December 30, 2010

2011 resolutions

Short but supremely ambitious.

1. Quit smoking.
2. Zero caffeine.
3. Easy on the alcohol.
4. More time for exercise.
5. End of rock and roll.

December 29, 2010

when you have kids in the house...mayhem

When we moved to our house in the south years ago, Unna was only about 3 and Laila, 2. So I already knew back then that we won't have nice, tidy walls for long. I thought to myself that I better just prepare myself for the eventual defacing of our walls. 

Over the years, they did deface the wall. And more.

The side of this couch...

...used to be a practice canvas for the girls. No wonder they were so quiet during the times when I put them on timeout. (And I thought they served their time well!)

I went home one day to find the kids' bathroom strewn with Spongebob Squarepants stickers. I would have thrown a fit, except that I also love Spongebob.

Somebody hid this hideous Band-Aid here, still in the girls' bathroom, thinking perhaps that no oldie will discover it.

Not too hot about this sticker on their bedroom door but I just let it stay, hoping they will outgrow this soon. (Nah, they're not aware of the bong party.)

My immaculately white cabinet, dirtied with a scrawl by my daughter that says "Bye Mom" (misspelled "By Mom"). She wrote this one morning when she left for school and I was still sleeping. This is my favorite dirt in the house.

The inner panels of their cabinet. Madness.

Thankfully, this utter mayhem in the house stopped for a long time already, now that the kids have aged and matured. They finally developed an ear for listening to the rules and developed fear of violating it as well.

Very, very, soon, we will have the walls repainted and have the stickers removed. But for sure, I will miss the reminder of their rascal days, especially the note on my pristine cabinet wall.

December 28, 2010

resolutions, resolutions

Now it is time to visit the resolutions I made early this year (click here). How did this little girl do? 
Let us see...

1. Buy Christmas gifts early. 
(THUMBS DOWN: Gifts were bought and wrapped last minute, just like the previous years.)

2. Remember people’s birthdays. Drop a note that makes them feel loved and special. 
(FABULOUS!!!: Notes sent to most friends. Must continue with this tradition.)

3. Eat more veggies.
(MAKING PROGRESS: Should do better next year.)

4. Walk around the village 3-5X a week. Run regularly, eventually.

5. Use the clubhouse gym and pool more frequently. (But first, learn how to swim.)

6. Teach the kids how to play the guitar.
(PASSABLE: My 8-year old now knows the chords A and D.)

7. Teach the kids how to play the piano (But first, have the piano fixed.)
(WELLL.....I haven't had the piano fixed (insert bitter laughter).

8. Teach the kids some choreographed numbers, just for fun.
(FABULOUS!!! Taught them some Hawaiian moves and some Michael Jackson numbers. My kids do not call me crazy for nothin'.)

9. Sew some fabulous patchwork blankets.
(UHHMMMM....why did I even include this in the first place?)

10. Pick up a brush and do some watercolor artworks.
(UHHHMMMM.....too ambitious?)

11. Write some more.
(FABULOUS!!!: If this blog is any indication...)

12. Travel some more.
(With a heavy heart, I say EPIC FAILURE: My family went to Bora without me. The trip to Jakarta with my husband got cancelled at the last minute. 

Next year, maybe next year.)

13. Eat while drinking.
(This is sooo funny....uhmmmm....never got to do it. 

PS. Isn't beer a complete meal in itself? :-) 

14. Drink more wine than beer.
(SO-SO: I did drink wine instead of beer on some occasions.)

15. Watch more films.
(I did watch ALL the kiddie films this year. Oh, wait, this resolution excludes kiddie movies?? Ok, FAIL!!!)

16. Funky-fy my old clothes.
(QUITE GOOD: Turned my brother's Beatle shirt to a dress. Turned a baby onesie into a Halloween costume. Nina Garcia would have been proud of me.)

