This week has been one Christmas party after another ---a great "welcome back" for me who's missed happenings such as these during the holiday season.
Our company's Christmas party was held at the Hardrock Makati wherein cash prizes where at stake for the department that performed the best in their presentation. Our dept (nope, I didn't take part ---maybe next year) spent countless hours rehearsing their dance which was a mix of 60s, 70s, and 80s tunes. I was sure that they would win.
But then, the Marketing dept showed up with a skit performance of Pinoy performers of old: Pepe Smith, Mike Hanopol, and Sampaguita. Their winning performance, which brought the house down for obvious reasons, was this:
When we were in Malaysia, the missus and I would often go to our favorite Japanese resto, Genki Sushi. Aside from the fresh sushi and temaki, we would order green tea as our drink. What makes the green tea special here is that it's powdered green tea and you'd mix it yourself ---apart from it being cheaper and bottomless.
Consider the health benefits of green tea:
- Boosts your immune system
- Lowers blood sugar
- Helps prevent cavities and tooth decay
- Slows the aging process
- Helps reduce the risk of cancer
- Lowers cholesterol
- Aids in weight loss by burning calories
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Prevents arthritis
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Reduces the risk of stroke
- Lowers the risk of blood clot
I've been missing it since I came back so I searched around the 'net and came to O-cha which sells powdered green tea from Japan. It was a long wait (I ordered early-Oct but the package only arrived late Nov), but finally it's here!
The missus has been waiting all week for the opening of Krispy Kreme. Not even the winds of Reming deterred her from going to The Fort to queue up for a dozen. It was going to be this week, or else.
The shop itself wasn't easy to find. I knew that it was on The Fort, but didn't know where it was exactly. It was a good thing that there was a Krispy Kreme sign just right after the Adidas Sports Camp that pointed towards the direction of the Gonuts Donuts shop. We passed Gonuts Donuts but didn't see another sign of KK.
I turned around and followed a hunch that those 3 or 4 cars going to that small street *could be* lining up for KK.
As luck would have it, we found it ---the end of the queue that is. I told the missus and my sis to queue up as I parked the car. We spent around 10-15mins on the line before we managed to set foot on KK's doorstep, the missus filled with delight as we saw the machines process from dough to donut ---glazed, that is.
My sis had never tasted KK before so she was questioning the hype about it. As one of the crew served us a glazed sample as a simple thank-you for lining up for so long, my sis uttered something like, "I don't know what the fuss is all about..." as she took a bite.
Then, as she munched her first melt-in-your-mouth bite of KK, her world stopped for a moment:
She became a convert from then on.
The missus, on the other hand, was in a daze as she couldn't decide what combi should our first KK-dozen be: a dozen glazed? half glazed, half variety? 8 glazed, 4 variety?
It was a difficult choice, as if the store was only open for the day and will cease operation the next day.
She came to a decision: 8 glazed, 4 variety.
Within the next 24 hours, I, the missus, dadofbree, and the bugoys were able to consume the sumptuous dozen.
I guess we need to replenish again this weekend. ;-)
I was able to download Google-Earth, a wonderful tool for all those who have nothing to do in the office. Hehe.
The missus frequently mentions na inaatake sya minsan pag namimiss nya ang Malaysia. I've stayed there for 3.5 years and frankly, I never had that "homesick-attack" since I left last July....
...until I saw Sunway again via Google-Earth (click on the pic to get the full view).
But it was great to hold my bass guitar again after a long while.
I remember playing CounterStrike every Saturday morning when I was working in Singapore last 2001-2002. I'd walk to Plaza Singapura, the mall next to my friend's pad where I stayed in, and for 5 (or was it 10?) Sing-dollars an hour I'd shoot 'em up with those kids in the computer shop ---which I would lose most of the time.
The missus and I often listened to Chico&Delamar's morning show when we were in Malaysia. I would download the recorded files from the 'net, burn it to an audio CD, and then we listen to it at home or in the car ---everyday.
But nowadays, their show seemed to be going downhill, especially with all those radio-idol contestants trying hard to sound like DJs in between the :30 and :00 minutes since those two slots are reserved for ChicoDel's morning top10.
Still, my interests to listen to it during my morning drive to work started to wane.
I've been hearing a lot of DJ Mo a couple of weeks back when, as the missus was watching The Buzz, the hosts of the said show seemed to be irritated by DJ Mo.
This interested me. For what could DJ Mo be doing that the likes of Boy, Kris, Cristy, and Lolit will get irritated for they are the ones irritating me every week? I need to know what's going on.
As you may know, local showbiz-talkshows are not as exciting as before when CharlieArceo ruled the Sunday afternoon TV slot when he sits in the hosting-controls and reports the latest movies to be seen ("ffffavb shtars!") or not to be seen ("whhaaahn shtar! Nya mahay nyah nyang ngayoh!"). Now THAT was entertainment.
TheBuzz and S-Files stories are too predictable and more importantly, for all terms and purposes, too stupid to digest even for the masa who I think are not that naive anymore. These 2 shows are just scratching the surface. Why are they not telling the stories that I only hear from the missus care of her inside sources?
I, for one, have been left wanting to see (or hear) something different.
Last Wednesday morning I was driving to work again. And again, those radio-idol-idiots are on my stereo. As the EDSA southbound-traffic started its perpetual crawl, I recalled that DJ Mo's show is every Wednesday morning. The show's 8-9am but it was already 8.45am but "what the hell!" I thought. It's either I listen to these radio-idiots up to Galleria or I switch channels.
I pressed "2" on my car stereo which speed-dials to 89.9.
It was Aubrey and Jacq, a team on the ongoing AR-Asia, who were the week's guests.
For those who missed it, especially the latter questions (and dares), you've missed a lot. It was definitely entertaining. I was laughing and shouting "GOOOOO!" inside my car that I hoped the car next to me didn't think I was going insane. Definitely entertaining indeed.
