Sunday, January 31, 2010

A good January

I just got back from a 4-day vacation in Hongkong! Actually it was 2 1/2 days if we were to count the time we arrived in Hongkong (midnight) and the time we left for Manila (early morning). This would be I think my last vacation for this quarter. God knows that I badly need to save and recover from too much food tripping for the past two months. Before I'd know it, it would be summer and it would be regretful to parade an undesirable version of me. Vacations would always be waiting for me anyways. I don't need to rush.

I should be happy. A lot of things have happened this January. Aside from the graceful new year transition, I've also done some initial steps to search for other career opportunities. It's something that I've been wanting to do even though some people are discouraging. For me, there is nothing wrong with trying to know what's cooking in the industry. As long as I'm equipped, ready and positive there is nothing to fear.

This January is also a month for celebrations because I just got promoted. I found out about the good news the day before my flight to Hongkong, which makes my vacation extra sweet. What's good about it is the feeling of pride and happiness. Thinking about it, working in a corporation is not that bad if you want structure and systematic growth. If you work hard enough and reach a certain goal, promotions always remind you of your value and growth. And nothing beats promotions at the start of the year.

Second, I have positively traveled to three major tourist destinations: Cebu and Hongkong-Macau. Local and International. This year is designated for traveling for me, no matter how admittedly it can directly drain resources. But I always tell them that the experience is always worth it.

Travel. Promotions. Realizations. Transitions. Gosh, I have lots of things to share, but right now I'm dozing off. I'm so tired from all the walking, touring and lack of remarkable sleep. I'm literally sleeping as I type. Tomorrow, I have lots of stories and pictures to share. For now, I have to sign off.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Maybe You're Really Crazy

I cannot help but cringe every time I see Marlene Aguilar on TV. I can just imagine that as a mother she might be crazy enough to protect her son at all cost even if it's not right. She could be crazy enough to toy with the legal system and play around with the dangling hope of the victims' families eager to see justice served. To concoct possibilities, contradict witness' claims and findings that her son, the super brilliant US military soldier that she thinks he is, was framed by their British bodyguard. But I cringe because she is a classic combination of crazy and arrogantly egotistic.

Crazy people for her are intelligent people like herself. She missed a simple feature though. Craziness are celebrated and tolerated when it's not harmful to others, not fatal. Not all crazy people are meant to be geniuses. Crazy people who continuously hurt and fail to see the damages done to others should be locked up and treated. Unfortunately arrogantly crazy people are worse.

Jason Ivler was involved in two car accidents that resulted to the deaths of two men. His weapons of crime, his demeanor, his conduct and most especially witness' claims point to him alone. Yet he didn't give himself in to properly defend himself. He didn't even try to collect efforts to prove that he might even be framed. He inconvenienced people and toyed with the system on top of his alleged cold murders. What did he do? He hid in his mother's 1,000 square foot home and engaged in open fire with the NBI resulting to injuries on both parties. A lot of people want justice served and want his head on the platter. This is not something society could condone, even society with "crazy" people like myself.

And here comes the mother of all arrogance protecting her son and cooly answering interviews on TV. People call her crazy for doing what she did, for protecting and branding her son inappropriately, for projecting that he has done nothing wrong and he is an angel from the heavens. Crazy talk. But I think she has a rebuttal. Apparently she is an author of internationally acclaimed novels that brought prestige to the country. She believes she achieved far more than what people could do in their lifetime. She couldn't be crazy because she believes she is so intelligent. And if by being intelligent is a crime then she would surrender. Err...if she's just that intelligent, I guess someone should tell her that she missed the point and explain what intelligent really means.

She might be an author of those books, but that is not the subject. She is being looked down upon by society for protecting her son from the law. She is being looked down upon by society for concocting stories against evidence and because she doesn't hold any remorse or hold any moral obligations. People brand her as crazy, fitting description of a mother that loves her son at all cost, but to stress that she couldn't be crazy because she wrote those fantastically acclaimed books is somewhat elementary.


"We are genius[es], borderline insanity. My intelligence is way above most people. Does that make me insane?" - Marlene Aguilar

“Maybe that is why ordinary people can’t understand us because our level of intelligence is way above compared to other people.”

“My house is 1,000 square meters. I cannot possibly see every square footage of my residence in 24 hours. Jason was a member of the special operations command of the US army,”

“Jason doesn’t regret anything about his life. Jason is not like any human being… Jason has gone to Iraq. He has taken the most dangerous positions while in Iraq. So many times he could have died and so many times I have accepted his death and he is still alive… I mean I saw Jason walking toward the guns. I saw him charging forward. He accepted his death and he is still alive. That is the will of God.”

“I’m calling for the US Ambassador… Jason is one of your soldiers who fought in Iraq. He fought bravely. This is how they’ve treated your soldier. Defend him and protect him, please.”

"Aguilar also boasted about her son’s sudden popularity boost, citing that Jason’s Facebook fan club had gained a thousand members in a span of days."

Err? I think you missed the point, dear. Nakakaloka ka. And now she's friends with Ampatuan Jr. The world has gone crazy indeed. Truth is we're all crazy at some point, but crazy enough to be locked up? I don't think so, only a few like Marlene Aguilar.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My New Toy: Ipod Nano

When my dad went to the states 3 years ago, he bought me an IPOD Video with speakers, car connectors, cases and the works. Of course I was happy. I finally got to experience the hype about IPOD and it served me well until I left it somewhere to rot. I'm not the type that enjoys downloading songs and movies, took me some time to know how. I depended (ordered) on techie-boyfriend to do the downloading for me until I got tired carrying it around. I may be a music lover, but I am one of those few who could bear living without an IPOD.

It wasn't always the case. There was a time I always brought my ipod with me especially at work. Probably my IPOD Video's LCD was cracked due to my inefficient tech-care. No matter what I say, it all boils down to that. Although it might be defective, it's still working. I can still watch videos only that I have to endure seeing a black line at the center and that unfortunately is something I cannot endure. It annoys me tremendously and seeing it makes me want to throw the unit away. Whenever I look at it, it reminds me of how under-utilized yet majorly battered it was under my care. The IPOD video eventually was adopted by the techie-boyfriend before it's too late.

There are days that I miss it especially on crucial moments when I need it. When I'm pissed at work and I need a breather. When I'm feeling sentimental and would just want to listen to something and daydream. When I want to escape a conversation or endure long drives when I couldn't read. Mitch got charitable and gave me his 1st IPOD ever, until the battery went kaput. Soon he bought his I-Phone and IPOD touch and I was just left borrowing. Buying is not an option for me because it isn't my priority, and frankly I don't know if I want to go through experiencing an IPOD dying on me again.

Before my flight back to Manila, Mitch said that he had a surprise for me. Knowing Mitch, he is a practical dude. He might have a tendency to be impulsive when it comes to tech-stuff, but when it comes to gifts and spending money, he is very practical and very choosy. He is like me in some ways that he doesn't give gifts that would just end up on the shelf. He gives me something that I would use and want. But there was no occasion. As far as I was concerned, we already exchanged presents last Christmas. Curious, I demanded to know the reason for the surprise instead of finding out what the surprise really is. He wouldn't budge until he began to gracefully insert questions in our conversation about what I'm currently listening to. Apparently he wasn't subtle enough. I knew as soon as I land Manila, I would have a new IPOD.

I was surprised that he would give me something like this with no occasion at all. He said he wanted to celebrate and share the fruits of his photography gigs with me. And he knows that I miss my ipod. An Apple loyalist, it was an easy choice for him.

