Tuesday, April 26, 2005

On friendships

Just one of the bonding conversations I had with Val last week:

V: Kakasal na si (name of her highschool friend). Malapit ko na siyang di makita.
me: Bakit naman?
V: Eh kakasal na siya eh.
(Both of us are silent for a while.)

me: Pag kinasal na ako, magkikita pa din tayo.
V: Sinabi mo yan ah.
me: Oo! Basta wag lang yung tipong nilalagnat na anak ko, tapos gimik gimik pa din ako.

And I really meant it from the bottom of my heart. Naks!

Seriously, I find it sad that in our society, once a woman gets married, she is expected to give up the fun aspects of her single life, including friends. How many times have I heard the adults say this, "Yan..magpakasaya ka na ngayon habang wala ka pang asawa. Kasi pag may asawa, iba na ang buhay." Is marriage supposed to be some sort of sacrifice? How come it sounds like I have to give up the fun things from my single life?

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs most of you know by now, friendships aren't that simple. As with other types of relationships, it takes a certain amount of compatibility, chemistry and trust for us to be able to call someone as our friend. And just like other types of relationships, time and effort need to be invested in friendships in order for it to grow. It takes me months to accept someone as my friend, and years to label someone as my bestfriend.

Which is why the idea of having to give up my personal time with friends once I'm married is something I do not think I can do. I have a highschool buddy who did exactly that. I resented her hubby for a while, but I resented her actions (or inactions) even more. And I swore to myself that I will never, ever drop my friends after I get married.

Fortunately, I have a very understanding hubby-to-be, who gives me all the space I need. :)

The Manila Peninsula Experience

It was a perfectly good Saturday night, and Val and I had made plans to stay overnight at the posh Manila Peninsula. Both of us were beside ourselves with excitement. Imagine -- the pulsing Makati night life just minutes away from where we'll be staying! We can go home late without worrying about waking up the entire house. We can stay out late and party all night! We can hit the bars! We can have post-party coffee at 4am, and nobody will give us a difficult time for it. Yay!!

BUT, there was one thing we forgot to take into consideration. Age! Ooops... I mean, stress! Stress! That's what I meant. After watching Whose Wife Is It Anyway, we were ready to hit the sack. Never mind the exciting Makati night life. Our tired bodies were more excited to lie on the 1000++ threadcount sheets of the Pen.

So we walked back to the Pen. Bad idea: walking from Greenbelt 1 to Manila Peninsula in the dead hours of the night. We were scared and walking much too fast, catching the attention of some construction workers in the process. (We're NEVER doing that again Val!) Once we reached the lobby, all I really wanted to do was to soothe my very sore throat, and sleep. But some bonding sessions first. My wedding was the major topic. Talked about the motif, the food, the venue, the house, the children, etc. etc. And at that point, I realized that my answer to most of Val's question was -- I don't know. Okay, should I be scared now?

Left the television on the whole evening. Was awake by 4 a.m., after hearing a loud banging sound outside our door. Or against our door. Or against another room's door. Again, that was a scary experience. For me at least. Val was still asleep then, and only woke up when I changed the channel on the tv. :)

The next day, we woke up at 9 a.m., and got out of bed at around 12 noon. :) As I said, the 1000++ threadcount of the sheets felt really luxurious! We had brunch buffet at Nielsen's, where I ate all the salmon sashimi I could eat. Yum! Before Paseo Uno and Circles, there was Nielsen's seafood buffet, with fresh shrimps and oysters. Too bad they were not able to keep up with the competition.

We couldn't believe how destressed we felt. Amazing, because we were still in the city after all. But our 24 hour mini vacation was spent without office related phone calls. We didn't have an itinerary either. We just decided to spend the day doing things we wanted to do. Maybe that's the reason why we both felt so relaxed -- the lack of structure. After all, spending every day waking up with a list of things that need to be done for the day can't be fun. Will keep the Manila Pen experience in mind everytime I feel stressed.

Highlights of our weekend:
1. Walking under the scorching heat from Manila Pen to Greenbelt, to avoid the hassles of looking for a parking space. And let's not forget, the very expensive parking fee of P40. :)
2. Powerbooks is on sale!!!
3. And so is National Bookstore!
4. Whose Wife Is It Anyway -- one of the funniest plays I've seen in a long time.
5. The kid sitting beside me seemed to think so too, as she nearly broke my eardrums with her squeals.
6. I remember seeing a PG sign on the doors of Greenbelt 1. Now, I know why. :)
7. Manila Pen's great service.
8. Waking up late on Sunday with nothing to do.
9. Nielsen's salmon sashimi. Really, really good! As in!
10. The white chocolate filling I had for my crepe. I can still taste it until now. Yum!

Good food. Good service. Bestfriend with me. No wonder I had such a great time. :)

Happiness really is inversely proportional to expectations.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


I woke up Saturday morning and found my parents in the garden, huddled over this maya bird. My mom was trying to see if it was bleeding, because one of our dogs bit it on the neck and played around with it.

