Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Down by the Bay





I've been at my new job for a little more than a week, and so far, so good.

The hard part is getting up no later than 7 AM to make it to the office by 9 AM. And we're at the cold months of the year too where it's so tempting to just snuggle back under the sheets and sleep till noon. And this is also after years and years of waking up at 8ish (unless I had an early meeting in Ayala Tower or somewhere) and towards the end after I tendered my resignation I didn't even care anymore what time I got up, I just ignored the alarm altogether.

By my second day last week I had semi-permanently installed one Hello Kitty pillow and Yoshi's Tigger fleece blankie in Chester's car. As soon as we're out of the driveway I tell him 'galit galit muna' and promptly doze off. I'm often lucky to get some sleep over the long drive. (Ches says I even snore.) Sometimes I don't stir until we're in Roxas Blvd., which gives me just enough time to eat my sandwich for breakfast (heroically prepared by hubby) and fix the traces of sleep off my hair and face. My skirt or pants, crumpled after I've crouched under the Tigger blankie for more than an hour, are beyond any fixing tho, so when I get to the office I consistently end up looking like I had just come from a steamy make-out session so early in the morning. (Ches says, very becoming of a VP. Groan.)

The ironic thing is, I get to Mall of Asia much earlier than I ever did in Balara. Mall of Asia is about an hour and a half drive from home, whereas Balara is a mere 10 minutes away. I guess I am now officially part of those people who live in places like Imus or Sta. Rosa and go to work in Makati or worse Ortigas or worst Quezon City. The very same people who always end up earliest in the office bcoz if they leave the house a minute later the traffic would be so bad they might not even get to the office altogether. I remember one planning thingy we had in Tagaytay where we had to leave Balara by 4 AM or so and I was the absolute last person to board the bus and everyone was wondering where I had come from and no one was very forgiving when I said Diliman. (Hahaha.) This time, I'm one of the early birds. In fact I was No. 1 in the attendance list in a seminar we had in SMX last Saturday. I just had to text Ches, this is the first time this ever happened in my whole life!

I spent the first week doing the rounds of introductions to everyone, meeting with the consultants, reading up on the business and stuff. But then I got bored so I hit the ground running and started drafting these corporate governance policies for which I am being paid in the first place. I like it that I'm pretty much left on my own. I like to think I'm self-sufficient. I can work without anyone looking over my shoulder and checking whether I'm earning my keep (hello, Edward, in MWC!) and on my lunch break I can sneak out and go malling next door. By the end of my first week I have found a Chocolat branch, figured out where La Bagagerie is (tho where to find the money to get my hands on the snotty merchandise is another issue altogether), got me this funky dark suit from Theme (my welcome gift for myself, as if I needed any justifications) and bought Yosh several books from these bookstores all over. I like to go in and out of those quaint little stores in the second floor, the kind you don't usually find in other malls. I hardly end up buying anything, but just you wait till I get my first paycheck hahaha. (Ches better not be reading this.)

A friend texted me, so how was your first week working for the richest man in the Philippines? Well, not much different from working with the 2nd richest man in the Philippines. Hahaha. Or actually it's a bit different coz at my previous job the owners were treated like royalty, here they mingle with us mere mortals. I saw this when we attended this evening gown affair at SMX (to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the retail group or something like that) and they went around and gamely posed for pix with everybody and his dog. It wasn't a stuffy event or anything like that. There were a lot of showbiz performers and a lot of buffet tables so we didn't even have to line up. I was just happy bcoz I've made some nice friends to go on these things with so I'm not like this total loner and alien in the group. Well that and the salmon made me happy hahaha.

The other happy thing is, I have my own room which overlooks ... Manila Bay! So I get to see the boats and bancas docking in the morning, and sailing along thru-out the day. It can get unbearable looking at the bay after lunch tho – the sight of those gently rolling waves and water as far as the eye can see is enough to put me to sleep even standing up by my window. And the sunset - my gosh, the sunset! In the seven or so days I've been here I've never seen two sunsets that are alike. (The same thing they say about snowflakes and seashells.) Its beauty changes everyday. I like to stop whatever it is I'm doing around 5:30ish and watch in awe right at that time when the big orange ball is gobbled up under the water and fades altogether in the horizon. The whole thing takes only a couple of seconds, and it is my absolute favorite moment in the office.

