Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Gigay came to visit the other night. She is exactly the same as when I met her in freshman year in Pol Sci – warm, funny, and ever so upright. I'm also happy to note that she has maintained her sarcastic streak (ha ha).

Gigay was one of those sensible girls in school that I always wanted to be groupmates with for the endless papers and reports and presentations, bcoz she was not the type to leave you up in the air then make excuses for not being able to contribute her share. (That's more me, actually. Darn.) It was very easy to get along with her bcoz she was one of those nice girls who did not have any issues or attitude problems.

And she loved books. Kiss Me, Creep was one of her favorite books of all time so I just had to give my copy to her (it also happens to be one of my favorite Sweet Dreams books). And she was a fellow sucker for movies, especially the cheesy rom-com kind. I forgot to ask if she still had a thing for Brad Pitt (I am so over him), whom she loved in A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall and Meet Joe Black, while I swooned over Hugh Grant in The Remains of the Day and Sense and Sensibility and Notting Hill. (Aaah, college movies. Those were the days.) And we were both obsessed with Picket Fences and would spend Mondays psychoanalyzing and still sniffling over the Saturday episodes.

She also loved to write. We were always exchanging little notes and letters and songs and poems – me and Gigay and Kai and Amor and Bambi and Hannah and Randy and Don and Monch and Nico and Ches. (I kept all these little pieces of paper from them after all these years. I wonder sometimes if we would have written to each other so much if we already had cellphones then. Maybe not. So once again we prove that technology is not always a good thing.) It was Gigay who wrote that I was a sweet soul who is easily made happy by the sight of flowers and clouds, and that our friends want to be a little more like me, for all that I am. This remains one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me.

We were part of Youth United for the Pope when Pope John Paul II came to visit in 1995. We walked from QC to Taft to wait for the Pope in the Nunciature. We were together for the overnight vigil in Luneta and washed up in Manila Hotel a few hours before the morning Mass by the Pope. I'm glad that I was with somebody like Gigay when I became part of this truly amazing, once-in-a-lifetime event. One of the things I love most about her is, she is devout and spiritual and righteous, but she never once made me feel that I was a lesser person tho I was mean, obscene, selfish, proud and plain evil lots of times. She was never judgmental - it's like she has just accepted me for who I am.

Gigay was also my perennial seatmate and study mate in law school. We were happy together when we were not called for recitation, and depressed when we flunked out. We were partners in OLA (Office of Legal Aid) and we shared the same first tragi-comic experiences in court. We were roommates in this dorm in front of DLSU where we stayed for the bar exams, and I remember pigging out on her baon breakfast of bacon bcoz she could hardly eat.

She was one of our friends who gave a speech at our wedding. She said she was proud that, out of all our friends in Pol Sci, she got to witness on a daily basis how Ches' and my relationship grew. She talked about how Ches was the most-awaited boyfriend in UP Law, bcoz we were always waiting long for him to pick me up (hahaha), and how I used to say that other girls might get all the good grades and wear all the nice clothes, but I'm the girl who has Ches. Owww. She broke my heart with that speech.

And it's not her birthday or anything, but I just figured, I'm always blogging about my stupid clothes and shopping manias and all the food that I ram down my throat, and all these stupid, shallow things, and it's high time I write about the stuff that really matter. All these beautiful people in my life, friends like Gigay whom I've known for almost 18 years, more than half my life – they are, as e.e. cummings puts it, whatever a moon has always meant, and whatever a sun will always sing. They are the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ni Hao Ma

Kindly Regards.

Isaw, ikaw ba yan?

Wag po, Koya ...

Res ipsa loquitor.

Bakes the macaroni ...

Pumpkin calcium, anyone?

Brats rule!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Best of 2009

1. Biggest project. Our home. It was around this time last year when we started working on the house renovation plan with Phoebe. It took us about one month to choose a contractor, two weeks to find a place to rent out, and five months for the group of Melody to turn our new home over to us. Um, we also have 10 years to pay off our bank loans, but when we see the boys running around, their toys all orderly (er, in an ideal world) in the stairs cabinet, our books easy to find in the bookshelf, all my country stuff that I've been collecting since high school now out in the open and gracing our home with their beauty, our relatives and friends keeping our home warm and being happy for us – then somehow we know it's all worth it.

