Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reed Diffuser


I recently got this reed diffuser for Christmas and instantly loved how it made our room smell so nice. It gives out an atmosphere that's cheerful and relaxed. The diffuser set contains a bottle of scented oil, a glass jar with cover and rattan sticks that absorb the fragrance oil. What makes this really convenient is that you don't need any candles and is basically maintenance free - no need to turn on or off. I'm not sure if this is already available from our local Body Shop stores, but I've seen other brands from the home section at Robinson's. The fragrances available are not as unique as "cherry blossoms" but since it only costs P200, it was worth a try.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa's identity


Ever since we had our own home and Christmas tree, its been our tradition to open gifts on the morning of December 25. The kids really look forward to this and I think the element of suspense and surprise in waiting for Christmas morning to open them makes it really special. Each year, Santa's gift would be the most awaited. This is probably because Santa's gifts always come on Christmas morning itself when they the kids don't really have time to shake, feel, peak and try to guess whats inside :-).

This year has been a bit tough for Santa - who thinks its become more and more dificult to stay unidentfied. Nico, who's just recently discovered (around 2 years now, i think) Santa's true identity had to pretend he doesn't know who he is for Julia' sake. He's not doing a good job of it and often makes meaningful faces whenever the topic of Santa pops up. Also, Julia, who's just lost her first tooth this year, had been disillusioned when her Kindergarten teacher told her that tooth fairies aren't real. I'm thinking, it won't be long until she discovered the same thing about Santa, thus the apprehension.

I wasn't sure how to go about it especially when Julia started to make comments and reactions after opening Santa's gift.
Julia gave me a big surprised but happy look when she first opened Santa's gift. I wasn't sure what she meant until she explained that one of the Sanrio notebooks Santa gave her was the same one we gave her cousin. Oops...I forgot that she'd be able to see what I wrapped for her cousin.

Later on that the day, Julia commented that there was a trace of price tag on the notebooks. "Santa removed the price tags.", she mentioned. Then she said, "Mom, Santa bought this from the store. Maybe he's shopping when we're sometimes at the mall and we just dont recognize him." I responded by saying, "Maybe its the elves who does the shopping for him."

It was so much easier to go about these things with Nico before. Probably because Nico was half as perceptive as Julia at her age now. Imagine Julia, who had to ask what was inside the wrapped packages I prepared, who knew all the designs of wrappers I had at home, who insists on helping me with wrapping, who patiently watches me after I tell her she cannot help and you'll understand what I'm talking about. From the way she phrases questions and make comments, I wouldn't be surprised if she figures things out before next Christmas.

I'm running out of creative ideas to keep Santa's identity safe. Any suggestions?


Monday, December 22, 2008

Realizations afer reading Twilight


It's been a while since I've gone to the movies since the "ber" months ushered in, so when Twilight made it to the silver screen a few weeks ago, I didn't have a hard time to ask DH to go with me. I've heard about Twilight several months before and got curious what the hype was all about. I wouldn't rate the movie "A" but decided to read the book version to answer some of my questions about the plot. After reading the 4 books in the Twilight saga, I realize that....

1. ...the theme of "love" is universal. Stephenie Meyer wrote it to cater the the young juvenile but clearly, the age of the characters were not an issue for the older and more mature audience. Reading the book at my age, felt like experiencing first love in high school all over again. I guess the appeal extended beyond the teenage years because it was reminiscent of how young love was. (sigh)


2. ...I don't buy the "you can love 2 people at the same time" idea. With regard to this issue, I'm no "Switzerland", either you're on Team Edward or Team Jacob, not somewhere in between. For me, trying to hold onto the 2 loves in the story made the female protagonist Bella look selfish and greedy.


3. ...I'm terribly old fashioned; or else, I wouldn't find Edward's lines such as
"Charlie, I realize that I’ve gone about this out of order. Traditionally, I should have asked you first. I mean no disrespect, but since Bella has already said yes and I don’t want to diminish her choice in the matter, instead of asking you for her hand, I’m asking for your blessing. We’re getting married, Charlie. I love her more than anything in the world, more than my own life, and – by some miracle – she loves me that way, too. Will you give us your blessing?" chivalrous and romantic. If I didn't enjoy or appreciate gadgets and technology so much, I'm inclined to think I'm an old soul.

4. ...that I should have stopped reading at book 3 - Eclipse. I was more than a bit disappointed with Breaking Dawn. The main characters were quite inconsistent with how Meyer built them up in the first 3 Twilight books. Its as if a different writer finished the last sequel to the saga. By the ending chapters of the book, I even found myself wishing Meyer wouldn't finish it with a happy ending that everyone was waiting for- which was very unlikely of me. The plot just got crazier and crazier it was getting really hard to imagine. Instead of being able to enjoying the book, I found myself spending time questioning and trying to fill up holes in the plot.

5. ...that I miss reading fiction. For a while, the materials I've been reading are mostly under the non-fiction category like biographies, inspirational essays and journals. I've almost forgotten how fun it is to get lost in a book and let my imagination lead the way.

