Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ninja Wedding

Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos got married today at 7:00 A.M. at a humble church in San Juan, Batangas.

Despite their long engagement, we regular people really had no idea when and where their wedding will take place. As promised, it turned out to be a very private affair. Even the photos in pep.ph come only from the official wedding photographer, Patrick Uy.

Don't you think Juday looks so radiant? and Ryan so content? I'm genuinely happy for the couple, which sentiment I'm sure I share with the rest of humanity.

Now, some people may learn a thing or two from Juday and Ryan. This is the kind of genuine, heartfelt marriage that makes you feel warm and tingly all over, not the kind announced in a noontime show. Boo.

Incidentally, today is also our 2nd wedding anniversary. Pao took me out to dinner and gave me a dozen roses as always (they were small pink ones this time). It's nice that two years and some arguments later, I still wake up next to a husband who makes me feel as blessed as I felt on our wedding day. So, lucky for Ryan and Juday, I say April 28 is a good day to get married. Cheers!

*Photo from pep.ph/Patrick Uy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kenny Rogers GTPM Sandwich

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Restaurants
Cuisine: American
Location:Your friendly neigborhood Kenny Rogers
Hey hey. Just a quick post before I call it tonight. Heehee

I had the new Grilled Tomato Pesto Mozarella Sandwich from Kenny Rogers yesterday and it was the bomb! It has just the right amount of saltiness that you need pre-PMS, when you're palate is craving for salty to sweet to salty in minutes. Also, it should be healthy, because it's all vegetables (well, okay, tomato's a fruit).

It's only Php99. AND a purchase scores you a coupon, which allows you to buy the same sandwich on your next visit at 50% off.

I'm not getting anything out of this as usual. I'm just saying, for the love of all things good, try it! Try it!

Monday, April 27, 2009

About My Shoes

(Boys not allowed)

I have to say goodbye to my high heels for a while. I'm allowed to wear 1" heels maximum, but a heel that is an inch thiN is an affront to my senses. It defeats the purpose of wearing heels in the first place, which is to inflict as much pain as possible upon my calves, soles and back. An inch and nothing are practically the same. So let's push the envelope and just go for nothing.

Resigned to my fate, I've searched far and wide for comfortable flats that shall be my walking companion for the next nine months. I never thought I'd say this, but I was looking for comfort over style this time. Siyempre naman, I won't wear anything butt ugly. But a moderate level of attractiveness will do.

It's been a long time coming, but I found the ONE. These are my new Grendha Secret Ads in Gray and Silver. They're nerdy enough to wear to the office but viola, the soles are made of rubber, so barring my klutziness, I'm sure to be skid-free. They're also verrrryyyy comfortable. I feel like I'm walking on clouds when I wear them. (O.A. Haha)

Grendhas are manufactured by Grendene, a shoe company based in Brazil that also makes Melissas, Ipanemas and Riders.

Anywho, try the new Grendha Secret Ads if you're feeling sort of manang yourself. I got mine from the Shoe Salon at The Podium. Other colors available are black, gold, and blue. Loving the blue.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wowoweeeeeehhhh

What I want to know now is, would you vote for Mar Roxas in the 2010 Presidential Elections?

Yes, especially because Korina Sanchez would be first lady
 
 0

Yes, regardless of who he's going to marry
 
 3

No, because Korina Sanchez woud be first lady
 
 3

No, I never intended to vote for Mar Roxas in the first place
 
 6

So yesterday, Senator Mar Roxas and Broadcast Journalist Korina Sanchez announced their engagement on Wowowee. Congratulations to the happy couple! Congratulations to Ms. Korina Sanchez especially, because she's now sporting that 3 carat (oh yes you read that right) heirloom engagement ring. You go girl!

If you're not at all squeamish about cheesy things, their announcement is in the YouTube snippet below. I can't say I finished this video though. I survived up to "Honey" and Senator Roxas' "stifled tears" in second 27. Let me know if you're able to sit through the entire thing. We'll create an "I Survived the Cheese" wall here.

By Faith

Pregnancy is an obsessive compulsive's nightmare. Ordinarily, I could tick-box my way out of anything. Heartbeat ok? Check. Lungs developing? Check. But I couldn't do that HERE, considering that the baby is growing inside me. That's obviously a  place I cannot see all the time, except maybe if I buy myself my own sonogram machine. Boohoo.

