Thursday, April 28, 2011

Papers and Papercuts

Today, our team at the office finished the preps for a major meeting tomorrow.

It's especially inspiring to see each one pitching their share in the workload, regardless of position levels. Our team does not care about that sort of thinking. Even if I am a manager, I can still staple and bind, right?

In the course of the month-long crunch time (and weeks of headaches prior to that), our senses have been crucially tested – sense of direction, sense of urgency, sense of humor. It's comforting to see that we can still laugh every now and then because of some particularly funny quip during paper sorting. Made us think we're sane, after all the chaos.

Also, it's not everyday that we get to do the fun mundane tasks – sorting pages, cutting loose edges, binding and running through stacks of bound papers to see if the pages were done correctly. It's a big break from the mighty computer and everything that entails.

It was also a chance to bond with the dear teammates. Such fun to chit-chat while at work! Seriously, we covered much in terms of “organizational information.” Yeah, most of them probably classified.

Come tomorrow, the fruits of almost two months of hard work and constant papercuts will have paid off.

It helps to know - we are a hundred percent, OC-level sure that all the pages are in their proper places. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Unplanned) Travel Cafe with the Best

Lazy Sunday afternoons are usually spent at home but we decided to hit the mall because... well, we missed going out. And we figured we could go to the Greenbelt Chapel for mass in the evening anyway. It sounded like a plan.

We were hanging out, three of us, at my best friend's pad when this lighbulb hit. We planned to hang out at some random popular coffee place and wait for the next mass.

But somehow, the thought of Starbucks or Seattle's was not very attractive. And I suddenly remembered this curious, quiet cafe in Greenbelt 5, the Travel Cafe Philippines. Coach had been there before and said he suddenly craved for their tea. Cielo, my best friend, said she wanted to try this place since Coach and I sounded positive about it.

We were pleased to see that there weren't many people in the cafe. Just a few of the many tables were occupied.

It was a treat to discover that we ordered all the right food. We shared among us the Manila-Style Barbecue with Lettuce Wraps and Mango Salsa and the Longganisa in Pandesal with native white cheese and sweet potato chips on the side. Cielo and Coach enjoyed their highly recommended Hot Tsokolate with Suman, while I sipped cold latte. 

 Manila-Style Barbecue with Lettuce Wraps and Mango Salsa

  
 Longganisa in Pandesal with native white cheese and sweet potato chips on the side

 
Hot Tsokolate with Suman
 
We got comfortable and we gradually adjusted the mass plans until we finally decided to attend the last one for the day. 
 
Oh well, we had not been sticking to any plan we made anyway.



Moleskine in Matabungkay

Last weekend, the Moleskine traveled with me and the office gang to Matabungkay Beach in Batangas.



The trip was sort of biglaan for me. I sent my regrets early on because of some family thing. But you know, things happen and I got peer-pressured. I never could stand a chance against that! And I'm glad the family changed their plans. Then I changed my mind without strings and guilt.

The office bunch are perky and fun-loving. We just laughed and ate (and ate more) and took loads of photos the whole day. Some time during lunch, a big, loud, shining videoke machine came on the scene. And it was party from there on.

I think the whole beach breathed a sigh of relief when one of us hit the first note. I'm sure it was a BIG break from the videoke belters of the opposite cottages, who must have found a place to hibernate after their failed concert. Kidding aside, my colleagues are really good singers, which is a good thing!

I was also aiming to get a bit of a tan, and I was ever so glad of the sunny weather (got traumatized in Camiguin). But well, the tan didn't happen.

The fun did, though! And it was a welcome break. Another adventure for the Traveling Moleskine! :) 


Monday, April 18, 2011

Bounty, the Money Tree

My closest colleagues and friends got me an omen for my birthday. And it's just what I need!




Meet Bounty, my new Money Tree! I loved her at first sight (yes, it's a her). And I'm falling even more each minute. And the red jar! Gosh, really perfect for the house. I CANNOT stop smiling!



Thank you sooo much, guys! You know me too well. I really do appreciate the gift. 

I am also going to get that bamboo plant so that they'll be BFFs. :D

I'm so excited to take her home! 



Friday, April 15, 2011

Twenty-Seventh Year

I super love my friends! 

No one forgot – well, this year at least. The wonders of technology are well into our lives, and I am not complaining at all.

Thank you all for the birthday greets! :-D

I decided to start my 27th with a pilgrimage-slash-field-trip.

