Friday, 21 December 2007

Last day work (in 2007)

Today is my last day of work for this year... wohoo! I am taking the rest of the year's working days off so that I can enjoy an extended Holidays merriment with my super-mabait na boypren (Sige na, magalit ka naman ng konti, kahit once a month lang...)

Harley will be arriving tomorrow and I have to wake up really early to meet him at the airport by 7am. Oh why did he choose such awfully early flight schedule?!? Grr, I'm itching to strangle him. But I can't do that since he's so sweet to spend his holidays with me, can I? I should be really grateful of him. Because if he didn't decide to come here I'll probably spend my Christmas na mag-e-emote on Tower Bridge singing "I'll be home for Christmas", which can have me deported because the Britons will be disturbed for sure when they hear my golden voice. Gosh, even my parents cringe when they hear me sing...

Oh yes we have many things lined up to do this holiday season - Madame Tussaud's, Les Miserables, Christmas Carols at Royal Albert Hall etc. We even bought London passes (http://www.londonpass.com/) valid for 3 days so we can visit many tourist attractions that are free with the pass. I'm so excited :) Bloody hell if only the clock can go faster. I hope this day will fastforward, I'm truly raring to go home! Bakasyon mode na talaga ako.
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Monday, 17 December 2007

A Simbang Gabi Wish

It's awfully quiet here in the office. Others are gone already, taking early Christmas vacation. And I am already feeling the holiday mood - ergo, I don't feel like working anymore - tamaditis na naman.

I remember the Simbang Gabi at Greenbelt, Last year I didn't miss a single mass. When I went home to Cebu, I even dragged my parents to attend a Simbang Gabi so that my "perfect attendance" wouldn't be ruined. It's because I had a wish. And Ria had told me that if you're going to complete the Simbang Gabi, whatever you wish for will come true. It happened to her, she had said. So I thought to give it a try. And besides there's no better way to prepare for Christmas than to sacrifice by hearing mass at dawn when it's so tempting to curl up and sleep because of the cold December breeze.

Did my wish come true? It did. But it didn't come easy, my patience was tested to the limit, before I got it.

I wished for a trip abroad - to be able to add another country on my pitifully short places-i've-been-too list. I reckoned it was time for me to "move on" since I was already staying for 2 years in Manila. I already explored the city to my heart's content. I was getting tired living the Makati yuppie life (naks!). And I must admit it's getting boring since Claire and Ria had moved on to wherever they are now. Besides, it's been 3 years since my last trip abroad (to Japan) and understandably I was uhaw to have my passport stamped.

That time I thought the golden ticket was the trip to Ireland, a 3-months training that my Irish boss had promised me. I was praying "Lord, pwede na to kahit na 3 months lang. Basta lang makaalis ako sa Pinas. Nangangati na paa ko e."

Nahugno ang langit og yuta (heaven and earth fell) when February came. It became apparent that the trip to Ireland wouldn't push through. That my bloody Irish boss had just been bluffing. He's not a man of his words, damn him! So I just sighed, lamenting to the heavens above, terribly heartbroken... and cursed that bloody Irish for weeks.

Then came April, I received a fateful call from one of my previous manager. Her first greeting was "George, do you want to go London?". And I was like, "Heller, tinatanong pa ba yan?" As I listened to her selling the company, my eyes went spinning like a slot machine with the jackpot not in US dollars but in Pounds! So I eagerly signed up for the company. It has been my dream to visit England eversince I started reading historical romance novels in highschool.

But I didn't fly to England right away. I had to wait 5 months for the visa and each day was agonizing because I had no idea if my visa was approved or not. I was literally scaring myself that I might not get approved because I don't have a middle name (that's another story why I don't have a middle name...) But thank God, here I am now, in beloved England.

Yes indeed, my Simbang Gabi wish came true. Albeit it took its sweet time to come into fruition, it came to me before the year ends. What's more surprising is that it's not the original answer I had wished for - I was given something more, better than I ever hoped for. And oh yes, I now believe Simbang Gabi wishes do come true. Or let me rephrase that... I believe that if you pray fervently for something, He will eventually give it to you one way or another. Though it may be delayed or the response may not be the one that you asked for, in the end He will still give it to you. He's very generous after all.
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Saturday, 15 December 2007

Creative, DKNY

I don't have the patience of a saint. I just couldn't resist opening my gifts under the imaginary Christmas tree. I'm glad I did, because each present turned out to be on my wishlist. I wished for an MP3 player... I got a Creative Stone 2GB from my very pretty Kris-Kringle Mommy. I wished for a jacket to protect me in this getting colder and colder nights... I got a DKNY sweater from my buntis bestfriend. Wow, DKNY... seems like being pregnant makes her less kurips... wohooo!






Thank you for these wonderful gifts. I truly appreciate the gesture and the actual gifts of course. You should be glad that I have opened them because I can now start to enjoy using them....
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Friday, 14 December 2007

Presents thru post

The last time I received an international snail mail was in highschool I think. Nung uso pa yung having penpal friends from abroad. Since the internet blossomed in our country the frequency of receiving snail mails (even from within Philippines) dwindled to nil. Who would bother going to the post office when you can just do it in one click? And who would waste his patience with the inefficiency of postal service in our country, with the absurd disclaimer that your mail might not reach its destination, when an eCard is guaranteed to reach your receiver in seconds? And plus the dawn of the texting era - when you can just text your greetings to your friends... pwede pa send-to-all! I used to keep this shoebox where I kept my treasured letters and cards from friends. That shoebox has been left untouched for years now. For sure cobwebs are growing on it.


I was surprise when I received my kris-kringle gift last week from my gorgeous mommy. I was doubly surprised yesterday when I received a postcard from Japan (thanks Mai!). And that surprise quadrupled this morning when our messenger handed me a package from U.S of A (thanks Claire!). Goodness me, I had actually forgotten the feeling of pure happiness receiving presents thru good ol' post. It's like, wow! for a change, I'll get stamped cards/packages this Christmas. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of my pretty friends. I'm hopeful there's more coming :p

Xmas Gift from Claire - himala!


So this is how efficient postal service is in the first-world countries. Claire mailed the package just this Monday and it only took roughly 4 days for me to receive it... amazing, isn't it? Siguro kung for Pinas pa yun, it'll take minimum of 3 weeks pag di na-trippan ng custom officer yung package mo.



Thrilled and also excited to take advantage of this "right" postal service, I went to the nearest post office to send postcards to my beloved friends. It's my first to go there, though it's just right across the street from our office. There were many people queueing because of the Christmas season. And I enjoyed the experience - nakakatuwa mag paste ng stamps! I hope my cards for friends back in the Philippines will get to them before Christmas. Sana nilagyan ko na lang yun ng prefix na "belated" sa greetings to be sure...


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Monday, 10 December 2007

Musings

It does seem like a long time since I blogged. It's because if I'm not busy at work (busy sa pagpapanggap), I'm busy frolicking at Central London and spending pounds (joke!). Today though I have spare time in my hands. I've finished my tasks ahead of schedule and I'm in no mood to impress my team lead by telling him that. Oh why should I? He'll just give me another work to start with, no way! I deserve to enjoy this free time. I'm planning to read that Golden Compass ebook or maybe surf about showbiz because so out of touch with the latest chismis. I'll "impress" my teamled tomorrow na, para naman bumilib sya lalo sa mga Pinoy. Itaas natin ang bandila ng Pilipinas kahit saan man tayo magpunta, okay?

Harley got denied of his Work Permit application... darn! It was unexpected because between the two of us he's the most qualified to be approved. We can't still pinpoint what exactly went wrong. Oh well, some plans just don't work out. It's not just meant to be. But I believe from the bottom of my heart that there's something better for him. Why? Because between the two of us, sya ang mabait. Since I've been given this UK opportunity, for sure he'll be blessed with something more grand. Baka punta sya sa moon! :p

And he's coming over here during the holidays - yey! We've already booked tickets for the Les Miserables and Madame Tussaud's. We're planning to watch the 2008 countdown. And of course, we'll go shopping on Boxing Day - the one day of the year when all shops in London go on sale!

