Monday, December 13, 2010

Transforming to a new leaf

I'm not blogging more than I wish to. This year, at least the last half of it, proved to be busier and nerve wracking that time robs me to blog. Thankfully, I picked up reading on the past 2 months. Unlike blogging, reading doesn't have to require me to log in and compose as I have seen myself always tired after work. I recently caught myself buying more books, hanging out more in bookstores and finding the comfort there when I was a kid. Probably I'm just so tired these days that reading quickly saved me from insanity. Blogging may have taken the backseat, but I'm still alive and trying to recuperate.

There's nothing more I can do now but to let let the last few weeks of this year slide. In fact, I'm looking forward for 2011. It's a year to redeem myself on taking care of my health and taking care of my finances, though 2010 has been good. 2011 it's time to get serious. Since I'm venturing on a new lifestyle and career, might as well change my blogging and reading for the better. For my literary pursuits, I still forge head on. As for blogging, I believe it's time to start a new life. I feel my life has changed so much that it's time to get a new documentation out of it. I'll work it out the past few weeks with the help of some key people. Hopefully by the start of 2011 I could get to use my new blog, be more aggressive, focused and balanced.

2010 is a very different year for me. A lot of things happened and took control. It was generally happy and opportunistic, but I peeked at the repercussions in case I lose track of my goals and myself. In 2011 I'll slash things that should be slashed, enhance the areas of my life that was temporarily neglected brought about the exciting changes, and be a better person, blogger, family member and friend.

2010 was awesome. It hurt sometimes, but I learned new and bigger things. I loved the experience. 2011 will be much better and renewed. I'm starting life anew. I'm transforming to a new leaf. Please standby.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Being a Filipino I wouldn't have normally cared about Thanksgiving. But in a global setting that I work in, I believe I've never been happier. Thanksgiving in the US easily means that the stock market that I trade in is closed. If there are no trades to settle, there's no need for me to work. Amen.

So let the Americans do what they do at Thanksgiving. I'm happy for them as well. I'll do my own reflection at home since I have so many things to be thankful for. No matter the hardships, this year has been good. I think Thanksgiving reminded me of that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Books Acquisition

Last Sunday, I enjoyed myself in Fully Booked too much. In less than an hour, I bought 6 books. 2 of which were for my bestfriend's baby, whose christening I shamefully missed. Anyways, I added interesting titles to my library. The last time I was giddy like this was when I bought three new titles before I left for the States. I finished Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged during my States' visit, Markus Zusak's I am the Messenger on my flight back home and I have 2 more pending from that batch. The Persuasion, a classic and the Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell which is currently being borrowed by a colleague.

Last Sunday, with my initial goal to buy books for the baby, I got four new titles for me as well.

I'm currently finishing the Stieg's Larrson's Millennium Trilogy. I'm currently liking it. I would say that suspense-crime novels are not my most favorite genre, but I can very handle it. I have a penchant for those once in a while. I always get reliable fixes from Grisham, Crichton and Deaver. Of course I would venture out and discover good titles of suspense authors from time to time. For light modern drama I rely on N. Evans and A. Shreve. For contemporary there are J. Ferris, M. Atwood, J. Coetzee, H. Murakami on my favorite list. Fantasy-graphics include J. Gaarder, C. Barker, N. Gaiman and J. Tolkien. Romance novels I rely on J. McNaught and J. Litton. Not that I don't venture out. I love other authors and titles as well. I've always been adventurous when it comes to books. I'm just pointing out that some authors especially those that I have mentioned above have never failed me with their works. Surprisingly to note, I'm not much of a fan of Nicholas Sparks no matter how many books I've read that he has written, nor I am much of a fan of the acclaimed Sue Grafton, Anne Rice and some other popular authors. There are just books that are hits and misses for me.

Last month just before the major storm hit the metro, on the day I got my haircut, I also got two titles from two of my favorite authors in BookSale, a thrift book store. I always have an extra doze of excitement when I find out of print books in second hand book stores. Other people's trash is someone else's treasure. I found Arabat by Clive Barker and The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood both in good condition. You cannot find these in print in major bookstores nowadays. These are no brainers when I saw them. I immediately bought it.

The prospect of good books waiting to be read is so sweet. The feeling of going inside a bookstore is heavenly. I could stay there for the entire day. So little time so many books to read. For now I'm just finishing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy after which it depends if I'll jump into classics by Austen, fantasy by Clive Barker or contemporary by Junot Diaz. The world is vast and the possibilities are endless when it comes to books.

Comfort Food: With Anyone. Anywhere.

Everyone who knows me that well...or even not that much...know that I like food. I like eating out. Sometimes I do love to cook but it mostly requires a crazy mood and my cooking abilities aren't that reliable sometimes. I'm a certified eater. Sky's the limit when it comes to food.

That's why after a grueling battle at work, good food keeps me sane especially during the weekends. I look forward to the weekends because I get to eat out without a time limit. I go with Mitch mostly on dates of course. I remember him telling me once that when I left for the States, he got cut off eating at fabulous restaurants. When I came back, he had to allot a portion of his budget for eating out because of me, but admittedly he missed good food while I wasn't around. Good food is a requirement. I don't care if it's dirt cheap or served in a carinderia. I don't really care if it's somewhere far, I'll drive for it as long as it's that good.

But unfortunately, I haven't seen Mitch for two weeks now because he got Chicken Pox courtesy of his brother. Apparently his is a worse case. He had intense fever for days and now he has spots all over, more on his face. You see, I've never had chicken pox before. My sister had already and my mother locked me with her so that we could have had it together one summer when we were kids, but apparently my immune system was too strong. I doubt if it is the case now that I'm always stressed and I'm not a vitamin-gulping kid anymore. It would be depressing if I would have Chicken Pox now with all my work laying at my feet. I also have a Palawan trip in a few weeks. Plus, it's the Christmas season. I dare not go out with Chicken Pox scars on my face. I may not be shallow, but I draw the line sometimes. Also, how will I enjoy my weekends if I have to quarantine myself? I had to be honest and cautious even though it could come off as cruel. It was an intense decision of not seeing Mitch at all for two weeks. He understood perfectly well. This means my regular eating-partner and date will be MIA until further notice.

But I have backups. Thanks to my siblings, they have been my dates for the past few weekends. I also thank some colleagues who went with my on my spontaneous adventure, like a friend-colleague who joined my for lunch in Le-ching Greenhills last sunday, and of course our Persian Sunday late night dinner at Miraj with siblings and Nikkon after a defeat in Left4Dead2 in BF Paranaque. Friends have offered for night outs, but I'm more of a restaurant-coffee gal. I'm not much into drinking. Thankfully, my sister has a penchant for free gourmet food since she spends her money on gas and fashion. While my brother is young and still easy to bribe. Though I may be the one paying for it, it's fun treating them to a hobby that I love. It's time they get gastronomically cultured as well. I appreciate their simple company more than ever.

PS: Get well, Mitch. You missed this I'm sure.

I'm still here

To end my work week, my colleagues and I, drove to Salcedo Park in Makati to eat and have our so-called "dinner" at 7 am. We latch on the weekend as if it's our last and what better way to start it off but with good feats on dimsum and the million dollar authentic paella. The paella was good, but expensive. PHP 280 per order in one styro foam is equivalent to 2 meals already, but I guess the owner, who served with her designer outfit, charged for her service. It was fun anyways. We get to talk and rant about work of course, but the food was yummy and it had to compensate.

As soon as dinner-breakfast was over, I drove home via skyway and crashed at my bed at 10 am. I let my phone go on silent and slept for 11 hours. I woke up at 9 pm on a Saturday night, energized. 11 hours of sleep is something I wouldn't normally do, but I guess my body really needed to recharge. I woke up with messages on my phone. Some people were asking regarding night out plans, Mitch still has chicken pox and sent miss-me-texts while some friends from work were looking for a drinking session. Though I miss Mitch and a few things went through my mind, nothing permanently registered. What I needed then was good food. I know I couldn't function well. I was so hungry and no...I do not want something that can be pulled from the pantry like canned goods.