There's a lot of contradicted opinion on Twilight, some call it trash yet others are obsessed with it. All in all, I think it was good book. It delivered well its purpose which was to entertain and I was. So, if you're piqued at how a vampire/human love story would go, go ahead and read it. Only, take my advice and stop at Eclipse. :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Olympic Friendlies

After following the Olympic opening and games last August, Nico & Julia were really bitten by the Olympic bug. DH and I found ourselves consuming "Happy Meals" from McDonalds's just to get those Olympic collectibles. Recently, a friend of mine had her mom buy these FuWa from Beijing for Nico & Julia. Nico super loves Jing Jing, who represents the panda. He's had this thing with stuff toys especially pandas. I think it started when we first went to Ocean Park when he was 4 and saw a real panda. The second time we were there, we bought him a cute panda stuff toy that he keeps with him while he sleeps. When Nico slept over at his cousin's house last weekend, he wanted to bring JingJing with him. I advised him to leave his stuff toy at home so he told Julia that she could sleep with JingJing for that night. I thought that it was really sweet of him :-)

A while ago, the kids asked for some paper and showed me these drawings. I just love them. What do you think of their drawings?
Julia's drawing of BeiBei




Nico's drawing of JingJing

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Iba talaga pag babae...



This was what I found waiting for me on my desk after I came back from the grocery. I let out an "Aaawwww..." and showed DH what I found. She's just so sweet, don't you think? 

Aside from drawing and doodling, Julia loves to write small notes like the one above. She got some Lisa Frank sticky notes from her "koko" and gave me 2 sets because she knows I like using them. Last week, I was having a home service haircut in the living room when she brought out the electric fan all by herself. "Is this okey, mom?" she asked. And I was like, "Thanks so much, sweetie!", while I gushed at how thoughtful she is. Its times like this that remind me to be thankful for having a daughter. As they say in Filipino, "Iba talaga pag babae!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To the crazy ones.

I was at a workshop a few months back when I found this posted on the wall. The title and the first few lines caught my attention. I want to share this to all the misfits, who sometimes feel like the odd in a group of even. A black in a group of white. Being a misfit isn't bad like other people would think. It doesn't mean that you are wrong and they are right. It just means that you think differently and see things in another perspective. It means that you found your true self and don't need to follow what others are doing to feel normal. Being "crazy" is sometimes a good thing...it sets you you free and leads you to being happy.

To the crazy ones.

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them glorify them or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
Because while some see them as crazy ones, we see genius.

And it's the people who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world, who actually do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Julia's Scrap and Salon Party



Now that I've decided to blog about Julia's Scrap and Salon party, I realize that I didn't take as many pictures that I was suppose to. If you planned and prepared a party such as this one, you'd understand how taking pictures can conveniently be forgotten over other more pressing matters during the party. Lest you think that we had a hundred guests, it was just a small and intimate party held at our home. Julia's not one who enjoys big parties so it doesn't seem right to give her a big one even if this was her 7th birthday.

The idea for the Scrap and Salon party was conceptualized early summer. I was at the duty free shops and saw some "kikay" sleeping masks and thought it would be a good item for giveaways. To prepare for the 'Salon" part of the party, I bought the following:

1. iron curler
2. hair wax in colors pink, blue and golden yellow
3. nail polish
4. nail stickers
5. jewelled clamps, hair ties, colored clips

Since yaya is an expert at fixing hair, she took care of the parlor booth. The girls told yaya what hairstyle they wanted and chose the pins and accessories they preferred to be used on them. At first, none of the girls wanted to use the colored hair wax but when Mjane started to apply them on one of the girls, they welcomed the idea. Inasmuch as I want to show you guys how it looked like, I can't because I missed taking pictures of those. I was multi-tasking-photographer, party organizer, food coordinator kaya di nakayanan ng powers ko :-(

I also set up a nail polish area where the kids could chose their nail color and nail sticker designs. While the others were in the parlor, some were busy making scrap pages using the pictures I asked them to bring. I bought foam stickers, colored paper, boards for the scrap party. I also brought out all of my gel pens, markers, stencils etc for the kids to use. In the beginning, I tried explaining to them some techniques they can use and gave them some ideas on how to go about scrapping. But, they didn't seem too interested as they were too excited to start working. As in they looked like they were going to burst if I had to discuss some some. In the end, I gave up explaining and just let them have a good time. For most of the girls, it was their first time to scrap so they were focused on the stickers and other materials they could use.





After the girls had their hair fixed at the parlor, I took pictures of them using my camera and printed them on the spot using our newly purchased Canon Selphy printer. The girls enjoyed seeing their pictures being printed on the spot. I placed their picture in a photo slot on their canvas tote which was part of the giveaways. In the bag, I placed a set of poster colors, a giant scrap book, a 'kikay' pen with mirror, a personalized notepad and a girly sleeping mask. Of course, they also got to bring home the scrap book pages they created during the party which I bound using a single hole-fastener.




For the cake, I made around 2 dozens vanilla cupcakes and decorated it with pink and yellow icing. Using the same theme of fairy princess from the paper plates, cups and napkins, I also made some cupcake toppers to match. All these entailed several hours of planning and preparation but I was really satisfied with the outcome.



