Friday, April 29, 2011


Friday means jeans, often a lunch out, dinner with friends or just Ches or at home early with the boys (all equally happy). This Friday meant the last day of our training at EDSA Shang, the yummy lunch buffet and snacks, finding out that June 20 is a holiday and text blasting all my friends about it (Andrea says, you are always the bearer of good holiday news. Ha ha). Sherry is also there and we manage to talk a long time (mostly we gloat about how happy we are to be out of SM. Hahaha). As in my other trainings, I use the time to get back in touch with old friends like Kaye, Phoebe, Beavis, Monette (and she calls me and I step out of the room altogether and we end up talking for hours as usual. Hahaha).

Rosa and I go to Megamall right after bcoz it was the weekend sale and we wanted to get first dibs in Forever 21. (How cool is it that we were in EDSA Shang when Megamall has its sale? Don’t you just love it when all the forces of the universe unite to make your life happy?) Omg, we went crazy in Forever 21. We hoarded bags and tops and the number of dresses that I got is just obscene. Our shopping started and ended with Forever 21 - we went there first thing and after we had gone around almost the entire mall scouring our favorite shops and stopping at Bubble Tea for some drinks, we went to Forever 21 again and ended our pull-out-all-the-stops, throw-all-caution-to-the-wind mega shopping day there. (I love you, Forever 21! I love you, Rosa!)

After the shopping, I meet Ches at Spa Indulgencia in St. Francis Square for a two- hour scrub and massage package. Still part of his birthday gift from me. (He wished for a spa treat and one week of kindness. Since I’m not capable of any form of prolonged kindness, I’m taking him to a lot of spas instead. Hahaha.) It was so, so good. Exactly what we needed to rub away our respective stresses at work.

He wanted to take me to the Haagen Dazs buffet after (my whole incentive for getting the boyish haircut), but I decided against it bcoz it was about P650 (even more than Yakimix!) and it was just ice cream and cold pastries. One thing you have to understand about me is, I WANT MY RICE. Hahaha. So we go to Pollo Loco instead, since we both have been craving for this for the longest time. It’s My Favorite Chicken Place in the Whole World. I got worried when the branch in SM North closed down. I’m so glad the one in Megamall and MoA are still around.

Friends, one holiday, Forever 21, spa, Pollo Loco, date night with Ches - Fridays do not get any better than this.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Un-Techie

I’ve had a BlackBerry since SM but I just used it as a mobile phone there. Now I don’t have a choice but to connect my office email to it (but that’s all right bcoz the bosses are all so nice, anyway, and respect our time outside of working hours). My Gmail is also there, and in Singapore, Malen did something with it so I could chat with the guys using BB Messenger, and then my friend Deo downloaded some cool apps for me. So I’m enjoying my BB a whole lot more now.

And then I saw the BB of this senior executive (now consultant) with a mobile trinket attached to it (some precious green stone thing). I didn’t know you could do that with your BB. So of course when I got home I attached my Hello Kitty mobile trinket that Ate got me from her Japan trip. It’s a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I love the Japanese doll face, and the slipper body that also looks like a kimono. So authentic Japanese Kitty. (Thanks, Ate! I love you forever. Rosa said she wishes she also had an Ate who would give her all these cool stuff. Ha ha.) I attached it all wrong, tho, and Rosa had to fix it for me the next day. Hahaha.

I’m so clueless with these things, I swear. It took a retiree old executive to make me see what more I could do with my BB that would make me love it forever (namely, attach a Hello Kitty something to it as a permanent fixture). How utterly embarrassing is that? It’s like when I needed to read this email in my BB and it took me almost an hour to figure out how to zoom an attachment. Regina laughed and said, you and your technology issues. Aaargh.

I’m the girl who manually computes figures in an Excel file bcoz I don’t know how to configure the thing. What can I say? I don’t really need Excel in the legal profession. Ate Ann always used to do them for me in MWC when we had to file those beneficial ownership reports, and in my office now I have Anji to do it for our department budget. I do know my Word, and Powerpoint, and how to recall emails and get that delivery notification thing to see whether the recipient has received your email. (Valuable stuff I learned in the law office and which I’ve passed on to Thom and Paula.) It's a good day in the office if I can work the fax machine without external help.

I’m the bad mommy who lets my kids tinker with the DVD players and Ches’ laptop and all these other electrical appliances at home bcoz they know better than me to operate these things. And if you ask me how to turn on that obscenely priced electric stove and smoke absorber thing (or whatever it’s called) in the kitchen – well, I can give you my Best in Smile. Dang, I’ve only recently figured out how to turn the locks in the front door (and only bcoz I needed to get a pair of shoes that I left out on the porch and everyone in the household was already asleep). Regina caught me struggling with the doors to the laundry area one time, and of course he laughed again and said something like, you have got to be the most helpless girl ever. Groan.

It’s not so bad, actually. I have Ches who spoils me all the way so I don’t even have to lift a finger to do anything, Yoshi who’s way too mature for his age and understands his mother’s limitations (albeit with several well-placed insults), Tito Aaron our resident Handy Manny, Thom and Rosa who help me with everything. Being technologically inept sucks, tho, in situations such as this where Hello Kitty is involved. If I had figured out by myself early on that I could actually attach my exquisite Kitty trinket in my BB, my life would’ve been so much happier, and I would’ve been a lot less mean to many people. I just know it.

In my next life, I’m so going to be a techie.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My New Life

It was Easter last year when I made the decision to leave my old job and move to the one I have now. I spent a good deal of holy week last year weighing the pros and cons, and I remember during Easter Sunday Mass I cried and cried bcoz I had more or less made up my mind and I was happy, sad, and petrified all at the same time.

I’m in my fourth job after 11 years of working. It’s never easy leaving your job. Even something as toxic as my law firm was difficult to leave behind. I guess bcoz you also have to say goodbye to people who have become your friends, and a place which, no matter how imperfect already, is still within your comfort zone bcoz at least there you already know what to expect. It’s the fear of the unknown in the new job that’s the scariest of them all.

I love QT mainly for my friends (and I’m happy that we’ve all managed to stay in touch after all these years) and the countless lunches we shared, all our junkets in Calatagan, Subic, Tagaytay Highlands, Taal Vista, Cebu, Bohol, Bora, Corregidor, Bangkok. The training in meeting impossible deadlines and managing difficult clients also served me well, I think. Plus the exposure to all aspects of corporate law practice, which surprisingly I find useful to this day.

MWC is a favorite bcoz, again, of the friends I made (some of My Best Friends Ever are from MWC), and my Ayala bosses who taught me about work ethics, unflinching integrity, and mentoring - giving your staff the chance to shine, going the extra mile to fight for their promotions and salary increases. The work was stressful – especially bcoz I had this boss whose vocabulary did not include words like weekend, leave, vacation, beyond office hours, and similar stuff, and if I forgot to file some stupid disclosure, the company was going to be fined millions of pesos by the stock exchange. On top of that, I handled corporate governance, corporate secretariat, risk management, the Cebu project, Legal, the annual stockholders’ meetings, and super confi stuff like stock options and whistleblower reports. But that overload opened up a lot of opportunities for me, in SM and in my current job. And it was in MWC that I truly felt proud of what I was doing and like I was part of something noble – delivering clean, cheap water to every household. Hence, I would always tear up when we showed the AVPs at the ASM. And I was The Crying Lady when we lost the Maynilad bid, and Loudette was like, wow, I never got that affected with my work.