I dressed, without taking a bath, bribed my brother to accompany me for dinner over Starbucks. Originally, we intended to go to Magallanes, but I was craving for good Italian food. We went to Bonifacio High Street instead much to my brother's dismay since he has a television show to watch.

We got desserts at Miss Desserts for a loved one who is sick. I got an oreo cheesecake as well. We passed by Fully Booked and couldn't get over my recent book adventure last week. I have three new titles egging at my bedside table and I'm currently hooked to Stieg Larsson's first book in his Millennium series. 4 books if you count the book, which I also bought for my brother, which I intend to read after he finishes. It was written by Neil Gaiman of course. After a quick trip to Fully Booked and Miss Desserts, we went to Italianni's where Italian food never fails.

Thank heavens for Bonifacio High Street restaurants. The whole place is lively and relaxing. What's nice about this place is the restaurants close late, perfect for night owls like me. We ordered my favorite Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza, which my father introduced. JD ordered his Chicken Parmigiana and I ordered my Seafood Cioppino pasta. Bill was 1,500 pesos, pretty steep but it was all worth it. My brother and I went back to Fully Booked after to get coffee. I have stickets to get for my sister. I don't have much care for planners anyway.

When I got home at 12, my brother slept immediately while I find myself fully recharged. I read a few chapters until the intense sugar from the sumptuous dinner took a hold on me. I slept for another hour until I woke up at 2 in the morning and read the rest of the morning away. At around 5:30 my brother and I met downstairs and off we went to look for his tennis lesson only to find out that the court was wet. We transferred to another tennis court within the village and the office was closed. We were informed that it will open at 8. So I'm back here at home having my oreo cheesecake breakfast in an early Sunday Morning. I feel recharged and still positive on what good things that could happen today. I don't know what it is, but I learned that it pays to be positive. I intend to go to Fort and visit Fully Booked again, which is reliving my long lost obsession or I might just be engulfed in my room finishing this book that I'm currently reading. It doesn't matter. Constant access to good food, good company and good hobbies make this often times busily-jaded life still enjoyable.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just passing by

It was hell week indeed last week. I'm looking for a better week. Work is beginning to consume me. A lot of things are piling up. My weekends become my sanctuary and I'm losing my blogging and reading because of it. I really need to regroup, find a new hobby and secure my old ones. Work is getting the best of me.

Just got home from a sumptuous dinner with siblings, an entertaining movie and a quick stop at Limbo for a Halloween costume party. Tomorrow may be a better day to blog and narrate my weekly stories and opinions. For now, I just need to let go.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recharging for Hell

Let's just say that I had a bad week last week and a hell week once Monday hits. I dread this week for so many different reasons that I do not want to elaborate in order to keep my mind sane. Work is beginning to consume and destroy me.

But good thing at least I was able to sleep for more than 8 hours this Saturday, had a sumptuous dinner at Agave with boyfriend and a missed friend and had a kickass 2 hour session at a Counter Strike Hub in BF. I did pretty well for whatever's left for Saturday.

Now that the sun is up, a dimsum breakfast is waiting for me, I'll probably just hear mass this morning to maximize the rest of my day sleeping and what not.

I love weekends!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Food Highlights October-18-23:Pandesal

MONDAY: As soon as I woke up at 3:30 am, sleep escaped me. I began to blog and go online to kill time. I just remembered that the super typhoon is expected to make a landfall this day. So far so good, I just see gloom. Nothing's happening yet.

At around 5:00 am, I craved for Pandesal and decided to get some. I sneaked and got my sister's car keys, went out at the crack of cold dawn, drove her overused and aesthetically neglected car to the nearest village bakery.

The bakery I go to is housed in a village. It's old school, but the pandesal is really yummy. 3 pesos for an average sized yummy pandesal. Even after work on my way home, I pass by this store.
*Drove to the quaint and classic-housed bakery in Moonville

*My breakfast: 2 hot pandesals, lasagna leftover, pineapple juice and morning paper

Pandesal is comforting to eat especially during breakfast. You could pair it up with anything or dip it in coffee. I love the aroma of a freshly baked batch, the crusty shell and a soft and warm bread inside. Some people may have made pandesal modern and commercial, but nothing beats getting it from your local village bakery. When I was a kid, I have a couple of businesses in mind if and when I have the money, right timing and opportunity. One of the classic businesses I want ever since, aside from vintage bookstores, research hubs, pet store sand grocery would be owning a local bakery, which makes bread by hand, that's cheap to sell and opens up at the crack of dawn.

*Hot and steamy tasty pandesals

Nothing like a hot, fulfilling and comforting breakfast to start the work week right.

Somewhat Spontaneous Sunday

My Sunday was intended to buy pasalubongs for our Cincinnati counterparts. I drove to the office to meet my hardworking team leader Teresa and together we went to Greenhills at 11 in the morning. The crowd was pretty manageable and before shopping we decided to eat first at Le Ching, an authentic noodle and dimsum house which I have grown to love over the years. They are very widely known for their pork spareribs, but I usually get their Wanton and Fish Tofu Rice. Whenever my boyfriend and I go to Greenhills, we don't think of anywhere else to eat. Le Ching is yummy, authentic and cheap, which will make you wait for tables especially during lunch hour.

*Teresa thinking of what to buy. Both of us dread Monday already. She had Wanton Noodle soup and I had Fish Tofu Rice and Hakaw. Yummy.

After eating, we found ourselves in the maze of good finds. It took an effort for us not to look around and buy clothes and shoes. We had to focus on finding stuff for our American counterparts. After an hour of searching we bought mother of pearl accessories for the girls, native wooden back-scratcher for the guys and the funny barrel man displays, which I hope they find humor in. Then we went to the groceries to buy local chocolates like Flat Tops and Choc-Nut while tossing in some cornicks. After going through the maze and the hassle, we settled down for coffee and cheesecake at Starbucks and met our colleague Heidi who is a true blooded local of Greenhills. At around 4 pm, we decided to go home and call it a day.

As I dropped Teresa in Makati I didn't know where else to go. I still didn't want to go home. If I do I'll just sleep and my weekend will not be fully maximized. Mitch was in a shoot and everyone else was doing their Sunday duties. I wanted to pass by Fully Booked at Fort, a place that would comfort me, but knowing that it's in Fort and near the office, eventually killed the desire. I didn't also find the encouragement in hanging out in Greenbelt. Without plans, I drove south and was about to go home and surrender to dullness when my good friend Khae called and asked to meet her and her cousin-slash-colleague of mine. Since they're from Alabang they decided to meet me halfway. We went to Brittany Bay in Sucat.

*Got Adobong Kangkong, Sizzling Bulalo and Sisig Bangus. I got Sisig Bangus, which is always my favorite here. Adobong Kangkong is okay, don't appreciate it that much because I don't eat Kangkong. Sizzling Bulalo with gravy is so-so.

It's always fun to go to Brittany Bay if you want to avoid the crowd and plainly hang out. Also I had wanted to see the bakeshop that my friend owns, which I failed to visit during soft opening. Unfortunately, the bakeshop is closed and it was this time that it began to rain. The three of us decided to eat at Dencio's to catch up and have coffee afterwards at Figaro.

Same old people with same old anxieties about work and life. Food, good conversation and a gloomy weather always make everything better.

Thoughts of a Graveyard Worker

I work on a graveyard shift. My project requires me to follow the life of an American Stock Exchange. I am bound by US Federal Holidays and the work-specific stress that comes with it. I've done graveyard shift before and I thought I was courageous and familiar enough to do it again. I admit I was enticed by the professional growth and the compensation, which my work generally deliver. But now I am constantly reminded of the sacrifices, random depressing thoughts and involuntary disconnection of my time with my favorite friends and loved ones. Allow me to pour my angst at 4:30 in the morning as my sleeping was not successfully reprogrammed, something that a graveyard worker experiences.