17. Do some housework.
(Ok, I'm not known to be a domestic diva but I did a little cooking this year. Did a spectacular job cleaning my closet. Swept the floor every now and then. All in all, IMPRESSIVE. Pat on the back.)

18. Write and draw a storybook for the kids.
(WHY???? Why did I include this? Why do I want to punish myself?????)

19. Do something sweet for the husband (because i'm not really a sweet person. but i must try.)
(Let us ask the husband.)

20. Go to church regularly. 
(Let us ask God.)

December 26, 2010

unna turns 8

She said she wants a simple birthday celebration. A day at the mall, books for herself and her sister, her favorite pasta, some rides, video games and a chance to pick her present.

As she loves designing clothes, she chose Harumika, a toy that comes with a mannequin and fabrics to style the doll with. But what she enjoyed most are her new books, which did not stay long in the bag as she started to devour it in the bookstore....

...while walking in the mall the toystore, slumped on the floor... the restaurant.

...and in the car on our way home, all through bedtime. 

So it was a simple birthday celebration alright. But my 8-year old is nonetheless one happy kid that day.

December 23, 2010

wishes to Santa

The socks do not go well with the rest of the trimmings for Priscilla (our fab Christmas tree, which I photographed in my previous post sans the socks). But my girls hung it there to write their wishes to Santa. And so it must stay.

Speaking of wishes, the elder daughter asked for a drum kit while the little one asked for Baby All Gone.

If I know Santa, he's having the gifts wrapped already. Oh, I can't wait for Christmas day to see the look of joy and surprise on my children's faces. 

The excited ripping of the wrapper, the howls of delight and their big-eyed wonder, the first moments of tinkering with their new toys...these outweigh the real value of the toys itself. 

Priceless, as Mastercard, err Santa would say.

our christmas tree

If our Christmas tree were a person, she'd probably be named Priscilla. As in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  

Or maybe Pilita, as in Lola Pilita with the glittering gowns and back-bending moves.

But I think Priscilla is a more appropriate name for her. Because she's tall, slim, and may I add, unapologetically loud.

She's fabulous, dahlings. I'm sure my gay friends would approve of the name. 

December 22, 2010

princesses at a wedding

I told the girls that they will be princesses for a day and that princesses must be prim and proper at all times. At first, they happily obliged. 

Soon enough, they discovered how fun it is to spin around and see their princess gowns balloon as they twirled.

They loved the twirling so much they even took it inside the church.

But the princesses managed to carry out their duties when the wedding march started, albeit with tilted "crowns".

But the princess behavior didn't last very long. In the altar after the wedding ceremony, most of the pictures showed Unna tickling the little one, rather sneakily at first. 

In the end, the tickling and the teasing was very much out in the open. much for princess duties.

December 21, 2010

coy's not us

Amidst the Christmas frenzy, the unusual rush at work (so we can finish everything before the break), the parties and reunions, we also had to squeeze in the traditional Christmas program at our kids' school. 

Unna danced while Laila sang with their respective classes. I was just so glad that they performed as if they truly enjoyed performing, as you can probably glean from these pictures. 

I wish I can say that they have taken their talent and the gusto by which they express themselves from me and me alone. But their Dad is just like them, and yes, just like me, who sing with all the verve he could muster when summoned onstage in office parties and karaoke nights.  

In Filipino, we call it "kapal ng mukha", an expression that foreigners do not easily get when you say "thick-faced". But I find it more descriptive and more appropriate so I'll say it again...I am extremely proud of my kids and I am happy that they have as thick a face as their parents'.

December 16, 2010

wasted years

This is one case that I seriously followed since Hubert Webb and the rest of his friends were accused of the Visconde murders in the 90's. Now that the Supreme Court has already acquitted them, you wonder, what kind of justice system do we have, that innocent people have to suffer 15 years for a crime they did not commit?

And what now? Who will they go after? Or is this one more case that will be added to the loooong list of unresolved mysteries in the Philippines? 

All ye guys in the judiciary, police force, NBI....boooo!!!

