Saturday, June 29, 2013


We had to say goodbye to Piolo after close to three years bcoz I moved to two of the subsidiaries of my old office.  New office = new car.  Yes!

Our last trip with Piolo was in Batangas on Mothers’ Day weekend.  I took these last pictures of him parked under the majestic (tamarind?) tree right across Malabrigo Lighthouse. 

Boots majorly cried when we returned Piolo.  He’s so bad at goodbyes – just like me.  I felt senti, too, and remembered all the road trips we took with Piolo – several times over to Baguio, Batangas, Tagaytay, Antipolo, Zambales, Tarlac, Pangasinan.  Wow.  It was an amazing three years.  Thank you, Piolo.  We will always remember you as our first SUV.

And then came the question of what to have for our next car.  I leave all the car issues in our little household to Ches – after all, I’m not in the habit of pretending to know many things about stuff of which I’m actually clueless.  He and the boys scouted around and lobbied for a Santa Fe.  This was perfectly fine with me bcoz it came in a lovely color called merlot red which I thought was just fabulous.  (Yes, color is the whole extent of my value added when it comes to cars and gadgets.)  Plus, all the other executives in the office ordered Fortuners.  (All in white, too.  One of them complained that our office might be mistaken for a car rental company with all the white Fortuners lined up in the parking lot.  Hahaha.)  So the Santa Fe was totally in line with my lifelong goal To Stand Out and Be Different.  Hahaha.  I also derive perverse joy out of making life hard for people at Purchasing, Accounting, Admin., etc.  Some of them are my friends and all, but I’ve come to be known in the office as The Difficult One, and it’s a reputation I’m only too happy to maintain.  Hahaha. 

(It’s like when I was due for a new laptop, and the official choices given to me by IT were either a Toshiba Portégé or a Mac Book Pro, and I ordered … a Sony Vaio.  Me already!  I actually grew a conscience and got the Portege in the end.  But only bcoz it was the most expensive of the three, and using my own credit card at the Toshiba store in the mall, not the usual circuitous office process.  Hahaha.)     

Naming the merlot red Santa Fe was a no-brainer.  It had to be Bella, of course.  It’s my little tribute to my recently deceased idol, the quintessential villain of Pinoy films, Ms. Bella Flores.  Also, my newish boss (who let me have my Santa Fe even when everyone else had Fortuners) calls me Bella Flores (for reasons that are so not hard to understand, right?)  So, like I said:  no-brainer.

My friend Dr. G asked me a few days back how my new car was doing.  My reply:  it’s kicking ass and living up to its bloody red color and villainous screen name.  Hahaha.

We went to Antipolo to have Empress and Bella blessed.
The Our Lady of Good Voyage Church is, for me, one of the prettiest
churches we have.  Circular, too.

Mom remembered it was also drizzling in Antipolo
when we brought Piolo to blessed three years ago. 

Papa's birthday is also coming up so we had
one of our usual grand Chinese family meals at
Savory right across the church.

I always used to be Papa's favorite.  I seem to have been
dethroned lately by Rain and/or Ate.  I don't mind.
He and Ate look alike, anyway.  Hahaha.
Plus, I saw he still keeps  in his wallet our  pix together
at Kanin Club from his birthday three years ago.
He LOVES me.  He's still my favorite father.

We have a collection of crazy pix of Pops
lovingly staring at his favorite pancit.  Hahaha.
Happy birthday, Pops!


Friday, June 28, 2013

Better You Get Mad Than Me

Isn't it just such a joy to meet characters so colorful you can blog about them in a post after post after post?  Even more so when such characters also happen to be your boss.

When I started working with him three years ago, my first impression was:  wow, this is the first CEO I've ever worked with who drafts his own term sheet! Around that time I also overheard him complaining to someone:  'naku, pag si Jewel ang nag-review ng contract, tadtad ng comments!'.  Which was not entirely a bad thing, right?  So I think we started on the right foot, back in the day.

I remember one of our earliest conversations went like this:

B:  Paki-email mo nga si D.  Mukhang hindi sha updated sa mga happenings e.
Me:  Sir, people don't use 'happenings' anymore!  It's so 70s!   

Yes, he is exactly the kind of CEO you can joke with and talk back to like this.  Even now, when I spew out my usual snarky comments, he always laughs the loudest.

He regales us with stories of being a working student in UP, and how he often slept thru class, and how he got a 5 in Math 11.  He says the only reason he got into the pharma industry was that he wanted a company car, and that the only reason he took up MBA in Ateneo was to escape a boss who always pulled him into long lunches and senseless chatter.  He also goes around saying he was working as a kargador when M (another boss in the office) was already a manager at this big MNC.  Owww.  How can you not LOVE this guy?