2. Our newest kick-ass toy. Bootsie. It was the year he learned to walk and talk, and he hasn't stopped since day one. He climbs up and down the stairs to the 2nd floor and the attic while dragging along his stinky Kitty pillow for only about 60 million times a day, dances and sings 'Nobody, nobody but you!' on top of the center table in the living room, can't get over the casino lights across Taal Vista, pretends to be scared of the 'dark tunnels' in Q Av and EDSA, demands certain songs for Ches to sing when he's dancing him to sleep, eats ginisang ampalaya the way other kids munch on potato chips. He also speaks in this unique, singsong voice that even Tita Jenny mimics him until now in the US ('Laptop tayo, Tita Jen!') The highlight of my day is when Yoshi speaks in exaggerated Bootsie voice, and I beg him to do more, more and he always willingly obliges =)

3. Yummiest stuff. The Manila Pen lobby turned 33 in 2009 and offered pancit palabok, halo-halo and schueblig for only P33 each. Easily the best yummy deal of the year. (Ches, Robby and I had like three each of everything.) Too bad the China Palace in MoA has closed down – the dimsum at only P50 was a good deal too. The Sofitel dinner and lunch buffets are so sinful and should not be had on a regular basis. The breakfast buffet in Holiday Inn Clark was pretty good this year (even Yoshi said so), and remains the only breakfast buffet I know that offers an ice cream bar. Abe also opened in MoA so I could have my fill of the bamboo rice and tamarind shake anytime. Jatujak is good, fast and reasonably priced. I hope MoA will have an Omakase soon so we won't have to go to Timog for it. Ches and I also love the hotpot in Luk Foo and the Korean restos along Kalayaan. The Beijing food fest will also be difficult to top in a long while. (Btw, Derek Ramsay and Jacob of New Moon – also very yummy haha.)

4. Sweetest things. In MoA, White Hat is my runaway favorite for yogurt, Chicago Popcorn Shop for popcorn, but for real dessert Ches and I go to DQ and Sebastian's where we can hardly finish between us the gigantic brownie a la mode. Joy also introduced us to Melona, this bestselling Korean ice cream that has become a staple in our freezer. The Korean version of our pinipig crunch is also yummy. Tita Moning's bread pudding is the best of its kind, but it's expensive and the portion too small for me. The buco pandan sansrival at Highlands Steakhouse is unique and just the right amount of sweet, but my favorite there is still the lava cake. I also remember the Darell Lea rocky road chocolate bar given by a friend from Australia. I also couldn't get enough of the nutty cookies served in Dusit when I had a five-day seminar there. (There, the truth is out, on what I really focus on when I attend these seminars. Hahaha.)

5. Best new friends. I'm glad I am no longer the newcomer in the office and have made some really good friends there. I'm even a part of this group called the VBs (Vicious Bitches. So high school and so Mean Girls that you wouldn't think it's composed of six department heads who shall not be named for their own safety and well-being hahaha). My best friends in the office are still Paula and Lani my secretary (who is bubbly and can talk and think nasty like me and over-all worth passing over a UP cum laude who I interviewed for the same post). I also love to hang out with Ches' PMS gang bcoz they're so young, fresh, crazy and obscene, and act like our home is their very own. I'm happy too that I managed to keep in touch with my friends from way, way back (Phoebe and Kaye, UP and QT friends) and it's like I never left my MWC friends at all (including now London-based Didoy, and Babette who even introduces me to her US-based mommy-in-law who's a certified Korean drama junkie ha ha).

6. Most lingering obsession. Still, the Eraserheads. The Final Set concert in March alone was enough to make 2009 one of the happiest years in a long time. I lined up for hours to get the coveted Team Manila Eheads shirt, scoured the shops for all other kinds of Eheads paraphernalia, surfed for days on end to dig up all sorts of Eheads info from the Internet, sang their songs until even my boys learned the words, and generally acted like an over-aged groupie who just cannot let go. One of the major issues Randy and I argued over when were fixing the house up was where to put my Eheads concert poster. I wanted it by the 2nd floor landing all along, but Randy insisted that such a 'place of honor' was normally reserved for more important artifacts, like maybe my wedding portrait. And I was like, my wedding is more important than the Eheads? Hahaha.

7. Best new find. Speaking of Randy, he is the year's best new find. The last time I saw him prior to last year was at Yoshi's first birthday party, which was light years ago. I'm ever so much happier that our little house project has re-united us so now we are back to being delusional and mean together (rather, I'm mean and he's delusional ha ha). We can do serious or hilarious, scathing or cheesy, practical or diva, and at the end of the day we're still the best of friends. Is it any wonder he still has a spot in this list even after five or so blogs I've dedicated to him =)

8. Most winner shopping. It was my first year to work beside Mall of Asia and get first dibs on the sales everywhere. The post-Christmas sales were good, but the mid-year sales were better. I remember bullying our way into a Topshop and Dorothy Perkins sale that was supposed to be exclusive for some group or the other by showing our SM IDs (haha), and it was all worth it bcoz it was where I got a Kate Moss sweater with blue apples and a satiny bow, and a black dress with long sleeves which was what I wore when Robby said he liked my 'sartorial elegance'. Hahaha. Ches also got me a floral dress and pink shoes from the Zara sale, and I stocked up on bags, dresses and shirts at the Mango sale. I also got winner tops from Plains and Prints (funky Rajo Laurel designs as well as safe inner blouses for my suits). The cut-offs and ripped jeans were the best buys I got from Kamiseta. I dunno why but I also fell in love with M&S last year. I especially love their no vpl undies, sheer stockings, this Chinese-collared denim jacket that I got at the start of the year, their Twiggy environment bags. M&S has everything from a 'foot survival pack' to 'magic slimming wear' to 'five way converter bra' that it makes me think: is there any problem short of a nuclear war that M&S cannot solve? Hahaha.

