sad Christmas

3:09 AM Friday, December 29, 2006

I was actually dreading Christmas this year... because Mom won't be around to turn December into Christmas.

And then the many losses of loved ones by loved ones and loved ones' friends...

Tito Rolly lost his beloved Mom 3 days before Christmas.

Then I had to endure an oxygen-tanked Pyro for Christmas... then awakened 6 hours before he expires by a frantic call from a crying brother... the day before I was supposed to celebrate my first anniversary as a married woman.

My sister, seeking solace by spreading the sad news of her beloved nephew and godson's death, told a friend that Py expired at 10:45 AM of December 27... to which her friend got goosebumps because her boyfriend died that same day... that same time... of leukemia.

My cousin then got news of her friend's 8-month old baby dying from a second heart surgery December 28.

And I found out that a 5-year old niece has to have her heart operated on asap because the hole in it she was born with is now really compromising her health.

And my Mom, all by herself in the US refuse to come home for Py's burial... choosing instead to cope by imagining him still alive and just forever out of sight.

And me... I have to deal with the trauma of watching someone die... and my mind has rather turned it into an exaggeratedly violent, ugly episode that wouldn't go away when I close my eyes.

People here need help and prayers!

seriously...

12:36 AM Saturday, December 16, 2006

... i've lately wondered if a guy is more likely to rape a pretty girl, or an average or ugly one.

Because when you hear of a rape case going on, the first thing one does is judge the girl... does she look innocent? does she look like she 'invited' it or asked for it? does she look the type to trigger a man's baser instinct and drive him to behave like some common animal?

So, if a girl is pretty... one might say that her beauty indeed appealed to a man in a crazy way. And one can presume that she has other suitors, may even be used to rejecting men, etc. thus driving this one to feel so bad and wacko.

But then again, there are ugly girls getting raped. And I think some men accord pretty women more respect, thus raping an ugly, non-descript one doesn't seem much of a crime to them. And if the girl turns him in, who is to believe her?

Esply since rape is less a sexual crime, but more a crime of power. Exerting one's will over someone else's.

*~*

And then suddenly you see men talking about men's rights...

I understand how easily a woman can destroy a man's reputation by accusing him of rape... or abuse. And many have taken that route, sadly.

But instances like that are still the great minority. But of course, I would hope that the laws that were created before people thought to be gender-sensitive already allows these people some amount of protection.

Supposedly, the law protects us all from wrongful accusations.

And actually, I don't have any problems about men wanting to fortify our basic rights to protect themselves for scenarios such as rape and abuse accusations.

But I do have a problem when they go about nitpicking on the 'extras' they perceive are being accorded to women... like automatic child custody in cases of separation (unless the woman was deemed unfit), the segregation at LRT, etc. Men are even blaming women for broken marriages, because we're supposedly more vocal and independent now. And some even go so far as to suggest some sort of world domination going on, starting with women leaders and corporate bosses.

Sheesh.

WTF!

this is so pathetic but...

1:31 PM Friday, December 08, 2006

I am on pins and needles... in a good way... about my dancing gimik tomorrow night with a friend.

I miss dancing. I miss being out. I miss dressing up. I miss healthy male attention (from other men). I miss the girl talk. I miss the powder room. I miss having a social life.

Last year... I stopped going on gimiks because I was attending to family and my wedding. The people I go on gimiks with also got busy... finding partners, losing loved ones, getting new jobs, etc. So I didn't feel left out because there were a lot going on in my life. I also got to bond with fellow future-brides (then) and we'd be attending wedding fairs together and what-nots.

Early this year, it also felt natural for me to stay home and enjoy my new home... and my husband. Having my own TV also meant I could reach the apex of my couch potato-ness, so I was rushing home just to watch the Food Network...

But everything settled down and my hubby settled into a weekly gimik with his colleagues... leaving me alone at home most Friday nights and some Saturday nights as well.

Could you spell E-N-V-Y?

I don't begrudge hubs his night outs with the boys... because I was the one who believed that we need the time apart to keep our relationship healthy.

But I was left with no girl friends to hang out with. Most of my social life happen over the internet... chatting and exchanging e-mails... but I was not meeting friends in person.

That felt bad. Sad.

I have a lot of friends... but none of them were ever the type to really meet up. I usually just meet friends once a year, in some before-Christmas gathering, or some other celebration. Arranging to meet monthly over dinner... causes too much hassle and eats up too much of my cellphone load.

So i've given up.

My last bit of hope is Mari... and she had to suddenly work nights. Lolz.

And that time we went to Decades several months ago... we were disappointed because the place played RnB at around 2:00 AM, when we were both already bummed out.

But tomorrow night... I meet some of my Boondocker friends and their kids... and will go dancing with a girlfriend.

May I sweat and grind and bump and shake and jiggy and everything else...and have so much fun to make up for all the months I stayed home!!!

And next weekend, apart from attending a wedding... i'd also be hanging out with girl friends at White Bird.

can't wait... can't wait...

my new toy...

12:13 PM Wednesday, December 06, 2006

... a clit vibe :)

Bought it last week at Pride Exchange (Nakpil cor Orosa) with much embarrassment... and was disappointed because it's a dull color yellow. And i found it too big for my tastes.

Handling it last night, I couldn't help but feel stupid because i've been describing it as "konti na lang, para nang vibrator but weirdly-shaped" when actually, what i was describing was the friggin' battery compartment pala. Nyahahaha.

But the tickler itself is still bigger than the one I first handled (in an MTC EB years ago, which my friends used mostly to tickle me with).

So anyway, hubs was working late and I was alone and freshly-salt scrubbed so I got it out of its box... and put in batteries.

*~*

Twas really weird. In a nice, different way. I won't go into the details of how I used it... but use it I did.

Thrice.

Now, my fingers won't need to get tired anymore... in the odd moments when I want to self-gratify.

*~*

I still draw the line on vibes and dildos... for me. I just worship flesh way too much! :)

This is such a cheap thrill and I really am so bad, but i absolutely enjoy listening to Mo Twister, Mojojo and Andi-9 at Magic 89.9 Mondays-Thursdays (around 7 AM to 10 am, i think)... especially their Forbidden Questions segment that happens every Wednesdays.

Last week had Borgy Manotoc answering the 40 usually controvery-resulting questions (actually, it only becomes controversial because celebrities are asked about who they think are plastic, who they think had plastic surgeries and didn't admit it, which shows they don't care for in their home networks, who they think are gay, etc). And may I just say that i've always acknowledged how good-looking he is (you know, not handsome in a pretty way, tall, lean, with those luscious lips) but never really cared for him... but listening to him and hearing him sound really cool and smart and funny (and by golly, his voice is just made for the bedroom!)... now am one of those who wouldn't mind sleeping with him given a chance! Lolz... but really, he's delicious in ways I think Troy Montero will never be.

Anyway, one of the questions asked Borgy was to name 3 celebrities he's slept with. He named Lana Asanin and Victoria London (2 girls I really don't know) and (seemingly) sheepishly whispering Vina Morales' name. Mojo Jojo said he (Borgy) was blushing indeed because it was an absolute shocker! They were all laughing there and such.

And I absolutely felt admiration for Vina for the first time.

And now, Vina's been adamantly denying it... and demanding for an apology (i think even dragging that Borgy apologize also to Pops Fernandez for saying that she's one of the celebs who's gone under the knife and hasn't admitted it)... and threatening to sue. I didn't watch her interview at The Buzz but my sis said she was absolutely shaking.

Here comes the bad me... I know how terrible it is to have some guy say he's slept with you. I know how very offensive and demeaning and embarassing that can be. I went through that at least twice and it was really, really damnening.

But... I actually believe Borgy.

First, because if one listened to his interview, you'd get how unpretentious he really is.

Second, he was the first to be embarrassed by the fact.

Third, he's yummy... and has nothing to gain by dragging Vina's name.

Fourth, yes, there are people like me who believe it was actually a plus ganda points to Vina.

Fifth, Vina Morales has never been known for her virtue and keeping her legs closed to men. Honestly.

And I actually wouldn't be blogging about this if it hasn't dragged on and on... and people like Cristy Fermin didn't get involved (she had the gall to say Borgy lacked breeding... this coming from a person who's earning from fanning gossip). And ok, I can't exactly frame my other thoughts into coherent... stuff.

:D

*~*

A friend gave birth to a beautiful girl 2 days ago. I also attended a christening 2 days ago. Hay. I am so inggit!

*~*

I never saw an episode before... but someone gave my hubs e-copies of the episodes of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and we decided to watch the,

And now am hooked (am on the 21st episode of Season 1, i think).

I knew it was about housewives but didn't think it was so dark and tragic and really wonderfully written. So now I alternate it with my Friends marathon.

JRA asked which of the couples there we most resemble... and I guess it'd have to be Lynette's. And I realized that I have Lynette's strong sense of right and self-sacrifice, Susan's clumsiness and Gabrielle's horniness... but I cannot identify with Mrs. Van de Kamp. And I really pray i'd never have a kid like hers... because how do you deal with a person without a conscience?

So yeah... I was unproductive over the weekend. :D

sigh...

10:34 AM Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm a weepy, emotional, hormonal mess.

And it's hard pinpointing the exact reason/s why.

