Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I was looking for some place to put my pearl watch in the other day. I needed to have it repaired bcoz one strand broke. (No worries, Ate, it's all fixed now.) And from somewhere in the deep recesses of my closet I found this lovely, lovely purse in Chinese silk that also contains a small jewelry and tissue case. I got it from Beijing, I think.

So then I was inspired to look up more of my treasures that are just lying around the house. They're not worth much, but they mean a whole lot to me. (Ches sees me taking pictures of all these objects again and says, so when you're bored you turn into a still life photographer? And I reply, and when you're bored you meddle into other people's perfectly innocent activities? Hahaha.)

Here are a few of my favorite things:

Hello Kitty postcards from Macau. We got them at the Macau Tower, I think. When we went there, there was a bridal car parked in front, a black limo decorated with white flowers and Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel dolls. Coolest Bridal Car Ever.

Nail files from Babette. The Kitty one is my first Kitty from San Francisco. The other one sums up my life mantra: Chocolates and shoes take away the blues. It's too perfect, isn't it? Babette knows me so well. She gave this to me at the height of my SM dramas last year. Who needs a complicated, life-changing philosophy when you can have one as simple as that? Haha. (Thanks, Babette! I love you =)

Disney denim bag from my cousin who lives near Disney World in Florida. This was my favorite bag in law school. I'd put all my readings and baon in the thing, and if my baon spilled into the readings, then all the better so I had an excuse not to read them. Haha. I love this bag as it is, but it would've been even better if Eeyore was in there, too, right? Haha.

Ring with precious stones from my Lolo. I'm not really sure how it got to me. Mom probably got it as part of her share in the inheritance, and gave it to me in turn bcoz she knows how much I love my Lolo. He passed away when I was in first year college. I still miss him and my Lola to this day.

Doll from Tibet. Ok, I have not been to Tibet, but she does look every bit Seven Years in Tibet, doesn't she? She stands on her own, too. She's a little independent lady. Haha. I got her from Wangfujing in Beijing, I think. If not Hong Kong or Shenzhen.

Jointed bears from Randy and Lola Thelma. Aren't they so adorable? And so country, too. I'm not supposed to have any stuffed toys bcoz I'm asthmatic, but I just love them.

Precious Moments Christmas snow globe from my Lola. Again, I don't know how I happened to own this, but it's one of my most treasured possessions bcoz it was owned by my beloved Lola. Randy wanted to put it in our bookshelf as part of the decor, but when I explained to him how valuable it was for me, he put it in the overhead cabinet instead where it's a lot safer.

Trinkets from my travels. The pink clutch is a find from my first trip in Bangkok. I got it either in Lumpini or in one of the 60 million malls. (In my second trip - with Ches and baby Yoshi this time - I got several teak wood vases and bowls and stuff from Chatuchak, and I didn't have the heart to give them away even if they're not country, so Randy put them up in the Ates' room instead.) There's a compact mirror from Vietnam and another from Shenzhen, a slipper keychain from Sentosa in Singapore, a foldable shopping bag either from Bhukit Bintang or KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, and an exquisite embroidered purse from Siem Reap (which is too beautiful I just had to get it for Ate, too).

Manong Guard and Lady Guard. Manong Guard is a Buckingham Palace guard, Chuchi's pasalubong to Yoshi from her Europe trip, which he promptly christened Manong Guard. Haha. (She also gave me a rosary from the Vatican and a drawing of one of the Sistine Chapel artworks.) Lady Guard is the Statue of Liberty, a collectors' item from Randy. It was also the boys who gave her that name, so she can be the love team of Manong Guard. Haha. (I have the coolest friends, I know. Thanks, Chuchi and Randy! I love you =)

Andrew Brownsword bears. The frame contains my pix with Amor, one of my best friends in college, in the attic of their jaw-dropping Tagaytay country home. The figurine was sent to me by Kaye all the way from California. I love Andrew Brownsword bears. A huge chunk of my allowance in college went to buying the stationeries and other paper products with the bears which I have to this day.

My voodoo dolls. The beautiful Disney Princesses from Ate are all there, plus my two porcelain Ashton Drake dolls from Randy, and Miss Tibet herself. All things of beauty and joys forever.