SM I enjoyed bcoz MoA was right next door, Fitness First was on the ground floor, the view from my window was Manila Bay, I could ride with Ches to and from work and have lunch with him on a daily basis, and if I was in the mood to work, I could finish my job by Monday and spend the rest of the week just chatting with Lani and Regina, twiddling my thumbs in anticipation of The Most Awaited Payslip (haha). I had moral issues there, tho, that made me lose sleep at night, and made me question whether it was worth the whole perks and prestige of being a VP in the biggest conglomerate in the country. And in the end, on that Easter Sunday Mass, I decided – it so wasn’t worth it.

And so here I am, a year after I made that decision, happier than I ever thought I would be. I love this job bcoz:

1. All the little things I gleaned from my interviews with my boss and the CEO and which I factored into my decision proved to be true. The office is wiped out of people by 5PM (and so I manage to end up in the running for Most Hardworking Employee all bcoz I stay till 6ish waiting for Ches to pick me up ha ha). The canteen food is cheap and yummy. The CEO goes to Mass everyday and puts smileys all over his emails, texts, and notes. He’s too kind to be true. My boss is brilliant and is not the type to flaunt it – and on top of that first impression, he also turned out to be very warm, generous, funny, self-deprecating, and totally devoted to his family. He’s an inspiration to us all (more to some than the others ha ha).

2. I love the Legal girls. Anji who is fierce in her own right and looks after me all the time. Thina who’s so easy to please and my buddy when it comes to junk food and travels. Ann who’s quiet, dignified, and with no mean bone in her system, and whom I can rely on to hold the fort when I'm not around. Rosa, who’s as fabulous and amazing as they come, with her unending stories, brilliant ideas, and an energy which my boss says is more than all of ours combined. Ha ha.

3. The first corporate value is faith, and people really practise it in the office. They not only start and end every week with a Mass or a prayer meeting, they not only start every meeting with a prayer – they are also truly good. Hence, the Chairman lectures me about the importance of being kind over being right. And our KRA is to make contracts that are win-win for both parties, rather than ones that protect solely our own interests. And the HR head emails the CEO that the company is blessed to have me (and all bcoz I review a policy within a couple of days) without even copying me in the email. And practically everyone (including and sometimes especially the owners) who asks us to draft some contract or the other replies with profuse thanks and kind words (as if we weren’t just doing precisely what we were being paid to do). And I get several ‘good mornings’ with wide smiles even from people whose names I have yet to memorize before I even reach my room every morning. And when I go on leave bcoz one of the boys is sick, then everyone is concerned and wants to know what happened when I get back to work. And rank and file employees freely joke with executives. And no one – not a single person - has ever made me feel unwelcome or unworthy of my position considering my age. It’s no wonder that out of thousands of employees in the office, I count only less than five as my enemies – and it’s not even really fun fighting them bcoz they never fight back. Ha ha.

4. The family orientation. Everyone lives by the principle that family is more important than work. Hence, nobody bothers you after office hours. Weekends and holidays are sacred. And no one gives you a hard time when you file for vacation or sick leave.

5. The office is a mere ten minutes away from home. So unless I have an early morning meeting, I can take my sweet time snoozing the alarm before I get ready for work. And if I have mommy duties like attending a school activity, I can escape and be back at work in no time.

6. The office is even nearer to Trinoma so I can always go there if I need retail therapy or just bcoz.

7. The company spends on trainings for everyone. I have one practically every month. We each have a budget for training, and our boss has told us several times that if we exceed that, he is more than willing to share his.

8. I have several favorite officemates. There’s the CEO of one of the subs who drafts his own contracts and who walks from Centris to the main office on like a daily basis and who told me he got a 3 in Math 11 in UP. And his next in line who starts every sentence to me with a joke and who really knows his stuff. The chief auditor whom I look up to for her fearlessness and integrity and who mentors me albeit unknowingly. The controller whom everyone respects bcoz she’s so strict and so upright and who bugged me to go with her to the Palawan junket (since I couldn’t go to the one in Bora where I was assigned bcoz I was in SEAFF). The sales head who’s the epitome of cool and regales me with amazing stories and goes around wearing his UP Swatch.

9. I love that we’re a homegrown, proudly Filipino enterprise, the underdogs in the land of multinationals and the local conglomerate, and our meds are cheap to begin with so we never have to lobby against laws for cheaper meds and stuff. We’re The Little Engine That Could. We’re Team Zacchaeus.

10. All the freebies, the 50% discount on all our products (which has benefited my parents, in-laws, and friends), jeans on Fridays, our lunch outs, spa treats, Hi-Top sales, junkets in Circles, Red, Tower Club, Redbox, Bulacan.

11. The workload can get to be too much sometimes that I get backaches as early as lunch time. But it’s still nothing compared to QT and MWC. And with competent lawyers like Ann and Rosa helping me out, I can always say – bring it on. Hahaha.

12. I felt the love early on. I was sent to KL for a two-day workshop barely four months after I joined. A COO gifted me with a necklace with precious stones. The owners would email me from abroad just to say that they’re happy I joined the company. My boss gave me a glowing evaluation. I was supposed to be entitled only to a pro-rated amount of the annual increase since I joined only in June, but I was given the entire increase plus even more to compensate for my tax adjustment from my old job. More than the money, I appreciated that they bent the rules for me yet again (the first time was with the job offer they gave me).

My cup overflows. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever

Baguio is my family’s favorite vacation place. Our parents would take us there as often as twice a year when we were younger. We would go to all the usual places – Camp John Hay, Burnham Park, Mines’ View Park, Botanical Garden, the Lourdes Grotto, the cathedral. We’ve even visited St. Louis University and UP Baguio. We like to tease Pops about his gallery of pix in Mines’ View Park, taken from when he was a little boy to his teenage years, then he had pictures with us his kids, then with Yoshi, the first apo.

Our favorite resto is Star Café in Session Road. Along the way our parents would regale us with stories of when Pops was studying there and Mom would visit him on weekends and would hide in the bushes when Lola came to get his laundry and bring him supplies for the following week. Cute, really, but my parents are the kind of people who do not grasp the concept of ‘too much information’ and sometimes would dish out tales of their romance that were much too eeooww for our (then) virgin ears. Ha ha. (They've told me several times, for instance, that I was conceived one rainy February dawn. And that kind of info I can very well live without for the rest of my life, right? Groan.)

Baguio was also part of my honeymoon with Ches (that also included Boracay and Clark). And then two Christmases ago we brought the boys and two Ates there. We were there again for Holy Week, this time with my parents, Rino’s family, and our own. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been to Baguio 60 million times – it never fails to amaze, anyway.

There’s the weather. (Where else in the Philippines does it get cold enough that you need a jacket on a summer night?) The flowers. (Everlasting, sunflowers, mums, petunias, flowers everywhere. I love love love flowers. Ron used to call me Flower Jo in college.) The pine trees. The acorns on the ground all yours for the picking. Climbing the 60 million steps in the grotto. Browsing thru the many ukay ukay shops. Star Café and its special fried rice, soup, pancit, lumpia, camaron rebosado, chopsuey, shrimp with cashews and veggies, beef with broccoli, fried chicken, cinnamon roll. Tantamco’s ube jam. Romana’s peanut brittle. Strawberry taho. Strawberry jam. Strawberry wine. Fresh strawberries. Anything strawberries.

We tried and saw new things, too. Like posing in Igorot attire in Wright Park. Sleeping over in Mountain Lodge and taking our breakfasts by the garden. Yummy ice cream concoctions at this place called Strawberries & Ice Cream in Camp John Hay. Fish fillet, fish nachos, and other things fish from Hotshots (since this was Good Friday). The giant, friendly St. Bernards in Mines’ View. And in the same place, free de-worming tablets. (Who in his right mind would want to de-worm while vacationing?) Also, a sign for a resto that said, Eat your problem. (Wow, that’s gotta taste bitter.)

