Monday, 29 December 2008

Our Wedsite

It has been a fruitful vacation in terms of wedding preparations. We were able to book our major suppliers (reception venue, videographer and of course, the church) with the help of our angel of a wedding planner Cielo Villegas of Blushing Bride. We love her! She's very efficient and very responsive to our texts and emails. We truly feel we're in good hands.

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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Blogging in Heathrow

I'm in a Starbucks waiting for boarding. I've been here for nearly 2 hours now - it's a miracle, I'm early! Yeah I admit I am very excited to go home. My eyebags literally feel heavier than usual because I've been having difficulty sleeping these past few days. There's still 45 mins to wait, so I'll just blog. I'm bored :P


Had to mail these packages yesterday - gosh langit ang price ng postage! Oh well as expected here in UK, everything is twice as expensive. Oh yeah ordering online like amazon or whatever's the local online retail shop in a country would have been cheaper but for this Christmas I wanted to send gifts from UK because this is going to be my last Christmas here (sigh.)

My gorgeous friends sent me early Christmas gifts. I already opened Claire's gift because actually there's nothing to open - it wasn't wrapped. Love the gift - pink earrings from someone who hates pink. Here in the pic is from Ria. I'm bringing this home so I have something to open this Christmas because I haven't received my gift yet from my Kriss Kringle mommy! Mommy where are you???

A cab took me from my apartment to Heathrow, courtesy of my beloved company. It's a Mercedez Viano - sounds sosyal diba? :P

The cabbie was a lady.

In Starbucks because I needed my coffee fix. I can't start my day right without coffee.

Liquids - was surprised to realize I had this many inside my kikay kit - kaya pala always mabigat bag ko.

Last minute shopping for pasalubong - keychains.

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Saturday, 22 November 2008

My Anya Loot

Two days ago I ordered a small trinket from Anya Hindmarch (a London based designer brand) for my Japanese friend, whom I worked with when I was still in NEC. It's hard not to notice the telltale pattern from the gifts I received from her - branded. In fact I have just received an early Christmas present from her and they are Burberry hankies embroidered with my name (shocks di ko talaga to sisingahan!). So I am kind of pressured to give her something branded for Christmas. Good thing when I browsed the Anya site, they had some sale items. But still, sale na nga, all I can afford is a small trinket :(

It's small as in small so imagine my surprise when I received the DHL package from Anya - it is a very huge box. So I just thought maybe they didn't have any other box. So I carried the box home and gosh I was even more shocked when I opened it, it contained not just 2 small trinkets but also an evening clutch bag, which brings the total price of the loot to around $400. I just checked my card online - I have been charged only with the order I made. So yeah whoever is in charge with processing online orders in Anya screwed it up big time!

So big a bag for just a small trinket.

A simple looking but very expensive small bag. Gosh ang smooth ng lining nya sa inside ha!

Last night I could imagine my little angel and little devil engaged in a bloody tug of war. My little devil jumping up and down on my left shoulder convincing me to keep the loot - "Georgia you can never afford a clutch like that. So finders keepers!", it said. While my little angel whispered demurely "they're not yours, return it." Hmmm masyadong demure kasi yung whisper ng little angel ko kaya I'm more inclined to just keep the loot because if I am going to return them, I will have to foot the postage fee. Plus processing or sorting out the replacement or refund might take weeks and I can't wait that long! I have to receive and post my Christmas gift to Eriko not later than next week, before I go home to Phil.

Oh darn!? What to do???

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Thursday, 20 November 2008

Food! Glorious Food!

In just two weeks (14 days to be exact - yes I'm counting) I will be flying to the country, with all its blood pressure raising traffic and not for the faint hearted baha (flooding), I will always call my home. I am excited to see my parents, my getting prettier sister (syempre mana sa akin :p), my handsome fiancé and my gorgeous friends. But aside from that I am passionately looking forward to eat the onli-in-da-pilipins foods that I terribly miss! So to make sure I won't miss eating anything I've been longing for these past 7 months, I am making a checklist... 

List of foods that I MUST eat this December:

1. CNT Lechon from the Queen City of the South. It's been a year since I last ate a tasteful morsel of this lechon - a lechon that doesn't need Mang Tomas – dat’s onli in Sugbu bai!
2. Dampa Dampa Dampa (at Seaside Macapagal) - my mouth is watering just the thought of those succulent prawns cooked in a chili garlicky way. Drool...
3. Kopi Roti kopi bun, french toast and coffee. I am such a good friend so I will dedicate my first bite of kopi bun to Ria and Claire hihihihi. Good thing there's already a Kopi Roti outlet in Cebu so I can go there as much as I want to.
4. UCC Sumiyaki Coffee jelly and Mango Crepe that comes not with ordinary cream but Haagen Daz ice cream.
5. Italianni’s Sicilian Chicken salad and Seafood Risotto. I really miss their focaccia bread. 
6. Razon's halo halo, lumpia, dinuguan at puto, boneless bangus and pancit luglog. 
7. Tapa King sweet and spicy Tapa Queen
8. Chowking!!!! Anything from chowking! But I may just choose the Lumpia Shanghai Lauriat and spicy beef wanton noodles.
9. Jollibee burger steak, chicken joy and any breakfast meal.
10. Humba ni Mama - basta Humba (pork paksiw?) cooked in Cebuano way, which means immersed in lots of Minola cooking oil
11. AA's pork belly, tuna belly and pork barbecue!
12. Yoshinoya beef gyudon overloaded with red ginger
13. Ineng's pork barbecue at Salcedo market
15. Thirsty's fruit salad and any shake
16. Auntie Anne's pretzels. Shocks these pretzels bring back memories of the Makati days - when me and my friends were still poor :-|
17. Starbucks coffee jelly. Though I don’t think it’s possible for me to complete all the stamps and get the planner in just 3 weeks.
18. Breadtalk floss and any cake
19. Any Fuzion Smoothie. Fuzion also evokes lots of happy memories – it was one of our favourite hang out place. I miss the VPALs!
20. Sizzling pork sisig sa Enterprise cafeteria

Literally my stomach is growling while drafting the above list. It's not yet final, most likely I can think of something to add. Grrr too bad I only have one mouth. I wonder if I can really, if it's humanly possible not to miss anything during my 3 weeks vacation. I will be visiting Manila only for 4 days, most of my vacation will be spent in Cebu, so I need to have a plan to cover all the Manila-based foods. Hmmm kelangan ng matinding planning to! Hayy good luck sa bilbil! I really miss the good 'ol days when I could just eat and eat, gobble everything I want without gaining a single pound. Sigh.


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Monday, 10 November 2008

Living Her Dreams

Harley is very proud of his cousin May Ann. And makikisali din ako since she's going to be my cousin-in-law, hihihihi ;-) To say that May Ann is a good artist is an understatement - it doesn't do justice to her talent at all. She is a superb artist! I really love her works. In fact I am such a great admirer of her works that I incorporated her illustrations into my multiply and blogspot themes. Yep, see that gorgeous picture on top of this page? That's hers! Still not convinced? Visit her site and you’ll know why kids and kids at heart (ehem like yours truly) adore her. She's super good!

