My post-birthday vacation was celebrated in cool Baguio City with my family last weekend. It’s been part of my family’s vacation-venue rotations, along with Tagaytay, Laiya, and Subic, alternating venues from time to time (or whenever a long weekend is coming up).

The boys had a great time, particularly becoming “suki” to Wright Park’s horses. Matteo was amazingly calm throughout his two horse rides. There was even a point when the missus was about to fall off the horse (while she was trying to get off) but cute Matteo was indifferent throughout the awkward moment.

Lucas had finally got rid of his fear of horses (he was scared when he first had a personal encounter in his first trip to Baguio, at Minesview) as he enjoyed the ride as well.

For P200.00 per 30 minutes, the smile on both of their faces on the car ride back to the hotel was priceless.

The missus and I have been discussing and may have decided into, this is tentative right now, retiring in Baguio. Probably buy a house, renovate it, and spend the rest of our golden years there. The boys, and their respective families, can visit us from time to time of course. We could still earn money by playing on the stock market. Yup, the missus and I have fallen helplessly in love with Baguio City.

But for now, future Baguio City weekends will be spent at The Manor as per strict instruction from Lucas.

Man, I miss the malunggay tea already!!!


Being Hit By A Brick

Today, the world is saddened by the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. His creativity had helped evolve the way we digest digital information as it is now.

He will forever be missed.

Going thru the FB posts and Twitter tweets, I came along this video of him giving a commencement speech at Stanford University last 2005.

His 1st and 2nd stories particularly reminded me of a similar downward personal event in 2000 that somehow helped me to become successful as I am today. Though unlike Jobs wherein he made a decision on his own (1st story), that particular event in my life "hit me like a brick" out of nowhere and I had to make a decision then and there on whether to pick myself up and move on.

Looking back at that event, I'm glad that it happened and came to where I am now. As Steve Jobs said, it was impossible to connect the dots at the time, but it is clear to me as I look back at it now.


Biggest Loser

Our office department's version of the Biggest Loser contest just ended this morning. Even with my persisent running regimen, I finished last, losing only 4lbs since Jun 22, even gained 0.8lbs since July 5. This just means that exercise alone will not solve my weight problems. Diet has to come in. Now.

Forget about the P500.00 bet that I lost. It's really time to shape up, especially since my goal is to see my kids grow up, and, if I'm lucky, see my grandchildren as well. I want me and wife to go around the world when we're old, too, so that should pretty much motivate me to get this thing going.

My target in dailymile.com is to have a weight below 160lbs by end of 2011. I'm now at 165lbs based on the bathroom scale.

Let's see how I'll do by December.

Wish me luck!


Copper and Wool

To my wife,

There's this phrase called "the 7 year itch" that says relationships need to be reevaluated once it reaches 7 years. I guess our relationship is an exclusion to that since we still can't get enough of each other, even after two wonderful kids.

Yes, I'm still madly in love with you.


A Better Way?

Lately I've been wondering if there's a better way on how to earn money. Yes, my current job pays me well, but spending 10 hours a day reporting for work has made me impatient for money to arrive. There are bills and loans to pay, and there's so many places out there that me and my family can travel to for a vacation.

Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Dorsey and Stone. They all got it made. All they did was just to come up with this very unique and sellable idea, and the money just comes in.

There has to be better way, don't you think?


Lenten Sacrifice 2011

Once again, it's Lent. It's time for sacrifice, alms-giving, and abstaining. I'm trying to refrain from FB, Twitter (yup that's why I'm unusually quiet on the social network scene), and softdrinks, same as last year although I've been struggling with Coke these past few days.

I hope to do better before Easter Sunday.


And Then There Was Music...

After years of sitting idly in my parents' house, my acoustic guitar is back in my arms. Blame it on @GTWMpodcast sensation @johnoydanao and his superb guitar-playing that made me want to resurrect my musical career(?).

Well, after getting 4 songs from the internet (tabs and chords), I was able to strum tonight after the kids went off to bed. I was only able to do 3 out of 4 since Honestly (Acoustic version) by Harem Scarem is a killer piece. I hope to complete that song in the days to come.

The ones I believe I nailed were Collide (Howie Day), Crash Into Me (Dave Matthews Band), and Northern Sky (Nick Drake).

Whew! I guess it's like riding a bicycle again. Still, I feel a bit rusty. Maybe in time I'll get the hang of it again.


The Taxi Driver Syndrome

Sometimes I just smile in amazement whenever someone in the office just comes to my work area and starts blabbering about anything under the sun.

"Why me?" I'd often ask myself. I'm sitting here working (or web surfing) in peaceful solitude but all of that will be disturbed by these officemates who think that I'm sort of a Guidance Counselor of some sort.

They think I'm interested in what they're talking about but what I'm really thinking is when can they finish that pointless story in their life and let me go back to what I was doing?

