Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's Work Without Food?

Among the things I like about my job aside from being able to meet people is traveling and above all, food. Second to a well-deserved rest and sleep, food is the best reward one can receive after being able to perform a job well done at the end of the day. During the second day of the SBM Project, just before a free Thursday break, Ms. Joji Mañalac, one of the program officers of MMLDC took the crew to Hap Chan Tea House which has a branch in Antipolo City for a debriefing and early dinner.

Upon settling ourselves at our respective table, the waiter arrived with two pots of freshly-brewed tea. This was my little cup which I consumed in about three minutes. The taste was great and while tea is considered high in caffeine, I don't think Hap Chan's tea doesn't contain too much of it--as the smell is not so pungent (read: matapang) compared to the commercial, store- brought black tea. I wish I could still have more but then realizing that it was already 5pm and the effect of caffeine in humans last for eight hours, I passed for additional cups.

I'm huge addict of dimsum. And among my normal staples would be this--siomai! This one's shrimp siomai supposedly in fours but Chardel decided to get one and give it a try. Now, I've tried the same dish in different restaurants (including Hen Lin and Chowking) but this one's a winner second to the latter. I was supposed to ask the significance of the paper in the container but too bad, the waiter already left after serving us this dish. So if any of my readers do know, please leave me a comment.

My plate with yang Chow rice and lemon chicken. This just looks full but actually I only took a few serving in trying the dishes we ordered. What else can I say? The Yang Chow rice is heavenly the same way with the lemon chicken. I just savored the food in silence but deep within I waws saying "hay, ang sarap! sobra! ." I hardly cannot talk :-p. We also ordered Beef and brocholli and crispy noodles.

The dinner was indeed worth every penny. The food was yummy and really filling. But then, noticing that I am binging into different dishes the past few days, I'm starting to be worried again as I have to look fab in a gown for a scheduled wedding on April. But still, I will recommend this restaurant to those who are looking for hearty, yummy yet affordable Chinese food.

For the list of other Hap Chan branches near your area, you can also check out

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Away Again....Naturally!

Because I was invited to join the Academic Services team of MMLDC for the School Based Management Development Project (SBMDP) Impact study I was unable to update my what abouts. Preparations started to roll since Monday with a meeting then the fieldwork days which we're following now. As of today, I had my free time and so I am trying to update.

I know I wrote about my Tagaytay adventure last year and likewise it's also related to the SBM project. You're dying to know what am I doing there? The deal is this: we visit schools to conduct assessment studies in line with the SBM Project by doing one-on-one interviews with people on the state (not of the nation) but of their respective schools.

Since I don't want to expose the side of me during tiring workdays, I'll just post other photos instead like this one.

Actually, these guys share a dose of toxic periods with us.

I'm here with Mylene Mangilit and Chardel Lucena of ABS CBN Foundation. These ladies were also with us in Tgaytay last August. This year, our location is in public schools in Antipolo. This photo was taken at Marcelino National Highschool. It's actually the first time for me to explore the rural area of what is actually a city in Rizal. With the rough roads and ravines, the drive to the school reminds me of two places: dad's hometown in Quezon and the Kennon Road in Baguio City. For two days we have visited four schools as two schools are scheduled to be visited per day.

In pink again? That pink shirt of mine is so notorious na ha!

And during our visit at Antipolo National Highschool yesterday (they got a huge number of student population guys! 10,000 students are in the said school), just when I thought it's all about work, and interviews, look at the surprise that I got! There I met Lito Palomar. He used to be my research instructor in college and with this little surprise, it's a reunion of some sorts since he was the second editor-in-chief and I became the seventh--just five years after his term. He's now happily married to one of the publication's former section editors.

What could be so funny in front of the screen? And again, I'm wearing pink!

After the end of a tiring day, I get the chance to take a break too. While Joy Cabaltera thought I was in a different planet, I am still on Earth. Here I am in Chardel's bed logged in Facebook. Kayen De Vera's laptop and Mylene's Plug-It was heavent sent (as it saved me from withdrawal symptoms). There are two "firsts" for me this time. Because of the tight schedule that we have to adhere with, I had to stay at the Residence Hall of MMLDC last Tuesday night in preparation for the following day. FACT: I have dfficulty in sleeping soundly when I am spending the night in different places and sleeping on a different bed but for the first time last Tuesday night I really had a full night's restful sleep. I'd like to associate that with the warm, comfy comforter and the melatonin supplement that I took hours before bed to induce sleep. I suppose I'll always have that handy every trip that I have. It works for me.

There's still a third part of the impact study tomorrow and on April 5th. And though it'll be interview sessions again, I still look forward to that. I remember telling somebody that while I knew I am not good at probing on questions and answers, I think I'm learning how to do it now.

But for tonight I'll have dinner first as I need to make bawi.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't Marry Unless You Answered These Questions

Days ago, I had this quite long lengthy chat with a friend JC about a possible relationship thing. Apparently this person seems to be kinda confused. While I left her with a seemingly sound advice (I think) dugging out old letters in my shelf, I found this one and I think this one's timely.