And then there were the priceless moments. The kids’ serious conversations (Boots: I don’t wanna go to school! I want office lang. Vada: You have to go to school. Ako nga nasa school e. Yoshi: Kelangan ka muna mag-school before you can work so you will learn how to use a computer. Ha ha.) Their wishes when they threw coins at a wishing well. (Yoshi: discs. Boots: I wish for something to play with. Vada: I wish we don't fall off the cliff. Ha ha ha.) Spelling bees, rhyming words, and trivia games for the kids thru-out the road trip. Yoshi’s and Rino’s jump shots amid the pine trees. Popsy’s unending joy at finding a pair of hardly used ukay ukay Converse that fit him perfectly. Popsy quizzing Vada over breakfast when he sees Yoshi saving his favorite eggs for last. He and Vada call this the saving-the-best-for-last syndrome. (Pops: what do you call this? Starts with an S. Vada: eggs! Ha haha.) Snacking on Mom’s specialty brownies thru-out the trip. Stop-over at my in-laws’ for brunch and at Lola’s for dinner. Ches’ sense of humor. (Mom tells our boys to sleep in their room so Ches and I can make a baby girl. I say, but it’s Good Friday. And Ches says, so we’ll name her Girl Friday. HAHAHA.)

Baguio is LOVE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy List 11

1. Pasalubong from my Dad-in-law who came from babysitting my niece Jana in the UK. He brought me all my favorites – pistachios, Snickers, Cadbury, and The Most Gigantic Lindt Bar Ever Made. He bought the last one from the HK airport where he had a stop-over, and it was the only thing Ches got to bring home after he picked Dad up at dawn (since he was already too tired to unpack his luggage where everyone else’s pasalubong was). Ches was like, my Daddy loves you. And with a hint of bitterness, too, since it was like he loved me more than his own kids. Ha ha. Well, I’m responsible for bringing his beloved apos out into this world, how could he not so love me, right? (Rosa added another criterion for her future husband: must have dad like Ches’ dad. Ha ha.)

2. Ann’s treat in Chickboy for her promotion as manager. We all loved and pigged out on inasal, lechon Cebu, sisig, various ensalada. It’s such a happy office when someone has a reason to celebrate and treat people out every single week.

3. Two new exquisite tops from Kamiseta that came in free lovely cans. Retail therapy bcoz this COO ticked me and Rosa off with this condescending email that made it appear as if we were pre-schoolers to whom the urgency of a friggin contract had to be explained very clearly, in reply to an email from this executive whose claim to fame is sucking up to the owners. Rosa and I were like, what do you guys even know? You’re not lawyers, much less from UP Law. Mwa ha ha.

4. … and since it was a pretty major tick-off, it called for an in-depth retail therapy. Hence, I also bought bangles from XoXo for me and Rosa. They’re so metal. Winner.

5. Old friends who are always just a text away

6. Yoshi easily memorizing all his new favorite songs – Pyramid, Baby, Waka Waka, Down, Club Can’t Handle Me, Firework. And Bootsie singing right along with Kuya with his own made-up lyrics. The boys’ head-banging and wiggling their little bodies to the music - motherhood joys are made of these.

7. Finding one of my old punk CDs that includes a song from The Veronicas, whose drummer is married to MIB’s sister. She’s my girl crush – she’s one of those girls who look all unkempt but still come off uber hot, anyway. She’s like an earthier version of Stella Tennant. And MIB said she and her rocker husband go around wearing leather pants and make-up together. How cool is that?

8. Good news like The Action for Happiness in London whose members go around hugging people, opening doors, offering seats in the train, and other stuff to make people happy. I could so relate to this (with my Happy Lists and all) that I actually formally signed up and am officially a member of the group. All it takes is this pledge: I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me. I can manage this, I think.

9. Other good news like John Gabriel Pelias who’s supposed to have earned the highest grade in UP post-war. He admits to being a geek – spending his summers reading advanced Math lessons – and not having enough money to even afford a movie. Owww. I think he stands for everything that is wonderful in UP, where being poor is never a hindrance to being brilliant.

10. And even more good news like some graduates (including the student regent) disrupting P-Noy’s speech with anti-government placards, chants, and the signature raised fists. So brave and true. Only in UP.

11. The Nestle 100 years ad. Once in a while a TV commercial comes along that just breaks your heart. This is one of them. The Legal girls and I are envious and wish our company would put up a similar ad (considering it’s our 65th year) instead of having all these cheesy activities in the office and a formal event thing next month. We want our own ad that would put together all our great brands – Ascof, Poten-cee, C-Lium, Oracare, Propan, Pharex generics - and that we could all be proud of with our family and friends.

12. … and Pag-ibig, the lovely APO song used in the Nestle ad. I remember Didoy’s Chowking ad also used an APO song (Saan Na Nga Ba’ng Barkada, I think). I love APO. I grew up listening to my parents’ APO tapes. Their songs are unabashedly Pinoy and their lyrics set in beautiful, poetic Filipino. They can be funny, too, and are the type of artists who join all these noble causes. So then I dug up my old APO CD from Beavis. It was fun and felt senti both listening to my old favorites like Kumot At Unan, Tuyo Nang Damdamin, Blue Jeans, Paano.

13. And while I was at it, I dug up all my other old CDs as well – Coldplay, Greenday, Julia Fordham, even my favorites way back from high school like Swing Out Sister, Enya, The Cranberries. I even found an old compilation from Rino, with songs from Hoobastank, The Calling, Goo Goo Dolls, Bush, Lighthouse Family, Oasis, Ben Folds, Gin Blossoms. My brother has the coolest taste in music, I swear. We were going to see The Script concert together but the tickets were all sold out like a full week before the thing. I waited a whole hour for the Ticketnet PC in SM to be fixed, I went to Araneta on concert night to try and score tickets even from scalpers, all to no avail. Hence, I spent Saturday night listening to old stuff like You on My Mind, Am I The Same Girl, Where in the World, When I Come Around, Time of Your Life, Basketcase, Invisible War, Clocks, In My Place, The Scientist, Yellow, Wonderwall, Till I Hear It from You, As Long As It Matters. Aaahhh – blast from the past. So good.

14. Zombieland, which Ches unearthed from his files since I was in a Jesse Eisenberg phase. Abigail Breslin (who was amazing in Little Miss Sunshine) is here, too. This movie is kick-ass, breezy, witty – and the best part: no brains required to watch it. Ha ha.

15. Anji turning on the aircon in my room early mornings so it’s all cold when I get to the office. I never had to ask her (I’d never – she’s my secretary, not my slave). It was just like Marj and Kathleen who prepared a tall glass of iced tea for me every morning in QT. And Lani who brought me chocolates or home-cooked ulam or snooty cosmetics on a daily basis. I’m so lucky with my secretaries, I swear.

16. Rosa’s brilliant idea to gift me with voodoo dolls with pictures of our officemates whom she says I eat for snacks (HAHAHA). These are the five or so people I’m always being a bitch to in emails, on the phone, in person. The dolls would come with pins that I can use for pricking until I get rid of all the angst in my system. These would save me so much in retail therapy. Ha ha ha. (Wait, isn’t it disturbing that something so evil like this makes it to my happy list? Tsk tsk.)

17. Chicharon ni Mang Juan, a yummy new junk food that Thina (my fellow junk addict) introduced to me. I’m always on the look-out for this new stuff. I used to like Baconette and Marty’s chicharon, but easily outgrew them tho. Thina wonders why we never get tired of Cheetos and Lays, and I tell her, bcoz they’re expensive and we don’t get to eat them as much as we want. Ha ha.

