November 18, 2012

TV Times

I really didn’t want to work today, a Sunday. But words forced itself out of my head straight onto the waiting laptop. I typed it in Word instead of Powerpoint so I can see the flow of thoughts. It was a continuous stream of ideas neatly laid out from beginning to end.

This has never happened before. I usually get stumped when it comes to opening statements. And I always change my last line because I always want dramatic, compelling endings.

As Sunday comes to a close, I reflected on this weekend. It started with a great Saturday. I brought the girls to the cinemas to watch “Breaking Dawn” (not a fan of “Twilight” but this finale, I must admit, is an entertaining watch).

Old pix in the living room
After the movies, we met my husband at the appliance store because he decided yesterday as the day that we were gonna buy our new TV. He only wanted to buy a 40” smart TV but it was out of stock. So I persuaded him to buy the next one, a 46”, and much to my surprise, he readily agreed (this guy does not  say yes easily).

Although it has not been installed yet, we happily watched TV in our “old” 32-inch LCD as there were great family movies showing on cable today. I said to my husband that our TV is our daily entertainment so it’s worth spending money on (as if he still needs convincing. The damage has already been done!).

And like I said, an interesting thing happened--- despite being busy watching TV, I was able to finish a presentation on the side, which consequently led to this post on my (inactive, of late) blog!

The muses must have visited me today. Remember that Beatle song, “Across The Universe”? A line there goes, “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup”. That’s exactly what happened today.

Or maybe I’m just too happy.

October 16, 2012

Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

Photo from

What it’s about:

A novel about local politics and the ensuing conflict within the residents of Pagford High. It is quite a shock that this came from JK Rowling, whose riches is brought about by her unparalleled fame as a children’s book writer. Sure, her gift of insight and skillful narratives is very much evident in her portrayal of the characters. However, the book is replete with obscenities, graphic sex scenes, foul language and people hating each other. It is a very, very angry book.

What I think happened:
1.    JK Rowling became rich and famous and became extremely lonely at the top. She wrote Casual Vacancy so she can plummet back to earth and be a normal person again.
2.    The success of Harry Potter went to her head and she didn’t like the person that she has become. She wrote Casual Vacancy to purge herself of the saccharine goodness of Harry Potter, attract public flagellation and liberate herself from the bondage of her own celebrity.
3.    Somebody must have fed her drugs that cause a very bad trip in which dementors kiss her and suck out all the happiness she’d ever known.


September 6, 2012

Say Fierce

Although we work behind the camera, we sometimes get invited for features in industry mags. These shots were for a feature on The Firm section of Adobo. Now, how to be Tyra-fierce?

First try: interiors. We weren’t too happy with the layout. And we found it too stiff.

Then we went to the balcony. We liked already the composition of these shots.

But it was kinda difficult to get the “look” that we wanted. We laughed in between, coached each other on our poses (where to put our hands was the most difficult part) and tried several degrees of “taray”.

Finally, we got it all right. Color graded for full effect.

Wrap-up shot.

And when you’re already made up, what else to do but further get that at.ti.tude out? For the after-shoot-shoot, I was asked to channel ice queen editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour.

Icy enough? Wintourish enough? ;-)

September 3, 2012

Moon River And My Tweeny Baby

My tween daughter, aging fast as I try
hard to stop the years.
I do not remember when my 9-year old started to act the way she is now—very smart and mature beyond her years, extremely articulate, a little distant, too quiet at times, a little cranky at times.

Sure she’s still very sweet and respectful but she can also be very straightforward (“Mom, you cannot force me to wear that.” Or “Mom, you should respect my decision.” while showing her trademark puppy-cute face).

Sometimes, I’d call her "baby" and she would be quick to say, “I am not a baby anymore.” and I would hug her tight and say, “Noooo!!! You will be my baby forever.”

But most of the time, I avoid smothering her. This is probably the phase where they need their own space, when they want to get lost in their own world and not have to explain it to anybody. I respect that need. I understand that need. So even if I would love to keep her close by at all times, I let her enjoy some air. And I try not to hover.

 I was sitting Indian-style on her bed
while singing. 
Unna, suddenly looking like a baby,
and her eyes still wet from the tears,
was intently listening.
At night when I tuck her and her sister to bed, I would stay a while to chat. When I lie down beside her, she would indulge me for a while then she would say that I better move to the bed of Laila, as her little sister might be needing me already (her polite way of saying scram). Clearly, she wants to be left alone.