He got sheepish because he wasn't able to get me the green one, but he got me a cool eggplant color instead and I love it. Giving me the IPOD is a gift itself, but he also took the effort to upload categorized songs and my favorite movies such as Neverending Story and Reality Bites. He downloaded a full season of Family Guy for me. In short, he gave me a loaded-cased-Ipod Nano. It made going home to Manila more exciting. I wasn't expecting this, but I cannot thank him enough. It felt Birthday and Christmas all over again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sinulog 2010

I go home to Cebu almost twice a year, but not during Sinulog. I go home during Summer or Christmas seasons. On my last trip to Cebu, which was three months ago, some of my relatives were encouraging me to try to go back for the most anticipated festival. They kept on building it up. Not that I'm interested in street parties and liquor horde, but I've been longing to witness the festival upclose as an adult. My last Sinulog was in Gradeschool while I was eating Cheez-It and sipping Coke on a plastic. I couldn't remember anything. I could only imagine when my aunts said that I did enjoy. All I have are pictures to prove that I did. So as soon as I got back from Cebu last October, I went online and booked a ticket for the Sinulog weekend. I guess Cebu is first on my 2010 travel list.


My flight to Cebu was at 7 pm on January 15th, which meant that I had to grace work. Unfortunately, work at that day sucked. Issues sprung from nowhere. It was stressful. When I got to the airport, I wasn't festive. I had a hard time shaking it off.

As expected the huge plane was cramped with expats, balikbayans, tourists, Cebuanos or people like me looking for an escape. I can see the excited faces of the Tagalogs expecting a series of parties as soon as we'd land. For me, I just wanted to go home to the place I love and simply rest.

I was reading an interesting work by Jhumpa Lahiri when I slept until the end of the flight. When we landed, it was raining. People voiced their disappointment, but I shrugged with delight. I knew Sinulog will continue, rain or shine. It would've been funner if it rained, but imagine sick people flying back to their original location after weekend's over.

I got my bag and waited 30 minutes for my aunt, uncle, cousins and sister to pick me up. The crowd was just crazy. After the glorified arrival of my ride, we went straight to have hearty late night dinner at Nonki, our favorite authentic Japanese restaurant.


In between Sinulog I visited relatives of my mother. It's nice to see them again. It's nice to drive the streets of Metro Cebu. It's nice to entertain the thought of relocating. It made Manila seem such a bad place for me.

Naturally I ate a lot.


My sister experienced the SINULOG night life, I didn't. It's a matter of choice. I couldn't share anything fancy about the bar hoppings and drinking out, but I heard it was a blast especially along the Mango Avenue Stretch, The Loft, IT park and in Nivel. I can tell. The traffic, the lights and how my sister partied till morning were enough signs that it was extremely enjoyable.

Whereas for me, I experienced resting, strolling around in broad daylight, eating so in short the boring stuff for many. I experienced waking up at 6 am and marching the streets of Metro Cebu appreciating how dancers executed their routines, rain or shine. The costumes were insanely intricate. I could just imagine the "march-dance" extremely tiring. I smelled the competition in the air.

My cousins and I went with the Lahug contingent. My aunt being an elected official of the Baranggay, we got access to the whole event. It was some experience to watch the parade and another feeling to be actually in it. It was a great, humbling and unique experience for me.

I learned a few things:

1. SINULOG is a dance festival open to registered contingents all over the Philippines. Winners are mostly non-Cebuanos.
2. The competition is judged according to category. Contingents performing either: Sinulog Based or Free Interpretation. Sinulog Based are specific dances of giving praise to Sto. Nino. Free Interpretation is anything goes.
3. Judging covers the STREET Dance (all over the metro) and the STAGED presentation in Cebu Sports Complex.
4. The mood of choreographers, sponsors and supporters could be very intense. Never mess with them.
5. If you decide to watch Sinulog, prepare to walk long distances to parking space or getting a ride home.


As usual, the thought of going home sucks, but vacation had to end eventually. I packed my bags and thought of reasons of going back soon.

As expected, I was traveling with lots of tourists bound for Manila couldn't help but snicker at the thought that I had a packed CNT lechon with me, my aunt being a valued customer. I heard the lechon supplies were wiped last weekend. I also heard scary and desperate tourists battling it out for a kilo of lechon to take home. Intense.


Definitely. Permanent or Temporary? We'll see.

Sanity Checks

It's been evident in my most recent posts that I'm having tough days. After my quick trip from Cebu, almost everything spiraled to worse. Despite the vacation and the homecoming gift, work started to pile up, expectations started to rise and certain unpleasant social encounters have been experienced. It must be all of these with pre-menstrual syndrome, which make a lethal combination. My mood varies from extremely serious to silly and to bitchy. I guess few people would understand or bear. For the benefit of humanity, and myself, there are sanity checks that should help me assess my current situation. It might help me curb my social destruction.

1. WORK is a blessing.

I have work. I could say that I have a career. I'm thankful that I have means to pay my bills (Somehow), reward and support myself. I may not be a bigwig, but I'm learning. I'm stable and I have goals to make this year financially healthy. Expectations and challenges at work should not unnerve me. No matter what I do, stressing myself out wouldn't help. I should learn how to balance and work under intense pressure without bringing the negative vibes at home. I should not be obsessive about material things and to learn to accept limitations. Work is a blessing not a curse.

2. VACATIONS are priceless

Vacations are priceless therefore should be planned properly. I shouldn't book tickets out of a whim. I should learn to control to make traveling more delightful. It's not the quantity but the quality. Vacations should uplift the working spirit, not destroy it. It should a way to recharge and not be a permanent escape from reality. Vacations should be enjoyed freely and vacations should be eventually end.

Hongkong-Macau in Three days - Something to look forward to.

3. GIFTS from loved ones

Gifts, especially from loved ones, are treasured. It doesn't have to be material. Their presence, attention and love are gifts. It helps me appreciate life and experience genuine love and generosity. I should acknowledge and embrace it. It should help me focus on my goals and all things that make this world a happier place.


It's just the start of the year, but it's good to see goals slowly being accomplished....somehow.

5. LIFE itself

No matter how shitty things may be right now, I am still alive. I'm still breathing, feeling emotions and experiencing new things. Things will look up, I'm sure. Positive thinking is foreign to me, but it's something helpful at a time like this.

Five things that keep me going at a time like this.

Conclusion: Magnificently Sane.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Online Newspapers will charge

I’m an Internet Fan. Ever since Internet’s been made accessible, mobile and relatively affordable, my life’s been easier and convenient. Mainstream information such as international news and getting some facts straight about subjects as remote as Carcar Chicharon are literally just a click away. Internet changes people’s habits on acquiring information as well as it changes the usual time-consuming activities. One of which is changing the landscape of journalism, in particular reference to newspapers.

I’ve been reading newspapers ever since I was prep my mother said. Even though I only read the Comics strip of Nancy in Manila Bulletin, I found interest in getting my hands smudged with ink. It eventually progressed into reading headlines and lifestyle sections. Although business and the editorial sections weren’t my cup of tea, I still regarded newspapers as my alternative to books. But I stopped looking for newspapers roughly 7 years ago. It was in 2003 that I began to love everything online, including news.

At my first job, I worked as a Research Analyst in one of the leading local commercial banks in the country. I worked in the head office reporting to the AVP of Corporate Planning Division. One of my tasks, aside from the grueling budget and MIS work, was to read newspapers. My primary job was to be informed on what’s going on with the banking industry and other business ventures. I took notes on corporate merging, Central bank news, business statistics and industry trends. I used these to make daily and monthly economic business reports to be submitted to business heads and the board, who really don’t have the time to read. I must admit that I wished I was reading newspapers all day than accomplish other deliverables.

As part of my job I belonged to the very few who were given unlimited access to the internet. To cut costs in subscribing to six to seven major broadsheets per day, I was given access to internet, which made the news faster and cheaper to acquire. During quarter end, when financial statements of various banks are published, I had no choice but to subscribe to 7 major newspapers for two weeks in order to capture and collate all the printed FS. Based on the printed FS, I would make a report and submit it to the board. In those two weeks, my workstation would eventually look like a dumpsite or a newspaper recycling section. If people in the office needed newspapers, they knew where to get it. Imagine if I had to subscribe to 7 major newspapers every single day. That was why as far as those normal days were concerned, I treated online newspapers as gifts of technology.