My obsessing over the baby has thus been limited to keeping myself informed. We Google and read as much material as we can, through which I soon learn that so many things can go wrong.

There's Subchorionic Bleeding, Gestational Diabetes, Preeclampsia etc. It is especially distressing that we really have no control over some, if not most, of these things. Preeclampsia specifically can be genetic. So I can eat healthy, get the rest I need, but there will still be no guarantee that everything will turn out okay.

Enter FAITH - an act of trust and confidence.* And surely, the only thing worth holding on to when the tangible just won't do.

As you can tell by now, I am super excited about the new addition to our family, especially as a first time parent. I have fears, yes, but I won't let those overshadow the magnitude of my faith. I'm simply claiming, it will all be okay in the end.

(*See Hebrew 11 NIV "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see ...)

Oooh, pink peonies

I want the new HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Special Edition because it's red and it's sooo pretty. I first read about it here and here (blogs I refresh every 10 minutes); where it becomes obvious that the netbook was designed for women like me, who couldn't care less about a gadget's specs so long as its front cover has flowers. Look oh, it's sooo pretty.

After some Googling, I find out that the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Special Edition (whew, quite a mouthful) doesn't do much. It runs only on XP, and some reviewers complain about the resolution on its 10.1" screen and its 3-cell battery. On the other hand, its 80GB internal drive is decent for someone whose pictures aren't taken from an SLR, and the size of the keyboard isn't ridiculously small. Not bad for its retail price of Php27,950.

Of course I'm not really going to buy this netbook. I'm just putting this up for all of my friends who have very strained purchasing emotional quotients. Let me know if you decide to get one. Meantime, I'm sticking with my handy-dandy MSI - Bebong Tong Special Edition. Teehee.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I need to know

Have you seen the new Coffee Mate commercial? The one where a really good looking man prepares coffee and pandesal, for his wife who comes down from their bedroom with a white shirt, that falls off her shoulders? Words in the commercial read, "Simpleng breakfast" and "756th honeymoon"?

I've tried Google, Youtube and even the Nestle Philippines website...

I just need to know: (1) Who's the guy?; and (2) Where has he been all my life?


House Arrest

I've been out of the loop for sometime because I was placed under house arrest. I had early pregnancy complications, maybe because of all of the crazy things that we did when we were yet ignorant of the tiny person who's been growing in my belly. Doctor calls it a threatened abortion, which I understand is a medical term for spotting and bleeding during pregnancy, so I was compelled to take one week's worth of bed rest.

I haven't been to work since Monday. Where I was was on our BED, RESTing. My bed rest police by the name of Paolo, would not allow me to even use the computer. I was to rise from our bed only when I had to go to the bathroom or when I had to eat, both of which I also did in our room, by the way. Anywho, anything to keep the baby safe and healthy.

WiFi + iTouch allowed for browsing the Internet even when I was lying down. 

I also finished reading those books that I started reading during the Holy Week. Of course, Pipo kept me company.

I don't know why I caught a cold and a mild cough when I was literally just resting the entire week. I think it's my body's way of telling me that I need to work, or at least find something to do to be productive. It's just the way my entire system is wired.

We went to the doctor yesterday to check on the baby, and it turns out s/he's okay now. I can go back to work on Monday but would have to limit my travels. I read that only half of women with threatened abortions continue to have viable pregnancies, so we're still very lucky.

Everything's going to be fine from now on. Say that with us now...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What's the matter Pipo?

Pipo's been clingy lately. He usually just ignores us and sleeps in Manang's room. But a few weeks ago, he started following me wherever I went. He stood guard outside the bathroom door when I took showers. He slept on our bed everyday. He basically just liked to place himself as near to me as he can, be it inside my blanket or just hanging around in our room.



Could Pipo have known that I was pregnant even before we knew? According to this and this, there is no scientific evidence that domestic animals can detect early signs of pregnancy, although there are testimonies from pregnant women to this effect.

Regardless, Pipo sure has been acting strange since we got pregnant. I wonder what's on his mind. Maybe he's worried about having to share his toys. Hmmm.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Miracle of the Moment

We're going to be parents!