May Ann is not only acclaimed locally, she has been chosen as one of the 24 most creative Pinoys by Preview magazine, she is also now making a name of herself internationally. Her works already graced exhibitions in the United States and France. Most of her clienteles are foreigners –parents asking her (thru her site) to commission paintings/illustrations for their kids. Someday I’ll have a painting of hers hanging on the wall of our child’s nursery room. Sana may discount kasi cousin-in-law eh :p

May Ann featured in Preview Oct '08 issue

She has just finished a commission for the Department of Tourism. She is the chosen illustrator for the Live Your Dreams campaign; a campaign that promotes the Philippines to foreigners looking for their own place in the sun. And she has done an amazing job of it. Kudos May Ann! Hats off to you! I am again in awe of what you can do m(-.-)m

The official website of Live Your Dreams (http://liveyourdreams.ph/). The animation and May Ann's illustrations showcase the Philippines marvellously (maka-ilad :p). The print ad of the campaign has been featured in foreign magazines like the Economist and Forbes.

Live Your Dreams print ad in Forbes 10 Nov '08 issue

I dare say “Live Your Dreams” is a more fitting description to May Ann herself than the tourism campaign. She was born with a hearing deficiency but she was able to overcome it and now can hear and speak like any ordinary person. Most of all she did not let her deficiency deter her from pursuing her passion in art. When we visited her gallery in La Union, her eyes were literally sparkling as she showed us her works. She loves what she's doing. Yes, she is truly living her dreams. For someone so young, she has accomplished so much. She is an inspiration.
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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Too Many 2-Piece(s)

I've just received a package from NJ, from Sis (Claire).. weeee! It contains my favorite piyaya (although kinuhaan na ni Daria), dried mangoes, Burts Bees lip balm tubes, 2 pairs of 2-piece swimsuits and a beach dress. Thank thanks Sis! You're not just pretty, generous pa! My mama used to say; birds of the same feathers, flock together. She couldn't be more correct! :-|

I really missed this handwriting hehehe (klarex kaayo kinsa nagsulat :p)


the 2-pieceS

Now I have 3 pairs of brand new 2-piece! The first two, from the left, are the ones given by Sis. The third pair is the one I bought here, it was on sale when summer ended. Receiving these swimsuits is perfect timing because Harley and I are going back to Bohol with his family this December. And we already booked a day at a Panglao beach resort. Yeah snorkelling and dolphin watching na naman, and I have new swimsuits to boot! But the problem is, isa lang katawan ko! Panget naman if I'll wear all pairs one on top of the other. Ahhh alam ko na, change costume na lang ako every three hours... that's it, pancit! Problem solved! If only I can also solve the other problem. What is it?!? Grrr, my bilbil of course!

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Saturday, 8 November 2008

Fireworks and Raclette

Alain invited me to watch the fireworks display at Bishops Park (in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham) with his family and then dinner afterwards since they live close to the park. Alain was my team leader. After our application got released and cleared by System Test last March, the whole team got disbanded. Two went to another project (now working in other locations of Logica) and while the three of us are still on the same project, we are now assigned to different teams. Even so we still have coffee breaks everyday, we bonded maybe because our nationalities both start with an F... he's French and I'm Filipino (oh diva :-|). Sometimes when the Spaniard Carlos (one of the three) is not working from home, he usually joins our coffee bonding.

Last night was the fireworks display - an annual event that occurs during the weekend of Guy Fawke's night. Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot? What you don't know that? It's a famous English nursery rhyme, and like all nursery rhymes it has a dark hidden meaning. It talks about Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators' plan to kill the king (King James I) by blowing up the Houses of the Parliament, also called as the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed on November 5, 1605 beneath the vaults of the House of Lords on the verge of igniting barrels of gunpowder. He was then hanged, drawn and quartered. That is, he was dragged on a wooden frame to the place of execution, hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead (hanged), disembowelled and emasculated and the genitalia and entrails burned before his eyes (drawn) and the body divided into four parts then beheaded (quartered). Tsk tsk, that punishment was quite harsh! Guy Fawkes’s night or Bonfire Night is an annual celebration on the evening of November 5, to celebrate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot. Fireworks and bonfires are lit in many parts of Great Britain. Guy Fawkes is also the inspiration of the movie V for Vendetta.

Fireworks at Bishops Park

So last night was an extension of the Guy Fawkes's night. I got to meet Alain's lovely wife (Ann Veronique), his two cute and really pretty daughters (Eve and Penelope), and also his daughters’ friends (Sky and Hope). I also met their Italian au pair (Janice). Au pair is a French term of a young woman or a young man from a foreign country who chooses to help look after the children of a host family. He/she is given room and board and paid weekly salary. He/she usually is given a one year contract. Students here in Europe (I don’t know in US) after graduating from secondary school opt to rest for a year and live in a foreign country before going straight to the University – maybe to use that time for soul searching as to what to pursue as a profession. So to have a pocket money, they can do au pair-ing. There are sites where they can post their resumes so couples looking au pair can browse them. Some couples here prefer an au pair to a nanny because the latter is very expensive since it is considered a profession here. 

I spent a lot of time talking with Janice during the fireworks because she’s just 22 - parang magka-edad lang kami :p  She was very happy to converse with me because she wanted to practice her English. She's taking care of Eve and Penelope only 3 to 4 hours a day during the afternoons when they come home from school, while waiting for Alain and his wife to come home from work. Since she's free in the mornings she decided to go to an English school. She's fluent in French as she studied it before for 8 years. She said after mastering English, she'll study Spanish because she wants to be an interpreter by profession.

After the fireworks we went to Alain’s house and I was introduced to Sky and Hope's parents. Sky and Hope were to sleepover there. Ann Veronique told me that Eve (their youngest daughter) was very excited, spent the whole week looking forward to it because it's her first time to have a friend for a sleepover. She told me girls here usually start inviting their friends and getting invites of sleepovers around 3rd grade. Hmmm that's one way to know kung sikat ka pag marami kang invites na natanggap. After both couples sent their kids to bed, we finally had our dinner. Gosh around 9 na yun, kumakalam na sikmura ko - tapos unang sinerve e wine pa! But the dinner was worth the wait. The French couple served us Raclette - a French dish made by melting a kind of cheese of the same name on a hot plate and then pouring the melted cheese on slices of boiled baby potatoes and then you can eat it together with cold cuts. It was heavenly - ang sarrrapppp! Too bad I didn't take pictures. Nahiya kasi ako baka they would find it rude clicking photos while we're in the middle of a classy dinner (classy kasi aside from wine, we had table napkins! :p). Ayoko kaya ma kick out, sarap ng food noh! The 2 couples were very polite, they included me in their conversations kahit wala akong alam about school uniforms and their daughters' teachers. We closed the evening with a yummy dessert baked by Melissa (Sky and Hope's mother). I had a great time. It was already 1:00 AM when I got home.

Here are pics of a Raclette I got from the internet. 

Raclette cheese

with the Raclette equipment

and how it is to be eaten.

I think we can do something like this even without using a fancy Raclette equipment.

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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Congrats Barack!


I am still bleary eyed. I stayed up late last night to follow the results of the American election. I don't know what prompted me to do it because I'm not American and will never be an American. I was just really curious how it would turn out. I felt a nagging suspicion that history was in the making and I didn't want to miss it.

Even if the win was expected as he's been topping the polls ever since the campaign started, goosebumps creept up on my skin as I found out that Barack Obama has been elected as the President of the United States of America.

It was indeed unprecedented. He won by a landslide and now he is the first black to hold the most powerful position in the world. It is inspirational. His was not only a personal or his party's victory - it was a victory shared by every African American, Hispanics, Asians or those that have always been tagged as the "lesser" races. And it is a victory for every Americans who just showed the world that anything is possible. That the color of one's skin doesn't determine what he's capable of doing and doesn't limit how far he can go. They are commendable by shutting the door of racial discrimination for good. It is just so hard to hate America right now. 

