Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quarter 1: Done! (Well.. Almost)

My month is coming in a few hours.

I'm not sure if I would be ready for all the crazy things that are sure to happen. April, after all, is the most higgledy-piggledy time of the year for me.

The birthday is just around the corner and I have several groups of friends, whom I cannot gather in one go. Looks like my card would be put to good use again. Sorry, bucket list (reference: Item number 18 of “27 Things for 2011” - No swiping of credit card for six months straight).

Oddly, I find that I am kind of.. sad that my birthday would not fall on Semana Santa. I have gotten used to it, since it's been like that for the past years. For half of my life, actually, but in intervals. It's a good excuse for not celebrating. Except that no one actually cares for that excuse.

Also coming up - my confused relationship with my current career is turning one! Honestly, I never thought I would come this far, but since I am already here – we might as well celebrate the milestone. May paid leave na ako! Woohoo! Bring out the champagne!

With the scheduled leave comes the scheduled travels. I just hope I can raise enough bread to cover everything. I hate being grounded!

To add to the confusion, I have the craziest deadline ever – and I have to finish the job before I could go on birthday leave. I am sending a prayer to the heavens. I am fervently hoping that everything would fall into place.

God bless my April!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Over Cheese, Bread and Coffee

We were discussing some random office bits and somehow, we ended up talking about our childhood.

L, my office buddy, and I were having merienda and as usual, we covered loads of topics. We are both very talkative. And we often jump into one topic to another in top speed.

Today, we jumped into the topic of our childhood. As expected, we agreed to agree on several points – and agreed to disagree on some others. In the course of our conversation, we came upon several theories that are JUST THAT – theories.

DISCLAIMER: I am sharing these for the sake of storytelling. If you would be uncomfortable or would disagree with some of the things written here, please remember that these ideas were discussed between two friends who love and tolerate each other. :) It does not necessarily apply to you. 


Childhood theory # 1
First-born girls would always want to be in the limelight.

I guess this comes from always being the center of attention -- until the siblings come and you see them staging their own show, well- it ticks off something and suddenly you're irritated.

Thankfully, Mom saw through this tendency and stopped any hard feelings before they could surface. She would always say, “let them have their share. You will get your turn.”

Childhood theory # 2
The “Bunso” is the most clingy of all siblings.

L was telling a story on how, during kindergarten, she would always want to see her Nanay just outside of the classroom door. And when Nanay goes out of sight, she would come out of the room and look for her. And when she would not find her, she would throw tantrums.

This reminded me so much of my sister, who is also Bunso like L. When we were young, I could not understand why Mom would have to stay in school instead of just leaving my sister to study. “She would not let me leave. Humahabol eh,” Mom would tell Dad.

L eventually outgrew this “clingy” attitude, and so did my sister.

Childhood theory # 3
First-borns are generally stubborn and would not back down from fights and challenges.

First-borns would not generally compromise – that's true in my case. I would not apologize if I knew that I was not the one at fault. At work, I would take accountability if I know that I am responsible, set things right to make the general situation better. But I would take action to point out why the mistake was made.

L confirmed that their Ate is like this, as well. I guess this stems from being the mandatory“responsible sibling.” I always get the talk “you should be responsible, you should be a role model for your sister.”

I guess they never got me on the role model part.

Childhood theory # 4
Younger siblings would always be bullied by the elder siblings. 
Younger siblings are also the “sumbungeros.”

Raise your hand if you can relate!

I'm the elder sibling and I am guilty of bullying. My sister is luckier because she only had me to bully her. L is the youngest of three. She has an Ate and a Kuya, so go figure. 
Childhood theory # 5
Mothers are always in competition when in comes to their children.

This is an inverted case of the wala-ka-sa-lolo-ko scenario.

L was saying that her sister and her brother's wife were always comparing their kids. If one could walk already, the other could walk faster. If one could dance, the other could dance AND sing. And so the feud goes. 
L was laughing at the scene. I think that the two mothers are very endearing and the kids are just plain cute. I just hope that they would realize that this attitude would not be healthy when the kids get older.

In our case, I remember a PTA meeting where mothers endlessly clucked about how their children were so talented and intelligent. Only to be bluffed by another mother who thinks her child was the best among the class.

Nothing against them, of course. Mothers are supposed to be proud of their kids. It just rubs off the wrong way when mothers one-up each other that way.

Thankfully again, Mom never did this during PTA meetings. She vents her proud musings among friends and relatives. And when that happens, my sister and I make sure we are not around. 


You would think that we talked for hours, but all these were tackled in fifteen minutes or so. Fast talkers, huh? Stories are our expertise.

Theories – well, we're learning along the way. 


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shutting Out the World For a While

Just for a while. 

