Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy List 33

1. My boys’ fevers and little body aches don’t turn out to be anything serious. Thank you, Lord. (That’s got to top any mommy’s happy list.)

2. Dinner at Little Quiapo with everyone at home and my in-laws

3. Lanzones season. Lanzones is My Favorite Fruit in the Whole World. I’ve been known to finish several kilos in one sitting. Seriously.

4. MIB’s back =) The first thing he says is that we should take as long as we like in the US. Owww. And he tells me this story about his wife and how she blew him away. They’re one of the sweetest couples I know. I think guys who hold their partners in such high esteem like that make the best husbands and daddies.

5. Apologies from my boss and the Chairman when they take a couple of days before they reply to my emails. They are The Most Humble and Most Gracious Owners Ever. Even my bosses in Ayala were not this nice.

6. Not fumbling major presentations before executives and bosses. I hate presenting as much as anyone, but it’s happy when you actually manage to pull it off, right? When I am faced with another presentation, I just think of that time I had to do it before no less than The Dragon Lady of that conglomerate, at a time when our entire group was under attack, and I managed to not only not make her angrier than she already was with everyone, but actually make her laugh. That’s the joy of going thru truly horrifying experiences like that – everything else that follows becomes chicken feed.

7. Rosa’s lunch treat at Banapple. I made her take us out before I accepted her resignation letter. Haha. Of course, I’m really sad she’s leaving, but this is all part of corporate life (I’m the girl who’s on my fourth job after only 11 years of working, after all), and we’ll still be friends even outside the office, anyway.

8. How To Save A Life playing when we go into Banapple. Last time I was here with Beavis, Viva La Vida came on, and the two of us take a break from our nonstop chatter and observe a moment of silence in honor of one of my favorite songs. Haha.

9. Kopi Roti coffee bun and choco milk toast. Yum.

10. We get 10-year multiple entry US visas! Woohoo! The Legal girls tease me about it so I promptly go and treat them to lunch at Yang Chow. Haha. We laugh and laugh over Miss Universe Q and As or some other stupid thing and end up with tummy aches and tears in our eyes. Lunch with the Legal girls is fun all the time.

11. A long drawn-out drama at work that frustrates me to no end, but Team Good Governance eventually wins out. Victory is sweet.

12. Dinner with Ches at Longganiza Sorpresa in Sky Garden, before we watch Rakenrol. I love longganiza. It’s one of my favorite food for breakfast. And I find out that the kind I like from Lola Donnie (short, fat, salty, and peppery, without any sugar or that red thing that I could never stand) is actually like the best-selling Vigan longganiza.

13. Texts with Lani, who keeps me updated on all the SM juicy news to this day. I love and miss Lani.

14. The new Cath Kidston ballerina collection. Cath Kidston + ballerinas = love and dreams. I’m so buying these babies as soon as I save up enough moolah. Haha.

15. Bootsie’s art exhibit in school. His artwork is too cute. And Teacher Mae tells us he’s actually behaved in school, and how she wishes all her students were like him. Owww. (Is that really you, Bootsie? We can hardly recognize you. Haha.) She also said all the teachers have crushes on him. Now that we can believe. Haha. (Get in line, teachers.)

16. Lunch with the boys at Tokyo Café, before their Active Fun weekend treat

17. Massage, foot spa, and mani-ped at Blue Elements with Ches. Heaven for three hours.

18. Yoshi’s Maldita Comment of The Week: Mom, if your life is made into movies, the titles would be Maldita and Her Son, Maldita and Her Son’s Brother, Maldita Fights The Driver (meaning Ches). Yoshi is too funny, I tell you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I knew that it was an indie film and was invited in several film festivals abroad. I knew about the storyline and, it being indie, I expected that it was going to be quirky, hilarious, and irreverent.

It was all that, but I didn’t know that it was going to be so much more.

I didn’t know that the script was going to be so funny, spot-on, and obscene that Ches and I were practically beating each other up from laughing too hard. It's destined to be one of those cult classics where several years down the road you're still quoting lines and telling jokes from the film.

I didn’t know that the film starred hands down The Best Scene-Stealer of All Time, in the person of the artist roommate of one of the band members. He was so natural and effortless, and looked like your friendly Manong tricycle driver who just happened to pass by the location of the shoot. He’s like Rhys Ifans’ character in Notting Hill, tho loads more eccentric and scathing. He’s so lovable Ches and I almost wanted to give him a standing ovation when he finally redeemed himself with a successful art exhibit at the end.

I didn’t know that it was going to be a major nostalgic trip with video clips of all these notorious punk bands when we were in college – The Youth, The Teeth, The Dawn, and The Eraserheads, of course. The film also includes clips of more recent bands like Sandwich, Sugarfree, Urbandub. Many of Pinoy’s rock royalty make cameos, too, playing themselves (including my beloved Buddy Zabala).

I didn’t know that Ely Buendia (yes, The Ely Buendia) was going to play this crucial Yoda-like role, dispensing words of wisdom by quoting cheesy Jean Claude Van Damme lines, as he and the lead star sip drinks in a dimly-lit Mini Stop bench. Whaddawhack. This is Ely Buendia, only The Greatest Pinoy Rock Star Ever. Acting in a movie. And doing a good job of it, too.

I didn’t know that the credits song was going to be Balikbayan Box. Totally unrelated to the story and the only reason I can surmise why it's there is that Quark Henares is an Eheads fanboy. It's one of those Eheads songs that are so fun to listen to and sing along with, so typical Eheads in that it has all these details and all these little stories, but somehow the message is so elusive and you can never figure out what it truly means.

Well now I know. And Rakenrol is on its sweet way to being My Favorite Indie Film of The Year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Therapy

It’s been one toxic week after another, work-wise and life-wise. When the smart thing to do would be to work beyond 5PM or go home early to try and tick a few more items off my worker bee/queen mum to-do list, I choose to do the lazy, happy thing – I hie off to Trinoma and do book therapy in Fully Booked, Powerbooks, and National Bookstore.

My recent buys include these hard-bounds with lovely covers. Yes, I judge the book by its cover. I’m the type who would buy a book just bcoz I like the drawing or picture in the cover, even if I’ve never heard of the author and I’m not exactly fascinated by the story. Conversely, even if the author is a favorite or the book is critically-acclaimed, I won’t be caught dead buying it if the cover is ugly. It’s my hard-earned money, after all. I should be free to spend it as I wish. Haha.

(On top of the nice red pump and purple flowers in the cover of Twenty Questions, I also like that title bcoz Beavis sent me a copy of a Palanca awardee - it was a play, I think - of the same title and I so loved it and I'm hoping this book will also be a winner.)

I’m always buying books with these glossy medals on the cover. National Book Award, Carnegie Medal, Newberry Honor, Oprah’s Book Club, New York Times bestseller, international bestseller, stuff like that. I trust the people behind all these awards and lists who must be infinitely smarter than me to tell me what’s a good read. The books often live up to all the hype, but there have also been a number that have left me scratching my head and wondering what all the fuss was about and how come I totally did not get it. Haha.

One Day was the first book I fell in love with this year (I think). It was better left alone bcoz it’s perfect as it is, but as is usually the case with books this good, Hollywood had to get into the picture and totally mangle it with a film version. (I have zero plans of watching the movie, not even if it’s just a P12 pirated CD from Quiapo.) Anyway, David Nicholls is my new favorite British author (up there with Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and J.K. Rowling), and I’m all excited to get my hands on Starter for Ten and The Understudy.