Crystal bootie in a basket with cross-stitched roses. A baby shower gift from Randy when I was pregnant with Yoshi. He has such fine tastes in everything I feel absolutely low-class next to him. Haha.

My Melody mints in a can, from one of my Hong Kong junkets.

Hello Kitty undies from Ate. I keep them together with the VS undies she also gave me, and save them until I absolutely have to use them already when I'm having The Worst Days of My Life. Yes, I'm the kind of person who is instantly cheered up by fabulous undies. Haha.

Harry Potter 5. Special bcoz it was a birthday gift from Jon and Malen, two of my best friends from way, way back, and still super close to this day. I can just totally rely on them, and they look after me. (Thanks, you guys. I love you =)

Mr. Pug. Another gift from Chuchi to Yoshi (or is it for Boots who's her godson?) Doesn't he look perfectly fierce? He's actually a coin bank. Haha. If my soul had a face, it would probably look all gnarled and terrifying like this. If I had a soul to begin with. Haha.

Purse from my Lola, which contains coins from her US trip. It goes into the bigger purse with all the dainty embroidery, which I clutched thruout my wedding. Needless to say, these top my favorites list.

(So all of you people who think all I care about are my shoes and clothes and the soon-to-arrive Cath Kidston bags - you are so wrong about me. Haha.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy List 20

1. Lunch at Don Henrico’s with Tita Jill’s clan, to meet them and discuss wedding stuff. It was a man versus food event with too much pizza, pasta, fish fillet, buffalo wings, calamares, and bottomless drinks. It was crazy.

2. Death by Tablea chocolate cake from Chocolat for Mommy’s birthday. BTS.

3. Toy gun from Greenhills that made Bootsie so happy, and for Yosh, more Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies paraphernalia

4. Candy, which is like the Australian version of Requiem for a Dream, but a lot less artsy-fartsy and a lot more real. This film is too raw it’s painful to watch. Heath Ledger is so good.

5. First Dog. Hallmark movie kind of cheesy which I’ve outgrown since high school, but I think it’s good for me to watch these kinds of films sometimes as a way to counter all my meanness. No matter how temporary. Haha.

6. Yet another spa package for Ches and me, this time at this place called Shui Healing Center (or something) in Libis. We tried the ventosa therapy and the traditional hilot massage plus some foot thing that Ches liked but which I didn’t know what to make of. Over-all it was really good.

7. Chicken Bon Chon, the inspiration behind the Pinoy version, Chicken Charlie, which the boys and I got hooked on last year. I initially ordered the three chicken wings meal, and Ches smugly declared it would not be enough for me. I wanted to prove him wrong, I really did, but My Infamous Appetite won out and I ended up asking him to get me an additional six pieces more. Hahaha.

8. From Ches, almonds from Gourdo’s and Cheetos Jalapeno. I’m not really big on spicy stuff, but I love Cheetos Jalapeno. I brought a lot of it in our SEAFF adventure and Malen loved it, too.

9. Shawl and lipstick from Lani. I have all these nice shawls from everyone. I don’t collect them or anything but they’re really handy for someone like me who’s perennially cold and needs a blanket in taking afternoon naps even in the summer.

10. Chatting with Paula and Mayumi thru BlackBerry Messenger. It's so fast and easy. Plus I can use all these crazy emoticons that are not in the texts and emails. I think I'm turning into a CrackBerry. Haha.

11. Fresh towels and bed sheets. Simple joys.

12. My Fully Booked card that I always get to use and which has already saved me a lot more than the price for which I got it. I love love love Fully Booked. I also have a Powerbooks card but that’s more a rewards system kind of thing, not like the Fully Booked card which gives you instant 5% or 10% discounts.

13. Lunch at Pho Hoa with our favorite executive, the chief auditor who’s migrating abroad with her family. I look up to her for her fearlessness and grace, and she’s a good friend to me, too, when the work stresses get to be too much. We so love her. We miss her already.

14. Strawberry milkshake and Nutella crepes at Café Breton. The milkshake was a bit too sweet, but the crepes were perfect yumminess.

15. A pair of shoes from Nine West, with a lot of hardware and attitude. Ha ha. It’s so The Craft mean girl kind of thing.