Because the world can get too disturbing sometimes. I need my own noise to be productive.

Please do not mind the scandalously red ears. Those are essential. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Piece(s) of Cake

Anyone else got a sweet tooth?

Tiramisu, Blueberry Cheesecake and Sansrival from Bo's Coffee
- half-eaten halfway during one of the Seasonistas' Coffee Nights

Soon, that plate would be wiped clean. Voices would drift over, hands would swish – here and there, up and down.

This is a peek on the Seasonistas’ Coffee Night.

Seasonistas, as we call our group of college and post-college friends, are the coffee-and-conversation type. While most of our other friends and colleagues are into hard drinks and parties, we like to chill, talk and stuff ourselves with lattes, frappes and teas.  And cakes.

I’m sure you can imagine eight, nine or ten people, getting together, all with stories to tell, insights to discuss. Given that each person would talk for thirty minutes, the conversation would last for about four to five hours. And the thirty minutes allotment is a laugh. We could take several hours in total - hence the coffee.  

Actually, the coffee part is the easiest. As long as our schedules meet, everything else is a piece of cake!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

[An Island Born of Fire] Stranded in Mantigue

If I had known we would be stranded on an island, I would have put it in my bucket list just for the heck of it.

Mantigue is a small island off the coast of Mambajao

The day was windy and the sun was barely peeking among the clouds as we had our breakfast. I sent a silent prayer for the clouds to clear. I wanted a sunny beach for the photos!

Off we went to the wharf. We were supposed to cross the Bohol Sea aboard a tiny motorized ferry to get to Mantigue Island. We carefully made our way along the pebbly beach and aboard the wooden boat, clueless of the upcoming delay. 

 All aboard! The waves are a little tricky, though. And yeah, that IS the first boat.

Our ferry's engine would not start. It was funny at first, watching one of our friends battle with nervous breakdown, what with the strong waves rocking our helpless ferry. We boarded another one after several futile attempts from the boatmen.

Surprise, surprise! The second ferry's engine died not even five minutes from the shore. The third ferry worked like a charm but by then, no one was laughing anymore.

To everyone's relief, we got to the island and had a chance to enjoy a few minutes of sunshine, which we totally took advantage of! And only to be stranded because of bad weather. 

 We made it! And the sun shone, albeit for a while.

We were about to go back when the boatman pointed at the very dark clouds approaching. "Mamaya na po tayo lumayag, may paparating na unos."

"UNOS???” and I could feel my expression mirrored in my friends' faces. “Hindi ba tayo magpapanic??"

We later learned that "unos" is just "ulan" to them.

We were stranded for three hours in Mantigue. And shelter wasn't that much. Just a small sari-sari store shed we shared with about twenty or more people. Believe it or not, it was quite fun!

No electricity, no running water, no restaurants - just this heaven-sent store.

So after a robinson-crusoe-lunch prepared by our new-found
Camiguingnon friends in the island (and some rain party), we crossed the sea again safely. 


[An Island Born of Fire] Are We There Yet?

As a child, I had this thought that Camiguin was unreachable. The name itself sounded so exotic and daunting, I thought that if I ever went there, it must feel unreal. 

When the Camiguin option came up during our trip planning with my closest colleagues, “well, let's go, then!”

A few months later, we were off.

And then we realized that getting to the fire-borne island was not exactly... straightforward.

After the plane ride to Cagayan de Oro, we traveled a couple of hours to get to Balingoan port in Misamis Oriental. And oh, boy, the driver was in a hurry! It didn't help that there weren't many cars on the road that day. We swept the streets and thank goodness we arrived at the port intact.

From the port, it took another couple of hours via ferry to get to Camiguin.

So near, we could feel the seven volcanoes calling! LOL

But wait, there's more. Though a van was waiting to take us to the resort, it was another half-hour gone before we finally arrived. 

 Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin (BBC) was serene and ... very green! 
Honestly, i still dream of the smell of freshly cut grass.

The trip was very much worth the aching bottoms, we realized later on. But at that moment, we were just plain tired. The welcome drink was a lifesaver.

For three days, we marveled at the natural wonders - at least five of the seven active volcanoes, hot springs, majestic waterfalls, pristine white beaches on a remote island, a sunken cemetery and a crescent-shaped sandbar off the Agoho coast, among others. Not bad, not bad!

Top photos: the Majestic Katibawasan Falls; 
making our way along the pebbly beach of Mahinog Town, on the way to Mantigue Island
Bottom photos: "paa shot" with girlfriends at White Beach; 
lone motor boat enjoying the brief patch sunshine in Mantigue Island

Left: the marker for the sunken cemetery
Right: travel mates enjoying the morning sun at the picturesque White Beach

I was waiting for the unreal feeling to manifest, but it never came. I was too busy enjoying every moment. The sights of the island were so vibrant, I felt so alive!

