Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things

My swim teammate Cheng tagged me on Facebook. Now racking my brain for 25 things that might be interesting enough to share (or that I'm willing to share? Hahaha!). Can't beat what Cheng wrote and what Dindin and Lilit could possible write, goes...

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I expect you to answer (mwahahaha!). --> I won't tag anyone on Multiply, but I'll leave it to you to do share 25 random things about you, if you wish.

1) I had a perfect childhood (thank you, Mari Vargas and Mad da Silva!).
2) I'm friends with my parents and sisters. If we weren't related, I'd still befriend them. They're all just too funny to ignore. Surprisingly, I'm friends with my stepmother, ex-stepmother, stepfather, ex-future-stepfather, and ex-future-stepbrother, too.
3) My first friend is still my friend today.
4) My grade school and high school friends are among my closest, dearest, most important friends today (can't live without them).
5) My sisters and I can recite Disney's "Peter Pan" from beginning to end (including songs and sound effects).
6) I enjoy singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You" to my Dad with my sisters. Julia and I made him cry once.
7) I love hearing my niece Layla sing "Immigrant Song", "It's a Long Way to the Top" and "Do Do Do Da Da Da".
8) I spoil all 11 of my godchildren, hence the title Fairy Godmother.
9) I'm from a family of "Star Wars" geeks and movie freaks. Speaking of "Star Wars", I know Greedo shot first.
10) Oh, I'm a bit of a Disney animated classics, "Dragon Lance" and "Lord of The Rings" geek, too.
11) I canNOT live without music (music = life), but sadly, I'm allergic to hip hop and don't like reggae (ask Gabby).
12) Yes, I like ABBA. My and Raetz's song is "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)".
13) When I met Marc Nelson, I had to stop myself from singing, "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream."
14) I have the biggest crush on Simon Atkins kahit inconsistent laro siya last UAAP season. Chester!
15) I've seen Sting perform twice, and I think that he's hotter than his son, Joe.
16) I got my dream job and I love it :D Oh, and I know my friends love it, too (the boys are the ones who are really reaping the rewards, so to speak).
17) I want to retire by 40 and just travel, take pictures, write about my (mis)adventures and get published.
18) I still swim, but can no longer swim half as much as I used to (before = 1,000m warm up; now = 1,000m then give up).
19) I'm a bit of foodie, hence the Tuesday Dinner Group. Sino bang nangimbento ng pagkain, ha? Bakit ang sarap kumain? Lalo na kung steak, lamb, duck, Thai cuisine,...!!!
20) Apparently, I nod my head and smile a lot when I'm enjoying a meal (4 people noticed).
21) Cristina Andaya may live vicariously through my Facebook, but she is not my girlfriend.
22) Eduardo Enriquez (aka Dindin) is not THAT kind of playmate. And please lang, patayin na ang Carla Vargas-Michael Garcia fans club. Not going to happen.
23) I'm waiting for summer to roll in so I can hit the beach (among other things).
24) I love science experiments ;)
25) I'm the luckiest girl in the world. "And when she shines, she really shows you all she can..."

Thursday, January 01, 2009


For the past two years, I’ve been starting my year-end posts with a beautiful Neil Gaiman quote, and will do so again (I continue to wish it upon us all): "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

2008 - difficult as it was during the first half with everything that happened at work - was a good year for me; and I usher in 2009 with a strong feeling that things will only get better. And here goes another year-end round up, and I again wish that you all look back on this last year with fond memories and look forward to the next with grace and hope. Happy New Year!

What is/are the best thing/s you did in 2008?
Got my dream job! Woohoo! Spent more time with family and friends – among the highlights was time spent with Papa, Julia, The Nielsens, Neil and John in June and again in December (yup, I’m typing this in another country in another time zone. Surprise!). Finally brought one family member to what has become my second home: Singapore. Saw The Police in concert with Cherry and the first Formula One race live with Bianca. Got a surprise visit from The Thirds today, sans Weezl (sayang, that would have been more fun). Finished a bottle of Bordeaux from Tito Joseph with Mom, Tito Masa and Tita Girlie during the holidays. Cooked a killer rack of lamb with Papa and wolfed it down. Wrote some pretty decent poetry (haven’t done that in a while). Helped write a song that turned out so much better than I thought possible. Found/was found by old and almost forgotten friends on Facebook.

