Wow!

I got an unexpected but very, very pleasant surprise the other night. Hubby attended some company's Christmas party as representative of their organization, which was made beneficiary of the event's proceeds. There, he met Dr. Josette Biyo, the world-renowned and outstanding Filipino teacher who we both admire immensely.

A few months ago, Dr. Biyo graciously agreed to be interviewed by email so I can feature her in an article I was writing. The writeup appeared in the GH mag October issue. Hubby texted me that she was a guest speaker at the party that night and I told him to ask her if she enjoyed reading the writeup I did about her.

When hubby came home past 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, he had a huge smile on his face. A few moments later, he brought out Dr. Biyo's book A Trip To Planet Biyo which she personally signed with a short note for me! I think my jaw hanged open for more than 10 seconds. It was definitely one of the "Wow!" moments in my life.

Dr. Biyo wrote, "Dear Ruth, Thank you for the beautiful article you wrote about me. I hope this book will inspire you. God bless and keep writing! -Dr. Josette T. Biyo". She is really awesome!

The next day, a mom of an exceptionally talented little girl I featured, this time in GH's December issue, texted me to say how much they appreciate the article about their daughter. Let's make that a double "Wow!"

In moments like these, I once more give thanks to the Lord for letting me do something that I really love. The affirmations I get from people who appreciate what I do are truly precious gems that give me great encouragement and are simply priceless treasures I will forever keep in my heart.


For the Love of James ...

... we joined the thick crowd of parents and all sizes of kids at the Alabang Town Center last Sunday to watch Dora The Explorer's Fiesta show.

It all started when ABC5 had this contest -- those who can answer the question for week gets a chance to win tickets to the Dora show at various Ayala Mall locations. Since James, our special child, loves watching our Dora DVDs over and over again (when it's not showing on Nickolodeon) we joined using Daniel's email address. Surprisingly, after a few days, we got a call that we won tickets!

So there we were, on a hot Sunday afternoon, trying to catch the 3pm show. But due to the huge volume of cars and lack of spaces in the parking lot, we were late. The show already started when we found the activity center, the crowds around the stage were jam-packed and we couldn't even find the ABC5 representative I was supposed to claim the tickets from!

The show ended, much to my and hubby's disappointment, without James being able to even get a glimpse of Dora and Boots because he's sitting on his stroller. It would have been foolhardy to raise him up above other people's heads because he might go spastic and kick someone.

I waited until the area cleared and tried to find Venus from the TV station. She was kind enough to allow us entrance for the 6pm show but told us she will only hand out tickets by 5:30pm. We waited out more than two hours by staying at Burger King. Daniel was already getting bored.

By 5pm, we were back near the entrance for ABC5 winners. Venus gave us tickets and when the guard said it's okay to enter, we happily got front seats and positioned James' stroller very near the stage. When Dora came out, he seemed overwhelmed at first but eventually laughed his way through the show. He never took his eyes off the performers. I took photos and videos using my mobile phone.

Venus gave us stubs for the Meet and Greet portion. After the show, all stub holders were allowed to go up on stage and have pictures taken with the mascots. Both my and hubby's phones recorded the moment.
We went home tired but happy. Just seeing how much James and Daniel enjoyed the experience is worth all the perspiration, aching feet and weary bones we oldies got.

Yup, it was just one of those days when parents willingly go through so much for their kids ...


For House MD fans

I've just finished watching the whole first two seasons of House on DVD the other night. And I must confess that I am raring to see more. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be seeing Season 3 here anytime soon. So, I got to sneaking peeks once more at the IMDB website about next season's episodes.

Guess what, I found a very funny thread on the message boards that I can't stop reading! I'm not even halfway through because it's so long but so darn addictive. Go see for yourself. It's under the "Dear Dr. Chase" thread. If you're a fan of House like I am, you'll enjoy the wit and humor of the members who posted those fabricated letters.

Oh, but you gotta register first (for free) before you get to read the boards. But that's easy enough anyway. So enjoy! :)


TV, TV, and more TV!

I have to admit, I’m a certified couch potato. I love to watch TV series such that my zealousness borders on obsession (I know, I know!). I am reminded a lot of times about that these past few weeks ... when I did a marathon of Grey’s Anatomy (2 seasons), Desperate Housewives’ (again 2 seasons) and now Dr. House (currently in the middle of the 2nd season) on DVD … and yeah, those glued-to-the-screen moments not-surprisingly sometimes extend until the wee hours of the morning.

Lately though, I don’t get to tune in regularly to current programs that are running on local channels. No time, too busy, especially when the kids are still awake and I have to see to the welfare of the whole brood (read: cook, wash dishes & clothes etc. etc.) during the daytime until early nightfall. No wonder I hog the midnight to early morning hours to myself.

Soooo, I guess this crazy “thing” I do is my way of unwinding from house chores, article deadlines and other what-have-yous that usually rattle my composure (and I’m not even a person with poise to start with! Waaah!) . Besides, I do get some empathy vibes from certain characters I came to love:

... like Lynette Scavo of DH – four kids, topsy-turvy house, daily uncombed appearance, the works! I am 80% Lynette.

