January 30, 2011

fancy pants

I'm going to try this linky, again discovered through Kymmie

Fancy Pants is a fashion spread that happens every Sunday. I've been wanting to do this but I just never had the time to actually get down and write about it, until now. So here it is.

Being in the advertising business, we sometimes wear "costumes" to client presentations to reinforce an idea, or to make our team look like a cohesive unit or just for the fun of it.

In one major presentation for a bank client this week, we did prints. The boards got approved (no, not because of the costumes. The creative team did show fantastic stuff.) and to celebrate, we ate out at Conti's in Serendra. When the heat became unbearable, I moved my chair at a spot where pillars cast shadows.

Our Art Director, Tokwa, took these pictures while I was busy chatting with my officemates  (from a distance, yes). The effect, I thought, was rather cute and charming.

Dress: Archaeology. Shoes: CMG. Headband: A belt in its previous life.

of blog love and beautiful strangers

Part of the joy of blogging is not just posting but reading other blogs as well. You get fantastic recommendations from Blogs of Note. But sometimes fantastic discoveries can also happen via random visits, and sometimes through links from other people's blogs. 

I do enjoy visiting the blogs of Kymmie, JM,  Scooper, Dale, my friend Gabby, Bee Ean, Chris and of late, discovered two more from Agnes and Lizeylou.

I love it that I can follow lives and experiences, mostly of people I do not know, and mostly from countries I have never even visited nor even heard of. I love it that with each post, with each rave, rant and reflection, I get to know more about them somehow, each person becoming more and more alive in my mind.

I am therefore joining Blog Love, stumbled upon this morning with a post from Kymmie. Thanks to you, Kym, and to the author of Blog Love, Lucy, for opening doors to more beautiful discoveries from beautiful strangers.

January 28, 2011

bipolar hub

The name of the restaurant is "Van Gogh is Bipolar". It is not meant to sound artsy-fartsy. The owner, Jetro, is bipolar for real and because of his condition, he found his way to healthy, organic food that naturally gives him endorphins. This is what he serves in his restaurant.

The concept alone is intriguing so off we went to the North last week. The first thing we noticed about the place is that it is small but it has an interesting display of art, knick-knacks, teapots, and souvenirs from trips abroad. 

The meals are all named after famous people who are also bipolar. We were like, "Oh yeah? So and so is bipolar?" 

Jetro has a collection of hats which you can use while waiting for your meal. We took this opportunity to do some photo ops.  Every corner, every wall, every object in this place is a conversation piece. 

There are no waiters here. Jetro prepares the food himself together with some kitchen aides. You go to this little window, write your order, ring a bell. Then you go back to pick it up when the food is ready. You return your plates when you're done. You get your receipt, you put your money in a box, you get your own change (if you want change).

The food, it seems, gave my friends a natural high, judging from the happy vibe that night. Do not ask me about my opinion because I am grumpy these days due to nicotine withdrawal and the supposed endorphins from Jetro's food didn't seem to enter my bloodstream. But my husband and my friends liked it so it so yeah, I think the food is good. As good perhaps as these pictures.

All in all, it was a great experience. Hats off to Jetro for turning his condition into an idea, or should I say, an art form, that brings to many people all these wonderful, wonderful sensations.

Picture credits: from my Iphone, and from the FB walls of Teeny G. and Wella B.

January 25, 2011

i love my skin

My laptop was stolen last July in Figaro, Salcedo branch (the manager did not handle it very well and was quite unsympathetic, which frustrated me no end). 

Of course I cried when I discovered that it got stolen under the table, under my nose! (How the bastard did it still baffles me.) Together with my laptop, I lost my speakers and my external drive where I kept all the files of my commplans, my strategies, research materials, TVCs, family photos and videos. Fortunately, I was able to burn most of my files in good ol' CDs so I was able to retrieve a lot. But a good 6 months worth of data were not backed up.

I terribly miss as well my Macbook's psychedelic skin. The person who is using my stolen laptop is a fool to rip it off (and a fool also to not do so. Either way, he is a fool. And I'm being kind here.) Anyways, it took time for me to buy another skin because I couldn't find the design that I like. 