I stuck through the habit. Now, I do not find the urge to buy news on print. I get my daily doze of local to international news online. It’s real time, accessible and very eco-friendly. I could jump to ten broadsheets in one day. I could also read glamorized journals and magazines without paying a hundred bucks. I get informed fast without contributing to pollution, egging to watch news on primetime schedule and wait for the mornings when newspapers would be delivered. My parents, who aren’t that internet-savvy, still subscribe to daily broadsheets every day. That’s understandable and I still find time to browse and sift through those whenever internet’s down and I’m tired to turn on the computer, which are very rare moments.

Online newspapers like other online publications are very empowering. For the readers, they could be informed 24/7 as the news happens. Journalists could update the news real time without the hassle of massive reprinting. Readers could also jump from one broadsheet to another, from local news to international. They don’t get their hands dirty, it doesn’t clog up space and they could benefit by viewing photos, videos and polls all in one site. I know I’m just one of the billions who embrace online newspapers. But the thought of future costs and online subscriptions have crossed my mind. I knew a time would come that online newspapers would have to generate revenues from readers and limit access based on subscription. With the recent recession and a lot of market migration, I can just imagine that newspapers are struggling to maintain their number of subscription. Customers would want to cut costs and people are becoming more modern. With financial struggles and statistically lower revenues, specialized journals have started to limit online viewing to paying customers. Newspapers are slowly following suit. This is expected. Not all better services are meant to be free.

NY TIMES, one of the international papers I read, would move to charge Web readers for 2011. They would follow the metered system like some of the major journal companies are doing across the globe. The Times Co. would offer free access to specific set of articles per month then charge users for excess. It might scare and drive readers away, but top global news sites like NYTIMES, are confident that their readers are loyal. After all, they pride themselves to be illustrious and if not the best, one of the best and widely recognized newspapers in the globe.

As I browse through Manilatimes.Net, one of the online news sites that I prefer, I would gladly accept the charge as long as it’s reasonably priced than pay to read news on print. In the end, going online would be helping the environment, getting information fast and being able to voice out comments on specific articles. Of course, the traditional print would still be there. This is a matter of choice and preference. But at some point, when culture of reading newspapers is beginning to shift, certain parties would have to think of ways to survive. I would understand and support the move to charge because after all it made reading news more convenient and fun for me.

Article: NY Times to charge web-readers in 2011

Status Check: 3rd Week of January

I bought a Grande Hot Caramel Macchiato with extra espresso shot in Starbucks, an upgrade to my usual tall drink. I need to wake up and keep my mind rolling as I also need to reward myself. The reward may be a little off budget for my morning expense, but either this or sleeping miserably on my workstation. For today I drove my sister's car and left our house at 5:45 am. I got to the office at 6:30. The streets are still cold and gray. I'm grateful for having the will to wake up early in the morning, being able to drive the car without traffic stress and enjoying the streets with less people. I need a few moments of peace before I start to work. Ever since I got back from Cebu it has been undesireable.

I know this is just a transition phase. A lot of work piled up while I was gone and I need to catch up fast. January is almost done and I think I've successfully managed the first month of the year well. January has ushered my expectations and made me realize things that I should do for the rest of the year. January is also a mark a positive traveling year for 2010. Two destinations in the first month of the year is more than I could ask for. I would leave the rest of my first quarter to saving, writing and opportunity seeking. For January, I am also almost done reading my third book. Fortunately, I've successfully incorporated the reading frenzy back in my life again. Before January is over, I would have been finishing on my fourth book.

As for my Starbuck's planner, it's still here, but updates should be made. I admit that I'm slowly losing my grip on my plans of becoming a planner user. Family life has been steady so far, no further dramas and insurmountable crisis. My sister is coming home from Cebu this morning. Her partying life would be toned down for sure as all things will go back to normal. I wish her luck on her interviews and I wish her January is as fun and steady as mine. As for my weight wellness program, I'm still trying to gain my momentum. After Christmas and Cebu, I'm having difficulties refraining from eating luscious dishes and losing the right mood to sweat it out. Give me a few more days to get back into a healthier routine. Deadline is on or before February, which is next week. I also have yet to budget my trip to Hong Kong next week and pay my accommodations. Aside from that I have to buy a couple of jackets and apparel for Winter. This weekend I am also scheduled to pay a portion of my credit card bills and phone bills. And before I leave for Hong Kong, I would have to bring Harvey to his doctor for his annual booster shots.

January has been busy, mentally steady and fun. The work may be heavier than usual, but the work challenge should always be good. I should be grateful that I still have what it takes to perform and do extra activities in between. Relationships this month are comforting and steady while career opportunities are floating and beckoning. Goals are right on track. January has been a steady month of transitioning, a good start of goals, a month of positive memories and a challenging planning stage to live the whole year as intended.

I think the extra shot pulled through. Now I'm more ready to face the day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To the Jail: Jason Ivler and Co.

After my afternoon hang-out, I went home and was able to see the footage of the bloody Jason Ivler, the suspected murderer of a couple of motorists due to road rage.

I just want to say that no person with a right mind would kill and harass people because of road traffic. No person in their right, moral and just mind would make fun of the law and act as a coward. And no person in the right mind would try to engage in a bloody fight to keep his freedom he does not deserve. Jason Ivler and Co. are not OBVIOUSLY IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS.

I cannot help but feel relief and hatred when he was caught. I want him alive, that's one, and good thing the media's there for all of us to see the action. Without the media, I believe it would be complete chaos and further bloodbath. I want him alive for him to be aware and possibly regret what he did. I want him to repent even privately and burn his own thoughts knowing that he killed people and toyed with the nation. I want justice to be rightfully served with his eyes wide open. I want him to painful suffer withdrawal from drugs and his effects of craziness. I want him to correct his overly corrupted mind.

The mother is not any better. At some point I would understand the maternal protection every mother inherits for their inconvenienced and attacked children, but not at this extent. Not to the point of hiding their child and condoning the very same immoral choices that they should be correcting. His mother is not in the right mind to act as if she's innocent, crying on national TV begging for her son to go home, when she knows he is hiding in their house basement. We've proven that and sad to say she is not playing an Oscar Part. The only place that would acknowledge her acting prowess is in jail. Let Mother and Son reunite.

I am ashamed of these people. I'm utterly disappointed of their heinous acts. We are not perfect, but we must not be law offenders and murderers. They are not in their right minds to deserve freedom. I hope Jason and Co. will get the sentence they so rightful deserve.

P.S. I don't like you, Girl

In our lives we can't please everybody. We are individuals with different preferences, personalities and principles. No matter how charming and good-natured a person is, some will still go against them. That's just how the world works and humans live. We experience hate and that is normal. A person who doesn't dislike or hate is either a moron or god's incarnation, saint-like which is extraordinarily rare. Humans are subject to situations and challenges in life, but what we do with our hate is the thing in question. There are still boundaries set by morality. You must know how to constructively deal with it.

Like me, I dislike things, but I do it with passion. I get myself convinced and I hate with conviction. But I only discuss or express my dislikes better in writing. I don't immediately fall in love with a person. It always takes time. That is how my personality is built up. There are reasons why I dislike a person though. It could be as superficial as how she or he talks. Sometimes it's deeper than that. But when I dislike, I'm honest enough not to be associated with them. One thing that I pride myself of is that I'm not two-faced. I'm not plastic in short. Some may opt to keep the peace and go with the flow but I can't. I feel that life is too short and bothersome to pretend. Disliking or hating a person for my own reasons is not a crime. I might as well acknowledge it and deal try to deal with it constructively as possible.

There is this one girl that best I shove to memory. I don't like her. I don't like her presence. Her principles and humors I don't get. She performs acts of impropriety that I do not condone and she her voice is one pitch I don't want to hear. She is the type who I can't talk to about serious matters. Or she's the type whom I can't have any fun with. I can never envision her with me in one hotel room. Sitting beside her silently is already a pain. Naturally, I would just let it slide as we don't see each other that often even if we do belong in one group. I have to be civil, but not congenial. Being Civil is a must, but being Congenial isn't. The only thing that keeps us connected is our relations brought by a third party. If not for that, I'm hating one less person now.