Coach and I went to Manaoag for the day. It was his idea and I kept thanking him for bringing it up.

The trip was long and I took the time to do a bit of soul-searching. Which was just as well because Coach drifted off soon after the bus left the terminal. I covered many areas and came to several realizations. My journal had a heyday! Long trips are good for my soul. 

We arrived at noon - got off at the market near the church. The Manaoag Shrine was just as I remembered. Fellow pilgrims coming in and about, a hollow hush as we walked inside and the gradual cooling of air in contrast to the high heat outside. We took to an aisle in the front and started our prayers. 


There is comfort in the corners of this Shrine.
 
It's been sort of a tradition for us to take a photo of our feet when we travel.

It was Coach's first time in Manaoag and I could see he was amazed by the grand altar, with Our Lady of Manaoag's crown shining (literally). After we said our prayers, we took a tour of the candle shrine, which was a BIG improvement from my last visit. They built concrete and steel candle-stand structures around a giant statue of the Virgin.


There were many people in line to touch the Virgin's Mantle. We made slow but steady way, and soon we were in the small chamber, silently making prayer.


Soon after, we started our way back to Manila to catch dinner with the sister and mum at Amici.

Amici's Salmon Penne

Long day, but definitely worth the aching muscles!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

[The Sagada Chronicles] See You Later, S


First Published on November 23rd, 2006

DAY THREE
November 5, 2006
Sunday

Just as we were getting acclimatized, we had to leave.


Although, for the life of me, I could not imagine how we were able to go down the inn stairs and uphill to the town center with all our aching muscles and sore feet. For all that, it was still a glorious morning.

For our last hurrah, we had breakfast at the Saint Joseph Inn before shopping our hearts out and haggling for souvenirs and stuff.

Upon leaving the inn, we were so thankful that the George Guest house had a shuttle service up to the Bus station! Hallelujah!

We took a jeep down to Bontoc. We found that all the seats on the 9am trip to Baguio were taken. Lesson: get a reservation next time! Never think "yeah, yeah, this is a small town, we'll get seats alright." And - lightbulb! - it was Sunday, as well.

Upon reaching Bontoc, we decided to wait out for the Cable Tour, which would bring us directly to Manila. We had three hours to kill.

After a light meal, Jaja, Candice and Ivee went to the market. Candice bought some veggies for home. Ramil and I were left in the Cable Café to mind our stuff.

It was a fast three hours. We were boarding the bus (from which, an additional blooper arises). And then we were going down to Ifugao. It became a panicky ride when it started raining. And then somewhere along the way, it started to get really foggy. As in I-could-not-see-the-roadside-anymore fog. It was a good thing that the driver apparently knows where he was going. Upon realizing we were safe, I started to doze off.

The trip took 14 hours instead of the estimated 12, what with the fog and the rain. We even had a minor hitch in Nueva Vizcaya. It was a blessing that we had engine trouble there and not up the mountains.

At past four am on Monday, November 6, we arrived in Manila laden with pics, pasalubong, some scratches, bruises and a whole lot of Sagada experience!

[The Sagada Chronicles] The Immersion

First Published on November 12th, 2006 

DAY TWO
November 4, 2006 
Saturday

Mornings are misty and foggy in the mountains. 

From our penthouse view, we could see the outline of nearby ranges capped with clouds. Splendid is the sunshine, solid and vivid. Wonderful especially when it hits one’s sleep-cold face. The city felt like a lifetime ago. 

So we went down to breakfast. Masferre’s Country Inn and Restaurant is a dream. Streaming sunlight on wooden floors and tables add to the country feel. And the food – simply heavenly! It was the perfect way to start that particular day. 

On the menu: Cheese Omelet for me, Continental Breakfast for Ramil (most recommended!), Farmer’s Pancake for Jaja, Filipino Breakfast: Tocino for Candice, Tapa for Ivee

Getting Lost, Going Forward, Finding the Way

Armed with maps, confidence and guts, we braved the road to Kiltepan Tower, the highest viewing point where one can actually see the Banaue Rice Terraces. It was supposed to be an hour’s hike away.

We didn’t make it.

To Kiltepan, at least. The first track we found was actually the wrong way. We were told to take the jeep to Bontoc, but decided it was too far for the morning. We took the road to Echo Valley instead. We’re not to give up hiking, after all. 