16. Working so close to home that I never have to worry about getting stranded or being too far away from my boys during heavy rains. (Thank you, Lord.)

17. That our home was certified Ondoy-free and has been spared from floods so far. (Again, thank you, Lord.)

18. Texting old friends at the height of the deluge. It’s always happy to be in touch with people you love. That’s the best thing about technology for me – that with just one message you’re right back in touch with all your dear family and friends. It doesn’t even matter what you say, they know that what you really mean is, hey, I’m still alive, and I’m missing you. Something mushy like that. Haha.

19. Just Go With It, with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston whom I both like, mainly bcoz Adam is always playing flawed characters in surprisingly good films, and Jennifer was the aggrieved wife of an adulterous husband (hence, I hate Brangelina). They’re good together in this film. (I love the part where his character tells her character that one of the things he loves best about her is that she is the only person to whom he can be completely honest to, that he just trusts her with the truth about him. This just about sums up my happy marriage equation: 100% honesty + unfailing trust = wedded bliss.) And the little girl who plays the daughter with the fake British accent – omg, she’s too funny. This film has an exceptional soundtrack, too, with Snow Patrol mixed with Sting, and Bruno Mars mixed with some 80s band. So cool.

20. Something Borrowed. Based on a book by Emily Giffin, who also wrote Baby Proof, one of those chick lits I read for lack of nothing better to do and all bcoz it was on sale at Powerbooks (groan). The premise of this one is a lot better: there’s a thin line between love and friendship. As you know, I’m a sucker for stories of friends falling in love with friends, bcoz that’s how Ches’ and my whole love story started. Haha. There was a cameo by Third Eye Blind, too, singing How’s It Gonna Be. How cool is that? Surprise happiness.

21. Say You Love Me playing in The Block. I love this song, and I mean the original by Patti Austin. It was one of those songs that made up the soundtrack of that period when Ches and I were courting in college. (Hahaha. We’re super annoying, I know.) ‘Holding hands is fine but I got better things on my mind …’ – isn’t that so me? Yes, I was dirty-minded this way even in college. Hahaha.

22. Saturdays out with the boys. We could’ve just stayed in and relished the stormy weather, but they didn’t have class on Friday and were getting restless. So we take them to Active Fun and leave them to play to their little hearts’ content while Ches sleeps in the lounge and I go off to Gift Gate (haha). (Yikes, I'm one of those stupid people who have their pix taken in malls. But at least in my case it's only in Hello Kitty stores. Groan. Like that makes me less stupid than the others.) We have Hero sausages after. Omg, they were so good and big. We are so going back for more. For desserts, we get chocolate and mocha chiffon cake from Blushing Cupcakes. The mocha chiffon was better than the chocolate. It had the kind of icing similar to Merced’s that Kaye likes. No sweeter way to end a Saturday than this.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Meet The Boss

My boss took me and the boys out to lunch in Chelsea this weekend. No special reason or anything. He’s just that kind of boss, that’s why. Haha.

The boys behaved for the most part. I warned them to do so or else my boss might fire me and we would have to return Piolo to the office. Haha. (Boots thought ‘fire’ was along the lines of gunfire and shooting and stuff, bcoz he wanted to know what kind of gun my boss has. HAHAHA.) Yosh was his usual reliable, polite, and bright self. (They ask him his age and he says, I’m 7 years old and turning 8 on August 21. Naks. Pasikat. Haha.) Boots … well, he was his usual loud and hyper self (dancing on his chair, walking all around the table, refusing to share with Kuya the big fish fillet he was eating), but I think everyone forgives him everything bcoz he’s just too cute. Haha.

I chatted with my boss’s wife who’s one of those exotic, willowy beauties whom you think would be a total snob but is actually so easy to talk to, just so warm and open. I’ve met her several times before but this was the first time we got to talk for a good two hours – about everything from The King’s Speech to breastfeeding to Sonja’s cupcakes to violin lessons for the kids. She’s like the gentler, softer version of my boss, actually – so accomplished (and loaded haha) yet so homey and humble. I’ve found out from my boss a long time ago that she homeschools her three girls, and travels with them to the US and Europe without any nannies, and I’ve been so amazed. But really being able to talk to her like this – and finding out other stuff like how she weaned her three year old from breastfeeding only last year – leaves me in greater awe of this woman. (She’s so not like some people who’d disappoint you when you get to know them.)

