Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa Stories

I know its being "Scrooge"... but I want to stop at this Santa charade that we have to put up every year. I could easily just spill the beans on Santa, but I don't want to be the one to burst the bubble on our 8 year old Julia.

We have this family tradition of opening gifts only on the morning of Dec. 25. That morning, Julia found Santa's gift under the tree...

Nico: "Santa's penmanship is so ugly!" (Referring to the "to and From"" note on the gift tag)
Julia: "No, its not. It's a special kind of font!"
Me: "Yeah, can you imagine? If you were Santa, you have to write on so many tags?" (sounding very defensive)

A few days after Christmas...

Julia: "Daddy, Santa's gift is from Toy Kingdom." (She sounded suspicious and confused)
DH: "Santa needs a lot of toys to give during Christmas, maybe he owns Toy Kingdom!"

yeah right! Maybe Santa's full name is Santa Claus SY! hahahahah

Seriously, if Julia asks me if Santa was real, I'm really itching to spill the beans na!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The 25th Putnam Annual Spelling Bee

WHAT'S THE BEE ABOUT? In the Broadway Musical Comedy, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grownups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser. This hilarious tale of overachievers' angst chronicles the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. A quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.
- excerpts from

This post is a week late. Last Friday, March 20, my friends and I went to see the first showing of the latest play in town, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee". The last play I've watched, The West End Story is a tragic love story along the lines of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. So, this time around, the light and comic theme of the spelling bee was a welcome change.

The show lasted around 2 hours and had no intermission in between. The plot was quite simple and the stage design was nothing elaborate. Just a couple of chairs and table. The background was likewise no frills, just a big tarp that says "25th Annunal Putnam Spelling Bee". But, despite the simple props, the show had a lot of flavor to it. For example, the show started with Rona Lisa Peretti (played by Cathy Azanza-Dy) walking along the aisle and greeting the audience with a large trophy in tow. The play also had an innovative concept that enhances audience particiaption. Each night, they have 4 guest spellers from the audience, 2 of whom are celebrities. On the first night of the show, the celebrity guest spellers were Leah Salonga and Jett Pangan of the Dawn. The guest spellers' role was to be contestants of the spelling bee, so they were given words to spell just like the other actors on the play. The unexpected aspect of being a guest speller makes the show fresh and funny.

I love how several actors, like Noel Rayos ( who played Mitch Mahoney, an ex convict on parole turned counselor taking community service) and Johan de la Fuente (who played Leaf Coneybear, a quirky contestant speller) could shift into roles of gay parents in a click. I had to comment how astonishing it is for Joel Trinidad (who played the principal) to pull a straight face and not laugh at the funny meanings and sentences of the spelling words he gave to the contestants. The short introduction given by Rona Lisa Peretti (played by Cathy Azanza-Dy) to each contestant before they spelled was also hilarious. e.g. When she introduced Leah Salonga... she said, " Miss Salonga thinks she used to be a Vietnamese prostitute in her past life." okey, maybe the way I wrote it isn't as funny, but we had some good laughs during the play.

The play was fun, entertaining and hilarious! Plus, I also learned that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.

The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee is directed by Bobby Garcia and runs from March 20- April 4, 2009 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Bilding, Makati

Friday, March 20, 2009

Havaianas Recall

A few weeks ago, I read in the news that Havaianas in the US issued a statement to recall some batches of their flipflops. This reason is because the print on the soles has a higher lead content than what is allowed by Federal standards. My first response was to take some action and inquire if I'll be able to exchange a pair that Julia has. But, a friend who had several pairs of recall Havaianas, informed me that the Philippine distributor made an announcement that those purchased in the Philippines are not included in the recalled batch. So, I didn't pursue the exchange.