Working in a graveyard shift is no big joke. Number one, your body clock gets screwed. It might take days, weeks or months to take reign of your sleeping habits, but bottom line is that you are the one who has to adjust because you're a minority. It takes a lot of effort. From faking the night, losing sleep and doing the things you want to do on a normal day, either way you lose something. It's either you lose sleep or your life. There are no in-betweens. If you're an athlete and an avid gym goer, you have to adjust your gym days especially if you're working out with a group. You are the minority, you have to adjust and squeeze in the time. No one is forcing you to subject yourself to a full rest during the day, but prepare to lose sleep and be a zombie at work. If you can't take the added effort and just surrender yourself to the sleep that you very much need, prepare to be missing in action with your friends and rearranging your favorite extra curricular routine. That goes with other activities that you did on your ex-normal life. Few graveyard professionals have totally adapted to changing their lives upside down. Usually, they have successfully reversed life to their advantage, apparently not me.

I mostly don't have enough sleep. It's always a prayer to not wake up in the middle of the day, but something always gets in the way. I sleep an average of 3-4 hours in a day, 5 hours if I get lucky. Working at night is a struggle and I get so groggy after my shift that I'm surprised I haven't had a car accident yet going home. During the weekends, sleep robs me of my time with friends and family. As much as I want to spend time with them by just taking a quick nap, I easily deteriorate in the late afternoons or early evenings. I get cranky and unappreciative. And if I do sleep according to my body's wishes, I wake up at wee hours in the morning, while everyone who is living the "normal" life is still asleep. I have not found my control. I'm practically useless every Saturdays. I just catch up on sleep on that day. I only feel that Sunday is my only weekend and Monday is a half day of preparation to work.

Working on a graveyard also takes a lot of psychological effort. It takes a lot of will to block depressing thoughts and to encourage yourself to be happy. Going to work when you see majority of people going home is depressing. It automatically robs me of my desire to start the day when I should have been ending it. Seeing people go home makes me sad. Having breakfast/dinner with my boyfriend sucks because I should be going home with him, instead my day is just starting. Leaving the house at night is something that I really have to get used to.

Then comes the additional work stress, missed meals and vacations you have to adjust because your work hours would eat two days immediately. Then you have nasty conversations with loved ones after missing them so much just because you're cranky and you need your sleep.

Working on a graveyard shift is no big joke. What makes a person go through with it must be really worth the trouble. For me it was a choice between money/professional growth or my life before. It's sad to think that in any decision a sacrifice has to be made. Obviously I initially chose money and growth while I'm seeing my life change before my eyes. Can't say I have fully adjusted to it, nor I love it, but let's see how it goes. For now, allow me to release my thoughts through this blog. It's ugly, but it's reality. I just hope I can withstand it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Food Highlights: Week 11-16

I'd be publishing food highlights every week. Food is one of my recharge agents on stress phases like this.

TUESDAY: I was driving on my way to work. I reached Fort and had an hour to spare. I called Mitch to invite him for my breakfast or for his dinner. He initially wanted to go home early, but he saw my car on the road and we decided to see each other at Serendra. I chose Conti's again.

Mitch got the Grilled Porkchops while I got Seafood Au Gratin.

Grilled Porkchops are nice and flavorful, but just like what you'd expect from a good tasting porkchop. What I really liked is their Seafood Au Gratin. It's seafood bits baked in cream and melty cheese, more of like a seafood casserole on top garlic rice with fried potato wedges.

Seaoof Au Gratin is yummy! It is just like a cheesy seafood casserole. You'll know it's sinful, but it's very fulfilling. I didn't find too much squid though. Seafood is mostly fish fillet, but it's still yummy!

Total bill is at 500 php.


I was ready to leave the house when Ate Ne told me that the scallops that my dad recently brought from Roxas was already cooked according to my specifications which would be baked in cheese, butter and garlic. I was shocked with excitement.

Whenever my dad goes home from Roxas, I would expect Seafood in our house for the entire week until we scream for meat. We always have shells, crabs and shrimps. My dad doesn't usually bring scallops, but because of my special request, he did.

Ate Ne cooked it nicely. It was cheesy, garlicky and buttery. I had more than 10 scallops and more than I cup of hot rice. It was a great way to start to my day right.


FIGARO: I wasn't able to get pictures then. My mind wasn't functioning due to lack of sleep. I had Chicken Ala Kiev and Arrabiata pasta. It was yummy. My colleagues got Chicken Kebab with rice and Chicken Fillet with Arrabiata. They enjoyed it. Visit Figaro and check it out.

Of course, BATCHOY at Ted's.


Tomorrow, I'm scheduled to meet Teresa, my colleague, in Greenhills. We plan to buy pasalubong for our Cincinnati counterparts. And you know what that means, lunch at Le Ching!! We are both fans. I can't wait.

Mega Storm Looming: Batchoy

It was announced at work yesterday that there is a storm looming. Expected touchdown would be on Monday, which is a crucial day in a work week. So my Vice President initiated a meeting on the floor to do a call tree experiment during the weekends to prepare for a BCP (Business Continuity Planning) exercise on Monday just in case the storm indeed got monstrous and people can't come in for work. Banks are paranoid, which is always a good thing in their business. For me, there's always a golden benefit to be cautious, but this impending storm is not going to affect me badly as long as I can have food supply, a good book and an internet connection.

When I woke up on a Saturday afternoon I heard heavy rains and thunder. It was non-stop for an hour at least. The rain's intensity could be compared to Ondoy, but then again it only lasted for an hour. At around 3, the rain stopped and the sky was semi clear again. The gloom got me excited and hungry so I went to the mall with my sister and had a vanity session.

I was planning to go to the groceries, but I think the impending storm was highly publicized and groceries were packed. I figured my dad must have been there. Whenever he hears a storm, he panic buys food, batteries, candles and whatever he could find useful in cases of armageddon. So now, we have a pantry full of canned goods, softdrinks, tissues, noodles, rice and a cabinet full of batteries. We kind of appreciate how he prepares, but our pantry looks like a stock of sari-sari store.

So I skipped the groceries and decided to get some take out. I bought some pizza and was about to buy congee at North Park, but my stomach was looking for something else until I saw Ted's La Paz Batchoy. A switch was turned on.

Congee and hot chinese food is one of my comfort foods during the rain, but so is Batchoy and I miss this Filipino soup dish! It's garlicky, tasty and fulfilling. Batchoy is definitely a part of my life especially when I was a kid, a toddler. It's funny when you remember scenes in your childhood, scenes that really made an impact on you, because you remember pertinent details. You would remember how you'd look, feel and how the experience tasted like. In this case, I have a special memory on Batchoy.

*Ted's La Paz Batchoy, Ilonggo Fast food chain

When I was at around 3 or 4 I was still living in an apartment with my parents in the heart of Makati. In that Apartment compound the tenants are from either Iloilo and Roxas. My dad is from Roxas so it was like home for him. I would get exposed to Ilonggos and the camaraderie of Visayan folks in the busy life of Makati. Since both of my parents were working that time, I usually spend my days with an Ilonggo maid and nanay. Every weekend or days when I don't have school, I would get excited just like any other kid, but I also get excited because of something else.

In the apartment compound where majority of its tenants are from Iloilo, I also got exposed to Ilonggo food. They are great cooks, mind you. They like flavor, seafoods and garlic. But most especially I remember there's an old woman tenant who managed a friendly stall across the street. Her stall sells Ilonggo food and hot, homemade Batchoy. Whenever there's no school or during summer, I would ask money from my tita before lunch, get a huge bowl and cross the street with my yaya to buy Batchoy. I became a regular. I remember giving the bowl, smelling the aroma and watching the soup being transferred. I usually request to have the meat innards be separated. I also remember how careful I was carrying the bowl and crossing the street to our apartment making sure that it won't spill. Then when I get home I eat batchoy with rice and that would mark the highlight of my day. When I get into a tantrum, my parents would know how to appease me. Since I'm a super regular, I got freebies sometimes.