December 9, 2010

two heads

My husband gave this sculpture to me as a surprise from his trip in Shanghai two years ago. He said he bought it because it reminded him of us, two people sharing the same soul.

He is not the sweet, romantic type. I am not the sweet, romantic type as well. 

But once in a while, he would spring a surprise like this, and I would totally be swept off my feet.

December 7, 2010

professional blogging

I was introduced to blogging by somebody who got into it as early as 8, 10 years ago. I remember visiting her site regularly as I did enjoy her writing. We have since moved to other agencies and it was only recently when I remembered to visit her site again.

The first thought that came to my mind was how prolific she has become, writing something almost everyday. I noticed that she has become such a professional blogger too, as shown by the way she has titled and labeled all her posts with all possible tags/topics/permutations/variations, which probably ensure a page one appearance on the search engine. There were ads on the left, on the right, on top, and below each post as well.

Please do not get me wrong. I am happy about her success. But I do miss her writing style 8-10 years ago, when she was not yet the professional blogger that she is now.

December 6, 2010

morning rides

If I have an early meeting, I would ride with the girls to school and drop them off first. The girls are of course thrilled when Mommy joins them for the morning ride. 

There was one morning for example, when the kids leaned on my ams during the whole trip and unintentionally creased my sleeves. It made me look suddenly lousy and unprepared for the meeting but I thought to myself, who cares? When kids get really touchy-feely and sweet, who can refuse such a quiet but generous and innocent display of love?

So I rolled my sleeves that day to hide the wrinkles on my black top. I did look lousy. But I felt so good inside.

December 5, 2010

delete! delete!

So there's this big news from our industry that rocked the advertising world and the whole nation as well. I already said my piece and wrote two posts about it. However, this issue has turned into a mudslinging game never seen before in our industry. As I do not want to be party to this mess, I have already deleted both posts. May this issue rest in peace.

November 29, 2010


I recently posted these drawings of my two girls on my cube's wall. The left drawing was done by my elder daughter, Unna, 7. She is as princess-like, poised, graceful as the girl she has drawn. She has beautiful, straight hair, but her most fervent desire is to have curls, which found its way in all her caricatures. That's my girl, pretty and sweet as cotton candy.

The sketch on the right was done by my younger daughter Laila, who is 6 years old. Her personality was likewise reflected on her drawing: the eyebrows show a mad personality (and I say that with a lot of affection and fascination). Her ponytail snake-like, devious. Her mouth looked like it was constantly yelling. But her arms were drawn outstretched, reminding me of nights when I'd come home from work and she would run and jump at me with a very tight hug.

I only need to look at these pictures on my wall to keep me going at work, even in the toughest of days. 

November 27, 2010

moving on

From the last week of October until mid-November, I worked non-stop, weekdays and holidays included. I'd just work and work and work, pausing only for mealtimes and cigarette and bathroom breaks. I pushed myself so hard, not stopping even when exhaustion creeps in and I would write and write and type away and continue until finally, the last ounce of energy leaves my body and sleep will just take over in the wee hours of the morning.  

The reason for the punishing and unforgiving schedule was a back-to-back pitch for a cough medicine and a beauty soap product, which we both lost to other agencies. When we heard the news that the other agencies bagged it, we were so stunned but were so tired as well to even feel the pain of our defeat.

The weeks that followed became a period of recovery, as our calendar became a bit loose and light. Soon enough, our body clocks adjusted back to normal mode, the colors on our cheeks returned, and our bruised egos healed. 

More importantly, the sound of our laughter bounced friskily again on our office's very white walls.

November 23, 2010

the beatles on my safari

My officemate excitedly asked me to open my Safari (quick!) one early morning last week. I did as told and was thrilled to see the Beatles on the homepage.

I've been a Beatle fan since I was in grade school. Growing up, I got exposed to the music of my older siblings and cousins who have been fortunate enough to be in their teen years at the height of Beatlemania. On each lifestage, my admiration for them evolved from a mere enjoyment of the melodies of their song to an appreciation of its profound meanings, the sheer musicality and diversity of their compositions, their instrumentation, their love for experimentation and the revolution they created in their era.

