September 30, 2010


Since we just marked the first anniversary of the Ondoy storm, let me remind everyone of the devastation that a strong typhoon can cause and how we can all be reduced to nothing in the face of Mother Earth's lashings. 

I know a lot of family and friends whose cars got submerged in water. 

In a situation like this, people flee, even if there's no place to run, no place to hide.

See what I mean?

Scene from another typhoon, Basyang. This crane fell off just outside our village.

A billboard structure crashed near our place as well.

I get paranoid and mortally fearful for myself and my family each time a storm hits the Philippines. Ondoy hit all of us on a personal level because of the many stories of devastation that directly hit home. We were lucky to have been spared but not my closest relatives and some friends. 

Sadly, a year after Ondoy, the government seems to be still unprepared for a storm of this magnitude. The drainage system is still clogged, the creeks are still littered with illegal settlers, the highways still littered with unwieldy billboard structures. There is no flood control system, no rescue operations to speak of. 

Tears. We might as well start flooding Malacanang with our tears. 

September 28, 2010


So yesterday proved to be a good day as I got a fresh delivery of my goodies. I opened the package, inhaled its crispness and woody flavor and resisted like hell the temptation to taste it.

But tonight, I shall devour it. Goodbye, world.

September 25, 2010

welcome to my weekend

As we are a beer loving couple, my husband and I usually spend Friday or Saturday nights at our balcony drinking, enjoying the breeze and the abundant sky in the south. Sometimes our nights will be honored by the presence of stars and a glorious full moon, as was the case last night.

Outside my window during the day, I can sometimes catch a small glimpse of Laguna Bay from yonder and if I go up our attic, its calmness unfolds with a better view. Or I content myself at the sight of lush trees that cover an empty lot just outside our house.

Then there is of course the most wondrous sight of all, of my eldest buried yet again in her book and my youngest doing crazy things, as usual. And I am relegated to an observer of human nature, of their individuality shaping more solidly as the days pass by.  

The world owns me from Monday to Friday. But weekends are mine, all mine.

September 22, 2010

monday surprises

My brother from the US came back home Monday, around 1 a.m., with a boxful of presents for my two girls: plenty of clothes, a boardgame, chocolates and a lot of books. Before I went to bed, I put the boardgame and all the clothes on the daybed, the chocolates on top of the dining table and the books on top of the piano. 

We were still asleep when the girls woke up at 6 a.m. Nanny Cathy told us that when they came down the staircase they immediately spotted the stash awaiting them. The little one cried out, "Mama mia!!!" while my eldest muttered "Ohmigosh...ohmigosh...ohmigosh" and headed towards---the piano.

I constantly worry about them. What kind of persons they will turn out to be. How they will deal with life's not-so-good surprises. How they will survive without their dad. How they can carry on without me.

But it looks like my kids know their priorities very well, even at the tender ages of 7 and 6. Maybe I shouldn't be worried, after all. No, I really shouldn't.

September 19, 2010

wrapped around her little fingers

I found this old picture in my archive. Although we had our backs to the camera, it is pretty obvious that the eldest daughter was saying something. And from our body language, you can say that both of us parents, were listening with rapt attention, as if in awe of someone saying something earth-shaking. 

She's probably just talking to us about her friends in school, or the toys she would want for Christmas. But it was important enough to this girl to command our undivided attention and utmost concentration to what she was saying.

Such is the power of a child, and the oldies can only happily surrender.

September 17, 2010


Today we got the official word from Client that we won the Xenical pitch. The pitch that I sacrificed my husband's birthday for. The pitch that we worked on for only two days. Two days!

We bested four other advertising agencies, three of them high-powered multinationals and two of them my former employers. When we were seated in the lobby waiting for our turn, we saw the agency before us descending from the conference room in the second floor. There were a number of foreigners and industry stalwarts in that team and had we not conditioned and motivated ourselves well, we could've shrunk in fear just at the mere sight of this power group.

I looked at our motley crew of young Pinoys with nothing but a strong gut and a brave heart. Our work certainly did not look like a product of just two backbreaking days of intense brainstorming, frenetic writing of the complan and factory-line style of creative development. It was well thought out, polished and strung tightly at the seams. 

We left the presentation confident that we had a good chance of winning. And today, the word is out. We did win. 

Now it's time to drink and celebrate with the husband.

September 14, 2010

remembering 9/11

It was September 11, nighttime here in the Philippines. We were playing billiards in a bar in Ortigas that had TV screens suspended in the ceiling and I remember the din of that bar interrupted by a sudden quiet. One by one, the players stopped playing. Some seemed to have forgotten their beer bottles on the table as a group formed in front of the monitor, looking at the scene of the smoldering tower on CNN.

We couldn't understand what was happening at first. We thought it was just a fire or something but we still couldn't keep our eyes off the screen. Then came the scene of a plane crashing towards the second tower and I remember us responding to that scene in sheer horror.

In 2007, I visited Ground Zero. It had been six years since the attacks. But the inexplicable mixed feelings of devastation, anguish, compassion, terror and also anger was very much present and almost palpable at the scene of the crime. 

It has now been a tradition to honor the Twin Towers and the many lives lost in the attacks with the two beams of light piercing the New York night sky. Back here in our country, and I'm sure everywhere else in the world, we can only hold on to the symbol behind that tribute.

Beneath the rubble, hope shall spring forth. We will remember.

Reconstruction at Ground Zero.

From the many children who lost their parents.

Thousands of other stories on the wall.

September 12, 2010


At work several buildings away, with no time to squeeze in lunch or even coffee with the birthday boy, I had to content myself with random checks on my husband's Facebook wall and felt so happy to see hundreds and hundreds of greetings for him (how could one have so many FB friends?). 