It was after the party that I realized I forgot to bring out the icecream! It totally slipped my mind. The next time I'm throwing Julia another party like this, I have to remind myself to come up with a checklist. It was tiring and busy planning and preparing for the party but I did enjoy myself in the process. It was enough for me that Julia had a great time. Maybe a sleepover party next year :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Back!

After a long absence here, I'm back!

To say that the months of June and July was busy is an understatement. "Crazy" is the word more suitable to use. It started when I was preparing for Julia's SCRAP and SALON party and then got really busy with work and my thesis.

Each day, I would spend hours on the computer doing research, reading journals and writing the proposal. It was fine with me going through research and reading but the difficult part is how to conceptualize the problem. It didn't help when some people who don't really understand what the task of doing a thesis entails, gave some comments that make it sound easy and trivial. Just yesterday, I told my mentor that it was impossible for me to do this if I didn't take a leave from work. It was such a draining ordeal both physically and emotionally that I had to ask myself several times why I'm doing this. I almost gave up, too. Up until recently, I didn't realize I could be this persistent and persevering. It feels like a new self-discovery :-)

Not to sound too confident, I still have the actual proposal defense to prepare. I'm just savoring these few days to relax and refresh myself for more work in the next few months.

I really hope I'll have enough time to blog regularly. I miss blogging and have a handful of things to write about. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Kung Fu Panda



We've been planning to watch this movie ever since we saw the trailer last April. Its the last hurrah for the kids before going back to school. We normally watch movies at Greenbelt 3 in Makati. The 'sureseats' online reservation is really convenient so we've grown accustomed of going there for movies. However, DH needed to buy something at MOA so we ended up going there instead. We were surprised with the lines that we saw there. We had around 25 minutes before showtime which we felt was long enough to buy tickets and popcorn, but with the line we saw, we won't be making it in time for sure. Then we thought of another option, which was to watch Kung Fu Panda at the IMAX theatre. The tickets there were pricey at P300 but we were already there so we might as well watch it. We were thinking that the IMAX would probably have lots of seats available since the ticket price was a bit steep. It was kinda surprising to find that it was full and the only tickets available for us were the ones on the first 3 rows. We watched it anyway.

Needless to say, the kids got the kicks from watching the movie. In between, I would look at both Nico and Julia laughing at the hilarious scenes from the movie. I was also entertained myself. There were slapstick sequences that were very similar to the "Jacky Chan" movies. It was also filled with funny and witty side comments by the characters that made it very entertaining. After the movie, Nico would talk about scenes that he was really fond of. "Mom, do you remember the scene where the panda sat on Thai Long? It was even in slow motion..." Yada yadayada, we would go on and on. Obvioulsly, he really enjoyed the movie. I greatly recommend this movie for kids and even those who are kids at heart like me :-) hehehe

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Manual Enrollment

Today is the last day for thesis/dissertation writing enrollment at DLSU for the first term. I am happy to say that I did not enroll on the last minute. Instead, I took care of the enrollment process a few days earlier. The last time I enrolled, it took me hours to finish because of the long lines at the vice dean's office, at the registrar's and at the accounting office. It really is such a hassle especially since I've been accustomed to the convenience of online enrollment. I remember during my undergrad days when I even joined the EATF (Enrollment Assistance Task Force) just to get the privilege of early enrollment. We would help out in processing the forms at the registrar and in ushering during graduation rites in exchange for the opportunity to be advance enrollees. We were always able to get into our first choices of courses while the others in line lament at the hassles of regular enrollment.


I can't be sure, but I don't think the EATF exists anymore. Since online enrollment has taken away the queues, the need for the task force has been eliminated.  During today's enrollment, I suddenly miss going online. Thesis/dissertation enrollment requires manual or the special process  so I had to do it the "old" way.   It didn't help when a woman probably in her late forties or early fifties sneaked herself in the line. She had a visitors ID on her shirt and excused herself on the window to ask something then pushed her slip to make the payment. Hmmpph! If she slipped in the line in front of me, I would really make a comment to her about it. Being a visitor in the university doesn't exempt her from falling in line, which I know she is aware of. The guy in front of me was too surprised to even react.

oh well...I think it would really be great if they implement a numbering system at the accounting office. They already have this system at the registrar's so its just a matter of extending this service at the accounting. I hope that I won't have to endure going through the manual enrollment any longer. I still have a long way to go with my thesis. Unlike most of my classmates who have a lot of pressure and timetable to finish their thesis, I am fortunate enough to have the luxury of time to do it. Or not. That luxury may actually be hindering me from putting more effort to accomplish it ....hay!

Friday, May 30, 2008

PRC Express


   I wish I knew about the PRC Express ID service earlier so that I didn't have to go through the manual process of professional license renewal.  My ID actually expired last Feb. , but I was too pre-occupied to arrange the processing of renewal.  Plus, I really dread the long lines and red tape involved in the process so I procastinated and procastinated until I heard that you can ask a representative to do it for you.  I filled up the form that a friend got for me and asked our messenger to go to PRC today.  In less than an hour, he came back with the claim stub that says I can get my new license on August 1, 2008.  Aside from the claim stub, he also handed us this flyer about PRC EXpress ID renewal service.  It claims that all you have to do is call their hotline number:  8544848 and arrange for LBC to pick up your application for renewal, then go to an LBC branch for payment and they deliver nationwide to your doorstep once it has been processed.   This is good news - an answer to the dreaded lines and hassle of processing license renewal.  