Last month, finally, I found my new skin. And it feels good to the touch.

January 24, 2011


Laila said she wants to be any of the following when she grows up:

1. "A fire girl"
2. A bus driver
3. An ambulance driver
4. A gasoline station attendant

Unna wants to be a popular movie star.

And this Mom is very, very nervous.


I am a certified coffee-holic. I take mine black, without sugar, and I like it really strong, kicking and bitter. 

But together with my vow to quit smoking, I am also getting rid of caffeine in my system. So I take brewed decaf, just for the ritual of sipping coffee in the morning for breakfast, in the office as soon as I get in, and another one in the afternoon. 

The taste depresses me. As opposed to to the kick of a good brew, decaf tastes somewhat...dead. 

Maybe one day I will get rid of decaf too, and stop this delusion of sipping black water that pretends to be coffee.

January 23, 2011

mood swings

This week we went out twice and of course, there was drinking and of course, there was smoking. And I guess the most difficult part of quitting was the night outs and parties because smoking go very, very well with drinking and good conversations.

I was quite successful at avoiding the temptation of puffing even a single puff but I noticed that I wasn't the usual fun person to my friends. In fact, I've been cranky lately, which I quickly attributed to hormones, to the traffic, to the rains, the floods. 

I realized though that it could also be one of the side effects of quitting smoking. I can actually feel my body rebelling against the removal of nicotine from my system. I haven't been sleeping well, although that was nothing compared to the wave of emotions I feel, especially when on a night out with my friends. It is sad and it is ugly. I have actually prepared myself for these tough moments and the mind fuck that accompany quitting. But when they eventually come, it can still be overwhelming.

Gosh, this is really tough. But I'll deal with it. I don't have any other choice.

January 22, 2011

american idol, again and again

I was not particularly excited about American Idol because I have gotten tired with it, especially with the freaks that they gloriously parade during the auditions. And with Simon Cowell out of the show, I thought there wasn't much to be excited about with this season.

But then I caught the replay this weekend and was instantly moved again by images of contestants deliriously waving their gold cards. I teared up at the ensuing hugging, jumping of friends and family and at the stories of sick children or sick Dads. But most of all, my heart swelled again with new discoveries of beautiful voices singing old songs in a fresh, new way.

I watched the replay with a dispassionate attitude, FB-ing, Tweeting, reading blogsites on the side, occasionally glancing up when something funny comes along and before I knew it, I left the laptop, watched in rapt attention and ended the show with a decision to even blog about it. 

For I am reminded of why I loved American Idol the very first time I watched it, Fantasia era. Because more than the freak show they usually start the season with, American Idol is really about old-fashioned ideals of fulfilling dreams, of conquering fears, of the hopes of providing a better life for their families, of beautiful songs and the sublime ways by which they were sung.

There's no turning back. I am hooked again, it seems. 

Images Googled

January 19, 2011

my princess unna

Since a lot of people seemed to have enjoyed my post about Laila, I will tell you more kiddie stories in our household, with Unna this time, who turned 8 last month.

She is very prim and proper, princess-like in so many ways. So unlike the rest of the family. Sometimes she would just shake her head and say: “I have a goofy family.”

I talk to my kids in Pinoy English but they respond with an American accent, or shall I say, Disney and Nickelodeon accent. But Unna would sometimes talk to me in a perfect British accent, learnt from movies such as "Parent Trap", "High School Musical 3" and of course, "Harry Potter". (Blimey!)

She is wise beyond her years, borne out of her love for reading. She would sometimes jolt me with the way she thinks and the way she strings her words. Some samplers of our “normal conversations” at home:

“Laila and I are supremely different from each other. She’s carefree while I am a worrywart.”

"Mom, Dad, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but.....for my next birthday party, can I just plan it myself?"

“My personal wish this Christmas is for people to live in peace and harmony.” (No, we don't watch Miss Universe at home.)

"My favorite Shakespeare books are Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream." (Huh?? Shakespeare??)

And my favorite...

