Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My heart is smiling.

Everywhere we went yesterday, there was an outflowing of support from regular people, willing to help victims of Tropical Storm Ondoy. These photos, for example, were taken from the Expo Center in Cubao, during the relief operations put together by the Liberal Party.

I'm surprised that majority of politicians restrained themselves, in good taste, from making an advertising circus out of the natural disaster. In fact, Pao observed that there were no politicians at the center. There weren't any tarpaulins /campaign materials either. Just plain clothed people passing out bags, and packing and repacking relief goods without expecting anything in return.

There were so many volunteers at the Expo Center that Pao was asked to just return the next day. It's a good thing we picked out and packed some old clothes the night before...

At least Pao got to drop them off at La Salle, which again, had to turn him down because they had so many volunteers already.

After work, we planned to buy food at the supermarket nearest my office to donate. This was what greeted us. Whoa.

The lines to the counters were also unbelievably long, although it sure didn't look like people were panic buying for themselves. We like to think they bought boxes and boxes of canned goods and ready-to-eat food to donate to the typhoon victims.

So finally, we decided to buy pencils and school supplies for the Black Pencil Project instead, of which we were made aware through our friend Clare's blog. In general, the project collects and gives away pencils to public elementary schools in beneficiary communities. Since the onslaught of Ondoy, however, the people behind the project launched a special pencil drive, aimed at giving away pencils and school supplies to areas hit hardest by the storm.

As you can see, what we could afford wasn't much really. We just had a few boxes of Mongol pencil, some notebooks and some pad papers, all of which fit in two National Bookstore plastic bags. At least it's a start. We figured, the children who were temporarily displaced from their homes would have to go back to school sooner or later. When they do, there should be pencils in their classrooms that they could use to draw rice fields, nipa huts, and smiling suns with.

If you'd like to help some more, the volunteers at La Salle told Pao that they need ready-to-eat food more than clothing. I think giving money is also a practicable option, so the volunteers, who are most in the know of what the victims need, would be able to channel the funds to better use.

As always, make sure you hand your money over to a trusted organization, like World Vision, the Philippine Red Cross, networks ABS-CBN and GMA TV, or Victory Church. There are reports that some relief goods do not reach the flood victims because of unscrupulous individuals, some even government officials, commandeering the trucks and eventually selling the goods. Hay, bayaan na natin sila. Their reward will be in heaven or preferably, that other toasty place. Meanwhile, let's all get back to this rebuilding business. Long live the Philippines.

* Click here for more info about the Black Pencil Project or click on the name of your workpool of choice to get to their respective websites: World Vision Philippines, Philippine National Red Cross, ABS-CBN Foundation, GMA Kapuso Foundation, and Victory Church.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where are you now

Times like these when there isn't cable TV and there isn't much left to do in the house but think, I begin to wonder about my "transactions" online and how they're all doing. 

A few months ago, I thought about giving new slippers to my child sponsor Mark Vincent. I promptly deposited money for the slippers to World Vision's bank account in July, in time for Mark's birthday in August.

That month has obviously passed already but I still haven't heard from either World Vision or Mark, so I sent them a hello note and this is what I got. 

So, no. I still don't know how that turned out.

Also, a month ago, I began obsessing about tote bags particularly the unassuming ones from Herve Chapelier. I couldn't find any in the Philippines. At least at the time, the only color remaining at the Accessory Lab in Rockwell was hot pink. Nyi. So a week ago, I placed orders online for these two. 

The gray one I sent directly to the Philippines through the Philippine Postal System (gasp). The violet one I sent to my mom's address in the U.S. Neither has arrived...yet. With the flooding caused by Typhoon Ondoy, I am worried that the square tote would be happily swimming in floodwater at the San Juan Post Office by now. That is, if it even got there. 

And then finally, I placed orders for these pocket diapers from a local seller, who says she shipped them to me Friday. Counting courier's lag, these should arrive mid-week next week at the latest. Should. I don't know if they ever will.

So you see, shopping/paying for things online is a dangerous sport. It's an activity based on trust, of which we all have very little nowadays. I know I assume the risk when I pay for something without any guarantee that it will get to me whole, or even damaged, so long as it gets to me. But I just can't help it. I'm afraid this is a disease only will power and/or bankruptcy can cure.

Oh no. Wag naman sana. 


How's everyone dealing with Ondoy? We're very lucky. The worst that we get is the lack of cable TV. We live in the middle of an inclining street, which means all the water goes to a place lower than where we are. Unfortunately, the homes in that place are shanties. We hear the floodwater there is already chest-deep. 

There aren't any new lessons to be learned here. We've known since forever that improper solid waste management, like the careless throwing of garbage on the streets, blocks canals and impedes water flow.

I just hope the government reacts faster this time since it hasn't stopped raining for a while. When I woke up today, my gravest concern was what to do on a weekend. Now I'm just praying we survive this. I'm sure we will; we always do. We even like to make swimming pools out of floodwater, remember?