No wonder Boy, Kris and company got irritated. Actually, they weren't irritated. I felt that they were intimidated by the success "Forbidden Questions" is currently getting. DJ Mo's questions had definitely gone beyond the tip of the iceberg, making showbiz's secrets (and dirt) become transparent for all the world to see (btw, Lolit was also a previous guest. You can read here for snippets of that episode).
To Boy, Kris, and company, I leave you with the words of Charlie Arceo:
"Nya mahay nyah nyang ngayoh!"
After an overdose of Dyan Castillejo sticking to Manny like glue weeks (months?) before the fight, encapsulated by her anorexic-muscular look during fight-night, after all the unnecessary TV delays and commercials, and even JDC's text to me that Pacman won it (I guess he watched it in SM), I was still delighted to watch the fight on free-TV. Erik had no chance against Manny's deadly left punch (kinaliwa eh!).
This goes to show that the one who had the better training and mental preparation for the fight won. Erik's weight problem obviously affected his stamina. He seemed to be tiring as early as the end of round 1. He was wobbly on round 2. And, obviously, he was sitting at the canvass looking dazed by round 3. That pose had definitely put a "period" into his illustrious fighting career since he said that he may decide to "stay at home" from hereon.
I think Manny is at the peak of his form and should continue to earn from it (USD3,000,000 + payperview shares ---not bad for a night's work). Since it might be a while before he fights again, I suggest he contacts Mrs. Madrid, my 2nd-year college English professor. Come on, you have to admit it. His English is not as good as his boxing.
Or an alternative would be to hire an interpreter.
May I suggest Jimmy Santos.
The missus asked me this morning as to how did one TV show had so many Krispy Kreme donuts catered for the hosts.
"San kaya nila nakuha yun?"
The missus always included "Krispy Kreme" whenever she mentions her trips to the US. I myself have tasted it once (or was it twice coz I had 2 helpings?) whenever Mom of Bree brings back a dozen from Cali.
Then I recalled what my sis told me last weekend over crepe: Krispy Kreme is opening here soon ---at the Fort.
This is definitely good news for all those craving for the said succulent dessert ---the missus included. This used to be available only to families of OFWs coming from the US whenever they bring pasalubong.
But not anymore.
As I told this to the missus, she gasped and her eyes opened wide like a kid on Christmas morning:
"Oh no! We have to go!!!!"
I thought that it was already open but I wanted to be sure. I browsed the 'net and came to the Krispy-Kreme Philippines website. I called up their office number and verified if the news were true.
"I'm sorry sir but the opening is moved to Nov.30."
Well, the missus and I have to wait for 14 more days before we grab a bite of those freshly-baked, creamy, yummy donuts (sprinkled with calories).
Then, in a couple of milliseconds, my thoughts changed from curiosity to fear....
Then I realized, it was him. That same guy in the red suit that A-L-W-A-Y-S gets me every year.
After a long wait, a Filipino (again) has won the prestigious title (Alex Pagulayan won the title a couple of years back but he was playing for Canada back then). Officially, Reyes was the last Filipino champ in 1999.
My heart goes out to Ralf, who broke down in the post-game interview amidst the cheers of the Filipino crowd chanting "Soquet! Soquet!" to boost his moral. I congratulate the unbiased crowd during the final, showing great respect and applause to Ralf whenever the German made a good shot or won a rack. Ralf last won the title in 1996, then became runnerup on 2002, and then runner up again this year. "I feel very frustrated right now," Ralf said.
I feel you Ralf. But sorry, you just have to try again next year. Alcano deserves it.
Yup, after being bottom in the last 64 he zoomed past 3 WPC champs: Reyes, Wu, and Soquet to claim the WPC title.
With a USD100,000 cash prize, not bad for 1 week's work of pool.
Galeng mo idol!!!
A soccer team advanced in a cup match by deliberately scoring against itself. Read here.
Btw, I managed to play football earlier. I realized that I'm not as quick as I was 10-12yrs ago. I guess I need to starting working-out again to get back in shape.
Yes I will be 33 in a couple of hours. Life has been kind to me during my 32nd (the missus getting pregnant, me finding a job back home, and the birth of my boy, etc.) so I'm hoping for a similar (if not more) this year. Looking back 6 years ago I would never have imagined that I will be where I am right now. Miracles do happen, as they'd often say.
My 33rd hopefully starts on a high since there are email rumors of a terrorism attack tomorrow (damn you, RSG!). I hope and pray that it is all that it is: just a rumor.
My birthday wish? I couldn't ask for more right now, (except for -20lbs). Just to see my boy smiling, talking (well, trying to talk), and having "finger-foods with laway" for breakfast during my daily paarawin si baby morning-walk is enough for me.
But then again, a BMW would be nice.
Father And Son --- Cat Stevens
Eternal Flame --- Bangles (would always put him to sleep when he was 1 to 1.5mos old)
I Will --- The Beatles
Here, There, and Everywhere --- The Beatles
Strawberry Fields --- The Beatles
Across The Universe --- The Beatles
My office is just above a popular mall here in Ortigas. So during lunchtime I get to mall around, looking for the next place to have my lunch ---a task that the missus seems to envy. It's a good release from the office stress (if any) as I get to go around sport shops and salivate on the latest Nike products.
The department store here, as early as this week, had already put up their Christmas section in the hopes of selling Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and other decors that fit the Yuletide season. With "Let It Snow" playing on the background, it's an announcement that the celebration of Christmas, although 82 days away, has begun.