... then there’s Piper Halliwell of Charmed (got to buy those DVDs soon! Argh!) with her adorable mommy expressions, eldest sister mannerisms (I’m a firstborn too), sternness coupled with paranoia at times plus mushy hugs & kisses with Leo ... I think I am 90% Piper. And yep, how I wish I also have the power to freeze and/or blow up annoying people hehehe.

Hmmm, ... can’t think of anyone else at the moment. But let me tell you who else I like on the small screen and I would say: There’s McDreamy of Grey’s (Patrick Dempsey) with his wavy locks, charming smile and gorgeous eyes ... and Dr. Robert Chase of House (Jesse Spencer – gash Inez, wag mo ko patayin! Crush lang ito hindi obsession gaya ng sa’yo hahaha) because his voice is oh so heavenly masculine. Again, I am reminded of his rendition of the song Molly Smiles (from the movie Uptown Girls) where I first saw him and fell :p

But my all-time TV crushes? Think back to the ‘80s and I am naming McGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) and Michael of Knight Rider (David Hasselhoff -- no I didn’t like him anymore in Bay Watch).

Anyhow, if you reached this part of my post, thanks for reading another rambling writeup. The thoughts just popped in my mind about an hour ago. But hey, if you’d like to share what your favorite shows on TV are, I’d love to hear about them too! :)


Camp, Play, Art Exhibit and Film Showing

Whew! It was a loooong weekend for us. Early Saturday morning, Joshua went off to camp with his cousin Lance in Caliraya. They joined CCF’s camp for Grades 5 & 6 students.

On Saturday afternoon, I brought Daniel and Leland to Fort Bonifacio so they can join in the fun at Nickoledeon’s Let’s Just Play event. They did have fun … and more! I got splashes and dots of pink-colored splats on my shirt from the water gun-squirting kids who ran amuck all over the place. Too bad I forgot to bring an extra shirt.

The two got mini-bag prizes from the Kzone’s Get Wired booth. They played that game where there’s a twisted wire and you have to pass a ring through it without the buzzer sounding. I was amazed that Daniel did it! For posterity, I even video taped the event on my mobile phone.

After waiting in line for almost an hour at the climb and traverse game, we gave up because a lot of kids in front were cutting in line. We proceeded to Salcedo Village where Leland was invited by his CCP art teacher Wayie Canoy to watch animated films from Germany and view the Goethe Institut Manila exhibit in Makati.

It took us a long time waiting for the The Fort bus and got on a taxi instead. We knew we would be late. Thankfully, we got there in time to catch the last seven of fifteen short films that were being shown. Each film has unique story lines that really tickled the senses. Although the audios were in German, English subtitles helped us understand each story and even laugh at the humor injected here and there.

As I stood near the door (because all seats were taken) I looked over at Leland and Daniel, who sat on the floor in front of all the seats in the tiny viewing room and saw their concentration and genuine interest. Afterwards, I was happy to hear my artistic firstborn say, “Thanks Mommy for bringing me here. I got lots of new ideas for my drawings.” I hope those films will really inspire him more. As for Daniel, he enjoyed having his picture taken beside the glass cases of the clay figures that were featured in some of the films.

It was nice talking to all the teachers of Pinoy Animagination. Wayie, in particular, wishes that more Filipino kids be exposed to these other kinds of animation, and not merely those anime and cartoons that are commonly seen on TV. I agree. Those German films, with their weird but thought-provoking storylines, would be great tools to jumpstart children’s imaginations.

The exhibit will run until Friday, Nov. 16 at the 5th floor of Adamson Centre, 121 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati.. If you want to request for a film showing, call 8170978 and do visit their website at www.goethe.de/manila.

Oh, and if you would like to take a peek at my sons’ artistic abilities, do see their digital drawings using Windows Paint here. Please leave a comment or two so we'd know you dropped by. Thanks!


House for Sale: Alabang Area


Looking for a house? There's a very nice one for sale in Alabang, Muntinlupa. My sister and her husband are selling it. To see more photos, specs and contact details, please visit http://picturetrail.com/writermom. Thanks!


Whew!

Finally! I got rid of the old tagboard that's been giving me a headache for several days now. I don't know if you guys (who also have tag-board.com's shoutbox) experienced the same problems. Like, I couldn't see the messages because there's a blue space there and when I try to edit posts as administrator, I get brought to a website called cPanel. Weird ... and irritating. Malware? Spyrware? Dunno. I'm just happy it's gone now.

And oh, a warning to those previous spammers who peppered my old tagboard with nonsense messages ... BEWARE! I can now ban your IP addresses! Yey! *happy-happy, joy-joy* I've been soooo wanting to have that feature for so long. Thank goodness, Tag-World has helpful things to bloggers who don't want to be bothered with silly tagboard posters.