I received this email four years ago. I was then 21 and still in a relationship with someone else who I was hoping even planning to eventually marry after a few years. Funny but while we were then already planning and thinking about getting married, I still had a lot of questions or two racing in my head.

Questions or two--including my unsettled phobia of getting married. Yes at a certain point, I feared marriage. Good thing, the said fear left me when I was 23.

Then this email came about. And clearly there still are undefined, unanswered questions I still had back then aside from my concerns.

Marriage means choosing the person you will spend the rest of your life with. This is a very long time to spend with one person. This person will live with you, sleep with you and go on vacation with you. More important yet, this person will share your children and so you need to choose wisely and not on feelings alone. You need to ask yourself these questions and the decisions have to be made on solid considerations.

Will this person be a good partner? Is he mature enough to put his own selfish desires aside to look out for what is best for the family? Is he prepared to be a good provider? Is he responsible enough to get a good job and keep it? Will this person be a good parent? Can you stand the thought of your children turning out exactly like this person? They will, you know. Children spend a lot of time with their parents and consequently pick up many or most of their parent’s character traits. You had better like your spouse’s traits because you will be seeing them again in your children.

If something were to happen to you, would you completely trust this person alone with the task of raising and forming your children? This is not a pleasant thought, but it is an important consideration. Not everyone dies at a ripe, old age with great grandchildren gathered around the bed. Sometimes a parent dies and leaves young children in the care of the other parent. If you feel that you would need to be around to correct or lessen this person’s influence on your children then you are considering the wrong person.

Does this person share your faith in God? God does not give us children so that we can mold them into the coolest, most popular people in school. Our job is to get them to heaven. To do that we need to raise them believing in God. It is tough to do that if only one parent believes.

Saying “this is right and this is wrong and I want you to ignore mommy ‘till you’re 35” does not work. Small children ask about eight skillion questions in a single day. The answers to those questions go a long way toward forming the kind of adults they will become. Who will be answering those questions for your children?

Does this person you are marrying have sexual self-control? Single people sometimes have this idea that marriage is just some kind of a lifelong sex festival and that as long as they have each other, they will never be tempted by other people. WRONG! There are many times in every marriage when one partner or the other is sexually unavailable—illness, travel and the last months of pregnancy. There are also times when spouses just get on each other’s nerves.

At times like this, other people seem very appealing. That can be dangerous, because there are plenty of very attractive people out there who are willing to make them available to married men and women. Do you want someone who has never said “no” to sex? Ife he is not good at saying “no” at eighteen, it won’t be different at forty. Do you want to worry about whether or not your spouse is being faithful?

With these questions, it dawned on me, there’s really no plan B when it comes to marriage. It’s not all about a bungee-jumping act. Jump in, bounce back. Get it? They say it’s a leap of faith. It is one huge leap of faith to take but once you jump in, you cannot go back to where you once been. Because once you get married, it means to say that you have chosen the right man or woman for you. For sure, no one wants the scenario of saying "I thought I married a price; how come he turned out to be a frog? How come I didn't see it?"

I'm 25 now and I still try to read that email once in a while--although I can say that I know better now than before. JC, I know you're probably not considering marriage yet but then quoting our former Sociology professor, "courtship is the first step towards marriage" I hope in a way this will help you out with those bothering questions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It Has Been A Year

Dear Daddy Bert*,

It has been a year since you left. How I wish I could still ask how are you now. Maybe you are so delighted with the life you have there in Heaven. I cannot contain the words that I wish I should have said--and the things I want to say to you now--even if it's too late.

I know Lawrence* misses you a lot; and I miss you the same way that I miss him. When I learned that you left for your deserved trip to Heaven, I cannot contain the sadness knowing that I won't be seeing you anymore. I was at work when the news came and the afternoon I arrived home this day last year, I can't help but cry a lot especially when Lawrence told me that you had been looking forward to having me visit you in the hospital. I know it's too late for me to say I'm sorry. I felt so guilty for being unable to do so. If only I knew it could be the last time I'll spend time and talk to you, I should have just left one day off to work and be with you even for a day.

It also broke my heart to learn from Lawrence that you kept on referring to me as your (favorite) daughter-in-law. I don't know but probably, you heard me apologize back then when I whispered that your term for me will no longer happen.

Yes, more than anything I am also disappointed that you'll no longer really be my father-in-law.

It has also been a year and two months since Lawrence and I parted ways. Days after you died, and despite the outcome of our relationship, I came by to visit to be with your family and to talk to your son hoping that things can still be talked out. But knowing that the family is in grief, I decided not to do it. I was trying to keep my tears yet, it still had to escape in a way. Few weeks after that, I was told that your son is already a father to a one-year old boy. It's something that to this day, I try to contemplate. And although I tried to believe it was true, I just don't know where to really put my belief in. I never had a chance to talk to him and so, I just simply decided believe the whole thing to be for real. It had hurt me a lot and I felt betrayed for I kept being true and faithful to him all along and I was hoping for still a better resolve with the relationship I had with your son.