We passed by the Episcopal Church, with Candice hoping that there’d be a workable restroom. She was not rewarded. So we went on to the trail hike, with a grouchy friend in tow. 

Little did we know that the map has its own way of reading. We got lost along the way. We hiked upward steep, slippery ravines. All the while questioning “how the hell are we going back this way?!” 

We got passed by two foreigners, father and daughter, asking if that was the right way to Echo Valley, we said we’re just groping around as well. They, bless them, went back to the Municipal Hall to get a tour guide. We found that out later, when they passed us yet again on the right path. 

So they went back and we went even farther up searching for the echo (which will obviously mean we were in the right place already). I was screaming murder when I nearly slipped on a particularly steep climb. There was still no echo. I was pushed upward from behind before I could slip (thanks, friends!). And then it was Calvary Hill, although we did not know the name at that time. 

Ivee, Ramil and I chilled down under the big cross on the hill while Jaja took off for the rock terraces beyond, not giving up yet on the Echo Valley. Candice went to the bushes and did her long-awaited business. 

From the rock terrace, Jaja found the Hanging Coffins way, way down below. And there, my friends, was the Echo Valley. To think that we were so high up there, and the valley was about fifteen stories down. Funny thing when you get lost. 

Good thing there was someone down to lead us to the right path. “Manong” (from way down below) told Jaja to take the path to the right. And we were on track. Finally. Candice, feeling all new after her stint, decided to take on the hiker-leader-mode. “Energy, team! Energy!”

So we went down to the valley, passing by the cemetery, another cliff road and steep rock formations. Halfway down, there were the two foreigners, Sarah and her Father, with their tour guide.  They went past us, as we were too slow on the down slope. 

We finally get to see the Hanging coffins up close. And there was the echo, at last. We also caught a whiff of some information from the foreigners’ guide. A little awkward, it seems we’re just tagging along. 

Okay, so now we go back up. A little tricky, what with our scratched fingers, shaky leg muscles and sore backside. But we managed to get ourselves up alright. It was bothersome when Candice started cracking jokes in the middle of a Cliffside climb. We all had to stop for a while to laugh it out first, lest we break our neck falling down. The Nth Blooper. 

We came back exhausted and hungry. On to Shamrock III for a big lunch!

On the Menu: Vegetable Fried Rice with Fried Chicken for Ja, Vegetable Fried Rice with Pork Steak for me, Buttered Chicken with rice for Ivee and Ramil, Fried Tilapia for Candice


Sumaguing Cave: God’s Mysterious Work

It makes me feel blessed and thankful that I was able to experience Sumaguing Cave once in this lifetime. Inside the cave is an exotic and mysterious aura that is purely nature. 

On the way there from our Inn, we were saved from a long walk by a passing fierra. We were only too glad that Kuya Biag (Biag means “Life” in Ifugao), our tour guide, knows the driver of the vehicle so we were able to hitch a ride up to the crossing. From there, it was still a 15-minute misty hike to the caves.

The road to Sumaguing was winding and scenic. We stopped at intervals to photograph beautiful rice terraces bordered by mountains. 

It was gone 2pm when we reached the Cave entrance. The rock formations were majestic even from there. We almost hesitated when we saw the immediate steep drop made of massive rocks. We were made even more panicky when Kuya B took a while to make our gas lamp work. After several tries, we finally had a stable light. 




On we went to the steep drop of rocks, which was actually only the start of a series of extreme rocky plunges. We made the most of the “hand, feet and rear side coordination”, which Kuya B (or Kuya Life, as Candice prefers) suggested we do. It was crucial, he stressed, as we would hike down a slippery path of limestone. He was right. 

The coldness of the cave interior did not matter as we were hanging on rocks and dirt. Bats residing at the cave ceiling were probably laughing at the awkward positions we made while going down to the promised spectacle below. 

We hiked past various huge rock formations, the names of which are beyond my memory now. At that time, I was only concerned with which rock I was going to step next. 

The key to survive during those kinds of escapades, I realize now, is the ability to concentrate on the now. It was crucial not to lose footing, as it could be fatal. The act of a simple step could make a difference to the whole journey, to everyone who is with you at that moment. I myself slipped a couple of times (fortunately at the least deadly spots), because I was thinking of something else. Subconsciously, the adrenaline flows in relation to the level of danger we were faced. 