I love Batchoy. It's something that I could eat everyday, but it's better when it's missed I realized. Aside from the flavor, it brings back happy memories from my childhood. And this is especially best eaten on a rainy season.

Calm Saturday at home

I had a heavy work week and this weekend is my pitstop.

I got home at around 8 because after work, I still had breakfast with Team Mates at Boni High. Surprisingly, I find the breakfast food in Figaro very yummy. You guys should try it out. Of course when we were there, most people in restaurants are the runners and posh early risers walking their dogs. Their presence kind of slapped me in the face for being unfit. But I'll get to that topic really soon. But for now, my only motive is to relish my weekend and rest.

I was a race car driver in an almost vacant highway and got home after 15 minutes. I immediately went upstairs and slept from 9 am - 3 pm. I woke up due to the loud thunders, excessive gloom and the heavy rains. My room became like a cave. I like it dark and cozy. But this is also the kind of weather that gets me excited.

I took a shower bribed my sister to drive and go with me to the mall to get some food and fix my nails. As soon as the rain subsided, supposed to be from a super typhoone, we went to SM Bicutan to do our personal errands. For her to obligeI treated her to a mani-pedi session while I also enjoyed a new haircut. My bangs were getting on my nerves and I wanted it cropped as if it doesn't exist.

After the vanity session, I went passed by BookSale and saw treasures. I bought two new books from my two favorite authors whose works are semi-out of print and very hard to find. You could just imagine my joy. After that I bought pizza, doughnuts and Batchoy, a Filipino Noodle soup with Garlic and meat hailing from Visayas. At 7 pm, I went home and enjoyed dinner. My dad bought pizza as well. Then I went to my brother's room to piss him off only to find myself sleeping for 2 hours.

At 9 pm he woke me up so I could transfer to my room. I was in a deep sleep. It was hard for me to move. As soon as I reached my own bed, I slept again and woke up at 11 pm. I got hungry, went downstairs to get some food and here I am blogging while watching National Geographic's special on people getting framed up by unknowingly carrying drugs at the airport. My sister's out on a party and might go to the bar where my friend is spinning. Some are inviting me for coffee. Others are inviting me for a pig out. I kind of gauged my senses and I figured I'm happy in my pajamas, in my room, with my food, strong internet and books. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

I miss moments like these. There's a certain comfort and serenity to it. I don't have to be anywhere to relax and have fun. I'm feeling hibernation in the air. Tomorrow might be different, but I thank god I'm here. I thank god for the weekend. My grand vacation might be coming around, but I'm happy now where I am, here in my room on a Saturday night.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comfort Food: Conti's Chicken Roulade

Ever since I got back here, I'm slumped with work. While most people have vacations in the weekends, my mind and body force me to stay at home. The thought of simple pleasures and being immobile are really tempting these days. I know this work stress won't last forever, but sometimes I need to do something to repel too much stress. On a work day, I chug like a train, but find simple pleasures in attainable sources of nourishment. Food.

Food comforts me in trying times. I know this is not a healthy mentality, but if I need to reward myself, I do it with food. If I need to comfort myself, good food takes me right on track. If I need to savor conversations and free time, food heightens the experience.

Last week, before going to work I had dinner with Jim in Conti's. It's a popular restaurant from the South. They were a little bit snooty before until they have spread their wings and branched out to more popular places in Greenhills, Fort and Makati where there's traffic. Their specialties are world class desserts and gourmet dishes. I've always loved their Baked Salmon, but I've recently tried their Chicken Roulade and it was equally heavenly.

I savored every bite while Jim and I share anxieties at work. I remember cooking Chicken Roulade once in Highschool Cooking class. It's bacon and cheese wrapped in chicken breast. It has coating and fried to perfection. But Conti's version is infused with herb, flavor and it's baked. Worth every penny.

Carwash Reflection

Last Monday I had an opportunity to bond with my car and give him a bath. 100 pesos for a full vacuum and car wash is not that bad at all. This is one of the most enjoyable chores I want to do. Along with the likes of grocery shopping, long travels and book hunting, going to the carwash is something that I enjoy doing.

There were a couple of cars before me and I had 30 minutes to spare. I pondered and I realize that looking back I never thought of owning a car. I don't think I could ever afford it in my life. But here I am, older, hopefully wiser and basically owns something important in the adult world. I am happy that I waited this year to get a car. I would've gotten last 2009, but something came up which I have told in so many of my previous blog posts. I don't want to go back there again. I just find it funny that the world works in mysterious ways. I figured that there are certain things that are not for you and the world has a way of making you feel that until you receive something better. All you have to do is to wait and seize that perfect timing. You'll know it if you have this strong hunch. It's an instinct and it's a lesson we all have to master. In life's biggest decisions, we rely on instincts as much as we rely on our calculated science.

Looking at Maysehnn, my car's new baptized name, I knew I had made the right choice. 2009 was hard, but now I find it funny. I would've been strong headed and did things in haste, but glad that I waited. I feel a bond with Maysehnn, not because I'm paying for him and he's what I have right now, but Maysehnn taught me a valuable lesson to wait and knowing what should be really yours.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beefed up Phone Plan

I bought my HTC phone on September 6. I love it and I'm still adjusting to it. After a week, I was pulled out from my afternoon weekday sleep when a Globe personnel called me. I was so pissed that I forgot to put my phone on silent mode, but I was so furious with what he had to say.

He called to remind me that my bill has reached 10,000 thousand pesos and he noticed that my bill has always been consistent ranging from 1000 to 2000/month only. It was in his good graces to call and verify with me if I was aware of the internet charges that jacked up my phone bill. Naturally, I had a violent reaction, but I was already too awake to consider sleeping. I told him that I only use my new phone when there's free Wi-fi and I only seemed to use 3g once, but I swore I always make sure that I turn off online connectivity when there is no need. I have heard horror stories about internet charges from friends and there is no way I'm paying 10,000 pesos.

He advised me to verify if my connectivity is off and proceed to the Globe Business center to lobby for amnesty. I didn't know what he was talking about. I called up Mitch and asked him to help him configure my phone. I went to Fort early and made him fix it. He urged me to settle it with Globe immediately. The next monday, I went to the nearest Globe business center and verified that 8,000 pesos was due to internet charges I was not aware off. The in-house network engineer configured my phone and promised that they would re-compute and asked me to come back the following week after my cutoff.

After two weeks, good news is that the charges stopped, but the bad news is the PHP 8,000 reported internet charge is still lurking. I went to the Globe Business Center again to finally change my plan and settle my phone bill. But when I went there they admitted that they have not fully recomputed the amount I would have to pay for the internet charges. So I just paid my call charges and asked them to recompute and reflect what I have to pay in next month's bill. After that's settled, I asked them to add additional plans to my account. I added MYSUPER DUO and MY SUPER SURF.

When I was in the states, my mother registered me to MYUNLI TEXT. I get to have unlimited texts to fellow globe subscribers for a month for PHP 349 Pesos. But I'm hardly a text person, so I wanted to add MYSUPERDUO. For this, I get to have unlimited calls to Globe Subscribers and Landline for only 599 pesos. And of course, I got MYSUPERSURF to make sure for 1,200 pesos I get to have unlimited internet anytime. Now my phone plan is already beefed up. I got what really mattered to me. For unlimited text, mobile and landline calls and internet access I would only be expected to pay PHP 2,148 pesos. Good deal since I have been usually paying that amount monthly anyways without the unlimited and internet features. I've learned about this before, but why did it take me this long to change my plan? Laziness, lack of time and unwillingness perhaps.