By end afternoon, I sent him my gift. 

He said he seriously thought this was my gift and did not even notice the little orange sticker on the pack that was really meant for his real "Bumblebee".

The day could have ended with our usual dinner date but I worked late and went home past midnight. By this time, I didn't even have the energy anymore to feel bad for not being physically present on his birthday. I was then very, very tired and my mind was focused already on the pitch. I gave up so much for this presentation and the least that I could do is to make it ultimately worthy of the sacrifice.

The following day, with the pitch done by morning, I slowed down and decompressed a bit, and by night went straight to his office for his party despite my aching joints screaming for sleep. 

Last night, we celebrated again with my family and a couple of friends and stayed up 'til 5 am drinking and just talking about the week past. 

Next Saturday, another party for him is in the works with the rest of our friends.

Whew! Stress, sadness, guilt, pressure, mad rush, deadly deadlines, exhaustion. Then relief, celebration. 

What a crazy week it has been.

birthday boy

Last September 8 was my husband's birthday. For the first time in the roughly 15 years that we were together, we spent it apart because I had to work on an advertising pitch that week. The presentation date had to be scheduled at 10:00, September 9 and I had no choice but to work late several nights in a row, his birthday included.

Yes, our work can sometimes be ruthlessly demanding. But it is something that my husband has graciously accepted and understood. So in the early morning of September 8, just after midnight struck, I took a break from work and posted this on Facebook.

It was "liked" by family and friends and a barrage of comments followed after that post-- a post by the way, that is already sweet by my standards as I am the type who really does not want a public display of mush. 

Nobody probably knew that as I type that earnest prayer, a certain sadness has befallen in my quiet room.

September 4, 2010


There have been times in the past when Pinoys figured in the Twitter trending topic. I remember the time when John Lloyd became a hot topic because of an interview on his lovelife. Charice also merited a lot of hashtags because of a controversial Botox procedure.

So it is but fitting that another Pinoy topic, worthy this time of being on the worldwide trend, will create buzz not just on Twitter but on FB and in the mainstream news as well. And the timing is just perfect. The past days have been an endless stream of bad news from the hostage incident, which still depresses me no end. 

This new hashtag, Sentisabado, which is taking the digital space by storm as I speak, is a series of nostalgic posts, wistful thoughts, some funny and some downright hilarious tweets, about yesteryears. 

And boy, it is just as good as a bowl of Royco soup on a rainy night.

back to the future

I do not know exactly when it started or what exactly my reasons are for liking it. But I do adore back shots.

Is it the mystery it evokes? Is it the uncertainty of this motion- the moving forward and the leaving something behind? Or is it just the mere casualness of the moment? 

Whatever it is, I want you, back.

My cousin, Maret, in South Beach.

My husband's cousin, Jemae, at a weekend party in our clubhouse.

That's me in a Batangas beach, taken by our Creative Director in San Miguel.

My husband, Jake, running his first 21k.

Friends' kiddos, Indie and Derek, in our clubhouse.

My children, beautiful even from the back, on their first day of school last year.

My husband and bunso, Laila, in Punta Fuego.

And finally, some shots from a blog I'm following, Running From Camera.

September 3, 2010

happy place

Since my last post was reeking with despair, i just thought i had to find a good place where there is nothing but joy, good old fun, love and friendship.

One Saturday, when Mommy played with the princesses (quite literally that day). 

Halloween night. Japanese girls in action.

Duty Free. How my girls squealed in delight at the sight of goodies and treats.

Early morning walks in our village, where I clear my thoughts empty and just be acutely aware of details such as shadows, sunshine, greens and the other village hues I wouldn't otherwise have noticed at other times of the day.

"Daddy has a surprise for Mom!" A top secret spilled over breakfast because of kiddie whispers that are a tad too loud.

The new boy in the family, Bembol.

Afternoon walks with the family, Labs included.

A surprise from the husband, a no-occassion treat to me and my friends, sent straight to our office on a particularly happy day.

Oh, I feel good already. Thank you, thank you, thank You, for all the wonderful blessings of everyday life.

September 2, 2010


I wrote this as a backgrounder to a strategy a month ago:

There is a prevailing sense of renewed optimism among Filipinos after experiencing the first automated elections, which was generally perceived as a clean and honest exercise in suffrage.

Noynoy Aquino won an overwhelming victory and a very high post-election trust rating. Even non-believers sit up and take notice because his election platform of taking a hard line stance against corruption is greatly being fulfilled. He does walk his talk.

Noynoy speaks to the public in Filipino, in a very casual, folksy tone, and in terms that anybody can understand. He gives the usual promises of better infrastructure, investment planning, etc., but what resonates most to the Pinoys are the little, but nonetheless significant things: walang wang-wang, walang kota-kota, wang tongpats.

The social climate during the inaugurations and the SONA is very positive, hopeful and also infectious. 

Suddenly, it's cool to be forthright and honest again.

Then I proceeded to write the strat in casual Pinoy lingo, my very first strat I think, written like so. But the project was deferred to give way to a major pitch. And just when we're ready to do this, the unbelievably horrific hostage incident involving HK victims happened.

Now I'm at a loss on where to take this project. After the atrocious murder of the HK tourists, the blunder after blunder committed by the media, police, the government, what do we say about the Pinoy citizens now? What do we say about PNoy?

This post is not so much about work as it is about the sorry state we found ourselves in. Just a month back, the spirit of the Philippines is imbued with so much pride, so much positivism. And with one tragic twist of fate, everything seems to be gone, all gone.

Tell me, where do we go from here?