During the long summer vacation last year, she got so bored she wanted to go back to school. And to further stress the point, she said: “I feel like an old, wrinkly lola frozen in the winter night of Halloween.” (Whoa!)

Please forgive me for saying this but I really think I've got the cutest girls in the whole wide world.

January 18, 2011

scenes from a wedding

The couple's abloom

The view from the reception
Our friends Chan and Rina (who is also the Creative Director in our advertising agency) got married last 1.11.11. Typical of the couple, the wedding reception was devoid of videos, pre-nup photo displays, fireworks and other gimmicks that accompany Filipino weddings these days. Why, they didn't even have the traditional wedding dance.

The look of the party area from start to finish
But it was one wedding reception I tremendously enjoyed. The food from Vivere was delish, the wine overflowing, the music great (and we expected no less from Chan who worked as a DJ before advertising discovered him. He is, like Rina, a Creative Director in McCann Erickson).

It was such an intimate affair that it almost felt like we were on our usual night out with our friends in the industry, except that we were all dressed up for the affair.

Happy guests

Congratulations again, Chan and Rina. If your wedding reception was any indication, the rest of your life together will surely be one big party.

Photos borrowed from various friends' FB posts

January 17, 2011


Roughly ten years ago, my husband proposed to me and gave me a nice diamond ring. A few years ago, I lost it. I don't know exactly when and I don't remember exactly how. There was one other birthday when he gifted me with a platinum bracelet. Well, I lost that, too.

I tried to keep this teeny-weeny bit of information from my husband for as long as I can. But he with the eagle eyes noticed at once.

"You lost it, didn't you?" Mind you, it wasn't a question. It was a statement uttered with an unassailable belief in his wife's propensity to lose things of great and sentimental value.

So I sheepishly just said, "Uhm, yeah..." to which he replied, "I swear I'm not gonna give you any jewelry ever!" And that was when I realized I married a good guy.....because he did not kill me nor threaten me with bodily harm.

So birthdays and anniversaries went by and true enough, he stopped giving jewelry. Over the years, I got from him an Ipod (although I couldn't understand why he thought I couldn't lose it. Note: it's still with me though.), an Ipod deck (brilliant, I must say. It has been just safely placed on the shelf.), a DLSR camera, a Wii, etc.

This year, when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said nothing. As in nothing, really (see post below if you like). I am a very simple person. I am not at all brand-conscious. I don't have to have the latest in fashion. I don't speak Chanel. I am actually at a place where I can be contented with whatever I have. 

But what do I get for my birthday? A replacement of my engagement ring with a bonus pair of earrings, placed on top of a birthday cake!!! OMG!!!

For desiring a simple life, my husband rewards me with diamonds. He's got a wicked sense of humor. And I'm still grinning from sparkly ear to sparkly ear.

January 13, 2011

midlife wonder

Tomorrow, January 14, is my birthday. My husband asked me what I want for a birthday present and I couldn't think of any. 

I am happy with my career and my family.  I am profoundly grateful for what I already have it will be too much to ask for anything more.

I think this is the mindset of someone who's getting really, really old. But let it be. Ageing is wonderful. I accept it with gratitude and grace.

brisbane flashfloods

Pausing for a prayer for the people who are in Brisbane and in Visayas who are inundated with massive flooding. The Brisbane flashfloods reminds me eerily of the Typhoon Ondoy which I wrote about here

I was also greeted this morning with a poignant shot of a bride in Visayas (shown here on the front page of Inquirer) waiting for a military truck so she can make it to her wedding.

Typhoon Ondoy was really a shocking, devastating incident that probably scarred many Filipinos for life. After Ondoy, every typhoon that follows scares me out of my wits, even if the typhoon does not directly hit home. 

To my friends who follow this blog, and to the random readers who stumble upon this post by happenstance, please say a prayer for these two cities who are caught in the midst of nature’s fury.

Mother Earth, please calm down. 

January 11, 2011

laila, oh, laila

It's true. Kids say the darndest things. I've written a few of their funny quips last year. Here are a few more, featuring my 6-year old "bunso" (youngest), my crazy little munchkin, Laila.

She once frantically told me: "I lost my diary!!!! And my dignity!!!"