I’ve just finished By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham (of The Hours fame). He’s gay, I think, bcoz he dedicated his book to ‘his partner’. He writes really well. It’s one of those books that not only tell a great story but are also so beautifully written. (Anita Shreve and Elizabeth Berg have this same talent, being both great writers and storytellers.) One of the reviews says some parts are so lyrical and lovely it’s like they create a halo over the page. I so agree.

Showbiz Lengua is what’s currently on my bedside table. One, I’m fascinated by gayspeak, which is often equivalent to showbiz speak (it’s the showbiz peeps who copy from the gays, I’m sure). Two, I’m a fan of Pete Lacaba. Hello, he only wrote Tagubilin at Habilin, for me One of The Best Pinoy Poems of All Time. It’s turning out to be exactly the fun read I expected. My favorite so far is when he writes something like: Artistahin ka. Kamukha mo si Max Alvarado. HAHAHA. (I’m shallow, I know. I never denied it.)

I also bought a biography of Michelle Obama. I love her. She’s so thin, articulate, hands-on with her kids, and over all so fierce. Normal girls follow Will and Kate - me I stalk Michelle and Barrack (and Malia and Sasha). Haha. I cried in the office when Ate texted me that Mr. Obama has been elected US president. This is something I have in common with M (My Former Favorite Boss and Still My Long-Time Crush) – he also used to tear up when he’d talk to me about Mr. Obama’s speeches at the height of the campaign. I don’t even care if he doesn’t get re-elected anymore. I love him and his girls, anyway.

Now what did I go and buy a Stephenie Meyer book for, when I hate the whole Twilight craziness? I don’t know. I actually have Books One to Four, too. I even asked Beavis to watch out for me and let me know when the whole set is available in Fully Booked in the Fort, bcoz it was always running out in the MoA branch. And the same day he told me it was all available, I went straight to the Fort after the SM Christmas party. I think I finished all four books that same Christmas break. Not exactly the kind of behavior you expect from someone so vocally critical of the whole series, right? I guess the Twilight thing is for me something like a car accident in NLEX – I know that it’s going to be horrible and might even make me puke, but I just can’t help but look. So there.

These are not actually new buys and have been in my book shelf for some time but somehow I never got around to reading them. The God of Small Things and The Satanic Verses I just had to buy bcoz I didn’t want to be The Last Person On Earth Who Has Not Read The Masterpieces. Well, technically I still have not read them, but at least I’ve bought them. Haha.

Quentins brings together some of my favorite characters from Maeve Binchy’s vast collection of books. I discovered her and promptly got obsessed while I was in law school. I have all of her ten or so books from Light A Penny Candle to Tara Road. If I had read my SCRAs and codals instead of Maeve Binchy while I was in UP Law, I’d be an authentic lawyer now instead of having to be a pretend one all the time. Haha.

I bought Catching The Big Fish for only one reason: it was written by David Lynch, who made a cult classic surreal horror film called Eraserhead, which is the origin of the name of this famous Pinoy band which I can’t remember at the moment (haha). I’ve put off reading it out of fear that it’ll be one of those books that are just too profound for me to understand. And if you have a fear like that, you’d rather hold on to it for as long as you can, than to have your suspicions about your own intellectual limitations confirmed. Hahaha.

Randy is so going to kill me again when he sees just how many new books I've tried to squeeze into our already crowded bookshelf since the last time he checked.

Just the same - thank you, Lord, for all our good books.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy List 32

1. Raffee’s birthday party in Shakey’s. My boys and I love kiddie parties – the magic show, the games, all the food (haha). Even little Bootsie joins the games now. Yosh was happy that we happened to have an ATM card, a new P20 bill, and a black pen, hence he hoarded prizes at the Bring Me game. (On our way to the party, he eyed my bag and sighed, Hay, Mommy, ang liit ng bag mo, matatalo tayo sa Bring Me. HAHAHA.)

2. Imported goodies on sale in Hi-Top. Thina goes every week and she texts me when she sees the usual potato chips, chocolates and pastries I buy so she can get them for me. I love Thina. She’s always looking after my happiness. Haha. (My running joke with Thina is, she doesn’t reply when I text her about work-related stuff, but when Forever 21 or Sanrio is on sale, she’s so there texting me away. Haha.)

3. Ardo’s birthday treat at JT’s. He’s the newest addition to our group doing strategy and acquisitions. He’s one of those guys who drive a BMW and got an MBA in the US but are so quiet, unassuming, and not at all snooty. In other words, the kind I torment all the time. Haha.

4. Meeting with my corporate governance circle, where I got to ride with Thom, see Paula (since the venue was the EDC office), and chat with Regina. This group is fun and rowdy and the meetings are not your usual oh so formal, stuffy ones even if the people in attendance hold some of the highest positions in the country’s biggest corporations. Plus, the advocacy is corporate governance, the one work-related thing – after environment law which I didn’t get to practise anymore since QT eons ago – that I could get passionate about.

5. Dinner with Ches at Sweet Bella, since I was in the Fort for the meeting in EDC. Loved the seafood pasta where the quantity of seafood almost equaled the pasta (I hate it when it’s all pasta and you have to scrape to get any sahog), the four-mushroom pizza (yes, four-mushroom instead of the usual four-cheese), the butterscotch frappe and the award-winning chocolate ganache where the chocolate filling is like more than half the whole thing (and it even came in an exquisite chocolate brown and magenta box for take-out). Yumminess.

6. Victoria Casal Hello Kitty store. Omigosh. This store is my new idea of heaven. It has The Most Exquisite Hello Kitty Goodies I have ever seen anywhere, including all the Kitty stores I go to when I travel abroad. Too bad it’s the priciest, too. Hahaha. If you think the prices of original Kitty stuff in Sanrio or Gift Gate are obscene, the prices in Victoria Casal are ten times as much and absolutely sky-high. Yes, even by Kitty addict standards. If I suddenly receive a ton of moolah from heaven, I’m so rushing to this store first thing. Hahaha.

7. Walking around the Fort with Ches. It has majorly changed in recent years. When QT moved there eons ago, there was just Mc Do, The Fort, Shell stop-over, UCC, and they played movies in the vacant lot beside Net One on some Fridays or had concerts there that we could watch from our huge glass windows, and Richard Gomez and family even flew kites in the area. It used to be just this vast expanse of cement and dried grass, and now it’s littered with tall buildings and funky restos, and there’s a huge hospital and they’re even building a hotel. You so made the right move, QT. Haha.

8. Weekend lunch at Dome with the boys. Ches and I loved the Vigan longganiza pasta, while the boys preferred the cheese pizza and chicken fingers, and we all dug into the chocolate waffles topped with vanilla ice cream. I ordered the seafood chowder, too. (I have it whenever it’s on the menu, even if the resto is not exactly a seafood place. I love seafood chowder. It’s my favorite kind of soup.) I love Dome - the place is big and the decor classy, the food is good and reasonably priced considering the ambience. Ches and I bring our kids to these snooty places sometimes in the hope that they will imbibe some table manners. Haha.

9. A custard cake from Symphony of Flavors, bought by the boys for me while I go to a salon and they walk around Eastwood. So good and sweet. Yoshi and I love custard.

10. Yoshi overheard me bitching about someone in the office as usual, and he told me not to leave the office yet bcoz we need money for our US trip (haha), and I reassured him that I had no plans of leaving my office for the next 60 million years bcoz I love it there even if some people annoy me to bits. Which was the perfect opening for him to come up with his Maldita Comment of the Week: Mom, you won’t be around in 60 million years. Maybe your kamalditahan will, but not you. HAHAHA.