Now my mobile plan is beefed up for my new phone and my new life. This is such a huge help and thanks to Globe for stepping up. No more second phones for me. I'm now just waiting on my next month's bill. I hope I won't have any violent reactions.

Change Strategy: My Saturday So far

Wrong strategy. Wrong decision. Wrong move.

Once Friday hits, excitement and calm envelop me. Ever since I got back from my migration trip, every week has been draining and heavy at work. Weekends are like an oasis. It has been my personal moment to recharge, reconnect and relax. So no work related stuff is permitted as I'm only bound to catch up on sleep and only do things that I want to do. Call me selfish, but that's how it goes these days.

I was supposed to have a trip with my colleagues to Hong Kong today. I have a ticket and there was no reason for me to back out. But I have work deliverable and I realized I couldn't make it to the flight. I tried my best efforts to reschedule, but my ticket has restrictions. So I kissed Hong Kong goodbye and it was an easy decision. In Hong Kong I would not be able to catch up on sleep. I would walk, tour around and interact immensely. It wouldn't be my ideal vacation. There wouldn't be anything new for me to gain from the trip, so I just gave them my itinerary, the same one I used last January when I was there and just decided to rest and enjoy my weekend in Manila. Initially I planned to have a trip to Tagaytay to unwind, but the mind is willing, the energy isn't. So Manila it is and I'm just so glad that it's a weekend.

My team members decided to drink after work. They invited me but I begged off. I finished my work at 7 am, shut down my computer, grabbed my bag and drove off. One of the calming experiences I have is every Saturday morning realizing that the week is over. It's quiet, sunny and promising. It's a transition from work to relaxation. I love driving home at this point. I might have missed my Hong Kong Trip, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm going home.

But since it's a Saturday, I wouldn't want to waste my day sleeping and waking up in the late afternoon. I would've wasted spending time with loved ones. So, I decided to scrap off sleep since I'm feeling a little bit excited. I had a 15 minute nap and at around 11 am, I dressed up, did some house errands and met Mitch a little after lunch.

Mitch , who is ever understanding of my situation, vowed to always block off his Saturday for me. He felt our time together is always short. Though we try our best to see each other during the week days like breakfast at his place (when I go home) and dinner at Fort (when he goes home), it wasn't like before. So I really appreciate him bending down to my wishes for the day. I get to be a queen.

He knew I didn't have sleep today and he noted to manage my crankiness, which I really try. We drove at Fort and ate Chinese food at HapChan. We would've gone to Le Ching in Greenhills, but I was so hungry. After which we went to Serendra for a stroll. He found a Sugarfree Chocolate cake and he was so happy. But before buying the cake he agreed to go with me to Boni High to check out Fully booked and some stores. He was there being patient when suddenly it rained and we decided to just have coffee at Coffee Bean. The gloom and the rain made sleep attack me with passion. It was 5 pm and I felt I could sleep any minute. After coffee, Mitch had to some phone errands at Market Market while I struggled. I was beginning to get cranky, which wasn't right and fair.

***And I was so hungry and craving for Chinese. Wanton Noodles, Raddish Cake, Hakaw and Siopao for Mitch. Burp.

***Raining hard and gloomy all over. Uh-oh...Morpheus is getting me...

At around 6 pm, I asked Mitch to drive to Makati to check out Pet Express, an SM Pet Department store. I've been wanting to check that out for months now. I find it really quirky, novel and intriguing. Since I so love my dog and I've been addicted to upholding a certain lifestyle for him, I imagine this store to be perfect, grand and complete. We went past Buendia until we saw the SM Hypermarket, which was once Makro, in SLEX. We went to Pet Express and had a fun time shopping stuff for Harvey. And since Harvey has a big Pet Club Fiesta thing going on Sunday, I decided to buy him two new outfits, a new bed and a new toy. I've been such a bad master lately.

By the time we're done at Pet Express, on our way home at around 7 pm, I began to hallucinate and sleep. Mitch was still talking to me and I forced to answer sometimes. I didn't even know if I was answering his questions correctly. He felt sorry for me and decided that for next week we would change strategy. At 7 pm, I was completely useless and I decided to sleep for a couple of hours and to meet him at 9 pm. But when I went home I was knocked off. I quickly looked for Harvey, but he was out with my sister at Fort. So I just gave Harvey's bags to Ate Ne and slept at my room with my shoes still on. It was that serious. I suddenly woke up when I received a call at 10 pm and I had to be honest with Mitch that I couldn't make it. He understood and he just let me catch up on sleep.

I woke up at 2 am and now I can't sleep. Been organizing my closet for an hour now but I'm still recharged and awake. This is not the way to live. Though I'm relaxed, I wanted to maximize my time with people who care and matter to me. I have to change my strategy next Saturday. Not that I was relaxed today, but it was strange and inconsistent. For next weekend I would know what to do. I would sleep first, 4 hours a minimum and in the late afternoon I'll be recharged and fine until late in the evening. Then I could go live for 2 days with a normal clockwork. It has been fun, but it could've been better.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Hangover remedies

I seldom drink therefore I seldom get drunk. And to record all my buzzed moments, it only happens 70% of the time that I drink out with friends. Since my system is not made up to withstand alcohol, I'm pretty weak in this department. Two cocktail drinks of vodka and I'm done. And I don't drink beer by the way.

Last night, I attended an after dinner party and had Bacardi Apple with a mixture of Sprite. I had two cups and I felt buzzed. I had two more and I was talkative, obsessive compulsive and assertive with my opinions. I wasn't wild or anything but I was just expressive with my opinions. To be specific, I became a neat freak dictator.

It was a fun party and I wouldn't miss out on seeing familiar faces. But the morning after was horrible. I didn't have the expected headache, but I totally felt uncomfortable. I felt so dehydrated and I wanted to throw up. But instead, I had to drive my brother to his guitar lesson at 8:30 AM. After dropping him off, I my innards and stomach felt so weird so I looked for a restaurant to kill time and eat. I went to Goodah, a 24 hour Goto house near my brother's guitar school. I didn't care. I just had to kill my dehydration and hunger. Based on experience, food is the best hangover remedy for me.

But it wasn't easy. I finished two bottles of water. I forced to eat my bland meal just to get through, but I admit that after having a one-hour breakfast I remedy, I felt better. I picked up my brother, dropped him at home, went with my mom to the mall and had lunch with parents at Savory restaurant where I just love their tasty chicken. After Savory I had vanilla ice cream and I finally said goodbye to my stomach hangover. Food has always saved me in this situation.

Based from experience, I deal with stomach hangovers the natural way. Good food.

Top stomach-hangover meals that always work for me.

1. Purefoods Corned beef, scrambled egg and rice
2. Cold Lemon Iced tea
3. Tapsilog at Sinangag express
4. Savory Chicken
5. Vanilla Ice Cream
6. Sardines on hot rice
7. Molo Soup and Siomai
8. Black Coffee
9. Ice Cold Pineapple Juice
10. Bananas and Hersheys

Basically the rule is, whatever you feel your body wants to eat, you have to eat. Cravings are way to tell us what our bodies need. I once craved for Tomato Sardines on hot rice, but there was a leftover seafood Lo Mein in the fridge, one of my favorites. I ended up eating Lo Mein, but the hangover didn't go away. I had to ask Ate Ne to cook Tomato Sardines on hot rice and the problem was instantly solved. There must be some science into this.

I never want to experience this again. It was awful, but if I get drunk again, I know I have reliable remedies the morning after.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How my weekends go

Saturdays are always interestingly buffed days for me. I still wonder how I manage to survive the day doing things with minimal sleep or nap.When I get home at around 7 am, everyone's awake and breakfast is served. I willingly stay up. Then I realize that I have activities lined up in the afternoons and evenings so I force myself to sleep. I sleep at 10 am and wake up at around 12:30 no matter how hard it is. I take a bath and get myself ready for Saturday. It's as if I didn't miss anything. I might go to the mall, do errands, go to the gym (yeah right) and fool around at home. Then at night, sleepiness starts to come in. For that I just take a quick 30 minute nap to store some energy that will last me until the regular-shift people gives up at around 3 to 4 am. When I get home at Sunday dawn, I sleep heavily unless of course you have a brother who needs to be driven to his guitar lesson at 8:30 am.