Coron, Palawan

12:07 AM Friday, November 17, 2006

SUPERFERRY 1
Fare - P1,814.80 (inclusive of fuel charge and terminal fee)
Accommodation - Cabin (6 to a room, 3 double-deckers, air-conditioned with TV and private shower/CR)
Meals Included - Breakfast

The facilities were nice enough... though I was told by a fellow passenger that Negros Navigation's ship's facilities were nicer. I didn't expect the beds to look that cramped (slightly narrower than a single-sized bed, but slightly longer too) but each bed was curtained (therefore, offering privacy... and shelter from the centralized air-conditioning) and had its own light (for reading, or whatever rituals one is bound to before sleeping). If you board early, Sharon Cuneta singing the Superferry jingle might get on your nerves (as it did on mine... i'm sorry but it's enough to make one crazy), but luckily they have this Volume knob which you can even turn off (only, you also miss their announcements) and they do stop playing the jingle once the ship sails.

I was also disappointed that Superferry 1 didn't offer much by way of entertainment... I guess I've heard so much of their ships having bars and whatever so I went about looking for massage and was directed to a sad-looking niche where one can get hair cuts and manicures. No massage being offered there... and in a way, that's ok because the place didn't look hygienic. There was a videoke singing contest of sorts that time... and the restaurant (ISLAND FIESTA, a fancy name for the cafeteria-looking place at the same level as the ward-like accommodations) there did offer delicious-looking barbecue and sightly-melted ice cream sticks.

I decided I deserved nicer and insisted we eat at the restaurant at the same level as the room-accommodations, HORIZON CAFE. The mushroom soup was nice (P40.) enough, the iced tea was a very strong Lipton blend, the guinataang tilapia tasted good enough but the tilapia wasn't scaled prior to coking (which annoyed my JRA so). I ordered ham and cheese sandwich with fries which cost P95 (their fries order cost P75 and the fries served is only slightly more than the fries I got... so better order what I did and get a sandwich too) was served with the bread un-toasted, much to my dismay.

But my full wrath rant goes to the chicken mami I ordered. First, it cost P110. and cost P30 mor than the expensive but tres delicious mami offering of Ma Mon Luk. Second, it was served in the same bowl-size that my husband's mushroom soup was served in (definitely small because it was served in a saucer too). Third, it only had slivers of chicken, and I swear you'd get more chicken if you ate the mac salad I prepare. Fourth, it wasn't served hot...it was lukewarm at best (the fries was served that way too) and last but not the least... it tasted like boiled garlic with a hint of cabbage. Very reminiscent of food served in budget canteens where students can't complain, only blander. I was really pissed off! I mean, I get that the resto probably pays premium for the exclusive rights to cater to Superferry clients... but the price for the quality (or lack of it) is just plain awful. A foreigner dining near our table returned the rice thingies she ordered. Gosh. To think half of those who can afford to eat there are foreigners...

Another really bad thing is that I didn't see any signage there instructing people to carry their tickets around with them. A person comes into the resto inspecting tickets (I guess to establish legitimacy, in case there are people hitching free rides). The thing is, the one doing the inspection could hardly communicate well in English... so the foreigners just got confused and thought he was asking for MEAL tickets.

And I did say, I didn't see any signage... I can't say for sure that there wasn't any. If there were, I guess Superferry folks should rethink where they're posting them. Or have them emblazoned on the tickets. Or have their receptionists and ushers advise their customers as they lead them to their accommodations.

And am not saying it was all horrible... for I appreciated getting my picture taken as part of the manifest (at least, if the ship sank and our mangled bodies were found, they could easily have identified us (they used webcams at the terminal).

The ferry leaves Manila on Fridays at 7:15 PM and arrives in Coron at 6:00 AM, staying there for an hour and travelling for some two hours more to Puerto Princesa. It calls in Coron again on Sundays, departing at 9:15 PM and arriving in Manila at 8:00 AM Monday.

*~*

We were offered lodging at my company's staff house in Coron and we accepted it so we can save some cash. Since it was Saturday, we didn't think the Culion Museum (two hours of boat ride from Coron to Culion) would be open. And since I still had my period, we couldn't really island-hop just yet so we slept the whole morning instead.

TRINING BACSA RESTAURANT
This is actually a carinderia located near the famous Seadive Resort and just near the fishport (bayan). The food is great for its price. The owner also has a disco place near the eatery and acdtually hails from Batangas. I ordered chicken mami there and it cost P30 only and tasted divine!




We ate here almost all the time, spending less than P200 (for 2 pax) each meal, inclusive of rice, at least 3 viands and juice/softdrinks. I have to admit I ate mami there all the time too. And papaitan twice. Try their tinolang manok... it tastes a little differently but it's good.

And Trining Bacsa actually offers a great pasalubong... bagoong/alamang. Each bottle costs P75 (we bought 4) and everybody (including those who have real high standards where fish sauce is concerned) who tasted it LOVED it. Aling Trining herself is proud to tell the tale of how one foreigner used it as spread for bread.


MT. TAPYAS
Get there riding a tricycle (or just walk to the place) at around P7 per person. The Coronians always boast of its 700+ steps. I believe it's the second-highest place in Coron, and their good people decided to draw travellers to its summit by building all those steps, with at least 10 rest stops (5 of which offers shade).

It does offer a great "Welcome to Coron" experience... because as you climb up, you see more and more of the many limestone formations/islands that make up Coron... and how pristine its waters are.

The climb could take less than an hour (a lot less if you're super fit), but one shouldn't really rush and miss taking in the wonderful view.



Am not sure if people can camp at the cemented summit but I guess it could be allowed provided that the campers maintain the cleanliness of the place. Oh, and be prepared to fall in love...


CHOCOLATE LOVERS CAKES
Just near Trining Bacsa's restaurant is a bakery (also near the Arevalo Store) where one can purchase freshly-made cakes. We bought the following coffee-choco-caramel at around P320 (other cakes cost less).



This cake is really, really rich... with a strong coffee taste and really moist cake. We bought one to share with my colleagues here, as a thank you for the hospitality.

MAQUINIT SPRINGS
To get there, one can either hire a tricycle (or using some other service vehicle) or a pump boat. A magical mystery (for me anyway) is that it's spring water that's salty. I also have no doubt that what the locals say is true... it's waters is hotter than that from Pansol (esply since resorts mix tapwater in their pools to control the heat) and Bicol (Tiwi Hot Springs).

We decided to go there late afternoon (because we felt we couldn't possibly tolerate the hot water during the day) so I was unable to get a good shot of it when the sun is still shining on its waters. And because the spring is so hot, we dared not really bring our cam closer to the pools.

Renting a tricycle would cost P150 (two-way, the tricycle driver waits for you)... and entrance fee is P100/ea for non-Coronians.



The thing was... it got so hot for me that I felt faint. I had heart palpitatios and coudn't breathe... and had to stay at the outermost poolside so I could breathe some fresh air. I just cupped water in my palms and splashed myself while I sat on the edge of the pool. My husband outlasted me by some 15 minutes... after which, he also had to get out of the pool.

People can bring in their own food there and have a picnic/barbecue. It's open till 10 PM. They say they don't have showers there and only CRs and changing rooms, but since there's running water, one can actually take a shower after dipping in the pool (but why would you? its waters is supposedly therapeutic!)

Bring a lot of drinking water with you because the heat is bound to make you terribly thirsty.

For pics of our first day, click here.


CALAUIT ISLAND GAME PRESERVE AND WILDLIFE SANTUARY

Going there is a pain.

It's 3 hours on rough roads plus a 5-minute ferry boat ride.

If you're going to go there via tours offered by resorts like Kokosnuss, it would cost you around P1,500 ea (exclusive of fees and truck hire). If you're just going to get there yourself (ideally, people at the Sanctuary should be notified so it's still best to go with resort tours even if you're not staying in that resort), van rent is P4,500. You can contact our driver, Mike, at 0928-8312099. Ferry ride (two-way) costs P300 (better call Mike talaga because other drivers/resorts drop guests off at a farther distance and guests are made to ride a smaller boat and pay P1,000 for it). Sanctuary fees cost P250/ea while rent of the safari truck is P200 (for the entire group).

The tour will last for more than an hour. But mostly, you're just travelling over hectare upon hectare of overgrown and unruly grass.

Is it worth it to go there?

Well, seeing zebras and giraffes and deers running about... free as the herons flying about is just really unexplainable. You feel happy for them.

But it's really expensive if you're not travelling with a group (to split expenses with). And the sanctuary really reeks of lack of care.

Blame it on the government that has:
1) Kept its caretakers in Job Order status for around 30 years (that means they don't get the usual benefits governement employees get... and with matching delays in salary);
2) Not provided manpower to tend to the plants and animals (they just invite zoologists and botanists and vets there because they don't have any... but Sir Froilan, who conducts the tours, was English-proficient enough and has learned to care for the wildlife like any pro);
3) Not done anything for the original Calauit Island dwellers that it evicted... resulting in informal settlers at the peripherals of the island... 'squatters' who hunt the supposedly protected deer and sell the meat as TAPANG USA in the mainland; and
4) Not allotted budget for the sanctuary, as well as supplementary livelihood for its personnel


So yeah, it was actually a bittersweet thing to go there... seeing the expanse of land untended... and then getting close to the animals that run freely on its grounds.




By the way, you can see mouse deer there... which are mostly kept in a pen since they're only as big as cats (or big rabbits).

On your way home, ask your driver to make a stop at Amik's Restaurant in the town of Busuanga... for cheap but great food... and the warmest greeting from the owner's very beautiful daughter.

For more pictures of our trip to Calauit, click here.

And of course, the trip back is just as tiring. Chances are, you'd easily doze off. But if everything about you hurts, get a MASSAGE from Miss Baby (0910-2205186). If referred by Mike (our driver), she only charges P200 (but please give her P300 because she's really good... and she's a widow with 4 kids, ahehe).


ISLAND-HOPPING TOUR
Many resorts offer such tours. The great thing about Coron (and Palawan in general) is that resorts don't really overcharge for such trips. Sure, they earn more when more people share the van or boat but really, nobody overcharges and rounds off, so you get your change and you don't feel ripped off.