Upon reaching the bottom, the “sandstone country” as I termed it in my head, we were asked to leave our footwear to one side and proceed barefoot for the rest of the way. 



Sandstone, as Kuya B explained, is not slippery as long as you walk through it flat-footed. Though water flows through every surface, we were able to hike without hassle.
Downward still, we were confronted with a series of small lakes and cascades of little waterfalls. There was even a place they call “King’s Palace” where smooth, pillar-like, asymmetrical structures makes up one wall. It was such a glorious view that I forgot all the pain we went through going down. I did not even know such a place existed in our country! I thought of all the trouble the natives went to preserving it, and felt a surge of pride for them. I said a prayer of thanks to the God who made all these.

We were yet to come to the bottom of Sumaguing, where we would have to pass through a small opening and wade through an underground river. During a meeting of sorts (yes, underneath the cave) I and Ivee decided not to go through the last leg, as we were claustrophobic. Ramil and Jaja opted not to go, too. Candice was ready to trek on her own. Fortunately for her, Sarah and her Dad, the two foreigners from early on, came on the scene. 

So Sarah and Candice, with their guides, hiked down to the rest of the drop. We stayed on the other side to wait for them to come out. 

So then we rappelled upward to start the rest of the journey to the mouth of the cave. It was kind of easier going up, though still slippery nonetheless. It seemed faster, too. I guess that’s because the anticipation of going down adds to the delay. Still, we were able to breathe many sighs of relief when we reached the top. Flatland once again! 

This time there was no fierra to bring us home. We hiked all the way to the Inn. That’s when we all learned the true meaning of exhaustion. We were dead on our feet, having hiked all day. Add to that, the adrenaline was wearing off. We were walking in all directions, bumping to each other along the way, stepping on each other’s foot. We were only too thankful to be back in our room, to have that well-needed hot bath. Oh, and the dinner was a thrown-in sort. 

On the menu: Mr. Chips, Snickers, Piattos, Pan de Sal ala Pan de Manila (from Candice’s Baon) Coke, Yoghurt for all!(We suddenly had a craving, so Ramil, Candice and I went down to Yoghurt house to take out some yummy dessert. Sort of a treat for having survived Sumaguing!)

You would think we’d all drop on our backs to sleep after the bath and dinner, but no. We decided to recap all the bloopers we have so far. Below is the account of the ones I remember. 

Blooper Summary:
The Taxi incident (Ramil) - “Magkano share ko?”
The Gate incident (Candice —late kasi!)
The Laundry Confusion (Ramil) - “Sa Sagada mo na lang sana ipina-laundry!”may offshoot pa yan na “Sana dinala mo na! Eh di may extra bag ka pa! O, diba?”
The Head Butt Incident (Ramil & Anj)
The Yoghurt House Scene (Ramil) – “Hello, Direk!”
The Kiltepan Joke (The whole team)
The Echo Valley Blunder (The whole team din) – “Are we, like, lost?!”
The Cliffside Joketime (Candice) – “Lean to the right.. and shake it to the left!”
The Bat Spell inside Sumaguing (Ivee) – “Eww!”
The Cave Novena (Ramil) – “This is so not worth 100 bucks!” na one hundred times niya atang sinabi!
The Slip-over (Ivee) – “Salamat mga friends. Love ya all!”
The Almost-Domino Effect (Jaja) – Na buti na lang eh hindi natuloy! Hahaha!
The Cave Excuse (Ivee and Paul) – “Eh nasa loob kaya ako ng kweba non!” – On a phone conversation with Paul on Saturday night. We assume na nagtanong si Paul kung bakit hindi sumasagot si Ivee ng phone earlier that day.

[The Sagada Chronicles] Way up in the Mountains

First Published on November 12th, 2006

DAY ONE
November 3, 2006
Friday, 2:45 am in  Baguio 
 
Before we knew it, we were in Baguio already. 

And we were so unprepared for the cold. 

We also had a mutual theory that Ja wasn’t even awake yet (she’s supposed to leave La Union for Baguio at 4 am). So we kill time at the station. Brought some shawls and hats at a nearby all-night boutique. Drank coffee. Took turns in sleeping. Ate breakfast at around 5 am. 

At 5:45, Ja arrives! Tuloy na tuloy na ang Sagada Adventure! We took a taxi to Lizardo station. There we boarded a mini-bus of sorts to take us to the most-awaited Sagada. Go, Sadaga Team! 