For the record, B is LIGHT YEARS smarter, funnier, more humble, more hardworking, and more beloved than M.

We like to tease him about his age.  He has the second oldest UP student number in the office:  70.  (Me:  Wow, Sir, my parents were not even married in 1970!)  He says he looked like a senior citizen way before the bill was even passed (hahaha), that people would give up their seats for him in the MRT, and waiters would ask for his ID, all way before he turned 60.

He's also infamous in the office for his walking.  Everyday he would park his BMW in Glorietta and take the MRT to the office and walk to anywhere else he has to go within the day.  We've all heard of stories where the secretaries in their cars would come across him walking to get to the other office across EDSA, a good 20 to 30 minute walk away, and he would refuse their offers for a ride bcoz he preferred to walk.

He could be presenting at a board meeting or presiding at some serious discussion among senior management, but he would never ignore a call from Darling (his wife).  We know it's Darling at the other end if he answers with his chirpy 'chellooow!'  At the end of one such call in front of all the executives, I teased him:  'Sir, baket walang 'I love you'?' His reply: 'Meron yan sa text, kiss kiss mwah mwah!'  HAHAHA.

When he suddenly appointed me HR head, I issued a disclaimer that I have zero, nada, nil HR background.

MIB:  She's smart, she'll find her way around.
B:  More importantly - she's cruel!

Gee, thanks, Boss!

People alternately call him Hitler (bcoz of his little mustache a la Hitler) or Dolphy (bcoz he's our idol).  These names are so fitting bcoz aside from being hilarious, he is also terrifying.  He once allegedly told a staff:  Use your brain! And another:  Magsuklay ka kaya para makapag-asawa ka!  Yikes!  Another trademark comment he has when you poke your head by his door, before you even open your mouth:  The answer is no!

As if being funny and quirky are not enough, B is also brilliant and hardworking.  He's the first person in the office in the morning, and also usually the last one out at night.  He's grumpy if he gets to the office at 6:30 AM, bcoz for him, that's late.  His half day is 4PM.  Sheesh.  Not something you'd usually expect from a CEO, especially one who lives the farthest from the office.  (He'd go around telling everyone still in the office when he left at night:  Goodbye, cruel world!)  Karen also reviewed this long contract he drafted, and she  asked him whether he was serious about what he wrote, that the exclusive venue of action was Cavite.  He told her he just wanted to check if she really reads the contracts.  Hahaha.

He has showbiz names for a lot of people in the office.  He calls someone Batman, another one Panchito, and still another Chiquito.  (B:  E totoo namang kamukha nya si Chiquito e!  Pansinin mo.  Me:  Sir!!! Hindi gwapo si Chiquito.  Wag mo nang ipagkalat yan!)  He even calls one of the divas in the office John Malkovich.  (I told him it's bad enough to be likened to John Malkovich if you were a guy - much, much worse if you were a feisty female!)  He himself is part of a trio he calls B1, B2, and B3 (three executives whose names all start with B and sound alike, too).

Me:  Sir,  baket sa ibang tao, may screen name ka, pero ako hindi mo tinatawag na Solenn???
B:  Yun lang ba?  Magmula ngayon, ikaw na si Pokwang!
Me:  Sir!!!
B:  Ayaw mo?  Pwes, Bella Flores!

And he really does refer to me every single time as Bella Flores.  As in he would tell his secretary:  Tawagin mo si Bella Flores, kasama sha sa meeting!  Or he'd bring our foreign director up to me and say:  Bella Flores, D needs a ride.  Did you bring your car?  Aaarrrggghhh.

I've gotten into the habit of barging into his room, foaming in the mouth as usual, to complain for the nth time about certain people we have to deal with. He usually has only one advice for me.

B:  Ikaw naman, pinairal mo na naman ang pagka-Bella Flores mo.  Kinalimutan mo na naman ang golden rule natin:  better you get mad than me!

Is it any wonder he has probably effectively dethroned everyone else as My Favorite Boss Of All Time?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Claretians

(I don't have a pix of Boots on his first day of school, tho, bcoz it was Ches who brought him to class, and unlike me, Ches is not retardedly obsessed with chronicling every single event in our lives with 60 million pictures.)  

The boys moved to big school this year.  Ches and I felt it was the right time, with K+12 and all.  Plus, Ches is only too happy to have his sons go to the same school he and his brothers attended.  Not to mention, um, I had a fight with the school directress at the Montessori school my kids were going to for years now.  (There, I just came right out and admitted that.  Hahaha.)

One of my bosses complains that his wife is the type who 'moves from one worry project to the next'.  He whines, 'why can't she just relax and be happy?'  I was uncharacteristically quiet while he was going thru his tirade, bcoz I could so relate to the wife.  After Bicol, my worry project was Ate's surprise homecoming, followed by Vada's birthday party, and then Claret.  And we're just talking about the month of June.  And excluding my 60 million worry projects in the office.  Hahaha.