Today, Havaianas Philippines issued another statement that out of good faith, they will be recalling and exchanging the flipflops included in the recall. I promptly called thier hotline 8958744 and arranged for the exchange. They will need to get information like the size, style, color of the flipflops plus when are where it was bought. Or, you can also fill up details of the flipflops online here. No need to bring your pair of flipflops to any of their stores as they will be arranging for the courier to pick them up at your place. The only downside here is that it will take around 8-12 weeks for you to receive your replacement. But, considering that you won't be using them anyway, its worth taking up. I even requested that they change the flipflops to a bigger size so Julia can still wear them when we receive it.

Incidentally, they have a list of authorized stores where the flipflops should have been bought in order to qualify for the exchange. If you have some Havaianas flipflops at home, you might want to check out if they are included in the recall.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Medical Assistants

Even if you don't regularly watch the news or read the paper, you can sense the global financial crisis that is upon us. A few days ago, news broke out that another 2,500 will be jobless because an IT plant in Laguna has closed down. At a jewelers shop last week, I heard the owner lamenting that people are tightening their belts and are forgoing the purchase of luxury items such as jewelry. On a similar note, because of bad business, cruise ships have lowered fares to very tempting prices.

Mostly affected are those in retail and luxury goods. Some sectors like schools and hospitals won't be as badly hit by the crisis. Heard from a friend overseas that medical assistants are still in demand noways. This is probably the reason why medical assistant schools like St. Agustine School of Medical Assistants are now offering online programs. With the crisis upon us with no certainty how long it will last, courses like that of a medical assistant are getting popular. It seems it has become inevitable that the demand for certain jobs have been the factor in which the youth bases its decision of what course to get into.

on credit cards

We've been planning for our trip to Australia since end of January. For this trip, all of our bookings for hotels and airlines both international and domestic were made online. DH and I were talking about how convenient it is to plan trips nowadays especially since the internet and credit cards have made it possible.

A couple friend we have, who's planning a honeymoon trip to Europe lamented on how big the difference in exchange rate a particular bank charges and is contemplating on getting another credit card just for the trip. I mentioned that they should check and compare credit card services at to get a general idea of what credit card would best suit their needs. Quite popularly, there are now more choices of credit cards for specific purposes. Take for example, Rustan's and Shell gas credit cards that give certain percentage of rebate for purchases made.

Admittedly, credit cards have been part of everyone's lifestyle. We'll just be buying a minimum amount of Aussie dollars for the trip and charge most of the expenses on our credit card.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I wish I could get married again...

...if only to have amazing wedding videos created by Jason Magbanua. (sigh) I know I might come across as a stalker after this confession but, I've just spent an hour watching wedding videos of couples I do not know at Jason's site!

As evidenced from his works, Jason Magbanua has a knack for capturing those moments that are specially meaningful and memorable in a milestone event such as a wedding. His videos are full of emotions and very real. You can just feel the love :-)

As a bride over 14 years ago, I was never fussy or meticulous about the details in our wedding. I was not very hands-on with the wedding preparations, so to speak. My wedding gown is nothing like the ones that are in fashion nowadays. Imagine a gown with long sleeves, sweetheart neckline with an overlay of sheer material above it, fully beaded with petticoat and all. I had a train that was very exquisitely beaded but also very heavy it was quite difficult to move. During that time, it was considered quite a beautiful gown since I received several compliments for it. Today, I don't think you will find any bride who will choose a gown of this kind.

I couldn't care less about the cake either. Since a relative of DH offered to supply the cake, I didn't have to sit down and talk to her about the design. I had no idea what our souvenirs or giveaways were until the wedding day itself as they were made by DH's aunt as a gift to us. Generally speaking, I'm fine about how the wedding came out, but today, while watching those wedding videos, I can't help but wish that I got married in the digital age for photos and videos so I can have ours made by Jason. Haay!

Yeah, I know...I can't turn back the clock. Anyway, there's a saying that what's more important is not the wedding itself but the marriage after that really matters. Enough said. :-)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


DH and Nico had been raving about WHAM since last year. One time, DH brought home (take-out) some Wham burgers but I didn't feel it was really special. The chicken burger wasn't crispy as he described it, and the buns from the beef burger were soggy.