There are couple of instances wherein she would pop up in my life doing something directly affecting me. Getting the car that she knows I want, being unfaithful in broad daylight and being stupid enough to endorse something she doesn't know anything about. I admit it ticks me off then it amuses me. She is something. She makes my life interesting. I'm not sugarcoating anything for everyone knows that we don't jive and it's best that we keep it that way. I won't be surprised if the feeling is mutual.

Writing this makes me feel better. I acknowledge my hate towards her, but I still feel sober with love for the world. She shouldn't matter to me anymore than a fly that I would eventually squash. But people like her make me feel more human. I do feel hate and it makes me more constructive and truthful to myself. Until the next boo-boo you do against me, girl. I know my feeling will never change.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Torn Cebuana

I'm having my afternoon delight here in Coffee Bean in my favorite spot, in my soon-to-be favorite mall in my favorite city, Cebu. Tomorrow night I leave for Manila to end my 5 day vacation streak. I honestly can say that I'm not looking forward to the "going home" part. The thought of facing my work and the daily routine terrifies me yet I've grown accustomed to. Every single time I go home to Cebu I know that I'd be facing one of those dreadful moments when I have to fly back. I rush to buy the usual pasalubongs, do the stressful packing which ends up heavier. I try to engage in last meaningful conversations with relatives who also want to go back to their normal lives without someone like me to entertain. It's not that they mind, but I do feel so pampered here that I get to do things that I want and go to places because my relatives find reasons to take me out. I can never imagine them working whenever I'm here because they would always be available whenever I need them.

While driving yesterday with my Aunt, I looked around the very familiar places, buildings and routes in Cebu and acknowledged the feeling of belongingness. The feeling is backed up by the knowledge that I could survive here. I love the ambiance, entertainment and the people. I really love Cebu. I always find reasons to go back and never find reasons to go home. I love Manila, but Cebu has a better effect on me I think. I've always wanted to move out.

But until all plans materials, there are two reasons that bring me back to Manila. My boyfriend and my dog. Knowing me, I could sincerely live in a new place as my personality is built for nomadic purposes. Everything else could be replaced. I could drastically change my routine and in Cebu everything that I need is there except for these two the two irreplaceablees. What's worse is that they don't necessary oblige me to stay. They are in a way more selfless than me because they support my moves to be happy even if I the reason is to leave Manila. I have to give credit to my boyfriend who is a blessing because he is always supportive. In whatever I decide, especially if it's about something that would help me become a better person, he is the first one to support. He is very honest with his feelings, but he is very resourceful. He thinks of more positive things in any shitty situation. He finds ways to assure and comfort me that I would respond positively. He changed my life a lot and I owe a large part of my happiness and learning to him. Then of course I owe my dog my happiness. He makes me proud. He gives me his time willingly and he always makes me feel needed. His presence makes my heart melt and he taught me how to be more responsible. He makes me look forward to going honme after a grueling day at work. He might not be able to say it, but I think we do love each other so much that I think he misses me right now.

In this regard, I am torn because whether I stay in Manila or leave Manila, I would end up gambling or leaving something behind. An career opportunity. A physical connecton. A responsibility. A comfort zone. But nothing is material yet. I'm purely dabbling on some thoughts, and reflecting my last days in Cebu tends to be dramatic. Boyfriend says I'm just on a Cebu-Hype. I guess he is right. But I can't help feeling I've decided already.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What kind of 'Difficult' are you?

This has been a very bad week for wise. Social conflicts drain me a lot. It's always been my Achilles Heel. In social challenges, I don't see solutions clearly; and even if I do it would take a whole spoonful of sugar to make my reaction nice.

Honestly, I could be very I'm difficult to deal with. My boyfriend, kudos to him, loves me enough to find reasons to be with me, given his predicament in accepting my faulty moods, acid tongue, strongheaded horns and less than pleasing personality. I dare not assume that he loves me for my physical being. I still must have a good side. I also salute my family that due to filial obligations have not thrown me out of the house no matter how much they want to. They don't ask questions anymore and they're in a position to accept me for who I am no matter what, and I am like that with them. With friends, there are some individuals who thoroughly understand me. Who do not demand anything from me and know when to steer away. With strangers, I give them various excuses not to understand me at all. But regardless of their social positioning with me, conflicts do arise and sometimes I'm the one who's not at fault, but who's in fact difficult to deal with. Usually I don't contest. My personality after all is pleasing only to the minority. I have no problems with that. But no matter what I do and no matter how limited social interactions I allow myself to engage in, I still face the same problems over and over again and I get drained. I seek for answers and escape. But I know what boyfriend, family and friends will say. I am simply...difficult.

This morning, relying on Google (that won't continuously judge me) to answer my social woes over a cup of good coffee, I chanced upon a post of Fred Pryor Seminars on How to Handle Difficult People. I guess I'm one of them. But to classify myself is a revelation.



Who are they: They stay in control by putting others down, rule from a command post, are quick to anger and often unpredictable

How to handle: Don't attack back - stand up for yourself and your ideas. Don't try to win your point when the AD is loud, furious and out of control. Do something to get them to listen to you.


Who are they: They attack from behind your back, stab you with putdowns, criticism and false rumors then pretend they have done nothing.

How to Handle: Catch them in the act. Don't allow themto think they ahve got away with their attack. Don't challenge them in public. Allow the ma way to save face and then confront them in private. Be ready for their "denial response".


Who are they: They won't talk or offer information when you try to hold a discussion with them. They answer questions with a single word and don't let you know why they're being quiet, even if you ask.

How to handle: Ask questions that the TL can't easily answer with a "yes" or "no". Use an open, waiting expression that demonstrates you will continue to wait until you get an answer.


Who are they: They present their opinions as if they know all there is to know about a subject and speak with a tone of condescension and aloofness.

How to handle a CAG: Position your counter points in the form of questions and present alternatives in the form of related but not oppositional ideas. The AG's ego is wrapped up in what he or she is saying. Make sure you paraphrase it back.


Who are they: They hate committing themselves when faced with difficult decisions and tend to be agreeable without moving ahead.

How to handle: Make it easy for them to disagree or bring up problems they see. Help them identify priorities when they get bogged down in the decision process.


Who are they: They tend to criticise everything around them and use a tone of voice that implies someone else is always at fault.

How to Handle: Find opportunities to confront them privately, especially when their criticisms are destroying a relationship. Consistently ask them pointed, solution-oriented questions.


Who are they: They continually think that things are going to get even wrose and come up with lists of reasons why someting won't work. Their extreme negativism keeps them from being reasonable or hearing rational, positive solutions.

How to handle: Let what they say go in one ear and out the other. Learn to restate the case for the record and for your own mental health.


Familiar? Well at some point, I've experienced and exhibited them all given various circumstances. But I have to be honest and note that I attribute these three difficult personas strongly.

50% Aristocratic Dictator
25% Tight Lip
25% Critical Advisers.

All in all, a worthy formula for ANTI-SOCIAL success.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week Blues: Travel Plans

The week is not near its end, but I’ve already had my fill. The start of the week isn’t good. I’ll be honest, it was bad. I have a couple of tooth sensations that were thoroughly uncomfortable, but a minor inconvenience compared to a series of travel reservations that needed to be fixed at the soonest possible time.

I know one thing. Organizing travel plans with a large group of individuals with own preferences and personalities is probably one of the worst tasks a person could undertake. Aside from providing sufficient research, financial computation and networking, the organizer has to be the middle man in all things. He has to be the mediator of pros and cons. He has to take on all sides of the fence and to constantly find ways to strike a solid decision. After the decision has been made the organizer has yet to do the whole confirmation, solicitation and consolidation of funds to finally seal the plans. Whoever is crazy enough to take this task should have an objective mind, an iron hand and a mantra for action.