With the holidays getting nearer I feel a bit melancholic. I miss my friends and family. There's really no place like home to spend the holidays - even if it's London (sigh). I miss the VPALs. I miss that time we exchanged gifts at a gazebo at Ayala. That time our budget was only 50php per gift per person because that's the only amount our meager 13th month pay would allow. (Asan na kaya yung mala-anting-anting na necklace na bigay sa akin ni Mau?) But it turned out to be the best "exchanging" gift I ever had experienced simply because the barkada's complete. Thankfully this year (thanks to Ria's innovativeness) we have this improvised global kriss kringle in which every one placed ridiculously-expensive items on their wishlists (matataas na talaga ang standards!). And I received a gift that's on my wishlist (thanks to my Mommy, di ka lang ubod ng pretty, generous pa!). Kelan kaya kami ulit magkakasama? That might not happen soon or that might not happen again because everybody is moving on to the next chapter of their lives and to the next country on their lists. The chance for all of us to gather together is getting slimmer and slimmer. Mga ambisyosa kasi, di ma-contento sa Pilipinas :p
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Sunday, 25 November 2007

New home. New friends.

My joyous days in a hotel are over. (Translate that to Tagalog and you know what I mean :P) No more free full English breakfasts. No more free unlimited high speed internet. No more free cleaning that everytime I get home my my bed's made up and there are clean towels in the bathroom. Oh why did it have to end?

I opted for a flatshare instead of living alone because not only it's cheaper, I'd also be forced to get to know other people. It's an opportunity to gain friends here. It's bad enough being assigned tens of thousands away from home, like I'm the only Pinoy in our building. It's even more depressing to cocoon myself from the outside world with December coming up. And besides I figured I can use the extra practice to speak in English at home. Oh diba parang kung sino akong sosyal na kelangan nag-e-english sa bahay, hehehehe :P

So I looked for a flatshare online and I got lucky. I found a house where there would only be two other single professional girls sharing with me. It's a storey house where there are 3 bedrooms one for each of us, a big sala, a dining room, kitchen and garden. It's fully furnished. It's just walking distance to/from office. But what made me decide to get this place was that the first time I met my landlord I immediately felt at ease with him. I reckoned I'd be in good hands with Metrobank, este with him as my landlord. He gave me a lift when I transferred here yesterday and even carried all my luggages up to my room. He even introduced me to a Filipina who's a friend of his wife.

And we immediately clicked with the his Filipina friend. Her name is Nory, short for Eleanor. Nory's actually a Canadian citizen. She immigrated to Canada during her late twenties, and guess what, she was also an IT developer - the reason why it was so easy for her to migrate in Canada.. hurray for us! But that's a "was" because she retired. She decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Nory's so sweet. The night before my scheduled moving in, she called me up at my hotel and offered me a lift. And yesterday afternoon she went here, with her husband John and their 4 year old son Robert, bringing a duvet for me to use and pizza for dinner. And just this morning her husband picked me up so I can have lunch at their house. I almost hugged her because she cooked rice, yey! It's something I haven't had the luxury to eat since I came here.

I stayed in their place for hours, playing with cute Robert (gwapo talaga ng bata, as in gusto ko ireto sa future anak ko!). We then went to Tesco for grocery. She taught me what stuffs to buy, dinner I can prepare on my own. She offered that I can go with them every weekend for grocery since they have a car. They're so nice. I just feel so lucky to have met them. I of course thanked Nory profusely. I guess I can't thank her enough. She just shrugged it off and said "Naku wala yun, alam ko kasi yang pinagdadaanan mo ngayon kasi mag-isa ako ng migrate sa Canada. Alam ko how hard being alone in a foreign country is." My heart swells because of their kindness. I wish someday I can repay that.
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Sunday, 18 November 2007

A day at Windsor

Last Saturday I woke up startled with the ringing of the phone on my bed side table. It was the Queen calling me. She wailed saying she couldn't understand why after 3 weeks of being here in London I still hadn't paid a call on her since Windsor Castle's just a few minutes away from where I'm staying. I apologized profusely to the obviously heartbroken monarch, couldn't think of an excuse, and to appease her I promised to visit her that day.

And so I went to Windsor. It was just a 15 minutes ride and one can already see the huge castle as the train approaches Windsor and Eton Riverside station. The first time I noticed it, It took my breath away. It's standing there seemingly proud of it's magnificence. It looks exactly like the castle in my childhood fantasies.

Queen Victoria's guarded the Castle's entrance

The trek up to the castle.

A butler opened the grand doors to the Queen's Audience Chamber where the Queen and her husband Prince Philip were waiting. I was amazed at how opulent the room was. There were paintings at the ceiling, paintings by Rubens on the walls, 3 huge chandeliers adorned the room and the furnitures were all cushioned in velvet - simply divine! I must have been gaping silly because the Queen smiled and her husband Prince Philip chuckled. The Queen despite of her age looked as fit as ever. And after 60 years of marriage, she and her husband still looked good together. They graciously showed me around the castle, amusing me with the history of every monarchs who lived there. I had difficulty taking in with my eyes the grandness of the surroundings. I couldn't believe that each chamber looked as opulent as the previous one.

The Windsor Castle - lovely, isn't it?

We then went to the St. George's chapel, which was also inside the castle. Walking around the chapel was deeply affecting knowing that many royal marriages happened there, many monarchs walked the same halls, they prayed there and some were laid to rest there. There are a few chantries - built by some royals around the chapel. A chantry is a chapel inside a church (in this case St. George's) endowed for the singing of masses for the chantry's founder after his death. Among the other things showcased inside the chapel are King Edward III's 6'8" sword and the coat of arms of the Order of the Garter knights.

Entrance to St. George's Chapel

My heart leaped when I saw William waiting for us outside the chapel. He seemed taller than I last saw him but I couldn't quell the feeling of dismay that he's looking more like his father now than his late mother. But still he's handsome. He stayed with us during the afternoon tea and he was very entertaining. William and I share this profound friendship after we decided to let our relationship not move a step further. Because we know we can never be together - a future King can never court, let alone marry a woman of no breeding, no royal titles to offer from a faraway Asian country. The British people will clamor for the downfall of the institution if he'll prefer his desires over his divine duty of governing the country. He has my utmost respect for choosing his that duty over his heart. He's simply returning the adoration the British people have for him - some say they love him more than they love his father.

I enjoyed my stay my visit to Windsor, regretting not doing it sooner. I'll call on the Queen again one of these days.

Yeah yeah yeah, the above about meeting the Queen and William who has always been the prince in my fantasies were all a product of my overactive imagination. This imagination of mine has been working overtime since I arrived in England :p But I did go to Windsor - and it's every bit as opulent as I described :) Just go to my multiply site for the rest of the pictures.

The future HRH Princess of Wales

The changing of guards ceremony.

Lizette, pwede na ba to for Christmas instead of McSteamy?