This is what I've been missing for the past 3 years since I've been abroad: the slow but sure build-up to the Christmas season as early as October. I'm glad that I'm already here in Manila to feel it once again. Bibingka, puto-bumbong, chilly mornings, Simbang Gabi (even though I've only completed it ONCE in my entire life), Noche Buena, gift-giving (well, I don't expect much this year since they'll all be giving to my boy in exchange for his cute smile), Medya Noche, mother rockets, bawang, fountain, and of course, with family and friends in tow.
Yup, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Our group was able to make a few hours' tour of Hongkong for a quick round of shopping last Sep.24. Hongkong has a touch of Singapore but not as quite. The latter is cleaner. Of course, Singapore doesn't have Disneyland so I have to give points to HK for that. Plus the airfare from Manila is reasonable.
I can describe Guangzhou as an old city with a sprinkle of the new. Rich in history, we were able to visit a museum housing the mausoleum of the Nanyue King, the Sun Yat Sen park, and the Chen Academy.
During the Guangzhou trip, I was able to discover a fancy feature on my digicam: digital macro. It's good if you want to take semi-professional-looking pics of flowers, plants, and stuff.
After lunch we went to do some street-shopping. For us men, shopping for clothes is just one ordinary task that needs to be done seldomly. That was why we ended up browsing the stores and not actually BUYING something. This was good for our pockets but not for our tour-guide, who I think was tired of walking around several blocks since she mistakenly wore high heels for the day.
It's 3am here in Shenzhen, China and I'm still not sleepy after a KTV session with my co-managers and staff. With the free broadband internet access in my hotel, why should I sleep early? Further, my trusty digicam has 40+ blanks left so I had to transfer the 90+ pics that I've taken so far to my laptop to free up space. My trip still has Guangzhou and Hongkong before I head back to the missus and my boy Sunday evening so more picture-taking is expected.
So how do I find Shenzhen? Pretty good, actually. The city itself is streaming with well-laid wide roads and impressive buildings. The smog is iminent from morning 'til evening which just goes to show how China has undergone an industrial revolution to make it one of the most formidable business investments in the 21st century.
The sights we went to (and I recommend that you see) were The Cultural Village, The Window of the World, and the City Center were bargaining a la Petaling Street is the norm. Below are some pics I've taken including pics of the hotel we stayed in.
B3, our guide, called in to say that we check-out of the hotel at 10am before we proceed to Guangzhou, our next destination, where sight-seeing and shopping is the order of the day.
Tagaytay is one of those places that I just can't get tired of. The cold weather, the accessibility from Manila via Sta. Rosa Road, and of course the picturesque view of Taal volcano are what makes Tagaytay, well, so Tagaytay.
I remember my first trip there was in high school, when my section went to Tagaytay for a spiritual retreat (which eventually was done once a year). When we reach the top I would lean towards the bus windows to get a view of Taal lake and its volcano and just gaze in amazement. Nature trip, ika nga.
I even had one of my birthdays there. My closest friends and I rented one of those nipa huts by the highway and drank the night away with tequila and beer. It was one of my most memorable birthdays since I've never had my friends have a drinking birthday session with me, in Tagaytay at that.
I guess all those visits to Tagaytay made me dream to build a resthouse there someday. It was, and still is, one of my long-term goals. So in the meantime that I'm still thinking about it, sa Taal Vista Hotel na muna kami ---which was where we were last weekend.
I have to say congratulations to the operators of the Taal Vista Hotel for they've done an excellent job renovating the place. The missus and I liked it so much that we may make it one of our regular destinations for overnight, over-the-weekend vacations. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes a relaxing stay in Tagaytay.
Will I ever have my dream resthouse in Tagaytay? I don't know for sure. The missus is suggesting a place near the beach, or just go to Taal Vista. I'll never know really.
It seems that I've been drawn by Tagaytay's charm and there's no letting go.
I was pleasantly surprised when Chad, one of our engineers christened as the office DJ, played the whole True Faith acoustic album one afternoon. I'm a True Faith fan but I never got word of this 2004 album of theirs, maybe since I was abroad at that time.
Medwin Marfil's relaxing vocals and his bandmates' acoustic guitars eased through my ears so much so that I reminisced the late 1990s when me and my mountain bike would pedal through the Severina subdivisions on late afternoons, with a borrowed walkman plugged into True Fafith's Memories Are Cheap album. I can consider those bike rides my solitude moments. True Faith music and just breezing along the quiet streets lined by those humongous mansions in Marcelo Phase 5, ah yes, that was solitude indeed.
Well me and the missus will be going up to Tagaytay for the weekend. The drive up to Taal Vista will be comfier with my boy in tow.
Of course, True Faith will be along for the trip. I was able to copy the album from Chad with my mp3 drive.
"...just like Mathis singin'....on a low down Sunday afternoon..."
I heard a sad story the other day when AM, one of the maids here, left permanently.
With all the maids that have made their way to my family's home since I was a kid, this is one of those "aalis na po ako" stories that I may never forget.
AM decided to go when she heard that her aunt, who's taking care of her father, passed away. She had some sort of disease that had the doctor no choice but to amputate both her legs to prevent the disease from spreading. I guess after the doc amputated the remaining leg, she couldn't bare to see another day.
AM has a monthly salary of 3,000 pesos. She sends 2,000/month back home for her family's spending while the remaining 1,000 she keeps for her life savings.
According to B, they never saw AM spend a single centavo of that 1,000. When B and the other maid go out to buy meryenda, AM would not join. She would simply eat whatever food is portioned for the household help, nothing else.
B even said that the slippers that she uses were so old that the soles of her feet are already kissing the ground since the slippers were so worn out. She never wanted to spend her savings.
But then her aunt died and she wanted to go see her for the last time. She had planned to go back with her sister who also works as a maid here in Manila.
But then, going back by sea is cheap but it will take them 3 days for the trip. She might not be home in time to see her aunt. Thus she and her sis decided to take the plane, a faster but costly route.