But no matter how hardworking and sensible the organizer might be, some individuals in a group cannot be appeased with certain plans. And based on what I’ve been a witness to, in the end someone has to give in. Someone has to sacrifice for the majority especially if his reasons aren’t as convincing as the rest. Someone has to swallow his pride and join the majority. But that doesn’t mean he has to pay less nor does that mean that he doesn’t have to pay anything. In this situation, a person might not get what he wants and yet he unwillingly surrenders his fate to other’s preferences, paying and chugging along for the sake of camaraderie and friendship. Should traveling be this inconvenient?

If you are sentimental, this wouldn’t affect you one bit. If you’re with a group and you want to unwind as a group, a sentimental traveler makes sure the group has to be complete. A sentimental person has to give to other people’s preferences because the priority is togetherness. He is willing to forgo other factors that might be more convenient for him as long as the group sticks together. He swallows his pride even if he knows that he will not get most at the end of the bargain. These people don’t care of other things, but the experience of traveling with friends.

However, if you’re independent, this would greatly affect you. Independent travelers can very much join a group, but they are more aggressive with their needs. Independent travelers can negotiate and take on aspects only at a certain extent. If they feel that certain factors will not be a convenience to them nor help them achieve their travel experience, they could gracefully detach from the group and do their own arrangements. Independent travelers are somewhat practical to their needs, the time and resources they would use. Traveling for them is more for relaxation, exploration and entertainment rather than blending in.

In a group, the sentimental travelers are the ones who easily bend to others’ preferences even if privately they disagree. They are the ones who count physical proximities more important than self exploration. If they plan to travel, they want more people to join. They have limited preferences and they are easily appeased. They could be extremely selfless at times. While the independent travelers know what they want, they could be sometimes a pain in the ass. These travelers cling onto their own preferences and at a brink make their own arrangements given the go-signal and opportunities. They are the ones who plan their own enjoyment more and will carry out activities regardless of the number of participants. Independent travelers are selfish at a certain extent. They don’t count constant physical proximity as an essential part of traveling.

If these two types of travelers meet in one group then the organizer would have a problem at one point or another. The independent travelers bend, but only to a certain extent. While sentimental travelers constantly think of ways to improve the options just so everyone could be accommodated even at their own expense. The organizer should know when to balance the two and when to strike the cord. Some organizers are even smart. They let independent travelers do their own thing, but enforce certain activities that would clearly appease the sentimental travelers. In the end everyone would get what they want in traveling. No one is forced and no one is taken advantaged of.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Morning Blues

I was supposed to go to work early today, but something (lack of sleep, desire to read another chapter, documentation) came up. I just had breakfast of cottage cheese and toast with my favorite star of the morning, my coffee. Unfortunately, it was only an instant coffee mix..sugarfree. It doesn't matter, but a friend,who originally hails from Batangas, gave me a pack of authentic Barako Coffee for Christmas. I have yet to try it. For the past few weeks, Starbuck's had pulled my leg to buy drinks from them to complete the stickers for the planner, sayang naman kasi. Probably next week, after I get back from Cebu, I'll finally get a sampling of that Barako.

Speaking of Starbucks, I'm looking at my planner right now and listing down pending items I've yet to do. I also noticed that there's this one task that's been egging on my list. It should've been done last week, but I still have yet to receive an update on it. As far as I'm concerned I have not been short in providing my input. I am not out of reach either. In fact I'm already crossing the border of becoming a nagger and an obsessive compulsive. Usually, when there's something that needs to be done and is delayed, I get extremely anxious. I get anxious even more if the situation depends on another person and I'm left waiting. I do not want to offend and act bossy, but I don't want to be served at the chopping block either. I'm giving it till today to get the situation clear or I'll have to steer it with my own hands.

That is primarily the reason that I work well alone than in teams. I want to call the shots and do things my way, a typical bossy brat that I am, I could be a pain in the ass. I am aware that people see my restrained features if I don't say what I want and I disagree but agree just to keep the false harmony. I am very transparent and I could hold my tongue for as long as I could, but if I've reached my limit, I will do what needs to be done and surrender to the social consequences after. There's more fulfillment and satisfication if I get things done right and people hating me for the wrong reasons rather than get passive and people liking me for the wrong reasons. That is just not the way to live for me. Like the boyfriend always advises me, "So what, in the end you only want to get things done."

I'm giving it till today. There goes the caffeine.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 2010 Travel Kickoff

New Year means quarter-end for most companies; and quarter-end isn't fun for most of us. It's a matter of consolidating crucial reports, meeting deadlines and attending to things you happily and carelessly left last December. More work and more action should boost your January, at the same time you have this undeniably painful phase of transitioning from vacation to work.

Just as I have predicted, schedules have gone crazy since Monday. Conference calls are non-stop since people from all over the globe want to reconnect and get the job done. This results to late night office hours and sometimes pulling more than 12 hours shift. There's the intense pressure on reports generation just because the period is crucial. There's little room for delay and for mistakes. Saturday is even considered a workday for us, at least for this month. Now, I'm just enjoying my one day rest, my weekend or whatever's left of it.

But there are things that keep me up and constantly put me in a better mood. Splashing to a pool of ice is better once you know there's a happy end to it. And to kick off nicely for the year 2010, I have 2 grand vacations planned and sealed.


Ah, Sinulog, undeniably the most popular fiesta of the archipelago. It happens nowhere else but in my birthplace and second home, Cebu City. It's been a long time since my last Sinulog Festival. I always go home to Cebu every Christmas or Summer and literally miss Sinulog. It was just this once in Gradeschool when I had a weekend vacation with my mom that I had to experience old-school Sinulog full of face painting, dancing and eating like crazy. I remember my uncles letting me ride on their backs as we dance on the street with the beat of the drums. It was colorful, it was fun. It's a shame that I've constantly missed it.

Now is the start of my rediscovery of the new age Sinulog. They say it wasn't like before when people were just wild with happiness, minus the robberies and chaos. The officials had to regulate it somehow. I'm sure most people go there for the parties not because of the hot, crowded parade, the same thing that draws tourists. Although I'm really not particular with parties, I just want to experience the parade once more and go home to where I know I would be able to relax after all these post New Year work stress. If memory serves me right, nothing beats this fiesta. Nothing beats Sinulog Festival. I can't wait


JANUARY 28-31: Hongkong - Macau

And to officially close the first month of the new year, I'm scheduled to fly and have a fun vacation with my sister and a friend to Hongkong and Macau. I've been to this place before with my parents. Hongkong was my first overseas trip way before States, Bali and Singapore became possibilities. I remember Hongkong to be cold, full of walking, grouchy people and of course dimsum! It's a place that has a great language barrier, but a place I think I could live in. I love the fast paced environment and modernity and language could be easily learned.

remember my mom shopping non-stop in Jade Market, though I don't remember us taking trains. I remember Ocean Park and watching my mom as she punches a calculator in front of the salesperson. Now, I'm going to revisit it as an adult after so many years. Technically, I'm back to zero. I have to do my research.

Also, aside from Hongkong we are set to visit Macau, a neighboring country of HK. Macau is known to be the Vegas of Asia and that would mean lights and five star hotels. Intensive research is still to be done.

I don't know how we would fit everything in three short days. I even have no idea where to get winter clothes.

One of my goals this year is to save up and plan my travels accordingly. No more redundancy and no more getting easily swayed. This is my year and this year is full of meaningful vacations. May this be a promising start!

I dreamt of Snakes

Two days ago I dreamt of Snakes of all different kinds, shapes and sizes. It was so vivid and strong that I still remember details of it when I woke up. I narrated it to a colleague. He dismissed giving meaning to it because he doesn't believe. But as far as he is concerned dreaming of Snakes meant money, more of the acquisition of it. That's good. My credit card bill knows that I need money.

I just find it troubling that the dream was so vivid that I strongly remember it from my waking point. It wasn't just also in one particular scene. My whole dream was about snakes in different settings until in my dream, I've become more used to it.

The first scene I remember is in a beach with lots of people. I was coming out from the water and was about to cross to the dryer spot of the shore, when I couldn't move forward. I kept on walking from the watery part to the dry part until the sand beneath my feet revealed a giant body and print of an Anaconda..slowly moving. Naturally I found it alarming and ran.