I seem to handle beefed up Saturdays pretty well as long as it's not work related. I'd rather be awake and maximize it with things that I want to do. I usually catch sleep on Sundays.

Last Saturday afternoon after I had my "nap," I went to Greenhills to accompany Mitch to buy something, then drove back to Fort to get my new pair of glasses. I waited for an hour and had a manicure pedicure. By 9, we ended the first leg and went home. Though SM City Bicutan is open until 11 pm, I begged to just use that time to rest because we were after all going to a pandesal birthday party. When I reached home, I slept and left the house at 11 pm. Since traffic going to Alabang was insane, we arrived there at 12:00 and I started to feel so sleepy, Mitch and I decided to stopover at ATC for coffee. I needed a booster.

We arrived at the party quarter to 1 am. I saw friends who wished me a happy homecoming. I met the Birthday Boy, enjoyed their company and had a drink that I thought I could handle. Bacardi Apple will forever stick in my mind right now. I knew I was so talkative, buzzed, but not radical. I exchanged crazy texts with people and I think once I hit the bed, I was a goner.

My sleep was cut short by my brother who needed a ride to his Guitar lesson. He woke me up at 8:30 am and I felt my stomach hurl. I was thankful that my head wasn't throbbing, but my stomach is. I wanted to throw up and I felt so dehydrated. The last time I felt like this was after my birthday party 2 years ago. I know the only way to remedy this is to drink lots of liquid and to eat a full course meal.

I took an uncomfortable shower, drove my brother to his music school and looked for a restaurant to hopefully kill my stomach-hangover. I hated the feeling. I ordered for softdrinks, water, Tapa meal and molo soup. Eating was a pain and I thought I was going to hurl, but it made me feel a lot better. At around 11 am, I picked up my brother, went home and immediately went to SM Bicutan with my mother to check out the last day sale. I bought comfortable dresses and tops on 50% off and I bought a cool pair of casual shoes for 10% off. My father went there as well and we had lunch at Savory, one of my favorite restaurants that serve tasty chicken. I honestly felt a lot better after and I was able to stay for a couple of hours.

My weekend was very fun, productive and in a way relaxing because it totally took my mind off work. I was able to spend time with Mitch. I bought my new pair of eyeglasses. I reunited with friends, acquired new clothes and feasted on some of my favorite food. I still dread the work week, but at least there's another weekend to look forward to. Next weekend: Hongkong!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Some Morning news

It's Monday and so very early in the morning. I did not intend to wake up at this hour, but I would just have to force myself to sleep later and make the most out of it.

In the news, our very own President was on a recent trip to the United States. He was in New York. And unlike the former president who had a controversial million-pesos dinner in one of the poshest restaurants in town, President Aquino decided to flip the coin and eat hotdogs that are popularly sold in the streets of New York. I know it wasn't a show to exhibit his modesty. The President is humble and simple to begin with. I know he really wanted to eat hotdogs. But Senator Zubiri also has a simple and shallow point, but nevertheless a point. Though the President's intention is good, he also has to watch eating processed and fatty foods almost everyday as report says. It doesn't take a doctor to realize that hotdogs and hamburgers eaten everyday could damage his health and nobody wants that to happen to the president.

Too much of everything is bad. Being too humble at the expense of your health is pointless. Go ahead Mr. President. You could eat at any respectable restaurants and I won't scrutinize you. You deserve it. You are my president and even I certainly won't catch myself eating hotdogs and burgers every single day. Respectable is quite different from extravagant. We'd rather have you in good shape to fight corruption than be too modest and sick. Go ahead, make that restaurant reservation. I would.


I learned a new thing in the world of diplomacy today.

In important meetings like this where the attendees are countries' highest officials and everything is televised, you would imagine certain protocols are strictly observed. I imagine when I was a fresh graduate working for a bank, I was helping my boss prepare the conference room for an important budget meeting with the corporate's officials. Everything was thought of. From food, to materials, to the types of chairs and to the presentation. We made sure that our bank officers were properly recognized and represented.

It seems someone did not do his job right. Diplomacy experts noted that something is wrong in the picture. While the picture seemed to depict like an ordinary peaceful meeting, the message of the Philippine flag seemed to suggest something else. According to experts, the flag which is behind Pres. Aquino was displayed upside down. The blue should have been at the top instead of the red. It should have been attached to the pole in such a way that the blue is on the left side of the representative. Any normal person would've passed by this image, but experts say that the flag's display could have been easily interpreted as our country in a state of war.

US apologizes for the display as it was just an honest mistake. I'm sure it was, from the picture, everything looked peaceful. And at the end of the day what we're really after is the purpose and the substance of the meeting and nothing more.



Not that it really matters to me, but Mariel Rodriguez and Robin Padilla finally admitted that they're married.

Thank god they have admitted it because they're all over the place and I am already getting irritated. I thought a simple admission would do. I may not be a direct fan of their match, but it's not like I am the one living with the person and leaving my career behind. My mother who likes Mariel felt a pinch of betrayal when news started to come up. I looked at her briefly and she realized she was just feeling silly. She thought that with Robin Padilla, she would've said yes too.

I honestly think that it's not a crime to fall in love and get married at your own pace. It just so happens that it was a quick and big personal decision made by public personalities that made it a bit explosive. Everyone deserves to be happy and I'd give them that.

So for that I say congratulations.

As people outside of the relationship, we have no right to judge how things will turn out based on the number of days, months they have known each other. We have no capacity to judge their feelings because we weren't there. We weren't there crazy in love. Of course we provide caution based on statistics, but love has encompassed boundaries of science. It's unexplainable. And the length of courtship or intensity of bonding are things best left to those who are really involved. So I say congratulations that as adults they have professed their love and decided to take the leap that most of us are scared or not yet ready to do.

After this if people still keep on chatting about it, it's not out of concern anymore. It's already a product of jealousy of their happiness and that is somehow pathetic.

Facebook has totally outlived all other social networking sites available. It has toppled the life expectancy records of Multiply and Friendster. Whoever planned and developed Facebook should be given an award equivalent to a Nobel Prize. Through Facebook people stay connected and updated with what's happening in life. When I was in the States and I couldn't call my boyfriend, I reach out to him through Facebook. It depends on the mode. I could chat with him, send him a message and read updates with what's going on with his life. And I could comment. For the purpose of friends and community, we organize lunches there, send greetings and most importantly we know we don't have to gossip in person anymore. On a serious note, important social and political messages get spread out fast like fire and of course it's FREE. People have voices and tailored identities in Facebook.

I think the proportion of people getting laptops and updated phones is to be connected to Facebook all the time. I also believe there is a connection of telecommunication companies lowering their fees and creatively looking of ways to go unlimited surfing because people want to stay connected to their emails, to valuable sights and of course to Facebook. Fathers, grandmothers or household helps have Facebook accounts. It's a Facebook world and aliens from outer space must be studying its relation to human lives right now.

God forbid something goes wrong with the site. According to news on Sept. 23, there was an outage and the site was made unavailable to some users. According to company officials, it has been restored and they apologized for the inconvenience. I smelled panic there.

There is also a Facebook movie coming up which is a lose version on how Facebook came about. The movie centers on the 26 year old socially awkward Harvard student who thought of a way to get his peers more connected. Apparently the real life Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook who happens to be a billionaire and ranked with the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and entrepreneurial giants, didn't approve of the movie's depiction. His younger film version apparently created Facebook to meet girls and not to improve the world's connectivity, which is essentially the reason why he built the site.