Yesterday, we decided to have dinner at Wham in Robinson's Place Ermita. Left the camera at home so I just took these pictures using my iPhone. Might not have done justice to the burgers but they're really good. Even Julia, who wasn't particularly fond of burgers really appreciated the Crispy chicken burger. (P103) I had the Wham burger with single patty (P93) and DH had the Bronco burger (P138), which had a generous portion of bacon and barbeque sauce. Nico, who normally eats very slow, finished his chicken burger faster than me!

Since Wham burgers are grilled upon order, they're best eaten fresh or right away they are served. Not a good idea for take-out as the juicy burgers will make the buns soggy. The chikcen burger, when wrapped will loose its being crispy. Defintely recommend this to burger lovers. Yummy!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Its been a while since DH and I went on a trip-just the 2 of us. Mostly, our trips the past years have been with family and friends. Last month, we decided to take a trip to HK/Macau, with the Venetian as our main point of interest.

The night before our flight, Julia hugged us really tight as if to make up for the few days we won't be with her at home. She was hiding her teary eyes and was fighting to keep them from flowing. I instantly became guilty that we were leaving. Its not that I haven't anticipated this reaction from her. I knew she would really be sad despite the fact that I have tried to prepare her with the idea of our trip weeks ago. I felt very uneasy, so I decided to write her letters for the days we won't be around.

In the first letter I wrote...

Dear Julia,

You always surprise me when you come home from school, so I decided to surprise you today. I bet you didn't expect to receive a letter from me. By the time you read this, daddy and mommy will already be in Hongkong.

I remember you told me yesterday that you wanted to answer crossword puzzles. I found some easy crosswords for you last night so you can answer them this afternoon. If you are having a hard time, you can check out the answer key for some clues.

Don't forget to sharp your pencils later after doing your homework. Try not to miss daddy and mommy too much. We'll call you up tonight.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jeanny's birthday giveaway

Jeanny of "Startin' A New Life" is giving away a Moleskin notebook on her birthday. To join, just write a comment on her entry here. Contest will end 11.59 pm of February 15, 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Birthday wish list

I don't have a habit of coming up with wishlists, but since Kaye sent me this birthday wish award, I don't see why I shouldn't.

So the rules say that:

1. Make a list of what you want on your birthday...
2. The list sho
uld be 15 numbers
3. Post the image of this award in your posting
4. Give it to 10 friends of you

Here goes... (not in any particular order)

1. a ring binding machine - I saw this Carl double loop ring binder last year at Times Trading in downtown. I was justifying whether to buy it and almost did for Julia's scrap and salon party. But when I asked DH if I should buy it, he said it wasn't practical. I was looking for someone to affirm me that it will be a good buy, but even my friends didn't agree. So, I took their advise not to buy it but that doesn't mean I don't want it anymore :-).

2. my own domain - I've just began to actively blog again so I don't think its the best time to get my own domain, but it is on my list and I hope to have my own someday.

3. South Sea pearl earrings - Actually, I already have the pearls. DH gave them to me for our anniversary a year or 2 ago but I haven't decided what setting I want for it so they've just been in the safe. I'm planning to see a jeweler soon to have it set.

4. Mediterranean cruise - This is on my list of "must do things". I'm hoping DH and I get to experience this before our 40's!

5. photography lessons - Steph's been planning to take some photography lessons and invited me to join but since I've already earmarked myself for some digital arts sessions, I had to pass. Maybe next time.

6. a masters degree - I've sort of thrown in the towel for my thesis-its just too demanding of my time as of the moment but if I could ask for a wish, I wish I'd get my degree without having to go through thesis work.

7. a set of pilot frixion pens - I've always loved pens but these Pilot frixion pens give me more reason to love them. When subjected to friction or heat, the ink becomes transparent so you can actually erase them. If you're not convinced, try viewing this short video of how it works. I got 2 in black and blue as they are the only colors available at Cosmos. I hope to get it in all 8 colors.