So to those readers who truly READ my ramblings, you are very much welcome to comment ... um, nicely please :D


Funny How ... Time Flies

Remember that last line from the Tears for Fears song Head Over Heels? That's kinda what I feel right now. See, a couple of weeks ago, I randomly selected a DVD and watched it. It was a concert of Tears for Fears (yeah, I'm an 80's child) with extra MTVs included. I didn't notice at first that the kids slowly started drifting to the living room and sitting on the sofa with me. After a while, they began asking questions and making comments. "What band is that? Why are they wearing those yucky clothes? I like that song! What's it called Mommy?"

I thought it was a short phase. I was wrong. The very next day, I saw Leland rummaging through my CDs and eventually picked the Tears for Fears DVD again. This time, even Daniel said, "That's my favorite!" when Head Over Heels was played. They kept repeating the song over and over and I have caught Joshua singing along more than once.

So for these past weeks, all I kept hearing are melodies of Mad World, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Pale Shelter, Memories Fade and yup, the proverbial Head Over Heels among others. Talk about songs you can't get out of your head! It seems that Lee Ritenour has been shelved for the meantime.

Secretly though, I'm pleased that my new millenium children still gets to appreciate songs their dad and I grew up with and also liked a lot. But yeah, they still can't get over Curt Smith's flowery shirt and Roland Orzabal's head of long curly locks hahaha.


After the storm

It has been seven days since typhoon Milenyo passed through the Philippines. We in the Manila area are among those who have been the hardest hit. For five whole days, my family and I had to bear the lack of electricity – uncomfortable heat during the day (our hands can only do so much back and forth motions with the paper fans) and warding off mosquitoes at night (I can’t remember anymore how much mosquito coils we used up). My husband and I were particularly distressed to see our kids suffering the lack of comfort that our electric fans normally provide.

We felt cut off from the world as our landline phone has been dead three days even before the storm came. We can’t call Meralco to ask for updates nor request PLDT to repair our line. Our mobile phones have been running low on batteries while our water supply dwindled because the water company couldn’t pump the precious liquid into the pipes without electricity. I feared for the food we have in the refrigerator that would eventually spoil if we weren’t able to buy ice soon enough.

Trials
That first night of darkness, we almost ran out of candles. I was so glad that the day before, hubby and I went home to Laguna to get some stuff from my mom’s house that we left behind when we moved here to Alabang last April. Among the loot I brought were my collection of souvenir candles and tea lights that I have been using with my oil burner. Those little sources of light have been our salvation for two nights.

You see, there is nowhere near where one can buy candles anymore. My husband had to drive about four towns away just to find ice and candles, and at exorbitant prices at that! Sadly, it is during these kinds of crises when we encounter the best and worst in people. Some do take advantage of their fellowmen just to pad their own pockets and fill their greed.

By the third day, all our stored water was almost gone. All the water delivery services are no longer taking orders because even they ran out of supply. I texted my sister, who now lives 45 minutes away, if we can take a bath at their house and get drinking water. Fortunately, her husband was in their old house (being put up for sale right now) two blocks away from ours, where he and their houseboy were cleaning the debris. We were informed that the tank there was still full and we can get water there instead.

All of us, our three boys, the maid, hubby and myself, took turns going there to bathe. James took his bath here at home when hubby already got several drums-full of water from the other house.

Blessings
Despite the aggravations, we have a lot of things to be thankful for. We still have a roof over our heads when the turbulence was over although our kitchen did have its share of flooding.

We were able to listen to the news (and despair when it seems that our area was the only one left without electricity when everywhere else was already bathed in light) and be entertained by my son’s favorite jazz station thanks to my decade-old walkman that still runs on two AA batteries and the passive speakers that I originally bought a few months ago for my mp3 player.

Our water tanks (we have two) up beside the roof had their own spring-cleaning day courtesy of my beloved husband. When he called me to climb the metal stairs and take a peek, I was appalled at all the dirt that has accumulated inside during the course of several months. On a side note, I also got scared at the height I got to and had rubbery legs when I was able to finally climb down the ladder.

The blasted bags of ice and candles that cost the earth (imagine, we spent about P1000 on diesel alone just so these items can be bought!) still served their purpose albeit causing us heavy dents on the pockets.

My sister-in-law’s van, which hubby used to literally search high and low for supplies, was also useful in replenishing at least some of our mobile phones’ battery capacities. Problem was, even with two bars of power, the phones were useless when the service providers’ signals became intermittent, at times disappearing for hours on end. Tsk, I regret that I wasn’t able to capitalize on the unlimited texting I enrolled my phone to. It expired without me being able to send out a lot of text messages due to fear of battery failure, ergo total cut-off from civilization.

Realizations
These past few days, there are a lot of things I was reminded of such as valuing things we usually take for granted in the course of our daily, normal lives. It’s important that we get to appreciate them more so that in the coming days, we will not be as wasteful nor indifferent as before.

Mostly, I am glad that my family and I have been able to spend a lot of time together. By God’s grace, we were sustained. The kids had a blast having such an extended vacation and although my head sometimes throbs at their constant chatter and petty arguments over toys and stuff, I am thankful that we are all here, complete and yes, still utterly blessed to have each other.