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Sunday, 4 November 2007

My 1st jologs moment in London

Yesterday I boarded the train to Waterloo on my way to meet my friends for the Original Tour sightseeing in London (refer to this link if you want to see my pictures of that said tour). I took the seat across a Pakistani-looking guy and immediately I took a book from my bag since I expected a long ride - around 40 mins. It must have been 15 minutes after when I noticed the guy leave. I continued reading and was engrossed with it for several minutes when suddenly something caught my eye... there was a black bag under the seat he vacated. So I walked over to the ticket inspector and told him about the bag. I watched him opened the bag with my heart pounding because I was remembering news about bombing or terrorist attacks in London that happened before. Another passenger who also got alarmed also watched. Well there was nothing of importance inside the bag. It just contained what seemed like plastic bags. After the ticket inspector examined the contents, he announced that it's safe, that there's nothing to be worried of. Just then the Pakistani-looking guy appeared coming from the rear of the train. He informed us that he just went to the toilet. Hearing that, the truth that I caused a commotion out of nothing sank in. I hastily apologized to him. He looked at me and suddenly laughed, saying "You thought it was a bomb!?!". The other passenger had the gall to join laughing, which made me want to scowl at him because of course he had also thought it was a bomb - traitor! I was so embarrassed, and I couldn't admit to the Pakistani-looking guy that it was exactly what I was thinking because he looked like a terrorist. So I just grinned sheepishly and threw off an excuse mumbling, "No, I thought you already got off the train, and I was worried that you forgot your bag..." But the guy didn't buy it, he continued laughing and he said "don't lie, you really thought it was a bomb". Oo na, oo na! Buti na lang, the ticket inspector jumped to my rescue telling him that I did the right thing, that it's better to be safe than be sorry. Thankfully the Pakistani-looking guy, as well as that other chismosong passenger, nodded in agreement. He sat again on the seat right across me and I swear he kept on smiling at me until we reached Waterloo.
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Friday, 2 November 2007

London baby.. yeah!


I'm here! I'm here in the land of Prince Harry (who's under investigation by the way because he apparently shot 2 protected birds... tsk tsk... naughty Harry). I'm here in the land where people speak in a cute accent that makes me bat my eyelashes and drop into a curtsy. I'm here in the land of cute guys that seem to literally pop out of a fashion magazine (too bad because most of them are obviously a decade - shocks decade - younger than me and it doesn't matter anyway because still Harley is way more cute). Oh yes, I'm here in UK, specifically London baby, yeah! Bloody great. Bloody fantastic. Bloody awesome!

Last week, 24Oct, Steng and Jaspher dropped me off at NAIA1. I was 3 hours early for my flight which was a good thing because when the KLM people weighed my luggages they were 6kilos in excess! If I had no more time then, I would have paid the 19k fee (they charge 30 Euros per kilo). Of course I refused to pay such amount so in the middle of that airport I opened my bags and removed the heavy stuffs that I could do without - wala akong pakialam na nakatiwangwang na mga undies ko for all to see. Proud naman kasi ako dahil filtered na yun, meaning di ko dinala yung maluwang na ang garter or yung may butas, nyehehehe :p After countless times of weighing and opening my baggage again to see what else I could remove (I had those stuffs left at the airport for Mau to pick up), I finally managed to lower the baggages' weight to the maximum allowable weight. Even with that much hassle, I was still all smiles when I traipsed towards the gate where I should wait for boarding. Because nothing, absolutely nothing could ruin that day for me.

It was one heck of an adventure because not only I was travelling alone, nobody was assigned to meet me at the aiport. I must have had the exact feeling the country mouse felt when he went to visit his cousin who lived in the city. I just had to rely on the fact that no one's a dimwit enough to mug me because no one would expect a Filipino like me carrying a sizeable money in pounds. I decided to hail a cab and was relieved to notice that every cab waiting at the airport had a CCTV camera inside. But I was astounded when we reached my hotel. That was when the cabbie told me the fare was 50 pounds - bloody hell that's 4500 in our money! I made a mental note then that I should never ever convert pounds to peso while spending money here because I might end up miserable throughout my stay.

London is so beautiful. Though I am here in the suburbs because here's where my company is located, the place is simply lovely. It's like one big Disneyland minus the amusement rides - the brick roads and houses, double-decker buses, manicured trees - they have some sort of imposed architecture in every house or building here. Walking to/from work brings me across the Thames river (pictured left) and the beauty of the surroundings that I pass by always sends me into a contemplative mood - parang gusto ko magmuni-muni about life, beauty & love, like parang gusto ko magpaint or mag-compose ng poem :p

Thames River

Town hall - isn't it cute?

It's cold but still manageable. It's like walking with full blast aircon following you around. I hope I can survive the winter - I have low tolerance of the cold you see. I shiver easily. Work is also interesting. In our team there's only 6 of us - 3 Britons, 1 French, 1 Spaniard and I'm the only Asian. Britons are very soft spoken and I absolutely love their accent. They are also very polite and they do behave gentlemanly - like they'll always open the door for you. Their work ethics are also very commendable. They work nonstop, almost not even pausing for lunch, like they usually take their lunch at their desk eating while they continue working. But no matter how busy they'll usually rush home after completing the 7.5 hours work per day. Because they say there's life after work - they're anxious to spend time with their families. Britons are also health concious. I notice that most of them have baon na fruits for elevenses (snack in the morning).

I roamed around Central London on my own last weekend. I took the train and then bought a one day bus pass. I went first to the London Bridge - a fitting place for my first Georgia-was-here UK list. I then followed a throng of tourists to the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. Next on my agenda was St. Paul's Cathedral but unfortunately I got on the wrong bus and napadpad ako dun sa slum area ng London. It's like a settlement of immigrants because there were many Pakistani & Indians nakatambay sa streets - the part of London na madumi. Good thing I found my way out from there in no time. At St. Paul's I attended the Evensong - choral service in which the St. Paul's Cathedral Chorus sang the prayers in English and Latin. I almost cried because it seemed like a dream that I was actually at St. Paul's Cathedral attending a church service. The cathedral is simply divine. The paintings and carvings on the ceilings seem gilded with gold. Unfortunately it's forbidden to take pictures inside. I just resolved to light a candle just thanking Him of the wonderful blessing of being here.

St. Paul's Cathedral


The Tower Bridge


Tomorrow I'll go to central London again but this time with friends - they're SAP developers who are here for training. Yey since may kasama ako :)
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Saturday, 20 October 2007

Glorietta Bombing (2)

I got a text last night from Mau informing me that an ex-RCG employee died - his name was Niño Vidano or better known as Onin. I immediately texted Bing because I remembered her mentioning a guy named Onin who had been his teammate in Misys. And yes, he was Bing's teammate - in fact she told me, she and Tisha (who had also been his teammate in Misys) immediately went to Makati Med when they got the news. Bing told me she cried when they confirmed it really was Onin. She added that it's so hard to believe he's gone because she had just seen him a week ago in his office - he had talked about his plans for his son and had proudly informed her that he had applied for Australia immigration. He was just turning 28 end of this month.

When I knew that someone close to me has a close friend who died made the bombing all the more real and terrible to me. Onin was just like me - a Makati IT professional, so young with so many dreams for his life and his family. It's just so unfair - whoever did that atrocity should be apprehended - justice must be served. Not only Onin died, also one of his colleague didn't make it. They just finished their lunch at Glorietta and perhaps on their way out to the Glorietta 2 exit when the blast happened. I wonder what their last thoughts were.

It could have been me. It could have been one of my close friends or colleagues. Thank God it didn't happen to me or to one of my friends. But still I can't help but grieve for those who died. Please, let's pray for the eternal repose of their souls.
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Friday, 19 October 2007

Glorietta Bombing

What a tragic day :( The Glorietta "bombing" that happened this afternoon was even worse than the Oakwood mutiny because many got injured (around 89) and many died (8 is the latest count). I went to Glorietta3 during lunchtime to claim my eyeglasses. Then, I went to Yoshinoya for lunch and while eating my gyudon I noticed my phone ringing, it was my HR calling me. Since I couldn't take the call because my phone's sira, I can't hear the person calling me from the other end, I decided to finish my lunch as fast as possible so I can go back to the office right away. I was able to leave the area around 12:30. The bombing or LPG blast (it's not confirmed yet what really caused it) took place around 1:30. Imagine, I was just an hour away from the blast! Shocks... If my HR didn't call me, I had been thinking of going back to Glorietta because I had glimpsed that irresistible SALE sign at the Levi's store on my way to the optical shop. And knowing me, if I went back to Glorietta I might have also done a little window shopping at my favorite shops, say Plains and Prints for example, which has sustained horrible damage from that accident. Shocks... Thank God I got that call and sira yung phone ko!