Monday, May 26, 2008

BIG family trip

       Last Sunday, we had a family outing trip to Punta Fuego in Batangas.  We were 50 plus in the group including the yayas and kids.  The last time we had this kind of trip was in 2002, when Julia was just a baby.  From 2002 up to 2008, there had been a significant increase in our family's population.   (New babies come along each year, with 5  baby boys in 2004 alone).  Our group was so big that we had the staff at Punta Fuego arrange an exclusive tent and buffet tables for our party of 50 something. When we occupied the jacuzzis at the club, there was literally no room for the others.  They had to wait until we decided to leave before they could use the facilities.  
    
     We were quite lucky the weather cooperated with us.  It was cloudy  and it occasionally drizzled but no big rain that would have ruined our trip.  The beach was nothing spectacular - especially if one's idea of  beaches are those of Boracay.  Despite this, the kids had a lot of fun.  It was a good break from just being  in the metro with practically nowhere to go except the malls.   This is one of those trips that that wouldn't be worth it if you go alone as it was really the company that made it worthwhile.  

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Julia's Art Exhibit

     Julia had her oil pastel exhibit at My Little Art Place last mid-May but since I got so busy with the teacher workshop preparation, I only had time to arrange the pictures these past few days.   Being held on a Saturday afternoon, it was just Julia, me and yaya who went to the exhibit.   Compared to the first exhibit, this one was more organized and less crowded.  However, I think there was a lack of air conditioning in the place as it was a bit humid with all the people there.  

      I got to talk to Teacher Stan during the exhibit.  He was recommending Julia to take up 'Pen and Ink" class for the third module.  He said Julia was 'matiyaga' with doodling and had a lot of details in her illustrations.  Here are some of the examples of her work at the exhibit.  My favorite is that of our family picture inside a heart.  I'm planning to make use of her artworks and put them on our personal gift tags.  Julia is just too thrilled with this idea.
 

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bright and Sunny


     I've been meaning to post the whole week, but wasn't able to because I was really busy.  My excuse is that I had to prepare and give a 3 day workshop for teacher training.  I've sort of gotten used to my flexible hours at home so I underwent some adjustments for this week's full schedule.  It felt like I was back at the weekly grind from grad school preparing for presentations.  

    Actually, I'm not done with grad school yet.  I still have the humongous task of research work for my thesis before I finally get my degree.  Friends and relatives have been asking me if I'm done with my studies.  Those who don't know me really well have this assumption that I'm planning to open up my own school after I graduate.  When I let them know that I don't really plan to, they give a surprised response that seem to say, "But why did you have to study?".  They become even more confused when I give them the reason "I just wanted to, for personal growth."

     To be honest, opening up a school did cross my mind.  But this was before I became a teacher and found out that it wasn't as easy as the ABC's.  It entails a lot of responsibility, to say the least.  My experience this past year helped put me in perspective.  In some way, it got me to prioritize what I needed to do.  I'm so looking forward to do the things that I love and enjoy.  I'm all bright and sunny about everything - which is how things really should be.

     

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm a slave to the computer...

     Yup, I admit that I am.  I eat, breathe and sleep the computer.   I recently discovered that turning on the computer is the first thing I do when I reach home, while turning it off is the last thing I do before I leave.  I spend most of my awake hours on the computer to surf, shop, check mails, research, blog, talk to friends through ym, watch videos, listen to music, arrange photos and so much more.  Yesterday, I purposely went out of the house to take break from being on the computer the whole day, but I still found myself using my iPhone to search  and check my mail and updates.  

      There's no denying that all these advancement in technology have shaped our lifestyles and habits.    In our house, the ratio of family members to the computer is 3:4 ( 3 computers to 4 of us).  Despite this small ratio, I sometimes wish it was 1:1.  Nico's almost always glued to the computer like me.   And over the years, he has wowed us on what he has learned to do by himself using the computer.  A few years back, he surprised his dad by preparing him a birthday powerpoint presentation.  We did not even realize he knows how to use it - no one taught it to him and he did not learn it in school.  He just tinkered with it and figured it out by himself. Early this year, he came up with a video clip  of the American Army game that he's so addicted to.  He accomplished this despite the fact we did not have any programs for it.  He downloaded the tools he needed and learned by searching You Tube!  My point here is that everything's a fingertip away with computers.  Its so easy, convenient and so addicting.  But lately, I found that its so easy for me to loose my sense of time when I'm on the computer.  I keep wondering where all my time went....  I think I have to set limits for myself and stick to it.  