Mixed Emotions

*Sigh* I know, I know, I should be happy ... but I don't feel like jumping up and down right now.

See, I entered an online contest last week. It said on the website that the prize would be a Mac laptop, which I must say, I've been dreaming of for so long already! My PC is on its last legs and I'm fearfully anticipating this computer to keel over anytime soon. So imagine the anticipation that I could win that if I am just able to convince family and friends from the US to sign up for their promo. I think 8 people responded to my request ... they do have chances too to win free trips back to the Philippines.

So it was with wide-eyed wonder that I opened an email about an hour ago with the subject line "You won..." And my hopes deflated when the message continued "...free calls to US and Canada!" Argh, so where was the promised laptop?!

*Sigh again* It did specifically say on the website that the Sun Cellular call packs were prizes for the entries 2 weeks ago and that for last week, the grand prize was for a Mac. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers. And yes, I'm still thankful for this blessing ... it's just that ... you know ... okay, I'll shut up now ...


Feel Good Show

Every Wednesday night, the kids and I look forward to nine o' clock because that's when the show Extreme Home Makeover airs on RPN 9. It's a show in the US that's produced, I think, by the TV station ABC.

Anyway, what I love about it is the almost fairy tale-like concept of happy endings. A family writes to the show, is chosen and gets a visit by the house design team ... then the family's sent off on a seven-day vacation while the team builds the house within that short period.

I like how members of the team show geniune concern for the family's needs. They really take time to think out designs that would complement each family member's room to their personalities. Yeah, for cynics, they can simply say "Of course they'd do that! They're being paid for what they do!" But looking at them, I see their emotions -- the tears and broken voices when they talk about how much they wanted to help -- as manifestations of their compassionate selves. And that is wonderful to behold.

On my kids' part, they are always awed at how nondescript dwellings are transformed into beautiful homes. Being SIMS (the computer game where players can build houses) fanatics, I could see how interested they were at every new concept they learn each week.

Sometimes they do sigh and wish aloud, "I hope they come to the Philippines so they can build us a nicer house." And I had to explain that not everyone are granted these kinds of blessings. Besides, since the house we're living in is not really ours, we don't have the right to have it rebuilt or remodeled because we're just renting the place.

However, these talks have given me opportunities to encourage them instead to study harder so that someday, when they graduate from college and get good jobs, they can have their dream houses built. Thankfully, I think they get the idea :)


Misleading

When my sons and I do research for their assignments, we sometimes check out what Wikipedia has to say. Having grown up with 26 volumes of the International Encyclopedia at my parents' house, I am sure glad that the Internet now has these sites where you can search for almost anything and find it ... no more heavy books to lug around and no giant bookshelves to crowd the small enough spaces we have at home.

It is distressing then to find out that a lot of information on Wikipedia and other seemingly credible websites are false. Yeah, yeah, so sue me. I wasn't diligent enough to check in the first place. But from now on, I will.

Anyway, in one of my egroups, the current hot topic is an entry in answers.com where someone posted a writeup on supposedly the Philippines' 17th President, (what the ...?! Arroyo is only the 14th!) who turned out to be a student currently enrolled in UP Los BaƱos (argh, my Alma Mater to boot!).

Okay, so the guy was perhaps just expressing his dreams for his future and he is entitled to that. But to blatantly post that in a site where a lot of students around the world must probably be getting answers from for their homeworks? Tsk, tsk, bad taste!

What made it worse is that he is a fellow Development Communication student. Heaven forbid! I can just imagine some of my dead professors turning in their graves at this very moment because somebody from our beloved college had a not-so-bright idea of posting lies in a website that is suppose to provide truthful answers. What was/were he/they thinking?!

Imagine someone, from say Africa or the Middle East, who's researching about the Philippines unfortunately finding the entry. Who do you think should feel more ashamed? The student who reports to class confident that he/she got valid information? Or the stupid person who uploaded the data on the Internet (again, in a supposedly credible site) in the first place? You tell me.

Yes, I am condemning the way the lies have been spread and adamantly refuse to push the perpetrator/s into the limelight by deigning to even post the erroneous entry's link in my blog.

For goodness' sakes! We are DevCom people! We should be the ones promoting truth through excellent communication!

Oh well, that being out of my chest, I rest my case.


Amazing!

I don't think the World Wide Web will ever cease to fascinate me. Almost every day, I find new things that I can do and find here. Since I've discovered the wonders that going online brings, I have become a huge fan.

Just an hour ago, I researched the lyrics to two Filipino songs that my son needs for a school assignment. It didn't even take a minute for me to find what I was looking for. To think that during my school days, I had to browse about a dozen books and spend time in the school library before I can even finish one homework.

Yeah, kids have it soooo good these days. I just wish they wouldn't take this great technology for granted and think of it as something that is simply a part of every day living.


Overheard

Early this afternoon, while I was having a late lunch, our phone rang. My seven-year-old son answered it. The call was for him.