I'm sad for those who died and for those who are suffering now because of the injuries. Usually on Fridays Makati yuppies take their lunch out - usually in malls where there are wide array of restaurants. Most of the wounded are probably those who just extended their lunch at the wrong place (Luk Yuen). It's sad how one's life can easily be snuffed out just like one snap of your fingers. Di lang alam nung namatay, kumakain sila nun abot tenga yung ngiti sa busog but after a few seconds dead na pala sila - they're weren't even given a second chance. Like they say, if it's your time, wherever you are you can't avoid death. I hope those who survived and got injured the wounds they got are not so grave to be forever handicapped by this tragedy. The authorities can't still pin down whether it's just a freak accident or it was a deliberate terrorist attack. Whatever it was, I hope this won't happen again.
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Monday, 15 October 2007

This is the moment!

I didn't have a good night sleep. I went to the CR twice before dawn, which was unusual because I usually sleep like a log. I woke up earlier than usual and even arrived here at the office an hour earlier than my usual time-in. I spent my morning in tense anticipation, finding it difficult to concentrate on the ebook I was reading. So I just whiled away the unbearable time playing minesweeper and to my horror, I won only once!

What's with today? Well today is simply the 30th working day of my UK visa application processing (visa processing with WP is 20 to 30 working days). Since last night I had a gut feeling that today, not tomorrow, I'd receive the result. And my oh my instinct didn't fail me because just this afternoon, around 2pm, our messenger handed me a courier package from the UK Visa application center. I was dizzy with relief simply knowing that the long wait has come to an end.

I started to open the envelope with unsteady hands. Aware that two of my colleagues were behind me, prodding me to open the package faster, didn't help to soothe my nerves. Pressure pressure talaga, as in... I wanted to grab a stick to shoo them away. Somehow I managed to open the envelope, then I started to look for the "I'm sorry you're denied" letter - I had psyched myself for the worst you see, so that if the worst would happen it wouldn't hurt that much - Duh! As if that really works. When I didn't find such letter, I opened my passport and I almost cried with relief (no kidding, ganito ako ka OA) when I saw my pangarap na bituin... a multiple entry UK visa valid for 2 years! I can't believe I'm saying this because just last week I was groaning about the impossibly long processing period, but the months of agonizing wait actually make this a lot sweeter :)


I don't know when I'll leave for UK, I still have to talk to our Indian HR about that. But now, I am so happy. If you can see me, I have this silly grin reaching from ear to ear (oo parang buang). Just let me savor this victory. Bloody hell, today is my lucky day! Oh well just imagine me singing...

This is the moment, my final test.
Destiny beckoned,
I never reckoned second Best!
I won't look down,
I must not fall!
This is the moment...
The sweetest moment of them all!


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Friday, 5 October 2007

Claire prettier than Demi

Here's the preggy pic of Claire that I really want to share to the world. I never thought this is possible - but she has gotten prettier... nga buntis pa dyud - beat that! ---> Hapit naman gud Pasko, ganahan ko makadawat gift from US :p
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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Tagaytay with Physics2k

An unexpected reunion with my college classmates took place last weekend. Joyce had told me she's coming over for a visit the week before that. To make things fun for her and Armi, who was here for an extended stay after her bar exams, I had planned a Baguio tour since both of them haven't been there yet. I was also bent on dragging Marlon along, who was all too honest to express hesitation going by saying that Baguio's not worth the trip. Well it's nice to have a guy tag along with us, because it's unsafe for 3 pretty girls to travel alone. Even if that guy might admit in the future that he's just a 1/2 guy, hehehe :p

The night we were scheduled to leave for Baguio, Armi received text messages from concerned friends that it wouldn't be wise to go because of typhoon Hanna. I googled the typhoon's path and true enough, there's a simulation that it'll hit Baguio on the weekend, darn! With barely an hour before Joyce's flight landed, Armi and I decided to go Tagaytay. Thank God for Google, we at least found out how to go there.

So we (Marlon, Joyce, Armi and I) hopped on a bus to Tagaytay the following morning. I had never thought that Marlon is very mareklamo, klaro kaayo napugos sya og uban, hehehehe (it's obvious he was forced to come with us). He kept on asking "Gia, mag-unsa man ta didto?" (Gia, what are we going to do in there?). And after I answered him, he'd grill me for more questions like "lingaw diay na sya?" (is it going to be fun?), "after ana ,unsa next buhaton?" (after that, what are we going to do next?) I had to remind him a dozen times that Tagaytay was an impromptu decision and I wasn't familiar of the place so I didn't know yet what to do. I asked him not to worry, we'd know what to do when we get there. After assuring him that it'd be fun because everything would be spontaneous, the ingrate sent me a disgruntled look... killjoy!

We went boating on Taal lake and horseback-riding to reach the crater. The experience of riding a horse while climbing steep trails leading to the crater was simply exhilarating. But reaching the crater wasn't the one I was proud of. It was returning unscathed to the starting line that made me want to pat my back. It's because going down the volcano on top of a horse, following trails that border along a cliff's edge no less, was more nerve-racking. Though there was a guide, it felt like it was just me and my horse, Christine, doing it all. When Christine galloped down the trail, I had to prevent myself from singing "I'm on the top of the world looking, down on creation and the only explanation I can find" :p Noticing Marlon also enjoying the experience, I had to prevent myself from sending him i-told-you-so looks.

Don't believe the postcards, this is not the volcano. This is just a harmless mound with no crater!

We reached the crater baby, yeah!
And we remembered the Chemistry lab because of the awful Sulfur smell.


Gusto ko ng mangabayo, hiyaa!!!

We stayed that night at Royal Taal Inn and while each indulging a bottle of Smirnoff (except Joyce who preferred a Soy drink) mulled over Joyce's current situation. We also spent a lot of time discussing about Marlon - we girls simply couldn't understand why he doesn't seem to feel the need to engage in a romantic relationship with any human being. Well I think he's really just confused, suffering an identity crisis. Oh well he's a guy, he's got loads of time unlike us women haunted by our darn biological clocks... Grrr!

The following morning we met up with another college classmate, Greg, who was so dear for volunteering to be our driver. He was a savior because we'd be basang-sisiw without him - it rained the whole day because of darn Hanna. Tagaytay was literally covered in fog, which gave it an eerie ambiance like the one in horror movies. Cool... hehe. With the five of us gathered, we reminisced about the past - like who had a crush on whom and what happened with this or that couple. We also talked about people who weren't there - like who's married, who's pregnant and who's now gay (haha!). Oh my, I can't believe it's already 7 years since we graduated. I'm glad that even after all these years we still have a bond, we still connect (last year we went to Boracay and yeah, a typhoon also followed us there - maybe this is a curse?). I am more delighted that Joyce and Greg who hid themselves after we graduated have come out and decided to honor us with their presence :p I hope more of these laag (trips) will happen soon and our plan of Euro tour on 2010 will come true.. naks!
greg, marlon, joyce, armi and georgia :)

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Thursday, 20 September 2007

New Beginnings

A lovely beginning just happened to Maila. I am very happy to announce that she has given her matamis na OO to her Japanese collegue/manliligaw. When Goto-san popped the question, she noticed he was shaking with fear. Siguro takot masapak ni Maila, hahaha! If that's the case, I applaud him for having the guts to say his loving feeling. From the picture Maila sent me, he seems like a nice guy (which Maila also confirmed that he sure is very nice) and he's gwapo for a Japanese. A good catch, really - way to go Mai! Truly love will find you when you least expect it :) After a few years of hiatus from the romantic world, I bet my friend is excited to experience her firsts with this guy. Oh you know, first holding hands while walking in the busy Tokyo subway, first kiss under a Sakura tree and I bet she's more excited to those not-suitable-for-children kind of firsts :p I wonder how it is different doing all those with a Japanese, hmm? Baka may ibang techniques ang mga hapon, hehehehe. Mai, chika2x ka na lang sa amin ha...