What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Had dinners out in different restaurants every week with complete strangers. Gave a eulogy (RIP, Caye). Took pictures at a wake (I’m sorry, but Tito Nene’s and Father Pat’s wakes were just so beautiful). Visited the Brothers’ community in Napa. Signed an employment contract without reading it (no regrets so far). Drove to the CCP *alone*. Twinkled at will. Actually had an opinion on the US Presidential Elections. Stayed in a room with a view of the bathroom shower. Did my Christmas shopping on the weekend before the 25th *and* I wasn’t able to plan the Bangkok Gang’s Christmas reunion dinner or my barkada’s traditional Christmas get-together properly (I was so very delinquent this year)! Told everyone that I have the biggest crush on Simon Atkins (the wonders of Facebook). Spent the last hours of 2008 watching “The Shining” (punyemas! How can I sleep now?).

What was/were the best place/s you visited in 2008?
I didn’t go anywhere that was particularly exciting and new, but I enjoyed my “return trip” to Bangkok in May as well as my trips to Northern California. And there’s Nike Singapore in Wisma Atria and Nike Park on Fort Bonifacio High Street ;)

What was/were the best meal/s you had in 2008?
All the food I had in Bangkok. Chili crab and black pepper crab somewhere in the East Coast of Singapore (not at Jumbo, but at another restaurant across it). Cheese steak pizza and chocolate cake at Chi’s Brick Oven Kitchen. Lamb adobo at Tita Nieves' house and at Abe. Everything I’ve eaten since I arrived in Pittsburg, CA last Thursday, especially taco buche (Mexican sisig taco).

What was/were the best drink/s you had in 2008?
All the alcohol we had at The Cuis’ place all year (what was the wine with chocolate? McMannis?).

What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
No change: more time to write, a better eye and faster trigger finger for photography, plus more money and leave days to travel. I want to explore and share my adventures ;)

What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Yesterday (30 December 2008), simply because I really felt like my father’s daughter. And that’s a good thing!

What was/were the best thing/s you bought?
A laptop, a car (goodbye, dear Luke. Hello, Zeigfried!), a classic 160GB iPod (finally!) and all manner of iPod accessories, a waterproof headset for the iPod Shuffle that Julia gave me for my birthday (I love it! Swimming has never been the same since), a waterproof/shockproof camera for my Mom, a particular pair of wonderfully comfortable loafers, tickets to The Police reunion concert, and tickets to the Formula One night race.

Where did most of your money go?
To Singapore, the failing US economy, Philippine Airlines, and Globe Telecom (I really should start using Skype).

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Bianca's first trip to Singapore. Watching The Police and the Singapore Grand Prix. Going back to Bangkok. My new job =D

What song/s will always remind you of 2008?
Warning Sign by Coldplay, The Story by Brandi Carlile, all the glam rock tunes we “sang” on Facebook.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or more sad? – Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? – No difference (just plain fat!).
iii. richer or poorer? – Same answer as last year, “Definitely poorer. But richer in spirit (naks!).”

What do you wish you'd done more of?
My list hasn’t changed since 2005: attended more Search-In Alabang retreats, some work-related stuff that I can't explain, worked on my photography skills, studied Spanish seriously, completed my World@Work exams and gotten my CCP designation. However, as of Monday, I’m confirmed to facilitate one Search-In activity in a couple of weeks. That’s a start. I hope to achieve more in 2009.

What was the best book you read?
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I re-read Alan Moore’s Watchmen and appreciate it more now than when I first read it years ago. Does that count?

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rodrigo y Gabriela. And...

What was/were the best movie/s you saw in 2008?
The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wall-E and Bolt.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Sorry, work-related (would you believe?). Although I really would have wanted to hang out with Caye one more time…

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
January to October: lots of white tops and (surprisingly) red shoes. The usual smart casual to corporate, but with a little more flair this time. November and December: Nike all the way, baby! Yeah! Head to toe to hand bag.

What kept you sane?
My dog. My niece. The Triumvirate. Cable. Employee discount.