18. Laughing insanely on the phone with Paula over The Most Inane Things

19. Bulacan food tripping with the Legal girls

20. Woorijib with the PMS kids, where we gorge on jampong, samgyupsul, and the specialty chicken, and get to talking about all our favorite movies. And we proceed to watch Perfume at home which has got to be The Most Absurd Tale Ever. I swear, you’ll never look at perfume the same way again. (Guys, can we pick something normal to watch next time? Please? This is me begging.)

21. Robby liking my happy lists, and I show him my Moleskine to prove that the list is really there. Pie likes them, too, and I’ve been bugging her to start her own. Rosa already did =)

22. Ches’ extensive vocabulary. He tells me to drink up my juice before the C-Lium ‘congeals’. And I tell him, it’s too early in the morning to be using that big a word on ditzy old me! Ha ha. (I’ve always thought it meant about the same as ‘conceal’. Now I guess not. Dang.)

23. Cleaning up the boys’ closets and nesting all around the house on a perfectly sunny Sunday

24. Giving Yoshi a tour of the UP Chapel and teaching him about the stations of the cross since he’s curious about these things now. Finally, my Marian education is coming in handy. Haha.

25. Pie’s project which I call all boring like that, but she comes up with The Caravan of Beautiful People, which I think is good enough to give Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty a run for its money. Ha ha. I tell Pie, I had fun doing it, it’s right up my shallow alley. Ha ha.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I gave Yoshi this pop quiz the other night: give three words that describe Daddy and Mommy. Ches he described as ‘brave, strong, and good’. Me he described as ‘maldita, maarte, pero beautiful’. Does beautiful cancel out maldita and maarte? Not quite, right?


Asking Yoshi questions like this is putting yourself in a situation where you know you’re going to end up all bloodied. And I just never, ever learn.

We were in the car one time and Ches was playing his super cool Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music CD. I was trying to place whether one piece was by Debussy or whoever and I asked Ches, what’s this piece again? And Yosh answers, complete with condescending tone and eye movement, Mom, this is what you call classical music. HAHAHA. It was funny, yes, but also irritating to realize that your own flesh and blood could doubt your intelligence so severely like that.

Another time he saw me washing dishes. He was like, wow, Mommy, marunong ka pala maghugas ng pinggan? And there was the time I was eating a cup of jampong and he asked who made it for me. I told him I did it but he wouldn’t believe it. So I said, Yosh, it’s a cup of instant noodles, I’m pretty sure I know how to put hot water in it!!! Grrr. What’s truly disturbing is, he’s really serious when he asks me these questions, like he’s just really surprised and interested to know the truth and not at all being mean.

At times like this, all I can do is threaten him: one more insult, Yosh, and I am so throwing you out of the house!

He’s taking karate this summer, tho. So I guess I better stay out of his way if I don’t wanna get all mangled by his chops (both physical and verbal). Dang.

I know what I’ll do. I’m gonna be real quiet and stay in one corner being ... beautiful. Yup, that’s exactly the way to go.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Food Tripping

Bcoz we’re all trying to be bibo in Legal, we’ve been conducting free legal aid clinics across the subsidiaries and offices. One of these activities took us to our manufacturing plant in Bulacan. It was just supposed to be us three lawyers, but since Anji is our resident queen of Bulacan, we brought her along to be our tour guide. And of course Thina didn’t wanna be left behind so she made up some excuse or the other so she could join us, too. Haha.

The clinic went well and Rosa even made a rousing presentation on labor law. What was really fun tho was all the food we got to take home from famous as well as hole-in-the-wall food joints in Bulacan. We bought inipit from Eurobake, chocolate truffles and yema roll from this small bakery called Tita Lyn’s (so yummy!), cassava cake from an even smaller store called Richee’s, peanuts, cornick, dried pusit and dried dilis from Emy’s, and made-to-order buchi from this house somewhere. On top of that, we had ordered the yummy leche flan from Anji, and passed by her house too on the way home and picked mangoes fresh from her yard. We were all so happy with our stash but at the same time felt kind of guilty bcoz it was, after all, Holy Week already the following week. Ha ha.

Ann has not been to Barasoain Church so we made a side trip to the place. We also went all the way to the back of the plant where there was a rest house, pool, and this bridge over a lagoon. We wanted to do jump shots but were scared of the guard dog. So we posed by the lagundi plants instead. Ha ha. (Oh, lagundi – we owe you our No. 1 product and our bonus last year. Please be lucky and bring us more moolah this year. You are dahon and the one for us. Ha ha.) They also found a standee that had the words ‘rising star’ on it, and of course they wanted to take my pix with that, too. Ha ha.

It’s one of those things where reading about it does not quite capture the fun you had – you had to be there. I’m just heartened to realize how we Legal girls are such good friends that we could turn an otherwise dull event like a legal aid clinic into something really fun and happy, something we would enjoy talking about over and over. We were all laughing about our car troubles – Rosa drove Piolo and didn’t know whether to use gas or diesel or where the thing even goes, and then somewhere in Bulacan all the lights suddenly came on and we couldn’t figure out how to turn the darn things off. And of course I’m totally useless about these things even if Piolo is my car (hello, I just sit there and don’t drive the thing) and I had to phone my friend Ches to help us out. Ha ha ha. It was a good thing our boss was not with us again or that would’ve been really embarrassing. He rode with us from Tower Club to Redbox and we ended up lost in the Fort. Aaarrgh.

It was one of those low-maintenance, spur-of the-moment events that for some reason leave me feeling so good that it merits a blog. Like my date with the three boys (Rhoel, Donemark, and Jon) sometime back where we didn’t do anything other than discuss Hayden Kho and bold stars the whole night. Or the lunch time we spent ransacking Didoy’s apartment before he moved to the UK. Or most recently, un-trashing Robby’s condo after his dinner treat and before settling down to see some forgettable, totally ho-hum movie.

Happy times =)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Pie Project

Beauty … or the whole lack of it

This is for Pie’s new project for her blog. When she first asked me to blog about my beauty essentials, I was like: what beauty essentials? Ha ha. I told her, I’m so not the right person to write about beauty, you won’t believe how low maintenance I am when it comes to stuff like that. I’m the girl whose beauty regimen can be summed up in three words: wash and go. Ha ha.

I only ever learned to wear make-up in MWC bcoz it was required as part of the corporate look (they made us go thru a workshop with Abbygale Arenas and everything). Now I wear just a bit in my eyes on a daily basis so I don’t look too pale (unless I’m too lazy to do even just the eyes haha). If you ask me what make-up I use now, well, I alternate between the MAC and Clinique blush from Lani and Rosa (respectively), and I put on the black VS eyeshadow from Ate, the Dior lipstick whose official color is digital brown from my favorite aunt-in-law, plus some Guerlain mascara again from Lani (yes, she is My Most Chic Secretary Ever).

I can do my face in under five minutes. I’m so unconcerned about this that I used to do my make-up every morning in SM in front of Regina who would be sitting across my desk and telling me some adventure of his or the other from the night before. (He would sometimes dare to comment, like my lipstick is not even or something, and I’d glare at him and say, one, you’re a boy, and two, it’s my face!)

I do spend an inordinate amount of time taking hot baths in the tub, where I often scrub so compulsively you’d think I was trying to get rid of germs from the very core of my being. Ha ha. But I’m not particular about the stuff I use – Dove for my face (only bcoz my beloved derma Dr. Kim begged me to stop using Safeguard ha ha), and whatever body wash is available from my supply from Ate or my in-laws – VS, M&S, Bath and Body Works. Same brands for my lotion (since they come from the same persons ha ha). For perfume, I alternate among all those I have – Versace Red Jeans, Pleasures, Burberrys, Clinique Happy, Gucci Envy, VS & Bath and Body Works cologne. My next bottles in line are D&G Sicily, Moschino Cheap and Chic, Arden Beauty, and Harajuku Lovers. I also share in the boys’ giant Nenuco on weekends.