Anyway, we rented our own boat. Again, Mike's friends :) At P1,500, the boat takes you to at least four (4) destinations, exclusive of fees and lunch.

LOS SIETE PECADOS (Seven Rock Islands)
Around 10 minutes from the fish port (so you can buy your packed lunch from Trining Bacsa's early in the morning), Siete Pecados is a cluster of seven limestone islands bordering an area of fish and corals. Palawan has a past of cyanide fishing, and it was only some 30 or so years ago that its people (and the government) became vigilant in protecting our country's last frontier.

Thus, some corals at this Marine Park are still dead. And your boatmen (you'd have at least two... and in the spirit of sharing, may I suggest that when you buy your packed lunch, you also buy them some? Tapsilog at Trining's only costs P35... they actually bring their own baon, but please be nice... who knows, you'd be lucky enough to be given some of their baon too... and am telling you, their TUYO is so delicious!) will tell you that it took at least ten years for the fish to come back to Palawan's waters.

I was actually freaked out by the corals. You are made to swim with lifevests on, and yes, do bring snorkelling gear. Anyway, if you sort of just tread upright on the water, the corals are just two feet or so from your feet! That's how close they are! And since it was kinda gloomy when we were in Coron, the waters were a darker shade of blue-green. I got scared of the corals (esply that anemone-type thing) and the fish (bring plain bread too, to feed them with).

It was absolutely, absolutely SURREAL.

And absolutely WONDERFUL.




Better go to Siete Pecados in the morning, because most island-hoppers go there in the afternoon (finishing at Maquinit Springs), so as to avoid banca traffic.


KAYANGAN LAKE
Breathtaking.

First, because its almost a secret place cared for by the Tagbanuas, with an entrance channel with clear waters, huge rocks and white sand.

Second, because it will require you to trek uphill, and then downhill. So make sure you wear shoes/sandals with grip. In exchange for the P200/person fee, the Tagbanuas have installed and maintain makeshift railings for you to hold onto.

Third, because the lake is just beautiful. Flanked by limestone cliffs, the water is so blue (or green) and clean. It's freshwater and you're sure to be tempted to just laze around in its waters, paddling about and just staring at the limestone cliffs and caves. Shrimp-like fish abound its waters.




Do not make the same mistake as I did, lying on the wooden bank for photo ops... and thus staining my board shorts with the mineral in Coron soil (that thing that makes the soil brownish red). It washes off in time but even the stain on your feet takes a while to brush off (and do note that most boats are white).


TWIN LAGOON
Enjoyment of Twin Lagoon is free if you've already paid your fees at Kayangan Lake. But going to Barracuda Lake will cost an additional P75 (there are whispers that the Tagbanuas don't encourage visits there as much, believing that a barracuda has indeed gobbled up one of their own).

Anyway, I've always thought that brackish water is something dirty... but it actually means that it's a combination of both fresh and sea water. It's wonderfully weird to be swimming in water where it's cold around your chest, and warm around your legs. Hubs said you can actually see the ripples of warm water underneath. And when we were there... it started to rain so the place was dark while we laughed and swam about.




You have to swim under a limestone formation to get to the lagoon. And then there are at least two makeshift harbors to anchor boats to. A kayak can easily pass through (but the rowers would have to duck) the stone to get inside the lagoon.

We ate our lunch back in our boat, amidst many other boats. Sea urchins abound in the rocks at the lagoon's entrance so be very careful. If not, urine supposedly helps with sea urchin stings.


CYC BEACH
I believe this is the last remaining public beach (others would require fees) in the area. It's a small white-sand beach surrounded by mangroves and corals. Perfect for snorkelling (very clean, and you can actually already enjoy the corals without swimming since the waters are so shallow) and fish-feeding (scaredy cat me kept screaming everytime the fish got carried away and fed off my hand... and this i did while standing in waist-deep water! the experience was both exciting and humbling!)




Alas... even if it was JRA who walked over rocks and corals brimming with sea urchins... it was I who got bitten by something. I shrieked and screamed and everybody thought I was had by a sea urchin or jellyfish... and all I could show for my cries is this tiny dot on my ankle that stung so badly, the blood vessels in that area raged!

Sniff. The boatmen said it's part of a fish's house (what do we call their homes anyway? nest? or is it the corals already?) and it's nothing. A part of my skin continued to sting and swell... the boatmen said it will go away soon enough. They advised me to put some vinegar on it if it continued to sting (I never got around to doing that). Anyway, that dot-sized thingie gave me this itchy, ugly, rough welt the size of a peso on my ankle... something I had to take allergy meds and steroids for. "Intense reaction to an insect bite" was the verdict. Sigh.

And clumsy me... avoiding another boat's anchor, I lost my balance and managed to barely save my right leg... I scraped my shin on the anchor (so yes, it's weird how I got so close when I was avoiding it na nga).

We were supposed to go to another beach as a finale but i've had enough... and hubs and I were adamant that I get some Betadine on my bleeding wound lest it becomes infected.

And I couldn't handle the stinging anymore.

Twas not a good ending alright... but the day wasn't wasted at all... because it was still NOTHING compared to the FUN I had and BEAUTY I beheld.

For more pictures of our island tour, click here.


Other tips/notes:
~ buy the panutsa-like treat here made of sugar and cashews for pasalubong. It's the same price as in El Nido or Puerto Princesa but the ones sold here use fresher cashews.
~ invest on cameras. Not only digicams but also underwater cams. The Kodak disposable one (P300-400) actually takes better pictures but it's too expensive. You can buy a reusable film cam with waterproof casing at Toby's for around P1,100-1,300. Outputs aren't as clear but they're good enough.
~ invest on your own snorkelling gear, unless you're ok with just renting them (or at least, bring goggles)
~ invest on cheap dive shoes (ours cost less than P200 ea) to protect your feet from the corals and rocks (mine had holes in them after going to Twin Lagoon)
~ just past Kayangan Lake, you can buy freshly-caught fish from this house/barge on the sea
~ Coron is, unfortunately, prone to brownouts that don't have a fixed schedule. Resorts don't really promise "NO BROWNOUTS" because gas is more expensive there, so sustaining generator sets isn't really a priority. Which is why air-conditioned rooms might prove to be more frustrating if there's power failure while you're sleeping in the dead of night.
~ Don't be scared of malaria. But do wear lots of sunblock and off lotion.
~ Always be courteous and respectful of the people... and heed signs against pollution and corruption of their natural resources. Meanwhile, you can generally trust the people not to rip you off or take advantage of you, even if you're a foreigner.
~ Around 2 PM, make sure to walk around the streets at the bayan and catch this jolly old guy selling TURON. It's divine! At P5 each... it's really absolutely divine. I never imagined banana fritters could melt in your mouth!!!
~ Unfortunately, I had to resort to peeing in the water because there's just no CR in any of the lakes/islands. It was really hard to do while you're floating on water which is why I patiently swam to that makeshift harbor in Twin lagoon so I can anchor myself to something and pee.
~ If you can, rent a boat that will take you to Banana island... the one they say can give Boracay a run for its money
~ In Coron , in particular, and Palawan, in general, there are just too many islands... and too little time.

a time to spend

8:27 AM Monday, November 13, 2006

Bonus time has come.

And because of Bagyong Milenyo, we were also offered the opportunity to file for a calamity loan.

Thus, lots of cash and gift cheques are on hand.

But alas, there are bills to be paid. I want to use most of the money to pay off some of the car loan we got for Maxime.

And we really should buy a spare tire na.

And I want to give some money to Py, Ela and my cousin Tin's son... since they need money more than gifts.

But of course, my other nieces and nephews would also require either money or gift (but i've taken to just giving money or gift cheque so their parents could buy them milk and whatever they really need...)

Then, I owe JRA a gift (birthday and Christmas). And am not so sure if the compact digicam (to support and replace for the meantime my broken S2) we plan to buy this week can stand as his birthday and Christmas gift.

And I have already spent around P6k just for stupid lab tests and consultations re my thyroid problem.

So, although deep inside I know how blessed I am to have money and spend it... I also can't help but feel bad that I would be left with almost nothing for myself...

Sigh.

*~*

Then again, I really can't think of any material thing I really want (I am mightily envious of JRA's new 60gb media player but I know I'd just treat it as a glorified mp3 player)... though I need new shoes and clothes (that fit). The only thing that made myself catch my breath is handling the Canon eos 400D... but that's for next year pa...

But I want to be materialistic! I want something tangible to reward myself with.

And I don't want to invest on food!

*~*

Where can I find cheap dancing classes? And climbing buddies who could be patient with a weak climber like me?

And a picture of tommy lee's *ehem* :D

my dermaladies

4:12 PM Tuesday, November 07, 2006

again, the Palawan post would have to wait

*~*

Watching The Devil Wears Prada around 2 months ago... I found myself getting bitten by something. I scratched the itchy bite and let go, knowing I have to stop lest it results in scarring.

Aba, after 3 days... there is that swollen welt pa din!

Aba, after a week... there is that inflamed portion pa din!

True enough, I should have worried much earlier. It turned out that the bite got infected and became some sort of impacted boil.

Yuck.

It had to be excised... and that required anesthesia.

So then, I had a hole in my leg. Yuck all the more.

And cleaning it entailed much poking with betadine-filled cotton buds.

Then I noticed, i'm getting irritated by the gauze pad and surgical tape. But no, I was actually getting irritated by the betadine! From a bite to a boil to a hole, it developed into some sort of eczema. My dermatologist was actually surprised to finally meet someone who's allergic to betadine. Sheesh.