The next scene is trying to dress up for another day and I found a coiled Rattlesnake in my cabinet, rattling and staring at me, preparing to bite, but I just stood there alarmed. The next scene is seeing the silent red with black stripes snake crawling in a branch. Afterwards it was Snake Invasion just like in the scene of the movie, The Craft.

I had to search the meaning somehow. My dream was full of snakes and it was so vivid. As far as I'm concerned I didn't watch any show that showcased snakes the night before. I believe I also didn't overeat and snakes were simply the farthest thing from my mind. It's enough to urge me to consult the dream experts somehow.

Basically from what I've gathered online here are the top explanations and interpretations of SNAKES in a dream.

1. REBIRTH - Snakes are known to shed of skin. It symbolizes rebirth.
2. BETRAYAL - Friends or someone really close will betray you in some way. It is also a symbol that others are working strongly to usurp you. You have a determined enemy nearby.
3. DEATH - Death of you and death of a loved one
4. WISDOM - Dreaming of snakes in most cultures is like dreaming of a realization or a solution to a certain problem that's been weighing you down. IF the snake especially bites you, according to Carl Jung, it's supposed to be good. It's a wake-up call.
5. HEALING - Snakes are also associated to healing and advanced science
6. SEXUAL - Repression of sexual urges or creativity

Unfortunately, no one said that it is concerned with money.

My dream was like watching SNAKE special on TV. It must be telling me something, but to be specific, I have no idea. It could be a rebirth since I've been egging to start the year and I have so many things to do to reinvent myself. I have to take full control and come out leading my OWN life. It could be Betrayal too. I will never know. My personality isn't automatically pleasing to others and I might have made enemies along the way. Human hearts and minds are fickle, I could be staring at my enemy for all I know. While Death is something that I do not entertain, it's something that I fear not for myself, but for someone that I hold dear. I hope my dream isn't about this. Wisdom, yes. I have lots of challenges this year that I would have to face headstrong. I know that I'm worried, but the desire of fixing it overwhelms the negative side. More or less I know what I should do; and maybe the Snakes are just telling me to go forth and face my fears. Maybe the Snakes are also telling me that I have the capacity to realize and solve those problems. Healing is also a good perspective. I want to heal physically and spiritually, which I'm trying hard to do right now. Sexual interpretation is something vague to me though, but I hope it has something to do with unleashing creativity and answering to the call of the senses.

It's complicated. Even though I read a lot of links that pertain to dream interpretation, I am no expert. Dream Interpretation is like a different science. It needs exact description of the scene. Every movement, position and reaction is required. It's like supernatural forensics. It would take me forever to dissect bits and parts of the scene and find meaning to it according to the numerous interpretation by experts. I'm just leaving this up to the forces.

For whatever this dream wants to tell me, I do hope that it's something good. I'm feeling that it is something good. Positive thinking helps though I'm not a big fan of snakes. I cringe in fact when I see them. Blame it on bad publicity. But the year is young and I'm just starting strong. There are lots of challenges and I'm doing my best to face them. If the snakes tell me that more challenges are there to come, so be it, at least I'm prepared. If it says wisdom, help and rebirth, I would welcome it even more.

Pic reference and Dream interpretation:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

State of the Organizer & Those Who leave Comments

I'm finally using my new Sbux planner. Now there's no turning back.

Surprisingly, while I was filling up my first few weeks, I was shocked to find that I was running out of space. The last time I checked, my life was not interesting enough to ever need a planner. Probably I was just too excited and wrote things that were not really necessary. Let's see how long this planner-organizer thing works.

I'm giving it a month tops.


For those who are writing comments about my blog, thank you. It's nice to know that someone's reading it; and actually (assumingly) took time to understand it. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I can't say the same thing to those who are keeps on forwarding me business and time sharing invitations.

Also, please stop posting comments in Chinese scripts. Whoever you are, you've been consistent and thank you. However, I'm not Chinese and as much I want to learn how to read and write Chinese, I can't at the moment, so I'd appreciate it if you could write your comments in plain English or Filipino. Thanks a lot!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starbucks Planner

Back when I was in high school, leather organizers, fi-lo's or whatchamacallit, complete with address book, calendars, notepads and daily section, were so popular that it represented cellular phones at that time. Everyone had it, small version, leather version. National Bookstore had a steady supply of fillers if you had consumed all your notepads and contact lists. There was no shortage. It was that popular.

There was a time that my mom bought me an organizer in our recent trip to National Bookstore. She must have desperately thought that an organizer could be an answer to my problems with Algebra. It was a subtle hint to get my uninteresting but messy adolescent life organized. But I just looked at the serious checkered leather apathetically thinking what the hell am I going to do with it? I was in high school. I had few people whom I could call my friends, and seriously, why would I ever need to get their beeper numbers, home address or phone numbers? It's not like there's a constant need to stay in touch with them on weekends. I practically see them every single day of my every single boring high school life. Besides, the batch record from the class secretary was always available just in case I need to, you know, stay in touch. And what would I ever write in the daily planner? My assignment? My lunch date? My imaginary trip to the parlor, to the dermatologist, to the dentist? Those things I could do mentally. I'm far from having a schedule same as the next business tycoon to forget something.

But everything's worth a try at least once. There must be something with these organizers I thought. So I surrendered. I was able to use it for a couple of weeks. I even had a bit of fun writing stuff, although a bit exaggerated, on the daily section. I was able to gather substantial contacts, not necessarily of my friends, but contacts that could fill my address book nonetheless. I kept it, updated it and took it with me for a month, but after that it was accumulating dust in my room. I've tried it again, skipped months, but the relationship didn't work out for me. Putting things that I need to do in organizers, I believe, was a waste of my time. I could practically just write a note, fold it and keep it in my bag. And usually I do remember important stuff. If I don't remember it within the day, it's not that important. I do my assignments on time and I don't need an organizer to remind me of my daily, routine tasks.

So organizers in general do not mesh with me unlike some people who can't function normally without it. My sister is better with organizers. She takes notes of birthdays, parties and periods. My friend in college even had the effort to buy different colors of pens, put stickers just to make an imitation of her life interesting. If her organizer's not with her, her world would crumble. Organizers somewhat remind you of how busy or idle you are. Organizers identify interesting lives to boring ones. Unfortunately, my life isn't worth organizing because it's too boring to begin with. I hardly go to parties, I don't have client calls, variety of lunch dates or business meetings. My life is a bit more structured that I don't need organizers to keep me on track with random stuff.

Soon enough Cellular phones replaced the organizer-phenomenon. Personally, I do use cellular phone more because it doesn't waste paper and serves as an alarm. But surprisingly planners and organizers are still alive and have maintained a relatively impressive market. Starbucks for example have massive sales results during Christmas season because of their annual planner releases. It's become a phenomenon that some of the retail and coffee shops followed suit. My boss, office mates and some friends make sure they buy planners on time and these sophisticated planners cost about 500 on the average. Whereas I, every year, was never interested. Buying at Starbucks, I would always give my stickers for free.

But ironically, this year, I unconsciously collected stickers; and realized that I have increased my visits to Starbucks. It just dawned on me that I was able to acquire 2 Starbucks planners. How did that happen? To avail it, each planner, based on the required coffee consumption, is worth 2,500 each. So practically I spent almost 5K in the span of a month for coffees. Yikes. Some people are supposed to be happy because they got two most-sought after planners, but instead I was a bit bummed. Was I spending that much for coffee? That can't be. That shouldn't have been. I can hardly pay my bills only to realize that I got two planners because I drank expensive coffee too much! Guilty.

I gave the other planner to my sister as a gift and the other planner is still with me, boxed up and untouched. Frankly, I still don't know what to do with it. I'm not an organizer type of girl. There is a high risk that I might just waste it. I tried to sell it to office mates for a very cheap price. Only 500 bucks since January already started, but it's either everyone has their 2010 planners or I'm selling to someone like me.