Friday, September 16, 2011


On the same day as our US visa interview, Manila Pen had its 35th anniv promo where you can have the schublig and halo-halo in the lobby for only P35 each. They had a similar promo two years ago that also included palabok. It was my good friend M who told me all about it – we were both still in SM then, and she was the former HR queen of the Pen (part of her claim to fame is that she hid in the basement along with all the other hotel staff during the Magdalo siege), and she got me, Ches and Robby seats without us having to join the long line in front. The three of us went there after work and gorged on all the schublig, palabok, and halo-halo we could ever want.

This time, Ches and I went in the afternoon after we had brought the boys to school. (I finally got to meet all of Bootsie's girls. Marthina is the prettiest of them all. Go get them, Bootsie! Haha.) We were seated and eating after only about 30 minutes of waiting. Ches’ favorite is the schublig (it’s one of his default orders when we eat out) but me I preferred the halo-halo. It was in a big round glass that was overflowing with all these shamelessly sweet bits of fruit, beans, nata, and topped with a huge chunk of leche flan and a large scoop of ube ice cream. It was heaven in a glass.

Manila Pen is my favorite among all the five-star hotels around. My friend/client Mr. Mc Cormick used to take me to dinner at the lobby all the time. I loved the Indian cuisine in Spices, too, and the lasagna in Mi Piace. The lobby is so old world, so bright and airy and high-ceilinged, with impressive artwork and round-the-clock live music from a pianist and violinist at the second floor terrace. Paula, Regie, and I had all these crazy pictures in the lobby when we received awards at this MWC event in the Conservatory years ago.

(Ches says, so you didn’t take a lot of pix at Dolce Latte? HAHAHA. Ches is too funny. Dolce Latte is this obscure coffee shop in QC where the last office event was held. My current company is clearly the least glamorous and prestigious of the four I’ve worked in, but it is hands down my favorite. All that wowness of working in the highest-paying law firm in the country, wading neck-deep into the much vaunted Ayala way, and being a VP at 32 at that other famous big conglomerate, not to mention all those grand junkets, five-star hotel and SMX evening gown parties with showbiz performers and the works – they were good while they lasted and I’m grateful I had the chance to experience them. But I guess as you grow older you don’t need all that anymore – you have sufficiently proven yourself that you now have the luxury to go after what makes you truly happy: bosses and officemates you love working with, new issues that challenge you everyday and give you a sense of fulfillment when you get to solve them, and an office culture that leaves you with a lot of time to spend with your family. My cup overflows. But I digress as usual. Haha.)

After Manila Pen, we went to pick the boys up from school. They were so surprised and happy that Ches and I were there to get them instead of their usual school bus. They felt bad going to school that day bcoz I guess they were all psyched to take the rest of the day off since we left the house early to go to the embassy. Haha.

We go and buy milk teas at this newly opened place in the neighborhood called Tea Please. The taste was a bit stronger than what the boys are used to, but I loved the place bcoz it was so quaint and homey. There was a corkboard where customers could pin their Post-It messages. Someone wrote: Kahit gaano pa kasarap ang milk tea nyo, hindi ko pa rin ipagpapalit ang asawa ko. Hahaha. It sounded like something Ches would write. Someone else put his mobile number above this: triple anal penetration for dummies. Whaddawhack, right? Hahaha.

When we got home Ate Ann was cooking her specialty paella and pork binagoongan. She learned to cook these after we had the same for lunch at Tres in The Block. Paella is one of our family favorites, and binagoongan is my favorite pork dish. If I get jailed on account of all the pretend legal advice I spread around in the office, I’m definitely going to ask for Papa’s binagoongan as part of my last meal. Hahaha.

That whole Wednesday was just too happy. First we got the visas, then Ches and I got to go on a cheap date at the Pen, and we got to spend a lot of time with the boys and share our favorite dishes for dinner, too.

So maybe there’s no such thing as a perfect life, but every once in a while God gives us an entirely perfect day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Next Stop for Bootsie’s Old, Ugly Kitty Pillow

We all woke up early on The Big Day. Ches and I were absolutely petrified, but the boys were their normal, screaming happy selves, excited as they always are whenever the whole lot of us are in the car together, regardless of where we’re going.

One upside to going places with kids is, people give you a wide berth and let you go first in anything. Out of kindness, no doubt, but also I think to get rid of your loud and hyper kids as soon as possible. Haha. And so we were allowed to skip a lot of waiting lines especially since the boys were running around trying to dismantle chairs and stuff. And bcoz Bootsie wouldn’t sit still, someone took his chair and he threw The Mother of All Tantrums. At which point this girl took our passports and within minutes we were ushered in for The Interview.

And yes, Bootsie was having his tantrum the whole time. Ches had to carry him and he was just kicking and flailing about in his usual brat way. I just knew in my mothers’ instinct that something like this would happen - that during our interview something major would come up with the kids, like maybe Bootsie would choose that exact time to need to poop, or Yosh might accidentally smash the glass window separating us from the consul guy.

He asked about Ate, and whether we’ve all traveled together as a family before, and our jobs and monthly take home pay. And just like that - in less than five minutes, all smooth and painless and easy peasy lemon squeezy, the guy says: All your applications are approved. You will get your US visas in a week.


Ches says it’s my monthly salary that did it. Hahaha. Crazy. (But if this is in fact the case, then thank you, PascualLab, for my salary. You know I love you, and the salary is the least of the reasons why.) It was actually surreal that it happened so fast and easy. The guy didn’t even look at any of the land titles and bank certifications I faked for the occasion (haha). And I didn’t even get the chance to present the super winning argument that I prepared, which goes like this: We’re not filthy rich, but we’re definitely coming back to the Philippines bcoz we love our life here, and the Eraserheads, altho disbanded, live here. The only property we have is our house and the lot it stands on, and this is all the money we have in the bank, but I have authentic Cath Kidstons, and 60 million fabulous shoes and dresses … HAHAHA. We would have been so denied those friggin visas, I know.

Of course, an episode like this wouldn’t be complete without a little crying fit from me, right? I was actually tearing up the moment I heard the word ‘approved’. I turned to my boys and said, I’m going to see my Ate, and then my voice broke and I was crying full on.

This has always been about my Ate. If the consul guy didn’t like us to see the Statue of Liberty and the White House and Disneyworld, that’s perfectly fine – we’ll go to Seoul, or Japan, or Europe, all these other glorious places which are a whole lot easier to get into. But the US is where my Ate is, and so the US is where we want to go, nosebleed visa application process notwithstanding.

I did it all, too – the insufferably long on-line application forms (for all four of us), scheduling an appointment, browsing the website over and over as if I was reviewing for the Bar. I didn't want to have to pay a travel agent whose sole job would be to help me understand the instructions bcoz, last time I checked, I knew how to read (haha). All Ches had to do was pay in BPI and take us to UP Shopping Center to have our pix taken. So he was proud of me that I managed to pull it off, that I could be NOT ditzy sometimes. Haha. And for my part, I'm happy to realize that I'm the kind of person who, if I decide to do something, it's all systems go. I don't dilly dally or chicken out or back down from something new and challenging and next level. Hence, barely two months after Ate decided we should go see her next year, we have the visas to do just that.

And that’s how Bootsie’s old, ugly Kitty pillow became US-bound.