Ches for his part chatted with my boss and from him I found out stuff that I never even knew in the office. I knew he runs marathons all over the world (Morocco last year, Florida this summer, and Nepal later this year), but I had no idea they were 30-hour, 100-mile endurance races where the staff of his lawyer friend would follow them by car and run with them at dawn bcoz that’s supposed to be the hardest part of the race. Omg. And I also saw for myself how his kids are so in love with him the way they were all jostling for position on his lap, whispering to him and all of that. These, on top of his being a great boss. He’s super smart and I learn a lot from him. (Have I mentioned that he’s from Harvard and LSE? Yes, nosebleeds. Haha.) He’s also every committed and works too hard considering he’s an owner of the company (haha). Best of all, we agree on the ethical side of things.

What’s there not to love about my boss and his family?

(P.S. I miss Serendra. We always used to hang out there when I was still in MWC. Our favorites were Duo, Gaudi, Conti’s, Abe, Cupcakes by Sonja, Café Mary Grace, and this place between Abe and Sentro that’s no longer there and whose name I forget now. The beauty of an Ayala development is, it always offers something new and refreshing, with themes centered on nature and art and all that loveliness. Just look at Serendra, Trinoma, Greenbelt. Not like the other mall developer where if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, and they hardly ever give you any place to sit on much less any greeneries. Only MoA is ever different. Hence, I love MoA, even if it is SM. Haha.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Last week Bootsie brought to school two packs of Tiger (some biscuit thing from Kraft that the boys like). Ate Ann asked him how come he’s bringing two when he usually just takes one for recess. Bootsie says: I’m sharing with my classmate Martina bcoz she’s pretty.

He’s a little too advanced, that one. I’m telling you.

Ate Ann reports this to us when we get home. We all find it so funny, but at the same time, me being me, I’m also incensed by the whole thing. I teach my kids all about sharing and stuff, but bringing extra baon for pretty girls? When you’re all of three years old?

It’s too much even for me.

So I tell Bootsie: Let’s be clear about one thing. When you’re bigger and have a job and buying your own food, then you can share with pretty girls. But for now, as long as Mommy still buys your baon, NO. SHARING. WITH. PRETTY. GIRLS.

I think he understood bcoz the next day, Ate Ann asks him if he’s bringing two packs of Tiger again. He said no, and when she asks him why, he says: Bcoz I’m scared of Mommy.

And that’s how Mommy won Round One versus the pretty girls.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Year of the Short Hair

I got another haircut. Still from Studio Zen in Gateway, but with a different girl from the one who chopped all my hair off in March. I went back there bcoz (i) the people who do your hair and nails actually know what they’re doing, and (ii) the place is spotless. Which just about sum up my requirements for salons. Haha.

My hair grows really fast. Even Jessica our neighborhood gay hairdresser said so. It’s a good thing, I think, bcoz then even if I get a really nasty haircut I only have to live with it for a short time before it’s long again. Haha.

I’m proud to say my hair is all me. I haven’t done any artificial thing to it like straightening or coloring it, beyond the occasional hair spa or hot oil. Mom asked how come I don’t have it rebonded or colored. And I was like, what’s wrong with my natural, God-given hair? Hahaha. I happen to like it, how it’s all dark and wavy. Love your own, right? Haha. Besides, rebonding and coloring or whatever else it is that everyone else is doing these days are high maintenance. I think once you start you have to keep going back to the salon and doing it forever and ever, and applying chemical gunk or whatever on your hair on a regular basis. As you know, I’m averse to anything high maintenance.

Short hair, on the other hand, is very low maintenance. I can so understand why people like Winona Ryder or Anne Heche or my very own friend Phoebe keep their hair short forever and ever. I think it’s cool, too, literally and otherwise. I see it as my own personal statement against traditional standards of beauty which always include long, flowing hair. (Have you ever seen a short-haired woman join or much less win a beauty pageant? Never, right?) And it’s my one contribution to the Earth cause – with shorter hair, I use less shampoo, less conditioner, and less water to clean it. Plus, like Anji pointed out, my short hair highlights my fabulous earrings. Hahaha.