To shoulder the airfare, she had no choice but to use up her savings to fly back. Her 1,000/month savings, all gone.
Badminton, as you know, is the sporting craze nowadays here in Manila. Courts are popping up like mushrooms all around, and many people have taken up the sport ---much to the dismay of the missus.
Ten years ago, badminton was just like any other neglected sport here. But the missus and her friends were regular shuttlers, meeting weekly at Camp Aguinaldo to play. But ever since the sport picked up its popularity, she lost the energy to play.
Why you ask? Let me put it by this example:
Imagine you bought an album of your favorite artist/band. Some of the songs are already getting their regular airplay in the radio-stations, while there are some songs that are still unknown to the listening public.
You then find one particular song that hasn't been aired. You listen to it, and you love it ---more than the other songs, including the ones getting airplay. You christen it as THE song that you like most in the album and best of it all is that only you, and the other people who bought the album, are the only ones who get to listen and enjoy that song.
Then, after two weeks buying the album, you turn on the radio. Suddenly, you hear a familiar intro.
It's THE song that you love, and it's now being played on air!
Now everyone hears it. Everybody now knows it. It not only gets airtime on the radio, but you'll see it on TV, with the ultimate insult of some lame-ass forgotten hearthrob actor/actress trying to sing it on a non-favorite Sunday noontime show ---out of tune.
Your song, for all terms and purposes, has been mutilated.
Now use that analogy to the missus on badminton, you'll understand why.
She was ok with me starting to pickup the sport (Before, I didn't like badminton AT ALL). But then her dismay began to pickup when the basketball-clad guys hitting the shuttles came, then came the Sexbomb Dancers on the cover of Inquirer-Badminton magazine, then came Boy Abunda being interviewed in a weekly Badminton show.
Then, well, the last straw came:
Yes, that's good ol' Ronald McDonald hitting a shuttle.
Good thing football isn't that popular here.
Oh please no.
The missus and I went out last Thursday to watch "GaryV @ 23" at the Music Museum. This was our 3rd time to watch him live and, once again, he didn't dissapoint.
The crowd got excited everytime he'd walk towards the seats. This was where most of the fans would cry out, "Gary here!" to grab his attention so that they can have the opportunity to touch, hug, and even kiss him. The damatans were particularly the kilig-est of the bunch.
There was this old lady on our row who I assumed to be a die-hard fan. It was halfway thru the show that Gary then jumped to the aisle where she was and started walking. She, overcome with excitement, threw both arms in the air with hands signaling Gary to come on over. Kulang na lang eh sumigaw sya ng "Too! Too!" as if calling her favorite pet. Sad to say Gary didn't reach her and had to walk back up the stage. Later on there was another old-lady who was brave enough to walk towards the edge of the stage and Gary obliged by taking pics with her and kissing her on the cheek. Our old-lady then signaled his now embarassed husband to take her picture with Gary since she wanted to do the same. Unfortunately for her (and fortunately for the husband), the plan didn't pull through.
Seeing that Gary didn't reach their area (which was near the missus), a group of middle-aged women were crying out for Gary to come over. I was just smiling at how these women wanted to be near him. Good thing the missus wasn't like this, I thought.
Suddenly, I was surprised to hear a faint cry "Dito naman!" from my left side.
It was the missus.
Well Gary did walk her aisle but he was 3-5 rows short of her. Oh well, at least she got to enjoy the concert, as always.
Hmmm...maybe next year she'll request me to get the front-center seats. Hehe.
One of the things I like being back home is the numerous sporting options for the week. Here's what I have so far:
Badminton. There's 3 groups that I can join for this, 2 of which are from my ex-colleagues from Globe, and the 3rd are with my collegemates. I've started playing with the latter group every Sunday at Libis. The playing fee is cheap (P75/head for play-all-you-can) although the shuttlecocks are still pricey. If I only remembered to buy a bunch before I left Malaysia (sigh).
Basketball. I've started last Monday with my collegemates. It was an off-night for me since the last time I played was early this year. Rusty on the 3-pointers but I think with constant practice I'll be in shooting-form next time.
Football. Last but not least, my favorite sport. I used to play regularly every Saturday afternoon with my highschool's alumni football club. I hope they're still there since I want to play again. Hopefully tomorrow I get to go and play.
Golf. Naaah, just kidding. Maybe 5 or 10 years from now. Who knows?
Since I still need to help with the baby I have to limit myself to at most, 2 activities a week. It's just a matter of prioritizing which one to go for.
Of course laziness-level is a determining factor if I go or not. Last night I forced myself to workout with the missus' walker-equipment. I opened the garage cabinet, saw the walker, and looked at it for the longest time.
So I closed the cabinet, went back up the house and just passed the time on the laptop....with the missus' sauna belt of course.
This was an email sent by one of our Pinoy engineers to one of the Chinese vendor-engineers:
But you need to be clear and describe exactly why the platform is rejecting a normal message.
IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE COMMUNICATE VIA EMAIL. I AM SORRY BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR ENGLISH BY PHONE. ALWAYS, THERE IS A LOT OF INTERFERENCE.
Note that a lot of people were copied in this email. Kawawa naman yung Intsik. Kaso eh di daw talaga maintindihan yung English eh. Biglang-bawi na lang yung noypi nung dinagdagan nya ng “interference” sa huli.
I think the interference that he was referring to is the accent. Hehe.
Yes, I've started working again. It's a big leap from my previous one in terms of position so I just can't help but double-click on my name on the email recipient-list every now and then just to see my title, just to be sure that I'm not dreaming.
An S.M. at 32?
Not too shabby. ;-)
It's been a week since I've arrived from KL and I just have to say that being with the missus and my son has been overwhelmingly fantastic.