My AVP-officemate has coined it simply as The Taxi Driver Syndrome (TTDS). The reference to taxi drivers is uncanny, since they'd often sit in the car all day with no one to talk to. Their excitement over the latest AM radio news or whatever they've read in the newspaper gets bottled up, until the next listener-looking passenger flags their vehicle. Poor passenger now has to contend with listening to the driver's story as they ply their way over the metro to his place of destination.

Yes, here in the office, it seems that I'm that poor passenger for some of the time. Maybe I should put a sign on my cubicle wall that says "Guidance Counselor is OUT" or "P100.00 per hour to listen to your sob story or whatever it is you want to talk about."

The Taxi Driver Syndrome is not applicable to social networking sites like FB or Twitter since you have ALLOWED yourself by being their FB-friend or Twitter-follower to read about the goings-on in their lives. But should current officemates be included in such social-circles?

Hmmmm, I'm now pondering on removing current officemates from my FB/Twitter account. It doesn't look good if they catch me with TTDS.


The kids last 2010 (Part 2 of 2)


Matteo had learned to walk early, even before his 1st birthday. This shows how physically-advanced he is. He has a kiddie basketball ring and, make no buts about it, he has a good pulse for shooting the hoop. I hope the recessive height-gene in the Gaerlan family is in Matteo's DNA coz he has a very good potential in making the UAAP or even the PBA!

He likes his morning pancit canton, macaroni, and of course his dede. His "siksik" build can make the grumpiest guy smile and make him wanna pinch Matteo's nakakagigil thighs.

He says "thank you" or "tenks!" automatically whenever you hand him his dede although the missus has always been his favorite target for "dede pleeeeease!" opportunitues. It may sound irritating, but it never fails to elicit a smile from the missus. Matteo always gets his dede one way or another.

He is a very curious guy, always looking under the cars in our garage if the neighborhood cat is there. If it is, then he picks up two small stones and aims for the poor fella. He runs back to Dad with a mischievous laugh knowing that he has disturbed once again the cat's peaceful siesta.

He idolizes his Kuya Lucas so much so that he copies everything that Lucas says. He also likes Thomas The Train much to the chagrin of Lucas since "Mr Destroyer" remodels the train tracks that Lucas has already setup. But I know that Matteo just wants to help.

His favorite shows are Umizoomi and Dora. You can help but cheer for the poor guy as he yells out to Dora and Umizoomi when they ask the kids watching the shoe a question since Matteo often answers wrongly. He always answers "blue!" with every color question and then "two!" for every number question. Yup, the missus and I have a long way to go in teaching Matteo pre-preschool.

Lastly, Matteo is very friendly. He can walk towards a stranger and make his signature wave and say "hi!" in the cutest way you can imagine. I think this guy will have a good future in politics.


The kids last 2010 (Part 1 of 2)

You may have seen my kids' blog, About Two Boys, which I try to update with pictures and videos as much as I can. Such is the role of a parent, trying to capture every possible "Kodak moment" to serve as keepsakes in case my sons would like to look back at their youth years from now.

But words are limited to blog-titles there so this blog would be a good place to put in my view on how Lucas (4) and Matteo (turning 2 on Jan3) were in 2010.


Lucas, at 4, may have finally overcome his terrible-two/three stage. School has helped him a lot, enabling him to socialize with kids his age outside of the house. He's a big fan of Michael Jackson, EXACTLY copying each and every dance move that the late Moonwalker has done as seen in YouTube videos. We haven't told him that Michael has passed away more than a year now, but I think he'll realize it once he matures later on.

He's a DIE HARD fan of Thomas The Tank Engine (and Friends). As of this blog post, he has a total of 15(!) character-trains (excluding 2 duplicates), 2 character-air-vehicles, 7 character-road-vehicles, 3 bridges, 3 tunnels, an airport, a helipad, and countless blue tracks to setup his town. He's very intelligent for a 4-year old since he makes complicated track setups on his own! He also watches a lot of YouTube videos on other Thomas and Friends track setups made by other children around the world. It would be safe to assume that Thomas and Friends is his most favorite past time as of this moment.

The missus and I were glad that he may have finally overcome his "don't wanna eat" stage. It may have started since the inception of Santa-will-only-give-gifts-to-good-boys to him. This should include eating good (nutritious) food so it's been nice to see him finish a plateful of rice and ulam more often than when he was 2 or 3 years old. Since December, he's been extra malambing, hugging and kissing us from time to time.

As they'd say, kids say the funniest things. Yes, Lucas is included. Here are some examples:

While toweling him off after a bath he asked, "Daddy, did you also have a yaya?"
"Yes," I said.
"What was her name?"
"Yaya Flor," I replied.
"What did she look like?"
"She was dark," I said.
"Dark like you?" he said. The missus, overhearing our conversation, laughed out loud.

We were all in the room when Lucas said, "Daddy, I will call you Mister Runner!"
"How about Mommy?" I asked.
"Mmmmm.....she's Ms. Take A Bath!"

Yup, he's a very smart kid.

Next post: Matteo...