* By the way, for those taking the Bar examinations tomorrow, the Supreme Court has announced that they're moving this week's exams to October 4. Click here for the news report. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My new JR

In anticipation of our bonggang bonggang photo shoot with Jetro next week, I decided to get myself a haircut. I haven't blogged about this before, but it looks like I've found my new J.R. in the person of Semy the Senior Stylist from Bench Fix Salon in Robinsons Galleria.

I like Bench Fix. Their prices are reasonable and all their parloristas are talented. I just like Semy Scissorhands the best. But even when he's not around, I trust the other stylists to do wonders on my hair. They're swift and more importantly, quiet workers. No one wants a talkative hair dresser. No one.

Anyway, here's my rush I.D. picture for today, taken at the rest room of my company, Corporation X, just before I walked 10 minutes to Bench Fix.

You notice my hair's starting to become unruly at the back. I would think this is hormonal because since I got pregnant, my hair's been growing at an alarming rate. I love it. I feel like a horse.

And then here's my after picture. Now my hair's short-est and more manageable, just the way I like it. By the way, why is that stylist to my right looking at me like that? Is it weird to take your picture like this at a salon? Oo naman! Teehee.

Cuts at Bench Fix cost just PhP250. Semy mentioned they're taking 50% off on coloring until end of September so you might want to check them out. On a side note, unlike in other salons, Semy doesn't harass me into getting my hair colored despite my predisposition to early white hair-growing. He just says, "Well, there's ammonia-free cellophane that you can use pero mahirap na. Life yan eh. Saka na lang." Oo naman! Thumbs up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here today, there tomorrow.

As much as I would like to get angry at Pao for leaving so frequently and at this stage, when I am wobbling like a duck, I kind of feel sorry for him. He barely had sleep today because he had to wake up at 2am to catch his flight to here -

And then he had to travel by land to here -

And then he had to travel again for four hours to get to here -

Because Pao is away, I drove to Makati and back during rush hour for the first time in months today. It was such a drag. City driving just brings out the worst in me. So, as always, I was whining and complaining again when I got home. Then I remembered, at least I'm sleeping on our bed tonight and eating off our own plates. It feels good not having to live off my suitcase.


Someone remind me not to go to any of the bazaars at the Rockwell Tent anymore. It was my first time last Monday (with the Multiply Artisan Bazaar) and it was such a disappointment. Okay. Maybe I should not have gone on the last day because all the good stuff would have been snatched up by then. But still, ho-hum.

First off, the Rockwell Tent is such a small space. There really wasn't much to see, just about four short rows of booths.

This may be bazaar heaven for the people who frequent Rockwell, but for someone who's fallen in love with Jatujak...

...and lives so near the Greenhills tiangge... was a joke. Bazaars are meant to rob you of all your cash AND drain the life out of you. You're supposed to shop there 'til you die. That's just the way the world works. But this wasn't the case with the Multiply Bazaar. Secondly, what is this?

We had to pay entrance fees of PhP100 each. That was fine, except they should have at least printed new tickets, not recycled ones from another bazaar. Boo.

And then, remember I wanted to get myself these plastic containers from storage solutions -

- and, just for the heck of it, these crocheted ninjas from Pretty Oddity.

Awa ng Diyos, I found both their booths but the things I came for were nowhere to be found. So, if only to make good use of the entrance fees that we paid, Pao and I bought the first thing that came to sight that was within budget. What's that, you ask? Eh di, a watch box. Zzzzz.

This cost us PhP799 but even that I doubt to be reasonable. The material is synthetic and, adding its price to the PhP200 that we collectively paid to get in, the watch box should cost PhP999. On the other hand, the box sells for only PhP780 when you buy from the manufacturer's website directly. Do the math. Luge.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The O.C.

I have nothing lined up today, except for the fundraising concert that will not happen until later tonight. So I browsed through the Multiply Artisan Bazaar blog to look at the things sold there to help me decide whether I should go or not.

Sure enough, I found some things that I'd like to buy for the baby if I weren't so afraid of the buyer's remorse that will surely cometh upon me after purchase. Like these Tippy Toe skid-free socks from The Baby Theory (PhP660 for 6 pairs) -

- and these Urban Baby Republika Line onesies (PhP550).

But the most interesting products I've found so far are these storage solutions from the Storage Experts. Look, products made in obsessive compulsive heaven!