After a year of trying, we learned yesterday that I'm finally 5 weeks pregnant with our first child. The news came at a time when we least expected it. I honestly thought I've been feeling bloated and queasy lately because I've had too much to eat. Or because my period's delayed, as always.

Pao and I first decided it's about time we became parents one year into our marriage, with our jobs okay and  our finances sufficient.

We took matters into our own hands - doing everything scientifically possible to conceive a child. Unfortunately, I had complications and we ended up just spending a lot  of time and money seeing doctors here and there. It became so frustrating at some point that I began to not care anymore.

Apparently, as in all things, parenthood is given to you not according to your own timetable but in God's own time.

I actually already left my nth pregnancy test on our dining table yesterday because I thought it had gotten spoiled. The (always negative) results usually took only 3 minutes; this test took for-everrr. I thus had no expectations and was, in fact, planning on buying a new set later in the day. It was Pao who discovered these when it was his turn to take a shower for work...

Now we know what "happy" looks like. Heehee

In conclusion, I realize we really had no business helping God out. There is a time for everything. It just so happened that 5 weeks ago, God decided, "It's time you guys." There was no need to worry. All we had to do all this time was to trust in God's will and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gladys the Mango Farmer

What I really want to do is grow mangoes. Our mango farm doesn't have to be huge. It just has to be big enough to house many many mango trees. It also has to be located near Manila, because we’re going to turn it into a wedding events venue when we retire at the ripe age of 35.

We’re going to build a small house at one corner of our mango farm. Our farm house is going to be really small, just enough to fit in Pao’s things and mine, our children’s things, and Pipo’s things (consisting of some shirts and a green squeaky toy).

It’s been done before, you know. The place where Pao and I got married, called The Mango Farm, is literally a 2.5 hectare mango farm in the heart of Antipolo City. It is run by Mike Santos [PhD], a mild-mannered fellow who retired at forty-ish from his day job as a molecular biologist in Hong Kong to become a photographer/blogger/events organizer/mango farmer. He ocassionally goes by the name Fruity. I’m sure he's chucked all alarm clocks in his life and now wakes up to sunlight and the sound of chirping maya birds.

Another reason why I think growing trees is a good career for me is because I recently planted a tree* and found the experience quite fulfilling. I think the soil likes me. I should be an excellent mango tree planter.

I planted a Golden Shower seedling. I named her Gloria, so N won’t feel bad if she gets eaten by a goat.


Unlike some Glorias ...
... my Gloria will: (1) grow up to be (2) this beautiful.

While I dream about saving P75M to buy a 2.5 hectare farm lot in Antipolo, I must, in the meantime, wake up to an alarm clock, wage battles with my computer for nine hours everyday and continue to rely on paydays and Fridays to make me happy.

Oh well. There are worse things than urban slavery.

(* Every person who visits the Acostas' farm in Bukidnon has to plant a tree. Dr. Acosta, who authored such environmental laws as the Clean Air Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Clean Water Act and the Biodiversity Protection Act while in Congress, is so passionate about protecting the environment that he spends his free time planting trees and picking up trash from Mt. Kitanglad. I've seen his kitchen. They actually segregate waste and make their own compost! San ka pa?!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just Once

Hello you guys! I'm back from a refreshing vacation in Northern Mindanao. While my wobbly knees and pained thighs recuperate from pretending to be adventurous for four days, let me tell you about the time we went trekking through a pineapple farm to a river in Dicklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
















Our day began with the usual picture-taking. We had breakfast, lounged around, and took pictures of this three-legged goat whom I named Phantom, since he was always sneaking into the house.


Our gracious host, Dr. Acosta intended to take us to Mt. Kitanglad for a "beginner's trek." However, we started late so we had to settle for a shorter trek in Brgy. Dicklum. Whether this is fortunate or not remains debatable: Dr. Acosta's definition of a "beginner's trek" doesn't exactly match up to my definition, as we shall soon learn below.

We started with just looking at some animals and plants in the Acostas' backyard. C fed the goats while I heckled the deer.

And then on we went to one of the Acostas' pineapple farms for our much-awaited trek.