After all these years, the Beatles still stirs in me an energy strong enough to make me smile wide everytime I click Safari. And I just know that there are a million Macbooks users all over the world who feel the same way I do. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

November 16, 2010

talk to my bangs

I have thick, black hair. Growing up, friends would say that they liked it and wished theirs have the kind of texture, luster and the volume of my hair.

I, on the other hand, envied girls with super straight hair. I love the way straight hairs fall casually on their nape or shoulders. Most of all, I like it that they can cut their bangs and get that kind of impish but glam look. Unfortunately, I can never get that kind of bangs because mine gets so wavy that it exposes a portion of my wide forehead. 

Then I discovered clip-on bangs! The girls in the office came back from a shoot with this fab accessory that the stylist used for one of our talents. I tried it on and was instantly amazed at how it fell gracefully like silk on my forehead. I have bangs! I have straight, stylish, brow-grazing bangs! And just like that, with a click on my head, I suddenly felt like I'm a different woman.

November 14, 2010

pacman does it again

Once again, Pacquiao did not fail us, despite the height and reach advantage of his Mexican opponent, not to mention his menacing, almost sinister stance. Towards the end of the fight, Margarito's face was so swollen and his eyes were reduced to tiny slits. In this fight, Pacquiao earned an 8th belt and an unbelievable record in world boxing history.

Once again, Pacquiao hoists the Philippine flag, and I can see it fluttering and dancing proudly under the Manila sun, and in every part of the world where Filipino hearts wildly beat in honor of this great man.

November 7, 2010

long live, NU107

I'm all alone in our house on this lonely Sunday. I am working beside my Ipod dock but today is not the time to listen to my music. Today is a day to pay tribute back to the time before ipods and downloads, when music is something you do not control but is instead left in the hands of jocks. And yes, today is a day to thank all of 'em, NU jocks, for dishing good, fresh, unapologetically un-pop music, for their simple intros, intelligent conversations.

Today is a day to remember my younger years, when I'm alone in the car, stuck in traffic, and I would turn the music full blast and resist the temptation to do a head bang.

So thank you, NU, for everything, but most especially for those good times when we were left alone together. It is but fitting, I guess, that I am alone in our house today on your last day. I immensely enjoyed your company, and I just know there will never be quite like you ever in my life again.

November 4, 2010

more on halloween

B.C. (before children), Halloween only meant parties and booze. But no, we're not complaining.

Halloween outfits in the village Trick or Treat
My Japanese girl and my li'l Vietnamese before the Halloween party at school.

October 31, 2010

halloween fashion emergency

My husband came as a corpse, Chiquito-movies-style (hahaha). My nephew took an old cosplay outfit. 

As I didn't have time to prepare for the Halloween, I just decided to improvise and thought that with proper make-up and some black outfits (which I have a multitude of), I can just be a short-haired Morticia Adams or Bellatrix Lestrange.

But when the kids and I were sorting through their costumes, I dug up an old ladybug onesie which they used to wear as babies. As there is no chance that there will still be infants in the family, I had the hood cut to separate it from the neckline. The rest of the onesie was cut right smack in the middle to make for an instant vest. Voila! Instant Halloween costume. 

October 30, 2010

khaled hossein

Note: One, this is not a book review. Second, I extremely hate spoilers so I shall be considerate to the few people who read this blog by not revealing the plot and divulging highlights of the book, as most book reviews do. 

I first read "A Thousand Splendid Suns". It is a very, very beautiful book, but it brought me to depths of unimaginable sorrow. Twice or thrice, I wept for the characters in his book and when I finished the novel, I thought I should first heal myself from the anguish I felt by reading light or entertaining novels first (chick lit included) and even showbiz magazines.