    Since its Sunday today, I'm going to sign off and spend it with the family.  Its my day off today.  On Monday, I can go back to being a slave to the computer:-) he he he
   
     

   

Saturday, May 17, 2008

“Don’t wonder why people go crazy. Wonder why they don’t. In the face of all we can lose in a day, in an instant, wonder what the hell it is that makes us hold it together.” - Meredith Grey

Sometimes, terrible things happen that are so unbelievable and crazy that we don't have any explanation why it took place. It pains so much that trying to deny it happened can make you loose your mind. I think of the family and loved ones of the victims from the tragic events found in the news these days... Cyclone in Myanmar, earthquake in China, RCBC bank robbery/murder in Laguna and other gruesome crimes that have been on the news and papers recently. It makes you think how we as humans can handle the pain;how difficult it is to be vulnerable. But life goes on and people to learn to cope. We get by somehow...we have to or we go crazy and disillusioned.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Mommyfest Party


    
    There's a party going on.  Stop by at http://mommyfest.com/ to join.  Its my first time to get involved in something like this so I'm a newbie here. This is a really cool way of meeting people.

    Welcome and feel free to browse around.  Don't forget to drop me a line or just say hi before you go :-)
   

Grey's Back


       After several weeks of absence because of the Writer's strike, Grey's Anatomy is back.  I only discovered yesterday that they resumed the showing of episodes late April.  So, before I left the house, I downloaded the 3 episodes I missed and had a marathon last night to catch up on what's going on at Seattle Grace.  
     
        The last episode in Feb left me hanging about the Derek-Meredith breakup.  I still can't get over the fact that the reason for the break up was that Derek was seeing someone else.  I'm not so much of a fan for Meredith but I wasn't expecting Derek to initiate the break up.  He was building a house just the day before!  And for him to be casually dating the nurse right after...I just feel for Meredith.  But then again, who wouldn't date McDreamy if you had the chance?  I know I would. lol

         I can't wait for this Thursdays episode and the season's finale. :-)
      

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Rant

Its useless to elaborate.  It won't get through his thick head.  So, I'm here to rant.  

Inconsiderate and insensitive.  And he doesn't have a clue that he is.  Trying too much to please others gets you to become the opposite to those who matters.  The balance is lost somewhere.   

And its not true he does not have a choice.  Its a matter of wanting and prioritizing-which he is very poor at.  Same is true at making decisions.  I hope oneday he realizes this...
 
Sometimes, I really think we speak a different language.   I'm tired of this.  Its the same issue over and over.  There.  I wrote it down here and I feel much better.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Batad/Sagada Day 2

   
     We were dreading the hike back to 'saddle point'. Our muscles haven't recovered from yesterday's abuse and the massage last night did little to relieve the ache. See where I'm pointing at? We hiked all the way up to ride the jeep going to Banaue-Sagada.  

    Along the way, we found stops that sold "I Survived Batad" t-shirts and felt the need to express ourselves with those shirts.  In a way, we survived Batad in different and numerous aspects. Aside from the hiking and climbing, we also survived the cold 'tabo' showers, the lack of cell site and charging outlets for our gadgets and the limited amenities that was available to us during our stay.  For us urbanites, that itself was a challenge.  
   
We finally arrived at 'saddle point' after an hour and a half.  It took us another 4 hours of rough roads and zigzags before we finally reached Sagada. When we got to St Joseph's, the first thing I checked was the toilet.  It takes deprivation to really appreciate something that we have. Thanks to the cold shower in Batad, I now have a new found appreciation for heated baths. lol

      
We all found St. Joseph's to be really  nice. Aside from this, its location is also very accessible to the municipal hall and other restaurants in the area.  The resthouse's restaurant was under renovation so we had to go somewhere else for our late lunch. 
     Since it was late, we decided to go to Lake Danum to catch the sunset.  Many have hailed this place a must see, but we were quite disappointed. Firstly, there was no sunset because it was drizzling.  Second, the brown and muddy water looked more like a pond than a lake.  There wasn't much too see so we were back at St. Joseph's in less than an hour.

    We then visited St. Mary's Church which was right across St. Joseph's.  The church garden was abundant with flowers and the pine tress surrounding the area gave the place a rustic feel.  

     While the boys went back to St. Joseph's, the girls went to the "Log Cabin" to make dinner reservations for the night.  There was no one at the place when we got there.  The doors leading to the kitchen were open so I had to announce, "Tao po. Tao po." By the door we found a sign that said, "Attention.  This kitchen will be closed today on account of illness.  I'm sick of cooking." :-) We thought we won't be able to make reservations as the place was often fully booked.  Luckily, someone came when we were about to leave so we were able to make a down payment for our reservations.
   
     Normally, the Log Cabin only serve dinner buffets every Saturday night when the chef gets fresh produce at the Saturday morning market.  So, it was more of an exception that we were having buffet on a Friday night. The place was full and we even saw some walk-in customers who were turned away because they were not accommodating anyone anymore.  The food lived up to our expectations and more.  For P290 per person, there were soup, salad, main dish, desserts and coffee/tea.  I especially liked the wild mushroom soup and even had 2 servings of it.  The ambiance at the log cabin is country and very cozy.   It feels just like having dinner at a friend's home.  I highly recommend it to anyone who's visiting Sagada - you don't want to miss this.  Just make sure to make reservations in advance.  It was definitely a nice ending to hectic day. :-)

    



    

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The case of the missing shoes

      I'm taking a short break from the Sagada travel stories...will still write about them but let me just tell you first about something mysterious that happened on our Day 2 in Banaue. Read on...The case of the missing shoes!