But now that I gave the other planner away, what am I going to do with the other? I still don't know. It's currently beside me waiting to be used. I don't know what to expect from it cause I have yet to study the contents. Some say that I should give it away for free to someone who would really use it, who has a life more colorful and busier than mine. But there's a part of me that wants to keep it, to try to let this thing organize my life. Since I technically paid for it, why not try to use it even if it meant risking the whole thing?

Anyways, I just found out that the proceeds of this 2,500 bucks per planner will be sent to charity. So, all is well. There answers my financial slip-up for the two planners. What is done, is done. And it's a justifying feeling that I helped somehow even if it meant by overspending too much for coffee this Christmas. In the end, I helped the unfortunate and got 2 Starbucks planners in return. So be it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Relationships and Technology

After having a quick dinner with Mitch, we decided to call it night. 8:30 pm and he took me home. Both of us knew it would take a lot of preparation and relaxation to face January 4, the D-Day, back-to-work reality. Good thing is that we get to start the year right. We could correct our mistakes, revisit our goals and be more motivated. Bad thing is we're going back to the challenging reality, very far from the festive and cozy holiday season of Christmas. That's life. We have to roll.

Anyways, as we were having dinner, Mitch couldn't hide his excitement and fascination about his newly acquired toy. He now has this updated version of iPhone complete with GPRS and other useful apps where he could upload pictures and update his blog effortlessly. He is a techie-guy and he cannot be easily swayed by mere features. But his happiness awhile ago said it all. iPhone has completely replaced other smart phones in his heart.

Ironically he has me for a girlfriend. A non-techie, close-minded type of user who sees cellular phones as how they should be used, just as cellular phones. To text with. To call with and to put reminders and contact lists in. Internet application helps, but not too much since I also prefer a chance to seclude myself from the virtual world from time to time. Cameras and music players are useful too, but frankly things I could live without. I primarily use cellular phones to get connected, to text and call, which means I'm very particular with the overall text-call friendliness factor. Other matters, fall behind the priority list.

Choosing a phone for me is simple. I can simply eliminate models by feeling the keypads. If I don't like the keypads or if it somehow inconveniences me, I don't care if the phone is a million-dollar creation. I ignore it. I also prefer a wide screen. I'm not into colorful stuff. I just want it to be wide. The call-text commands should also be very efficient. Operating system should be friendly and uncomplicated. I'm also the type who doesn't tinker with her phone, so it would take me years or practically another techie-person to point out that I'm sitting on special features such as this and that.

Opposites as we are, we both know that technology should be able to work for us and not against us. We have different needs and preferences that's why we just have to respect each other's decision. He might need tons of applications in his phone, complete with camera, MP3 and GPRS with all specific resolutions and security codes. But I don't. I just need a durable texting and calling device that can store notes, connect online from time to time and be user-friendly. He's more advanced and tech-savvy, whereas I'm more conservative. He might want the newest version out there, but I work perfectly well with 4-5 year old models.

During our conversation, he says that I need a new phone. I looked at him perplexed and thought that I don't need one. My current phone is a Nokia E61 with QWERTY keypads, a soap-bar of a size with a helpful operating system built in for internet surfing, but without players or cameras. I've had it since 2006 and he has already bought the two modern versions of it in a span of 3 years, model names of which I couldn't remember (naturally). I think it was E61i and the other one. My second phone for SUN mobile is a surviving P9 of Ericsson, which he passed on to me since 2006. It's still surviving, but the alerts are jammed and I wouldn't be surprised if it would self-destruct any minute now. Though the texting, calling, storage are still a-okay.

He badly encourages me to get a new phone because he says I need to upgrade somehow. He offered me the iPhone, which I declined since the keypads and touch screen thing don't work well with me. I said that I don't need much apps because I won't maximize it anyways. He prefers I buy this and that, but I could say tons of reasons why I shouldn't. The two phones, no matter how old and ancient, perfectly work fine for me. They're not giving me any unusual headaches. They're loyal to me even if at times I accidentally drop them in concrete, they're still alive. Take note that I'm not sentimental. I'm just being practical. Since I'm not looking for any specific feature right now, there's no need for me to get a new phone for the sake of upgrading. I don't check my mails on the road, log in at Facebook or need GPRS 24/7. Until that crucial time comes wherein I badly need a new feature or the phones completely died on me, I don't think I'll ever change. And the insecurity argument in using old phones is very irrelevant to me.

Some friends think how the boyfriend and I survive when we're complete opposites especially in terms of technology. I say we may be opposites, but we don't complicate each other. We don't pressure each other and make individual decisions that would harass the other. Technology preferences are individual preferences, it doesn't have to be conjugal. I have opinions while he has his own and I think that's what makes us interestingly balanced. We complement. He teaches me to be open-minded and be tech-savvy, while I teach him to be conservative and be more practical. We may have different perspectives and preferences when it comes to technology, but what all forms of technology bring are convenience and connection. And as long as we could effortless connect with one another using our respective tools that are so convenient for our own needs, we don't need any further gadgets to sync.

Reading Project 2010: Coraline

I am a fan of Neil Gaiman. I love how he sees the world through stories which open up the minds of children and adults effortlessly while still incorporating on the beautiful and jaded things that make humans interesting. His writing is direct, easy and imaginative.

I've been a fan since his Sandman series came out. Then he opened up my world by introducing good writers in the same genre. Books written by Terry Pratchet, Marion Z. Bradley and Clive Barker have a good presence in my shelf. Gaiman stories have always interested, excited and piqued me effortlessly. He continuously inspires me to constantly think out of the box and be more courageous.

A couple of days ago I just finished reading Coraline, his pseudo-fairytale book. I liked it. It's definitely directed to children; and just like fairytales there are good lessons to be derived from it. But what makes this story different is that it clearly stamps Gaiman's writing style and gift of representing things in a more dry and twisted manner that it tends to scare and be more appreciated by adults and somechildren alike. In this story, he represented a child in a more aggressive light. He gives credit to children, for in his eyes, they are smarter and more assertive than we really think they are. It reminds adults of the children's strengths and needs.

It's an easy read. You could finish it in a day if you're free. Serves as a good adult fairytale and a somewhat alternative bedtime story for kids. If you like Alice In Wonderland, you'll like this. This is the fairytale that goes beyond rescues and cheerful songs. This would definitely open up minds. I know for sure that it's a definite breather from Disney.

I bought my copy of Coraline four years ago. I saw the book in Powerbooks and didn't think twice even though at that time I had no plans of buying. I kept it with me until the perfect time came for me to read it. That time came after four years, specifically just a week ago, when the book has already aged and papers discolored by oxygen. On my recent trip to Fully Booked, I find again that Coraline is one of the books featured.

READING NEXT: Girl with with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Mt. Mayon quiets down

Mount Mayon is quieting down. Thank God.

It would be unfortunate to have a massive natural calamity at the start of the year...or ever for that matter!

No ash explosion was observed over the past 24 hours and rumblings have lessened significantly, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Friday. (PDI)
Pix Source:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Post Vacation Dilemma Part 2

I've read tips online on how to successfully bounce back to reality. Reality being that we, at some point, have to get back to work. Whether we love our work or not, there would be transitioning involved.

It's never been easy especially for someone like me. Festive holiday food with unlimited use of TV while having your Facebook open 24/7 with an interesting book to serve as your creative diversion is a formula for work-coma. It would take me a day or two to get back on work mode. And I'm afraid guilt and pressure are negative sources of motivation for me, but motivation nonetheless.

You would also notice that it's easier to transition from work to vacation than from a good vacation to work. Humans, I believe, are overworked with life that's why we jump to the most familiar thing that we're all good at. Respective brands of leisure whether it may be with your couch, with food, with road trips or upscale hotel luxury.

Before you move backwards and bond with your bed, you have to know the D-Date. The Dreadful Date of going back to work. You have to be aware and to prepare. What does the person do at the gym before he goes on training? Warm up, lest he makes a mistake of stressing an unused muscle and have a quick trip to the ER. From vacations to work, our mind and bodies need a wake-up call, a good transition, so that our first days at work wouldn't be that bad and disastrous.