Since we’re all bangag, we snoozed off as soon as the bus started (but not before we took some pics, of course!). I woke up when I saw the mountains. Since I’m at the window seat, I woke up even more when I saw the cliff just right outside. 

Baguiosagada_way4

The six-hour ride was generally uneventful and we all slept most of the time. On the fifth hour, I found myself thinking: “Where are we? This feels like the middle of nowhere”. Imagine six hours of mountain view. The same green and Cliffside roads. It sure felt like we were on a never-ending trip to the land of trees and vegetation. It was not easy on the backside, as well.


DAY 1
November 3, 2006
Friday, 12:30 noon in Sagada
 
So this is how it feels to be in Sagadan soil. 
 
Dsc00242 

Despite our exhaustion, stickiness and hunger, there was magic in the temperate air and the looming pine trees.

We lugged our bags and took the road going down to the George Guest House. Finally. And a bed. Phew! We were shown to the penthouse (third floor, with a view of the terraces and the main road). Just lovely. And at a fair price, too. 

Then we went to take our first real meal in the mountains. The Yoghurt house was packed that day. We took the only free table in the middle of the room. While eating the most sumptuous lunch, we planned our activities for the next couple of days. 

Yoghurt_house_food_fest 
On the menu: Mushroom and Cheese Pasta (for me), Java Chicken (for Coach and Candice), Fried Rice and Pork Treat (for Jaja) and Stir Fried Treat (for Ivee), For Dessert: Yoghurt Special, Yoghurt Cake

In the midst of all these was a disturbing phone call for Coach (disturbing for us). When he answered “Hello, Direk?” in a clear and audible tone, all of us simultaneously lowered our heads to laugh. Note that the tables in this restaurant barely have enough elbow room in between. You can just imagine the effect. In my peripheral vision, I could feel eyes on our table seemingly asking “Who is this freak?!” Didn’t help when we realized that the people in our nearby tables were actually modeling and production teams on a location shoot. Embarrassing — for Coach at least. Blooper number 5. 

We planned to hike during the afternoon. Unfortunately, it started to pour just after we had our lunch. We shopped for souvenirs, instead. And then slept the rest of the afternoon off. We didn't realize how tired we were. 

At 6:30 pm, we had a big dinner at Alfredo’s Inn. Great fish and vegetable dishes!
Alfredos_food_galore
On the Menu:
Sinigang na Bangus, Buttered Vegetables, Pork Curry, Rice for all, Ice cold mountain water

Coffee and conversation addicts that we are, we decided to treat ourselves to Masferre’s Special Hot Chocolate (which wa s not as good as we expected) and their Yummy Banana Cake (which is a treat in itself!). It was actually tucked away in the pastry corner, and not even in the menu. Good thing our sweet-trained eyes found it! 

Now back to the Inn before curfew!

Note: There is a standing 9pm curfew in Sagada, which actually makes sense when you think of it. There is minimal street lighting, which is dangerous for night strolls. Considering also that the activities offered are outdoor-daytime adventures, it is sensible that one rests during the night. There is no night life there, which suits us coffee-shop-people just fine. The people in Sagada respects silence 9 pm onwards. For the natives and the residents, tomorrow is always an early day.

[The Sagada Chronicles] Day Zero

First Published on November 12th, 2006 
 
DAY ZERO
November 2, 2006
Thursday Night
 
I would have loved to sleep during the taxi ride on the way to Candice’s, but Coach beat me to it.

He was snoring (quite considerably) from past North EDSA up to the Condo. He woke up with a start, just in time to see we’re just outside Casa Romeo. 

He must also have decided to be on guard upon waking up. The minute I nudged him, he said:  “Magkano share ko?” 

Of course, we should have guessed that Candice would be out eating during that time. We were standing outside the complex for about 20 minutes when the guard approached us, apparently  bothered that we were hanging out (and happy) with all the bags and stuff around us. 

Good thing Candice left word earlier about meeting us at the Condo. No sooner that the guard left us, satisfied that we were not harmful at all, Candice arrived. We could hardly pick on her for being late (as usual), not when she was flanked by Atty. and Fiscal Cerezo. So we postponed the teasing. 

We hung out for another thirty minutes or so, waiting for Ivee – who would come directly from the office. Talk about being one of the ‘Career-Martyr Club’, which is spearheaded by our absentee friend Kel, and which is another story altogether.  