Thank you, Lord. And happy birthday, Ate =)

(Thank you to Babette for all the help, Jon for all thecheerleading, and all our other friends who prayed for us.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Maldita Mommy

(For Ate and all my friends who enjoy Yoshi as much as Ches and I do =)

This is Yoshi’s latest quiz in Language. It’s a simple complete-the-sentence test, what Yoshi and I call easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

My family is kind.

Every Sunday, we pray in mass.

My father is strong and good.

I have one brother that is cute.

My family loves to have fun.

And here’s the kicker:

My mother is maldita.

And if Teacher Jac had any doubts about what that last bit meant, Yoshi The Good Ideal Perfect Son made sure she understood. He also made a drawing of our little family, with an arrow pointing to the tall stick person with long hair and these words: She is maldita mommy.


Ches and I died laughing. It was too funny but it’s also so wrong. We explained to Yosh that this is just a private joke within our family, not something he should be broadcasting to the whole world, and definitely not something he should be writing down in a serious school quiz. I told Yosh, your teachers might call Bantay Bata and have me arrested for child abuse! And Ches adds, and when we go to Mayfield the teachers would run in the opposite direction the minute they see Mommy! Hahaha.

And Yoshi says: Ok, next time, I will just answer, My mother is hot.

Hot?! My mother is hot?! Just which planet did this little boy fall from?!

Ches and I are majorly censoring our speech around the house from now on. It’s not like we use the word ‘hot’ when we talk to our kids. We say ‘pretty’ or ‘good-looking’ when we talk to them. We say ‘hot’, tho, when we talk to each other about, say, Mila Kunis, or The Azkals. I guess we should’ve known better, that Yoshi The Boy Smart-Ass picks up EVERYTHING.


Guess whose little boy’s name was stricken off a mother's last will and testament tonight. Grrr.

Happy List 31

1. Bryan’s Maldita Comment of the Week, after my Ate makes one too many bigoted remarks: “Have you been talking to your sister lately?” HAHAHA. (Wait till you hear The Chowking Halo-Halo Massacre, Bryan. Then you will know I’m an absolute angel compared to my Ate.)

2. A bright, breezy Sunday that we can freely spend just lazing around, tinkering at home, ticking items off our own to-do lists that we never get around to doing bcoz sometimes our weekend social calendars with the boys get too busy

3. All sorts of goodies from Ches – nacho chips, peanuts (fried in this special way we both like that makes it so crispy), sansrival from Figaro (another winner), pancit luglug from Little Quiapo, and Lay’s kettle cooked potato chips in jalapeno flavor. I’m not really big on spicy stuff, but somehow I love jalapeno.

4. The yummiest board meeting lunch so far, with mixed veggies, fried chicken, and a concoction of eggplant with bagoong and mangoes, in addition to the staples bulalo, lumpia, and buco pandan

5. Inquirer’s best movie lists. They come up with stuff like the best wedding movies or the best graduation movies or the best vampire movies. I feel happy when I’ve already seen some of the films in the list, and if there’s something I haven’t seen and I’m really interested in I ask Ches to download it for me. These lists are some of the reasons why Inquirer is still worth reading, notwithstanding that Conrado de Quiros has transformed into The Ultimate P-Noy Fanboy. (He used to be one of my favorite writers there before he joined the whole adoring throng. I don’t hate P-Noy or anything - I think he’s just clueless for the most part - or at least not with a passion the way I hated GMA or Erap, but the point is, I want my journalists hard-hitting and not to sound like paid ads. What an utter disappointment.)

6. A friend calling to extensively discuss career plans and same such issues. It’s always a joy when friends trust you with their top-secret major movements and sound like they actually value your opinion on serious matters even if they make fun of you most of the time (haha).

7. Same Time Next Year. You know that I’m allergic to and unforgiving of infidelity, and hence I stay away from stories that romanticize extra-marital affairs and same such stuff, but I’m willing to make an exception if the movie deserves it. Same Time Next Year so does. It was actually more a story of friends than anything. It has a killer soundtrack (“The last time I felt like this I was falling in love, falling and feeling I’ll never fall in love again …”), the same kind of nonstop witty banter as in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, an amazing setting (a country cottage with lovely pine furniture all around, and overlooking a cliff that drops off to huge waves), and an ending that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been robbed or insulted or both.

8. Lunch with Beavis at Banapple. His real name is Allan Roy but I’ve always called him Niknok or Beavis bcoz he used to have The Funkiest Hair before he got married. Haha. He and Dex were two of my little brothers in MWC, before I even got pregnant with Bootsie, and way before the two of them got married and became daddies. We used to have days in MWC when we spent all our working hours exchanging all these senseless emails. Haha. Beavis and I used to go out drinking and singing, too, with Thom and another group of MWC friends. They’re so sweet to me, Beavis and Dex - always calling and texting, picking me up from the office even now so we could all go out together. (Dex was absent this time, tho, bcoz he was preparing for a trip to Istanbul. That little guy gets around, I tell you. He even went to Israel or something.) Beavis was exactly who I needed to see after a long week of being cooped up in board meetings. I love him dearly. I’m so proud of and happy with the kind of husband and father he turned out to be. I think he looks like Jake Gyllenhaal, too. Haha. He belongs to my category of hottie friends that include Jon, Didoy, Thom, and Robby. (Come to think of it, the real hotties are the most humble and unassuming, too.)

9. Surprise visit from Paula and kids. She was out of touch for a while and I told Thom it was bcoz he’s been forcing her to take his crazy Herbalife diet. Hahaha. The kids enjoyed their little playdate, and Pau and I spent morning till afternoon yakking away. The two of us NEVER run out of things to talk about. Ches was genuinely amazed listening to our endless chatter when we were still in SM together. Haha. Remember my category of friends who annoy me with their excessive goodness? Paula so does NOT belong to that category. HAHAHA. She’s one of the few girls I know who can be even more vicious than me. I love her.

10. Hanging out with the PMS kids. We always eat too much and laugh too loudly when we’re together, and we never end earlier than 3 AM, but that’s ok bcoz we’re just at home, anyway, with the boys sleeping soundly upstairs. Besides, Ches and I love these kids as our own.

11. Babette's anniversary piece about Juni. Like I said, Babette and Juni are one of the wittiest couples I know. If there's one person who should be blogging more, it's Babette. I always take away something good from her posts, be they heartbreaking or hilarious. She's my favorite blogger. She's one of the few I know who has both criteria required for blogging: passion and authority. (Most others have just either one, and a lot have neither at all. Mwahaha.)

12. Dinner with Ches at Mango Tree Bistro in Trinoma. Pricey Thai food in a chic setting. Ches loved the tom yum soup, but I preferred the fish cakes and rice mixed with bagoong and all sorts of Thai spices. Yumminess.

13. Mommy’s arroz caldo with native chicken. One of my favorite dishes at my in-laws’.

14. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. One of those books that look so daunting to read when you start out, but turn out to be so worth it that you regret ever getting to the end of it. Exactly how I felt about 100 Years of Solitude. My favorite lines from the book, which I just have to quote here bcoz they are too lovely:

“Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”

“To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you.”

Saturday, September 10, 2011

All My Loving

Ches’ phone rang the other night, to the timeless tune of The Beatles’ All My Loving. Bootsie heard it and declared: I love that song. I love it more than If We Hold on Together.

And it’s the first time he has ever heard it, too. Haha. So then we go to Youtube and play it over and over. We try to expose him to other great Beatles songs, but no, it’s just All My Loving that he likes. Haha.