Besides, people liked my short hair from that first time in March – people in the office, friends from MWC and SM, the PMS kids, Gay, Chuchi, Dendee. Of my three boys, tho, only Chestnuts likes my short hair. The two little ones think I look like a tomato or potato and still put long hair on me in their little drawings. Groan.

I guess they’re the only two people who are not scared to tell me the truth about my hair. Hahaha.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Bootsie is my little shadow.

After dinner I usually go upstairs to fix my stuff for the next day. While I’m at that, he’s there beside me humming to himself while playing with his Legos or dinosaurs or trucks or whatever. Or sometimes he asks to borrow my stuff that he likes playing with – my boxes of make-up, hair clips, Hello Kitty trinkets. Or he takes pictures of me with my old pink Cybershots from Ate that he has appropriated for himself.

We can work quietly together, with him just humming away, or singing along with whatever CD is playing. But usually he bombards me with a barrage of questions. Typical Bootsie questions that often leave us all baffled and stumped. (‘Why does green mean go?’, ‘Why is a circle round?’, ‘Why don’t girls have pututoy?’) Depending on my mood, I (1) try to explain in the best and most intelligent way I can, (2) come up with a fantastic fairy tale bcoz these are the kinds of answers he likes best, or (3) say ‘just because’ or ‘go ask Dad’. Haha.

Yoshi is the kind of sweet baby who’s always saying I love you and thank you and giving me hugs and kisses. Boots is sweet in his own little way – he’s always there shadowing me.

When I'm fixing the linen closet (which is in his room), Boots is also there climbing on the chair to fix his bookshelf. When I’m doing the stretching exercises that Ches taught me, he's right on the carpet doing his own version of sit-ups and push-ups. When I’m in the mood to dance, he dances along with me and takes control of the music, besides – he likes Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and New Wave (his favorites from the 80s are Whip It, Mickey, and Karma Chameleon, and protests when I repeat my favorite Electric Dreams).

When I’m removing my nail polish he’s also there pretending to give himself a manicure. When I’m sewing buttons on clothes he’s right beside me making a mess of the threads and threatening to pick up the needles from the sewing kit. Even when I’m flossing he’s there sitting on the toilet bowl watching me like I’m up to something truly fascinating and firing his 60 million questions.

One time while he was sitting like that on the toilet bowl, he suddenly remembered he had to poop. Since he learned to talk, he has had this peculiar habit of giving a running commentary of what comes out of his bowels. He would say, ‘Look, Mommy, it’s a big one!’, ‘Mommy, it’s dark green!’, ‘Wow, small one naman!’ HAHAHA. He’s crazy, I know.

I couldn’t have asked for a cuter shadow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy List 19

1. Ham and cheese from Sweden, from Tito Justin's balikbayan relatives. Yummies.

2. Being in touch with the PMS kids even if we don't get to see each other as often - working with Eycee on our Coron trip, Robert texting about our pasalubong from Cebu, Robby's almost daily updates about UP Law. They're so sweet. They could've been my own kids if I had started making babies at a younger age instead of going to law school. Haha.

3. Several happy things courtesy of MIB this week. Monday he profusely apologizes bcoz I’m caught in the middle of toxic office issues. Tuesday he gives me a GC for a spa package from Neo Day Spa, for my help with his condo purchase, he says. (I happened to mention to him before that the spa was in the same building as QT.) The package was called Detox Detox which I think has something to do with our little joke about how toxic work is for me. Haha. According to the brochure, it's the spa’s ultimate detoxification package and includes stuff called seaweed bath, algae wrap, lymphatic drainage massage, among other exotic-sounding loveliness, for all of 180 minutes. (Omg. I so love my boss.) But that’s not even the best part yet. That distinction belongs to Friday, when he sat me down a long time to ask me in no uncertain terms to stay over the long term, and this bcoz he found out I've been having some dramas at work. (Owww. He doesn’t know it, but this guy breaks my heart all the time. Sob.)

4. My Cath Kidston bags have been delivered to Thom!!! OMG. (Thank you, thank you, Lord.) Now it will all be just a matter of waiting till he gets back here in July. Woohoo!!!