      I was busy packing things in our room when DH barged in and asked, "Where's your Crocs?".  I sensed the panic in his voice so I shrieked, "Outside where I left them."  "Its not there!", said DH. "What do you mean its not there?", I said in disbelief.  We both went out through the hallway and tried looking for it by the entrance where our muddy shoes from the hike were suppose to be left.  A few seconds of trying to find where it is, we both confirmed that it was missing.  Why would anyone be interested in my old 'Crocs'?  Just then, a man with eyeglasses came down holding my Crocs and said, "sori, sori!" with either a Korean or Vietnamese accent.  
    
    DH said he saw the man wearing MaryJanes and thought it was mine.  He couldn't confront him coz he wasn't sure.  He just felt it odd coz they were for girls.  Whew!  I can't loose those Crocs especially since they're my comfort travel shoes.  I'd gladly wear them despite their bulky look as long as my feet are comfy.
      
     A few minutes later, DH was at the veranda with his camera taking pictures.  The man passed by wearing my Crocs again!  That was it- DH followed him and had to tell him that those were not his shoes.  When DH handed me back my Crocs, I kept them in our room, lest he try to wear them again.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time, but its obvious it wasn't a mistake.  

    Over at breakfast, we heard that 'he' also wore the slippers of my girl friend.  This guy was going around the inn wearing whoever's foot wear! Our guess was, he did not have any slippers or easy take off shoes to use around the inn.  When I saw him again, he was wearing sneakers with laces. But then, it wasn't an excuse to wear other people's shoes or slippers.  Good thing he was wearing socks the whole time this shoe swapping took place.  Grrrr!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Batad/Sagada day1


    Since the roads leading to Banaue/Sagada have been dubbed dangerous and rough, we decided to take the night schedule via Autobus in Sampaloc.  Had a bit of difficulty finding exactly where the Autobus station was since it has relocated three times.  We got several different contact numbers from the internet but they were all out of service.  Finally, we decided to ask a messenger to personally find the new location of Autobus and to purchase our tickets.  A week before our trip, we found  that the 10pm schedule was full. It was a good thing they opened a second trip at 1045 pm.   

Autobus Transport Systems, Inc.
1455 SH Loyola St. corner F. Cayco Sampaloc, Manila
Telefax:  4934111 7407959
mobile no:  09212685526

   

    
       We arrived at the station around 1015 pm.  We wanted to be early since it was our first time to take the bus and we didn't know what to expect.  It was not a very good experience as we had to wait for the 'mekaniko' to change the bus's  alternator. It was around midnight when we left for Banaue.

    I wasn't able to get any sleep during our 8 hour bus ride to Banaue.  The aircon was too cold and I was expecting the seats to be more comfortable.  The zigzag roads made us sway from one direction to another.  Upon arrival at Banaue, I immediately reserved our seats back to Manila. 
   
   We hired a jeep to take us from Banaue to Batad - a small Ifugao village which has the amphitheater type rice terraces that we often see in post cards. The jeep brought us to 'Saddle Point' where we started our hike to get to the Hillside Inn - the place where we'll stay for the night.  The hike was suppose to be around 45 minutes but because of the rain and our pace, we arrived after an hour and a half.  It was a good thing they had porters to carry our bags for us. Each bag was charged P150 oneway, meaning another P150 going back. But it was well worth it.  I don't know how I would have managed if I had to carry them all the way up.  The walking stick we rented at P10 each was also a big help.  It gave us support and balance along the hike.
     
     
   After a short rest and lunch, we headed for the Batad Rice Terraces.  It was not practical to  use the umbrella while trying to balance on the terraces, and we didn't bring any rain coats so we had to make use of garbage bags to protect us from the rain.  Thanks to Maleen who's thought of everything we needed for the trip. :-) As we made our way on the terraces, the paths became narrower and steeper.  It was an effort to concentrate on the path as a single wrong step could be fatal. Once in a while, I would pause to just enjoy the wonderful scenery. At one point, it just took my breath away.  I couldn't help but be enthralled by its beauty and wonder.  


While we were trekking back to the Hillside, one of us mentioned that better roads and facilities should be made so more people can see the terraces.  I disagree. This place has maintained its beauty because no roads were built to disturb its existence. The accommodations and facilites that we had were the very basic.  If 5 star hotels and buildings were built here, then there would soon be no terraces to see in Batad.  I will never forget this experience.  It is defintely different from the travels I have made in the past.  My only regret is that we were not able to see Tapia Falls... 

    If there was one thing I learned from this experience, it is that beauty has its price. Going through the hiking and climbing was just a minimal price to pay for the beauty that we all experienced.  Those who appreciate such beauty will not haggle over a few discomfort in exchange for this.  

   I'll soon write about our other adventures in Sagada. Stay tuned!



Monday, May 5, 2008

I Survived Sagada!


   Last Labor day weekend, DH and I, together with friends went up North to Banaue and Sagada.  We have been talking and planning about this trip for months and despite some minor conflicts in schedules, we finally pushed through.  
  
   After doing research from the internet and getting feedbacks from friends who have been there, we had a set of expectations from the trip.  We knew there will be hiking and climbing. We expected the rough roads and only expected the basics from the accommodations we made.  