As I tackle my food on the table, I couldn't help but smile at the socialization that was going on. Daniel sprawled on the couch and chatted away. I was amused at the range of topics he and his classmate Vance talked about. From the model of their Playstations, type of computer operating system they each have at home (at this point, Daniel asked if we have Windows XP or another version), the CDs they play, to their pet dogs and even trivias about their family members.

More than 30 minutes later, they're still at it, gabbing away. I told Daniel to hang up and end the call because I needed to go online. I had to suppress a laugh when he silently signalled me to wait and shush.

I fear now that the time might be near when I won't be able to use the phone at this house anymore. And my son still hasn't passed first grade yet! Gosh.


Catchy

If you have kids and have access to cable channels, chances are you have been already swept away by Disney's High School Musical Craze ... as we are. My kids love the the songs and the moves so much, I had to search for lyrics in the internet and print them out so they can sing and dance along with the movie.

What's weird is, a lot of parents I knew (including me) are now also inadvertently bursting out in song without meaning to. The songs are just soooo catchy, they play in your head over and over.

It's great though that the storyline is very uplifting and very family oriented. I couldn't help but think of it as a kind of One-Tree-Hill-mania without the sexual contents, which is actually a good thing for teenagers these days. Even very little kids as young as three are enjoying watching the show. And yes, no matter how many times it's shown at Disney channel, kids seem to drift in front of the TV set to watch again. Definitely, one gem of a story. Another thumbs up for the creative people at Disney!


Yey!

I love monkeying around with HTML eventhough I still don't understand much of it yet. Right now, I am simply ecstatic that I am able to "get" how it is to change colors in a palette.

You see, I subscribed to Google Adsense to find out if its true that you can really earn just by letting them put ads on your page. So I've been working on my blogs and trying to insert the codes. I got to tweak some colors around and it's so fun!

I will always be grateful to the Webmonkey website that ages ago, has helped me on my way to being HTML-savvy. I still visit it every now and then when I need to learn new tips or simply review things I've forgotten.

Oh, and by the way, can I request for a little help? Could you click on the Google ad at the top of this page so I can at least have an idea if I'll ever earn from this "venture"? Thanks so much!


Poignant

He did it again. He made me cry -- Nicholas Sparks that's who. I must admit his book Message in a Bottle opened up a trickle of tears when I read it a long time ago, but this time, A Walk To Remember released the floodgates. My eyes were literally puffy when I woke up the next morning!

It's not as if I didn't watch the movie, which by the way, I only caught half of in HBO. But still, I cried buckets near the ending. I must find a copy at the video store soon so I can watch it in full. Yup, it's me :p The one who also came out wailing at the conclusion of Uptown Girls even if I only caught part of the film. That's how easily touched I am by both sad and happy endings.

Then came the book version. I saw a copy sitting on a second-hand store bookshelf and idly wondered if I'll ever get to reading it. See, I'm not much of a Mandy Moore fan and she was on the cover. But I thought, what the heck, it's being sold cheap so I might as well save it for a day when I would feel like reading another book turned movie script and see which is better.

The other night, the moment came. Having trouble sleeping, I went to the kitchen to get me some warm chocolate milk and I happened to pass by the bookshelf where the book has been stagnating for months now. So I carried it back with me to the bedroom and started reading. By the second page, I was hooked. It was already 3 a.m. by then and I ran through the whole book until past 6 a.m.

The book amazingly is a light read, with very easy to understand dialogues and descriptions without the boring parts that characterized the Lord of the Rings trilogy or even some of my favorite Wilbur Smith books. I think I will urge my sons to read it when they turn at least 17 too, like Landon's character. I'm sure a lot of young minds will appreciate the book if only someone will encourage them to do so.

The whole time I was reading was a mixture of chuckles and sobs. I couldn't help but hug my dead-to-the-world sleeping husband tightly after I finished the book. It made me so thankful that I got to live this long and be able to have a family.

It was like what the reviews said ... definitely a story you won't forget for a long, long time. And I think I won't ... ever.


* I don't know if this really came from David Letterman's show, just got it as a forwarded mail. But I'm sure whoever wrote this is a Filipino who has a great sense of humor ... Being a Pinoy myself and knowing what the author is really talking about, I couldn't help but really laugh out loud at the grains of truth that some of the reasons mentioned. ;-)

TOP 10 REASONS WHY THERE COULDN'T BE A FILIPINO-AMERICAN US PRESIDENT
By David Letterman:

10. The White House is not big enough for in-laws and extended relatives.
9. There is not enough parking spaces at the white house for 2 Honda Civics, 2 Toyota Land Cruisers, 3 Toyota Corollas, Mercedes Benz, BMW (Big Mean Wife), and MPV (My Pinoy Van).
8. Dignitaries generally are intimidated by eating with fingers at state dinners.
7. There are too many dining rooms in the White House. Where will they put the Last Supper picture?
6. The White House walls is not big enough to hold a set of giant wooden spoon and fork.
5. Secret Service staff won't respond to "pssst...pssst".
4. Secret Service staff are uncomfortable driving the presidential car with a holy rosary hanging on the rear view mirror or having the statue of the Sto. Nino (baby Jesus) on the dash board.
3. No budget allocation to purchase karaoke machines in every White House room.
2. State dinners do not allow "take home".