While waiting, we checked our stuff, ransacked Candice’s bookshelf for some bus-reading materials (Garcia-Marquez for Candice – Philosophical is her thing, Murakami for Ramil – Journalistic ang trip, Medina Jr. for me – I like light reading eh).

Ivee arrived with Paul, whom we made inggit because he’s not coming with us (malupit kami.. mukhang nainggit nga talaga si Paul). And we proceeded to Victory Liner Cubao to catch the 10 o’clock bus to Baguio. Thanks to the Cerezo Parents (Atty. and Fiscal) that we got a free ride to the station (yipeee!). For us penny-pinching vacationists, saving on a taxi fare is BIG!

So the four of us arrived at the station and realized that we can still be in time for the 9 o’clock trip (yey!),got the tickets, boarded the bus, texted Jaja (whom we would meet in Baguio) that YES, WE ARE ABOARD AND SOON TO BE ON THE WAY! Day Zero ends. 

-- Or so we thought. Had Ramil thought to ask what the heck that blue and yellow duffel-like bag carried. A flustered Candice declares that the bag contained their laundry. Pooh! 

I and Vee got a good laugh at that, while the two concerned bloops sparred in the background. Blooper number 3. And we’re not even in Baguio yet. So Candice calls home for someone to get the bag – in fifteen minutes, before the bus leaves. Impossible, though. In the end, she took the bag to customer service so that her Dad can pick up later. 

“Sa Sagada mo na lang sana ipina-laundry!” For this remark, Ramil earned a big scowl and a solid beating from Candice.  

And there ended Day Zero.  


[The Sagada Chronicles] At One with Nature

In November of 2006, the Seasonistas went for the first time to Sagada, Mountain Province and fell in love with the place (so much that we went back not even two months after). Back then, it was the farthest we ever went as a group. And it started our series of regular travels.

I came across this blog entry from way back. It's actually a series of four parts, all about the three-day Sagada trip. These accounts were the longest i have written soon after college. It seems that Sagada brought out the writer in me again.

Have fun reading! :-)


Written on November 12th, 2006 
 
 Georges_guesthaus_terrace9_2 








It has been a week now since we left Sagada, but I can still vividly see the mountains, the cliff-edged roads, the glorious caves and the warm smiles of the people on the streets. The three days we spent there were as magical as they can get. When I look at the pictures, I can feel myself get caught in the images. Like the photographs were some kind of vortex taking me back in time.

I couldn’t have asked for more relaxing vacation-mates. The SAGADA Team: Jaja, Candice, Ivee and Ramil were the ultimate adventure comrades! These guys made the trip super special, as with our other adventures.

Sagada was really a refreshing break from all the stress of city living, as I’m sure all would agree. It was also a turnaround from all vacations I’ve been having. Since I started on my career, there is only one type of vacation I knew. The kind wherein I catch up on sleep, tidy up some loose ends, get the occasional query call from the office and then start packing up things for the next working day. I get the right mood during work when I get back, basically because I have two or three days of good night’s sleep (read: equals two or three days maximum productivity). Most of the time, I feel like a walking grump. Seriously.

God knows I was angling for a getaway vacation since early this year. Now that I’ve had it, I have a new motivation to push me through. Even if it means having to check out my Sagada photo album in the middle of the working day. There’s also the occasional “miss ko na ang Sagada” monologue. My officemates think I’m freaky already.

So then check out the succeeding pages for the chrono account of what happened during 
THE SAGADA ADVENTURE.


 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Blues

I got stuck in the city the whole weekend. Which was really not that bad in retrospect. It was a happy weekend despite some setback.

You see, I woke up early Saturday morning with an aching lower back.

I figured that was because I partied in my stilletos the night before. And that I was wearing the same shoes to work all day. Plus – I skipped my leg massage ritual as I got home because I was dead beat. Bad idea!

So I painstakingly made my way to the meds cabinet. Soon enough, the house smelt of liniment. For one whole day, Salonpas and White Flower were my friends. I was afraid to take a bath for fear that I would suffer worse, so I stayed in.

Some of the pain went away by late afternoon. And I was feeling very icky by then. So against all old-wives'-tales in my head, I took a well-needed bath.

And yeah, knowing me, I could not stand the loneliness anymore. I called some friends over for coffee and movies, mentioned a disclaimer about the smell of liniment. When they asked, I just told them that I am off stilletos for now.