Also a much awaited opportunity landed on Harley's lap - finally he received the job offer from a UK based company he had long hoped of being accepted. To celebrate his good fortune, I wheedled out from him an Italiannis dinner treat and he told me to bring along Steng, Jaspher and Mau to share his blessing. Since it was libre, I got to order one of their very expensive cakes. (see right pic) This slice cost 395 - you can buy one whole Red Ribbon cake with that! But it didn't disappoint me because it tasted so divine, very oishii! Grazie and congrats my poging bf - I'm so proud of you :) Now it's your turn to wait for your work permit and visa. It''ll be pure torture I tell you.

A friend of mine is also experiencing a new beginning. Though she might not find appreciation for what is happening to her right now, I believe in the future she'll be glad of this. Because this is an opportunity for her to spread her wings and to focus on finding herself - a thing she has neglected to do for years. She'll survive this, because she's one of those who possess such amazing strength. This too shall pass. And after this storm, I believe she'll emerge as a better person.
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

HP Baby

This HP baby comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz processor, Vista OS, dvd writer, 5 in 1 card reader, built-in webcam, fingerprint reader and the loveliest feature - a remote control for watching movies and navigation of photos... (greatly encourages my tamaditis bouts). Thanks to my first HP baby for this - that's HP as in Harley Pogi, hihihihi :p



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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Mau's Birthday Challenge

I support, all out, John Emannuelle Maunes' 40 days birthday challenge. What's this challenge? Not the same challenge in the 40 Days, 40 Nights movie because Mau with all his male and misguided hormones can never fulfill the celibacy challenge of Josh Hartnett's character in that movie. And also he'll never be willing to succumb himself to that. Well Mau's self-imposed challenge is to quit smoking for 40 days, before his 25th birthday. On the 41st day, he'll still decide if he's going to quit forever.

We have been bugging Mau since he started chain-smoking to quit. I believe that although he's gwapo as he is right now, he would have been way more handsome if he didn't start smoking in the first place. His skin would have been clearer (walang effect talaga Glutathione mo :p), his hairline would not have receeded that much, his perfectly shaped teeth would have maintained their pearly whiteness and he could have been Philippine's next top model if he didn't even start smoking!

Actually I am just writing this entry because Mau complained during lunch that I never mentioned him in my blog lately. But I really do support him in his crusade because as his friend, I do want what's best for him (naks!). He has already cleared 1 day and for someone as chain-smoker as Mau, I tell you that's no easy feat. So bravo, Mau! Only 39 days to go. I hope you quit smoking forever... Go go Mau :)
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Wednesday, 5 September 2007

William's Despedida at Dampa

If we're not belting out Bohemian Rhapsody (Mama! Just killed a man...) at Music 21, we usually celebrate important milestones at Dampa. Dampa (or SeaSide in Macapagal) is like SuTuKil at Mactan, Cebu. It has a talipapa where you can buy the freshest seafoods - from prawns to lobster, crabs, squids, tuna belly and lapu-lapu - you name it, they have it. Our suki is Justine's stall because the tindera is Bisaya and she usually gives us discounts or bonus pieces (pakapin ba sa Bisaya). After doing the shopping, you can then choose from the array of palutuan (restaurants that specialize in cooking your raw seafoods). Our favorite is G-Squared - masarap sila magluto :)

Justine's (above) and Steng (below) nagpaluto sa G Squared.

To go there, just take a cab and you there are two routes you can take. The first one is from Edsa then go to the direction of Mall of Asia (MOA). Before reaching MOA, take the right turn at the Blue Wave intersection. When you reach HK Sun Plaza, do a U-turn because Seaside-Macapagal is right across the street. The second route is taking the Buendia road. When you pass by the World Trade, you're on the right track, watch out for the Home Depot because Seaside is next to it.

Last night, nilibre kami ni William sa Dampa. It was like his despedida or going-away party as he's leaving for Singapore soon. I remember that the first NEC gathering I was invited to was William's despedida at Sunburst for AOTS. I was still a trainee and if I recall correctly, the other trainees who were also invited were Maristel, Ria and Korina. Demure pa ako noon. I was a bit intimidated by the bunch of "seniors" who dominated the crowd. That was 7 years ago, and now, di na ako demure :P Amazing how time flies.

The sumptuous food!
And the attackers..

Last night was also a celebration for Cathy (William's sis) passing not only the nursing board but also NCLEX. Galeng galeng, congrats! Truly, superb brains run in th family.

The Go Family....

We were 8 persons last night and if my psychic ability is right William just spent no more than 3500. Not bad eh, considering that it was eat-all-you-can seafoods, Steng was able to bring home doggy bags, and I was so bundat (full) that when I went home I immediately locked myself in the CR :p Sulit talaga mag-Dampa, try nyo minsan :)

See, daku gud kaayo og ngisi si Steng...

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Monday, 3 September 2007

Everybody is going somewhere

Rose flew for Malaysia on August 26. I remembered her the following day, as we had no work because it's National Heroes day. I almost lighted a candle on her behalf because she has become a hero... isa na syang OFW!

On August 30, Ria received her Japan visa and Dan demanded that she book a flight ASAP - it's really obvious Dan missed his personal geisha and he's dying to have a second honeymoon in the land of rising sun. So Ria spent 2 days in panic packing. Buti na lang naabutan pa nya yung midnight sale sa Glorietta and nakabili sya ng sulit na denim trench coat.

By the end of this week, it's William's turn. He's going to fly to Singapore. At least marami syang makakasama na ex-NEC employees dun. Di masyadong lonely. They can form some sort of club or organization there, ala-Kapisanan ng mga Dating Manggagawa ng NEC, Singapore Chapter.

Then it's going to be my turn (weee!). I'm itching to visit the Queen. And next in line is Stella. She's slated to visit Mito, Nats and Marianne. I hope it's going to be in that order kasi naunahan na ako ni Rose and Ria and mauunahan na rin ako ni William, tsk! Grabe naman pag-mauuna pa sa kin si Steng - di na jud ko palabot! Hehehe :p

It's really amazing how this profession catapults us to anywhere in the world. All we have to do is decide which country to go :p The world is getting smaller and smaller. Isn't it exciting? :)
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Friday, 31 August 2007

UK Visa application

I went to UK VACS (Visa Application Center) this afternoon to apply for a visa. Our company paid 19k for the application fee and that is non reimbursable - so even if I get denied TY na yung pera, grabe na negosyo, tsk! I don't know if there's a possibility of being denied. Wag naman sana...

I thought I'll be leaving by next week. My project manager was already expecting me to arrive this Monday. He even sent me an email yesterday, wishing me a safe trip. He erroneously assumed I'd be flying this weekend. But he'll have to postpone my welcome party 'til the end of September because according to the consul the processing will normally take 10 to 20 working days because I'm a first timer UK visitor (yeah.. even if I already have a Work Permit) Sheeshhh, antay na naman... sobrang excited pa naman ako :(

While waiting at the center I chatted to a nurse who was sitting beside me. She told me that the embassy processing is stricter now because the last time she applied there was no biometrics screening (they now take your photo and scan your fingerprints so that the airport officials can verify your identity when you land in UK). She reckoned that it's because of the recent terrorist attacks, so additional security measures are imposed for those seeking entry to UK. I agree with her, and I also think it's also because the Prime Minister is new... everybody in the government is trying to do their job to impress him.