So wash, lotion, perfume, make-up if required or I’m otherwise in the mood – and that’s it, I’m good to go. Ches actually needs more time than me getting ready when we go out. Which is why I think I’m gonna stick to my short hair for some time – it’s so conducive to my whole wash and go philosophy.

If you noticed, I don’t spend on any beauty stuff and just rely on the generosity of my Ate, in-laws, and friends. About the only thing I buy is Pantene shampoo and conditioner, but that’s hardly a beauty product, right? I also go see Dr. Kim every three months or so, but not so much out of genuine concern for my skin as for the joy of being with his gay and fabulous self. Ha ha.

And so I tell Pie I’m so not the girl to write about beauty. But then she nags and says I can write about stuff like how I choose my clothes and shoes to wear at work everyday, and I read her blog and she writes about her bling bling and stuff. So I tell her, ok, now we’re talking. Ha ha.

Pretend Fashionista

I’ll come right out and admit it: I’m a big fashion whore. I love dressing up. I’m the type who finds joy in preparing an outfit, whether for any old day in the office or some special event, or an entire wardrobe for a trip. I’m happy to be in that stage where I already know what look I like and what works for me, and where I’m earning enough to sustain my vices (or most of them at least) without having to sacrifice my kids’ education fund.

I have my favorite brands, but I buy more for the look and feel rather than the label. I patronize certain brands not bcoz they’re expensive or snooty, but bcoz they have the style I like and quality that I’ve already tested. I wouldn’t think twice about grabbing something unbranded from a tiangge if I fall in love with it. My view is, it’s not who you’re wearing, it’s still who’s wearing it. I knew someone in my old office, for instance, whose daily outfit consisted of Pucci or Missoni dresses, Ferragamo pumps, Hermes bags, and diamonds the size of China. And yet none of these high-end brands significantly increased her hotness factor as far as I could tell. We all knew she was loaded, yes, but rich doesn’t necessarily translate to pretty, right?

One quirk I feel compelled to disclose is, I’m anti-fad. Hence, I don’t have gladiator sandals, cage shoes, the latest It bag, or any of those other trends that everyone else is going crazy over. It’s just my personality, I guess, to go against the grain like that – which also explains why I prefer indie movies to blockbusters and alternative to pop music, and stick with my vote for Gordon-Bayani even if I know they’ll never win in 60 million years, and refrain from blogging about Willie and Janjan and all those other burning issues that everybody and his dog have already publicly psychoanalyzed to no end. Whatever new thing the fashionable populace is already into – I’m so not there.

With that out of the way, I now try to answer Pie’s guide question. What I choose to wear depends on what I know will happen the next day. So if I have a board meeting or meeting with business partners or consultants, or some other oh so serious office event like that, then I have to put on my lawyer look. This consists of my good old reliable suits from Theme, or some trench coat dress types made by Toni who was referred to me by Monette in SM and who used to work with The Black Shop (he’s really good). But if there’s nothing special scheduled for the day and I can just stay in my room working away on my laptop, then I can wear my usuals – dresses, or tops with skirts or pants.

I love dresses bcoz they’re complete in themselves – you don’t have to pair them up with anything. And they’re so feminine, too. (So even if I’m being all Mean Girl in the office, I can still harbor the illusion that I’m all soft and demure bcoz I’m in my usual girly-girl dress. Ha ha.) I’ve blogged about my insane obsession with Mango dresses, but my other favorites include this blue one from Zara that’s corporate and funky both, the pink Julien MacDonald from Debenhams that I’d like to believe was meant for me (as payback for the cream version That Got Away from me two years ago), this silk one with a great cut from Iora, my jersey dresses from Dorothy Perkins, and several lovely pieces from Plaints and Prints (yes, proudly Pinoy).

For tops, I’m partial to florals and flowing fabrics like silk, satin, and georgette, but I also have a lot of cotton. I have them in all colors and I NEED TO STOP buying any more blacks, whites, and dark blues coz I have way too much of these already. Most of my tops are from Kamiseta, Bayo, Plains and Prints, Mango, Topshop, and Forever 21 (even in my advanced old age of 35). Kamiseta has been My Absolute Favorite since high school. Rosa thinks their clothes are overpriced bcoz of all the overhead they spend on the spacious and expensively decorated stores, the exquisite paper bags, and I have to add the supermodel types and Hollywood actresses that they always use as models, plus the lovely cans they give away if you buy at a certain price level. I know Rosa is so right, but I also know that I’m not gonna stop hoarding stuff from Kamiseta anytime soon. I JUST CAN’T. It’s just one of those things.

The pants and skirts always follow what the tops dictate. I have my share of funky skirts and pants whose fit I really love, but I’m not insane over them the way I am with my dresses and tops.

A blog about clothes would not be complete if I don’t talk about My Love Affair With Jeans. Part of my claim to fame is that I’m one of probably only a handful – if there are any others at all – who took their LAE interview at the UP College of Law in jeans. (80% of that interview consisted of the panel dissing my informal wear. Duh. See if I care.) And one reason why I love my office so much is that we are allowed to wear jeans on Fridays. (I wore jeans all the time, too, in QT, MWC, and SM, but that was in blatant defiance of HR rules. Ha ha.) Also, one reason why I don’t wanna get pregnant again – or at least not just yet – is that I can’t bear to give up my skinny jeans. (Yes, I can be The Shallowest of The Shallow.) Jeans are so comfy and allow you to move any way you like. They are so forgiving and magically hide away all your bulges. Dresses and tops are great for sheer aesthetics, but jeans – jeans are True Love.

Shirts are the perfect pair for jeans, of course. My favorites are a ballerina, Little Mermaid, and several Hello Kittys from Ate, my Eraserheads shirts from Team Manila (I’m a fangirl forever), uber soft ones with flattering fits from Mango and Zara, and my oh so snooty three from Marc Jacobs.

And now for the shoes. I’m also always blogging about my stupid shoes. The way I choose which pair to wear is – I took a pix of all of them all lined up so I can just look at that and see what goes with a particular outfit. (Of course, I have to take new pix all the time since I’m always adding more and more to the line-up. Groan.) My shoes are all different styles – classic feminine types, as well as edgier, chunkier kinds. I love Enzo Angiolini, Nine West, Schu, Alberto, VNC, CMG. My Favorite Pair of All Time is a chocolate wedge from Zara. I’ve actually limited my usage of it to prolong its life span.

When it comes to bags, I’m guided by what Babette told me about Rachel Mc Adams, who was quoted in an interview as saying that she’d rather spend on travel than bags. Most of mine are just from Nine West, Guess, Lulu, Segue, Mango, Schu, plus Liz Claiborne and Our Tribe hand-me-downs from Mom (she had this thing for Our Tribe when she was still working). Ate also gave me a lot of dainty shoulder bags no bigger than purses from Liz Claiborne, Etienne Aigner, Nine West, Gap. What I really prefer are my Hello Kitty bags. Same thing with my watches. And even my jewelries. I’ll go to work bedecked in my Kittys every single day if I could just get away with it.

My one decent watch is a lovely Guess thing with a flower face and pearl bracelet from Ate. My jewelries consist of what Mom supplied me with as I was growing up and those I’ve been buying on my own since QT. I always preferred dangling earrings. My favorite is this exquisite pair with multi-colored stones and diamonds in the shape of flowers. One of my friends in MWC was Ate Marlene who bought chunky jewelries fit for a queen as often as every week. (Gasp.) I kicked the habit when we had the house renovation and lived basically a hand-to-mouth existence. I used to not think twice about spending my entire month’s salary on a pair of pearl earrings. So perverse, I know.