And yes, Salonpas really works. 



Friday, April 8, 2011

Mad Crazy Friday

There's a new energy in our floor this afternoon. The weekend is coming and everyone is in high spirits.

From my room, I hear the frantic rattle of keyboard and last-minute printing, punctuated with the sounds of teasing and fun. I stop for a while and confirm (in my mind) that it's really the end of the work week. Normally, Friday hits the week's record-low in terms of energy.

I wonder, do they know something I don't?? << paranoia

Yep, it's TGIF! In a few, I would gather up my already packed-up bag – left it untouched where I put it this morning – and head to THE party. It's invites only and the super secret society is thrilled.

Officially, time is up, as it's past five but I run through the week's checklist anyway for the nth time – force of habit.

This is so going to be a happy weekend!



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Piece of India

Our EVP-GM went to India for a trip and gave me this lovely bangles.



I find it very sweet and thoughtful. It's always a joy to get such souvenirs from interesting places (and from interesting persons).

She also regaled me of stories from their Taj Mahal Tour. I was so inggit! Her eyes were glowing as she described the sights and the architectural details of the Taj, and I thought that she must have had so much fun!

As for me, I would treasure this piece of India and wish everyday that I may get more souvenirs and that I may get to more places – soon!






Monday, April 4, 2011

The Traveling Moleskine

I am very lucky to have several groups of tried and tested friends. And one of these is the Seasonistas.

We are made up of college and post-college friends, a fusion of kindred souls and friends-of-friends (which worked, much to our eternal thanks). I think that's because our wavelengths intersect in a fun, good-vibes way.

The name “Seasonistas” was coined by our goddess-genius friend and also my college best friend, J, based on college “themes” of the old group: Spring for freshman year, Summer for sophomore, Autumn for junior and Winter for senior. We even had pictorials, screen savers and some literary pieces based on these “seasons.” We really do take themes seriously. It's fun!

Nowadays, we meet every so often, travel together, generally make fun of each other on social networking. And just recently – because we really miss our school escapades, we were only too happy to go along with a project suggested by J – The Traveling Moleskine.

This is a tale of a moleskine and a group of friends. 
Mostly a tale of the group of friends. With a moleskine. A red moleskine. 
That will travel among the group of friends. So this, ladies and gentlemen, 
is the tale of the traveling moleskine.”

The idea is to write down insights, travel tidbits, plans, et cetera. Since most of us are writers, this should be easy, right? So let's save the writers' block for next year, when the Red 'Skine would be brimming with colorful stories.

Aside from being part of accomplishing a group memento, this is also a chance for me to get in touch with my pen-and-paper writer side. How about that!

The Red 'Skine was handed to me (via breakfast date) by our friend K. I could not wait to write my stories -- which I finally did over sunset-watching last weekend. I'm halfway through my story list but I have more pages to write than I imagined.

I have to find more words, then.




Batugan Chronicles

Bumming around the house last night with the sister and the boyfriend, soaking ourselves with music from my Chill Playlist.

Here are some sabaw bits of our aimless banter.


When Thia Megia's Colors of the Wind came on,

Boyfriend: Who's that singing?

Me: That's Thia. (kala mo close) She's the Pinay who made it to the top 12 of AI. (obviously, I don't watch anymore)

Sister: Sabi nila she does not have character. Great voice, though!

Boyfriend: Wala pa rin silang lahat kay Charice.

Me: Hah! Eh friend kaya ni Charice si Thia!

Boyfriend: (with tumigil-ka-nanloloko-ka-nanaman expression) Hindi nga?

Me: Ye-eeeah, they are sooo friends! Nag-tweet si Charice – (I was rudely interrupted!)

Boyfriend: Hu-weeeh? Kelan sila nag-meet???

Me: Dude, mukha ba akong stalker? Malay ko!



When we got to the new upbeat songs,
 
Boyfriend: Bakit ganon? Ang dami mong magagandang kanta. Hindi galing sa akin 'yan ah. (He gets hurt when he's left out of new stuff. After all, he's usually the source of all pirate-able files.)

Me: I am very resourceful, you know.

Boyfriend: Akina 'yang files na yan, lipat ko sa ipod ko!

Me: Eh kaso selfish ako.

Sister: Nasa laptop ba 'yang mga yan?

Me: Wala, playlist to playlist yan eh.

Sister: So ano pang silbi nito (ipod)? Suwapang.