5. Board meeting week payback in the form of a hefty lunch buffet courtesy of the beloved canteen chef whom we all call Daddy, and Lord Stow’s egg tarts and Mary Grace cheese rolls (Rosa’s favorite is the Red Ribbon empanada but I’m not a big fan of that)

6. A picture of my induction as fellow from the ICD. I love the pix bcoz I’m smack in the middle with my flowing, swirling Michelle Lim aquamarine wrap dress with the fuschia and lavender prints, amid everyone else’s stuffy, oh so corporate dark coats. You couldn’t miss me even if you tried. Haha.

7. Mid-year sales of all my favorite stores – Plains and Prints, Esprit, Accessorize, Mango, Nine West. I behave and buy just a little to get me thru my recent office dramas. Two tops, three sweaters, two dresses, two pairs of shorts, a bag, and a belt. Ok, not so little. Haha.

8. Vada’s birthday party where we have Mom’s specialty chocolate cake, Pops’ specialty pancit, KFC bucket meal, crispy pata, pizza, pichi pichi, and Conti’s mango ice cream cake. Yumminess.

9. Our boss’s lunch treat for Ann’s and Thina’s birthdays. We have paella, chicken barbecue, and buco pandan. More yumminess.

10. My own treat for the two girls, at Manila Diamond Hotel’s late dinner buffet. We all pig out on the salads, noodles, pizzas, dimsum, and desserts. We even have a raffle before the dinner, with us three lawyers contributing the prizes and each of us going home with our loot. I got a YSL perfume and Bath and Body Works spray from Ann, plus Clinique make-up and Bath and Body Works cream from Rosa. Such a winner.

11. Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. Well thought out and emotionally intense. Lisa Kudrow is cast against type here, as a driven, controlling, high-maintenance wife/mother/famous doctor. (I’ve loved her since Phoebe in Friends and Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion.) This film also took the effort not to put the characters in a box, so you never know what they’re capable of doing. I didn’t like the happy ending, tho. There are a few things in life that I am 100% sure of, and one of them is: home wreckers and, for that matter, guys who cheat on their wives or girlfriends, do not deserve happy endings. Ever.

12. Trust The Man. At times hilarious, other times poignant. Just never mind the cheesy ending. I appreciate that it doesn’t take itself too seriously (I hate phony films like that). David Duchovny is so endearing as a house husband. And what is it with Julianne Moore that she never ages and is good in every role I’ve ever seen her in? I think she looks well on her way to never stop looking hot.

13. A Single Man. Quiet, picturesque, graceful. It had a Falling Down feel to it in that the gay character of Colin Firth was slowly, painfully unraveling, albeit with a lot less violence and a different kind of angst as that of Michael Douglas’ character.

14. Finally, a three-day weekend. GMA was corrupt and all of that, but she did give us a lot of long weekends. You can’t even say that about P-Noy. Dang.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finally, A Long Weekend

Since we had the extra holiday on Monday, we all went to Tagaytay for fathers’ day and my parents’ wedding anniv. It rained heavily after lunch, so all we got to see was the Residence Inn. I was hoping we could go to Caleruega after. I told Mom, we lucked out on Enchanted Kingdom, Baguio, and Laiya, (where the skies were also overcast but the rains never did fall, except for that first day in Laiya), but I guess the rain finally caught up with us in Tagaytay.

Pops’ favorite resto in Tagaytay, Diner’s, was closed for renovations. Shame. I was looking forward to the yummy bulalo there. Haha. We decided to go to Max’s instead to go for the chicken-all-you-can, but it turns out that’s available only for dinner. Anyways, we all loved the chicken, crispy pata, kare-kare, pancit canton, plus bottomless gulaman at sago. Popsy is happy anywhere there’s good pancit. We all had just a little of it and offered him the whole platter as fathers’ day gift. Hahaha. He’s Mr. Pancit.

The kids had fun with the animal show, with the two elder ones volunteering at every turn. Bootsie went with them up on the stage initially, but ran back to me when the horse made its appearance. Haha. I think he got traumatized bcoz this eagle by the entrance bit him on the arm bcoz he got too close and too hyper. Haha.

Of course, Yosh bugged me to volunteer, too. He wants me to compete with other parents like that. Hence, I had to pretend to help carry this giant python (which we later saw crush a poor little bunny before gobbling it up). Rino had no problem with that at all. He has all these pictures carrying all kinds of snakes, giant and otherwise, when we were younger.