But last night, she complained of mouth sores that she got from her braces. I guess it was really that painful because she was already crying from the pain and the frustration. Then I hugged her and stayed by her bedside and gave her a massage while singing “Moon River”.

Soon after, she moved her head from her pillow to my lap then hugged me, tears still streaming down from her eyes. She asked me to sing the song again and again and again. It was her first time to hear that song and she said she liked it because it sounds like a lullaby. Then she thanked me and said that made her feel so much better.

So I guess I'll just be waiting round the bend for sweet times such as this, when my tweener wants Mommy to make her feel like a baby again.

August 21, 2012

For Cindy

My girl Cindy needs your prayers please. Immediately.

Although I have a few blog friends, I was hoping the story of this brave woman could be shared so that prayers for her will continue all the way through her recovery.

August 16, 2012

Watching The Wheels Go Round And Round

I’m wearing my hair long now. I don’t know how I have managed to transition from pixie to “normal” and for a time, I feel kinda awkward wearing a regular cut. When my officemate showed me some pictures of asymmetrical hairstyles, I thought I found my new look.

My last posts have been about my friend, Gabby, who passed away last June. As he was my blogmate, it took time for me to go back to blogging again. Weeks after his death, thoughts of him would suddenly seep in my consciousness—while walking, while working, while in transit, or while doing mundane stuff. And every time it happens, I’d be besieged by a tremendous wave of loneliness.

It’s been almost two months since that fateful day. Thankfully, I feel better now, knowing he’s in a good place.

Meanwhile, life keeps turning its wheels round and round. We got free tickets to "King and I" press preview two weekends ago from our client. We also have been fortunate to get free tickets to Saltimbanco of Cirque de Soleil at the newly-opened MOA Arena. We got the VIP box and it was such a thrill to watch with your own exclusive seats, your own room, bar, and waiter. I think most of us enjoyed the room more than the show ;-)

The day after we watched Cirque, we got free tickets again, this time to “Tears For Fears”.  We were so surprised when we found out that our seats were just 3 rows away from the stage!

Roland Orzabal was such a delight to watch. We watched their concert last year but it is different seeing him up close. 

Pinoys came in droves, our spirits still alive despite the recent monsoon rains which submerged Metro Manila.

It is busy at work, as usual. Hectic. But not toxic. We have lots of shoots going on and we’re planning for a lot of launches. 

The screen grab from the monitor, in all its raw form, look amazing already so I can't wait to see its final look.

All in all, life is good.

July 28, 2012

Cheers, Gabby

It was June 12, Independence Day. I got a call from my friend, Monday, shortly after lunch. She was hysterical on the phone. My husband, who was having a late lunch, stopped eating and just looked at me from the dining table, instantly alarmed. All he could hear from me were…”WHAAAT???”…….” WHY????”….”HOW???” and then, “I don’t understand…….I don’t understand…..”

And just like that, he somehow knew that something really, really bad happened.

In between Monday’s sobs, I somehow pieced the story together. Our friend Gabby, an avid surfer, was found face down, unconscious, on the shore of La Union--his surf board still tied to his leg. The doctors weren’t able to revive him. Hearing this and finally making sense of what Monday was trying so hard to tell me, I sobbed uncontrollably but tried to muffle the sound with a pillow so as not to scare my girls (they’re too young to understand grief).

He had been my friend for more than 20 years. When we were young, he would always sleep over in my apartment. We would drink beer while listening to Ehead songs.  We went to so many parties, so many drinking sessions, so many nights-out, and some out-of-town vacations together. I have an abundant collection of his memories.

We rarely saw each other in recent years because he devoted his weekends to surfing and Frisbee with his other friends but he would text, tweet or comment on my blog. He was never really away, until now.

I broke down when I went to the wake and saw him in his casket. “Gabby….” I kept on saying, almost in a whisper. A former officemate, Sue Ann, hugged me tight right after and we both cried quietly on each other’s shoulders. That scene would be repeated many times over as Gabby’s friends and relatives arrive one by one, group by group, in the wake.

Stories were then shared about Gabby—his being a geek, a fierce nationalist, an avid surfer, biker and Frisbee player, a brilliant writer (in the country’s biggest Tv network), a stutterer, a klutz, a devoted son, an easy-to-please guy, a kid at heart, and a major, major party boy.

