't know the best thing to give a person. I'd do research and knack my brains out for the entire season and still cram for what to get, which usually ends up getting something that I WANT and not necessarily what THEY WANT.Being challenged choosing gifts as I may, one thing I'm certain is that I never give gifts that are not wrapped. I do the extra effort in picking out the perfect wrapper complete with ribbons, tags and depending on the mood and budget, bells and strings. There's a logic behind the grandeur especially if I'm not really sure about the gift. The wrapper serves as giving the extra boost of spirit, that inch of excitement and level of appreciation, until they open it of course, it's every gift for itself.

I hit jackpots sometimes especially if the recipient has fairly common interests as mine and isn't that demanding. People who are not materialistic are often the best people to give gifts to. For them "it's the thought that really counts." But I admit I'm not one of them. I'd rather receive a gift that they spent money for, that I would like and use, rather than give me something pointless that they thought I might like and end up wasting money. I appreciate it, but I don't necessarily prefer it because I know the dreadful feeling so I try extra hard to do my research, think and canvass to make sure that the money and effort are worth it. Also one rule that I apply, I only give gifts that could be used, something that isn't limited for display. For kids and my younger siblings, I may be the lousiest giver in the world because I always give books, bags, shirt, something that aren't 100% fun, but something they could definitely use. I never give toys. Not because I hate them myself, but lots of people would be able to give them that. I don't see the point of giving extra.

For my brother's birthday on August 7, it's always the same thing. He would ask me to add some units to his collections as my birthday gift to him. Last time it was Zoids, now it's Transformers. He is almost complete with his collection, he says. He just needs a couple more units to complete the set and since it's his birthday, it would be a fetching opportunity for me to end his 'misery.' But he knows as well as I do that I don't give gifts that belong to the category of toys. I just don't. Call me a bit selfish, but it's always going to be something useful for me. I also end up giving him bags, shoes, slippers or books. He gets very annoyed with this. He fantasizes what is behind the sophisticated wrapping until he opens the package. He would immediately realize that he has me for a sister who seems to effortlessly spoil his fantasies.

Now that he's turning 13, stepping on the first teen-year of his life, I want to give him something different. Youthful, but veering towards adulthood at the same time. In the end I eventually gave in, anything but books this time. He ended up asking for one Transformers collector's item to which I replied that I couldn't give because it's still against my personal rules. He asked me to break it just this once, but I still wouldn't. For the entire week of pride and motivation, I had to think, read and search until I came across the word "headphones." Like a faint Eureka moment, I know what I'd give him.

My brother, despite the age, still loves to play computer games, listen to music and play with his PSP. He uses a cheap pair of CD-R King headphones that his allowance could buy just to get through the gaming and listening experience. I know he wishes to have his own headphones that showcases in-depth coverage and intricate audio-detail. Hence, giving him kick-ass headphones as a gift would be perfect. It's something he could definitely use in gaming and listening to music. The next challenge was which brand I should get.

I asked my guy officemates to recommend a good brand of headphones for my brother and the brand Sennheiser always seems to come up. Mitch may be open to other brands but he is biased to Sennheisser as well so it was no wonder when I met him at Powermac Greenbelt for lunch, he quickly led me to the Sennheiser section.

I grabbed the Sennheiser basic 201 and was about to pay at the counter when Mitch called me back. After giving some time to test Mitch's new discovery, I fell in love with the crisp, detailed precision sound of Philips. I forgot the model, but I liked the surround sound and intense music output it brings. Even though this particular model of Philips is more expensive than the basic Sennheiser model, I didn't hesitate swapping it.

Like I said, the music came out so crisp and with full bass surround sound perfect for gaming. The pair has a snug fit and comes with a very reasonable price of 2,000 + not bad indeed. I initially wanted to give JD a pair of Skull Candy headphones, but Mitch overwhelmed me with his gadget expertise. If Mitch isn't impressed with it, then my interest goes down as well. In the end, I gravitated towards Philips, which Mitch also found fairly acceptable. Adding to his Sennheiser injury, I requested Mitch to bring the purchase to National Bookstore to be wrapped (complete with ribbon and tag.) By the time we had lunch at David's Tea House, my problem was already solved.

In the end I'm happy to have thought something out of the box. I hope he's going to be happier as long as it's not books this time. And given time, I'm sure he would appreciate the gadget more than any of his lifeless collectibles. At least it's not going to be books again, that is just enough to excite him.