As a matter of principle, I am against caging animals just so humans can gawk at them in zoos, but for now zoos are the only places where my kids can see real animals up close. They’re too young for safaris, and not to mention, there’s that small issue of us not being able to afford Africa (haha), so I don’t really have a choice but to bring them to these things. I’m glad Residence Inn is now run by the same people behind Zoobic Safari. They let the animals run wild in Zoobic, and in Residence Inn the cages were spotless (if nothing else). The place is much improved from the last times we’ve been here when we were younger.

We ended the trip with our usual Digman halo-halo and ham and cheese empanada. Best Empanada and Halo-Halo Ever (next to Lola Cording’s halo-halo, that is). I’ve dedicated countless blogs to the sheer yumminess that is Digman halo-halo. Bootsie also couldn’t have enough of the tahong chips.

One of my favorite parts of any road trip with the entire family is listening to Rino’s music. This time I borrowed his iPod thruout the trip. On the way to Tagaytay I choose all our favorite old songs from Oasis, Third Eye Blind, Greenday, Alanis, Radiohead, Coldplay. They don’t make songs like Don’t Look Back in Anger, Champagne Supernova, Wonderwall, Last Kiss, Creep and Yellow anymore.

On our way home I sat at the back with Yosh and we watched music videos together. I chose all his favorite songs - Fireflies, You Are The Only Exception, Pyramid, Club Can’t Handle Me, Love Story, Two Is Better Than One. I think everyone else was exhausted from the long trip, plus the rain and traffic, but Yoshi and I – we were having a blast in our own little music world.

The three elder kids were surprised that we went home and were expecting that we would stay overnight in a hotel. Owww. My bad. Next time, kiddies =)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


We were still in college when we met you. You were so vibrant, so cheery, so fast – and that was how you got your little nickname. We dressed up and had dinner out to celebrate your coming into our lives.

You’ve been with us everywhere. You took us to as far north as Baguio, and as far south as Mindoro. You were with us in many of our road travels, saw us thru our various jobs, braved the searing sun and countless floods for us season after season. It was you who picked me up from my bar exams and took me home as the waters rose all around us. It was you who took me to the hospital the two times I went into labor, and you who brought home both our newborn babies (no doubt, your most precious cargoes ever). It was you who rushed Mom to the ER when she had her third stroke.

It was all you, Perky.

We would have let you take us to our wedding if you weren’t so red.

You were always so reliable and never gave us any problems (except for that phase when you became the vehicular version of The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Haha). We could always count on you to take us to wherever we needed to go, and at the end of a long day, we looked forward to being back in your warmth as you safely took us home.

We have so many good memories together. Those early days in UP, the rainy drive to Batangas on your first and only Ro-Ro trip, the straight-out-of-Blair-Witch midnight journey in Mindoro when you and Jon’s car were the only moving creatures in the interminable, dark road. And who could forget that crazy period when I tried to drive you, with several guys teaching me like Ches, Thom, Beavis. The whole foolishness ended with Mang Carling (who happens to be only the driver of the then CEO of MWC), who was with me when I hit you against a giant post in Balara filter plant. (I’m sorry, Perky. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Whaddahell was that post doing there, anyways?)

We’ve had Serge our second car, and Piolo our third, but you were our first and for that alone you will always be special. It makes all of us sad to let you go. Bootsie wants you back, actually. He’s been bugging Ate Ann and asking when you’re coming back. But letting you go is what we have to do to give you a new lease in life, with other people whom we hope will love you as much as we still do.

It has been a good 12 years.

Goodbye, Perky. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy List 18

1. Ice cream and iced coffee at Mini-Stop with the boys and Vada on a lazy Sunday afternoon

2. Tito Aaron’s getting married! We all love Tito Aaron. I think my boys got their craziness after him. He bought a house and lot before he even proposed and booked a honeymoon in Korea before they even started the wedding preparations. Hahaha. It’s so fitting that Bootsie will have his first stint as ring bearer in the wedding of one of his favorite titos.

3. Caramel bars from a grocery in Tarlac. They’re so good (better than Max’s) my in-laws abroad have them couriered all the way there.