Ches and I love The Beatles. It’s one of the few kinds of music we agree on (in addition to The Eraserheads – arguably the Philippine’s very own version of The Beatles – and APO). You don’t get any better than The Beatles. I grew up listening to my parents’ Beatles records. I envy my parents bcoz, while we grew up in the era of The Eraserheads and Harry Potter, it was their generation that had The Beatles. Dang. How cool would that have been to be one of those girls with coiffed hair in thick headbands and A-line smocks and knee-high boots, and who scream and cry maniacally when The Beatles sang and stalk them around everywhere? I can so imagine myself being one of these deranged groupies. Haha.

All the great soundtracks I know from both old and recent movies contain at least one Beatles song. Of course, there’s Across the Universe and Almost Famous, but they’re both about The Beatles so they shouldn’t count (haha). And there’s I Am Sam – love this movie, love the actors (Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer), and love all the Beatles songs in the soundtrack (Two of Us, Golden Slumbers, Across the Universe, Blackbird, Strawberry Fields Forever). And there was Ferris Bueller doing Twist and Shout in the rollicking parade scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (This is One of My Favorite Movies Ever. I was in love with Matthew Broderick in high school. It’s my tragic fate that The Men I Love marry Girls I Can’t Stand – Matthew and Sarah Jessica Parker, Russell Brand and Katy Perry, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. Ugh. But I digress, as usual. Haha.)

How about the wedding scene in Love Actually when friends and relatives scattered around the church suddenly burst out singing All You Need Is Love? One of my favorite scenes in yet another one of my favorite movies. (I’m so playing this song at my next wedding. Haha.) And just recently I saw Dinner for Schmucks and absolutely loved the opening scene where the character played by Steve Carell puts the finishing touches on an elaborate garden scene made up of exquisite, miniature stuffed mice while Fool On The Hill plays in the background. Perfection. I also like this scene in an obscure Jennifer Aniston movie I saw in college, where toddlers sang I Will complete with flash cards and varying degrees of shouting. Too cute.

Ches and I included two Beatles songs in our wedding repertoire – I walked down the aisle to the violin strains of Here There and Everywhere, and we played ‘Til There Was You at the reception. We also love Oh My Love but felt it was too sad-sounding for the occasion. How lovely are these three songs? They have got to be The Most Perfect Love Songs Ever. (And I’m so glad Ches didn’t back out of the wedding even after I chose Here There and Everywhere as my bridal march. I’m glad he missed the whole psychotic undertone of it, that I had every intention to be everywhere and all over him, and there’s no escaping me. HAHAHA.)

When I hear the word ‘timeless’, the first thing that comes to my mind is The Beatles. More than 40 years since they disbanded, The Beatles are still everywhere. The last book I raved about was Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, inspired by the Beatles song, of course. Even now, as it was when they were newborns, I sing my boys to sleep to the tune of Golden Slumbers. And wherever I hear Hey Jude, In My Life, With A Little Help From My Friends, We Can Work It Out, among others, and in addition to all the great Beatles songs I’ve already mentioned above – I just have to stop whatever it is I’m doing to listen and sometimes quietly sing along, out of tremendous respect for this amazing, blessed music.

So when three-year-old Bootsie readily ditches his all-time favorite If We Hold On Together in favor of All My Loving which he has heard only for the first time, Ches and I are overjoyed. The Beatles love gene is definitely something we want to pass on to our kids. And grandkids. And so on down the line.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Nobody Does It Better

(Randy and I sang this over and over one sem-break or summer when we volunteered at an NGO for migrant workers and went back to UP to get our class cards. I don’t recall what the state of our grades were that made us sing this song like mad. Haha. Anyways, I have since loved this song, especially when it was used as background music at the start of the second Bridget Jones movie as she was flying high up in a parachute and landing straight into cow dung. Perfection. Haha.)

So I haven’t seen Randy all year bcoz he’s been spending some time in the province taking care of his Lola. We’ve been in touch thru text or we’ll call each other and giggle for hours. But it’s different when he’s actually there in front of me and we could pinch each other or raise our eyebrows at the same time. So just like that, I texted him last week that I will see him in Megamall that weekend. (No particular affinity to Megamall, but it’s almost walking distance to his house and I didn’t want to give him any excuse not to see me. Haha.)

Instead he came over for dinner after meeting a client referred by Ches and who also lives in our neighborhood. I told him, I love it when you take on these junkets bcoz it means I get to see you often. Haha. I’m always so clingy to him bcoz he has a history of disappearing for long stretches in my life. And he’s one of my oldest, best friends whom I want present in my life all the time.

We met when we applied together in APSM in second year. My other college best friend Kai fell in love with him, too, and we were The Happy Carefree Giggly Trio for most of our college life. It was the two of them who slept with me in Sulo Hotel on the eve of my wedding (the last night of my singlehood and virginity hahaha). Kai has since moved to her husband’s province to be some kick-ass fiscal (I miss her terribly), while Randy fulfilled his dream of being a licensed interior designer. We would be in touch only intermittently thru the years, and I’m so glad we had our country home project to work on that brought us together again.

I like to stake my claim on Randy, how I found him first before all our other PolSci friends, how he was mine to begin with. (Hahaha. So pscyho.) I just absolutely love him. He has more class than any other person I know, and I mean both in his tastes in books and décor and fine things, as well as his manners and ethics and how he carries himself and treats other people. He’s one of those friends I have whom I feel compelled to shake every now and then to try and get a little of all that unsinkable dignity out of their system (haha). He’s passionate about his family, friends, and dogs. He listens and listens. He’s hilarious, too, and loves books, anything country and vintage, chocolates, and nuts as much as I do. He's one of a few people who are not afraid to put me in my place when I get to be too much. (And that's saying a lot, daring to go against a heinous bitch like me. Haha.)

Last weekend, we gave each other our long-delayed Christmas gifts. He gave me a Christmas bear, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and of course, my favorite Eeyore. He gave me two Winnies, actually – the smaller one is how the original Winnie looked like before he was ‘Disneyfied’. He’s also on the look-out for this giant Eeyore which he promised to give to me as soon as he gets his hands on it.

He also gave me these lovely pendants made of capiz and hand-painted with flowers. He told me to wear them in Coron since they're too late for Boracay. And I told him, I'll wear them to the office everyday! Haha. Plus, he gave me a two-toned bracelet that he ordered all the way from New York, courtesy of an aunt who lives there with two young daughters who are into this kind of bling. Omigosh. I love it as much as the other bracelet I saw him wearing at Bootsie’s birthday and instantly coveted for myself – this thick wooden thing with sharp edges, so fierce and violently clashing against all my other accessories.

In his note to his wedding gift to Ches and me (an exquisite Ashton Drake porcelain doll in full bridal regalia), Randy wrote this: “You deserve the person that you love. Just look at the two of you. You are both so lucky to have each other.” Owww. So sweet, right? It’s one of my favorite wedding greetings and I put it in our wedding scrapbook.

There’s no better proof than Randy that this applies to friendships, too – you so deserve the friend that you love.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Happy List 30

1. Bootsie’s new songs from school: Colors of the Rainbow, Bow Belinda, Ako Ay May Lobo, Biglang Pumutok Ang Bubblegum. And he’s so game performing all these songs, too, whenever I bug him to (which is all the time haha).

2. A four-day weekend to not only go out of town overnight but also run errands like buying groceries and even boring stuff like router and doghouse (haha). We mostly just enjoy being together and out of the office and school. Why aren’t all weekends made up of for four days, anyways? Dang. (There’s a QC congressman who filed a bill to make four-day work weeks. I’m not nearly patriotic enough to pray for the passage of even the bills I feel strongly about – like the RH Bill – but four-day work weeks? I’m so there on my knees imploring the high heavens. Haha.)