Out of all applied for Work Permit by our company only me got approved. The Indian HR who submitted our requirements can't explain why lumusot ako since she confirmed I also lacked the document that caused the others to get denied. Hmmm may effect yata yung smile ko sa passport picture ko :p I'll be going alone to UK. It's going to be one bloody hell of an adventure :) I hope makakasunod yung mga kasama ko agad and I hope more that Harley will be assigned there during Christmas season. This is it.. just one step away from my UK dream. I am sooo close, I hope nothing will go wrong.
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Row3x your boat gently down the baha...

The best yung baha along Buendia-Mayapis area this morning - the worst ever. The road wasn't passable by vehicles until after lunch. It's because of the sudden heavy shower brought by typhoon Egay. And according to our guard, it's also because the Manila bay was already umaapaw due high tide so the flood had nowhere else to go. Rose, Steng and I had to hire a tricycle. But since the seat wasn't high enough and di ko carry na mag sit on-the-air while nakaangat yung paa, nabasa ang pwet ko! Ewww talaga... baka magkaroon ako ng an-an, buni or alipunga sa lovely buns ko huhuhuhu :( I have to treat my buns to some extra TLC this evening - scrub it and lavish it with alcohol para ma-disinfect. At least on the bright side, the drought is over.

A view of the flood as seen from Rose and Steng's unit.

...only in the Philippines.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

My UK work permit

I got an email yesterday from our Indian HR that they already received my work permit and she attached the scanned copy as proof. Finally after almost two months of waiting, it has finally come. Yippee? Nah... I'm still not in the mood to dance and do a jig because after I receive the original work permit 3 days from now, I still have to go the UK embassy here and have it stamped. What if the British consul will deny that coveted stamp just because he doesn't like my short hair? Or what if there'll be no project at all even if I'm already ready to fly? Aw bloody hell! I am torturing myself of those what-ifs, which is unreasonable. Well it's just that I want the Euro tour so bad...
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Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Drama Queen

I just received this text from Mama:

"Helo Day dawat nimu ako txt ghapn.. gkapoy na man ko Day knus-a pa kaha ko mamatay..."

Translation:

"Hello hija (sosyal version ng inday). Did you receive my text yesterday? I'm tired. When will I die?"

Heller nag-"hello" pa sya, tsk!

Oh I'm not alarmed. I've been receiving texts with such theme since she started her menopausal stage. She even told me that sometimes she would wake up crying or suddenly lapse into depression for no reason at all. Or sometimes she'd just get angry at Papa because of something he failed to do or she would simply remember that he's a womanizer (heller matagal na nya alam babaero Papa ko noh, 20 years ago pa). Papa ko rin since he retired has become irritable and matampuhin. So ayaw din magpatalo and they get into bickering. Nag-e-LQ pa rin sila, which is with their age hindi na yan sya cute! Hayyyyyy buhay.

Though I know it's just another menopausal blues, I'm still worried. Since I'm far away, I can't talk to her and reassure her. Sira din kasi phone ko, I can't call her. Grrr! I already spammed her, Papa and even my sister text messages but no one has replied, nada, tsk.

I hope when I start my menopausal stage I won't be a drama queen too. But I guess there's no escaping the depression due to the hormonal imbalance. It's unfair why we, women, have to endure so much. Men's greatest scare in life is just circumcision, and most didn't even feel it because they were circumcised when they were still babies. Unfair!!! Next lifetime, I wanna be a man.
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Holy Kettle Corn is ya-ya-yummy!

I am addicted to Holy Kettle Corn since I tried it last Friday. I've been eating a bag per night for straight 3 nights now, munching while watching another Kimura Takuya's dorama... ohhh the good life!

You can find Holy Kettle Corn (HKC) stalls everywhere. There's one in Glorietta, SM megamall and at the Petron station near our office (along the Buendia-Makati Ave. intersection). The medium size bag costs 25php and the large one costs 60php - not bad eh. It's healthy also because it doesn't have butter or the usual cheeze/barbecue flavoring. It just contains sugar that is sweet and salt that is not sweet (duh!)... Okay, it's not that healthy, but definitely a better option than a regular junkfood.

There's also Kettle Korn. There's a stall in SM Makati and also sold in convenience stores like Mini Stop. I don't like it because it contains more sugar than HKC. One time I found lumps of sugar at the bottom of a bag. It's just an HKC wannabee.
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Thursday, 26 July 2007

Take My Breath Away

If I told you how I feel about you
Would you say the same and
If I wrote it in a letter
Would you keep it or throw it away

I never thought I'd feel the way I'm feeling lately
When everything you seem to do just drives me crazy

Every waking day you take my breath away
With every word you say you take my breath away
You look at me that way, baby come what may
I hope that you'll always know how to take my breath away
How to take my breath away

You told me how you feel about me
Cos' I did not know
If you said you'd fill my heart with all your loving
'Til it overflowed

I don't know the way you feel but boy I'm hoping
I always used to hide away, but now I'm open

Every waking day you take my breath away
With every word you say you take my breath away
You look at me that way, baby come what may
I hope that you'll always know how they take my breath away
How they take my breath away

Take my breath away
Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Every waking day, you take my breath away
With every word you say, you take my breath away
You look at me that way, baby come what may
I hope that you'll always know how they take my breath away
How they take my breath away
(how they take my breath away)

Take my breath away
Take my breath away
(how they take my breath away)
Take my breath away
Take my breath away
Take my breath away
Take my breath away


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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

I am blessed

Our management gave us the no-brainer task to segragate resumes of those that applied in our Jobstreet ad. So far with the hundred resumes I finished checking, noone passed. It's a waste of time really but it's good that they've given us something to do.

As I perused the resumes I was surprised to find out there were many of the applicants currently earning less than 10k, some even below 5k. Most of them are Computer Science graduates with up to 4 years experience although usually as technical support/computer technician. Immodesty aside their salary differ by a very wide margin with the salary that I and most of my IT professional friends are enjoying. Shocks, I can't even imagine having a budget of less than 10k a month! Tapos less tax pa yun ha :( Though I felt sorry for them, I had to reject their applications because we need experienced developers who possess the skillset we're looking for.

I remember 7 years ago when the HR of NEC called up to inform me that they're hiring me. I was ecstatic because I was told I'd be earning above 10k - gosh I thought, "10k? Wow this is it.. I'm on my way to being darn rich!" I couldn't stop thanking God for giving me job even if I didn't graduate yet (I received the job offer a month before our graduation). With the training and experience I got from NEC I was able to start building a competitive skillset. I'll be forever grateful of NEC for that. And now 7 years after (although hindi pa rin ako rich because of the darn taxes and darn mall sales tsk!) opportunities keep popping, not only for local employment but also overseas. Headhunters call when you least expect it. The future is truly bright.

What I did today is a humbling experience for me because I have realized how blessed I am that I'm not one of those whose resumes I had to reject. Whenever I feel envious of others who are earning more than I am, I should remind myself that I am also earning pretty much that now I can afford to rent a condo on my own. Whenever I feel the urge to whine because I haven't been assigned to UK or US like some of my colleagues, I should remind myself that hey I'm lucky I've been to the Land of the Rising Sun! Whenever I feel the impulse to bang my head on the cubicle's wall because I'm so bored, I should remind myself that I'm lucky I'm getting paid a hefty sum doing nothing. Yeah, I am truly blessed.
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Friday, 20 July 2007

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Korean Hairstlyle? Why not?!