Then someone thought that Gabby wouldn’t want such a somber mood for his memorial service. Soon after, beer cans were passed around and the music of U2 and FrancisM blared in the air.

A relative of Gabby then took the mic. I thought he was going to say his eulogy but instead he asked if everyone was holding a drink. Then he raised his beer and said, “To Gabby…’ to which everyone replied, “Cheers!”

So cheers, Gabby. You were truly one of a kind, 'til the very end. We love you. We miss you.

June 20, 2012


I sometimes think Facebook is today’s idiot box.

June 16, 2012

You're Free Now, Gabby

I’m on a blog break to grieve for my friend, Gab of unsubcultured, who died of cardiac arrest after bodyboarding in La Union. He passed away last June 12, our Independence Day.

Rest in peace, Gabster. Your last blog post says it all.

May 28, 2012

El Nido and its Spectacular Seascape

We have been going to Boracay for so many summers now but we have broken the tradition last year, when we have decided it was time to explore other places in the Philippines. We have, after all, 7,100 islands to choose from.  Last year, it was Bohol (I wrote some posts about the the resort, the beach, our countryside tour and the famous Chocolate HIlls). This year, we chose El Nido, Lagen in Palawan.

Jake and I first fell in love with Palawan when we went to Coron in 2002. Sadly, our pix of that trip got lost. In this age of SNS, it ain’t gonna happen. Hence, this first in a series of El Nido posts.

Before the actual trip, the kids were doing a countdown. Their excitement for the vacation is so infectious ;-)

Going to El Nido is only possible through a chartered flight. It was the smallest plane I ever rode in. I was scared it would be a bumpy ride. Thankfully, we had a smooth and comfy 1-hour ride throughout.

We landed on a private airstrip. Then we waited for a few minutes in a cottage while our luggage was being transported from the plane to the boat that will bring us to the island.

The boat ride took another 40 minutes. When the seascape changed to a most spectacular line of pretty islets, rock formations and limestone cliffs, we knew that we just entered paradise.

Next post: El Nido Resort

May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Surprise

I came home from a three-day trip to Boracay and was surprised to see this outside the airport <3

I was away for only a short while but on the first day I already missed them. And judging from the way my girls leaned on my arm, I knew that they'd missed me too.  I love being a mom.

May 7, 2012

Moet On A Friday Afternoon

In our industry, you sometimes go to work not knowing what the day has in store for you.  And that is probably the reason why I have endured in advertising for so long.

The unpredictability of your day is what makes this job so exciting. On some days, you are in for long days and nights of pitch work. Sometimes you have to attend a shoot. Sometimes it’s all deskwork. Sometimes it’s doing research in far-flung provinces. Sometimes it’s goofing off amidst an avalanche of work. And sure, there are days when there’s nothing to do.

Last Friday turned out to be one of those interesting days. I got frantic calls from the marketing group of one of our Clients saying that their President has additional concerns about our contract. He said that the President berated them and asked that they resolve it within the day.

There were additional text messages that followed and it seemed like they were deliberately making everything sound difficult. They kept on saying, “We have to really do this. This is the moment!” We thought something was amiss in all these.

Then at the appointed time, the marketing guys came and headed straight to my work station, which I thought was odd. A few seconds later, their President came with a singer in tow and a butler!

It turns out that the President just wanted to surprise us with a visit and renew our contract with a celebratory cake, bottles of champagne and a serenade (guess which song?).

Who would’ve thought Friday would turn out that good?

The President waiting for his cue to enter our office.
The singer, Jon, currently plays Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music".

We were all stunned by this unexpected visit.

It was a good thing we came unusually dressed for a Friday, as we
normally come to the office on Fridays in shirts and jeans, sometimes shorts.
The President and the marketing team making a speech.
"This is the moment to seal our partnership." 

So this is what we got up in bed for on that lovely Friday <3

May 2, 2012

The iphoneographer

Marmalade skies. Taken from our office balcony this afternoon.

She likes pink.

She likes sparkly stuff and all other things I would’ve ordinarily dismissed.

Afternoon walk with our dog, Chichay.

At the clubhouse with their best friend, Bettina.

Yellow tutu.

Yellow tutu, too.

My wish is for the two of them to care for each other until they grow old.