The other day one of the staff came in to ask permission to take pictures of the sunset from my window. Last week I saw one of the other VPs taking pictures from her own window. And these people have been here several years and have seen the sunset show 60 million times. I guess, like any other thing of beauty, you never really get over it. In the same way you never get over your first love, I guess.

I do miss getting home early tho and walking around the neighborhood with my boys before Ches gets home. We do that now after dinner. We get home 7:30 to 8, which is still not bad, I guess. Still a far cry from the hours I kept at the law office and which I have vowed never again to return to, for my boys and my own well-being. I miss walking around UP and buying vegetables from the market in front of PNB in Kalayaan. I miss my MWC friends. But I guess life is a series of trade-offs. At least I get to spend all that time with Ches riding to work and back home (whether he likes it or not!). And together we get to memorize the Eraserheads lyrics that play over and over in the car hahaha.

The best part about my new job? Hands down, the sunset.

Friday, November 14, 2008

For My MWC Friends


































This blog is for my MWC friends.

For Paula, my long-lost maldita sister, a performer who will not think twice about breaking out into a dance while telling a story in full view of the entire second floor. Together we have made up code names like PK (pangkat kawayan), Kagandahan and Patubig for all our favorite characters (to diss) in the office. You won't know it from looking at her, but she's one of the best listeners I know. We talk about anything. We sometimes even stay beyond office hours to do serious maid-bashing. She's one of the few people I know who tithes. She rocks.

For Thom, who's my little brother as Pau is my little sister. He's the kind of guy you can depend on for anything - to download for you some obscure love song from some Korean drama, to make your kids' party invites, to act like the official photographer for your family events. He drives me home when he has a date with Joy (my neighbor) and even when he doesn't. He made me cry several New Years' Eve ago when he was feeling bad about the office and wanted to resign already, and he sent me this text saying that I'm one of the few things he will miss in MWC. Pau and I bully him around everyday and call him PG (patay gutom) to his face. We love him dearly.

For Regie, who I loved since his first day in the office bcoz then I thought, finally, here's another lawyer I can consult with on legal issues that always leave me stumped. We love him bcoz he's our resident jologs and showbiz expert who would regale us over lunch about what goes on in the dressing rooms of the Eat Bulaga gang, or what Gretchen said to another mommy at Dominique's school. Oh, but we also hate him bcoz everytime we email some nice story or picture or whatever he goes around and confirms it's a scam or a blatant lie by checking some watchdog site or something. He's a nice guy thru and thru, hence I made him ninong of Boots.

For Didoy, another little brother, who just happens to be probably the tallest and handsomest in all of MWC. I still remember when I was pregnant last year and we went on all these trips together to Cebu and he would lug around my pink Hello Kitty suitcase and all the girls in the airport and Marriott would look at me with envy bcoz they probably figured he was the father of my baby, and I LOVED every minute of it (hahaha). When people teased me about the SM offer, I'd always try to put things in perspective by replying that what I'm getting there in a month Didoy gets for some 30-second commercial for Chowking or Colgate or something that he shoots in less than one day. Didoy comes to me when something big happens in his career or love life or whatever. He gave me Hunter.

For Ate Ann, my CPA-MBA assistant for the past three years, who put up with me and stayed loyal to the very end despite having seen me thru my worst maldita moments when I was pregnant. For Ate Erna, Lala and Babette (the mean girls of Regulatory hahaha) who I feel privileged to know bcoz they're who really understand the business, and are loyal friends you know you can rely on however crazy office politics can get.

For my IT friends, Ate Gina, Ate Edna and Ate Zeny, who took me out for a despedida dinner at a Korean resto (complete with soju!), where Ate Gina (the ultimate Korean drama genius) even said thank you in Korean to the owner who gave us free drinks, and who I'm planning to go to Seoul with next year barring any unforeseen circumstances (please, God). Rommel is also a part of that IT group, he who was one of my very first friends in the office, and ended up being one of my closest as we shared similar passions for dogs, old churches, The Feather Theme.