And after all my worrying about whether Yoshi would make any new friends or find his way around school or keep up with the lessons or be able to find Dan among the throng of drivers and nannies picking up their wards at dismissal time etc etc - his answer when I asked him how his first day in school went was:  'b-o-r-i-n-g'.

I make myself sick with worry, while all he does is roll his eyes as usual.  He is ... imperturbable.  I want to be like him when I finally grow up.

For the most part, he's just happy that there are two canteens, which is also why he's getting cash baon for the first time in his academic life.  And there's a club named Kids in the Kitchen, which he promptly joined, of course (together with Boy Scouts).  And there's a party running for the intermediate student council whose main platform is TGIF, which basically consists of lobbying for no homework on Fridays.  Hahaha.  (Heck, they would get my vote, too.)

He's also endlessly thrilled to have a teacher surnamed Pata (it turned out to be Patac).  He'd go around the whole night saying stuff like:

Yoshi:  What if her first name was Chrissy?  Then she would be Miss Chrissy Pata!  Yum!

And then he remembered our Bicol tour guide, Joven, whose surname was Malasa.

Yoshi:  What if they get married?  Then she would be Miss Chrissy Pata Malasa!  Perfect!

And Ches and I would take turns telling him:  There, there's your specialty!  Which is our family code for 'dyan, dyan ka magaling!'  Hahaha.

I'm less worried about Boots bcoz he's only five, after all, and still in pre-school.  What could go so wrong in kindergarten, right?  Boots misses his little girlfriends, tho (Marthena, Yshi, Chesca, that whole lot) since they're all boys now.  And he worries about getting lost in the big grade school building ... in Grade One next year.  Groan.  While Yoshi is calm to the point of annoying like his father, Boots is a bit on the stressable side like moi.  Definitely Mr. Worry Project, this one.      

He also doesn't like his section.

Boots:  I don't want to be in Kinder-Magalang!  I want to be in Kinder-Bastos!

I'm telling you - we are so off to a good start.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Twelve Days

So Ate was here for 14 days at the start of the year.  This time it's a mere 12 days.  We were ambitious/delusional and even planned either a Bohol or Bangkok trip within her short vacation, but she just didn't have the time, plus it was too late for Lorie my favorite travel agent to get us any good deals.

It was ok, tho, bcoz being The Travel Nazis that we both are, we were able to squeeze in a lot of fun times during her quick trip.  The main event was Vada's birthday party, but beyond that we also managed to get a lot done, mostly shopping and eating.  Hahaha.

We took her to Mezza Norte, the Mercato night market in Trinoma.  Ches and I discovered this just a few weeks back after he had picked me up from Trinoma where I was doing my usual retail therapy.  We just knew Ate would love it bcoz it offers 60 million choices of yummy and cheap Pinoy dishes, desserts, and drinks.  We all had our fill of several kinds of bagnet, chicharon, sisig, and isaw, takoyaki balls, sansrival and caramel cake, milk teas.  Equals happy/bloated tummies all around.  Hahaha.    

Ate also slept over several times.  Yoshi was apparently counting and was happy that she slept over three times this vacation, bcoz the last time she did so only twice.  Boots, for his part, told Ate she should just stay with us full time and sleep over at Mama's instead.  Owww.  My boys LOVE Ate.

They cooked as usual when she came over to our house.  Ate's a fantastic cook and both my boys are budding chefs who dream of putting up their own restos someday.  It's actually Yoshi's first year to get his own cash baon, and he came up with this idea to save up for an oven, of all things.  (Sheesh.  I feel suddenly so small and stupid saving up for my usual shoes.  My kids make me look bad all the time.)

So anyway, the boys made cathedral window gelatin with Ate like last time, but this time around they also made what Yoshi calls crazy carbonara. It consists mostly of pasta sticks inserted into jumbo sausages.  It sounds kind of gross when you put it like that, but is actually quite yummy.  Yoshi has been intrigued since Ate emailed a pix, but of course he knows better than to ask me to try and cook it with him, bcoz if I were in any way involved in cooking, we might end up with something inedible or altogether poisonous.  (Groan.)   

We went to Greenhills to shop at our beloved tiangge while the boys watched After Earth.  This is where we lucked out and found semi/identical export overrun summer dresses.  The boys called us The Super Twins when we wore our dresses.  Hahaha.  Yes, we are crazy like that.  Ate also met her friend Cathy there and we all had dinner at Via Mare.  

Ate apparently has never tried inasal so we took her to our favorite, Bacolod Chicken Inasal at QC Circle.    The chicken here tastes just like at JT's Inasal, but the resto offers so much more choices, including the bottomless native chocolate drink that Ches and I are always craving for.  Ate loved it.