Last year I was into belts. This year it’s bracelets. It’s only April but I’ve already amassed about 60 million bangles from Promod, Accessorize, XoXo. My favorite is still this dark wooden beauty that I coveted from Randy’s delicate wrist years ago. Somehow it clashes and looks imperfect with all my other accessories, but I wear it anyway. Perfection is highly overrated, if you ask me.

One last thing. Pie said the blog should come with pix of me. So here’s me as taken by the eminent Wig Tysmans for the SM annual reports.

And here’s the real me (giggling and pigging out).

Monday, April 11, 2011


We were on our way out for dinner and Bootsie was insisting on bringing his little purple spoon from somewhere. I told him to leave it since there were utensils where we were going hence he wouldn't need it there, and he might just lose it along the way and end up throwing a mighty tantrum over it. Of course, he brings it, anyway. And true to my wise prophecy, he leaves it just like that on the table in the resto and whines when he realizes he's not holding it anymore in the car on the way home. And guess whose job it was to remember to look for the darned spoon before we leave and stash it in her bag? Yup, mine.

I tell Ches: motherhood is telling your kids not to bring something out of the house and remembering to bring back home the thing they weren't supposed to bring out in the first place.

And Ches retorts: fatherhood is listening to a mommy bitch about motherhood all the time. HAHAHA.

I can't remember which friend (Randy? Nico? Didoy?) it was who told me that my family's so funny, we should have our own sitcom. Ha ha ha. I so agree.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy List 10

1. A treat from the boss for all the executives at Saisaki. Sushi, salmon, sashimi. Yum. I can’t think of a better way to start the week.

2. Singing and dancing to Firework with the kids. I don’t like Katy Perry (even before she stole Russell Brand from me) and this song is one annoying motherhood statement after another, but somehow it’s a big hit with my boys and Vada. So since I’m vying for Coolest Mom/Tita Ever, then I just sing along with them at the top of my lungs. (Make em go oh oh oh as you shoot across the sky-y -y … Boom boom boom … even brighter than the moon moon moon ... Aaargh.)

3. Vada sleeping over and being such a good girl. Even my in-laws love her bcoz she hugged and kissed them and promptly broke into her Firefly/Falling Star poem the minute I bragged that she has memorized it. She asks permission for every little thing. I complain to Ches, why can’t my own kids respect me like this? Ha ha.

4. Two new huge paintings of farmers and fishermen to brighten up the imposing shelf of law books in my room. It pays to have friends in the right places in the office. Ha ha.

5. Cavatina playing at Gourdo’s as I’m paying for some knick knacks. This piece is so sad and drives me to tears all the time. The best part was, the old man behind me at the counter recognized it as the theme from Deer Hunter. I love coming across snooty film geek types like myself. Ha ha.

6. Dinner with Mailyn at Chelsea. It’s always nice to catch up with friends from way back and discover that we haven’t really changed even if we’ve moved on to other jobs, have more kids, and have a little bit more money now (well, they have a lot more than I do. Ha ha).

7. The five cheese (yes, five!) thin crust pizza, pasta vongole and super tall and frozen lemon iced tea at Chelsea. I could eat in this place everyday, I swear.

8. The Legal holiday at Tower Club and Red Box

9. Ches’ birthday dinner at Shakey’s, where we go so we could get his free large pepperoni pizza courtesy of his Shakey’s card. The boys and I also got him brazo de mercedes from Dulcinea. I wanted one of the sinful-looking chocolate cakes but was outvoted by the two. It's ok, tho, coz the brazo was really good. All brazos are good, I think.

10. Victory by Team Zaccheus over that intellectual property issue I blogged about before. It was settled out-of-court and is actually a win-win solution for both parties, but I still consider it a triumph bcoz we didn’t cower and we stood up to Goliath, and in the end Goliath backed out and decided it wasn’t going to fight us. Woohoo!

11. Finally, the official promotion of the three Legal girls. I’m so happy for them bcoz they’ve so deserved this for the longest time, they just haven’t found a champion for their cause. And I’m glad I was able to help them here. All it takes really is genuine concern, taking the time to go thru the paperwork and all the red tape, persistence following up, and balls to put up a fight against anyone getting in the way. Ha ha. I had my own doubts whether we could pull off a mass promotion – but here it is.

12. Love and Other Drugs. This movie is majorly sponsored by a competitor, plus it stars Anne Hathaway whom I don’t find pretty. She was great in Rachel Getting Married (bcoz there she wasn’t playing someone pretty) and Ches finds her really hot, but for me she’s like Julia Roberts – tall, period. Ha ha. (I’m one to talk, I know. But this is my blog, and it’s my basic human right to not find some Hollywood actresses pretty, right? I was so pissed when I read that she’s playing Em in the movie version of One Day. First, I didn’t want that book turned into a movie, and second, Anne Hathaway is all wrong for the part of Em. Oh, Hollywood, you fail me all the time.) The story was also confused, like it didn’t know where it was headed for the most part, although there were some tender moments, and fun 80s songs in the soundtrack. So why is this even in my happy list? One reason: Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ve loved him since Brokeback Mountain. He’s beyond hot - he’s steamy. One of my criteria for choosing a husband is a surname that’s easy to spell and shorter than my maiden name, but with Jake, I’m so making an exception. Ha ha.

13. Adventureland. I’ve never met a Jesse Eisenberg movie I didn’t like. He’s the epitome of geek cool. That annoying Kristen Stewart plays his love interest here, tho, but this film had enough of an indie vibe and ensemble acting to make me just overlook her altogether.

14. My blog’s new look. It was in one of those nights when sleep just completely eludes me, so I tinkered with my blog to try and get rid of the stupid Arial font. It’s so corporate and boring but I guess it’s what was in the template when I began blogging and I just never got around to fixing it. So I dropped the Arial and made other changes, too, and voila - now I love my blog so much more. (Pie says it’s something like out of Bayo or Kamiseta, so girly girl like me. Ha ha. Thanks, Pie.)

15. The foot spa/mani/pedi package from Spa 101, which was part of my birthday treat for Ches. I loved their collection of Orly nail polish. I made a wrong choice tho and the blueberry one I got ended up looking more like ube ice cream on my nails. So not corporate. And I have meetings almost every day too this week. Groan. At night it looks black altogether. Ches asks, are you in your Goth phase? Aaargh. (Well, at least Bootsie likes it. He likes everything ube.)

16. The paella and crispy binagoongan at Tres with the boys and Ate Ann. Still part of Ches’ extended birthday bash. The binagoongan was crispy as promised and yummy, too, but it was a mere five slices that I could've finished by myself in five minutes. The paella was really good, and the waiters were very attentive, too. They even gave us free ensaymada for dessert.

17. All these bargain deals online. We started with Ann’s spa treat from Ensogo, and from there we’ve branched out to about six other sites that we visit daily and joke about all the time. Who doesn’t love a good bargain, right? You won't believe the stuff that you will find in these sites. Just this week I found a promo for something called ear candling. Whaddawhack? Why would anyone wanna pay for something that sounds like a medieval form of torture? My latest order was a dozen cupcakes from the multi-awarded Classic Confections. Hahaha. I haven’t heard the end of that from Ches. But wait till I’m binging on the whole box and he’s salivating in front of me. I guess he’d be all nice to me then so I’d share. Ha ha.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Batman & Robin

I'm notorious for sleeping in on weekends. After all, it's my one chance to indulge the sleepaholic in me. All my closests friends know this (like Jon and Thom, who would text me at 7 or so and I don't get to reply to them till close to lunch. Ha ha.). There are a few things that would make me get up early - and this weekend I found out that it includes Bootsie waking me up in full Robin regalia asking to be photographed. (Wake up, Mommy. Mag-pix tayo.) How could I ever resist, right?