3. Bubble Tea passion fruit, honey dew, and strawberry milk teas. These stuff are so good and addictive, altho I try to stay away from them bcoz, hello, one drink costs more than a Happy Meal.

4. Cashews from Thom. Boots and I never go more than one week without cashews when Tito Thom is around. (Thanks, Tito Thom! We love you!)

5. The Good Body by Eve Ensler (yes, she of The Vagina Monologues fame). The book to read when you feel down bcoz you think you’re fat or ugly or both. Eve Ensler is so fierce. Her haircut alone has more character than some girls I know. HAHAHA.

6. Temptation Island, the original version. Regie was always incredulous that we haven’t seen this cult classic. It’s too funny. There were the usual Pinoy-movie formulas towards the ending, but it was fresh and irreverent for the most part. I didn’t realize people could already speak so ‘colorfully’ back in the 80s. Haha. (Thank you, Regie! I love you!)

7. Fabulous dangling earrings with 60 million Hello Kitty faces from Rosa (Thank you, Rosa! I love you!)

8. Dinner with Ches at Figaro. I liked the ambience at the branch we went to, which was made to look like a library of a country house, with Readers’ Digest books on the darkly polished wooden shelves. The food and drinks were also good, but my favorite was the chewy oatmeal brownie. Best Oatmeal Dessert Ever. I look forward to my long, quiet dinners with Ches every week, especially when the place serves yummy desserts. Haha.

9. Mentoring people at work. It’s tough and requires that you invest time and patience explaining every little thing and challenging your staff to think more creatively, but it’s also gratifying to share what you’ve learned ahead of them, and even better when you see them gaining more confidence and shining in their own right. It’s one of the things I enjoy most at work, and I’m just lucky that the staff I’ve worked with (Ate Ann, Thom, Paula, Regina, Ann, Rosa) have all been receptive to my mentoring style.

10. Being around to take care of your parents. Ches and I were talking about this, how my Ate is abroad and two of his siblings are, too. Some of our friends’ parents live abroad. Taking care of your parents is a piece of work (omigosh, tell me about it, right, Ate?), but Ches and I realized we’re actually lucky that we have a chance to watch over our parents, share our kids with them, spend time with them – things we know our siblings abroad can only hope for. (Note to self when I’m on the verge of another family-related drama. Haha.)

11. Long, endless emails with Ate and Kaye that spill over to the next day

12. Chats with Malen about shopping, motherhood woes, travel, cherry blossoms, and of course, dissing Jon behind his back (haha)

13. Zombadings. Hilarious and original. Some jokes fell flat and the editing could’ve been better. The guy who played Remington is so good. He and the gayspeak alone make this movie well worth watching. A fitting follow-up from the same team behind Maximo Oliveros (still my favorite indie movie of all time).

14. Nachos and Yellow Cab pizza while watching Zombadings. There are only a few greater joys in life than eating nachos while watching a good movie with your best friend in a cold, dark theater.

15. Yoshi’s still No. 1 in class =) He doesn’t have to be number anything, but if he ends up at the top, we’re not about to stop him, right? Haha. We talk to the school directress, too, to raise our concerns about some of the hand-outs and quizzes (too long and complicated). She was Ches’ SPED teacher in UP and so was especially nice to us. She said I would make a good teacher bcoz I seem to be so patient with kids. Out of her earshot Ches says, she doesn’t know you at all. HAHAHA.

16. And bcoz Yoshi did so well in school, we take him and Boots to Zong where he had all the yang chow fried rice, fish fillet, and siomai to his little heart’s delight. Ches and I enjoyed the hot prawn salad, too. Yumminess.

17. Body scrub, foot spa, hand spa, mani-pedi, the whole works at House of Glitz in Eastwood. When I get too lazy or stressed out at work and I’m tempted to just go home and sleep it off, I think about all the spa treatments I’m addicted to and need to pay for – and that’s enough to make me sit up and continue slaving away. Haha. I buy myself a big cup of Blizzard Oreo cheesecake after. Happiness.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Orange Eyes

When I was ordering our lunch at Hungry Hippo, I could barely look at the cashier bcoz she had gray eyes. I cannot stand Pinoys who wear colored contact lenses. I guess it would be ok for Caucasians bcoz they can be born with blue, green, violet eyes. Last time I checked, Pinoys could only be born with black or brownish irises (unless they had sore eyes or were vampires in some Twilight copycat TV show, in which case they had red eyes). So who do they think they’re kidding, right? In the Tagaytay junket, there was this girl who had gray eyes, too. Liz and I were so annoyed at her. Haha. In the office, there was someone who used to wear orange contacts. Wow. Orange? At work? Unbelievable. Rosa and I named her Orange Eyes and diss her all the time. Haha.

Other things I CANNOT stand, in addition to the above and my Hot Points blog of February 2008:

1. People who use Taglish in work-related emails. And it’s not even for words or phrases that are difficult to translate in English, but just annoying cutesy stuff like adding ‘na lang’ or ‘naman’ or ‘muna’. As in, ‘I’ll talk to my team muna, and will update you na lang, anyway it’s early pa naman’. Aaargh. We are all college graduates here - is it really so hard to complete one friggin sentence in proper English?

2. … and it’s so much worse when the Taglish is done by males. It’s the equivalent of Kris Aquino-speak in drag. Aaargh. I love gays (one of my favorite persons in the whole world is gay) and gayspeak (one of the things I miss most in MWC is Gabby’s colorful lingo), but males have absolutely no right to act and talk gay when they’re not. I have a message for you guys who pepper your daily conversations with cutesy Taglish: grow some balls, why don’t you.

3. Competitive types. I especially hate the types who just have to top everything you say when you’re not even competing with them. Last time I checked, the only people who could pull off this whole mas magaling ang lolo ko sa lolo mo routine were Vic, Joey and Jimmy. Two words: ikaw na!

4. Know-it-alls. Listen, if you haven’t nearly memorized Strunk and White the way I have, and if you didn't have The Ultimate Grammar Nazi with the initials LGD as one of your bosses for close to five years, please don’t ask me to change ‘as regards’ to ‘with regards’. For your information, those two phrases are so different from each other in ways you would never have imagined. I so believe what J thinks about this type, that maybe when they go to the salon they cut their own hair - bcoz they just happen to know better than all of the rest of us. (B & J are one of the wittiest couples I know.)

5. Pretend virgins. I have every admiration and respect for people who are still virgins past their teenage years (proud fact: I was a virgin when I got married), as well as people who do not casually talk about sex in deference to their chosen religion (I have a lot of good friends who fall under this category). But if you’re not devout and we all know you’ve been doing it, can you please not sit there looking all offended while the rest of us have a good laugh over the latest green joke? You’re not only a party pooper, you’re also a fake. Spare me.

6. Girls who wear too much make-up. There are girls who go to work every single day looking like they just stepped out of a salon. Funda fatale is how it’s called in gayspeak (haha). Such exceptional cosmetic skills no doubt come in handy in big events like weddings or graduations or 18th birthdays – but everyday? At work? When your work is not showbiz? What a waste spending all that time every morning coloring your face and heating your hair, time you can very well spend doing something truly productive … like blogging, for instance. Hahaha.