I was sad when I realized the era of the great leaders had ended - the era of Tony Blair, Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II. But now it seems the wheel of time is turning. A new era has begun. A new person is stepping up and perhaps leading it. He's got so much on his plate right now. Not only is he inheriting the economic crisis, the Iraq war and all the mess the Bush administration cannot solve, people are expecting too much from him - even a lot more than what's required from the President of America. So he needs all the help he can get. Americans should now cast aside the divisiveness that separated the country into two warring factions during the campaign. They should now rally behind their new leader and amaze the world again.


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Friday, 31 October 2008

Can't Wait.

Harley has given me the go signal to book my dream PVR (photog, video and reception) wedding suppliers. I was shocked when he told me that, didn't believe that he was serious - suspecting that he was just pocketing me (that means, baka binubulsa nya lang ako). But he assured me that he's serious. So I reminded him that if he wants that he has to double his current wedding budget because I might just have to wear sako sa harina sa kasal. And he said yes!

After feeling a tremendous amount of elation that geysered to the roofs, guilt followed. Of course I wanted to have those dream suppliers (kaya nga dream!) but I couldn't help but feel guilty knowing he has to shell out a huge amount of money for that. So I offered that he'll just allocate a certain amount and whatever the excess will be, I will personally shoulder it. I reasoned I have enough time and resources to save for it while being assigned here in UK. But he doesn't agree - he wants to pay for it all. He said he wants to prove to himself and to his family that he can afford it. And besides, he said, he really wants me to have my dream wedding... Sigh, am I really this lucky? I really can't wait getting married to this wonderful guy.

So there the budget has been adjusted and I made a promise to him and to myself also (nakakaguilty kaya) that this is the last time we have to do that.
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Friday, 24 October 2008

Happy Anniv 2 Us

Oct 24 is our anniversary. It's still the 23rd here and in Kuwait, but what matters is it's already the 24th in Manila. I gave him my sweet yes in Manila so I am following that timezone.

Warning, this blog entry is mushy. And perhaps with the effect of a glass of wine I just had to celebrate this important event - this blog may be mushier than I intend it to be. So Claire, if you're reading this right now... STOP (in the name of love) ! I don't want you having a smirk on your lovely face and maybe puking while reading the rest of this. But hey I know you too well - you'll probably continue reading this just because of the fact I warned you not to do it. Oh well if you'll decide to continue, which I'm 100% sure you'll surely do that... bahala ka, kevs!

As most of you know, it all happened because of the orchestrations by the lovely couple Ria and Dan. They executed intricate detailed design plans for us to get to know each other better. I owe a lot to these guys. They're the very soul of compassion and goodwill --- they simply wanted others to experience the happiness they're experiencing. Sharing their blessing. Aren't they sweet?

2 years ago Harley and I were walking along the streets of Makati. After we had dinner at a now defunct restaurant in Greenbelt, we decided to extend our pacute-an by having some ice cream at a Mini Stop store. Yes I have always been a low maintenance girl - stuffs no matter how simple and cheap always make me smile as long as given from the bottom of his pocket este heart pala =p I can still remember him stealing glances at my way that made me look twice at my reflection on the glass window to check if I had some muta, which I didn't - thank God! Just with 20php investment (the amount he paid with the ice cream) he stole my heart. I didn't even care I was entering a long distance relationship. I threw my apprehensions into the wind.

So how did we survive being in LDR for 2 years now? Simple - keep the communication lines open. Well you're probably raising your brow because how can that be possible when there's no physical contact between us with miles of earth and sea separating us? But it is, I'm telling you, it's possible. How? Well take advantage of technology my dear - the power of the World Wide Web! There's chat, webcam and Skype / YM calls - these tools doesn't even cost you a penny (without counting the monthly internet bill of course). Keeping communication lines open means I share everything to him - what happened to me at work, what I ate, what telly show I watched. Even the time I had to def (hehehe just kidding), even just nonsense things I share to him whatever that comes to mind. I admit it was hard at first because I am a very secretive person - I do like to keep an air of mystery around me (uhhhh mysterious) and I am not articulate, I find it difficult to express my thoughts and my feelings in words... as in, really! But once you get the hang of recounting to someone what happened to you during the day, it gets easier and then it becomes a habit. It's better than writing into a diary because he can talk back and most of the time grrr he interrupts while I'm in the middle of my animated retelling, which is the only downside. Harley is the first person I talk to every morning I wake up and he's the last person I have a conversation with before I close my eyes at night. It seems natural that I even miss not having the routine just like when I went to vacation that deprived me of internet access.

But what about the trust issue, you might ask? Well when I entered into this relationship I decided to trust him with all my heart. He deserves no less. If he turns out to be stupid and tramples all over that trust by two timing me, then goodbye - he's the weakest link! Yes of course that will terribly hurt. But if it ends that way I will not have regrets because in my part I've given everything to make the relationship work.

But I count myself so blessed because it's not so hard to fall deeper in love with Harley even if we only see each other twice a year. It's in the way he loves me - it's amazing. He makes me laugh not because he's got a fantastic sense of humor but because he's sorely lacking of it, ang corny ng jokes nya! But sshhh don't tell him that =p I find his makulit nature cute (note to LDR couples, one of you should be makulit - but not in an annoying kind of way). And he's being so generous not only to me but also to his family is very endearing. I am everyday grateful to Him for giving me him.

I am indeed a blessed girl. Perhaps I must have done something awesomely good in the past to be this fortunate. With Christmas just 2 months away I find myself at a loss as to what to add to my wishlist for once. Oh well aside from good health to my parents, sister, relatives and friends, blessings to everyone and of course the ever permanent wish of World Peace, I can't think of a material thing to wish for! Eeep help!?! Hmm but wait....... I remember that I really want to have that Gucci wallet :p

Happy anniversary to us, how fast time flies indeed :)
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

In the land of Chocolates and snow-capped Alps - Switzerland!

I went to a memorable 4 day vacation to Switzerland (October 11 - 14). No visa was needed, my UK Work Permit was all that's needed to gain entry to the gorgeous country. I had to do the trip this month because I can no longer avail of the privelege after this month ends. Switzerland is joining the Schengen and starting on Nov 1, 2008 it will require a Schengen visa for its visitors.
And I'm glad I went there. I had the time of my life! It was a dream come true. Snow! Snow! Finally I saw real snow! (Well I don't really consider snow here in London as real because it doesn't stay on the ground for long - it just teases me - it's so puny, I can never create a snow angel here, hayyy)
We took some tours in Switzerland - tours I just found in the internet. It was a risk really because I just relied on the reviews in the website. But it turned out well - thank God! Me and my friend were both happy with the tours. Both had very great tour guides, very informative and both tours quenched my thirst for Switzerland (at least for now). These were a the tours we booked - worth every pound, I tell you!
I found the Swiss surprisingly hospitable. We had no problem familiarizing the tram system and finding our way to the hostel the day we arrived because there was always someone willing to help. Even if they had a hard time conversing in English they would still try their best to explain everything. And Swiss always have an easy smile - everywhere I looked I could always find someone offering a ready smile - especially the elderly. 

Having Swiss banks in mind I had thought that Swiss are meticulous in security - you know security checks everywhere. But no - I experienced in Swiss airport the fastest immigration processing I ever had. The guy just asked me how many days I was planning to stay, after that he smiled and let me through - just like that! Even on the train nobody checked our tickets. And even on the trams, which we were using for 4 days, we never had our tickets checked. Maybe this means that all Swiss are so law-abiding that the polizei doesn't have to bother employing regular security checks? Or maybe the punishment for every crime (even minor ones) is so severe that the Swiss just don't consider breaking a law?