Anyway, that boil episode lasted for a month. All from an insect bite!

*~*

A month later... while people were frolicking in the same beach as I am in Coron, and my husband was snorkelling about, I decided to just feed the fish from waist-deep high waters.

I was moving towards shallower portions when I felt something sting my left ankle. Afraid that I might have gotten unlucky enough to have stepped on a sea urchin, I pulled out my foot to see this plant-like dot on my ankle... that's causing blood vessels to 'pop out and get red' in that area.

I screamed.

I shrieked.

I was center of distraction... and not in a good way.

Half-carried back to the shore... one of our boat men wiped off the stinging something, told us it's nothing, just some particle from where fish live... and said I shouldn't worry.

Some inflammation after (and incessant pain, mind you), they said not to worry NGA coz the swelling on my skin would go away.

Well, it didn't.

Islands and days away, other boatmen would tell us it's nothing again. And sure enough, the seawater seemed to be facilitating the healing.

Then am back here in Manila, with that portion all itchy and rough and dark and dry and driving me crazy. It seems like our worst fears are true... and sure enough, my dermatologist told me that it's an "intense reaction to an insect bite... not yet an allergic reaction, but a very intense reaction... and we should care for it lest it becomes infected...etc... etc"

Caring for it requires topical cream applications, anti-allergy meds for a week... and STEROIDS.

Now, am getting more fat and acne than I need.

On top of my peeling, dark skin.

Tsk!

*~*

Still, I can't help but be grateful that am already married and need not worry about attracting guys anymore... because I sure wouldn't... not like this...

sshhh...

6:33 PM Wednesday, November 01, 2006

... had too much fun in Coron.

Having too much fun in El Nido.

Expecting a long and bumpy ride to Puerto Princesa tomorrow... and too much fun as well.

(ekshuli, I feel woozy right now because of the day-long boat ride and battle with the waves... and I just missed getting a massage tonight... but there are seafood buffets awaiting those who sacrifice massage time...)

See you when I become properly dry again... :)

*~*

Happy Halloween! May our departed continue touching our lives thru the lessons we can glean from the lives they led.

Smackdown - Live In Manila

1:33 PM Wednesday, October 25, 2006

JRA and brother said twas boring compared to RAW... where the fights were extended and more entertaining.

But i've always been morbidly fascinated by Undertaker (coffin, death, you know) so I shrieked and screamed my heart out... my hubs and BIl and other kids I was sitting with all ended up watching me half the time. Ahehe.

And of course, I got way too excited, I didn't think of just video-taping Undertaker's entrance.

(by the way, digicams were supposedly not allowed but there were so many ways to still get them inside... and when the main event came on, nobody thought of hiding their cams anymore)

And of course, I cried when Batista made his entrance, not because am a fan... but because he carried Py in his arms and made my nephew happy for a while.

Oh... and may I rave about how great my cam is? It's 12x optical zoom didn't disappoint, as you can see.

*~*

JRA bought me a 1 gb SD for our Palawan trip :)

Divine Davao

12:23 AM Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's been ages since my trip there... and ok, now, am gonna cram :D

THE PEOPLE
Davaoenos are soo nice! They're very magiliw, the Filipinos you cannot help but be proud of, the Pinoys you'd really wanna meet in your travels. They're gracious and sweet and helpful and patient and polite.

Hay, I have nothing but nice things to say about them! Of course, highway vendors will still rip you off some with overpriced fruits and stuff... but you won't be scared of them, or totally turned off by them.

I really wouldn't mind living with them around me.

THE CITY
Davao's main appeal to me is that there's a province-wide smoking ban. Colleagues from there tell us about how Duterte and his henchmen would sometimes storm certain facilities (like bars) just to check if the ban is being strictly implemented. :)

Duterte is also known to be very vigilant against criminals... thus the clean streets. Taxi drivers would give you change (heck, you can even make tawad and not pay the last 2 or 3 pesos). Almost anywhere is P7 in jeepney or multicab ride. Few taxis have air-condition... and you don't really need it because even if it's the middle of the day, there's always that cool breeze... non-polluted air you can enjoy.

Of course, Davao is like fruit bowl of Mindanao, where all produce converge. Rambutan, Mangosteen, Durian, Lansones, Pineapples, etc. All sweet, all cheap, all bountiful. Even fish and seafood, aside from vegetables, abound in this City... thus restos offering buffet meals for as cheap as P99 can be found left and right.

It's not as congested as Cebu... and highways are really highways... and travels would always offer views.

Lots are a lot cheaper compared to Manila, of course, but the number one thing offered by this Metropolis is the low cost of living... and the better quality of life. Stress isn't really part of life in Davao. At least, not in the same way it besets people in Manila, or other cities.

PARADISE ISLAND RESORT
Because we didn't originally plan to stay here overnight, we had to settle for what available room we could find... which at that time happened to cost P1,800.00 overnight. I find it actually steep because, though the villa-type room is pretty, the overnight rate doesn't come with hot water, bath tub and breakfast. Then again, it is a resort so I shouldn't compare it to hotel rooms here in Manila.

Paradise is said to have gotten the second-best beach strip in the island of Samal. The best, of course, is what the Pearl Farm Resort got. Paradise is this massive property where they're adding more rooms. The cheapest rooms are the Family Rooms which can accommodate up to 20 people at P300/person. They also have Fan rooms... our room was the cheapest air-conditioned room.

They told us we couldn't bring in food... but day-trippers brought cases and jugs and bags and baskets of food. The Day Tour rate is only P75 and that entitles you to roam around their aviary, playground, use their wash/bathrooms, dine in their resto... and enjoy the glorious sun and white-sand beach.

Paradise owns this property at Sasa Wharf where people can park their cars... and 7 boats transport guests to and fro (i think from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM) for only P10/pax (or P80 if you don't want to wait for the boat to be filled up). The ferry trip lasts for around 5 minutes.

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The resort has so many hired hands whose main job is to just clean and clean and clean the place... there are people in charge of raking leaves and whatever off the sand... there are boat men stationed near the breakwater's edge to collect whatever floating material they can scoop up with their nets... and everywhere, staff are handy to assist the guests.

Oh, before I forget, the room fee entitles you to several indoor sports (ping-pong and billiards) or 30-minute kayak or paddleboard time. You can also rent aqua cycles (err... but they're kinda not meant for BIG people; kids have fun with them tho) and banana boats. Aqua sports are only allowed when it's low tide... or when the current isn't too strong... so people need not be afraid of falling off the kayaks because the water will be manageable (and there'd be all those staff and lifeguards).

People from Davao think the food at the resort's restaurant is expensive... but really it's just like eating at Dencio's or something... and the total order you pay P600 for here equates to marginally more food. And at night time, serenaders go from guest to guest and table to table singing classic love songs.

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* correction, the small order of paella pala cost P200


I recorded the sound of the waves crashing on Samal shores for a ring tone :)

SAMAL INLAND TOUR
Paradise Island Resort works with Samal folks and generates a living for them in a number of ways... one of which is working with them to offer INLAND tours to their guests (actually, you can also avail of island-hopping, snorkelling tours).

Though a separate offering really, one can still expect the same courteous and friendly service from the tour guides. For P750 (max of 3 pax), a multicab takes you to three sites in Samal Island to give you a better feel of the island and its unexploited beauty.

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(Samal Island has convenience stores, internet shops and drug stores on top of the usual provincial elements like old churches and nipa huts.)

to the bat cave!
Actually, it wasn't a cave like the one in Sagada. Around 15 minutes from Paradise Resort is a hill, with four huge holes on the ground, a sort of underground cavity where fruit bats (largest colony of Rousette fruit bats in the world!) live (and fly, and make those chirp-like noises, and poo, and etc.).

I am honestly morbidly afraid of bats. Seriously! Anything that resembles rats, I wanna do nothing with. Thus, I had to rely on my cam's 12x optical zoom for closer pictures of them. JRA got a headache from the smell of their poo (guano?) but I was surprisingly un-bothered by it. I managed to take a video of them flying about in those holes... but manage to also stupidly delete the file from my cam. Ahehe.

Anyway, back to the bats. You pay P20/pax (i forgot na, but not more than that, and it's not included in the Tour Rate) to help the owner of the land maintain the area so that the bats will continue to fluorish. And since I was expecting a Sagada-like experience, I went there in my bathing suit and wrap... rendering my body (legs especially) free to be bitten by insects. And trust me, you will be bitten... by mosquitoes or by ants. I believe I came away from the place with at least 20 bites per leg... which led to a quick stop in a drug store to buy alcohol and Off Lotion (too late ahehe). So if you're going there, wear pants! If you want, bring a mask too (but that will so take away from the experience).

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Afraid as I am of them... creepy they may be as their throng flutter row after row... they were simply just amazing too. It's a phenomenon that makes you feel like a little child that discovered something... beautiful... and secret. If not for the biting insects and the smell, it's actually pretty calming to just watch them go about their bat business.

I heard the Extra Challenge went there. And they say that if you're down there with the bats (ah gawsh, heaven forbid!), the smell isn't as strong.

gushing forth
Next stop in the tour (about 20 minutes away) takes you to Hagimit Springs. You'd have to trek a little to go to the springs (and river and falls) but it's not very exacting. You pay P5 at the gate where the multicab waits for you. Supposedly, they have undertaken the establishment of CRs and bath rooms there but I didn't see any.

Anyway, there are more beautiful springs than Hagimit. But it is charming enough, its waters a dusky green and cold in a really refreshing way. Oh, how I frolicked there... and laughed... and hit my knee on stones again and again. But one cannot help but fall in love!