Who was/were the best new person/people you met?
Everyone from the Tuesday Dinner Group. All the old friends I found/who found me through Facebook. Danielle Dizon. Pepi XB. The super nice guys from Smart who bought Bianca and I soda in Singapore and let us take their taxi. Chad Thompson (one of the best HR practioners I've ever come across). Rovilson Fernandez (he's sooooo funny!). Marc Nelson (oh my gas, so damn cute in person!). Robert Alejandro (fantastic artist). Jetro Rafael (amazing photographer). My new officemates, especially my smoking buddies.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
There are many things that I learned, but I find difficult to articulate and share with the world at large. I can share these, though: I can’t play the drums on RockBand (it’s counter-intuitive), but I’m pretty good with the guitar (my solos rock!). Nike dreams do come true!!! My family really, really loves me and I really, really love them, too. My cousins are the best! And I have the world’s best barkada.

What was the nicest thing someone told you about yourself:
“You are a Jedi mindf***.”

What did you like most about yourself in 2008?
I feel more human, more alive. It’s like everything I’ve gone through has led me to “this” (whatever this happy, content, “I am who I am” state of mind is). I really did surprise myself this year.

What did you hate most about yourself in 2008?
I didn’t swim as often as I should have, and didn’t do as well at work as I know I could. There's more, but I'll keep those to myself. Ha!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Ooh! You touch my tra-la-la! (Thanks a lot, Julia. Buwiset ka talaga. Hahaha!).

Was 2008 a good year for you?

Yes, even more than 2007 even if I didn’t go on an Iberian or Indian adventure. It really was “filled with magic and dreams and good madness”!

What was your favorite moment of the year?
Holy cow, where do I begin? And what can I share? All the time I spent with Max and Layla. Hanging out with the Nielsens and Menendez Brothers. The day Coco offered me a job at Nike. The day I resigned from Chevron. The look on Tristan’s face when he opened my Christmas gift to him (paperback edition of Dream Hunters): classic! All day yesterday. And so many more….

What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Next question, please.

Do you have a new years resolution for 2009?
I will stop smoking by 10 January 2009. I hope. Eep!

What was your favorite record from 2008?
Rodrigo y Gabriela.

How many concerts did you see in 2008?
Four: The Police Reunion Concert, Da Pulis Resurrection Show, Chris Daughtry, Gene Loves Jezebel. I had no intention of catching Rick Astley, but I would have loved to see Roderick Paulate sing and dance for him live. Is U23D a movie or a concert?

If you could go back in time to any moment of 2008 and change something, what would it be?
Now that I look back…nothing. This is the first time I’ve said that.

What are your plans for 2009?
I want to travel, write more substantial pieces, and go back to Search-In in the hopes of making a difference in someone’s life. There are so many things I want to do, but so little time. I need to make it all fit in the next 365 days and make each breathing moment count. Everything suddenly feels so much more "immediate" and important than before.

How are you different now that 2008 has ended?
I get happier every year now, you know? It’s strange. I’m still not used to being really happy and confident.

What are your wishes for the new year?
World peace. Seriously. [insert ship-launching capped-tooth smile here]. Scroll back up to the beginning of this post ;) Thank you. I love you all! Have a rocking 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today we start the change...

Please read this and spread the word. Seriously. This shit has to stop. Now.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kinky Shower Hotel

I admit it: I'm used to a particular lifestyle that involves a certain level of comfort. It's no secret that it was not easy for me to share a room (worse, a bathroom) with complete strangers in Spanish and Portuguese hostels last year. At least Gars was around so I knew at least one person who I didn't mind knowing how messy I was. Or whose mess I'd gladly see simply because it was familiar. We were lucky in that we got to share rooms together or rooms with nice, neat people. That helped a lot. But today, I've crossed a new line.

When in Singapore on business, I'm used to staying in my own room with a king sized bed and 6 pillows at the Intercontinental Hotel on Bugis. It may sound luxurious, but really, it's not the best hotel in town. I'm really mababaw and can make anything sound fantastic. The Intercon is in a good location, is connected to the Bugis MRT Station, has a decent pool and gym, is very neat and clean, smells good, and has a great in-room dining menu.

Having said that, I was obviously not at all prepared for the Changi Village Hotel in the middle of effing nowhere near the border of Indonesia where I'm booked in a TWIN sharing room (hindi man lang double-double) with a seemingly nice Thai lady who I've never met (I've only spoken to her at teleconferences. She's not here yet. She's arriving in an hour or so). This is an Executive Room, they tell me, with free internet service, a continental breakfast, access to the swimming pool, smoking section and a so-so club lounge (Vince, if you're reading this, the club lounge at the Intercontinental Hotel in Delhi was MUCH nicer). I can take it...except for the fact that I'm on a business trip and sharing this teeny-tiny room with a stranger. And I can't get over the window between the shower and the bedroom!