Here's the culprit-------------->
That's panpan. Took her pic after my parents spanked her for almost mangling the bird. Most dogs know when they've done something wrong. Notice how she's trying to take refuge near our maid's feet? I couldn't get mad at her. First, she's my favorite. :) Second, how can I get mad when she looks at me with those pa-cute eyes?

FYI: The maya was able to fly again after a few minutes.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Diet for the Sick

Thanks for the get well messages!

I woke up Wednesday morning slightly light headed, with an itch in my throat. By Wednesday evening, I was already running a fever. Plus, my throat hurt like crazy. I don't know if this is how it goes for everybody, but here in our house, sick people have to go on the oil-less diet. And since I have sore throat with the fever, I have to go on the oil-less, liquid diet.

So for the past two days, I have been feasting on: apple puree, pear puree, green tea milk tea (bought it from China), canned peaches (sliced thinly) and egg white soup with rock sugar. The latter is Dra. Mom's own concoction for sore throats, I think. And when my throat was not this painful yet, I indulged in some pork floss (ma-hu) on whole wheat bread. The unhealthiest food I ate was a steamed hotdog on whole wheat bread.

And I have to say, this diet has been very good to my body. Some unwanted bulges are off, and the food cravings are gone too. Yay!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New Beginnings

So many new things happening this month that I just need to write about them.

1. Liza and I are starting our own food biz! Details to be announced soon, when everything is ready.

2. A very good friend, Jerson, will be opening his own restaurant soon din! Am super excited for you!

3. Richmond's furniture company recently had its soft opening last Sunday. He missed it because we were in Guangdong (Canton). The store's name is Truly Asia, located in Nakpil St. in Malate. Sales are doing well, and I'm very happy for my brother. I never imagined though, that he would want a business about furniture.

4. And for the most important new beginning in my life...

Mike and I are tying the knot! We will be taking the plunge next year, anytime between mid-May to mid June. We have been discussing this for months, but it wasn't till the latter part of March that we really started planning for it. We just need to get a good date from the Chinese calendar, and book the church and reception venue, and everything should be easy. Right? Right? I hope so.

I have been thinking about starting a new blog just for the wedding preps, as other brides are doing. But I thought, the wedding preparations are a part of my life din, so will stick to this blog for updates on the preparations.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I love to travel, whether it's for a business trip or for leisure. But travelling has always been a bittersweet experience for me. I look forward to seeing new places, and trying out their native dishes. The minute I step in a foreign airport though, I can't help but compare other countries' airport to ours. I have yet to see an airport that looks worse than NAIA. It's just sad how advanced and modern other airports have become. Our airport still has that 1970's retro look. It's dark, dingy, and is obviously in dire need of renovation. And you have to go through all sorts of lines before you reach the plane. There's a line (for vehicles) before entering the airport grounds. Then there's another line before entering the airport building. Plus a line to weigh the luggages. And a line for checking in. Yes, airport management now requires passengers to weigh their luggages BEFORE checking in. The weighing scales are placed in the middle of the airports; one weighing scale for each airline counter open, I think. Have you ever lined up in Jollibee during lunch hour? That was how the airport looked to me. No kidding.

First stop was Xiamen. My parents wanted to go to this shyong-miya person. That's Chinese for one who reads your life based on your date and time of birth. The shyong-miya person read our pasts accurately. He missed out on some important events, but generally, the readings were detailed and specific. We stayed in Xiamen's Hua Kiyaw Hotel for just a night. It's a four star hotel that did not disappoint. I couldn't resist taking this picture:

It's a small wooden sign that sells different types of tea. Note the rectangular box on the lower right portion of the picture.

It says, "This product is for sale. Prize inside."

For a brief nannosecond, I was tempted to open the tea bags. Maybe there really was a prize inside! For a package that small, maybe the prize was a ring? A pendant? Hehehehehe.

We were within walking distance of a small shopping area, where we were able to buy pirated DVD copies of TV series like The Simpson's, The OC, CSI: Miami, etc. For less than half the price they're being sold in Greenhills. Wheeeeeee!

The next day, we were off to Canton to attend the Canton Fair. My brothers initially did not see the point of going to the fair. But once they stepped in the exhibit hall, they couldn't stop raving about the fair. As I was walking down the main aisle with Richmond, he said,

R: "Okay ito ah. Dapat kausapin din natin government natin na mag hold ng fair na ganito."
me: "Oo nga, kaso lang, dito sa Canton fair, puro products manufactured in China lang pwede. Pag sa atin, baka wala masyadong exhibitors kasi halos imports na yung mga products natin eh."

We were silent for a while, as the thought hit us. There are only a few manufacturing companies here, most of whom are not doing so well due to labor problems, threat of cheaper imported products, plus the steep cost of doing business.

Anyways, some pictures I took from our China trip:Image hosted by Photobucket.com
From left to right:
1. Mangoes that are bigger than Richmond's hand! The taste? Eh. Nothing beats our mangoes.
2. The banner for the Canton Fair. Most of the hotels in Canton had a similar banner welcoming the fair's visitors. Some stores even offered discounts to visitors.
3. This is a picture I took of one section of the fair. The new building houses about eight sections with sizes similar to this one.