Switzerland is an expensive city, but because we came from UK, it wasn't such a shock. (UK is still more expensive, I think). And since exchange rate is like 1 £ = 2 CHF (Swiss Francs) I had the illusion of being richer there, hehe. McDonalds typically costs 8 CHF, meals in a typical restaurant costs 15 CHF to 20 CHF per person. What not to miss is buying the Swiss products for souvenirs because they're sold there in 30% to 40% less than in the Philippines. What products? Well Swiss knives and Swiss watches of course! If you're feeling a bit extravagant you can buy the high-end watches like Breitling, Rolex or Omega. But if you're on a tight budget (like I was), you can just buy a simple Swatch as keepsake. I also bought a PINK Swiss knife for myself - couldn't resist it :p 

Chocolates are everywhere in Switzerland. If in Phil or in UK what we can find in street stalls are bags of crisps (chips), there it's chocolates... chocolates of brands I didn't recognize - Toblerone and Lindt parang Goya lang yata dun :p There were also chocolates of different flavours - flavours that I wouldn't fancy in a chocolate - examples are Rum-flavoured and Whiskey-flavoured chocolates. I bought some Absinth-flavoured chocs for my pretty girl friends hehehe.

Swiss public transport is of top quality - the impeccable punctuality to timetables is impressive. Lots of the places can be reached through trams, trains, busses, boats and cable cars. If you're planning of travelling throughout Switzerland, it is recommended that you get a . But for us since we were on bus tours already, we just had to buy 24 hour unlimited ride ticket on trams in Zurich (costs 7.80 CHF).

You can view my pictures here.


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Thursday, 16 October 2008

Happy sha-la-la!

... it's so nice to be Happy...

I knew it! I always had anticipated that 2008 would be a good year for me and it is living up to my hype. It's turning out to be a very very good year and it's not even over yet! Last week I received the good news from my manager that they're extending my contract until March 2009. Yisss! I still have a chance to save up for a trip to Paris. It's really a dream of mine to shout 'I'm the queen of the world' from the top of the Eiffel Tower (Frenchies pronounce it as eee-fell by the way, not eye-fell). And I just came back from a 4 day vacation from the land of snow-covered Alps and heavenly chocolates… Switzerland! I'll be posting the pictures soon - it's so hard to choose which to post among the 700 shots I managed to take. So only for this year I have visited a total of 3 countries I had never been to - Scotland, Wales and Switzerland. And this December we're planning to frolic in Hongkong, which will increase the grand total to 4. Hmmm not bad for someone who grew up in a little island of Cebu, someone who had never dared to dream she would one day wear leggings and knee-high boots to strut her stuff in Europe… Fierce!

And 2008 is not only good to me but also to my handsome fiancé as well. He's blessed this year - not only that I gave him my sweet yes, he's also given a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve his career. I truly am his lucky charm :p Last week he resigned from a company where he had been employed for 5 years to take on a bigger role in a bigger company. On his last day his colleagues gave him not only a send off party but also a couple of send off gifts - a Diesel watch, a Mont Blanc wallet and a brand new SE phone! I have never heard a company that generous with their resignees. Sa ka-pula sa akong lubot (translation: my ass is gorgeous), I have never experienced being treated that way! Well maybe the Kuwaitis are simply generous or maybe they're just overjoyed that he resigned? Whatever their reason maybe Harley was like a kid on Christmas morning - he was very happy. And because he's that happy I successfully wheedled a dinner treat from him, which in turn made me happy. It was a happy cycle. It is a happy year indeed.

Harley's gifts - a w960i SE phone
a Diesel watch and a Mont Blanc wallet

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Saturday, 20 September 2008

Mayor Thames Festival 2008

The Mayor Thames Festival was a 2 day or 2 night festivities along the River Thames. It's an open and free for all celebration of London's most famous river. The bridges and roads around the city centre were closed off to motorists. Activity booths, concert stages and food stalls were lined up from Westminster bridge to the Tower Bridge for familes and tourists to enjoy. There were also carnivals and exhibitions that people could participate.

I went there with my friend Gaurav and met a shivering Jukey (bakit naman kasi nag shorts lang he he) at the Scoop for dinner at a French restaurant. And like most of the people who attended the festival, we waited for the fireworks that attempted to put a grand end to the festival. The fireworks was a bit disappointing... not only because it started way late than what they published in the brochure but the pyrotechnics were not as jaw-dropping like those I had enjoyed in Japan ages ago. I really want to see a Japan-quality like fireworks extravaganza again, like their famous hanami or just the "usual" fireworks in Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea. I want to see fireworks that form into Hello Kitty, gazillions of Sakura, Mickey Mouse, Pikachu, whatever basta may form! By the way, 1999 na lang from Manila to Osaka (see http://www.cebupacificair.com/)... and there's Ria in Tokyo for a free board.. hmmm....

View our pics.
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Monday, 1 September 2008

Weekend in Wales (Saturday: Llandudno)

Jukey dragged Michy and I to Wales. Though it is another country, it is still a part of the United Kingdom so we did not have to apply for another visa. We stayed at Llandudno – the largest seaside resort in Conwy, Wales. It is quite a picture of tranquillity. We noticed right away that there were many oldies just lounging away at the Llandudno promenade or having tea with their friends at the high street. It is favourite place for retirement perhaps.

It also provides attractions for the families and young at heart. There’s a carnival for the kids at the Llandudno pier every summer. Tourist can also visit the Great Orme via the cable operated tramway (built since 1902) or the cabin lif. We tried both! The Great Orme has an artificial ski slope, which has the longest toboggan runs in the UK.

It was a very tight budget trip. I for one limited myself to only spend £100 as I just vacationed to Oxford the weekend before. We booked for the cheapest train, which had us squat and literally sleep at one station (Birmingham New Street) while waiting for the next train to arrive from 2AM to 5AM! Instead of staying in a hotel or B&B in Llandudno, we opted for a hostel instead, where we had to share the room & toilet with 3 other guests. But I still missed my £100 target though...

View our pics.
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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A Visit to Oxford

Last weekend I went to Oxford, taking advantage of the long weekend (Monday was a Bank Holiday here). I had long wanted to visit this city, curious to walk the cobblestones streets that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis must had walked on as these two beloved writers spent most of their lives in Oxford. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed every bit walking around the city, breathing its aura, sipping a cup of coffee with the backdrop of amazing historical architectures around me and just basking under the sun – yes surprise, it was sunny! Lucky me.

I booked a walking tour and it was a good decision because not only I was able to visit every college, it was a fun learning experience. I guess a walking tour is all you need to try in Oxford. After that you can just explore the whole city at your own pace, without worrying of getting lost. It's interesting to learn the colleges' histories, the notable people that studied there and absolutely a blast visiting the places that were featured in films (i.e. Harry Potter and the Golden Compass). I have simply fallen in love with Oxford. It’s truly breathtaking. I will definitely go back!

It's also fascinating to learn some facts about Oxford. The University is believed to exist as early as 1096. It has 39 colleges. The richest college, the one with the most income is St. John's College - Tony Blair studied there. J.R.R Tolkien studied in Exeter College. Lewis Carroll was a professor in Christ Church College, the second richest college. Bill Clinton, as well as his daughter Chelsea, studied in the University College. C.S. Lewis was a fellow in Magdalen College. Hugh Grant studied in New College and Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) studied in The Queen’s College.