I had chosen to believe the rumor to be real and tried my best to just let go though a part of me is saying that the thing about your son being a father is one thing uncertain--if not a lie.

While we are already out of each other's lives, I know I still love your Lawrence. I suppose it's the reason why despite that it has been a long time, I find it hard to fall for someone else--despite having met different guys out there and declined invitations in between for meet-ups. I know I wanted to but I just cannot jump in. Because aside from the fear that I might be betrayed again, it is because part of me is still attached to him. Yes, Daddy Bert. Despite of the hurt he caused me and the hatred that I felt with what he did, I know I still love your son--in a way that I and not anyone else know. But then probably, he had made up his mind; that it's already over for us and this will just be this way for good--words written and left unsaid.

How I wish I could ask for your help up there for I know you are probably seeing everything from where you are now.

It hurts me to think and feel that despite I had been trying to let go, I still find it hard to do. For I still love your son--despite of denying it and the anger that I have towards him. Maybe it's how it really is when you love and are still loving someone deeply.

If only there will be a way. If only things will and can still be okay between Lawrence and I just like how it was back then. I know it's too late but while things seemed to have ended up messy between us, still, I'd want you to know that even before and at the first time I met you I'd also wanted you to be my father-in-law.

That I know is true.

I miss you.

It's me,

* name changed to protect privacy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bring Me to Vegas!

I'm sorry, I just can't help it. I am still engrossed to that book. Thus today browsing on the Net, I tried to check out the places Vince mentioned on the third installation of his novel.

courtesy of

I've never flown to any destination locally much more abroad. And just so by reading, I get to travel in a way or two with my mind--for free. This time around, with the help of that purple book. I'm off to Las Vegas. Pictured above is the night shot of Las Vegas Strip. No wonder with the lights, the Sin City is mesmerizing to high rollers.

Wikipedia file photo

Even the McCarran International Airport has slot machines. What a way to say welcome to Las Vegas, eh?

Wikipedia file photo

And this is the Bellagio. The place where Ocean's Eleven was shot. and the fountains--might be as well really like clockwork.

So this is how the Stratosphere looks like. Looking at the top, probably the pink lights is where the observation deck is-- that's where the height of the story happened. And while I am suffering from acrophobia, I won't mind the dizzying height of being 151 floors up in exchange of the thrill of seeing the whole 360 view of Las Vegas.

And while I am no gambler, I've got a clearer of view now of what Las Vegas is like. I loved the adventure trip. Yet, there are two things I am not planning to do when I get the chance to be there--get married and casino hopping.

But I would love to walk along The Strip behind the bewildering neon lights, watch the fountains at Bellagio and experience the view of the Stratosphere.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

An Amazing Finale to the Vince's Life Trilogy

So, yesterday, I almost ended the book debate that has been running through my head for days. Apparently, I was in a bit of uncertainty over what book to pick and eventually read since there were two new books out now. 40 Stories of Finding Your One True Love by Bo Sanchez which I am a huge fan of and Vince's Life: The Wedding.

Although I was unable to read the first two books, I gave it a shot and bought this one yesterday. Surprisingly it just took me six hours to read, immerse and savor the whole story. Six hours filled with giddy feeling, and a great way to travel to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas without having to pay much for a plane ticket ( despite that according to the book it's dirt cheap nowadays!) and leaving the comfort of your house or your bed.

The story's transition is so quick but the flow of events will really leave you hooked; you would want to turn the page fast or even skip some (I religiously, patiently absorbed every page) to know how the story ended. It will make you laugh, think and even cry too. I agree to what Frances said in her blog; this book will really leave you glued on what's going to happen next. You won't put the book down I tell you. If you're looking for a great read especially during these lazy, El Niño-stricken afternoons, I recommend that you guys and gals get a copy of this book. Experience the fun, zany, kilig side of the L world from a guy's POV.

photo courtesy of

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Praying For Something

As of this writing, I am waiting, and hoping for a positive resolve in my career. Few days ago, through the help of an acquaintance, I chanced upon this company in need of a freelance writer to do some writing for their event. Without second-thoughts I sent my resume the following day. Hoping and praying that I will qualify and eventually succeed in getting the project. The pay isn't actually that enticing. I don't know but when it speaks of money, I'm not the type of person who asks for too much.

Or should I say I really don't know how much is too much thus I don't try to ask at times.

I grabbed the job because that is another opportunity hoping to provide for my needs. These days, more than anything else, I really need much feasibility in my career thus I took chance at the vacancy combining my other freelance writing as there are those things I need to prioritize and save up for including my quarterly health insurance which I took seriously this year as well as my monthly prescription for glaucoma which will be on a lifetime basis.

I've been praying for a feasible thing in my career for such a long time. I've been on a freelance stint for four years and lately I've been longing for a full time one--something to which I'll do regularly with something to expect every 15th and 31st of the month. They say that when God doesn't let you see things clearly there is a reason behind that. Prayers delayed aren't prayers denied. At the back of my head, though some are saying I'm still young at 25, it scares me too. And I've been praying so hard about it.

I hope and pray for a better deal. And I hope and pray it will happen.