7. People who take themselves too seriously. I got a CV from an applicant who referred to herself as Atty. something married to Atty. someone and the daughter of Atty. somebody. (Who even puts names of their parents in their CVs, for gosh sakes?) Needless to say, someone so anal about the whole Atty. thing like that - she so does not have the ghost of a chance of getting into our company. Not while I’m in charge of hiring lawyers around here. Mwa ha ha.

8. And in relation to the above, people who are so full of themselves. Rosa sent me this long email with the subject, “You know you’re from UP Law if …” It was funny initially, but then after a while I was like, wait a minute, all you guys are really talking about are how smart you all are, how truly gifted you all are to have made it thru UP Law, and same such effects. It’s exactly what Ches refers to as ‘purely masturbatory’. Fine, you’re from The Great Malcolm Hall, teaching law in the grand manner and making great lawyers and all of that – we all get it already. Sheesh.

9. People who are mean to elderly people, or their very own young kids (why even procreate if you’re just going to maltreat them?), or guards, sales ladies, nannies and other similarly situated people. What’s the joy in brandishing your power over others who are clearly in a lower position than you are? These kinds of people, what they deserve from you is generosity and understanding. For a real power trip, try fighting it out with the chairman of the board, or the CEO, or the favored executives, or even the children of owners. Trust me – the real fun is so there. Hahaha.

10. Phonies. In a Labor law class, a guy was reciting and somehow the discussion digressed (as it so often does in Malcolm Hall) and the professor got to talking about Sharon Cuneta. The guy (not our blockmate) actually denied knowing who she was. And he’s not a foreigner or anything (hello, he went to the same high school as Ches). What a phony. I bet even Amanda (The One True Socialite in our PolSci block, with her Forbes mansion and globe-trotting and being pictured in the lifestyle pages on a regular basis) knows Sharon Cuneta. Did this guy think pretending not to know Sharon Cuneta made him so much classier than all the rest of us? Pathetic.

11. People in the office who call after office hours. I was used to that with my bosses in MWC, but it’s so not the culture in my current office. Even my boss, in the rare times he needed to talk to me at night or on weekends, would email or text first before calling to make sure it was ok with me. Some people who are not even my bosses, they just call without giving me that courtesy, so I just ignore their calls all the time. Hello, what ever gave them the idea that I’m the kind of employee who would scramble to her phone and answer any work-related call at any given hour? These people so got the wrong employee. Hahaha.

12. Fakes. What's wrong with buying unbranded and reasonably-priced stuff of good quality from SM or anywhere if it's all you can afford? Why the whole obsession with brands that if it's beyond your budget, then you just buy the fakes and pass it off as the real thing? I especially cannot stand the rich types who haggle it out with the vendors in Greenhills. It's The Height of Deceit and Pretense. Where's the joy in owning a fake, to begin with? It's like when Thom asked me if you can easily tell my original Cath Kidstons apart from the rip-offs. I told him yes, to the trained eye, but it doesn't really matter - even if no one else can tell, you know, in your heart, that what you have is authentic, and that's what matters.

Saturday, September 03, 2011


So I got this form from the post office the other night, saying I have to pick up a parcel from there. I’m so not expecting any parcel (no, I’m pretty sure I have not ordered additional Cath Kidstons haha) and so I was totally baffled what it was all about. Last time I got this kind of notice I was pregnant with Yosh and when Ches and I went to pick it up, it turned out to be this big box of lovely Winnie the Pooh and Carter’s baby clothes, blankets, shoes, etc. My cousin-in-law in Florida had sent it and wanted it to be a surprise. (Owww. That was one of the sweetest things ever. My maternal relatives have this special fondness for my Mom that in turn rub off on us her kids bcoz she’s the youngest in their brood of nine and is the baby in the family. Hence, they give us nice stuff all the time.)

So, anyway, I didn’t want to keep my hopes up about this one. Ever the optimist me, I was just hoping it wasn’t some summons or warrant of arrest for a case filed by someone I might have previously maltreated. Haha.

It turned out to be from Kaye, and the box contained two Ann Taylor dresses and a pink Coach bag.

Omigosh. This is, hands down, The Biggest and Best Surprise of the Year. It's The Mother of All Surprises. I could barely keep my excitement as I haggled with the Customs guy over the duties and VAT that he was making me pay.

Can you believe Kaye? How infinitely cool is this girl? We were emailing as usual sometime back and she mentioned that she was doing spring cleaning and gave away her clothes, shoes and bags to her mom, sister and niece. I joked that she should leave some for me since I love getting hand-me-downs. I never thought that she would take it seriously and send me stuff. And they’re not hand-me-downs, either. They’re all brand new with the price tags still attached.

I love the dresses. One is chocolate brown with buttons in front, and another is floral and frilly just the way I like it. They’re exactly what I wear all the time. They’re fun without being slutty and hence wearable in the office. They’re the perfect length that I like, too – right below the knee so I don’t have to wear stockings. They’re a bit big for me at size 6 coz I’m a size 2 or at most 4, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a good, tight belt. (Kaye is only a size 6? That’s too thin for her height. Haha. Pinadalan na nga ng damit, nakialam pa.)

And the bag - omigosh. Kaye said she scoured the stores in May and looked for ‘the pinkest and cutest Coach bag’ especially for me bcoz she knows I like them pink and bright and printed. Well, she definitely made a winner choice bcoz I LOVE this bag. The pink and white combination is so girly girl, and the size is just right for everyday use, with these handy pockets all around, too. The style is also uncommon and special, not the usual fake thing that you see in Greenhills. How perfect is this bag? This is so The Accessory to lug around when your grand plan consists entirely of being snooty everyday. Hahaha.

We go a long way back, Kaye and I. We were part of a gang of five girls since 2nd year high school. We’re all still in touch, except for one whom we shall not name (haha). Kaye and I both read a lot – not textbooks, but un-school-related stuff like romance novels. We also both loved to write. She wrote 60 million poems in high school. My favorites are entitled Never and Nature’s Jewel. To this day, we both majorly love Mrs. Corpuz, our Journalism and Literature teacher (who taught us All The Best Stuff like Doveglion, Nick Joaquin, Oedipus and Elektra, Richard Cory, Waiting for Godot, A Separate Peace, The Glass Menagerie, Of Mice and Men, Catcher in the Rye, among many, many others). We were both in the debate team, too. She was arguably the best debater in the whole school. (We picked up a lot of showbiz tips from Stand and Deliver. Haha.) She remains the only person I know who actually understands Shakespeare, and she could do this even as early as high school. She consistently got the highest scores in History, too. She was an old soul thru and thru.

I remember on Saturdays or if we had free cuts she would invite us over to her nice house that was always spanking clean and feed us a lot of goodies like noodles and ice cream. There was a playground right behind her house where we hung out just chatting. Her mom gave me some of her Barbies when they migrated to the States. (I have those Barbies to this day.) Her loyal nanny was Ate Bibing who always thought I was ‘maarte magsalita’. (Hahaha! Isn’t she so fierce and so right? I love Ate Bibing.) She loves the bread called kababayan which you can buy in any neighborhood bakery, and the sugary white icing in the Merced cakes (not the buttery ones in Goldilocks and Red Ribbon). She was devastated when FrancisM passed away. We are both huge Eat Bulaga and Mike Enriquez fans. We have always teased her about being Ruffa Gutierrez bcoz they have the same manner of speaking and towering height.