Tinopak na naman ako yesterday, I had my hair cut again. I just wanted to try that Korean salon just around the corner, West of Ayala Bldg. in Makati. The salon is Tony and Jackey - you may visit their site http://www.toandj.com/. All their hair stylists and even their receptionists are Koreans. Iba ang feeling that there were too many Koreans everywhere (there were many Korean customers) and added with the Korean music sa background parang gusto kong mag "Annyeong-haseyo" or end my sentences with "samida", hehehe :p

Ria (she was also with me) and I noticed that Korean guys are very vain. There was a group of them there discussing how they want their hair layered or colored. They were busy scanning the magazines and di pa nakontento, nag-internet pa! (there's a PC there) Ang tagal natapos nung isang guy, dami nya pinagawa sa hair nya, di ko naman gets ano yun, he looked like any other Korean to me. I can't imagine our Pinoys, except the metrosexuals like Mau, being that meticulous with hairstyle. Pinoy pa rin ako... macho. Mas gusto ko yung di masyadong pinapahalata na medyo vain sya, kunwari he doesn't care about the way he looks pero may beauty rituals din pala to keep himself neat. Basta ayoko yung mas vain pa sa akin.


It was Mr. Tony himself who cut my hair. How do I look? Hmmm when Steng saw me last night she was laughing so hard. Yeah, the bangs looks funny - darn, it's too short :p When I also came in the office this morning, our receptionist immediately asked, "Why did you have your hair cut? Ganyan ka na ba ka bored?" Hahahahaha! Yeah I'm really bored and tense waiting for my visa. But no matter what they say, kahit lait-laitin nila ako (OA!), I kinda like it. It's flirty and fun. It's something new, parang Anime look. I want to give myself a pat on the back for having the courage to cut it shorter than I usually would allow.

If you're feeling a bit adventurous with your hair, tired with the same old style, just visit Tony and Jackey. They are opening a branch in Cebu, according to their site it's "in progress". The haircut price for men is 300, while for ladies it's 500. Try it while we're still young and we can still afford to look silly... Why not?!

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Monday, 16 July 2007

HP & Order of the Phoenix - Review

The 5th HP movie installment, Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, is engrossing from start to end. It picks up just where the Goblet of Fire left off. I applaud the performances of the three leads – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. I can’t imagine someone else reprising their characters – they’ll always be Harry, Ron and Hermione to me. One can’t fail to notice the muscles on Daniel’s shoulders and his oh-la-la biceps. Gone is the geek-looking Harry Potter. Pero nasobrahan yata nya ng kaka-weights. Di na tuloy convincing na pwede pa syang ma-bully nila Dudley or Malfoy and his gang.

The veteran actors also are able to pull off the best interpretations of their characters, but not to the point of overshadowing the young leads. Helena Bonham Carter gives the deranged performance of Bellatrix Lestrange. It's just how I imagined the Voldemort-fanatic dark eater should be. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the next HP films. Ralph Fiennes’ face as the Dark Lord is now more exposed, it’s less snake-like… makes me wanna let Voldemort resurrect to his full power so I can see Ralph Fiennes in all his handsomeness, hehehehe :p Sir Michael Gambon is able to show that why Dumbledore is the only wizard that Voldemort fears during the climactic face-off of the two great wizards. That scene had me grabbing the edge of my seat. The Umbridge woman (I don’t know the actress’ name) is also very effective in her role as the 2nd villain… she’s infuriating!

It’s obvious that Ginny is about to play a major role in the next film. Though mostly in the background, she’s practically in every scene. Just like Hermione, she’s gotten prettier. The newcomer who plays Luna Lovegood nails the role.

Though I really enjoyed the movie, it just ranks third on my list. My favorite is still Prisoner of Azkaban, followed by Goblet of Fire. It’s because the other characters are not given much credit. For example, it’s hard to notice that Remus Lupin (the werewolf) is still in the film because he doesn’t even utter a single line. The members of Order of the Phoenix are not also properly introduced. I didn’t even recognize if Mundungus Fletcher, an Order member who thieves on antiques or treasures in the Black house, is there in the movie. Kreacher, the old house-elf of the Blacks, is not also given due airtime. In the book, he helps the Dark Eaters by lying to Harry that Sirius is gone. Emma Thompson’s Sybill Trelawney is also not able to redeem herself. The film still paints her as an incompetent seer when in fact in the book she's the one who made that prophecy, tsk!

I am, like every Harry Potter fanatics, very excited to get my copy of the 7th (and last, by the way) HP book. I'll lock myself in my room on Saturday, mag-catheter and dextrose na lang ako so that I'll be able to devote all my time finishing it (hehehehe!). I hope JK Rowling won't disappoint me with the ending... wag lang nya patayin si Harry, lagot sya! Si Ron okay lang patayin yun...


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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Separated At Birth?

Kim Tae Hee and Ria May Alama-Dilema

Joyce Jimenez and Sintclaire Chavez-Daria

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Saturday, 7 July 2007

Happy 28th Bday Sis!


Happy birthday to the most amnesiac, probably already suffering the symptoms of Alzheimer's, girl I've known. She's the only who forgets wearing a bra to work (buti na lang cup A ka lang, nyehehehe!)...

Happy birthday to the most frugal, financially-wise friend. She's always stressed out after shopping because she starts pestering herself why she bought the items in the first place. Don't at all believe her when she rants she doesn't have money anymore...

Happy birthday to the most helpful, laging-maasahan na friend. She readily lends her money to us whenever we are in need. Buti na lang kuripot sya...

Happy birthday to the most beautiful friend with the most captivating eyes. Sensya na Ri birthday kasi, delete ko yung "most" after July 8. She broke many boys' hearts when she chose Darrix out of her many throngs of admirers. And until now she still breaks men's hearts whenever they see her and Darrix together. They couldn't help being envious to the tall guy, most probably wondering how could someone be so lucky...

Happy birthday Claire! :) You seem to have everything your heart's desires (darn! bakit lagi ka swerte ha!?!). So I have nothing to wish for you except healthy pregnancy and oh yeah, I wish you're child will inherit your genes in the looks department (hahahaha sure ko Darrix is also praying for this =p). I hope you'll treat us on your birthday. Again, I don't buy that no-money excuse. Okay na sa akin ang Sicilian Chicken Salad of Italiannis...

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Friday, 6 July 2007

My First Root Canal Treatment

I was elated to receive my Maxicare health card. Good thing about most IT companies these days is you're already insured on day one of work. I guess this is an added lure, doing away of the usual that employees must be regular first to enjoy benefits, thought of by IT companies to pirate software developers to work for them. Isn't it great that we're so in-demand these days? Let's take advantage of these opportunities. Seek the company that fits your long term goals. Look for the one that provides the healthy environment to build your career on.

Excited to use my card, I dialed for the Maxicare's 24 hour call center and asked for a dentist within Makati area. Actually, I hate dentists. They always advise me to abstain on coffee because my teeth are too stained. Give up coffee? No way! Just wait when I get rich, I'll avail of that costly whitening procedure that whenever I smile you'll want to wear your sunglasses =p

So I went to the dentist yesterday to avail for a free prophylaxis and 2 permanent fillings. Dra. Concio, the dentist, immediately pointed at my badly decayed lower right molar. This tooth gave me excruciating pain last year but I managed to endure it by popping Advil every six hours (don't follow me with that one, too much medicine is bad for the liver). I procrastinated going to the dentist until the pain went away permanently. Dra. Concio said since the molar already caused me pain, filling it (pasta) wouldn't fix it, it might flare up again and might lead to tooth abscess. She presented two options: to have it extracted and replace it with a denture or to undergo root canal treatment. Extracting was out of the question. I don't want to part ways with my lovely yellow tooth. If something can be done to save it, why not. So I opted for the root canal treatment. I gulped when she told me the procedure would cost 5800. Fortunately she accepts credit card. Ohhh yes, the power of utang!

She began drilling my tooth to clean and open it up. I felt an uncomfortable ma-ngilo sensation, like that sound of nails scraping on a blackboard. When she drilled further, I yelped in pain - no wonder many are scared of dentists. She then gave me two anaesthesia shots on the surrounding gum. When the effect of the anaesthesia seeped in, she began inserting root canal files (a root canal file looks like a needle) to clean the tooth out. Buti na lang my gum was numbed because that must have been darn painful. It aimed to remove the bacteria and nerve tissue inside the tooth. She even showed me a file with blood on its tip saying the blood was a nerve. Huhuhuhu she killed my tooth!!! I left her clinic with a lopsided smile, because my lower-right jaw felt funny due to the anaesthesia. I couldn't even flash my infamous cute smile (hehehe).