For anyone who wants to go there, better bring food with you and have a picnic under the trees that surround the place. Feel free to share some food with your guide (by the way, for each tour, you get two people, one drives, the other answers questions) or the locals (just don't be giving the kids money... let us not change their culture, let's just be gracious).

And enjoy the water! Honestly, I had more fun swimming there than at the beach in Paradise! I just really loved, loved the place! Of course, since I can't swim, I didn't dare immitate the locals who use the rocks as diving boards.

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Feel free to also pose with the locals. And yes, it's really a wise decision to bring along a waterproof camera (disposable ones from Kodak cost P300, non-disposable ones from Toby's cost P1,300... but I honestly like the quality of the pictures from the disposable ones... only the disposable ones don't have flash)

proud beauty
Perched on one of the highest points of the island, the Samal White House (or old Moncadian headquarters) can be seen from mainland Davao. It's an old structure undergoing piecemeal renovation, a relic from a past riddled with wars and resonating of our Spanish ancestry.

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Of course, I fell in love with the house... its huge windows and sparse furnishing (then again, nobody lives there anymore)... the wood used in its beams and flooring... It didn't even feel haunted... and didn't smell musty, maybe because the sea breeze cleanses the smell of decay from it.

Mitchi was a Moncadian volunteer who took us on a tour of the house... up to its attic... and down to where treasure hunters have dug a hole in the ground, under the house, looking for Yamashita's treasure. I think I fell in love with her too, her serene face and gracious manner. Volunteers alternate in 'manning' the place so that tourists/travellers would have someone to show them around and answer questions.

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* Helario Moncado founded the Filipino Crusaders World Army in 1925 in Los Angeles. Its followers are referred to as Moncadians... it's a cult or a religious sect, a little like the Rizalistas. They hold their Sabbath (or Mass for us Catholics, and Worship for other Christian sects) on Saturdays. They are mostly vegetarian/fruitarian (but some can eat raw veggies alone, or cooked veggies, or veggies and fish, or veggies and seafood, or veggies and chicken... but not pork or beef). They have female divinity. Their collections resulted in the Moncado Settlement where the White House and their old church was built (the church was later transferred to a more accesible place). There are also Moncadians in Visayas. And their leaders are addressed as Generals.

The White House used to house the officials of the religion aside from their written works. I already forgot how many hectares the settlement is but we were told that there are plans of building accommodations at the foot of the hill for guests. We suggested that it will make the perfect retreat place... with the House as a piece de resistance of sorts, standing grand over the area.

The entire tour takes about four hours (depending of course on how long you enjoy each stop)

PROBINSYA RESTAURANT
Their lunch and dinner buffet costs P195/pax (cash...plus 12% VAT) which I found cheap and totally worth it. Actually I just like the native enselada station they have, with kilawin na tuna (not sure which fish but definitely not blue marlin)... and absolutely love the dessert station, topped with a halo-halo bar.

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Again, staff are courteous. The ambience is nice. And its located just near Gate 6 of the Victoria Plaza Mall.

VICTORIA PLAZA MALL AND GAISANO MALL
But of course, I decidedly skipped SM Davao.

Victoria Plaza Mall's main atraction for me is the bake shop in front of its grocery (near Gate 6) where one can get melt-in-your mouth eggpies! It cost P150/whole. Just near it is Merco bakeshop... Davao's answer to Goldilocks, showcasing really mouth-watering leche flans (ahehe, I didn't bother finding out if their cakes were divine). One can already buy the durian-mangosteen-pomelo candies and tarts and what-nots at the grocery there.

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I had my nails done and my brows plucked at Hair Zone (near Gate 1). Again, I have nothing but good things to say about their staff. Pedis cost P80, manis cost P60, plucking costs P80, threading costs P80, massages cost P300 (i think).

Gaisano Mall is a bigger mall... with areas dedicated to phones... computers/gadgets... spas/beauty... bakeshops (one bakeshop there even offers 50% discount on everything starting 7:30 PM)... and it had two stalls of Holy Kettle Corn. Now I know I can really live in Davao!

PHILIPPINE EAGLE CENTER
The place wasn't as big as I thought it would be. But people should bring food when they go there because there isn't much in the way of kiosks... and it's really a nice place for a picnic. I think the best area is right near the monkey pen :)

Anyway, one can either take a bus or a van at Bangkerohan (it's near the marketplace) bound for Calinan. I'd suggest that you go for the van (provided you don't ride it with someone bearing durian). The bus we rode going there had poor air-conditioning and was very slow and kept stopping everywhere. The ride takes about 40-60 minutes. I ate a whole pomelo during the bus ride to the eagle center and yet another on the return trip... amidst curious glances of the people I rode the van with. Fare costs P30. Then you pay P5 at rhe Watershed gate. Then you pay P50 at the Eagle center.

Aside from plants (wonderful orchids) and other animals (croc, monkeys, deer, warthog, other birds), the Center boasts of some 15-20 eagles there. The Philippine eagles are housed in cages that are at least 4 stories high, making it difficult to sometimes see them... what more, take pictures of them.

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Good thing my cam had 12x optical zoom! (now, if only i'd stop having problems with batteries). Adopt an Eagle requires godparents to donate around P100,000 for at least 6 years. hopefully, more wealthy people would take up that cause so these majestic creatures could be soaring our skies again.

SPA 101
This spa is newly opened. And cheap. With quality service! Located along J. P Laurel avenue, Bajada (in front of Davao Light Plant), they offer promo rates for their massages. And they said they're going to bring the rates further down for December.

Anyway, I was able to twice get a massage there... and I love the peppermint oil they smeared all over my body! Their cheapest massage costs P199 (promo rate), Sea Salt Exfoliating Body Scrub is only P399, and Facial with Masque costs P199.

ALDEVINCO AND JASMINA'S
Aldevinco is a one-stop shop for Moslem/Mindanao wares. The sarongs I bought cost only P110-140 ea (depending on wether tie-dyed or not) and are bigger in width than the ones being sold here in Manila... with back-to-back designs. T-shirts could be had for as cheap as P85, with the cotton quality very good. I also bought 2 bags that cost P200... but the purchase that sends me into ecstasies are the malongs I bought.

I already have some 7 malongs at least... which I use as blankets here at home... and back when I was into mountaineering. But these malongs are a little more special... they're made from Rosalinda cotton, which is softer and smoother. That's where Jasmina's come in. Their shop is located just near one of the many enrances of Aldevinco (one that also fronts Ateneo de Davao). You can text 0919-2831134 for directions. Anyway, we went to so many stalls but they're the only ones who had the malongs I bought. Most shops will offer the usual cotton ones... or the metallic/silk ones. I bought four at P250 each. I'd take pictures of them later :D

Haggling is a must in Aldevinco! And note that some of their offerings are priced much higher than if you bought them in Quiapo, Sta. Cruz, Greenhills or other tiannges here in Manila.

MARCO POLO HOTEL
We didn't stay here... although i've stayed there before. We just went there to eat breakfast one morning :) I dunno, I love their buffet! And yeah, by the time we went there, I was already too sick of taking pictures that's why I don't have any. Ahehe.

Of course, there are so many restaurants offering buffets in Davao.

*~*

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I was only in Davao for a week. But I feasted on great food, great sights and great people. I really wouldn't mind living there...

And I wouldn't mind returning for more adventures. We were supposed to go to Davao Crocodile Park which is in the same area as the Butterfly Farm at Riverfront Corporate City (tricycle ride to the Park costs P10, but it can prove a hassle because you'd really have to chance taxis and stuff). Actually, we managed to get to the gate but rain poured in buckets for hours and so we decided to skip it. If anybody's going there, they better go in the afternoon. More things happening in the afternoon.

I'd also want to stay overnight in Eden Nature Park and try white-water rafting in Davao. I'd also love to visit Talicud Island, snorkel there, and go trekking in the unexplored trails in Samal. And of course, there is Mt. Apo to be conquered too.

I feasted too much on tuna sashimi and kilawing tuna, I broke out in rashes. See, technically, am supposed to be allergic to tuna. Howell.

Hopefully, I didn't forget anything. If I did, i'd just add to this.

And yes, I had a blast in Davao. I keep falling in love with this great city. It has everything I love about the Philippines... and the Filipino.

*~*

More pictures here... like 200+ of them

suddenly senti

1:01 PM Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Davao post would have to wait.

I didn't know what led me to make contact to someone from the past. But I just realized today that I have been holding on to the pain and anger... when we had all those wonderful memories I could instead hold dear.

I suddenly felt it's about time I make peace... not with what could have been between us, but with what was... and be happy with what could be from what was.

Knowing him, I don't expect a reply really. Heck, he may not even read the e-mail (and heck, his e-mail client actually returned the first one I sent because the mp3 I attached was too big daw). But let that be my last say.

And somewhere over the rainbow, who knows, we could be friends again.

twenty-nine years

1:14 AM Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Twenty-nine years...

Enough time to have scabbed knees and gotten chicken pox and the measles...

But not yet enough to have seen the world.

Enough time to have run with wolves, gone out with jerks, and learned to be a b!tch...

But not yet enough to really be an authority in love and life.

Enough time to have bridged distances and forged friendships...

But not yet enough to really say, I have made a difference in this world.

Enough time to have gotten inspired, and be amazed and know joy

But not yet enough to have been a mentor to someone else.

Enough time to find a good person to spend a lifetime with...

But not yet enough to be a mother to my own kids.

Enough time to have enjoyed my parents, my family...

But not yet enough to let them go.

Enough time to have realized some of my dreams...

But not yet enough to have stopped dreaming.

I turn twenty-nine years today... and I am grateful for all the things those years have given me.