   But, even when our minds were conditioned for this trip, our bodies were not. The 9 of us on the trip had an average age of 38 and after the our first day hike to the Batad Rice Terraces, we all agreed that we should've came here in our twenties.  This came along with the realization that despite the fact that we feel young, our bodies contradict it.  The proof for this is how our first dinner conversation included things like Alaxan, Bengay, Ponstan and Salonpas.  Then we started to talk about things we should do while our bodies will still allow us.  

   Maybe that was what we were thinking when we decided to do spelunking at the Crystal Caves of Sagada.  The adventures we had there are dubbed to be for the strong, experienced and the fit spelunker.  The irony of it is, we are none of the 3 adjectives mentioned.  We were in fact, new to spelunking.  Someone from our group even asked, "What exactly does spelunking mean?"  This not only illustrate how little we knew about what we got ourselves into but also meant that it was several "firsts" for us.  First time to do rapel, to climb down small holes, to get into knee deep cave mud and many more...

    I can probably say that this trip is the most different, adventurous and tiring experience I have had.  I don't regret being there but I doubt if I'll do this again. As of now, what i really what to say is "I Survived Sagada!".  

    I have more stories to tell about Sagada, will post them in my next entires :-) 



     

    

     

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Men Hunt Tag

       I got this from Wanda who got it from someone else.  It was fun reading about  them and so I thought I'll snag it so I  have an excuse to talk about hot men. :-)

 Here they are:
1.  Jerry Yan  

      Admittedly, when I first saw Jerry in Meteor Garden, I did not like him-especially with his pineapple hairstyle.  But, he grows on you, just like his character as Dao Ming Si in Meteor Garden.  Among all the hot men in my list, he's the only one I got to see upclose and personal.  I wasn't that much of a fan to go see his concerts but when a friend had access to his Bench presscon and lunch conference at Manila Pen afterwards, I didn't let the opportunity pass. During that time, a lot of girlfriends got jealous that I could see him in person. Well, some girls have all the luck:-) hehe.  Of course, I needed proof that I really saw him, so pictures had to be taken. Unfortunately, the ones I have are with a group, so I won't be posting them here. :-(

    
      I've liked him ever since his Remington Steele days.  He's so cool and I find him to be a real debonair in his roles.  When he became "James Bond", I was hooked.  I made it a point to watch all his James Bond movies.  I also loved him in "The Thomas Crown Affair" and  am anticipating its sequel. Aside from his showbiz persona, Pierce is also an environmentalist and uses his stature to promote his advocacies.  Although he's well into his fifties, I still find him very sexy :-)




                                         
     The name McDreamy is just so appropriate.  I love him in his role as Dr. Derek Shephard.  I just think he looks so hot in those scrubs.  Plus the hair and dimples :-) hay!

    So there, these are the top 3 in my "Hot Men List".  What do they have in common? hhmm...they're all bedimpled?  Incidentally, so is DH :-) lol Now its your turn to share your list of  "Hot Men".  To follow, copy what's written below and tag all the people you want.  

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It’s up to you how narrate your stories but there are two rules: 1.Post pictures (I want to see what is all the hotness about), 2. Keep the linky linky alive :D (Tip, highlight the text which has links, right click and choose View Selection Source and just copy the HTML). Link the post where you wrote about the topic so women can find more drool-worthy men. (You might need to publish and then edit the entry first)

List: 1. Wanda, Pinch   I'm tagging Tere, Portia and Mia. 

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prayer For Serenity


   While looking for something in our room today, a brown and worn out piece of paper from the cork board caught my eye.  I remember this. It used to be white paper where I have copied the "Prayer For Serenity".  I think I've had this pinned on the board for like 9 years or more.  When I held it, it felt brittle and about to crumble.  
    Oftentimes, we seek to have control over the things around us and forget that we do not really have control on them.  It makes us unhappy and discontent.  I like to share this to those who are currently unhappy about something in their lives or those who seek some peace of mind.

Prayer for Serenity

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference.
...living one day at a time
...enjoying one moment at a time.
...accepting hardships as a pathway to peace
...taking , as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is.
...trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will.
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.
Amen

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's so embarrassing!


   That's what Nico said when I tried to take his picture while he was at McDo for the Kiddie Crew program this afternoon.  He started going to McDo yesterday, but I only had time to visit him today.  I was planning to take some pictures of him behind the counter but found them on the second floor doing art.  I only wanted him to have a picture of this summer activity, but several attempts I made to take his pictures were all in vain.  He would turn away, cover his face with his cap or hide behind his cousin just to escape me and my camera.  Haay! Lately, Nico's been acting like he's grown up.  He downloads music on his own, raps and bounces as he listens to music and uses "Duh!" or "Who cares?" a lot in his conversations.  

    I don't want him to grow up too fast.  I still like him to hug and kiss me everyday even in front of other people.  But today, he said, "It's so embarrassing!"  It's a good thing that he handed this bag to me before we went home.  I know it was part of their activity at McDonald's, but it still melted my heart when he said, "Mom, this is for you."