I earlier told C that she has nothing to worry about. I had the impression that Bukidnon is mostly plateau, from watching that Papa Piolo movie set in the province some weeks ago. I made myself and C believe that our trek should literally be just a walk in the park - preferably, a very patag park.

The earlier portions of our walk were consistent with my delusions. You can almost hear us whistling the Seiko wallet song: "Seiko, seiko wallet. Ang wallet na masuwirti...Balat nito ay jin-yuwayn..."

But the plains soon turned into 60° inclines, and the instructions to follow the footpaths soon turned into instructions to "hang on to this branch," "hold on to that rock (more like pebble)," and "watch out for falling soil."

As expected, Pao had a grand time. I did too. The last photo is actually a liar. It fails to capture the extent of my happiness when I learned upon reaching the river that we'd have to go back the same way we came.

Like I said, I generally don't like roughing it up when on vacation. I like to have mango banana shakes under a coconut tree, whenever possible. But since I like to live by Sir Thomas Beecham's advice, I'd say this was fun.

Maybe next time I can stay in the car.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just Say No

There is no need to panic. Sure, there will be a Big Outlet Sale on April 17-19 at the Mega Tent along Meralco Avenue. Sure, the Mega Tent is just a stone's throw away from where I work, which makes "dropping-by" the sale mighty convenient.

However, I will be better off just setting aside my hard-earned money for more mature investments so we can secure our children's future. Nevermind that having Pipo the four-legged kid is the closest we've been to having children at this point. Savings are always good. That online article on financial freedom that I read yesterday says so.

Upon introspection, I realize I really don't need new Ray Ban shades at 60% off. It is not my concern if the Power Mac Center will be offering discounts there of up to 80% off. My leather beat-up Belkin works just fine. Also, I have no need for new Mizuno badminton shoes at big discounts. I don't even play badminton anymore. On the rare occasions that I do, I can always wear my running shoes. The receptionist at the court will not mind that my running shoes are not non-marking. Their Taraflex courts aren't even made of real Taraflex. Hmph.

So whatever is on sale, I do not need: I must not go. I will not go. I must not, I will not...
I must-will-go.

To the Mall

In keeping with my honest-to-goodness intention of not spending so much this year, I would love to just stay at home this holiday day, watch Cartoon Network and take a shower at 7 p.m. like I used to (meaning, some "years" ago).

My intention was really to oversleep, but I woke up at 9AM today perspiring like a WWF wrestler and gasping for air. iTouch says Manila has a low of 26C and a high of 33C this Monday. The heat is preventing me from doing any thing other than complain.

So even when I have neither the money nor the need to purchase anything from the mall, I guess I would have to go. Four hours of aimless malling is better than this sweat fest. Pipo, man the fort.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oyster Boy: Mangga Talaba Salad

Rating:★★★★
Category:Restaurants
Cuisine: Asian
Location:Metrowalk, Meralco Ave., Pasig City
I cannot stop raving about the Mangga Talaba salad we had at Oyster Boy last night. It's the weirdest salad I've tasted so far, and that's counting the paco (seaweed) salad my dad often makes when he comes home from Claveria, Cagayan.

The Mangga Talaba salad is a mix of green mango strips, lots and lots of fresh talaba (oyster), onion, tomato, salted egg and cilantro, all bathe in heavenly taba ng talangka.

(Sorry, my non-Tagalog speaking friends. There is just no way to translate the salty nectar of life that is taba ng talangka. Culinary experts call it "crab roe paste" or simply "preserved crab fat," as these come from small shore crabs, but these terms just do not capture the FATness, UNhealthiness, and unadulterated JOY that taba ng talangka embodies. Maybe this link will help --> http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/taba-ng-talangka-crab-fat-paste)

Keep in mind, we live only once and our lives WILL end sometime whether we're ready or not. So go get your Mangga Talaba salad while your cardiologist says you still can. Price: only Php110!*

*No commission received whatsoever from Oyster Boy, although a gift certificate or two will surely not hurt. Wink, wink.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Les Petits Caractères

Pao bought loads of CDs and DVDs the other day. Astrovision in Greenhills was on sale, and his testosterone just couldn't handle not bringing home some shiny new things at amazing half-prices.