The University has 17,000 populations. Usually out of 4 applications that the colleges receive from all over the world, only 1 is given entry... that tough! So imagine the honour of being accepted! Average annual tuition for English and EU students is £2,000 per year (multiply that with 80 to convert to peso), excluding accommodation fee. Average annual tuition for non-English, outside EU students (like from the Philippines) is a whopping £15,000 - £20,000, still excluding accommodation fee... That’s roughly 1.2M PHP - 1.6M PHP! So if you’re planning to study in Oxford, try to get through by passing the Rhodes scholarship, like what Bill did, so you can have it lowered to £5,000...

View my pics.

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Alice in Wonderland

As a child I was not an Alice in Wonderland fan. I remember I found the Disney movie creepy. Alice growing and then shrinking countless of times, the trigger-happy Queen of Hearts always shouting “off with her head!” and the malicious grinning of Cheshire cat weren’t to my taste. Those scenes of the movie actually scared me. And because I hated the movie I never had the inclination to read the book. But last week I happened into a copy of it in Staines library and got curious enough, I don’t know why, to borrow it. I’m so glad I did because the book that did not appeal to me before now I find interesting and has become a favourite.

I went to Oxford last weekend and discovered that most of the scenes in the book are based from actual places in Oxford. In fact not only that, the book as you might say was born in there. Charles Dodgson was a Mathematics professor in Christ Church College in Oxford. He was a close friend of the dean and loved to spend time with the dean’s children. The youngest of these children was a girl named Alice Liddell. Dodgson would spin fantastic stories to entertain the Liddell children and one story he regaled them with he used Alice as the main character. The children were very delighted with that story that they persuaded him to write a book about it. Under the name Lewis Carroll, he penned Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alice Tiddell did grow up, married, had kids and died of old age. But she’s forever immortalized as a child, thanks to Carroll’s genius.


The following is the conversation between the Cheshire Cat and Alice – my favourite lines in the book:

“Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly. “Would you please tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t care much where –“ said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“– so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

I had thought in my youth that all I needed to do was to graduate, manage to land a good-paying job, and everything would be fine and dandy. As it turned out life after graduation is more complicated. Back then being a student, I had a fixed goal (to graduate and get a job), it was simple, and I knew which way to go. Now it’s frustrating when I can’t even answer the simple question “where do I want to get to?”... as to what to do with my career. Oh yes for now I do enjoy my job, especially the perks of travelling. But 10 years from now will I still be fulfilled doing this? If I will change career, what will it be? What can I imagine myself getting passionate doing? I honestly don’t know. I really do envy those people who have their goals, complete with timelines, set in their minds. I on the other hand am perhaps lost in my own wonderland. But at least I know how to get to somewhere. It doesn’t matter which way I go, I only have to walk long enough.
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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Kakikayan from Japan

I am absolutely delighted because today I received not just 1 but 2 parcels from the land of animes and sakura. The first parcel is from the Google wife that contains my orders from her online boutique and the kakikayan products that she promised to send me.


Michell Alexi sandals - tried these shoes on, they're divinely comfortable! You’ll get these (can even be customized to your tastes!) at cheaper rates in the Philippines, just visit Ria’s site.

The parcel from Ria contains:
  1. DermaFleece Eyelashes Builder, which guarantees to lengthen the lashes in just 21 days. I really need this! Sad to say I have no lashes that fans the cheeks when I close my eyes. In fact, my lashes are regrettably nonexistent. Mama apparently didn’t trim my lashes when I was still a baby (there’s no scientific explanation if that’s really but many swear it does lengthen the lashes). I asked her of course, demanding why she didn’t trim them. She just told me that there’s nothing to trim in the first place... yeah sometimes she’s not loyal.
  2. Fasio Hyper-stay Shock Free Mascara, so I won’t get shocked anymore whenever I browse pictures of Maila wearing a dress and makeup
  3. A brown Shiseido eyebrow pencil, which I hope doesn't smudge. The one I'm using does that sometimes at the end of the day I look like I have a black-eye.

The second parcel is from Eriko-san, my Japanese colleague 5 years ago when I was still in NEC (NMS-Abiko project). She’s really so sweet, she still remembers me. Love her, love the gifts! The parcel contains her favourite products:
  1. Lush Happy March (not July) Body Soap
  2. and oh! oh! last but definitely not the least... Dior Snow Sublimissime UV Protection SPF 50 (can’t wait to try this one!).

Maila singits a Meiji Vanilla White chocolate bar in Ria’s parcel, thanks Mai! She must have noticed in my pics that I’ve gained weighed because it’s so cute :p

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Sunday, 6 July 2008

Vamos Rafa!

Well it seems that I have chosen the perfect year to be hooked on Wimbledon, because the 2008 championship game was nerve-wracking and so full of drama that I reckon will make a mark in sporting history. It was an excruciating 4-hour and 48-minute match, now hailed the longest final in history. And that is not counting the 2 interruptions in between because of the rain. Yeah I spent the whole afternoon and evening watching tennis that my head even ached. But it was all worth it. It was amazing to see how well matched Nadal and Federer were, reminiscent of the glorious rivalry between Sampras and Agassi. In sheer skills both physically and mentally, they were each other's nemesis. To say that it was a close competition is an understatement. In every serve I was unsure who would win the point, almost every game reached a deuce and there were 2 set tie-breaks. Well one could say that it wasn't about tennis anymore. It wasn't about the technique, the backhands or the forehands anymore. Instead it became all about giving their all, heart and soul, and the spirit of fighting on and never giving up. Both players played as if their lives depended on it, as if the title was the only thing they wanted more than anything. I didn’t even care who would win because both truly deserved the title.

Roger Federer (Switzerland) and Rafael Nadal (Spain)

But there could only be one winner and it turned out to be Rafael Nadal. His first Wimbledon, ending the 5-year consecutive record wins of Roger Federer. Papa Rafa proved to be a very graceful winner. After shouting for joy and rolling on the ground after being proclaimed the champion, he immediately went to Roger to pat his shoulders. Then he literally climbed up to the guest box to embrace his parents and his uncle who is actually his tennis coach since he was 4 years old. (Hmmm so no girlfriend?) Then he crossed over to the Royal Box to shake the hands of the Prince and Princess of Spain who were apparently in attendance to support him. In his interview he was still all praises for his opponent, saying that Roger in his opinion is still the best player having won the Wimbledon 5 times, and he still has a long way to go with 1 Wimbledon win. Such humility for someone who won another Slam (the French Open) this year, making him the first after 28 years to win two Slams (French Open and Wimbledon) back-to-back in a year. He's truly an inspiration.

2008 seems to be Spain's year. First the Euro Cup, now Wimbledon.

Oh yeah, I noticed Rafa's wedgie move, the one Otep pointed out. I find it cute, really. I think he yanks down his shorts down because it hikes up to his butt. Well it's not his fault he's got a very defined butt. What a fine specimen of manhood Papa Rafa truly is. I have no trouble imagining him as a Spartan warrior. He'll give those 300 army a run for their money!

Rafa in action

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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Hooked on Wimbledon

I have caught the Wimbledon fever. I now officially love Tennis because it's like watching Troy all over again. Remember that fight scene between Eric Bana and Brad Pitt? Well it's like that. It's two men fighting against each other and it's soooo hard to decide which one to cheer on because both of them are gorgeous!

The first Wimbledon match I watched was on Monday, live on BBC 1. It's a match between gangly-but-cute Scot, Andy Murray (Britain's number 1), and ooh-la-la French Richard Gasquet (World #7 in 2007).
Richard Gasquet

Andy Murray

Cute Andy on that match was able to come back from two sets down and won the 4-hour epic match. Because of the win he was slated to a match against Spain's Rafael Nadal today.