[An Island Born of Fire] Calm Before the Trip

Did you know that there are seven volcanoes in Camiguin? At active sila lahat!”

I laughingly said as we were having lunch in the office, a few days before our trip. I was hoping that they would laugh, or say “weh?” Instead, they were quiet and thoughtful.

Hindi nga...?” asked one of the girls.

Sabi ni Wikipedia eh,” I said. “Pero hamo na, dude, may sariling office naman 'dun ang PHILVOCS, so mukhang safe naman!”

They laughed, but I can tell they were bothered.

Guys... ano ba. Wala naman sigurong sasabog dun sa pitong bulkan 
habang nandun tayo.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Check, Check and Check

I love the feeling of crossing out checklist items.

When I'm not doodling, or taking down interesting conversations from all around, I make checklists (and sub-checklists) of everything. 

The longer the list, the more exciting! 

Vigan at Night, and in Sepia

It gives me goosebumps whenever i remember that we almost missed the spectacular night view of Crisologo Street in Vigan.

Last December, the whole family went to Ilocos, and Vigan was our jump-off point.

We arrived in the morning and took a tour of the city the whole day. We had an early dinner and by 6:00 pm, the parents were so tired, they decided to call it a day. We all went back to the hotel.

My sister Ana and I decided to also stay in and upload photos but at around 8:00 pm, we were both hungry. So we donned jackets over our sleepwear and headed to Crisologo Street (in photo) to get some chips and coffee. 

And then we saw this. 

“Okay, we are sooo not dressed for this!”

I forgot who said that, or if it was just my thought bubble. It did not cross our imagination that the bustling street of the morning before could look this picturesque at night. We did not even bring our camera with us as we went out.

So we went back to the hotel, dressed more apt for the gazillion more shots we were about to take.

And yes, we took the camera with us this time. 


Just the other day I came home early and caught the afternoon view from my Makati apartment.

It's not that spectacular (you should see the evening and morning view, which i'll tell a story about - soon!). Still, it's a new light. And we all know that when the sun hits the other side of the street, may the shade be with you.

Our side of the building faces the sunrise. It's hot during the morning – from seven to ten, especially now that the summer season is starting. But in the afternoon, when our side is in shadow and the cool breeze starts blowing – wow! I call it the “movie marathon” weather.

So I curled up on the couch and reached for the remote. 

Sunset Weekends

Most Saturdays, i pack up at noon and then leave my city apartment in the afternoon to get to Bulacan just in time to catch the sunset. 

I'm a city girl through and through. I love the convenience of having everything within an arm's reach. I love the noise and the bustle. And until recently, I had this mindset that I would not be able to survive in the rural area.

When the parents bought a property in Marilao, Bulacan (and eventually lived there), I fell in love with the fishing lake outside my window, the vibrant trees lining our street and the fresh air.

Best of all – I fell in love with the sunset, which shows its splendid colors just outside my window each weekend. Or at least when it does not rain. 

I know you're thinking that Bulacan is not exactly “rural,” but believe me, our place is as rural as it can get.

Although our new home was inside a subdivision, it was bordered by fishing lakes. It was a modern fish-farming community with all nature intact – age-old sprawling trees, birds chirping and flying all around, neighbors trading fish from the ponds and vegetables from their backyards. I got to admit, though, that the trading was often more like giving away in bulk.

I really could live here. On weekends, at least. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bucket List Item Number 25: Check!

It took a bucket list entry for me to finally start a blog. 

At the time i was coming up with the list, I thought – hey, the world is changing everyday. Why confine my thoughts into just my trusty journal – all locked up? The web offers endless space for my words, I might as well make use of it.

You must understand that I am a pen-and-paper kind of writer. Though I am very much in the know of touch-screen gizmos, smart phones and other technological wonders, I would still secretly prefer writing on acid-free paper using my favorite black pen.

I grew up without TV, so books and pens and papers were my friends. I graduated college without my own PC to help out along the way. So I took advantage of free computer use in the University Library, and I thought, well – that was just fine. I wrote reports, papers, researches (yes, even the thesis) down on paper so that when it was my turn to type, I could do it smoothly. After all, slots were only a meager-hour to give way to other students.

Eventually I ventured into Multiply entries and Facebook notes, but those don't count as blogs – in my thoughts.

Now I am ranting away in my keyboard, breaking away from the comfort zone of ink and fiber, occasionally sipping brew (out of habit), and telling you a bit about my life. Soon, you'll read of many more bits and pieces, if you may.

Welcome to my caffeine-intoxicated thoughts.