To do list

      It's summer and that means I have more time to do things that I did not have time to do during the school year.  Things that I have shelved for next time because it takes so much time to accomplish and probably because they're not my favorite things to do.  Anyway, I'm listing it down here in the hopes that it will motivate me to do them soon:-)

1.  Renew my professional teacher's license which expired last Feb. - If anyone of you have been to PRC , you'd easily understand why I've been putting off doing this.  The red tape and the rude people there are the topmost reasons this task is hard to accomplish.

2.  Clean up our study room.  -  The paper and books have been piling up in our study room. And looking for a particular book entails searching the 4 large plastic containers that are really heavy that you wouldn't want to look for them anymore.   I've accumulated so much resource and reference books from grad school that there's really no place to keep them.   My friend says, the rule to follow if you need to decide whether to keep or throw something away is to answer the question: "When was the last time you used this?"  If the answer is more than 2 years ago, then you should let it go.  My problem is on the letting go part.  I always think that I might still be able to use it.

3.  Come up with a master list of all the children's books we have at home. - I've always earmarked myself to do this but never got to do an inventory.  DH once commented: "What are you going to do with all those books when the kids are all grownup already?"  My answer, "I'm going to give these to our grand children!" :-)  Especially my collection of Dr. Seuss books.

4.  Put together  videos of our family trips.  Since we shifted to MAC, making videos have become something we non-professionals can do at home.  But, since it takes so much time, it has always been shelved till next time.  I was able to do one for school, but only because it was for a project.  I have to do at least one this year. 

I know I have more to add for this list, but this is all I can think of for now.  


Monday, April 21, 2008

I signed up for PPP!

   I've been toying with the idea of getting into paid blogging.  It won't hurt to earn some extra while you're already doing what you enjoy, right?  A friend of mine who recently signed up for PayPerPost gave me some feedback that it was quite easy to get into PPP.  To qualify, I think your blog needs to be at least 30 days old and has to have x number of posts.  Plus, you get to write your opinion about products or services that interests you.   What I find very convenient about PayPerPost is that it pays bloggers through PayPal- a really safe way to send and receive money.

    Anyway, I was going through PPP's  site last night to try and learn more about it.   It was indicated there that my blog will need to be assessed first if it was qualified.  I decided to sign up since I assumed it will take a couple of weeks or at least a month before it could be assessed. That's why, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email after only a few minutes that my site has been approved.  I felt a bit anxious as I wasn't clear on how to go about these things yet. 

    As of now, I'm still learning the ropes on how to go through the process of paid blogging.  I'm looking forward to this new venture and recommend it to those who love to write or simply want something new to do.  



Friday, April 18, 2008

My top 10 reasons to blog

1.  Blogging is therapeutic.  It has a good effect on the mind.  It relaxes.  Blog is to the mind what a massage is to the body.
2.  Blogging lets you rant, rave, complain, babble.  It gives you a voice.
3.  Blogging makes you feel like a columnist but one that has total independence on when and what to write about.
4.  Blogging inspires.  A highschool classmate who read my blog says she was inspired to write a blog herself after stumbling upon this.
5. My blog lets me feature my kids' work and anecdotes.  Hopefully, they can get to read them when they're older.
6.  Blogging lets me reflect-something less practiced when you get caught up in the hussle-bussle of life and technology.
7.  Blogging gives me the opportunity to tell stories and connect with other people.
8.  Blogging has a lot of potential for financial rewards.  Might get into paid blogging one of these days -to get funds for my online shopping :-)
9.  Blogging is a learning experience everyday.  You get to learn so many things - also get to know the lives of people even if you don't know them yet. ha ha!
10.  Blogging is a way of expression. Much like how you wear your hair or the way you speak.   It gives you a sense of self that only a few can provide.

   

Girlfriend




   Early January of this year, I received a call asking if I was interested to be featured on Girlfriends' magazine.  It was to for an article in their regular section on Money.  At first, I was really surprised, then I was flattered before I finally felt apprehensive.  "Can i think about it, first?" was my answer to the offer.  I consulted DH and friends.  Should I? Should I not?  My friends were excited for me, telling me how this is will be a great experience.   DH left me to decide, "Whatever you want, its up to you."  To make the long story short, I finally agreed.

     We had the photo shoot/ interview early February at Mega's studio along Emerald Ave.  We were greeted by the managing editor, who introduced me to my makeup artist, hairdresser and interviewer/writer. They were all there waiting for me :-)  While I was having my hair done,  I had a pleasant interview/conversation with Lucille.  It was just like talking to your girlfriend!  A girl approached who identified herself as the photographer.  "I'd like to ask what you would be wearing for the shoot?"  I thought for a while and said, "This. (holding up my sleeve)"  I thought she might be expecting me to have brought a wardrobe along- lol!  Anyway, she needed to know as she was setting up the back drop for the shoot.

     The shoot turned out really well.  Paola, the photographer was very pleasant.  She made me feel relaxed and even asked me to see the shots she had taken so far.  During this entire time, DH was at the background with his SLR trying to take some  "behind the scene photos", while the managing editor was working with Paola on the best way to get my picture.  I felt like a celebrity.  So this is what it feels like to have people fuss over you :-)

    2 months after the shoot, I have the magazine with me and it still feels surreal.  It was a great personal experience - one that gives encouragement and excitement.