I turn twenty-nine years today... and I am asking for twenty-nine years more.

*~*

It is also Pyro's anniversary today.

*~*

For the 2nd time in my life, I will be spending my birthday away from my family... watch out for my travelogue on Davao next week.

thanks, for we were blessed

9:25 PM Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's like my world stood still all the more last week, getting caught up with preparations for our Davao Budget Hearing this coming week... adjusting to the fact that there is no more Boss Len... dealing with our Dept. Mngr.'s anxiety over the change (and not doing pretty well myself)...

And then, Bagyong Milenyo hit... and I shamefully slept the whole time it was raging its war on billboards and trees and houses (subdivisions even) and electric posts and who knows what else. Last Thursday, I woke up at past 6 AM to see our street already flooded, and the rain already pouring. I already read another boss' text message that work was cancelled due to the typhoon and actually just had enough time to worry about my husband driving on flooded streets.

Twas a blessing in disguise that it's coding day for Maxime (our car) so JRA left way before the rains really fell down catastrophically... and I fell asleep to wake up at past 2 PM to find Manila ravaged. I even had to find out that electricity was cut off from a text message from a friend... I really didn't notice since I slept just fine without the electric fan.

I woke up, went to the other house and my sis was anxious to have me come in asap, afraid something flying would hit me. Turned out, pieces of roofs, branches and other stuff landed on cars and houses and windows here... and I just really slept through it all.

And both houses were relatively untouched by the typhoon... while our neighbors had to deal with leaks and broken roofing and uprooted trees.

And the news and the clean-up going on in streets and roads... it felt all surreal to me!

But the devastation was great indeed... and am so sorry for all those who were left without homes, or the comforts of having electricity (and being able to use your mobile phone, other gadgets, having internet and cable tv).

On another note, it was humbling to know that the typhoon was non-discriminating... everyone was at its mercy, both the rich and poor. People who can afford houses in subdivisions (Bacoor) and informal settlers and farmers alike were all chased away. People in Tondo and people living in Ayala, Alabang suffered from lack of electricity and water supply. In fact, there are still no classes at DLS-Zobel tomorrow because they had not yet been able to fix a line that got broken.

Hopefully, there will be no more storms such as this... for a really long time.

And hopefully, everyone stops from putting up those billboards back on thoroughfares.

I'm really thankful I, and my family, are blessed.

*~*

I'm sorry my blog friends, I'm really busy and pre-occupied with a lot of things... and I don't know when I can return the favor of a visit. But thank you for dropping by...

Villa Valencia II for Boss Len

7:49 PM Sunday, September 24, 2006

Last May, we made plans for a department outing in Zambales... then tragedy struck and one of our colleagues was widowed. So, we did not push through with the planned outing since it didn't seem ok to be having fun while a wife and son are grieving in our midst.

Last August, we planned an outing in Pansol... as a despedida for our retiring Division Manager. Tragedy struck again, and a colleague lost a sister. Again, plans for the outing were shelved.

Then Boss Len got accepted in ADB and since she was a favorite among us, we made plans again for another outing. Then tragedy struck again... our other Div. Mngr. lost her mother. But with her blessing, we resolved to push through with the despedida thingie since it's starting to feel like the more we don't have it, the more people are dying among our loved ones. Superstitious crap, we know. But it's one of those coincidences that don't feel good when you ponder them.

Plus, it's Len... we love her!

So I recommended Villa Valencia II, a resort (049-8343201, Lolit) I used to frequent with internet friends years ago. And by golly, the memories rendered me quiet for at least 3 hours when we got there.

The gazebo where the videoke equipment is... where we used to dance to songs like HORNY... and where I once allowed to have a girl friend put some salt on me (and the saltshaker cover came off and I was showered with iodized salt all over my belly) for tequila bodyshots... the stairs where a former admirer asked a girl friend of mine to touch his pecker so she could tell him if it was really small... the rooms where quickies hapened... and commitments to relationships transpired... the room where I got my girl friends to let me take pictures of them in their brassiers... or sans brassieres... the nook where two of my favorite boys decided to lounge watching the girls kissing each other in the pool... myself dodging someone's tongue on my shoulder... on my ear...

Sigh...


Videoke Nook


Tables and sink downstairs, plus 2 bathrooms... bedrooms upstairs


bedroom with 8 beds (you just haver to duck when you're changing because people can see you from outside)


the pool


the falls that bring fresh, hotspring water


the star... not Mariang Makiling but a Mariang someone else


And that's only for Villa Valencia II. At the other side is Villa Valencia I (049-5451763, Remy), where a drunk girl friend decided to borrow someone's shirt and shorts and dive into the pool braless... to get the attention of this guy she was dating, but who started dating someone else... and watching their tug-of-war over that guy all night... and myself forgetting my towel and having to wait in the shower till I get dry enough to change into my dry clothes... and again, that sniffing nose and stolen caresses of this guy... who could have had the diver girl (who was Donita Rose pretty) but was just really so into me... and the whole night of dodging him and his seduction...


the rectangular pool with slide


the rooms


the room and beds


Anyway, for those interested to go... Villa Valencia II is neatly tucked away from the road... it's more romantic than Valencia I (but Valencia I has a bigger garage, and 2 rooms of equal size that fits 8 beds ea) and more compact... it's not hospital (or hotel) sterile but it's clean and nice and you can barbecue there. It costs P3,500 if you rent the place from 6 PM to 6 AM the following day... or P2,500 if you rent it during the day... or P6,000 if you rent it overnight and extend to the whole day, or even only until noon the following day. Cheap huh!

Valencia II has 8 beds in one room (one of which is queen-sized) while the other room only had 3 beds. We usually give that room to the guys since they can sleep wherever naman... and since they mostly drink till the wee hours, they don't require that much space. We've used the place several times already before for overnight swimming gimiks... and none were victimized by theft that has become common in Pansol, Laguna. Maybe because at Valencia II, there's no other way of going to the rooms except through the stairs, which everyone can watch from anywhere in the place.

Rooms aren't air-conditioned and there's no ref... but you can heat food because there's a gas stove... and you can pre-order San Mig Lite or Pilsen from them in advance (P500/case for SML). And use of the videoke is already covered by the rent (so yea, truly no possible way one can really sleep!).

The general direction how to get there is... if coming from Manila, watch out for the Binalot resto on your right (this food place comes after the 2nd set of railway tracks you'd cross). Just a minute from that place you'd see a sign for Wonder Springs Resort, but you turn RIGHT on the street before Wonder Springs. At the end of that street is a barangay outpost deadend, and you turn LEFT there... and then turn RIGHT again at the first corner. Valencia II comes before Valencia I on your left. (e-mail me for the map, which would only show you the directions I gave anyway).

The cooler thing is that... there IS a 24-hour Binalot resto near it, and for a measly P50 they're willing to deliver. You can also call ahead and pre-order food if you want. 049-5453193. What to order? :)




Yes, I love that place. Hubby is taking his team there to unwind this coming weekend.

*~*

A new week starts for all of us tomorrow... and one of the coolest Moms I know i'd ever meet will no longer be a regular part of my days. Gone are the talks about anything and everything and reminiscences about anything and everything... I'm sure going to miss her. And I still wish I can at least be half the woman she is. Because she's really great... really amazing... really wonderful... really cool... really loving... really wise... really principled... really admirable.

my sadness...

11:16 AM Thursday, September 21, 2006

Myabe it's really just birthday blues.

But I find myself very unproductive these days. I even have to be constantly reminded to do the littlest things... and my home is a mess. I'm just not really apllying myself to anything, or even if I do, it feels like am not there.

Like am not present.

Like I don't exist.

Ugh. How melodramatic.

I look around and see colleagues losing loved ones. Even in-laws are losing loved ones. My fave boss is leaving for ADB. Other friends have found new jobs, published a book, hooked up with someone new, tried a new sport, and gotten pregnant. Husband has Phuket and Singapore coming up, aside from his exams (which, when he's reviewing for them, drives him to not go home early since I prove so much of a distraction walking about naked at home).

It's like people around me are living active lives... and i'm just watching them. But I really don't have anything I look forward to, or feel passion for. The bit about digiscrapping and photography are things i've also already shelved.

(actually, am going to Davao on my birthday because of some Budget Hearing... but though I haven't gone there for years, it's still a routine thingie here at work... and yes, we do have a Palawan trip all planned up)

I have started scouring the net for vacancies because i've really been forced to confront my unhappiness and stagnation here at my present job. 6 years of the same bureacratic drudgery is bound to kill something in someone. But I have yet to send my resume to companies i'm targetting.

And still, there's no tingling feeling of being alive.

I am numb, detached.

Well, of course, Pyro and our cause (getting him to meet Batista) will always touch me.

But still... detachment. Ambivalence. Indifference.

a medical rant

3:53 PM Friday, September 15, 2006

My boss' Mom had a stroke and our division saw it fit to visit them at the hospital. I was admittedly appalled when I saw that they were occupying a charity ward at UST Medical (thinking that surely, she as a Division Manager will want better care for her Mom and pay for a room). Imagine how horrified I got to know that they were there because there are just no more rooms available, even ICU rooms, in 7 of the biggest hospitals here in Manila (including PGH and Madocs).

Why?

Because of the dengue outbreak.

Heck... another boss' Mom is at the ER in Medical City, waiting for a room too.

So it really pisses me off that the news last night still didn't sound ALARMING enough for people to be more vigilant against dengue.

There was a segment on how 3 schools in QC had ordered that their students wear pants and/or knee socks and that's actually nice. But how come DECS (or MalacaƱang) or DOH hasn't ordered it for the rest of the other schools? The news says that dengue is common during rainy season, but why does it feel they've stopped there? I'm not saying that they should drive people to panic... but I have yet to feel that the government is taking the dengue problem seriously.