For Ate Marlene, who's one of those ladies I want to be when I grow up, bcoz she's the type who doesn't leave the house unless her bags and shoes completely match her clothes, and buys these chunky jewelries on like a weekly basis. For Allan and Dex, who swamp my inbox with their makulit email and texts and with their friendship make me feel young again and free to be foolish. Allan is one of the guys who taught me to drive, and burns for me CDs of uber cool bands, and always brings me something from his travels, and got Yoshi as his ring bearer for his wedding, and is allegedly getting me as ninang for his firstborn. For Ronald, who chatted me up about Harry Potter when I was seated beside him at an appreciation dinner in Mi Piace several years ago, and since then we've moved on to discuss practically everything else, from Gaiman to Wong Kar Wai to Ang Lee.

For all my other friends in Finance, Ate Mercy, Ate Eva, Ate Annie, Ate Linda, the two Flors, Kuya Egay, Ate Beth, Ate Divine, Mike. Lizelle to whom I'm bequeathing my throne as the resident maldita lawyer in the office. Sir Gabby who taught us gayspeak like planger and eklavu, and is hard to stop once he starts talking about GANAF (Grand Alliance for Nora Aunor Foundation). Kuya Cesar who made me cry bcoz he couldn't believe I nominated him for the Huwarang Manggagawa award, when he did all the hard work and all I really did was fill up the nomination forms. Mang Carling who was the most patient of all the guys who taught me to drive and was very cool even after I majorly hit the car against a post in Balara filter plant. Anna and Ada who are also my little sisters. Anna is also my neighbor and China buddy. Karoline my fellow mommy of two hyper boys, who graciously lent me and taught me how to use her Avent everytime my Medela conked out on me. Ate Dinah and Ate Carmen from our Audit Com meetings. Kid who is funny and makulit in email and texts. Ben M. and Ben V. Tito Bert and Ate Nessie. Mabelle. JJ our resident expat who lives on Coke and gives everybody nosebleeds bcoz he speaks too fast English (hahaha). Kuya June who always offers to drive me home or to Makati or somewhere. Jeric who took us out several times to JH where we all got wasted and belted out our favorite karaoke songs. Atty. Tale who we will always consider to be our big boss in Legal. Mon who even took me to a despedida lunch in People's Palace, where he got teary-eyed quoting Obama's speech (this is the kind of good guy that he is).

I came to MWC not knowing a single soul. Now I feel like I'm leaving an entire family behind.

I will sorely miss you all. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Senti























We ransacked Didoy's house yesterday. Didoy resigned a full month before me to pursue his dream to be an investment banker at the London School of Economics. He not only has a major billboard in Guadalupe for his Sunsilk ad, and is not only chummy with all our contacts for our Carmen project bcoz he speaks fluent Cebuano everywhere, and is not only well-loved by everybody in the office bcoz he’s warm and funny and charming despite his celebrity status. He also happens to be brainy. There is no justice in this world. Oh, but that’s ok bcoz he’s one of my little brothers in the office, and I’m really proud of him.

He’s in the middle of last-minute packing when we troop to his apartment. He had previously auctioned off his stuff among our IR/Treasury/Legal lunch group, everything including his Mom’s Corelles and Oneidas. (Are all boys crazy?) I got me his four-drawer cabinet that I stuffed with the boys’ ever accumulating thingamabobs. He also gave me right of first refusal over his Wii but I got broke just when the time came to pay up (my last salary has been withheld till I get full clearance and all that stuff, so technically I’m broke until I get my first pay from my new job). So anyway Didoy had so many more stuff lying around, for giving or throwing away, so Pau took it upon herself to distribute the items among us who were present, as well as some pasalubong for those we left behind in the office. Ate Divine got the flat iron and folding bed and electric heater, among other appliances. Ate Beth got the plastic drawers and bathroom fixtures and groceries that Pau even arranged in a tray so it ended up looking like a Christmas basket. I got tissue and pot holders and this quaint brown chocolate container that Pau thought were all fitting for my country-style kitchen. Pau ran away with the lava lamp (which I personally think is the winner of them all). Didoy even gave me and Pau some naughty sex stuff that Ches will kill me if I blog about with my usual elaborate detail hahaha. Thom … well, Thom took pictures as usual.