And since Bootsie was in costume, of course Yoshi would not be left behind and promptly slipped into his Batman attire. I don't know what got into them. They just wake up crazy like this some mornings.

What's a mom to do? Well, you just enjoy the moment and click away =)

(Thanks, Ate, for the awesome costumes. They're so sulit with the boys. You need to get them new ones next time. Ha ha.)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Love & Other Mush

(It would take an entire website to list down all the things I love about you, so here's just my Top 15.)

For getting me drunk day after Valentine’s in third year college and telling me that you had fallen in love with your best friend (who just happened to be me)

For not giving up until I said yes that fateful Wednesday in August after the APSM treasure hunt

For popping The Question two nights after I passed the Bar (you had to make sure you were marrying a lawyer, huh)

For giving me Yoshi and Bootsie, who are perfect in every way

For being my Lamaze coach thru two gruelling tho immensely fulfilling childbirths

For being the most hands-on daddy I know and making me the envy of all my friends bcoz of this

For giving me free rein with the house and letting me have the country home of my dreams

For driving us around everywhere since I’m too stupid and lazy to learn

For not looking a day older than when I met you that first day of freshman year in UP

For still bringing me flowers and sweeping me off my feet

For accepting all my quirks (like my midnight snacks of whole burgers and fish) and letting me have my me time (shopping, blogging, or just tinkering around the house)

For being the favorite of my family and friends and your family and friends bcoz you’re just, hands down, such a good, funny, smart guy (not to mention the guy who has put up with Jo all these years)

For the honeymoon whose end is nowhere in sight, and the unsinkable friendship which is my one shield against all the evil forces of the universe

For being the one person who knows me inside out and loves me like I’m such a jewel, anyway

For breaking my heart in the happiest ways possible all the time -

Thank you, Chestnuts. Happy birthday. I love you to the moon and back.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Top of the World

We had a Legal holiday this week. First, Ann and I had lunch with our boss at Tower Club, and then the rest of the girls followed for an afternoon of strategy planning for the department. Each one of the girls had her turn to present, and after the presentation our boss asked them to name two things: one good thing about the department or the company, and one area for improvement. I don’t remember much about the areas for improvement, but I do remember the good things. Rosa said it’s the mentoring that she gets and the constant affirmation in her work. Owww. Anji said we all get along well and we’re sobrang mababait (“parang hindi mga lawyers at mga boss”), and we all work so fast that we finish stuff before she even assigns them a job order number. Thina added that we are a lot more approachable, too. Owww. It was really touching.

But then they also got crazy even in front of our boss. They were all joking about me being a ‘rising star’ bcoz they peeked at my job evaluation and saw my boss’s comments about me. And if I was the rising star, Ann was the diamond star bcoz she’s the lawyer who’s been with them the longest, and Rosa is the megastar bcoz she’s healthy, and Thina is a starlet. Our boss joked, so who’s the falling star? Hahaha. It was funny, actually, but also embarrassing. Grrr. I didn’t want my boss to think I go around bragging about his evaluation of me. (I forwarded it to just Ches and Rosa, actually.)

For team building we went to Redbox. Fun. It even came with a buffet dinner and beers. We made our boss sing one song before we let him leave. (He gamely and ably did Top of the World.) We had varied tastes in music – I sang Boys Like Girls, The Script (I so wanna watch the concert), Alicia Keys. Rosa channeled her inner Britney Spears and Whitney Houston. We did Waka Waka, Bad Romance, and Tick Tock together. Anji and Ann preferred dramatic love song types. Thina just sang along with everyone. Ha ha. We went crazy doing Aegis, Sexbomb, The Corrs, Where Is the Love, Dancing Queen, New Wave, the usuals. They didn’t have The Cranberries, tho. And Unfaithful. And I Will Survive. What decent videoke place doesn’t have I Will Survive? Duh. And we forgot to do Bikining Itim. Paula and I always make Thom sing Bikining Itim when we do videoke. Haha.

It was close to midnight when we wrapped things up, but we were all still hyper. We laughed and laughed on our way home bcoz Thina declared she was willing to magsangla ng katawan to earn money for a trip to Europe. (This bcoz on our way to Makati I was lamenting how I’ve never ever been out of Asia and joked that magsasangla kame ng kalabaw at palayan to earn travel money just so I can keep up with people my age who have been making Europe their Quiapo.) We told Thina, oh no, you’re not gonna get far with that, definitely not Europe, and all you might end up with is a black eye. Hahaha. So mean, I know, but Thina was laughing right along with us.

For that one day, we were all on top of the world.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Happy List 9

1. Bong’s dinner treat at Super Bowl for all the younger people in the office who didn’t get their bonuses bcoz they didn’t meet some cut-off or other. I was so happy he included me I ended up getting Mango Bravo for everyone.

2. The last green mangoes from Anji’s backyard

3. Kuya Mau, one of our drivers who takes me to the plant in Bulacan, says he prefers Piolo over the CRVs and Explorers that he usually drives. I also found out that I’m only the second executive in the office to choose a Captiva over a CRV. (Good choice, Chestnuts!)

4. Ches’ birthday wish is a spa treat and one week of kindness. I tell him, the spa is easy peasy, and can I just give you a blank check from my payroll account so that you can buy anything you want, coz I’d rather be broke than kind. Be reasonable, why don't you. Sheesh. Talk about asking for the moon.

5. Cashews from Thom, with 60 million garlic bits. Yum yum.

6. Emails and texts with Beavis and Dex

7. Emails and texts from out of the blue from old friends like Loudette and Chuchi

8. Scoring reservations at this beach resort in Laiya that’s rated No. 1 in Bootsie has never ever been to a beach. The only body of water that he knows is a swimming pool and those murky things we pass by in the metropolis. He and Yosh are also looking forward to build sandcastles. Fun.

9. Requiem for A Dream, this old movie of Jared Leto (from whom I copied Bootsie’s name. He was my crush in My So-Called Life) and Jennifer Connely. It’s so depraved. Like Chuck Palahniuk on the screen.

10. Room by Emma Donoghue. OMG. This book is so real and scary. It makes Flowers in the Attic sound like a fairy tale and Hannibal Lecter look tame. And again I have to ask myself: why do I keep paying for something that just torments me? Aaargh. I never learn.

11. Shorts from Esprit and Forever 21. It’s summer!

12. Eat-all-you-can kare kare at Tres, this new Spanish/Pinoy resto in The Block. The kare kare comes in seafood, crispy beef, and the usual. I still prefer the lechon kawali kare kare in Pino. But this one in Tres is bottomless. Ha ha.

13. I ask permission from MIB to attend the formal launch of this corporate governance group that I’m in. He sees the program that names me and this guy as hosts and he says, that’s wonderful. Please go and make us proud. Ha ha.

14. … and I don’t do such a bad hosting job, I think. Regina, Thom, and Liz said I was funny. Even people I didn't really know came up to me to say I did a good job. (They were just being nice, I guess. Haha). And the Caucasian guest speaker joked that I should have my own TV show. Ha ha. I think I might have a future in stand-up comedy. Seriously. I could maybe do ditzy Phoebe from Friends or bitchy Simon Cowell. Hahaha.

15. Robby’s treat at Ristras in the Fort. The nachos with the beef and guacamole are so, so good. I also loved the tamarind iced tea.