And the number 1 reason why there couldn't be a Filipino-American US president is....

1. Air force one does not allow over weight balik-bayan boxes!


It is a thrill to be able to meet famous people. But it is doubly wonderful to find out that beneath the glitz and glamour, they are really nice persons who take time to talk to their fans.

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure to meet, briefly talk to and have my picture taken with Eula Valdez and Wilma Doesnt after watching Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Ze Muzikal. Although I was starstruck about how pretty they both look, I found it more endearing that they took time to joke with my friends and I and make us laugh.

Last Wednesday, I had another amazing experience when I had the honor of interviewing Mrs. Ligaya Salonga for an article I'm writing. She is so pleasant to talk to! I was mortified that the heavy traffic I encountered made me almost an hour late for our appointment and I apologized profusely. But she was very nice about it.

The interview went well. We talked about a lot of things and I got to know more about her family. It's enriching to be able to get a glimpse of how it is to be mom to two famous kids. My admiration and respect for this fellow mom grew tenfold as we get to talk more about parenting and raising children. Despite our age differences, I wholeheartedly agree with the things she said about being a mom, how it is a 24-hour job and how it does entail much sacrifice. Still, she affirms that the fruits of one's labor will be reaped in the future.

I pray that someday, I can accomplish at least even half of what she did.




Worth Reading

I got this forwarded email and just had to post it here too so that those who weren’t able to read it can do so. A friend said this was printed in Manila Standard’s March 3 edition but the PS part wasn’t there.

Anyway, I feel the same way as the author – disgusted, disappointed and sad. It’s so frustrating that these few people are making all Filipinos look like fools, as if all we ever do is oust whoever is in power, put someone else there and oust him/her again after a while. When will the cycle end??? God Help Us indeed!


Open letter to our leaders: why we are not out in the streets!

Dear Tita Cory, Senators, Congressmen, Businessmen, Media people, Leftists, and all Bleeding Hearts Out There:

I am angry. And I know that there are many out there who are angrier than I am for the same reason. And that reason is simple. I am sick and tired of all you guys claiming to speak for me and many Filipinos. I feel like screaming every time you mouth words about fighting for my freedom and my rights, when you obviously are just thinking about yours. You tell me that the essence of democracy is providing every citizen the right to
speak his or her mind and make his or her own informed judgments, but you yourselves do not respect my silence and the choices I and many others have made. In other words, your concept of democracy is limited to having your rights and your freedoms respected, at the expense of ours.

I am utterly flabbergasted that you still do not get it: we already responded to your calls, and our response has been very clear - we chose not to heed your calls to go to EDSA or to Fort Bonifacio not because we do not love our country or our freedoms or our rights, but precisely because we love our country even more. Because quite frankly, we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward.
You may counter with your ideological propaganda and give me all the dire warnings about the evils of Martial Law, authoritarian rule, suppression of freedom, etc., but quite frankly all we see is your pathetic efforts to defend your right to continue fulminating, filibustering, and sabotaging this country until you wrestle power for yourselves. You tell me that you are simply protecting my freedoms and my rights, but who told you to do that? I assure you that when I feel that my rights and my freedoms are at a peril, I will stand up and fight for them myself. I have done in the past, and I will do it again when I SEE THE NEED FOR IT, not when you tell me to do it.

You tell us that GMA is not the right person to lead this country because she has done immoral acts. As someone who sees immorality being committed wantonly in many ways every day and by everyone (yes, including the ones you do), I may have become jaded. I may have lowered my standards about what a leader should be. Guess what, Tita Cory, you lowered it yourself.

When I accepted your incompetence and fought for you during the many attempts against your government, I already lowered the standards to ridiculous levels. Guess what, Senators and Congressmen, you lowered it yourselves when you ran for office and won and now make fools of yourselves in the august halls of congress.

But the simple truth that you try to obfuscate is this: you have not been able to offer me any viable alternative! On the other hand, GMA has bent over backwards many times to accommodate you while continuing to work hard despite all the obstacles and the brickbats you have thrown her way. From where I sit, she is the one who has been working really hard to move this country forward while all of you have been so busy with one and only one thing: to make sure she does not succeed.

So forgive me if I do not want to join you in your moral pissing contest. Forgive me if I have chosen to see things from another perspective. You say she is the problem. I say, we are - all of us is the problem; more to the point, I think you are a bigger problem than she is. Taking her out may solve part of the problem, but that leaves us with a bigger
problem: you.

That is right, YOU!