And this one's my favorite:

It's a picture I took of Momon while he was sleeping in the airplane.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Angel on Oprah

Like many whose curiosity were piqued by Studio 23's teaser ads, I stayed up late to watch Angel Aquino appear on Oprah. Tonight's show featured women all over the world -- 30 year old women, to be more specific. What they do, what they wear, how they differ from the Americans, what sets them apart. Very interesting. Wasn't able to watch the Kuwaiti woman's segment though, so didn't really learn much about them, except that they take long coffee and lunch breaks, and they really dress up. The other women that caught my interest were:

1. The Mexican women who showed Oprah the proper way to drink tequila. Not by taking shots of tequila, but by sipping it, pretty much like how one would sip cognac. Mexican women in their 30s say no to gym and no to diets. Yippeeeee!

2. Cuban women will probably have been divorced three times by the time they reach 30. Getting a divorce is easy, as long as both parties agree to it. It costs around $1.50 and takes around five minutes to finish the whole process.

3. Women in Brazil think that it is more important to have a good body than to get married by 30.

4. An Iraqi journalist has a machine gun in her living room. It is not uncommon for Iraqi women to take valium to escape reality for a while.

5. Only 21% of 30 year old women in London are fat. Compared to America's 67%. Whoa! And they have a (gasp!) 35-hour work week. Plus, they have a paid 5 weeks vacation leave. Double whoa!

As for the Philippines, Pinays know how to take a break. And they take coffee breaks pretty much the way Americans do. In fact, we have 67 branches of Starbucks all around the country. (Or was it Seattle's Best?)

Very similar to what the woman from HK had to say about their women. She just said that HK women knew how to enjoy life.

Sayang. Angel's segment did not give any idea at all of what makes Pinays stand out from other women. Starbucks, schmarbucks. Starbucks has several branches in several countries all around the world! The segment could have tackled about famous Pinay voices (e.g. Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Jasmine Trias etc.), or how the average 30 year old Pinay divides her time among work, family and personal time.

But what struck me most of all the women featured on the show was the woman from Rwanda. Oprah's opening line went, "....where women rarely make it to see 30." Genital mutilation was the first reason that came to mind. I think it's being practiced until now and has caused several deaths among adolescent women in some parts of Africa. (Don't really know the exact place.)

Henriette (spell check please!), the Rwandan woman, was a survivor of the genocide that took place ten years ago. She witnessed 16 members of her family killed, one by one. She was raped by several members of the militia until they were so tired that they had to stop. That was when she escaped. Seven years later, she's single handedly raising her son, and has adopted three other children. She looks forward to studying in college, and does not like talking about the incident. Read more about the genocide here.

Wow. I can't believe the genocide happened ten years ago without me even knowing about it. Probably saw one or two news articles about it and didn't bother to read it. Even Oprah admitted that the genocide in Rwanda was overshadowed by other matters.

But I digress. The point is, it's amazing how this woman, after witnessing the deaths of her loved ones, and after being abused so many times, can still have the genuine desire to live. If I had been in her position, I would probably just have waited for the militia to kill me. What is there to live for? All my loved ones gone, my body violated. Ugh! I shudder just thinking about it. But she had the strength and desire to live. And has managed to create a life for herself which brings her joy and happiness.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Earth is Shaking

Where were you when the July 1990 earthquake happened?

I was in my classroom, writing an article for our Chinese seatwork. My chair suddenly started shaking, so I shot an evil look at my classmate sitting behind me. To my surprise, he (my classmate) seemed as dumbfounded as I was as to why all the chairs inside our classroom were moving. From where I was seated, I could see the nursery building swaying and electrical wires sparking. Classmates crying, teachers running out of the faculty room, instructing all of us to pray (?!?!). It was not a pretty sight. And it was one sight I never wished to see again. Ever.

Before the July 1990 disaster happened, I thought disastrous earthquakes only happened in faraway places like Japan and San Francisco. I would enjoy the several seconds when our house shook, believing that the magnitude never went beyond 5 on the Richter scale. The July 1990 incident changed that belief for me.

With all the earthquake news about Indonesia lately, I can't help but feel paranoid. So when I felt the mild earthquake last Sunday, I jumped up and took shelter under the door frame. The earthquake was over in just a few seconds, and nobody in our house even noticed it.

Today, I got an email from a friend, with the following predictions about the Philippines:

In December 2004, just around the time the tsunami struck, someone came to tell Sister Raquel that "a series of massive earthquakes will hit Metro Manila in 2005." The nun's exact words: "This will originate in Quezon City and a portion of Manila will slide into Manila Bay." She also speaks of movements of the earth in the Pacific, Atlantic, China, the Indian Ocean.

It's not unusual to read and hear about predictions of earthquakes after a major earthquake has just happened. But this email is even scarier because it did not come from Madam Auring or other so-called seers. It came from a woman of the cloth. I checked out the news article in inq7.net, and yes, the article was really published in PDI's March 6 issue. You can read the whole article here.

Searched Yahoo for some interesting information about earthquakes, and I came across this site. Did you know that a total of six earthquakes shook the Philippine soil this week alone? Check this out.

The world is really changing... big time.