Pao's stash included the latest Pupil album, Pupil Wildlife, Urbandub's Under Southern Lights, Coffee & Music, The Blue Room, Jazz House Anthem and Puto Mayo presents Mali to Memphis.

Of all these, Pao was most proud of his French Playground album by Puto Mayo. He was so excited about it that he couldn't wait for us to get home before showing it to me, which isn't a surprise really.

Pao's always been fascinated with the French language. Just between us girls, he watches movies and soap operas on TV Monde 5 regularly, although we all know he doesn't understand whatever it is that's going on.

Luckily, I don't find such healthy fascination weird at all. French does sound romantic. It's the only language in the world where you may sound like you have phlegm caught in your throat and yet still feel sexy. A French man can come up to you in a bar and say something like,"Avez-vous régulièrement des selles?" and you'd want to go home with him instantly. Nevermind that what he just said roughly translates to "Do you have regular bowel movement?"*

Too bad Pao is not into the habit of reading the fine print in things. Turns out the album is titled "French Playground" for a reason - it's a CD for kids. Not sexy at all.

Astrovision - 1; Pao - 0.

*Translated using iTranslate - a supercool iPhone/iTouch application that lets you translate to dozens of languages, including Bulgarian, Latvian and yes, Tagalog.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Best and The Rest

Okay, so since I learned that John Lloyd Cruz is part of a group called Kanto Boys, I've been spending most of my time looking for, ahem, "resource materials" on them.

I tried looking out for the Kanto Boys by watching ASAP again, but I just cannot stand that show. I actually stopped watching Sunday noontime shows when I started growing imaginary balls (roughly around College). Since then, I began to care little about teenstars, starlets, star-wanna-be's, comeback stars, has-beens, and their pathetic excuses for production numbers. Their tweety-bird voices, with due respect to Tweety Bird, also do not help. (You'll know what I'm talking about at the end of the video below.)

Thanks to our friends at YouTube, I'm now able to watch Lloydie, Vhong, Luis and Billy (the latter three hereafter collectively referred to as, "the rest") at my convenience without having to go through the entire ASAP circus. Here's one of my favorite numbers from Lloydie and the rest:



I'm especially loving the Spongebob Squarepants shirt, Lloydie, although I'm not quite sure if this is national TV appropriate. I have a shrine dedicated to Spongebob at home, but for the sake of my professional career, I don't reveal that tidbit to just anyone, you know.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Hill

For those of us wondering what all the excitement is all about, the 2008 Bar Exam results were released yesterday. I've Googled all over in the hopes of finding a comprehensive list of successful examinees somewhere, but most sites are down and most links are dead. The best that I could do is the INQUIRER website,  which contains a list of Bar passers categorized by surname. That website also takes forever to load, but it's better than nothing.

To the other professionals who still don't get what's so special about the Bar that it's placers merit prime time features everytime, fear not. I also didn't understand what all the fuss was all about until I took the exams myself in 2005.

Let it be said, the Philippine Bar is the most difficult test I've ever had to take in my entire life. It's a piss-in-your-pants-i-just-wanna-go-home-and-assume-the-fetal-position exam. When I was taking it, some of my roommates left their seats an hour into the first subject and never came back. Some examinees even lose their minds in the process (with one ending up consulting a crystal ball on his desk for the answers. Hala).

It was so difficult that I resolved NOT to take it again if I don't pass the first time. Someone slap me and call me Nancy if I ever allow myself to go through such physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and social torture EVER again.

Did I mention, I used the stopwatch method when I was preparing for the Bar? This means I studied 12-15 hours a day, and by study I mean reaaaallly study. If I had to leave my desk to go to the toilet, take a nap, or even think about anything else other than the law, I pressed my stopwatch. I did not call it a day until I earned my 12 hours of actual study time. What a nerd. But it apparently worked.

Anyways, congratulations to all the new lawyers. Welcome, welcome to the legal profession! Let me paraphrase at this point the words of wisdom a partner in my first firm told me when I passed the Bar: "Passing the Bar is the most fulfilling moment in a lawyer's career. Cherish it; because it'll all be down hill from there."

Wahaha. You'll know in due time. Congratulations!

(The attached Coloring Book for Lawyers is my gift to you. Have fun!)
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