It was one of those times where we decide to do something at the last minute and then we end up having so much unexpected fun. There was that time when Didoy was still new in IR and we went to Thom’s house for a lunch of spaghetti and fried chicken and we stayed way over lunch to take turns in the Magic Sing. And that time when Thom discovered this big gash on his pants right on the butt so he had to go back home to change and Pau and I tagged along and played in his Wii and it was then I discovered my knack for boxing after I knock out my virtual opponent in two rounds (altho I’ve always known I could be good at this violent sport, way back in my Mandarin gym days). And that time when we lost the Maynilad bid and I was acting around like such the drama queen and crying my heart out to anyone who would listen as tho I had just suffered a major personal loss (gosh, how infuriating I must have been) and so we decided to drown my sorrows in Trellis and we ended up staying till late night just laughing it up. And that time last year when GMA had its IPO and we went all the way to Ayala Tower to turn in our subscription forms bcoz they said (and we stupidly believed) that personal appearance was required and we lined up and shoved our way around the small office of the broker all afternoon (and I was then very pregnant besides!) that one would think getting GMA shares guaranteed us a lifetime of prosperity or something. And that time when we went to an appreciation dinner for the IPO in Ayala Museum and we gobbled up glass after glass of the fancy-schmanzy drinks and hors d’ oeuvres while everyone else stood around and socialized. And that time around Christmas when Pau and Thom and I were pissed at not getting an increase or a promotion or something, so after lunch at Gateway we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon watching Zsa Zsa Zaturnah, which turned out to be well worth playing hooky for. And all those times we went to Manang’s in Ateneo (the favorite of the Ateneans in the gang), Rodic’s and Beach House (the favorite from our UP end), Choco Kiss, Ken Afford, SR Thai, Banapple, Countryside, all these places you can go to for lunch only if you work in Balara.

Makes me wonder whether I’ll have any of these things when I move to my new job.

Sigh.

I highly doubt it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mushroom Hair










Ches and I gave Boots his second haircut on the day we went to Yoshi's UN program. Boots’ hair is some kind of a mutation of the family gene – it stands up straight everywhere while all the rest of ours curls in all directions. Yosh took one look at Boots and commented that he looked like a mushroom. And when Ches and I thought about it, Boots really does resemble a mushroom. So Yosh now goes around calling his brother "Mushroom Hair". And as with the other nickname Yosh made up for Boots before that (Smotybots), Mushroom Hair has stuck so that now even the ates call him that.

I'm truly grateful that Yosh is healthy and sweet and reading before he even turned 5, but what gives me the greatest joy is the stuff that comes out of his mouth. They're funny and creative and all-original. To think it took him a long time to talk. Coz I remember when we went to Bora and Yosh was over 2, EJ (who's just a few months older) was already managing simple sentences while Yosh was still stuttering stuff like "poo...pe" and "pay...mok" that only Ches and I could decipher. ("Poo...pe" means "Shampoo lang pala e" from that darned Rejoice jingle sang by the Jaboom twins. This was during his shampoo-obsession era. "Pay...mok" means patay ang mosquito. Go figure.) But I wasn't particularly worried about it. After all, I’m the girl who reportedly did not say a single word until I was 3 and was still crawling at a time when babies my age were long walking, and crawling backwards at that.