Of course I watched the Nadal vs. Murray match. Before turning on the telly I was set on rooting for Murray because he's the underdog, but I immediately changed my mind when I saw Papa Rafa play. His backhand, forehand or whatever you call those hands were simply powerful... blazing hot! My hats off to cute Andy for not running away from the speeding balls. Papa Rafa literally crushed cute Andy, closed the match in just 3 sets. And the Spaniard is not bad looking either. Ooohhh the biceps, sigh...

Rafael Nadal

If I had known Tennis would be this pleasing to the eyes, I would have gotten hooked on this eye-candy sport a long time ago!
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Thursday, 26 June 2008

BB (as in Beri Beautiful) Cream

My very kikay friend Ria swears that Missha Perfect BB (blemish balm) cream, the latest craze in Korea, not only effectively cover blemishes but also heals the skin with its packed nutrients. So I tried it as soon as I received the sample pot from her (from Japan to UK... distance doesn't hinder us to exchange beauty finds as well as chismis!). Well she's absolutely right, I love it! My skin looks naturally flawless and glowing (see below). And the good thing is, it doesn't feel oily - feels light and seems like my skin can still breathe. As for its healing property, it's to soon to attest. Maybe a few months of continuous use that one can only see the improvement.


MAC has its own version of BB cream, the MAC strobe cream. I want to try it also and see if its better because of its brand. Will share my reviews about it a few months from now, that is if I'll remember to do that.


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Monday, 23 June 2008

The dark side of Fashion for Less

I just finished watching a BBC documentary exposing the real cause why Primark's goods are cheap. Primark is like Landmark here in the UK. The only shop I know where you can get a decent, trendy blouse for £3, a dress for £5 and a jacket for £10. And those prices are regular prices, not on sale. Indeed in a country where Marks and Spencer is considered affordable and ordinary with the same status as our SM, Primark is a beacon of hope for me. And the droves shoppers that go to its store everyday is proof that I'm not alone in this delight.


I had wondered, that for in a country where retail tax is one of the highest in the world, how Primark can afford to yank their price tags so low. Well I got my answers from that BBC documentary.

BBC found out that workers employed by 3 of Primark's suppliers in India were being forced to work 66 hours a week with salary half the required minimum wage. And to meet Primark's demands to manufacture goods at very low cost, these suppliers outsourced works to women and children working in residential areas who were paid even less. BBC showed a heartbreaking video of children sewing each sequin of a beaded vest and they're just paid 50 pence for each finished vest.

From sweatshop to High Street: children sew sequins on to a Primark night vest (taken from BBC, here)

Primark of course denied that they knew about these practices of their 3 suppliers featured in the BBC's exposé. Primark cut off their ties from those suppliers saying that they don't tolerate any supplier violating their high ethical standards. But what Primark did was just running away, leaving those hundreds of workers unemployed. Now that is very unethical.

I do love cheap clothes for they allow me to experiment on fashion without burning a hole in my pocket. But after watching that, I am not sure if I'll be comfortable anymore wearing those clothes stashed in my drawer. I guess I'll have the uneasy feeling that maybe a child or a worker had been paid less than his/her effort in sewing my blouse. But there's also the dilemma that if I start boycotting the likes of Primark, along with others who are surely thinking of the same tonight, hundreds will lose the jobs that somehow bring a little bit of needed food on their tables. Hmmm, what to do?
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Thursday, 19 June 2008

How sweet it is to be loved by you

Harley sent me a message this afternoon that if I would have time to spare I could check his new blog entry. It's his way of asking me to do something ASAP and trying not to appear pushy and excited about it. My immediate reaction was, wow may bagong blog ka, himala! (it's a miracle, you have a new blog!)

Harley is not blogger. He is an occasional writer. He only writes when he's in the mood and that's as frequent as me NOT buying a dress in a month =p The last entries I can remember, and I'm patting myself at the back because I can still remember them, he had written about our Christmas holiday that he had segregated to chapters - parts 1, 2 and 3. He published each part weeks apart that by the time he had the mojo to finish part 3 it was already end of February. Valentines already gone on its merry way but I was still reading about Christmas! That’s why I got curious this afternoon that even though work was crazy toxic, I took the time to copy and paste his new blog entry on a notepad and read it the moment I was sure the coast was clear (meaning my boss was somewhere he couldn’t see my monitor).

I was touched by his entry. Between the two of us he's the sweet one, the romantic one and the more showy of his feelings. He remembers details about our dates that I always get embarrassed when he catches me forgetting some uhm detail like the name of the restaurant we had our first date. Sometimes I get confused who’s the man or woman in our relationship. Only when he takes out his wallet to pay some meal that I get the epiphany that he’s the man =p I wonder why he ever puts up with me. Yeah I probably dropped too much gayuma (love potion) on his drinks that first date. Well I don't have a plan to rectify that. I don't mind being stuck here at the receiving end... *wink*

Here's a link of his entry. Warning, it's very, as in very mushy.
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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Being a W@Wie

What's that?

Well, that's how members of WeddingsAtWork yahoogroup call themselves.

I got the idea to subscribe to this mailing list from my uber pretty BFF na walang sinabi si Joyce Jimenez, Claire (tinatadtad ko sya ng praises kasi malapit na birthday nya and she offered, yes unbelievable - she offered!, to sponsor our unity coins). It's a group of brides-to-be (B2Bs) and husbands-to-be (H2Bs) discussing their plans, asking feedbacks about their prospect suppliers and sharing their creative ideas for wedding preparations that you can steal (hehehe). Also newlyweds W@Wies are still around to rate the suppliers they booked for their own wedding and to give much appreciated guidance to the anxious B2Bs.

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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Wanted: Wedding Planner

December 28, 2009 is the date.

Harley and I chose it because it's the most convenient for us. His family and relatives and our global friends can just singit attending the wedding when they go home for the holidays. It's still far - still a year and a half from now but would you believe it that I'm starting to get stressed out? Now that it's been two days since Harley went back to Kuwait, the engagement bliss is fading and fading fast! As I spend more time than usual in the shower imagining how the big day should look like I had to shake my head and wonder, what have I gotten myself into? I now have to look at my rocks to remind myself how happy I felt when I said 'Yes' :

I should not worry much about the preparations because that's the job of a wedding planner but I don't have one in mind yet. So, help?

I've taken the first step by screening some candidates through emails but I still prefer a friend to personally recommend or vouch for someone. I'm inexperienced of this. This is my first time to get married after all. So please if you can recommend a wedding planner, do drop me a message. Or if you or you know someone who hired any of the following planners we're eyeing to get, please send me comments.


Thank God I have two beautiful friends (Ria and Claire) already experienced about this sort of stuffs. I've been bombarding them with tons of emails asking their opinions about this or that. I hope they're not annoyed of my pestering. Well I'm annoyed with myself, worrying prematurely.. darn! It's still 1.5 year from now Georgia, so shut up for now... will ya?


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Sunday, 1 June 2008

Taking a Bath

Bath, Somerset is a city in the south west of England. It's a famous tourist destination because of the Roman Baths (used by the Celts during 70-90 AD and later by the Romans when they invaded England), the Thermae Spa (if you want to sample Bath's famous hot springs in style) and the Georgian architectures of most of its buildings. Also, fans of Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice who lived here before, try to retrace her steps and find out for themselves what's in Bath that inspired Austen's famous literary works. It is another must-see city of UK, a country that seems like a one gigantic themed park.