4. Meeting up with my old clients from CV. They were my clients in QT, actually, and when I left, they went with me, and since then I’d do bits of work for them every now and then. No major racket, practically pro bono, as I barely charge them (just enough to sustain one shopping spree). Which I think is the main reason why they’ve stuck with me after all these years. Haha. They’ve become friends and not just clients to me.

5. Chopsuey, fried chicken, and carbonara with a lot of bacon from Ate Ann. She wasn’t much of a cook when she started with us years and years ago, but now she’s really getting the hang of it. Just like Mom. So maybe there’s hope for me yet in the kitchen. (Are you reading this, Ches? Haha.)

6. So many ‘likes’ of Bootsie’s pix in uniform and shades – from Rosa, Pie, Ate, Ate’s friends. We all love Bootsie, don’t we?

7. Dinner with the boys at Gayuma. Yosh loved the moussaka and roasted chicken. Boots and I loved the wild mushroom soup and creamy/fruity cake. Ches ate all the rest. Haha.

8. Walk around UP after the dinner, and it became like a walking history tour bcoz they had banners on Rizal all over the acad oval. (I’d learn later it was part of the Relevant Rizal Outdoor Banner Project or something like that.) We’d stop and read at every turn. Yoshi The Studious One was very interested and asked all these questions, but Bootsie gave up after the third banner or so and said with exasperation, What are you guys talking about?! Hahaha. I loved those banners. My favorites were an irreverent one which focused on Rizal’s height (the banner said ‘small but terrible, yeah!’) and one entitled Hero for the Hero which featured the Luneta guards who stand by Rizal’s monument 24/7. So touching. (Happy birthday, Dr. Jose Rizal! You’re still so cool after all these years =)

9. Surprise merienda party for Mrs. M who has been in the office for 50 long years (get a load of that). It’s her first and last job. She’s beloved by everyone and still so sharp at her age. She remembers all the products from the old days, and all the people she has ever worked with. Amazing.

10. More of Toast Box’s hainanese chicken, while Ches tries the prawn mee this time. I told you I could eat in this place everyday. It’s my new Pancake House.

11. Endless emails with Thom and Ate. Thom being Thom, he’s not content chatting with Ate on FB and actually calls her up and offers her photography and driving lessons in the US. Hahaha. I think even Ate now looks at Thom as a younger brother, with his inimitable way of wiggling himself into our lives like that. Hahaha. (We love you, Thom.)

12. Service providers you can rely on, like our dentist Dr. Ailen who’s so patient with Yosh and so capable in her job

13. Yosh not throwing any fuss and bravely sitting thru another round of tooth extractions. I love how his teeth are so even now and his smile so bright. When his front teeth were still bad, I somehow felt like this was my fault, like they were the marks of my failure as a mother. But now I’m all happy and feeling like a winner mom. Haha.

14. And since Yosh behaved at the dentist’s, he earned a trip to Quiapo, which was actually a treat for all of us, too. Haha. (I wonder where we’ll go when Mayor Lim makes good his threat to clamp down on all the Quiapo pirates …)

15. Fresh fruit shakes from Ersao. I loved my avocado one and Bootsie’s buco lychee. Ches had watermelon and Yosh had mango, as usual. Yoshi is Mr. Mango Forever.

16. Daydream Nation, this indie film that’s deceivingly shallow (high school love and all that drama) but is actually quite poignant and intelligent. It’s like a more profound, more sensitive Easy A. I loved it. Andie McDowell is here and she’s old but still so lovely. Josh Lucas played the psychotic teacher. He was so hot in Sweet Home Alabama but here he was just blah. Haha.

17. The Assistants, another indie with no actor of any recognizable face or name. It was funny and quirky the way all indies aspire to be, and offered a glimpse of Hollywood behind the scenes. It was cool.

18. Arthur, which is not exactly indie, but how can I miss any movie with Russell Brand in it much less as the lead actor? This movie was so made for him. It’s like he’s really this way in person – at times offensive but unfailingly endearing. He has such a good thing going with Helen Mirren in this film (she played his nanny) I was actually hoping they’d end up together. Hahaha. I love love love Russell Brand.

19. Bootsie’s Brat Comment of the Week: I don’t like this pillow. It smells like Kuya. HAHAHA.