We both passed the UPCAT and were good to enroll in PolSci together but then her family decided to make the big move. I’m so, so happy that we’ve managed to stay in touch after all these years. She came to visit only once (I think) but she has sent me a lot of stuff thru the years. (I still have the My Best Friend’s Wedding VHS and Winnie the Pooh Christmas box and Andrew Brownsword bears from her.) I got her as Bootsie’s Ninang bcoz she’s a truly good person. Even now, despite all that she has achieved in the US, being this kick-ass lawyer in California who gifts her secretary with designer bags and talks back to her boss, she has stayed the same as always – simple, grounded, and yet also just a little bit pathological (she has this high-maintenance habit of hoarding Chanel and Gucci purses during her lunch break haha) and wacko (she’s taking Bikram yoga and tells me that if she falls in any of the difficult poses, she intends to drag along with her the skinny bitches who she says have no right to still be working out). (Yes, we loonies stick together. Haha.) Best of all, she has remained more humble and self-deprecating than I can ever hope to be.

Going into our senior year, Kaye ran as head of the student council. I think it was her first ever foray in school politics. Her party was like the opposition, the underdogs going against the girls who have been lording it over in school activities and academics since grade school. (They were also our very own classmates and friends, but you get tired seeing the same girls up there all the time and just saying yes to everything the teachers say.) She ran on a platform of eschewing tradition and giving the students greater voice in the school administration. Even the cool girls in school wore her campaign stickers. She won in a major, major way, and this remains one of my favorite high school memories.

Some people you meet when you’re still so young and devoid of any real character to speak of, and somehow you stick together and discover that you enjoy the kind of person each of you eventually turns out to be. The oldest friends are, for me, the best kinds of friends - the kind you’ve known for decades and decades, and who in turn know you inside and out, from whom you never have to hide anything, and who love you and all your dirty little secrets. Kaye is one of the oldest and best there is.

Thank you, Kaye. I love you forever. And not just bcoz of Ann Taylor and Coach. You know that. I don’t even have to tell you, do I =)

(I was looking for some of my pix with Kaye to post here, but the nice ones I have from her last visit are all in frames, and I don’t have soft copies coz this was before the age of digital cameras (haha). Our old pix from high school, on the other hand, are all in this nice, big album from Mom that I decorated with cherry blossoms. Our classmate Patricia borrowed it and never returned it. I loved that album. We so need to go on that trip, Kaye. We’ll take 60 million pictures of us together =)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Siomai Love

Before I fell in love with Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Thai, Greek, Singaporean, Vietnamese and all these other kinds of cuisines, there was Chinese food. I grew up on Chinese food. Pops would always take us to these Chinese restos in Manila. I was too young to remember the specific places - Malate? Binondo? – but I do remember the food (haha). Our staple orders were nido soup, pancit canton (Papa’s Absolute Favorite), camaron rebosado, lumpia shanghai, beef with ampalaya or broccoli, chopsuey, fried chicken, and of course, the beloved fried rice. We had all these same things even in Star Café in Baguio, except that there they also served the shrimp with cashews and mixed veggies. Much later, if we were on a road trip going South, we’d stop by King Bee. The restos varied, but our orders remained. We were all in Chinese food heaven. (Haha.)

Of my kids, it’s Yoshi who seems to have gotten the Chinese foodie gene. (He got the foodie gene, period. He shows the same interest in food as me. When Ches and I go out on our kid-free dates, Yosh is so there asking what we ate, how it looked like, how it tasted. He also requests all these dishes from Ate Ann on a regular basis. He has barely finished his breakfast yet is already anticipating what's for lunch. Haha. Yoshi is so me.) Bootsie tries and eats everything, while Yoshi LOVES Chinese food. His favorite resto is President. When he did well in school and we asked him what reward he wanted, it was always to go to Quiapo to buy discs and Binondo for President. President in Binondo has retained that old-style Chinese resto ambience, where the whole place, chairs, plates and stuff are all so plain and even sorry-looking – but the food is just GREAT.

We also love Gloria Maris, Tong Yang, Hap Chan, Savory, Luk Foo, Chinatown in Banaue, the Shangri-La in West Ave., and this obscure take-out place near Chicken Charlie that serves The Best Pancit Ever (naturally it was Pops who found it). In MoA, there was Mann Hann (where I had a date with Pops when he surprised me with a visit after I had just moved there), and Hong Kong Emperor, where I shared countless lunches with friends and where we brought the boys, too. While I was in SM, I also got to try Legend, and loved China Palace (especially the promo on dimsum) before it was replaced by HK Emperor. In QT, most of my OT dinners were from Lutong Macau. Another QT favorite in the Fort, Zong, has branched out and is now in Eton Centris near home. Luck Garden is Sherry’s favorite – we’ve tried it once and loved it. Zhang also took us to Spring Deer - it was good tho a bit on the pricey side.

(Let's step back and ruminate on those Chinese resto names. Luck Garden. Star Cafe. King Bee. President. Savory. Legend. Not the coolest and most creative of names, right? Haha. Doesn't matter, tho. It's the food. Haha.)

Boots is happy with any kind of soup, any crispy dish, and fried rice. All the rest of us have new favorites in addition to old ones from my family - Yoshi’s are fish fillet, siomai, and yang chow fried rice, Ches’ are ground pork in lettuce, steamed lapu-lapu, and roasted duck (he has a business partner who takes him to all the good Chinese restos on a regular basis), and mine are hot prawn salad and salt and pepper spareribs. Yumminess. I’ve self-imposed a ban on nido soup and shark’s fin dumplings, tho, bcoz, hello, they are so not Mother Earth-friendly.

My Most Memorable Chinese Feasts Ever would have to be the bosses' treats in Shang Palace, as well as the 12-course dinners in Marriott-Hong Kong (where I was sent twice or thrice to receive some corporate governance award or the other on behalf of MWC). Definitely some of my anaconda's happiest moments. Haha.

Last weekend we had lunch at Kanzhu near our place and famous for its hand-pulled noodles. The boys were fascinated watching in the open kitchen as the cooks pulled this dough-like concoction that they grated into long strings with their bare hands, and eventually became the beef brisket and fish fillet noodle soups that we ate. So cool. Our waiter also recommended Chinese sausage with beans and this egg and tomato dish. We had hakaw and siomai, too. Our favorites were the two fried rice specials: one with olives and another with sausages, both with generous sprinklings of shreds of meat, eggs, and veggies. So, so good and complete dishes in themselves. We are so going back to this place.

(As a matter of principle, tho, I refrain from posting food pictures in my blog bcoz, hello, I’m already a big glutton as it is. I can’t have my blog littered with 60 million pix of food, too. So you just have to be happy with these pix of satisfied Kanzhu costumers. Haha.)

It’s no wonder Ches and I had a major, major blast being exposed by Zhang to all kinds of Chinese food in Beijing. We went beyond Cantonese cuisine which is usually what we have in the Philippines – we had Mongolian, Taiwanese, Schezuan. We dined at Quan Jude (hands down, Best Peking Duck Ever) and had mutton hotpot. Heck, we even ate Eeyore (yes, donkey meat cold cuts!)

I blame Beijing for this bulge in my tummy that used to be flat as a highway even after I gave birth twice (in all fairness and modesty haha). It's like I've never fully recovered from The Food Fest That Was Beijing. And when I complain about this, Ches rolls his eyes and points out: But Beijing is nearly two years ago! Haha. He’s so right. And it’s not a big issue, that tummy bulge. Like I always say, I don't really care as long as I still fit into my clothes. And if I no longer do - well then, hello, perfect excuse to shop! Haha. While normal girls get all busy dieting, working out and generally obsessing about being perfectly slim all the time – I’m so there enjoying my yang chow fried rice. Haha.