View our pics.
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Thursday, 29 May 2008

Scotland: the Highlands & Edinburgh

Harley and I went to Scotland during the long weekend (May 24-26). I had long wanted to visit this picturesque part of UK but decided to wait for Spring and of course, wait for my poging boyfriend. It's just so much fun travelling with him. Not only that I have someone to talk to during the long hours of commute, but he carries, with no sign of protest whatsoever, all my bags! Oh such strength and gallantry... He gives me all the leisure to strut, guaranteed poised na poised to explore the place we we’ll be visiting, hehehe :p

Scotland is like Manila-Cebu in distance from London. It’s 1 hour by plane, 5 hours by train. Harley and I took a coach tour to the Highlands leaving from Glasgow on Saturday morning. Though the trip was long, it was unexpectedly relaxing. Yeah it did feel cramped sitting for hours in the bus but I didn’t bother me because the sceneries we passed by were breathtaking. Cramped legs and aching neck from craning towards the window the whole time were discomforts that were all worth it. From unspoiled lochs (lakes), rugged mountains, misty marshes and fertile fields, the Highlands were truly magnificent. We were also extremely lucky because the weather was great. The sky was clear enough to give us a view of the tip of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in UK.

Our last stop for that day was Inverness, which literally means at the mouth of the river (inver) Ness, a river that flows from Loch Ness. You are perhaps familiar with a legend about a monster lurking in the deep waters of a lake? Well, that’s the Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie (very cute name… :| ). They say it’s deeper than the North Sea. That’s why highlanders seemed convinced that for a lake with much space below it there’s surely a huge creature (or creatures and one of them happened to be Nessie) living in its deep waters. Well I am much more inclined to think that there’s perhaps a mermaid kingdom at the bottom and its mermaid princess is named Ariel and she has a lobster called Sebastian…. (oh, stop it!)

Inverness is the capital of the Highlands. It has an airport, a high street and a mall with famous shops like Debenhams and Primark. It is an ideal place to getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life but you can still get a fix of wireless internet in case you miss “civilization”. Inverness now holds a dear place in my heart. It’s where after all that I got engaged… visit my blog for more details *wink*.

We arrived at Edinburgh on Sunday evening and managed to hang out with Michy in a pub. Then we spent the whole Monday exploring the magical city. Every building it seemed in that city was influenced from this or that architecture (from Greek to Roman, Gothic to Victorian). It’s like the whole city was parang drawing lang - if you get what I mean. It catapulted me to imagine-land. It had an ambience that made me feel nostalgic, as if I could actually feel its rich history. I definitely want to go there again, because only a day there was so bitin…

View our pics.

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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

By the River Ness

On our first night in Inverness Scotland, Harley insisted we looked for a fancy place to dine out. We found a lovely restaurant (The Mustard Seed) and seeming like it was our very lucky day, we were given a table directly overlooking the river Ness even if we had no reservations and it's already almost fully booked. While sipping a glass of Saugvinon Blanc after the sumptuous main course, Harley ceremoniously handed me my long-awaited birthday gift. Though I had already known what it was (an LV bag that he had blurted out to me months before because he just couldn't keep a secret), I was still like a kid on Christmas morn eagerly tearing the gift wrapper apart. I was just simply in awe that he gave me a designer bag. He admitted it's a very impractical buy but he was willing to splurge out because to own one had been a fantasy of mine.

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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Flying High

I flew from Manila back to UK on Monday and I did it with pizzaz… I flew business class! Why? Because all economy seats were taken, forcing my manager to concede the upgrade. (I better pray economy's fully booked everytime I am scheduled to fly from now on... LOL :p) It was my first time ever, so pardon me if I seem so ignorante (how do you say this in English?) and this entry will babble on and on about it. So what are the differences? Oh well loads! I finally understand why David Buenvacz & his wife Jessica insisted to fly business class even to the extent of allegedly misusing Beverly Hills 6750's funds... That's your daily dose of outdated chismis from me. For the updated chismis, you know what name to shout - Ria! :p

I already started to experience the business class treatment even before boarding the plane. At NAIA I was given entry to the lounge that had unlimited brewed coffee, sandwiches, mami, siopao, fruit bowls... etc. Boy I was so glad because I didn't have a decent breakfast that morning. And during boarding I didn't have to queue. When the ground steward noticed that my ticket's business class he immediately ushered me past the long line of passengers announcing not so discreetly, 'Padaanin nyo si ma'am, business class yan!' Well that inspired me to don my big sunglasses, fling my shoulder-length hair (kahit di sya sumunod sa galaw ko) and strut my way to the plane. I must have looked like an unknown or worse a "laos" starlet (hahahaha!).

One obvious difference of business class was the leg room, it's more than enough to stretch out my not so long legs comfortably. The seat was totally delightful. You could just press a button and voila! it would convert in a mini bed. I almost forgot I was in an airplane because the food was simply divine. Every course (yes, course - appetizer, main course... the works!) was well presented and tasted as if there was a chef on board. Once they started serving drinks, I immediately took advantage that the wine was unlimited. I already finished two glasses of champagne even before an hour of flight passed. So I must have been grinning all throughout the Bee Movie (oo tipsy na yata!). Another difference was the "quality" of the passengers. Most of the guys seemed CEOish, looking so smart tapping away on their laptops. Most of the ladies seemed donyatiks… two mature ladies sitting in front of me were even conversing in Spanish that I was tempted to butt in and say "Ola mi amigas! Como estas tu? Yo soy muy bonita!"…. It was a good thing I didn't have that much champagne :p

the leg room

course #1

course #2


Everytime I fly, I am heady with joy. Oh it doesn't have to be business class. I can survive 16 hours of flight in a cramped economy section. Well it's the flying per se. That it can either mean I am going home to my family (to spend my pounds, hahaha) or that I am going to Manila, Japan, UK, Timbuktu or to some other place where I can plant a flag with bold letters that "Georgia was here". Kapila naman tika nakit-an nga ga-impake day oi, I remember this is my Mama's comment everytime she sees me preparing for a flight. Oh I am not a super frequent traveller; my passport still has a lot of blank pages. But the fact that I have been to places (some for free!) miles away from my humble little island of birth, Cebu, is enough for me to bow my head in gratitude. Again, I feel so blessed.

The only thing that ruined my business class day was that my HP laptop broke down on me while I was waiting for my connection flight in Amsterdam. The monitor suddenly flickered like crazy that it was impossible to decipher where to input my logon user and password. Even after cleaning the inch-thick dust on my keyboard (because I thought it was its way of complaining it needed some TLC), it still wouldn't budge and behave... darn! Since I simply can't survive without a laptop (aside from I use it to download my weekly fix of American Idol, I also use it to chat to my family and friends – keeping me in touch), I had no choice but to swipe my credit card for a new one the following day. I decided no more HP even if it's relatively cheaper compared to other brands with the same set of features (may tampo na ako sa HP!). I bought a pink Sony Vaio instead. Oh it's not because it's pink, I chose it because of its impressive features. And the most impressive feature happens to be that its colour is pink…

my Sony VAIO perfectly matches my bedsheet :p

P.S. My Papa is out of the hospital. He's recovering and he needs to take things slow from now on. Thank you for all your prayers :)


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Saturday, 5 April 2008

An Unexpected Journey

On Friday I received a devastating news that my Papa was rushed to Cebu Doctors' Hospital. He had difficulty breathing and was coughing non-stop. Findings were pneumonia and ischemia. Pneumonia, I know. Not really something to worry about since it was diagnosed early on. Ischemia, I don't know. To me since it sounded too scientific I immediately worried. And true enough after googling it I had a reason to be because it is a heart related ailment. In fact after a few hours of being admitted, he was rushed to the CVU/CCU (Cardiovascular Center) for 2 to 3 days observation.