If I had known he was capable of coming up with all these laugh-out-loud gems, I would've motivated him to talk sooner. It's impossible to keep track of all the times he sent us into giggling fits bcoz of something he said. But I will never forget "Bye, wag ka magpa-kidnap", which is his very original way of saying goodbye, and which he says to this day. He started it early last year, I think, around the time he had a crush on Maria Flordeluna who was kidnapped on like a weekly basis in the soap. (You'd think the writers would be able to come up with some other plot. Groan.) And there's how he greeted Boots in his earliest days spent in and out of his newborn baby naps: "Hey, dude, gising ka na naman?" I guess he was surprised to see someone taking so many short naps in one day, when he himself hasn't taken a nap in 300 years and would sleep only late nights without stirring until late mornings. And leave it to Yosh to call a week-old baby "dude".

Of course, there are times when he gets to be too much of a blabbermouth. Last weekend we were at the grocery when he suddenly started screaming at the SM guys fixing the packs of Sunflower crackers and Dewberry cookies, “Bawal yan, kuya! May melamine!” Groan. It’s cute now when you look back on it, but while we were at it I was bribing him with softdrinks just to get him to shut up already. It was like when I took him to his first jeepney ride last year. He was all excited as usual, but as the jeep began to fill up he shouted to the guy getting on, "Wait, kuya! Hindi ka na kasya. Wala ng space!" and all the passengers laughed. It was embarrassing, but I guess he still has to learn that a 10-seater public transpo carries more like double that number in this country.

He can also effortlessly string together whole paragraphs in one breath. Example: "Mommy, can I play with my Thomas trains? Ile-let mo ba ko if I keep it? Promise, ike-keep it ko. Sabihin mo, no problem. Or sabihin mo whatever. Otherwise, I’ll be sad. Ha, Mommy?" It's cute at the first instance, but after you've been bombarded with similar laments the whole weekend thru, it gets pretty exhausting parrying it off. And what's with the 'otherwise' anyway? Yosh just loves that big word. I don't think I even used it until I was well into lawyerhood. Duh. Another of his favorite words is 'annoying'. His titos and titas get a kick when he tells them, "You're annoying me!" or "Baket ang kulet mo? Annoying!" He takes after my maldita streak, no doubt about it. He even talks back to me when I've asked him the same question one time too many, "How many times do I have to tell you?" Which of course compels me to launch into one of my lengthy parenthood speeches about good manners and right conduct, but in the background I can hear Ches smirking as if to say, who do you think he got it from if not you? (Groan. Ches is evil-kneevil sometimes.)

When he was little we used to call him 'pulis' bcoz he had (still has) this habit of censoring everyone's speech and wagging an accusing finger everytime he heard you say something remotely offensive. He chides me whenever I describe something as ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’. So you can imagine how worked up he got everyitme we went on road trips and Pops freely expressed his road rage. Hahaha. Just a couple of days ago he came home crying and screaming after fighting with Mariah from his school bus. His version was, he got mad bcoz she was still mad at him even after he said sorry after he pulled her hair after she said a bad word that he could no longer remember. (Ah, the twisted logic of pre-schoolers.) And long after he remembered, he still refused to tell me what the bad word was, 'kase nga bad word yun, so ayoko sabihin'. He's Little Mr. Goody Two Shoes, I swear. He even corrects his Ate Ann when she says stuff like "Gad" (God) or "Hairsheys" (Hersheys). How embarrassing is that?! I've tried explaining to him that she talks that way bcoz she's an Ilonggo, she's from a different part of the Philippines, to which his simple reply was, "Pero mali yung pronunciation nya". Aaargh. He should’ve been the lawyer.

I went to the semestral parent-teacher conference in his school yesterday. Teacher Lorraine said he's one of the more advanced in class in terms of academics and social skills, but also one of the most makulit and most madaldal, and definitely number one friendliest. Her complaint was, he took a l-o-n-g time to finish his seatwork bcoz he spent half the time talking to his seatmates. And she has tried seating him in various other places, with the same result. Apparently he even tells his teacher and classroom ate entire stories of the TV shows and movies he watches. Ha ha ha. I know I should be bothered but I am definitely not the least bit surprised.

At least, if nothing else, my firstborn has a future in stand-up comedy. And writing about him like this does not quite capture half the charm that he spreads everywhere once he starts talking.