In a weekend afternoon walk, we saw some caterpillars on the street. She got very, very scared and said, "Mom, I have issues with worms."

Her good friend, Bettina, was in our house one day and showed me her Math exam. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Wow, Bettina, this is awesome."
Bettina: "My Mom helps me with my Math homework that's why I did very well on our periodical test."

Me: "Really? Here, it's their Dad who teaches them Math because I'm not very good in Math."
Bettina: "Oh, my Dad is also good in Math. Both my Dad and Mom are very good in Math."

Laila (stern expression): "Mom, you've got to work on your Math."

Over breakfast, she was being her usual hyper, chatty self. I asked her why she was overly excited. And she said, "Because crazy is in my blood." 

January 10, 2011

rpg metanoia

The Metro Manila Film Festival was notorious for being overly commercial so I was wary at first about watching RPG Metanoia. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this movie was well-conceptualized and excellently executed.

I am a veteran of kiddie movies. I watched all animated and non-animated kid films last year. So for this mom to get engaged and give RPG a rating of five buckets of popcorn is really saying much for this wonderful film.

Much has been said about its story, the quality of the animation, the scoring, and I agree that it was well-polished on all fronts. But for me, what made this movie memorable was its Pinoyness.

It is not everyday that you will see these in an animated film: a beat-up tricycle, bangus on the table, a garden set, a parked jeepney and a basketball court in the middle of the street, a sari-sari store, etc.

And what lovely depiction of the games we played in our childhood: patintero, sipa, shato, piko, touch ball (the only game I was good at as a kid), tumbang preso.

In my book, this should have won Best Picture in the MMFF. I hope this film earned money during its run and I hope that when the DVD is out, people will support it and send copies to friends and relatives abroad for a bit of nostalgia trip. 

January 6, 2011

smoking from a hookah

I'm quitting smoking and I'm also quitting my favorite apple-flavored shisha. Years ago, we would frequent Ziggurat because they have these fab waterpipes. Our vacations in Boracay will not be complete without spending at least a night in a hookah bar (specifically in Lonely Planet, Station 2, where this picture was taken).

I loved it so much that I once wanted to buy a hookah for myself. It was a good thing I had second thoughts because years after I first desired a personal hookah, I'd give up smoking altogether.

Next time I go to Boracay, you can be sure I will not set foot on Lonely Planet. 

January 4, 2011

how I plan to quit smoking

I actually did it several years ago, when I got pregnant with my first daughter. The moment I found out I was pregnant, poof!, I went cold turkey. And then, when my eldest daughter was only 6 months old, I found out I was pregnant again with my second daughter. So my break from smoking got extended. 

All in all, I did not smoke for three long years.

But I went back to smoking when I was done with the second pregnancy and the whole breastfeeding thing. I smoke from 5 to 10 cigarettes a day, more when I’m out on a drinking session with husband or friends or officemates. 

Given that my husband is an advocate of the rock and roll lifestyle just like me, then add to that the industry that I belong to (advertising: where the crazy, creative, stressed-out party peeps prance about), then you just know that I can be doomed to a lifetime of health-zapping vices (but for the record, my vices are limited to smokes, beer and…. chocolates :-).

Then in September 2009, I posted this on Twitter:

A good 15 months later, I made good my promise. I first cut down on my cigarette consumption from 10 sticks to 7 sticks to 5 to 2 to 1. Then finally, there'd be days too when I'd survive without a single stick.

But knowing that quitting will mess with my mind big time, I allow myself to smoke one stick or take a few puffs if I feel like it, even after a period of ciggy-less days. This somehow eases the pressure of quitting, usually brought about by counting the “days since my last stick”.

At work, I bring an apple just to satisfy my oral fixation. At home, I’ve chosen books that are page-turners (Little Bee by Christopher Cleave, and now Lost Symbol by Dan Brown) so I can forget my cravings.

It helps also that I proclaim to friends that “I am going to quit smoking” instead of the declarative “I’ve quit”, even if the process of quitting has started already.

They say that it takes 100 days to form a new habit. Let’s talk again after 100 days. Wish me luck!