Changing his diapers, feeding him, burping him, and cuddling him to sleep have been such arduous but rewarding tasks ---for the missus. I have to admit that since I arrived I've, pardon the pun, been sleeping like a baby all night, unaware of Lucas' demands for milk and diaper-change. The missus was kind enough to let me catch my Zzzs while she wakes up for almost 2-3 times a night to heed my son's call.
I've only started to learn the above tasks for the past 3 days now. Even my 11 year telecom working experience meant nothing when it came to such a simple task as changing diapers. At first glance it looked simple. But when I tried it on Lucas it wasn't as easy as it looked. A certified engineer slash board-passer doesn't know how to put a diaper? That's right folks. But at my 2nd attempt I was successful. Now I can say it's definitely a cinch, as long as he's not crying, hehe.
Who would've thought that such a simple piece of compiled cotton can hold an enormous amount of pee and sh*t! How times have changed. I find it really amazing ---and smelly.
But besides the smells and the occasional cries, I can now agree to what most of my friends say. That it is such a wonderful feeling to have a child. Just holding him in my arms while he tries to visualize this other pair of eyes looking at him, singing to him a tirade of light-rock oldies such as "Father and Son" with missed lyrics is such an amazing, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G feeling.
"There was another passenger earlier who was rejected by Immigration since she had no clearance-letter. I’m afraid I cannot book you on this flight.”
Several images crossed my mind the moment I heard this:
I could be checking-in at the Pan Pacific Hotel nearby the airport, wait for Monday and hopefully things get sorted out with Immigration;
I try the airport-immigration and when they find that I’ve no clearance-letter, they shove me into the immigration office, get interrogated, and possibly jailed for trying to leave the country without their clearance.
But then I thought, I’m a Filipino. We are known to be more astig than the locals wherever we may be. “Unahan lang sa sindak yan,” a colleague in Singapore once told me. So, I took a deep breath and said to the lady at the check-in counter:
“NO! That letter is not needed! Immigration has already rescheduled my visa-expiry to an earlier date so that means they have checked and found nothing pending from my end.”
She paused, lifted her landline, and called to whom I assumed to be her manager. She then covered the mouthpiece and told me,
“Here’s what you can do. I will book you BUT I will not check-in your baggages for an hour. That will be enough time for me to assume that immigration has ok’ed you to travel.”
I agreed. I would have to proceed immediately to immigration which meant skipping my intended McDo breakfast meal (darn).
On my way to the escalator leading down to immigration, I was getting worried. “What if I get rejected and sent back? I would have to stay here over the weekend?” I told myself.
In that moment, I remembered St. Jude.
It was on the previous night when I was packing all the rest of our stuff from the condo that I came upon a stampita of St. Jude. At the back it said something like, Patron of Lost Causes. I never gave that much notice as I put it in one of my baggages until now. This seems to be classified as a lost cause, so why not try?
So as I was walking, I called on St. Jude to intercede for this no hope situation. “I sure hope he’s listening,” I thought.
The immigration-queue was fairly light. Not too many passengers traveling at lunch time since most of the flights are in the morning. I was in a queue with around 10 people with a tourist-couple at the front, seemingly unaware that one of the immigration officers was calling them to his counter so that the queue could move.
Seeing that the officer failed in calling the couple, I called the attention of the couple and pointed them to the waiting officer. They looked and went. The officer gave me a “thank you” look. Finally! The queue was moving and my fate was about to be determined.
Since there were 3 counters serving the queue, the choice of going to a particular officer was random. Then my turn came, and I was lucky to be put into where the tourist-couple went earlier.
I showed him my passport and browsed through the pages. “Don’t look at my visa!” I shouted to him in my mind, hoping he’ll hear. He found the visa-page of course. Then, as he was about to ask me something which I assumed to be asking for my immigration-letter, a female-colleague of his passed by and greeted him who seemed to have asked when he’ll finish his shift. This somehow lost his train of thought. He totally forgot about what he was supposed to ask and with his right hand, grabbed the immigration stamp.
A stamp on the immigration card.
A stamp on my passport.
He signed on both stamps and handed me my passport. I was free to travel.
I thanked the officer and, in tradition to my Dad’s PR skills, I asked him how long has he been working on his shift.
“12 hours,” he said, his eyes showing bags wanting to release sand-dust of sleep.
“I think you better go home. Get some rest.”
“Yes I will. Tired already lah.”
I said goodbye to him and passed the immigration counters. It felt like a big burden has been lifted. Never have I been so relieved to have passed by airport-immigration in my entire life!
These past two weeks have been hell alright. Malaysia must’ve been going to miss me so much that she pulled all the stops to make me stay. Of course, Manila is where I want to be.
There was one final issue 2 hours before my flight: I had 400 ringgit worth of notes in my wallet that had to be left behind, and a hungry stomach that needed to be fed.
Next stop: Duty-free shopping and Sbarro’s.
The past two weeks have been hectic for me. It seems that there was a connivance in the heavens to play a practical joke on me, which wanted to scare me with the thought that I may not go home.
I had already found a buyer to whom I will sell my trusty car through an officemate's recommendation. My heart sank though as I checked our apartment-mailbox the next day when I found 2 police-summons sent to my old residence indicated that MY car was involved in an accident last March and that the other party is claiming for damages.
This was preposterous of course, as I told the missus on the phone that we were never at the mentioned area at that date/time. And besides, there was not a scratch on my car which indicated my innocence. Anyway, together with an officemate slash police-by-night officer, I went to the KL police station to find out what's going on. It turns out that the "intelligent" police-officer at the scene of the accident had written down the correct license plate of the offending party on his report (3687) but f*cked up when he transfered the car details to the computer-system to issue the summon (3867 ---my car). May I add that the offending vehicle indicated in his original report showed "BUS" as its description. Although my mother's brother and father are certified pro-drivers of the Martinez Bus Company that runs from Manila to Ilocos Sur, I have NEVER driven a bus in my life!