I am still shocked. I had never thought, had never imagined that my Papa whom I had always known as the very active, very restless that it would be difficult to ask him to stay in one place for a long time would be having a heart problem. In my mind I had always thought that he's the healthy one among my parents. I am now having difficulty accepting, and I do cringe even when writing this, the cruel truth that my Papa's body is now frail.

Finding out that I couldn't talk to him because phones are not allowed in the CVU made me even more panicky and frustrated. I have no choice but to see him then. Besides I also want to see him with my own two eyes ASAP. So I asked my manager to grant me 2 weeks off to go home. Thankfully he gave me permission, he told me I have nothing to worry about, he understands. The first available flight I booked is this Monday morning. And darn, it will take me 24 hours to get to Manila and more excruciating hours to fly to my beloved island. If only I can apparate or borrow some floo powder... Bloody hell!

So here I am now, my room's more in disarray than usual, busy packing for things to bring along this unexpected trip. I should be excited to go home but I still don't feel that now. I need to see, to be assured that he's recovering before the excitement will sink in.

I want him to live a long, healthy and enjoyable life. There are things I want him to do, places I want him to go. He still has to walk me down an aisle 5 years from now. He still has to play with my cute, adorable kids 3 years from now ... You never know, my kids might come first before me saying I do! So please, do include him in your prayers.
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Thursday, 3 April 2008

Lady Godiva

Received a package from my BFF today. Sino sya? she's the most beautiful, sexy even if she just gave birth, sweet, kind, generous girl on the planet! Next to me, of course :p

The minute I got home, I immediately ripped the box open. And I wasn't at all disappointed what's inside. Each item I pulled out made my grin bigger and bigger. So this is how it feels to receive a balikbayan box.


  • 2 blouses - 1 is made in US, the other 1 is made in China
  • a skirt -with black tights & my killer boots, I'll look fierce with it! raarrrr...
  • a dress - can't wait to show this off in the office :p)
  • a pack of Bongbong's Piaya - absolutely my favorite
  • a pack of dried mangoes - now I'm missing Cebu, sniff sniff
  • a birthday card - she just recycled a leftover invitation card from Caleb's christening to say that all these cover all coming occasions - my birthday, labor day, independence day, halloween, christmas... indeed, so sweet :|
  • a pack of mints - the giveaway from Caleb's christening
  • 2 big bottles of Aveeno lotion - the culprit why the darn box was soooo heavy that I almost threw it to the river Thames while carrying on my way home. Yey! May Aveenos na ako.. wala kasi here sa UK, kainis. Naks, imported ang lotion ko :p
  • 1 box of Godiva chocolates - I'm excited, controlling myself actually not to gobble it all. This is my first Godiva ever! Yeah, poor me.

See, Claire has outdone herself, again. Never expected she'll be galante two strikes in a row now (I'm remembering her lovely present for me last Christmas). US talaga is making her less and less kuripot. Keep it up, Claire! Thank you, thank you! By the way, Ria's birthday is in May.
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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Playing Guidance Counsellor

Sugar and I have twelve years between us. She's still in highschool while I can't even remember anymore what I did in highschool. It was forgettable because I was forgettable. I was just an awkward, bony (though my curves showed up later, along with unwanted bilbils) and kutu-on girl (yep fleas-infested but I assure you, not anymore!). I just wanted to be left alone, terribly shy of the limelight (well it was not as if anybody wanted turn the spotlight my way.) Sugar on the other hand is different based on the reports from my Mom. She's an achiever, a Quadrant-1 kid. And like any other Ate, I am proud of her.

Since I have been here in London we managed to keep in touch more frequently than I was in Manila. All thanks to my company, very kind indeed not to ban IMs! So what do two people, with a generation gap between them talk about? No, we don't talk about boys. She's still innocent, I think! I hope she has sense enough to stay that way until she finishes college. But nah, with today's media influence that might be like wishing for the crow to turn white (nga moputi ang uwak ba). We don't talk about boys. Not yet anyway.

We just talk about her school because that's where her world revolves around now. About how some of her mean classmates tend to be yeah, mean to her. How she's affected by their pranks. And how miserable she sometimes is because of them. Oh phulleaasse, how serious can that be? Mean kids at school? It's not even 10% close to Global Warming or War in Iraq in magnitude? Why oh why does she have to make such a fuss about that?

Because she's still a kid. And it's not right to shrug off a kid's worry as insignificant. They might resort to actions you would regret. Or worse, go to gun down her class in a shooting frenzy before committing suicide... oh knock on wood!

And so I, naturally she looks up to me because of the fact that I'm her Ate (nothing she can do about that), listen to her patiently. After she's done pouring her heart out, I try to give her advices. I give her words of wisdom, which typing them gives me the creeps. Why the creeps? Judge for yourself, as I list some of these words of wisdom...

  • Don't judge others, you don't know who they really are. You don't know what they're going through in their homes. Maybe they're just misunderstood.
  • Yes, perhaps they envy you. But don't get that into your head. Don't act as if you're better than them, maybe that's the reason why they hate you. Be humble.
  • Don't fight fire with fire. Don't dance their tune. Maybe if you'll start being nice to them, they'll reciprocate the niceness. Lead by example.

Feeling the creeps? If you're not, well I am... Ka-hilas jud nako oi, kilatan baya ko! But what else can I say except give her those words of wisdom? Why not share to her the stuffs I picked up during the twelve years lead? I have to be a good Ate. Never mind that I myself is still having difficulty practicing any of them . She doesn't need to know that :p

Whenever I am suffering this ala-Dalai Lama or Oprah catatonia, my sister would just listen to me, assenting that I am, what else, right. At least that's what it always seems at my end. Never mind that I can't see her if she ever stick out her tongue in disgust. Well she's smart enough to know she has no choice but to agree and hail me as not only drop dead gorgeous but also an amazingly wise sister. Or else she'll receive no allowance!

If I am having a difficulty taking on this role of a "wise" older sibling, how much more raising my own kids someday? That not only my words but also my actions my kids will be eyeing for guidance? So good luck to all my friends who have their broods now. I bet you need more than luck. You need hard work!
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Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Underdog

Before the work week ended, prematurely because of Holy Week - yahoo!!! (That yahoo is an expression of jubilation because Easter is coming and we'll commemorate our Lord's resurrection. It's not because there's no work. But that is of course an icing on the cake.) Ok as I was saying, before the week ended I was moved to another team. My first task was to create the design document. There's a section that should enumerate the persons in the team and their corresponding roles. While doing that I found out that I am the most junior, not only age-wise (my new colleagues seem 40ish and above), but also job-description-wise. I bet all of them have more than a decade of technical experience tucked under their belts. In our team of six, there's one delivery manager, four technical architects and there's me, the java developer and the only madame - oh you've got to say that the English way!

So you see, I am the underdog. The less experienced. The lowly developer. The only Asian. But in consolation I am absolutely - 100% sure, no doubt about it - the fairest of them all!

I have to admit I am a bit intimated. But I am also delighted. I welcome this opportunity to learn from the experts (teka, I think I have this same statement in my CV). I am ready to take on the challenge (yung challenge na magpapanggap na magaling?) I can't wait to blow their socks off! (why? i-fo-foot reflexology ko ba sila?)

Wow, no one is immune to my sarcasms - not even myself.

Or maybe they just need someone to serve them coffee or tea? Hmmm?

I just can't believe how fast time flies. The four months with my previous team, our application was released to system testing without any showstopper fault by the way, flew out of the window like a snap of a finger. Just like that.
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