9. Biggest heartbreaker. It was a Julien Mc Donald dress at Debenhams, a high-waisted cream and mocha ensemble with ruffles in front and short sleeves. My UK size 8. On the clearance rack. The only one of its kind. But I didn't get it bcoz I thought it was too dressy for everyday corporate attire, and it cost beyond my usual price threshold for dresses, and we were in the middle of the house renovation then. I actually realized I wanted it, was all set to close my eyes on the price tag, and went back for it in Shangri-la one Saturday night with Randy (I saw it on a Tuesday, I think). But then it was gone. And I've had nightmares about this dress ever since. My heart bleeds for this dress. Lesson learned: it's more heartbreaking to not buy something you might eventually realize you really like, than to buy something that you might turn out to not like at all.

10. Favorite movies. I saw a lot of good ones last year. Slumdog, Milk, Bruno (so crass), Paranormal Activity (I had to wake Ches up in the middle of it bcoz I was getting too scared watching it alone), 500 Days of Summer (just the right amount of cheesy), Inglourious Basterds (I wanna live in a Quentin Tarantino movie and be free to be as violent and gory as I wannna be), Avatar (so sulit in Imax bcoz it was 3D thru-out). I also got to see snippets of a lot of other films in Fitness First's Cinefit while I do my 20 minutes or so run in the treadmill. My favorites were Rachel Getting Married and Reign Over Me, an old Adam Sandler movie that I got to see only last year. Rachel I've blogged about; Reign I like bcoz it's one of those small, quiet films that wantonly break your heart. It's about this guy who lost his family in 9-11 and retreated from everything associated with his family, including their dog, and yet says, when I see a poodle I remember my daughter's dog, and it was a German shepherd. How sad is that.

11. Favorite books. MoA houses all of Fully Booked, Powerbooks, National Bookstore, Booksale and Books for Less in one roof. Hence, I amassed 60 million books last year. (Groan.) David Sedaris is always a joy, as well as Neil Gaiman and Jodi Picoult, and The Time Traveler's Wife. I was disturbed by The Last Time They Met and Para Kay B tho, and a bit disappointed with the new books of Alice Hoffman, Alice Sebold and Mitch Albom (maybe it was a matter of expecting too much). For Christmas, Robby gave me Einstein's Dreams, which he said his lolo was buried with, and you just have to respect a book like that (even if it's not your usual fun, light reading for ditzy girls haha). Ches and I had fun with The Intimate Adventures of Belle de Jour (and the sequel), based on an anonymous blog by a London hooker , that apparently got so popular it was even turned into a TV series (Ches got the DVD but we haven't had the time for it). And then late last year a news article comes out, and Belle de Jour reveals herself to be this kick-ass scientist and professor in some prestigious UK university, and admits that she worked as a hooker to support herself thru school and while finishing her thesis. Is this woman the epitome of cool or what? I'm not worthy ...

12. Most fun travel. We didn't get to travel much last year as most of the time we led a hand-to-mouth existence and the rest of our money went to the house renovation. Tarlac is always fun for the boys tho bcoz they get to put up their inflatable pool and stay there till forever and everybody just spoils them to death. The hot air balloon festival was something new and so cool, but that trip is marred by this debilitating migraine I got after it. Mainly it was just Holiday Inn Clark and Taal Vista for us. But that's ok bcoz Beijing totally made up for everything =)

13. Loveliest gifts. Hands down, the Disney Princess dolls from Ate. The Rustan's gift certificate (what an SM traitor) and Gourdo's cupcake holders from Ches. The Hello Kitties - pillow from Babette, shirt and undies from Ate, fleece blanket from Thom, earrings from Regina. One whole Cravings caramel cake from Thom. Whole cashews from Ho Chi Minh from Ate Ann. A framed butterscotch recipe from Regina (bcoz I'm always bugging him to get me this yummy butterscotch from CEU). The 3 stars and a sun shirt from Rino (even if it was originally for Ate haha). The shirt from Babette that says: Will work for new shoes. The VS undies from Ate that I will wear when I get suicidal. The Max Rave shirt and pashmina shawl from Lani. (What can I say? My secretary is a diva.) The something sexy with hearts from Robert and Eycee =)

14. Greatest blessings. Always, always my boys. That the three of them are healthy and happy and perfect in every way and still in love with me (I'd like to believe). Family and friends, most of them psychotic or clingy or dead hungry/hit soil (a.k.a., patay gutom/hampas lupa hahaha), but where's the fun in normal, anyway? That our home, to which we poured our lifetime savings not to mention our first ever bank loans and salary loans, was spared from Ondoy. That Ches and I now work so close to each other that we even get to have lunch and watch Imax together. That I don't have to wear an office uniform. Haha. It's been another good year. (Thank you, Lord =)