My car was cleared of course, but as you know there was a 50-ringgit "under the table" fee to speed things up. Darn it! Ako na nga naabala ako pa nagbayad. Siya dapat yung nagbayad sakin eh.
I had an orbibike exercise machine that needed to be disposed since shipping it to Manila may cost more than the original value of the machine itself. So I sold it to another officemate at a dead-cheap price (80% loss on my part, in fact). Since the machine could not fit in her car I volunteered to deliver the thing to her place which I absolutely had NO IDEA how to go to. So she made a sketch on a piece of A4 and I went.
It was night and it was dark. Road signs were barely noticeable that I missed the exit to her place. I saw the sign too late but I stopped on the highway, and, seeing that there were absolutely no cars behind me I hit the gear to "R" and backed up at 80kmh to the exit lane with my hazard lights on. I thought I made the great escape when I was back on the right track when 2 motorcycle-clad police-officers chased me and pulled me over.
"Give me your license"
"Sorry sir it was dark and I got scared that I might get lost! (showing the map-sketch) I wanted to exit at this lane but I passed it."
(officer looks at the sketch, and, realizing that moi speak no Malay) "OK follow me I'll take you here."
"Here" was not I assumed to be. "Here" was the POLICE STATION.
"Sh*t!!! T*ngina ano na naman ang ginawa mo?!?!?! P*tang*na namaaaan!" I said to my idiot self as I followed the police officer to the station. I was already picturing myself behind bars crying for mercy like that old OFW commercial:
"IBALIK NYO NA AKO SA PILIPINAS!!!"
At the police station, four uniformed officers stood outside the entrance and met up with me. I showed them my Malaysian driving license which incidentally was inserted in my LTO casing that included my Philippine license.
"This is Malaysia. You're driving in Philippines cannot be done here."
"Sorry sir it was dark and I got scared that I may get lost....(excuses excuses excuses...)"
"No! I will give you police-summon!"
I realized that if he gave me a summon, I might not be able to sell my car. At that moment, I remembered my Dad.
Dad is a living example of how to use PR skills to your advantage. One shining example is how he had helped me get my 1st POEA Exit Pass. I was flying off to Malaysia in a few days but the govt. will not allow me fly without an Exit Pass. This usually takes 1-2 weeks. With my Dad and his PR skills, it took me 1 day. No he didn't know anyone at POEA. He just had the guts to enter the restricted areas and talk to the officer-in-charge and somehow found a way to speed up my application.
So with that in mind, I said to the police officers in a Malaysian accent:
"No no no don't give me summon! Maybe we can discuss this. (excuses excuses...afraid of the dark....excuses blah blah blah...boring the officers...blah blah blah...)"
When suddenly one of the four retorted, "OK go back (home)."
"Huh?" I said.
"Go back. We only give you warning. Go back."
"Jumping Jupiters Batman," I thought. It worked! I had managed to escape a summon and possible fine that I would've had trouble selling the car. As those Christian Ministers on Sunday TV would say, "Thank You Je-sus!"
It was Friday 9am. I was at the KL airport excited to go home but at the same time partly sad leaving Malaysia. Three and a half years here man. Going back to Manila to start all over is like going to another foreign country and readjusting. All these thoughts were in mind as I passed my passport and plane ticket to the lady behind the Malaysia-Airlines check-in counter.
"Do you have a return ticket to KL?"
"No. I'm going back to Manila for good."
"Where is your immigration clearance letter?"
"Your immigration clearance letter?"
"Sorry I don't have that."
"Then I cannot book you."
Today is my last day working for M and my last day here in Malaysia.
I am forever grateful for having met and worked with you for the past three and a half years.
AK will be taking over as Head of CNO-IN/VASP so do contact him if you need any assistance.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
Thank you very much.
“Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is.” ---Erich Fromm
Protest rally greets new PNU president
Failure to meet standards cited
By Tina Santos
Last updated 00:23am (Mla time) 06/28/2006
Published on Page A21 of the June 28, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
SEVERAL faculty members and students of the state-run Philippine Normal University (PNU) yesterday held a rally to voice their displeasure over the appointment of lawyer Lutgardo Barbo as their new president, saying he had failed to meet some of the minimum standards set for the post.
Students, teachers and administrative staffers wore black shirts as they held a rally and noise barrage inside the PNU campus on Taft Avenue, Manila to question the decision of the eight-member Board of Regents (BOR), the university’s highest policy-making body. Black pieces of cloth and a streamer with the message “No to politics, yes to merit” were hung from one of the buildings.
The BOR had chosen Barbo, a former governor of Eastern Samar, over four other nominees—Dr. Esther Ogena, Dr. Twila Punsalan, Dr. Rosa Maria Llanes and Dr. Carolina Danao. The protesters claimed that Barbo’s name should not have been included in the final list of three candidates submitted by the search committee.
“We were surprised to find out that he got the position when in fact, he ranked last among the five candidates,” said Felice Yeban, a Department of Social Sciences professor. “He does not even have a minimum of five years of administrative experience in teacher education or related fields,” she added.
The Inquirer tried but failed to reach Barbo for comment.
I was driving from KL to meet my futsal friends who were giving me a farewell dinner. Since they knew that I was a self-proclaimed Bah Kuh Teh connosieur, they took me to a BKT shop in Old Klang Road. It was not as great as the one that me and the missus go for every Sunday but the setup was nice since there were veggies and mushroom sidings that came with the meat. Ang difference lang naman eh yung sabaw di kasing-lapot nung nasa Klang. Evertything else was ok.
Since traffic was very tight during the rush hour, I managed to scramble for my cam-phone and take pictures of some of the KL sites that I've frequented (yup traffic was that jammed).
I think when I look at these pics months from now I'll just sigh and say, "Been there, done that."