The procedure isn't over yet. I still have to go back next week for a tooth X-ray. I have to go back again a week after next for the root canal filling. And the week after that for the dental crown placement, which she told me will take 1 and a half hour... Naku! nakanganga ako ng ganun katagal!?! Click here for more about root canal treatment.

I've learned my lesson - I must take proper care of my teeth. Not only tooth decay is painful, treatments are also painful and expensive! Click here also for tips on how to take care of your precious teeth.
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Tuesday, 3 July 2007

I Chose the Light

Ray, Harley's barkada, and I planned to meet last Saturday. He had to give me my favorite Lindt dark chocolates - pasalubong from my poging boypren. When I arrived at the meeting place (Razon's Greenbelt), I texted him that I was already there. There was no reply. A couple then approached me. It was Izel, another barkada of Harley, and his girlfriend, Jenny. I asked them where's Ray. They informed me that Ray might not make it because he needed to iron out some problem. Naman! Inindyan ako ng original na kasabot ko (di ko alam Tagalog ng kasabot e hehe), I thought.

So the three of us chatted, talked about their plans. It was our first meeting since Izel, a US navy personnel, was only here for a vacation. I was relieved to find out they're so nice and warm. I was immediately comfortable and able to switch to my naturally madaldal mode. Jenny's fiancee visa has already been approved so she's going to fly soon to marry Izel. Talk about a brighter than Tide future...

After almost an hour, Ray appeared, looking harassed. He apologized and then recounted the reason why he almost didn't come. It turned out he and his gf had a fight that only started about a small something that ballooned when past unresolved issues were also brought out. He lamented that his gf is very selosa and immature, enumerating the incidents to prove that. She even texted him before he went to see us, "bakit mo ako iniwan? mas inu-una mo pa yang friends mo" - twengggg! Ray added, "5% pa lang yan George kasi pag sasabihin ko yung remaining 95% uumagahin tayo." Izel and Jenny were shaking their heads, saying "hiwalayan mo na kasi."

While I listened to Ray, I couldn't help but smile. Not because I was happy of his seemingly hopeless plight nor because I was finally clutching my yummy Lindt dark chocolates. It's because I felt glad of the fact that I'm no longer in the same situation as Ray's. I was also entangled in same unhealthy relationship.

When your friends start giving you unsolicited advice to break up with someone, you should consider it. Because they're the ones who notice, being the unbiased party, that the relationship is doing more damage than good for both of you. H'wag na yang drama na you-and-me-against-the-world. Baka lang mamatay kayo tulad ni Romeo and Juliet. When your relationship is bringing out not the best but the worst of both, you should step back and heave the courage to end it. Because the truth is you'll be doing BOTH of you a favor. It's wrong being always mindful of your actions because you're afraid you might arouse his/her temper or jealous streak. It's as if walking on tiptoe on a thin sheet of ice whenever you're with him/her, which is absurd! Because you should be your true self in every relationship. Your partner should witness your unguarded you and let him/her cherish that.

Looking back, I am so glad I found the courage to heed my friend's advice and choose the light. Because I believe we are both happy now.
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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Feeling Lucy

Lucy Torres writes in Philstar regularly, imparting her beauty secrets. Actually allow me to fantasize that I too have beauty secrets, just a few, to share. Yep, you're right. Wala na naman akong magawa. I'm bored. Again.

1. Kaminomoto Hair Tonic

My hair is the most abused part of my body. I had it curled at the ends last year December (the Marimar look). April of this year, I had it curled again and cut to shoulder-length (the poodle look). Then barely two months later, just last weekend, I had it relaxed (a process milder than rebond) and layered (that's my boring look). Sheesh if my hair could scream with all the torture, it probably would have wailed loudly. One would expect that most of my hair must have fallen off by now because of too much chemicals. But no. I still have my precious locks in place. My secret? (Hahahaha feeling kaayo. Kilatan baya ko...) Kaminomoto Hair Tonic.

I discovered this product when I accompanied Steng to a LBC outlet. She was trying to smuggle a bottle for her father, which failed because LBC doesn't accept liquids. My usual curious self (in short, pakialamera =p) asked her what it was for. She told me that the tonic effectively promotes hair growth. Her father had tried using it on the bald patch of his head, it worked!

I really have very fine hair, as fine as corn's hair. So heavy falling hair usually alarms me. That time I was experiencing such condition. Every morning I noticed a handful of strands on my pillow maybe because of having had my hair tortured. (Heavy falling hair also occurs when one is under stress). I brought a bottle of Kaminomoto at Mercury, Glorietta (600php+ for 100mL). Using cotton ball I started applying it on my scalp. True enough, it's effective. I notice less and less hair strands falling. There are newly-grown/baby hairs on my scalp. And I think my hair is getting healthier, shinier... naks!

2. Issho Genki Squalene

I have asthma. I used to have asthma attacks, everyday. During the wee hours of the morning, I used to wake up gasping and grabbing for my Ventolin Diskhaler for a fix of the medicine (oo, parang addict). When I moved here in Manila, I expected my asthma to get worse because it's polluted here. I didn't expect it however to be cured. I can't even remember when I had my last attack. It's because I now take two capsules of Squalene everyday. Sa Cebu kasi one capsule a day lang ako since I couldn't afford pa hehehe.

Browse this site, it's even recommended by a pulmonologist and yes, Dr. Vicky Belo. This is also the secret of my glowing skin (hahahahahaha!). If you're interested to buy, don't go asking for it at the local drugstore, because it's retail price is 10php per capsule. You can contact me and buy it for as low as 7php per capsule :)

3. Face Shop Phytogenic All Control Pressed Powder

I used VMV face powder way back in Cebu. But I had to look for an alternative because it's price soared from 400+ to a whopping 1200+! Even if it now comes with a white-leather sosyal case, I still won't set aside more than 1k for a powder, no way noh. It's not Shu Uemera that it's understandable to pay that much for it.

I found a better alternative at the Face Shop (a Korea-based beauty store that have outlets in Glorietta, MOA, etc). Ria and I have fallen in love with this beauty find because it provides very smooth, natural and ultra-light coverage. Though I have very oily T-zone, to my delight this powder lasts longer than the products I used before - so it's tipid since I don't have to reapply it frequently. It also protects the skin from harmful UV rays because of it contains SPF10 PA+.

By the way, it costs 695php. And you might also want to check other Face Shop products because they are all natural. They don't only showcase wide array of beauty ka-ek-ekan for women but they also have a line of skincare products for men.

4. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

This little yellow tube works wonders on my lips. So far, it is the only cure to my always chapped lips WITHOUT the greasy feeling.

Many lip products on the market are made with petroleum, but petroleum dries your lips so you end up needing more. Burt’s Bees products are made with good stuff like beeswax, honey and essential oils. The Burt's Bees Beeswax lip balm is packed with protective ingredients such as ultra emollient lanolin and almond oil to help soothe cracked or chapped lips. It also leaves a peppermint tingle on your lips.

If you want to use a lip balm with tint, so you won't have to use lipstick, there's also Burt's Bees lip shimmer that comes in numerous shades. It's
made from natural ingredients like vitamin E, coconut and sunflower oils to moisturize your lips.

Burt's Bees products are available in Beauty Bar shops (there's one in Glorietta and also in MOA). A tube of Burt's Bees Beeswax lip balm costs 250php (not sure of this though). It' s half the price in the US, so if you have friends there ask them to hoard for you. (paging Claire... paging Claire!)

I hope you'll also share your secrets/tips with me. I'll think of other products to add to this list.
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Tuesday, 19 June 2007

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