16. … and since we were in the Fort and Robby’s parents were abroad, I told him, let’s trash your condo. And he said, it’s already trashed. We go there and he wasn’t kidding - it is trashed. Hahaha. I end up helping Robby pick stuff off the floor and furniture and everywhere, make the bed up, clean the dishes. And then we all watch Season of the Witch. Another happy (albeit unique) Friday. I text Robby, it was fun un-trashing your place. Hahaha.

17. Lunch at President’s. Yoshi’s treat after another bout with his dentist. We order all his favorites. The boys and I love the salt and pepper spareribs, fish fillet, yangchow fried rice, and nido soup. Yum.

18. Quiapo. Still part of the dental bribe. We each get our own DVDs. Cheap (albeit illegal) thrills.

19. Hilarious texts from Monette

20. Scoring hotel rooms in Baguio for my entire family for Holy Week. Mom and Pops decided just this weekend that they wanna go, and of course almost everything is already fully booked. It was sheer luck that I still found rooms for all 10 of us at this place that’s also highly-rated at tripadvisor.

21. Running around the UP amphitheater on a lazy Sunday with Vada and the boys

22. In The Loop. Scathing in a high-brow, intellectual schmelectual kind of way. It was hard to keep track of all the gems all the characters were firing back and forth. (Example: the lead guy, the boss, scolding his intern for being late in a meeting. Intern: I’m sorry. I was late just this once. Boss: Right. I should be thankful. You didn’t pee in your pants. You didn’t suddenly take out your dick and start playing with it. You’re a star. I’m forever indebted. Something like that.) The Malcolm Tucker spin doctor character is too funny and obscene. These British movie peeps are brilliant.

23. The King’s Speech. No doubt, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush are some of our generation’s best actors. I love Helena as Bellatrix, and here she plays the Queen Mum and there is one scene after the king finally nails his pre-war speech, and she looks at his speech therapist and without saying a single word her face perfectly conveys all the emotions of her character – gratitude, pride, relief, bewilderment. Such talent.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Happy List 8

1. Bootsie calls me Friendly Witch. Ha ha. He’s still in that stage where everything is either good or bad – if you’re friendly then you’re good, if you’re scary then you’re bad. I’m just happy to be in the side of the good guys for now.

2. Pie’s comments about my blog. She was my and Ches’ blockmate in college and is herself a prolific blogger. She goes out of her way to text or email just to say that she liked a particular piece, or how I’m so brutal when I write, and so maldita even when I’m blogging about happy things. Ha ha. (Thanks, Pie!)

3. This feature in the Inquirer which said that the Pen in Tokyo opened its doors to all the quake victims and put up signs saying, we’ll feed and shelter everyone who comes in our hotel. Owww. That’s humanity for you in the face of nature’s wrath.

4. This article in Readers’ Digest about true happiness. It said that people often make the mistake of prioritizing work over family, bcoz career achievements like a promotion or salary increase are more immediate and concrete, unlike investing time in your family, the benefits of which you don’t get to see until several years down the road when your kids are already grown and making you proud and happy. But it’s important to prioritize your family bcoz it’s the one true source of enduring happiness, and you have to instill in your kids early on a culture of love and respect, so that they’d do this on their own way into adulthood when bribes like toys and sweets don’t work anymore. I think this is brilliant and lovely both.

5. Replies from the Chairman thanking me for some job I email, like maybe a contract review or an agenda for a meeting. It’s exactly what I’m getting paid for so no need to be so profuse in thanking me, right? But that’s how they are.

6. A necklace from one of the COOs based abroad. It’s a silver chain with a pendant of stones. Gasp. Only my mom, Ate, Lola, and Ches have ever given me jewelries. Sometimes, this company is too good to be true.

7. One of the owners asking for a hug at the end of her visit in my room. Owww. She is the feistiest of the owners, yet also the sweetest.

8. Good old friends who open up to you about their problems and seek your advice as if you have any value added and are not all that stupid

9. Another one of Yoshi’s classics during one of our usual evening walks around the neighborhood. He kept blabbering so I told him, you know, if you can’t say anything that makes sense, just zip your mouth. And he goes: You know, if you can’t be nicer to your kids, just zip your mouth. HAHAHA.

10. Bootsie’s amazement that I know the words to the Wonder Pets theme. He started watching it only recently, and didn’t realize that Yoshi was at it too when he was younger, hence I know the song. (What’s gonna work? Teamwork! … Wonder pets, wonder pets, we’re on our way! Wonder pets, wonder pets to save the day!)

11. Lay’s potato chips and Keebler’s choco chip cookies from Ches. Who is this guy and why does he know exactly what I want? Ha ha.

12. Popsy driving to our house to get my laptop or BlackBerry and bringing them to me in the office when I forget. What sort of a genius forgets to bring her laptop or BlackBerry when it is the one tool she uses for work? Groan. Thank God for Pops.

13. Lunches during board meeting week. We usually go to Abe, and the following days the canteen serves us bulalo, rellenong bangus, lumpia, chicken, and many other ulam, plus the yummy buko pandan. It’s the one thing I look forward to in these board meetings. (Taking the minutes – don’t like. Replying to all sorts of on-the-spot legal or risk-related queries from the board during the meetings – don’t like. Presenting on legal and risk updates before the board – don’t like. Free lunches with the board – LOVE.)

14. Dissing this girl who wears orange contacts with Rosa. We were like, no wonder she wasn’t that popular – people were distracted by her orange eyes. In one meeting Rosa asks me, I wonder how she handled this kind of situation before? And I reply, she blinked her orange eyes. Ha ha ha.

15. MIB noticing little things that you didn’t know even mattered and praising you for it in his own subtle way much later. And you feel good bcoz it’s so unexpected and rare.

16. Going into a store that’s playing one of your favorite songs, so then you feel compelled to look around and maybe even buy something just so you can listen till the end of the song. Ha ha.

17. Mid-week visit to Centris to ride the train and carousel and let the boys loose in the playground

18. Jay-j’s lunch treat by the Legal girls. It’s so happy to be in an office where someone’s always treating you to meals, mangoes, spa, even shoes.

19. Another office pictorial for the 65th anniv. The photographer groans (kayo na naman?!) when the whole lot of us from Legal barge in. Ha ha.

20. My nasty email to this manager who’s notorious for sending us stuff to work on that we’ve already finished months ago, or following up on stuff she hasn’t even sent us, or looking for contract provisions that are already so there. I replied to her, cc the whole world: you know, if you will just read the contract, the clause that you need is in the entire Section 6. Fierce.

21. I rant about the stupid emails I get thru-out the day over dinner with Ches, and he sits there with a big smile. I ask him what’s making him so smug. He says, I’m just happy not to be the subject of your ire. Hahaha.

22. Dinner with Ches at Taco Bell and DQ

23. Kai’s happy news that she’s having a baby girl (she has two boys like me)

24. Kanin Club dinner with the boys during Earth Hour. We brought them to Technohub coz I wanted the boys to be aware of environmental issues, and I figured since the place was managed by Ayala (whose CSR is focused on education, environment, and entrepreneurship – yes, I still remember!), it was bound to participate in the event. And it did, so the dimming of the lights was the perfect chance for me and Ches to get into the whole lecture on conserving electricity and water, and being kind to plants and animals. The boys had fun, too, soaking in the fountain.

25. The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. It was a wonderful mix of Rain Man, Of Mice and Men, and Flowers for Algernon. Ultimately a sad story, tho.

26. Let The Right One In. The original Swedish version. It’s so, so good. One of the best horror movies I’ve seen, and I’m not even a fan of this genre. It’s quiet and creepy, tender and chilling all at the same time. It’s a vampire story that will make you see – as if you need any further proof - how insipid the whole Twilight thing is.