One usual mistake of ours is extending vacations that tend to stress than de-stress, due to grueling length of travel or mode. If you have work on Monday, you don't want to rush home on a Sunday night and face the task of unpacking and managing last minute household tasks. Before you know it, you'll be more tired than ever. Extended vacation without at least half a day to recover before work is a disaster. You've got to schedule one free day to relax from a long trip. You have to get a grip on familiar things. Setting the body clock on time is crucial so skip the additional drinking sessions and extended stay in the province. You have to calm your overexcited and hyped up mind.


Cleaning up is one effective way of getting your body and mind to shape. Whether it may be cleaning up your room, your social networking sites, your bookshelves or your desk. Cleaning and organizing could prepare our mind for bigger and more serious settings at work. Walking the dog or discussing household matters also help us savor reality. It reminds us how wonderful being productive really is. Once we get a taste of accomplishment and organization, our mind preps us for more.


Don't fill your plate immediately. Performing basic tasks and catching up with emails are perfect ways to spend your first day at work. You have to get your groove back and be familiar with what you left off. Talking to office mates about minor stuff is also encouraged. Catching up with bosses and making notes on how one would tackle a project is also advised. Big and hardcore meetings, cramming for deadlines and pressuring oneself should be dealt with in a couple of days, not on the first day. Transitioning takes time; being a sustainable performer is progressive. Do it slowly but surely.


It's hard to go back to reality. But it's even harder to accept that you have to go back to the exact same reality where you left off. No improvements. No developments. Nothing seems to be new. This is where challenging oneself comes in. Before you go back to work, think of new tasks you could do. Plan on how you would tackle it on the first day. Talk to bosses for possible projects that you could oversee. Have lunch with colleagues on the first day. Rearrange your workstation and put something useful and new at your desk. Revisit your training module and look up for seminars you could possible attend. Think of something new that you could do to enhance your work environment.


Think of positive things why you love your job. Write it on post its to visibly see how lucky you are working for your particular company. Put pictures of friends and family who motivate you to do your job well. Picture your next ideal vacation so that it would motivate you to meet deadlines, save and work for money and be excited day after day. In terms of association, look for people who will not drag you with their work blues and stay with them.

If you feel bad going back to work from a short or long vacation, it's normal. All you need is a good transition. Just imagine your mind and body coming down from heaven and about to feel the pressure and pain in earth. Who would want to go back to modern slavery? But we feed on reality and reality dictates that we have to work to sustain ourselves and be more fulfilled individuals. We need avenues to accomplish and make ourselves productive. We have to keep the wheels turning somehow or we'll end up being left behind with nothing to look forward to. Always remember that work-life balance is a key to a good life.

Other Source:

Post Vacation Dilemma

My office building is roughly two blocks away from my hotel building. I ought to go to work today, but I just finished breakfast, room service style, and the immaculate sheets are beckoning me. To make the idle matters worse, a colleague texted me that he would be reporting to work and can monitor the basic tasks for me. He gave his blessing to enjoy my remaining weekend. That is a welcome suggestion, only that I'm just two blocks away anyways. I can practically see my office building from my room. The guilt and desire to undergo transition early are strong.

Vacations have purpose for working people like me. It recharges us and takes us away from work that could be stressful and toxic. Vacation widens our horizons and breathes fresh perspectives. It makes us less serious and loosens our hold over things that control us in our everyday lives. Vacations are good-natured. Just don't take it too long.

Based from experience, the longer the vacation is, the harder it is to get back to work. Considering that the vacation is fun, relaxing and very heavenly, the professional and serious matters seem to be easily buried in ones mind. It takes a lot of effort to put work in the front seat again. That's why for me, a three day vacation or a long weekend is just enough. Mandatory work leaves of two weeks do not work well with me. I end up spending and eating more. I go to the darker side of relaxation and indulgence. The dark side is that I may never want to go back to the life I led before. In order to correct and reign vacation at the backseat is to wage a mental and physical battle with yourself and hopefully picking that right choice. The sight of me slugging myself to work after a long vacation is very familiar. It would take me a day or two to feel my workstation and get my mind back on work mode. It can be done and we all have different ways to adjust, but the point is, it takes time and mental pain.

Right now, already on a four -day vacation streak, I can still see myself going to work today. I would be dropping by Salcedo Market for Lunch then go to the gym for cycling. But I can also see myself skipping work and getting that free day to clean my room, organize my effects, upload pictures and read. It's a matter of preference, whichever way I win by being productive. This is, I'm afraid, where mental battles occurs. I haven't decided yet. Let's see in a few more hours.

For my colleagues who will be coming from grand and long vacations, I do hope they get recharged for work. Because based from experience, it seldom ever happens to me instantly. Before the effects of good sleep and creativity to seep in, a mental battle is waged. And it depends on the free will and the need for us to welcome work back in our lives, whole-heartedly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Food Notes 1.1.10

Food Notes:


Square slice cheesy, meaty lasagna
A glass of water
Square slice of Leche Flan

Late Lunch

Apple Cheese Pie


Chips in between
Sweet seedless grapes


Grilled Herbed fish with 1 cup of Rice and Corn Muffin (Kenny Rogers)
Tall Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato

Post Dinner

Hopefully None

I hope my food note for tomorrow's better...way better.

2010 Reading Project

One of the top goals I have for 2010 is to read more. My reading track record was seamless when I was still studying, but career and adulthood put reading at the backseat. It shouldn't be the case. A lot of prolific businessmen still read meaningful literature besides the daily newspaper. How come I can't seem to pick up? I might read books, but my pace is so horrifying compared to when I was a kid, reading two to three novels in a week. Now, finishing a good novel in three weeks is considered a challenge.

It's also been a while since I went to a bookstore and actually buy books. Take note of the plural term. My poor financial habits this year affected my purchasing power, believe it or not. I was more focused on buying extra curricular stuff like travel, gadgets and lifestyle membership fees. A part of my goal in 2010 is to be financially stronger and healthier, and hopefully this would also help me boost my reading project.

So for one last credit card swipe on the last day of 2009, Mitch and I went to Boni High Street to spend the last 2009 afternoon together and buy books. He knows how serious I am when times like these occur so he gave me all the time in the world. Luckily, the welcoming Fully Booked has a steady crowd with immaculately stacked and smelling books beckoning me, seducing me, enthralling me.

I took my time and hopped from one aisle to another. My mind automatically processes titles, intuition and mood in choosing books. I would read paragraphs to find a connection until I would naturally single out books. It depends on my budget if I would undergo optional paralysis.

Happily and grinning widely, as soon as I've decided, I went to the counter, took my ailing credit card and swiped one last swipe for 2009. All in all I bought four books and I walked out of the store to meet Mitch, ecstatic like a lightning could strike me and I could go to heaven. The feeling never changes.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards is a title I've seen for quite some time. I've reprocessed this book before and I have this repressed desire to buy it. The second book, which is a good 2-in-one-deal book is by Tracy Chevalier, The Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Fallen Angels. I am also familiar with the two books. I've seen Fallen Angels in the Recommended section of Fully Booked a couple of months back. It's a story about the connection of sisters, which is still a mystery to me. And I've always wanted to read The Girl with A Pearl Earring. Unlike some readers, I don't have any problems reading period pieces, in fact I prefer it sometimes. Give me Austen and Tolstoy and I'd gladly read it.

The last book I chose to buy was out of impulse. I grabbed the interestingly looking book in the Fresh Out of Box section. It's an impulse because I have never heard of the book before and it's considered a stronger gamble. But I always have faith in my intuition. This is how I bought Then We Came to the End , Artemis Fowl series and The Pillars of the Earth and the results were positive. Besides, the book that I bought is written by Jhumpa Lahiri and titled Unaccustomed Earth. The book made it the top spot of New York Time's Best Review in 2008, which made me more courageous.

So, here I am hyped and ecstatic. I have the whole year to catch up on my literature backlog, starting with Tracy Chevalier's A Girl with the Pearl Earring. In a few hours, I'll be the girl I once was, a non-stop chugging reading machine.