Last week, feeling ready for another Hossein, I started reading "The Kite Runner" (his first novel, actually). It is not as heart-wrenching as "A Thousand Splendid Suns" but it is also a sad read.

Still and all, I am glad to have discovered another excellent writer and to have travelled through his words, the tumultuous world of his characters in Afghanistan. He has become one of my top favorite authors and I am so looking forward to his next novel.

For those who have not read any book by Khaled Hossein yet, I suggest you start with "Kite Runner" before you proceed with "A Thousand Splendid Suns". And oh, have a box of Kleenex handy.

October 27, 2010

tv supremacy

We were watching cartoons last weekend and as usual, my two girls, 7 and 6 years of age, fought over what show to watch. We told them they should take turns watching their favorite show and once we settle on a program, there should absolutely be no channel surfing anymore.

Then we noticed our eldest girl holding the remote control and bringing it along with her to the kitchen when she gets a drink, to her bedroom or the attic when she wants to get a particular book or toy, to the bathroom...

And so her Dad asked, "What good is it bringing the remote when you cannot even change the channel?" 

My daughter replied, "Uhm, I don't know..." and she looked up the ceiling, trying to make sense of this peculiar behavior. Then her face suddenly lit up and continued, ".......because it makes me feel in control?"

October 25, 2010

chocnut cheesecake

Our friends from Get Cre8ive, the company that processes our requests for Getty Images, sent a cake to our office one day. I think I was busy working on a pitch deck so I didn't join my officemates who feasted on it right away. I was oblivious at first to the howls of delight from the pantry (I don't like leaving a train of thought until I'm sure I have written it all down).

Until I heard the words....

"OMG!!!!! Saraaaaaaapppppppp......."

And just like that, I left my cube and dashed to the pantry, my ideas for the pitch deck abandoned and left floating in mid-air, to check on the cake that's causing this afternoon madness.

I got a small slice and upon the first bite, experienced a medley of salt and sweet melting, exploding simultaneously in my mouth. I am no foodie and therefore not very good at describing gastronomic sensations. All I could do upon tasting this heavenly concoction is to mutter under my breath with matching shake of the head....
"Ay, grabeeeeeeee......"

October 24, 2010

comings and goings

One thing I can say about airport scenes is that I only like arrivals, never departures.

Sometime July, my brother's family spent a good month's vacation here to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday. 

The kids, Ally and Gelli, grew up in Fremont, California, without knowing the rest of their family back in the Philippines, except for pictures and stories of their first vacation here when they were still in their toddler years.

When they got older, they went back, and instantly warmed up to the rest of their big clan, despite the difference in culture and the initially disorienting Pinoy-accented-English . The closeness amongst the American citizens and their Pinoy cousins were instantaneous, never forced and almost instinctive. Soon, even the kisses, hugs and other forms of affection became easy. The "oldies in the family" can only watch in amazement at the speed by which these kids strongly bonded and we thought, that's maybe how blood relatives naturally respond to each other, no matter how long they have been apart.

When it was time to leave for the US, the tears flowed at the airport. And us oldies, can only force a bitter smile, pained at the sight of the tenderness of young hearts feeling the sting of separation.

October 23, 2010


Waiting for the doctor with some senior citizens. 
I went back to Makati Med last Thursday to see the internist referred by my HMO. The doctor's clinic is from 10-12 so I went there as early as 930. "You're first on the list," I was told. Pleased at this news, I settled myself on the not-so-comfy chair, read my book and waited patiently for the time when the sliding tab finally declares that "The doctor is in."

I was so engrossed at the book I was reading ("The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hossein) that I didn't even realize it was already about an hour since I arrived.

Meanwhile, the corridor swelled with patients already and the latecomers suffered the fate of having to stand or squat or sit on the floor waiting. Shortly before 12 noon, the doctor came, and a few minutes after, I was finally summoned to his clinic. 

Fortunately, my blood tests showed ok results. But I left the hospital probably with another affliction. Hypertension.