We celebrated Fathers' Day with a dinner at Max's.  Max's is always a default choice for our family bcoz all four kiddies unanimously love fried chicken.  I love Max's, too.  When we were in QT, Rhoel and I used to order our overtime dinner from Max's all the time.  Even now, I'm always bugging Ches to take me to Max's every time we pass by EDSA and I see the huge billboards showing their chicken, kare-kare, even good old monggo.  Sigh.  Such is the life of a glutton.


Max's has a new drink, which Ate and I both tried:  the ube leche flan shake.  It's two desserts plus a drink all in one.  What genius!


Ate ordered an extra serving of pancit canton just for Papa.  We were teasing him that this was our Fathers' Day gift for him.  Pops LOVES his pancit.  It was his default pasalubong for us when we were young and he was still working.  His favorite is from this hole-in-the-wall in Banawe that we still go to till now, just to order the yummy pancit.  

Ate said she cried when Vada read her speech at her party bcoz she couldn't believe how Vada has grown, it seemed only a few years back she had her baptism at Twin Hearts and Max's.  She said she also cried bcoz Rino is our baby brother and now he has his own two beautiful baby girls.  Owww.  Ate's so right.

She could've traveled anywhere else or just chillaxed in the Cape where it's summer and beauteous all around or bought her usual snooty bags and Hello Kitties - but instead Ate chose to spend her time and money on expensive plane fare and 60 million gifts for her family thousands of miles away, never mind the jet lag and stress and that it was only twelve days.

That's my Ate.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Vada's Hello Kitty Party

Our baby girl Vada turned seven.  I volunteered to organize her birthday party.  Since I was in charge, the theme was none other than Hello Kitty, of course.

Yoshi:  Mom, Vada does not even like Hello Kitty!
Me:  Of course she does!
Yoshi:  No, she likes Barbie.  It's you and Tita Jen who like Hello Kitty.  Well, too bad - it's not your birthday!
Me:  Well, too bad - it's not your call!

Grrr. Yoshi thinks he's the defender of the universe sometimes.

I reserved Orosa Hall of the Balara pool for the occasion.  I'm so glad I'm still in touch with all my good friends from Manila Water so I can still rent the venue thru them.  (Thank you, Thom and Ate Esther!)  I'm completely in love with this place.  It has been restored to its old world elegance by Manila Water.  It's bright, airy, spacious,  all trees and grand, intricate architecture.  I don't know any other place in the city quite like it.  

We were in the venue early to set up.  The kids had time to play in the pool, the adults to sing in the videoke.  This was still the pre-party, and already all the girls in our family were decked out in full Kitty regalia.  Even Rino said he was wearing Kitty undies.  Hahaha.  

Our guests were mostly Mama's relatives, and Vada's friends from school.  I had my own clique bcoz most of our suppliers were my friends.  Our caterer was Philip, my friend Ate Mine's son, who personally served everyone with his chef friend Paula.  (Their yang chow, lasagna, chicken, and buco pandan were yummy.  Philip even gave me a free cheesecake.  Owww.)   The clown and magician were referrals from Ate Esther.  Beavis and Ayen did our photobooth.  Thom also came to give free photography services.  So if you notice some of the pictures in this post looking more professional than my usual ones - those are all courtesy of Thom.  (I love you, Enteng!)

Beavis' photo booth was a big hit with everyone.  He even had a Kitty background tarp done especially for the occasion.  The print-outs were also fabulous, with a classy lay-out and better quality than other photo booths we've tried.  (I love you, Beavis!)  These are my favorite ones.  

The birthday girl prepared a long thank-you speech that made Ate cry.  Hahaha.  Such the drama queen.  Me, I was too busy being event organizer to have my Vilma Santos moment.

I'd like to think the party was a huge success.  You can see the joy in everyone's faces.  Never mind that I was the butt of jokes bcoz of my fabulous Kitty costume.  Some teased me about looking like I'm the birthday girl, or the clown.  Thom and Beavis threatened to distribute my pix across Manila Water.  Groan.  Oh well - if I make people laugh, then I think that's my small contribution to mankind, right?  

The party was a team effort like Yoshi's Plant vs. Zombies 7th birthday party.  Grace took care of the prizes, loot bags, Conti's desserts.  Mama cooked hot dogs and menudo and sent out the invites.  Ate bought the pinata and Kitty balloons Grace and I used to dress up the venue, and  brought home the giant Kitty balloon, all the way from Rocky in Connecticut.  (Thanks, Rocky!)   My very own Chestnuts helped me out with all the little things I asked him to do from the time I was organizing the party up till the end of whole event. 

Our baby girl Vada deserves no less than this grand Hello Kitty 7th birthday party.