There is no denying that Facebook became a household name and it hatched a movie about its beginnings and the lives of people who were behind its creation. It's unstoppable. It's part of the daily grind and people get more hooked. I believe if the site crashed for some reason, people would get devastated and communication will get impaired. Just to note that I have a Facebook account, my dog has one too. I think nowadays, that's normal.

Explosion at the Bar Exams

My Facebook wall yesterday had full of posts from friends who were actually present in the bomb incident in the last Bar Exams in De La Salle University. Thankfully, none of my friends who were there were injured. But most of them witnessed the gore and heard the explosion. According to the the news, it happened at around 5:05 pm just as they were cheering the examinees as they left the DLSU campus. The crowd initially thought the blast was part of the program.

Police are looking at every angle. It could be a frat driven incident or a loose-minded person who just wanted to stir things around. Whatever the case is, I hope the police close this case fast. Have the attorneys of San Beda, who were the most heavily injured, prosecute the alleged criminal. That would be very interesting and a quick match-off.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday;: Another Owl Movie Day

I had a pleasant Sunday spending time with my siblings. That means two thousand pesos for a 3d movie and lunch. My wallet cringed and no matter how it held back, I knew my siblings deserve a break as much I do, But I admit they could be very demanding and expensive. But I know that I don't hold back with traveling and food and most certainly I don't hold back with these two.

We watched The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. A kick-ass animated movie loosely based on a novel and directed by Zack Snyder, the same director who created the envelop breaking movie 300. Again, I will stress that I'm not really a fan of movies with humanized animals in it, but since watching How to Train your Dragon, I've given these types of movies much thought. I've seen the The Legend of the Guardians in trailers even before I left for the States three months ago. I knew I wanted to watch it. It came across as an epic, not necessary childish. And knowing that Zack Snyder will direct it saves a lot of intrigue. I watched it with Mitch for the first time on Saturday and we both liked it. I wanted to share the experience to my siblings hence making it a second time for me on Sunday.

The movie is not sappy and childish at all. I wouldn't coin it as a light, but it wasn't depressing either. It's an animated movie with sense, kick-ass special effects both an adult and a kid would enjoy. It has impressive fight scenes, simple good vs. evil plot, a fresh perspective on the owl creatures and most especially the graphics were amazing. I wasn't bored one bit. It's a sort of animation that has sense. I honestly felt like watching something close to National Geographic. But of course the owls could talk, could wear arms and read. When I went home, I became a nerd and googled information about owls. I can't believe I don't know anything about them. I never thought they could be really interesting creatures.

A colleague of mine asked me yesterday if it's something worth watching with her 6 year old kid. It's 3D and paying for a 300 pesos ticket for a crappy 3D movie would be like a thief in the night. But I urged her to watch it. Fortunately, she got back to me and said they loved it.

This is a perfect date-family-sibling-friend movie. If you are a critic, go ahead, I think you'll like it too. And while you've decided, don't waste the opportunity of watching it in 3D.

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Charice on Glee

I hardly watch TV. If there's something worth watching or talking about, I usually get my dose online. I've never been a fan of series, foreign or local. So Gossip Girl, True Blood, Weeds, Prison Break, CSI, Glee, I know by name and by advertisements but that's it. I don't know the inner conflicts of the stories or the intricate plot and characters. It's safe to say that I've watched one or two episodes of a series, but that's it. For some reason, these shows do not appeal to me.

But there's been a sensation with Glee nowadays. I heard that this American musical TV series hit the big mark on their first season. Most of my friends and colleagues are fan of it even my boyfriend. My sister and brother, not fanatics, but are knowledgeable with the story's progression. They began to download episodes, post something about it in Facebook periodically and talk about it during lunch. I know of Glee because of them actually. But this time, this first episode in the 2nd season, it especially hit big time especially for Filipinos. Apparently, youtube singing sensation Charice Pempengco, who is young but has a voice comparable to the greatest American Divas, made her first appearance in Glee as an exchange student Sunshine Corazon. Glee as I now know is a global tv sensation. With her on the show, her fame will shoot up, but not to belittle Oprah's backing and top billboard record of course.

I think it was Tuesday dawn last week when I went down to our office canteen, I literally saw packs of colleagues facing the flat screen TV's as if they're watching a martial law proclamaition. The world stopped for a few minutes. Charice was there in the episode with the Glee Cast, acting, looking a BIT fabulous, belting her infamous voice. I am happy to say that I'm proud. There's no question this girl has got talent, but we all know talent is not the only thing that keeps the artist afloat. I really hope she makes it big in Hollywood.

No more additional comments for me. No matter what they say, at the end of the day, that voice brought her in that show and let's just all appreciate her for that. If she does well in TV, then good for her, Glee became her break. She brought Filipino talent in the global mainstream. I support and I'm very proud.

Positivism I found and it's free

I slept for 3 hours. It was a power nap in my case. Now I'm recharged for Sunday and the fear of being grumpy is gone. I'm off to a good start. The sun is up. The day is free and I intend to make this day a great one.

I learned that it pays to be positive. I finally realized that it helps especially in dire situations. I know they have released medical studies about this one. I think I've read some, but at that time I wasn't really the positive-thinker so it didn't register. You see, all my life I've been a pessimist. Generally I think I still am, but a little sunshine of positivism continues to radiate especially when I encounter really shitty circumstances. I just found out last week how positive I can be and there's no point in denying it.

The most obvious shitty circumstances I have is usually at work, past and present. Everyone is stressed at work at some point, but mine is elevated into a higher level. Stress, pressure and constant expectation to deliver something grand and big while doing it in a fishbowl is so hard. It could generally crack a normal person. I seriously thought that with the pressure I currently face, it could make someone jeopardized and crazy. These days (until Christmas for which hopefully my project and migration go live), sleeping and eating become options. Work becomes a life and death situation at some point that I have to deliver or else. The information is trickling like sand. Interactions with superiors are huge. Eyes are on me and on the project 100%. It's like a battlefield at work.

Nevertheless, I know that I am here for a reason. I know I asked for this kind of work at some point. By history, this is the most challenging role I've ever signed up for. But I know even if my work is stressful and I get my heart racing all the time, I wouldn't give up on this. Even though everyday ends up tiring, I enjoy my simple accomplishments and working with people who are also exerting efforts in making things work. I appreciate their dedication and there is no way that I could give up on that. I love that I'm still learning new things. Slowly I've accepted that until I get my project live, I would experience hardships, birth pains, setbacks and disappointments. That is something I should prepare for and not be consumed with. There is no reason to ignore or deny that these things will bug me every single day. It was time for me to let go of my unrealistic expectations and unnecessary amount of pressure on myself.

Last week I had one of the most disappointing days ever. In hindsight I know I disappointed some people and I had clashed with a colleague. I thought this particular issue was under control until a rug was swept up under my feet by a person whom I was depending on. I was burned alive so to speak. That day I was exhausted, pissed and confused. I wanted to go home, hit someone and just hide. But I knew I couldn't and it was something that already happened. All I could do was to let off steam.

When I went home that day I knew my happy cells were burned. I couldn't think and function normally anymore. All I had to do was sleep. But before I completed surrendered to dream land, I thought about how things went. For one last time, I let out my frustrations and accepted it for what it is. I learned how to let it go and to look forward. When the calming realization settled in, I texted some people from work who witnessed what happened that day. I finally had the courage to tell them to be positive and that I am all right. Thankfully I got very good replies. I slept knowing that people continue to support and believe in me as I believe in myself.