How am I expected to bathe? Should I get up extra early and hope my roomie doesn't see me? Worse, how am I going to sit on the throne?! I wonder if they can install a curtain or something. Just looking at it makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I'm so looking forward to going home on Sunday...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vampires to the left of me, vampires to the right of me!

Yes, I read "Twilight". And yes, I'm waiting for the movie. It won't come out here until next Wednesday, but considering that I've been trying to read "Breaking Dawn" for over two months (I've finished many other books since I kind of gave up on that one. Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" is very highly recommended!), I'm sure I can wait until next Saturday to see the supposed movie event of the year. I only need to know if my favorite line from the 3 books of the series that I've read is there: "You are exactly my brand of heroin." If you've seen it, please let me know! I'll watch it just to hear that. Or maybe even if it's not there. But I so love that line.

I've been going over the online reviews (I'm not afraid of spoilers since I already know what's going to happen), and they're mixed. Of course, I'll still see it even if it gets tons of bad reviews. But in trying to find a review for someone who hasn't read the books, I came across Massawyrm's negative one on (he's one of my favorite critics. I just trust him. Lord knows why). I laughed out loud when I read, "His [Edward's, the vampire] undying, inexplicable love keeps him from killing her [Bella, the stupid human]. You get it now? You see why the ladies are all about this? He’s the ultimate unattainable bad boy. An immortal killer who is sexy, strong and very protective. Oh, yeah. And he’s incapable of having sex and doesn’t sleep, so he just wants to stay up all night and talk." Mismo!

What really surprised me, though, was a comment from Harry's review (also from Yeah, feeling close na kami). Director Catherine Hardwicke was at a screening he attended and someone from the audience asked her about how she chose what to keep from the book and what to edit out. Note that one of the coolest things about "Twilight" is all the mind games, so conversation plays a big part. As Harry described the Q&A, "Well, in Catherine’s answer she revealed a shallowness about the film... She talked about how she didn’t want to make the film just 'talking heads'. As she said this, there was this smirk on Richard Linklater’s face. And the thought hit me, 'My god, I can’t believe that Catherine Hardwicke is saying that Talking Heads and Romance is patently uncinematic while standing next to the director of BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET!'” Boo! I love those movies! And the conversations are exactly why they worked! I'm still watching "Twilight", though. Haha!

Another vampire movie that I doubt will ever show here is an award-winning independent Swedish film called "Let The Right One In". Yesterday, I ordered the book it was based on, and I'm picking it up this weekend. Basically, it's a coming of age story about a bullied 12 year old boy who falls for...well...a 200 year old vampire trapped in a 12 year old girl's body. I'm pretty sure there's a dibidi of that somewhere in The Ruins (excuse me, High School/College friends attending this year's Christmas Tradition! You can get that for me as part of our exchange gift. Plus "Once" and the first season of "True Blood". All of that should cost around Php500. Thank you!)

So vampires are back, it seems. I like vampire lore, but could only take so much of Lestat before I gave up on the genre (I thought Louie was the more interesting character). "Twilight" was a good re-introduction. I'm keen to see what "Let The Right One In" has in store.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Fueling the Dream" by The Impossible Dream Team

In celebration of the 29th Olympiad and in support of Team Philippines (who our Company is sponsoring), we were challenged to showcase "the Filipino Olympic Spirit as a CPI employee" via group photo contest. Go figure ;) So while some of us simply came to work in our favorite sports attire, others took the photo contest seriously (like us!).

Click on the link below to see some my team's take on "several pictures of you and your team in a pose that will best describe your support for Team Philippines and for the flag!". The things we do for an official Beijing Olympics jacket (first prize) or a Php2,000 gift certificate at Tang's Restaurant (second prize) or official Caltex Drive the Dream t-shirts. I hope we win!

Most of the pictures were taken in the middle of the freaking day at the Caltex Station on Malugay Street in Makati. I cannot show my face there again.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

To Shoot or Not To Shoot

Animal lover that I am, this article made me sad.