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Our team was a bunch of misfits but we were able to pull through: we played 6 games in the round-robin where we had 1 draw and 5 wins....by the enemy. Seeing the other teams play I knew that we had no chance. So I just forgot about being competitive and just focused on having fun and let all my teammates play. Even after every hurting loss, I was able to end up with a smile and shrug it off. "All for fun," was all I kept saying to myself.
Needless to say that we went there not for the trophy, but for the laughs. As for me I was able to score a glorious free-kick from the halfway line, passing a two-man wall and the suprised goalkeeper ---although we still lost that particular game 3-1.
Anyway I still had my regular Sunday futsal so the next day I was at it again, enjoying "The Beautiful Game" for those 2 hours. But as end-time neared, I knew that this *could* be my last futsal game (I've seen the futsal court in Club680 in Libis but the missus mentioned that his friend's friend has difficulty in getting a quorum).
When I get back to Manila I'll surprise my old football club in DB-Makati. Yes, the prized left-midfielder is back to play with Malaysian experience to boot.
You've read about it, heard scary stories, and watched it in Pinoy horror films. Below could be the closest proof of their existence ---pics taken in Sual, Pangasinan using night vision by an emailer called Edwin Cura (click the pics to zoom).
Well I couldn’t figure out the riddle that my team gave since I was too busy handing-over some work. It turns out they were referring to CHILI’S at
All of my 5 staff members came. They treated me to a nice dinner (I ordered the beef-ribs and chicken combo ---bochog).
After eating I was surprised they handed me a gift, which turned out to be for Lucas. It was a set of floating bath-tub toys and a rattle. Lucas (and I) will definitely enjoy it.
I had a feeling that they were also going to give me a gift so after setting aside the toys, I started laughing, “OK OK give me MYYYYY gift!!! YAHOOO! Come on gimme gimme!!! HEEHEE YAHOOO!”
Everyone was dumb-founded. “How did he know?” they all must’ve asked. Actually when we entered Chili’s one of my staff was already there sitting by the waiting area. He failed to hide one of those shopping paper bags so I somehow knew that it was for me.
So much to their disappointment that they weren’t able to surprise me this time, they handed me the paper bag. It’s labeled “Royal Selangor,” a shop known for its pewters. After several layers of packaging, here’s what I got:
A pewter mug. It's reminiscent of those used by kings of old or what you see in such films as LOTR. Note that Royal Selangor products do not come cheap.
But what touched me was that they’ve put an engraving on the mug with the words WORLD’S BEST BOSS and underneath it they put in all their names. Needless to say that I was close to being teary-eyed. I was touched. They would’ve given me a ceramic or plastic mug but that engraving meant more to me. It meant that I’ve done well here as a manager according to not one, but all of my staff.
So I gave my short-speech to them, wishing them all the best in their careers and their personal lives. After which, we capped the night by playing cosmic bowling which unfortunately I only scored 104 which meant I am light-years away from being World’s Best Bowler.
I have to solve the riddle below in order to find out the venue for tonight. Well if I don't solve it, they'll end up having dinner just by themselves and it's going to be their fault, not mine. Hehe.
Well it is whr Microsoft came from
Some spices involved as well
Thr are many of this dine in this country
But the one we all gonna be is at the famous spree & dine, situated,
Center of an elongated lowland between ranges of hills..
Yup, the missus and I are finally one of those people who'll put all of their kid's pics on their blogs, cellphone wallpaper, laptop wallpaper, friendster profiles, YM display image, and so on and so on. I guess that's one of the joys of parenthood, a.k.a. the 'hood. You will never grow tired of looking at your kid every second of the day, moreover if you're thousands of miles away like me.
Here's a great shot taken by my sis. It's by the window of the missus' hospital-room while I was letting God's morning sun touch him.
As of June-16 7:34pm, the missus and I are officially parents. This 3.019kg bundle of joy called Lucas Elijah entered the world screaming and crying as the ob-gyn pulled him out of the missus' womb. Since we checked-in at the Asian Hospital in poshy Filinvest-Alabang, the husband was allowed in the op-room so I was privileged to be THE first relative to lay eyes on him. As the missus was welling with tears as she heard Lucas' cries, needless to say that I followed him with my trusty Canon 7megapix digicam from the missus to the glass-bassinet as the in-house pediatrician checked, measured, and weighed him for the tale-of-the-tape. Full video coverage, syempre.
It shouldn't be surprising that after being toweled dry, Lucas was as handsome as his father (wink wink). The missus points out the nose, the eye-sags, and the thick-hair as the features he inherited from me, while I can see the missus in Lucas' brown eyes.
Around 3am the next day the missus and I together with my sis were visited by him for a try at breastfeeding. Since there is still no breastmilk generated by the missus immediately after birth, you can imagine Lucas' frustration when he tries to suck but didn't get the intended output. His view on this issue? Cry, of course. Amazingly when he cries I would carry him from the missus and rock him gently from side to side and, voila, he stops crying. Di pa ako kumakanta nun ha.
We benefited greatly from his "every 3-4 hour" visits since we get to see (and smell!) him often. He smells like vanilla with a touch of pinipig (really!). No artificial flavoring, ika nga. Just all-natural baby smell.
My sis, armed with a film-type pro-camera, 2 digicams, 1 videocam, and 3 cam-phones could not help but just click and shoot away during these visits even as Lucas squints everytime he feels a flash coming on despite his eyes being closed. He may have a future in male modeling, hehe.
From the missus' family to mine, he is everybody's apple-of-the-eye. Ang pogi pogi't cuuuuuuuuuuuute daw. You only need to look at the parents, of course, as to why that is so. Hehe.