In past experiences after a shity day, I would usually sulk and chug at work with an intense feeling of retribution, but this time I woke up nicely. I bought sweet goods to bring to the office as simple offerings that I'm still thankful with everything that's happening to me. I wanted to share my gratitude and happy thoughts with people. My offerings might not be much, but it's my way of staring a great day and appreciating people for their hard work. I came at work feeling energized and positive. The friction and frustration became past news. I had a clearer mindset on life and I worked with all of my heart. I know I love my job. I know that I'm not perfect, and I know there will be hard and disappointing days. But I also know that I am doing this for a reason, that I deserve this challenge to make me a better person. I just have to work hard, be patient, confident and positive.

In the past, I would not have been able to type these words. I would not have realized how real being positive is even if it was staring me at the face. I would just shrug it positivism off and continue living the world being a pessimist. I would be extra hard with myself for no productive reasons. I would bite off my confidence and slowly destroy my self esteem. But something happened to me that made me see the light. It could be a combination of maturity or wisdom. I learned how to be positive in dire circumstances though I'm still improving on that. I also know that being positive won't erase challenges. I would still be having shitty days and I would still feel confusion, disappointment and anger at some point, but I know a douse of positivism helps me clear things up and accept things for what they are. Positivism helps me to move on and be better. It helps me to believe in myself more and helps me not lose my goals when I hit roadblocks. Positivism I found. It's free and it doesn't take a lot of effort and science.

A nice and satisfying Saturday

It's 4:21 AM and the sun will up in a couple of hours. Shortly I would hear my father squeak out of his room while he prepares to leave for golf. I would hear Ate Ne preparing breakfast and Harvey coming in and out of the garden looking for that huge snake that everyone saw on Saturday afternoon while I was asleep. Yes, there was an unwelcome snake in our house and it was huge. It was as thick as an arm of an average 7 year old kid and it's length is from one car side mirror to the other. I'm sure it was a surreal and a scary sight. Nobody in our household likes snakes, well except for my sister who actually had a pet aqua snake before, which died because of my sister's usual neglect. When I woke up at around 7 pm, everyone was talking about it and I saw tennis rackets, golf clubs, flashlights and umbrellas everywhere. Apparently they all cornered it at one point, but never had the courage to do something with it. It escaped to the other part of the lot. Harvey, my hunter-worker dog, found it. They were about to attack one another and my father, out of fear of Harvey's safety, asked them to pull him out. Then it was gone. The snake used our garden-bar as an escape route. Everyone gave up out of fear and exhaustion. I think they'll call a heavy-duty exterminator this morning. Last year, I made a blog about my mother finding a small baby snake in her room. It was just a little big bigger than a normal worm, but now I think they found his mom. Scared for our dogs. The snake might actually harm them or retaliate. In fact, we're not sure if the snake is singular or plural.

I woke up and listened to the interesting story and made sure that an exterminator should be called first thing in the morning. I nearly forgot my date with Mitch. I dressed and met up with him at 8 pm as we started to do his plan for the night. He knows how stressed and busy I am with work and he knows that I need a relaxing weekend to recharge. So bless him for taking me out to dinner. He knows how I love Japanese and eating in Little Tokyo in Makati.

I love Little Tokyo. My father introduced this place to me as usual. Been eating here whenever I crave for fresh and authentic Japanese food. Whenever I eat here, I feel like I'm in Japan. It's more than what the food offers, but the setting is very very Japanese. Little Tokyo is like a small compound of authentic Japanese restaurants. Hardcore Japanese, businessmen and food trippers go there. In the middle of the busy city, there's a quaint Japanese place where it is always a very impressive venue for dating. The ambiance is relaxing and reminiscent of Japan. The food is fresh and bursting of Japanese flavor and the crowd is very cultured. Mitch, with his very Asian looks, really blended well in the crowd. Though he looked like a malnourished Samurai.

After dinner, we went straight to Greenbelt to have coffee and movie. He also knew what to watch. He knows that before I left for the States, I wanted to watch the Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga'hoole. It was an effort for his part since he is not really a fan of 3d and animation, but I saw that he's making an extra effort to keep me happy. While waiting for the movie, we had coffee at our favorite place in Coffee Bean. I was quite surprised that the coffee shop now serves yogurt. The movie ended up to be a cool one. Mitch loved the animation. Driving home, he couldn't get over how amazing it was. We actually enjoyed and Owl adventure-action movie. At this point, I couldn't ask for more.

The movie capped the night off and it was fortunately very good. Mitch was also very impressed with the animation. We both liked the simple story (which still lacked a bit of depth) But the real thing was, we were just so happy to be with each other. He missed the laid back Saturday dinner we would always do, which includes coffee and movie breaks. I missed hanging out with my man in Greenbelt and enjoying jokes and jabbers with him. He knows how to cheer me up and he lived up to the expectation tonight.

After our date, we went to a friend's house and had a relaxing conversation before I headed home at 3 am. Since I slept the whole day I'm having a hard time to sleep again. It is the known pain of a graveyard shift's body clock. But no worries, I intend to make my Sunday packed and relaxing as well. Probably I'll get some winks in a few hours before I execute my promise to my brother, which is to spend time playing computer games with him.

I intended to relax and just enjoy simple things this weekend, which was done. God knows that I need to recharge for the chugging week ahead (you have no idea). I have one day left to rest and spend time with people I hardly see anymore. Saturday started well and I'm off to a good start. It was a simple evening, but it was very fulfilling. Time away from work and more time for family and friends is definitely what I need, oh and a little bit of rest and sleep would also be fine.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Busy Nowadays

I've been busy lately. Probably this will go on until Christmas.

I'm busy adjusting to this shift, to new people, to heavier responsibilities and to wild expectations. Sometimes I get goosebumps going to work because I know I have to deliver GOLD all the time. It's not anymore a possibility of pulling this project off. It's a matter of MUST.

Forgive me if I don't grace this blog often. Even my weekends are drained by compromised time with loved ones. I will get back on my own terms soon. Soon.

This is the perfect time to have a vacation, don't you think? Even for the weekend.

And for that...I smell HONG KONG!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


After attending a charming children's party in QC, I went over to Manila Peninsula to pick up my American Colleagues for dinner. Since they wanted to eat crabs, I decided to take them to the nearest crab-joint, Red Crabs in Greenbelt. I figured to save Dampa for some other day when the major manila participants are complete. From Manila Peninsula, we hopped to Greenbelt and ordered Philippine Seafood dishes and not to mention the gigantic coconut crabs. The dinner was fulfilling, scrumptious and messy. For Mitch and I, we paid 4 thousand bucks for the four giant crabs, halaan, softdrinks, oyster cake and rice. We nearly vomited seeing the bill, but I knew from the start that the place ain't Dampa.

After dinner we joined a colleague of ours across the restaurant for some drinks and desserts. Then we transferred to Italiannis for further cocktails. There we discussed a lot about cultural perceptions, social politics and of course, the topic we all had in common and the exact thing that brought us together, work.

Since I don't want to bore you with work stuff, I'm just going to write here about interesting perceptions our guests have of the Philippines.

1. We don't have air conditioned buildings.
2. Starbucks is rare to us
3. Western food is rare to us.
4. We don't have cable, even if we do it's dubbed using our local language
5. Our music is old
6. We rarely drive cars
7. We are "physically" poor.
8. We're uncivilized.
9. Our city is so small and boring.
10. We are not that interest at all.

While I was in Cincinnati, a city that hosts their own skyscrapers, conveniences and landmarks, I thought that our very own Global Fort Taguig could simply melt the America town away in terms of entertainment, people and buildings. I found it funny how my colleagues in Cincinnati kept on asking questions that clearly sprung from rural documentaries of National Geographic or Discovery. What grounded Americans, who rarely travel, think of the Philippines as a 3rd world country full of cows, grass and simplicity. I just smiled and thought of how badly they needed to educate themselves and straighten their funny perceptions. As expected, when they got in the Philippines, stayed at Manila Peninsula Hotel and walked at our new and modernized office headquarters in Fort, they were speechless and full of all the words they ate.

Thank god I have the means to travel and get cultured. My world is not limited to cable documentaries.