8. a new bathing suit - A few months more and its summer. When we hit the beach, I hope to be in this Victoria Secret tankini looking sexy :-) Too bad I missed the sale on the bathing suit I was eyeing a few days ago. :-(

9. leather checkbook holder - I was just writing checks to pay the bills a while ago and noticed that the zipper on the checkbook case I'm using is broken. I could use a really nice leather checkbook case, I think I found some at Fino.

10. bluetooth headsets - When I'm on the computer and chatting away with my girlfriend, it would be more comfortable if I were talking to her with my hands free. Problem is, I'm not sure if there's something like this available for landline phones. A friend of mine from a call center says, the one they use is attached to an amplifier and that its quire expensive. :-(

11. omega constellation watch - I've been eyeing this watch for some time now. But I find the diamond bezel too flashy. I prefer to have it mother of pearl with the semi-precious stones inside but the ones without a diamond bezel, do not have it in that design. I also find the 'mini'/quartz size appealing but for the price, DH says I should consider the automatic which i find a bit big on my wrist. I'm still waiting for the right one for me. I've waited this long so I can wait longer.

12. quality time with the family - Its never easy to balance work and family. I'm pretty fortunate I am able to work flexible hours and spend more time with the kids. I wish DH and I can also have more opportunities to bond together.

13. good health for everyone in my family - A cliche, but its really true - Health is wealth. None of the above will matter without good health.

14. adventure - our trip last year to Sagada/Batad was one of the most adventurous travels I've had. I'm not much of an adventurer, not even when I was in my twenties. But as midlife inevitably comes closer, you just feel like you have to take more action in making the most out of life. Trying out more unique experiences, tasting different food, looking at another perspective, all these I wish for 2009.

15. giving back - I'm grateful for all the blessings that I have and I wish to pay it forward in my own way. I wasn't able to concretize my plan last year but I wish I have the time and effort to be able to complete this for 2009.

Am passing on the bithday wish award to the sweet life, jhari, jenny and belle, sassy mom's corner, Franny, Wanda, Arlene, Misty signs, Debbie and For Thoughts.

I had a great time coming up and sharing this wish list to everyone. Maybe you can share yours too. :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Manila Oceanarium

It must be the age, but as years pass, DH and I feel more and more averse to crowds. That's why, when we saw this big crowd at Manila Oceanarium last December '08, we decided not to push through despite being there already. Fortunately, we were tipped by the guard that the crowds usually have cleared up by night time. And since the park was open till midnight, we decided to go back after dinner. Turned out, it was a good decision. We didn't have to push and elbow people while appreciating the marine life, plus, there was enough time to take all the pictures we want- sans the flash photography as it was prohibited.

I've always been fascinated by the sea horse - the way the swim and coil their tails with each other. I particularly asked DH to take photos of it.
Nico, me and Julia on those luminous blocks while watching the fishes swim.
The blue spotted ribbon tail ray Nico and me at the "Fish Spa"

For some reason, the "doctor fish" didn't want to nibble at Nico's feet. Even when he switched places where there were more fish, they just ignored his feet. This irked him a lot. Julia on the other hand, got scared when the fish started to nibble. She put her feet up the whole time, refusing to dip them back into the water.

Our guide on the glass bottom boat ride told us that more attractions are being built for the park. Coming soon are dolphin shows and a hotel connecting to the Manila Oceanarium. Next time...

Money Matters

This is a pile of unfiled bills and statements I have accumulated from last year. As part of my goal to declutter the house this year, this is my first task of order. I hate the task of it really helped that I had some motivation to do this ( bank statements and credit card bills for the last 3 months are some of the requirements for Australian Visa application).