We were hoping to bring him home last Sunday but unfortunately he had a brief breath-holding episode ---5 seconds to be exact (I guess he was practicing deep meditation when the nurse spotted him). The pediatrician ran some tests and found that he may be suspect for some sort of infection. Thus he has to stay at the hospital for 5 more days (actually, 4 days left, and counting) with antibiotics injected to him twice a day (poor guy). He will be tested again on Friday morning so I hope it's negative so that he can go home to see his room (which has been recently renovated btw, sparklingly). Me and the missus had tears running on our faces as we said goodnight to our boy, and left for home.
I had to leave for Malaysia too so this morning I went by myself to the hospital to see him. He was just about to be injected for his morning medicine but I requested the nurses to postpone for a while as I needed to see and talk to him.
You may think I'm crazy but alone on that parent-area in the nursery with him, I was really talking to him: telling him how pogi he is, asking him to be strong and hopefully get out of this hospital by Friday, telling him to stop courting all the other baby girls in the nursery since there are more girls outside, and that airconditioning should not be a problem since his room in QC is equipped with it. Ahh yes, I also sang to him the chorus of "I'll Be" amidst the tears running on my face. It was really painful leaving him there. Well, hopefully he goes out by Friday so that he can see all his relatives (or vice-versa).
I took the video below using my N70 just before I left the hospital today for the airport. Like the missus, he likes it when I stroke his head gently as it relaxes him. Touch-therapy I guess. You can't help but agree, he's damn cute.
It was not surprising that the news of my resignation had spread to the whole Company in over a week. Thanks to the tsismosos and tsismosas, it found its way to every person that I've worked with for the past 3.5 years. This has proved that office rumours spread faster than bird flu.
It's really amazing that every now and then I'd get a text-message or a phone-call asking, "Is it true that you are leaving us?" To which I would respond to a humble YES, citing family, with population soon to be increased to 3, as my main reason for going back to Manila. Yes when family is put into the picture (or the resignation letter in this case), the Company has no other choice but to accept their loss.
I am very flattered by the comments that I've received such as:
"Oh man why do you have to leave? How are we going to do this/that now?"
"I'm very sad that you're leaving. You're definitely one of the best people in this project."
"You're a very good manager. This team will be lost without you."
The best so far was from my boss' boss, who commented during the monthly meeting in front of all the other managers and senior managers:
"R and S are leaving soon. These are the good guys. I hope they will reconsider and stay with us."
I am very humbled by their comments, knowing that I've done well in this Company. Leaving this place knowing that I've left at the top of my game has made me feel content. Hopefully I will be able to leave the same impression on my next challenge, wherever/whatever it may be.
I guess this was how Michael Jordan felt during his 1st retirement.
Last Saturday night, I was able to buy a new pair of football shoes: a pair of Nike Mystic TFs (turf). I was apprehensive on buying the white-colored pair since the missus always comments mukhang pang-doktor whenever I hold a white basketball/football shoe when I go window shopping. But then the missus isn't here and this will be my farewell gift to myself before I leave Malaysia so I just said "Who cares?" and signaled the salesman that I'm making the purchase. I was able to break it in since I had a futsal game last night with my Chinese buddies. I didn't score a goal but the new shoes felt good compared to my old Umbros since the grip to the turf was better. Of course that goes without saying that I felt more pogi when I was wearing them.
After the game I proceeded to Pyramid for dinner. Seeing that the Chicken Buffet restaurant was full, I proceeded to Sushi King and ordered the usuals: komoro bento set, soft-shell crab temaki, and then a pair of fresh salmon and tuna-mayo maki from the kaiten. Busog as usual.
I then decided to stroll around the mall to remove whatever added calories I've eaten. My feet then brought me to a baby shop called Annaku ("my child" in Malay). I felt a different high as I was browsing thru the store ---everything was just soooo little and sooo cute! It was then that I called up the missus and asked her if Lucas still needs anything. Lucas' wardrobe so far only has white shirts so I picked up 2 blue Disney shirts that were just sooo teeny-tiny cuuuute! I've added two infant Disney socks with Mickey Mouse's face on it. Lucas will definitely look pogi (and absolutely CUUUUTE) on these.
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Well tonight's the opening ceremonies of the FIFA World Cup. This is going to be THE very first time that I'm going to watch the opening ceremonies so I'm going to savour every minute of it.
Since the games in Germany will be shown live, i.e. late mornings here, then puyatan ito. But I don't care. It comes every 4 years so I'll get the Sour Cream n Onion Pringles and Coke-Light ready.
Btw, this video is absolutely funny.
Crazy isn't it?
You need to be well-versed with the Owa dialect if you're in a conversation with my mother-in-law. The word Owa was derived from the missus' niece when she was just learning to speak ---she tried to call her Lola but Owa came out instead. Thus the nick stuck with her 'til this day.
The Owa dialect is simply elongating a normal word with skee's, ong's, and what not's to make the sentence or phrase end with a comfortable tone at the end. It's very addictive mind you.
With the help of the missus, here's the Owa dialect as we know it today:
Okoy = O.K.
Basket = Baket. (example, "Ay basket???")
Goletstralaletskee = Let's Go
Of coursetamente = Of course
Ay shockdabolskee = ay shocks
Tongtong/Tongtongitis = short for "tongtong kulangot pastingbulala," or simply, it means skinny.
Bruhitik = Bruha
Doodle = also means skinny, derived from "yatpa-doodle-doo"
Plongkay = a girl having her 1st menstruation too early
Liliaskee = Lilia
Marioksee = Mario
Taweki = Rowena (don't ask me how it go to Taweki)
Boying = Boy
Mikotut = Miko
Patringgogo = Patricia
Cleopatrick = Clay
Lucas Pakaskas = her "coming soon" grandson
and my favorites:
Tiburcia = Tomboy sya. Tibo sya. Tiburcia.
Dulcisima Plandeskoy = Dulce Flandez, one of her loyal house-helpers.
Markong Debakongkong = Mark, her nephew.