Gift wrapper organizer - for those extra birthday and Christmas wrappers that just lie around in the deep recesses of our drawers. (PhP600)

Ribbon organizer - for the extra ribbons that come with the extra birthday and Christmas wrappers that just lie around in the deep recesses of our drawers. Ad says this can hold up to 200 ribbons at a time. Amazing. (PhP250)

Door knob organizer - for those times when your phone, hand held and email calendars are just not enough to remind you to pick up the darn laundry or pay the bills. (PhP250)

Shirt and pants organizers - the weirdest, in my opinion, because only the truly sick in the head would want to wrap their shirts and pants individually and in plastic like this. (Php250 and PhP275 respectively)

And my favorite of all, the Plastic bag container - for all those SM supermarket plastic bags that we like to recycle at home on a first in first out (FIFO) basis. (PhP150)

The plastic bag containers make me want to go to the bazaar. Sure I could just use another plastic bag to hold our other plastic bags, but where's the fun in that? Hmmm. I'm thinking...I'm thinking...I'm off! (Once Pao wakes up)

* See more of the Storage Expert's products here. On a side note, I wonder why they're in the Multiply Artisan Bazaar when their products aren't even sold on Multiply. Uh-huh. I see someone breaking the RULES here.

** The Multiply Artisan Bazaar will run only until today. It's at the Rockwell Tent, in where else, but Rockwell. Click here for their list of sellers. Toodles!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hagibis 2009 Edition

It's official, we're getting old. On a Friday night, Pao and I are holed up in our room watching DVDs, Facebooking, and blogging about nothing in particular. I don't mind really. The belly's getting in the way of me wanting to walk around recently. Plus, we have in-house entertainment anyway. 

You see, unknown to most of us, Pao is 1/5 of a group of men who dance half-naked just for the heck of it. Want to see? Sure you do. A round of applause please... [Click here fast!]

LOL Happy weekend everyone! 

*Credit goes to PJ for this production number. Panalo ka, promise. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In My Life

Genre: Drama
In all objectivity, John Lloyd Cruz's acting in this movie is the only reason why it's worth watching. It's not a romantic comedy, so you won't walk out of the theater thinking of John Lloyd, still smiling and all dreamy. Hindi talaga ako kinilig, which must be good because I know I've been made to believe that John Lloyd Cruz is in point of fact, gay.

I laughed more than once, thanks to the witty writing. But it's sad that the writer couldn't keep away from dramatic 3-minute monologues so typical of local films, i.e. by Ate Vi while speaking to John Lloyd (after Luis' death), and by Lucky while speaking to Ate Vi (in the park). Please let's not do these things again. They never ever happen in real life and they make me cringe.

I also didn't like how the movie dragged towards the end. I was forced to check my watch several times to see how long it would take for them to get to the point already. Tsk, tsk.

As for Gov. Vilma Santos and son, Luis, I think the former can do comedy but seems to have lost her dramatic mojo. I wasn't moved in any of her scenes, except for that part where she was fighting with John Lloyd. That was good (but again, credit goes to John Lloyd). Luis is okay. My expectations of his acting were set so low that it doesn't really matter.

By the way: (1) Don't expect too much of that oversold "kissing scene" between John Lloyd and Luis. Hindi ako naniwala. It's so short and businesslike. They didn't look like lovers, more like my lawschool classmates Mike Acaban and JP Amistoso kissing each other on a dare. Gad, thinking of that just burns my eyes!; and (2) special mention goes to Dimples Romana, who played Luis' sister. Her 3 minute part while sitting around the dining table with Ate Vi deserves an award. Clap, clap, clap.

Overall, I'd give this movie 3.5 of 5 stars. 3 of those 3.5 I credit to Lloydie. He's a really serious actor, in all objectivity. I told you he's brilliant and I guess now, everyone knows.

Pregnancy Journal 6.3 (Progress)

I finally got around to buying diaper covers for the baby. The plan is to use cloth diapers in the morning and disposables at night. The latter being the time when we all would want peace and quite, which we are [more] unlikely to achieve with mildly absorbent cloth diapers.

Since I will be mixing cloth and disaposables, I did not hoard as I am disposed to do. Instead, I just got three, from this site (way cheaper than local site Pinoy Baby), in blue, red and yellow... 

...for when baby campaigns for Noynoy from the comforts of his play pen. Yey. 

I also got around to signing up for childbirth classes with Rome Kanapi. I Googled and her name is what came up in the PACE* website, so here we are. I just told Pao this morning that we'd have to spend 3 hours of 5 of our Sundays attending the class. Ang sagot, "Ba't ganun? Ang tagal!" I guess he doesn't feel the need to go to these things. After all, a 6-8 lb. human being with hair and fingernails will not be passing through his non-existent birth canal. He will be there just to take pictures. Ladida for him.

Frankly, I would not want to mingle with similarly pregnant people as myself. I'm not a sociable kind of person so that's not really one of my objectives for attending the childbirth class. I just want to be informed. Of course childbirth will still be painful. I'm also sure nothing I've ever known has helped with any kind of pain that I was experiencing. But as the great Ernie Baron once told us (God rest his soul), knowledge is power!  

Sure it is. Ouch.

*PACE stands for Philippine Association for Childbirth Education. If you're also expecting, their contact details are here.

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