Come on, enough to fill hospital rooms?

Or should I just rant about how medical facilities are sorely lacking in this country, nay, in this city?

All i'm saying is, if we don't have enough money for the facilities just yet... is it really too much to ask for other campaigns to be carried out against this outbreak?

My sis probably got dengue when she was travelling to and fro Novaliches before. It was just a stroke of luck that when high fever hit her, she was at a hospital.

Of course, i'm just sooo thankful that Pyro has been able to get a room when he had to be re-admitted in PCMC for E. Coli. But I now fret all the more because PCMC is also harboring so many dengue victims right now. It's a pediatric hospital and yet they had to admit high school and college students stricken by the disease too. Only one contaminated bite is all it takes...

Argh. I could go on and on.

Well, I guess it's either I get upset (angry) or sad...

*~*

Hubby had reassuring words for me again, knowing how such things get to me... how traumatized i've been by the medical services in the city.

I'm just praying dengue season will be over soon. My sister was lucky to have parents who could afford the lab tests and hospitalization... but it's the urban poor who are really at risk and dying...

And that's only dengue... I don't even want to think of kids who were born poor who are sick.

negligent

9:53 PM Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I have been horribly negligent of my blog. It's just that i've been in limbo for the past few weeks... delirious with happiness with a husband who worries over me, plagued by worry over my nephew's ongoing battle against cancer, terribly annoyed by an abscess-like something on my right leg (and truly, heaven knows what caused it!), and overly anxious about my fave, fave boss' resignation.

There's also me dealing with birthday blues, and suddenly finding that I'd have to go to Davao on the day of my birthday... and me planning a Davao weekend with JRA and a Palawan trip that same month.

I'm also still maniacally downloading digiscrapping kits that I haven't time to actually use.

And of course, immensely anticipating the next season of THE AMAZING RACE (which i'd miss for a week because of the Davao thingie).

Oh, and someone has thought to send me Tagalog Erotica... and goodness, I spent almost the whole of Friday last week surreptitiously trying to finish the 18-page story.

And yes, suddenly am hounded by ideas for a book (cross between memoirs and fantasies, inspired by Batjay's new book and egged on by friends).

And some guy I was polite/friendly enough to keep chatting with is walking about with the very false notion that he'd be sleeping with me soon... just because he's told me in every way possible that being young (turning 29 is still young) and horny (congenital, really) will eat at me until I give in and unleash myself onto men (all shapes and sizes, I think).

(this reminds me, i've finally gotten around to using the black strip of cloth I got as souvenir from the Bondage lecture... as blindfold)

Have I made a good job of providing excuses?

I hope so.

Because though am really not on hiatus, I just find i'm too preoccupied with different things to actually blog. (but I am trying to at least post every week!)

*~*

A good friend of mine is one of the few lomographers on exhibit at LOMO LOVE... at the old Marikina Shoe Expo in Cubao. Check them out!

BDSM (and fairs!)

11:18 PM Sunday, September 03, 2006

The thing that had my a$$ all excited and giddy since last week happened last Friday... attendance to a bondage lecture :)

the venue: The Living Room
Located in one of the obscure-looking buildings just past Aristocrat (Malate), 1991 North Syquia, the Living Room is very reminiscent of Old Manila... and of Spanish times...

Wide, big windows... wooden floors... lots of space... heavy doors... minimal furnitures. Actually, the place had a lot of chairs, wooden chairs and sofas that are huge and immensely comfy. Some walls had special lights mounted on them to better showcase art and stuff (at that time, a black leather outfit). I love, love the place! Of course, opening the windows meant the Philippine/City humidity will annoy you some more... but eventhough the lecture was at 9 PM, it felt like a sunny afternoon in the province, around the 1600s.

I know... as if I was already born then!

the attendees
The first words that came to mind were: black (their outfits), cono (people conversing in English), expats (lots of foreigners) and uh-oh (tequila greeted us at the door). I think about 2/3 of the attendees there were connected somehow through the amiga system... friends or people who move in the same elite or eccentric circles. The rest of us, bloggers who happened on Carlos' blog, were all sitting quietly in one area of the room... so quietly, you could hear a pin drop where we were.

But of course, everybody was just nice and friendly.

the refreshments
There was actually beer served too, along with the Tequila. Both SML and SMB. Plus, there were nuts in pretty crystals scattered about... they ordered pizza later too. And one sweet lady went around asking people to sample Swiss chocolates she brought with her.

the movie
A Wife to be Sacrificed - a Japanese BDSM movie (heck, I don't even know what the proper term for them is) was being shown while we waited for everybody to arrive. It absolutely made me cringe in my seat... the husband kept his wife tied up Shibari-style, rendering her completely at his mercy. Of course, the movie depicted a relationship that wasn't exactly consensual as the wife was being held hostage... and you couldn't help but pity the wife who had to endure stuff like having a huge, huge candle inserted inside her (think Unity candles... *ouch*)... being hung from a tree... having to move bowels while her husband was watching... etc.

the lecturer - Domina Jane
It was a very nice surprise when we realized that the girl who greeted us and asked for our payment of P450 at the door was the same girl who strutted in front of us, in the darkened room, in a red leather corset and stilletos.

She came off as strong, scary, intimidating, funny, seductive, honest. Her booming voice filled the room, her presence was palpable. She's now based in the US and you cannot help but either trust her, or give in to her demands. She admits to being a dominant ever since.

dominance
As she explained, it is the ability to get what you want when you want it and the way you want it. It's not exactly intimidating people, but getting them to respect you and give in to whatever floats your boat (provided of course that it doesn't violate other sensibilities).

It's not just a sexual quality. It's a personality.

BDSM
Bondage - anything about immobilization, partial or total
Discipline or Domination - elaborated on already
Sadism - deriving pleasure from inflicting pain
Masochism - deriving pleasure from being hurt

The idea was to give a rough introduction on what BDSM is... for those who are curious. It is with some trepidation that we accepted a blindfold each from Domina... I was actually worried that my friend Mari might be regretting that I dragged her to that lecture. But all Domina asked was that we blindfold ourselves and sit back and relax... as she seduced us with her words... as she challenged us to contemplate on our desires, our fantasies, our fetishes.

Later on, she did have us remove our blindfolds and went on to the more technical aspects of her lecture. Trying to explain as much as she could in the little time that we had, she defined terms for us and gave us a general idea of how things are.

She came up with a list of PINOY PERVERTABLES... stuff that's handy that Pinoys can use... like the simple tsinelas and walis-tingting in lieu of floggers and whips. She also gave an overview of deviant desires using a Fetish Map and entertained questions seeking to clarify and differentiate amongst them (like the minute difference between FURVERTS and PLUSHIES, one likes wearing the skin and fur, the other likes the plush stuff).

We were shown pictures of floggers and restraints and body bags (plastic bed-like thingies where one lies, and all the air is sucked out... and there's a tube near the person's mouth where he can breathe and his partner can control his breathing by covering the opening on the tube etc as 'breath play').

And then the much anticipated dreaded demo on flogging... and requirement for volunteers. Two souls were brave that night... and both swore that it was ticklish, soothing, a little painful, a little scary. Both also likened getting flogged to getting a hard massage... and the stinging sensations are easily replaced by soothing, wonderful ones when Domina responds to their "Ouch" comments by ceasing the flogging and caressing their back with the flogger (oh, of course Domina didn't deal with them simultaneously).

Domina expressly emphasized the virtue of respect and trust... that such a lifestyle requires that both (or all) are attuned to each other, their wishes, their feelings... she also stressed that people engaging in such play should pick a SAFE WORD, one that when spoken by the PERMISSIVE/SUBMISSIVE will not be mistaken for anything else... which would also end everything... and that THAT is ok. One of those present offered the word CHORVA :)

There was a recess of some sort where everybody was asked to partake of the refreshments while a volunteer offered himself to be tied up by Domina, with his wife assisting. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see how he got tied up (they did it in one of the rooms Carlos refers to as his DUNGEON) and since Domina didn't really have any plans of conducting a lecture when she visited, she didn't have her paraphernalia with her and they had to make do with what rope and telephone cord they could find (too bad I didn't think to bring my kernmantle ropes with moi). We were invited to the inner sanctum when the guy was already tied up in sample Shibari.

the advice
Domina's advice was to make something a fetish. How? Pick an everyday thing... and start thinking sensual, sexy thoughts about it, how it can feature in a sexual encounter... what sensations it could possibly bring etc. After a while, the body will most likely automatically 'respond' to the object.

Carlos' last words
Carlos thanked us all for coming and left us with these words:
If we want to change how Manila looks and feels... we have to change the way we see and feel about Manila.


*~*

Sunday found me and JRA (with sis, cousin and niece) attending two fairs.

One was the Wedding Expo at PICC... where we feasted on cake fountains.

And the other is at the Book Fair at the World Trade Center... where we spent hours buying children's books for Py and my niece... and getting susbcriptions to Readers Digest and Cosmopolitan... and buying a copy of beloved Batjay's KWENTONG TAMBAY book, a compilation of his best blog entries. I also bought a copy of his nephew's book entitled CITY LIGHTS.

Ooooh, we're all sooo happy for and proud of him!!! Hopefully, National Bookstore agrees to sell it in their shops so Batjay can reach more readers... feel free to e-mail National Bookstore, Powerbooks or Fully Booked for copies so that they'd know there's a market for Batjay's book :)

Anyway, those interested can probably contact Psicom because the book isn't really yet officially launched. I hope the book clicks and more Pinoys get empowered to write books.