While I felt outraged that she called a Comelec official during the elections and that she may have rigged the elections, I have since then taken the higher moral ground and forgiven her. Yes my dear bishops, I have done what you have told me to do since I was a child, which you say is the Christian and moral thing to do: forgive. Especially since she has asked for forgiveness and has tried to make amends for it. Erap certainly has not apologized and continues to be defiant, continuing to insult us everyday with his protestations - and he is part of your cause now! Cory has not apologized for her incompetence but we have forgiven her just the same because like GMA, she has worked hard after all.

I know you do not think that GMA's apology was not enough, or that she was insincere, or that that apology should not be the end of it, but please spare me the hypocrisy of telling me that you do so for the sake of protecting the moral fibre of society. The real reason is because you smell blood and wants to go for the kill.

Well, I have news for you. I do not like her too. I did not even vote for her. I voted for Raul Roco. But as much as I do not like her, I do not like you even more. I may not trust her, but you know what, I do not trust you even more.

You know why I do not trust you? Because all you do is whine and sabotage this country. You belittle every little progress we make, conveniently forgetting that it is not just GMA who has been working so hard to achieve them. Every single day, we keep the faith burning in our hearts that this country will finally pull itself out of the mess and we work so hard to do that. Every little progress is the result of our collective effort, we who toil hard everyday in our jobs. Yet, you persist in one and only thing: making GMA look bad in the eyes of the world and making sure that this country continues to suffer to prove your sorry point. In the process, you continue to destroy what we painstakingly try to build. So please do not be surprised that I do not share your cause. Do not be surprised that we have become contemptuous of your antics. You have moved heaven and earth to destroy her credibility, you have convened all kinds of for a and hearings and all you have done is test our patience to the core. For all your efforts, you have only succeeded in dragging us further down. I say enough.

Don't get me wrong. I am not asking that we take immorality lying down, or that we let the President get away with anything illegal. But you have tried to prove your accusations all these time and you have not succeeded, so it is time to let things be. Besides, you are doing something immoral as well if not utterly unforgivable. The Magdalo soldiers are consorting with the communists - the same people who have been
trying to kill democracy for years. Cory has been consorting with Erap and the Marcoses.

So please wake up and take a reality check. In the absence of true and genuine moral leadership, many of us have decided to cast our lot with the President, even if we do not like her. A flawed leader is better than scheming power hungry fools who cannot even stand up for their convictions in the face of an impending arrest.

Your coup attempts and the denials that you have consequently made only underscore what we think is true: you are spineless and unreliable people who only want power but not the consequences and the sacrifices that go with the quest. Your one and only defense is to cry suppression when your ruse does not work. You are nothing but BULLIES who taunt and provoke, but cry oppression when taken to task for your cruelty. You call for the rule of law and respect for authority, but so brazenly display your defiance and disrespect for the same things you claim to be fighting for.

I would have respected you if you took the consequences of your actions like real heroes: calmly and responsibly instead of kicking and screaming and making all kinds of lame excuses. You say you are willing to die for us, that you do all these things for the country and the Filipino, but you are not even willing to go to jail for us.

Come on, you really think we believe that you did not want to bring down the government when THAT IS THE ONE AND ONLY ONE THING THAT YOU HAVE
BEEN DESPERATELY TRYING TO DO in the last many months?

We love this country and we want peace and progress. Many among us do not give a f*&k who sits at Malacanang because we will work hard and do our share to make things work. We the people will and can make it work, if only you get out of the way and let us do it. If you only do your jobs, the ones you are supposed to be doing, things would be a lot simpler and easier for all of us.

The events during the weekend only proved one thing. You are more dangerous and a serious threat to this country than GMA is. We have seen what you are capable of doing - you are ready to burn this country and reduce everything to ashes just to prove your point. If there is something that we need protection from, IT IS PROTECTION FROM YOU.

S. C. Austero, J. Trinona, G. A Zata, D. P. Pancho

PS. And may we add, please Mrs. Aquino, if you want to pray, do not do so in public like Edsa or Fort Bonifacio. God will hear you even if you are in the confines of # 25 Times St. or inside Sta. Clara convent.

We want to move on and just work for our family because we still have kids in school who have their own ambition and want to serve our people and country like you do, while you are sitting pretty with your wealth plus your children's wealth. All your family's wealth combined can support you and your children and children's children even if all of you will live for so many lifetimes.

We know you are a bored widow so you can go anywhere you please and make so much noise about GMA making the supreme sacrifice, etc. Why don't you make the supreme sacrifice to just keep quiet? If you are too old to be a nun, why don't you just teach English for free to the unemployed youth so they can be hired in a call center?

Please give our kids the chance to fulfill their dreams, too.


One Kind Word

Early this morning, I got to watch a rerun of Oprah. She was talking about her Christmas trip to South Africa and how she wanted to make every child there feel special. She told her own story of how, as an eight-year old, she received a compliment from a pretty lady, which she has never forgotten. Oprah said it was the first time somebody made her think that she might be beautiful too and it stayed with her all these years.