Julia wanted to help as usual, so I had her highlight the dates for easier filing. I didn't realize it was such a good opportunity for teaching her about money until she asked. " Mom, why are the checks you paid Enopi with you now?"- She saw the checks returned by the bank. I tried to explain the mechanics to her in the simplest terms until she was finally satisfied with my answer. Then she paused to ask, "Mom, how do you pay when you sometimes buy something on the internet?". "I use my credit card.", I answered. "Aah, ok. You know, before, I thought you scanned the money and sent it to them, then they go to the bank to get it.", she explained her theory. I was amazed at how she tries to come up with the concept of things-money in particular. So, I guess its not too early to try and explain complicated things to her now.

I took this experience further by training her to do the filing lol :-) - for future contingency plans he he he. Just today, when the phone bill came, I asked her to do the filing, and she was able to do it! Yey! I'm planning to retire early.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good Kids

Julia used to be a nerd. She hates it when school gets called off, loves to write and study and is the one to remind me of her homework (not the other way around). Nowadays, she has slightly shifted from that state. She now enjoys vacations more than school (she joins Nico is rejoicing for school holidays) and occasionally needs to be reminded to do her homework. I always tell friends that Julia has become "normal".

Julia does well academically. Honestly, I don't have problems with her at all. What she routinely does is to open up pages of her homework and assignment notebook and all I have to do is sign them. Last quarter, she was top 4 in her class and was in the honor roll. Yesterday, she gave me the good news when she handed me her honor card. Sigh! I know...I'm so lucky.

Nico is doing pretty well himself. Although not on the honor roll, Nico has a general average of 91 each quarter. This, he achieves all by himself, without me coaching him or a tutor. I know its not really a feat when you compare how we were in school before. But with kids these days mostly dependent on tutors, I consider it something.

Last year, from out of the blue, Nico told me, "Mom, thanks for teaching me and helping me with my homework." I became teary eyed when he said this because it means he valued the time and effort I spent in teaching him. How many kids would know and be grateful of this?

DH and I always discuss how lucky we are to have good kids. We feel really blessed and hope they become good adults in the future.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dashing Diva

Last Sunday, Julia attended a birthday party of her friend's held at Dashing Diva inside Beauty Bar. She was pretty excited as it was her first time to attend a party like this. When we got there, most of the girls were already on their seats having their nails done. Mommy Jeneen, the celebrant's mom, suggested I help Julia pick her nail color and also the nail art design that she wanted.

While waiting for her manicure/pedicure, Julia decorated her own cupcake with pink icing and "lipstick" marshmallows. The girls chatted away while having their nails done. Their smiles evidently showed that they were having a great time. I made Julia wear her flipflops so she won't ruin her pedicure. Some girls, who wore closed shoes were made to wear disposable slippers while they stay at the drying area.

When DH came to get us after the party, he only has one word about what he saw - "Kikay!" as he shook his head repeatedly.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas gifts

The Christmas tree and decors have been put down and this marks the end of the Christmas season in our house. The kids are back to school and I'm back to reality.

One of my goals for the year is to minimize the clutter in the house. But right now, while putting away gifts from Christmas, I realize that its more than material things that I need to declutter. I just checked the text box on my phone and it has 225 messages while the count on my personal email has 1348 messages (most of them trash). Anyway, I'm really seriously planning to change this habit so I'll be posting updates now and then to help me achieve this goal.

While lookin through the kids' gifts, I thought it might be interesting to post them here - their favorites anyway :-)

Julia got this Zip-It bag from Auntie Maleen. As the name suggests, its made of long 2 toned zippers that when zipped all throughout, makes into this cute small body bag. I actually had fun zipping and unxipping it. Felt it more like a toy than a bag :-)

Nico instantly loved this Mickey Mouse Mp3 player when he opened it. It comes with a silicon case and lanyard earphones. To switch on/off or adjust volume, you have to turn the ears of Mickey as knobs. Nico has his own playlist album on our ipod, so the very same hour he got this gift, he transferred the songs to his new mp3 player. Clearly, this gift is the coolest he got for Christmas. thanks mon and jen!