(ako kaya, mapa-publish someday?)

Now, on a to a great week!

*~*

Tagged by MommyBa

SIX WEIRD THINGS ABOUT ME
1) I put calamansi on ginisang munggo, and only really love tuna sashimi and siomai because I can dip them in toyo with calamansi!

2) I still eat powdered milk with some sugar... that childhood habit will never die, methinks.

3) The more I cum, the more I feel awake, and the more I can go on and on and on... but don't anyone dare wake me up from sleep, or initiate morning sex because I hate that.

4) I cried and cried when I watched THE EXORCIST.

5) I will eat raisins and carrots and tomatoes when they're uncooked... or unmixed with anything else. Once they're cooked, or mixed in some sald, I don't like them anymore.

6) I once fell in crush with Mr. Bean and Ron Perlman and thought them absolutely sexy!

all i wanted was to be a mom

3:34 AM Thursday, August 31, 2006

Aside from all the things i wanted for myself... things I said i'd never compromise... like engaging (nay, enjoying!) in pre-marital sex, making sure i can still bend my body/trunk when am 60 (i think i should rethink this seeing as i'm already having trouble now!), not ever allowing myself to stay with an unfaithful partner, never allowing myself to be abused, exploited, taken for granted, etc by a partner, marrying someone who is financially-stable and has all the potential and drive to remain so, never doing drugs, enjoying my single blessedness before settling down, projecting an air of a sensual, sexy woman, immortalizing my youthful body in photographs (I could really have been crass and shot for porn... but i'm actually conservative)...

Well ok, the list can go on a long time... but aside from all those things, a major driving force in my life has always been to be a Mom.

I believe, am mostly driven by the fact that I didn't really get to enjoy mine. And the reaction to my childhood, to my upbringing, to my circumstance is such that I grew with only motherhood really as a life purpose.

No, I wasn't pathetic enough to get knocked up the minute my first period started... nor did I look at men as possible sperm donors strutting about. But always, the grand dream is to be a Mom.

At first, I didn't even really think about being a biological Mom... visions of a gaping vagina oozing with blood and gore (Ok, maybe not exactly gore) and ejecting a crying infant was not exactly... a nice picture, to say the least. So, in days when am just really contemplative of the future, i'd see myself old (around 40) and sitting on a porch, watching many kids playing in my yard. So yes, I wanted kids and I wanted many of them... and I also want a yard and a porch.

But more than wanting to be a Mom, I also wanted to be a better Mom than my mother ever was. (Mom is not actually a monster... but the uber-sensitive child that I was got hurt all the time by her seeming coldness and indifference... I also think I read way too many books that led me to have illusions that all mothers should be their daughter's best friend... someone who would fuss and comfort and hug and play with you and hang out and stuff... but my Mom was maybe too old to play at age 29, when she had me, and too tired working her a$$ off to augment the family's disposable income... and too marked by her own hard childhood). So despite my love for infants and patience for them (basing from all the times I helped out with younger cousins), I also set out not to have an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

I was responsible. I pride myself with that... because it was a choice that involved a lifestyle that's not always convenient. Honestly, I even really believe that my parents should have fainted in relief that I was able to graduate from college without getting pregnant...

So though I didn't 'save' myself for my husband, I made sure I saved my firstborn child all the stability and love I can offer (which I know I couldn't have possibly given had I not wanted the child in the first place)... and all the blessings and eagerness from everyone who's going to be around him or her. I told myself, no child of mine will not be wanted and unwelcome (however initially).

But alas... I have now been married for 8 months... and my reproductive prospects look a little grim. And am seriously allowed to be melodramatic about things, seeing as it's already three in the morning...

We found out that there's a growing cyst in my left ovary aside from the fact that I am actually suffering from overproduction of hormones by my thyroid gland. I am actually still due for more screening so my endocrinologist can better determine which treatment/medication i'd require. I went into his clinic expecting to be told, "Oh, it seems you may have a problem but it's good we caught it early before your T3-T4 levels have really risen"... but instead I was told, "Your T3-T4 levels are really high and your heart rate is already faster than normal, eventhough you're not exhibiting other signs..."

*insert pursed lips here*

Hyperthyroidism isn't exactly terminal (like... say... cancer?) but now, it's like my world is spinning.... no, make that... it's like am spinning and the world is at a stand-still. I'm now afraid to get pregnant (because despite the cyst in the ovary, which could actually be due to the hormonal imbalance caused by my thyroid problem, everything inside me is just dandy for conception) in case my thyroid problem causes abnormalities to the baby (both when I undergo treatment or not). And then, there's also that fact that my thyroid problem just may be the reason why I haven't gotten preggy yet... and what if it results in actual infertility?

I feel like a child who did all the right and good things... but don't get rewarded in the end. A petulant child yearning for some reward. A moping, angry, confused, hurt child who couldn't get her toy.

But really, there's just sadness (and ok, impatience!) when I ponder the possibility that... the girl who pulled her friends to the Baby Stuff section in department stores all the time will never actually get to buy those booties for her own child... that there will be no wooden crib, and color-coordinated baby stuff (yellow and green), no tummy caresses from the husband, no Mother's Day cards doodled with stick drawings...

Again, I could go on and on.

And then I look back at my 'practicing safe sex' phase and ask myself... if I had known i'd have problems later on... would I have been less responsible? Would I have risked teenage pregnancy?

And then I sigh as I answer myself that NO... I still wouldn't have. I was still taking care of me then... and raising myself, so to speak. I wanted to be a good mother after all.

*more melodramatic sigh here*

*~*

A sort of related post

*~*

The gym thing is at least making me lose pounds as fast as I gained them. Though it's really weird that i've got hyperthyroidism and yet kept gaining weight.

*~*

Heaven find me ways to sleep tonight.

But if not... can I just ask for Pyro's cancer to go away for good?

And if not that... the new Canon EOS 400D really makes my heart skip a beat :)

obssessed and consumed

10:52 PM Friday, August 25, 2006

I am currently beset with a manic need to buy books and read! And it didn't help that Powerbooks and National Bookstore went on sale!!! Gosh. I've always known I think more than twice when shopping for clothes and stuff but not with books and food... but i've also never been a fan of really expensive paperbacks (anything exceeding P300 for a novel IS expensive, in my opinion, esply since you don't really read them again and again and again... and yes, my most expensive books are still the Harry Potter Book series, which I read again and again and again).

Need proof?

All these bought just this August, and only the 2nd half of August... so i've only read three.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Let me see... that's seriously at least P4k worth of books there... oooh, I keep telling myself that it's better to have spent that much on books rather than white chocolates and cakes. I am trying to control my weight gain after all (which has gotten catastrophically out of hand, but that's for another entry).

I think... I think... they're all easy reads though. Let's see...

Seduce (100 Tips to Arouse) was just something really on sale.

My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle (finished) is about a guy who couldn't get over his break-up (which happened three years ago). I actually felt the hero was pitiful and had he been real, wouldn't have interested me really... but the book was engaging enough. And well, i'm really loving British writers/novels right now. I'm thinking of buying his other books...

Babyville by Jane
Green
(finished) is another British novel. I actually like THE CREATION MYTHS better but Babyville still managed to make me reflect on how feelings cannot be planned, what more about having a baby. Aside from having one of the characters desperate to conceive (which I can relate with, not the desperation exactly, but the desire to finally conceive) which can be heartbreaking in itself (a friend who spends some P40k over fertility work-ups comes to mind... she has also danced at Obando and is now undergoing acupuncture treatments and will also try hypnotherapy), the book also makes one realize yet again how babies change, define, modify, challenge one's priorities.

Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern (currently reading) is a brilliant novel written by an Irish author. It's just amazingly captivating, where readers learn of the characters and the goings-on through the letters, e-mails, chat sessions and text messages they send each other (excerpt here). It's about childhood friends who seem meant to be... and honestly it's been frustrating to watch their story unfold... frustrating and yet very, very engaging. I have also bought another Ahern novel (I guess am also loving Irish writers now), P.S. I love you, a story of a woman dealing with the loss of a spouse.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paolo Coelho interested me for two reasons... 1) I loved Coelho's The Alchemist and 2) I've always had a fascination over death. Anyway, am sure i won't be disappointed.

Blessings by Anna
Quindlen
is something I bought because i've been reading good reviews about Quindlen as an author... and I liked the angle of a baby left at someone's door.

Confessions of a Deathmaiden by Ruth Francisco caught my eye because it was 50% off and about death... and later investigation implied that it can be romantically gory.

Caramelo by Sandra
Cisneros
, I bought for the exotic culture and backdrop, hoping to learn more about Mexican culture and their family dynamics, traditions, and motivations.

I also bought Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith for the exotic places the book is
supposed to take me.

A Perfect Divorce by Francesca Clementis and Adultery for Beginners by Sarah Duncan both titillated my fancy because am newly-married. Of course, am not looking to destroy my marriage... on the contrary, am hoping i'd pick something up to further make mine stronger. (then again, I do already have the Etiquette for Mistresses book and has just asked my husband last night if I could have an affair with him... and demanded he buy me a locket, ahehe)

And to top everything off, I also bought Kiss Me, Kill Me by Ann Rule, a non-fiction bestseller about true crimes of passion. It reminded me of a book I read when I was only in high school, a compilation of court transcripts of sex crimes. Cool, eh?

There are still so many days left in August... and I really intend to buy more books. I'm just waiting for the next payday because its just wrong to be charging more on our credit card.

Sigh.

Happy weekend indeed to me!

*~*

Commercial... a little emotional when I think of Pyro.

And yes, I got the birthday blues... even if it's still over a month from now.