It was an emotional moment when her producers brought forth the same woman who made her feel special. I felt tears prickle my eyes as I witnessed how moved everyone at the studio was. What made the episode more special to me was the reminder that we may not recall saying a kind word to someone, but to the recipient, the positive ripples may well be remembered in a lifetime.

That made me stop and think. Too often, I see people blurting out unkind words without a thought of hurting someone else, all in the guise of exercising freedom of speech or voicing one’s opinion. And I wonder, do those people really feel better after having bulldozed something someone said?

These thoughts played in my mind because I was recently a recipient of very unkind words from someone. In one of my e-groups, somebody asked for information about something. I replied with what I know and augmented my statements with what I thought. I wasn’t being argumentative, nor was there any intention of starting a word war. In all innocence, I posted my answers because I wanted to help. And what did I get? A hate mail I can’t make heads or tails of except that the sender seemed genuinely wanting to start a fight, going as far as calling me names. And I don’t even know her! So I ignored the email and went on with my life. It’s just sad that there are persons with unhappy lives who could only find joy in seeing others wallow in misery too.

Isn’t it better for us all to always remind ourselves to refrain from saying cutting words and instead focus on making others feel better about themselves? What happened to constructive criticisms or gentle rebukes huh? I salute Oprah for opening a lot of people’s eyes through that segment. It made my resolve stronger to try and uplift other people as much as possible instead of putting them down with negative words or actions. Wouldn’t we all love to hear someone tell us, “You’re beautiful and you’re special”? I do. And it’s not really about vanity but an affirmation of ourselves as wonderful human beings.


AI fever

I haven’t been able to watch Americal Idol completely since it started its first season. I only got to watch every now and then when Jasmine Trias was competing because it was such big news here that a Filipina got in the final twelve. After that season (the 3rd? can’t recall), I wasn’t able to tune in anymore.

This time around though, I was able to catch the show starting with the auditions. Hmmm, pretty entertaining! And with all the drama happening there now, I guess I can already say I’m pretty hooked. Let’s see if the show can sustain my interest until the last day when the real champ emerges. Right now, I haven’t chosen a favorite yet but I do know who I want out …. Yeah, the twin brothers who speak too much for their own good. Talk about loud mouths, and them being guys too! Irritating!

* side note: one day after …

The twins are no longer in the competition! Turned out both have outstanding arrest warrants and are wanted for several charges. Tsk, tsk ….


The Corrs have recently launched their new album entitled HOME. It's a collection of Celtic songs and melodies and I have fallen in love with several of them already. Some are reminiscent of Enya's compositions, which I also like by the way.

Anyhow, two of the cuts from the album are in Irish, with very beautiful melodies sung in Andrea Corr's wonderful voice. I searched the net for the lyrics but can't make heads or tails of the pronunciations ... and I wanted to sing along to them!


So what I did was transcribe one song (that took me more than an hour) and wrote down funny looking words ... which was fine with me, 'coz they made it possible for me to, at least, sing along. That already made me very happy (doesn't take much to make me :p)

Now that I'm finished with Buchaille On Eirne (well, I still want to memorize it LOL), I wonder when I'll have the strength to have a go at Brid Og Ni Mhaille ... hmmm ...

I think I'll stick for now to belting out My Lagan Love, Heart Like a Wheel, and Peggy Gordon. At least those ARE easy to memorize!




Wish list 2006

I can dream, can’t I? Well, here’s hoping that at least half of this list comes true but I’d gladly accept everything if God sees it fit for us to have them all.

- an affordable laptop, so I can bring my work anywhere needed
- a PDA to help organize my chaotic files
- tinwhistles for my collection: Walton’s Irish Rainbow D (blue), Walton’s Nickel D, Oak Classic Pennywhistle D, Acorn D (yellow), Clare (brass D & nickel C), New Style Original Clarke Black D, Feadog nickel D, the 6-pc. Generation Nickel Set
- a car of our own for James’ checkups and family outings


Mommy goes PC playing

For Christmas, we gave Leland a new The Sims CD coz the old one conked out a few months ago. I’ve watched the kids play with it before but haven’t had any inclination, nor the time, to try it out …. until last week, since it was the holidays and I felt I deserve to spend more time having fun on the computer than working during vacation. And then I got hooked.

Maybe it’s due to the family I created that I named after each one of us, and came to care about in so short a time … maybe it’s the challenge of building a nice house little by little for my virtual family (you can’t do it all at once coz you have to make more money first and add on to what you started) … maybe it’s also the unusual feeling of relaxation and at the same time exhilaration when something good came up for each character… or simply maybe I have reached some childlike part of me that longs to act out some dreams that haven’t come true yet. Whatever the reason, I must admit I’m enjoying going back once in a while to the Sims neighborhood and check on my “family”.

Sometimes though, I find out that the kids have altered some scenes and moved things around a bit … which isn’t so bad since they know a lot of cheat codes from Kzone magazine. Ahh, the joys of the young … Now Leland’s asking me to buy him the extension CDs to expand the community. To tell the truth, I’m also excited to find out what’s in store for us next.

And I thought I was too old for that kind of stuff!
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