3:42 PM Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I was attending a meeting for our company's anniversary celebration. This guy from another department, who i've gotten to know thru the years because we're among the few who always have to represent our departments to dance in celebrations, started teasing me about something that go years back.

Turned out... once upon a time, when I was still new in the company and didn't know him that yet (and that time, everybody knew me, sort of, because I was the youngest in our head office), he saw me and my then BF (now husband) enter a motel.

He told me this in front of the other people attending the meeting (but the meeting naman hasn't officially started just yet).

Of course, I was embarassed... but was too pregnant to care. And he admitted that he saw me because he was checking-in the same motel. Confused, I asked him when he got married (because he's a lot older than I am) and he answered that he got married in 1991. So I then asked him why he was still going to motels then, and he said he wasn't with his wife then.



9:15 AM Monday, June 25, 2007

The weekend was spent losing sleep over the first season of Heroes. I mentioned the TV series to my hubs once, because my Berks were raving about it (and I thought i'd be more interested with a bunch of people having special powers than, say, Prison Break, another TV series that is garnering rave reviews).

Anyway, hubs bought a DVD of the first season nga... and we both fell in love!

We've only finished episode 16... I absolutely loved the first 10 episodes or so, and then started getting frustrated from there.

I still don't quite get what Nikki Sanders' powers are (and it's already 16 episodes and she hasn't even mastered it!).

And what Sylar actuially does to his victims' brains (does he eat them? study them? or just remove them so that there won't be anyone else with the same power?)

And why people kept referring to the silent, memory-erasing guy as Haitian (i mean, how could they immediately tell that he's from Haiti?).

And why does everybody keep going around in circles on who to trust (I mean, nobody ever thought to look for Mohinder again, and Peter, Isaac and Hiro seldom communicate... and now, Simone's probably dead).

Anyway, i've resolved not to watch anymore episodes this week, since I really have to finish the AVP i'm making for the company anniversary... i'd save the last seven episodes for the weeekend :)

Oh, but I just love Hiro and Ando together! :)

seeing more clearly

10:24 AM Friday, June 22, 2007

Despite some things not going the way I want them to, my heart feels lighter for the past few days... I think, because i've really decided on some things.

And just like magic... other things are coming my way to support the decision i've made... everything is falling into place and I could see a path again right before me.

I just hope Life doesn't throw me several curve balls all at once... and that I and my loved ones will be blessed with a long enough and healthy life.


This brings THE ALCHEMIST to mind :)

What's the world's greatest lie? It's this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. (p18)

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. (p23)

When you are in love, things make even more sense, he thought. (p105)

People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to achieve them. (p136)

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.

Kulit ng Nanay ko...

5:35 PM Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tagalog post muna :D Or sige fine, Taglish :D

I have been pestering my Mom to e-mail me her recipe for chicken-macaroni salad... because I tell you, we'd make batches and batches of it for celebrations and end without leftovers because we'd also have to 'jar' them for specific people to take home. Everyone who's tried my Mom's chicken-mac salad love it to a fault (aside from her spaghetti, baked tahong, buko pandan, ginataang langka, kinalamansiang tilapia, ginataang gulay... atbp)...

And so she finally sent this:

chicken, macaroni-one kilo-2 big cans tidbits, celery-3 stems,sweet ham (half of the can) big bottle of mayonaise, cheese cubes, pickles , carrots, apple. Cook the pasta ( hindi masyadong malambot-) drain and combine all the ingredients.
taste kung ano ang kulang-timplahan.

Panalo no? :D

There are a few certain things in life.

One of them is that we will always be our parents' child... no matter how old we, or they, get.

This explains why parents in their 50s or 60s will brave migration abroad and work menial jobs to send money to their sons and daughters... who already have sons and daughters of their own.

One other thing is that... between the age of seven and seventy, we cease to be a child. We grow up. We become. We self-realize. We master a craft and our independence. We strike on our own. We build families of our own.

In a way, it's a vicious cycle that we cannot escape, and one we can always count on.

But what happens when you stop being a child... and realize that not only are your parents fallible, one or both of them are actually not so good?

What do you do when you're of age and suddenly realize that:

- Your father is having an affair
- Your brother is your MOM"S child by another man
- You're adopted
- One of your siblings is adopted
- Your Dad just threw away all your properties in a foolish investment
- Your Dad is beating your mother up
- Your Dad molests children
- Your Dad is gay
- Your parents are into illegal stuff, like drugs or white slavery, or money laundering
- One of your parents is addicted to gambling, drinking, etc.

Do you thank heavens for a childhood filled with innocence... or does it invalidate your childhood?

Two sides of the same coin.

And do you just stand back and let your parents continue with what they're doing... because they're the adults, or at least, they're the parents? Will respect for them be measured by not meddling into their affairs... affairs which, because you're part of their family, will always affect you one way or another?

Or do you get yourself involved? And how?

I've seen wonderful adults break down because of the burden of paying off their parents' debts from too much gambling. I've seen estrangement. I've seen detachment. I've even seen families stay together without much love and respect for the perpetrator of the pain or betrayal.

As a child, do you do nothing? How do you reverse the role and direct your parents to the right path? What do you say to them? Where do you draw the line? How do you prevent yourself from getting forever scarred (and embittered) by the pain?

And how... how do you become a good parent if you feel that you're failing them as a child?

a kikay post

10:48 AM Friday, June 15, 2007

Firstly, I am not kikay at all... esply for the past year that I haven't been going on gimiks and meeting friends up and hanging out in bars anymore.

And when I was housebound, I even seldom combed my hair... because i'm mostly lying down anyway.

But since I got the OK to go back to work... I have been on a slight kikay mode :) First, there is clothes buying... I don't have tons and tons of maternity clothes but I think I have more than enough considering am only going to use them for some 3 more months. I also caved in and bought larger-sized undies (lycra & cotton bikinis in fresh colors). I also bought a lot of new housedresses. Oh and of ocurse, new brassieres (sale ang Triumph!)!

And then, there are the lipsticks. I now have three again in my bag.

And since I can't abide perfumes right now, I've resorted to buying baby colognes. I have J&J original (the blue one) and this Avon yellow one (I forgot the name) and an Avon pink one... but my latest fave is Huggies Baby Cologne in Lavender & Chamomile. I swear it smells so sweet... like what I keep telling friends when I ask them to sniff at me, "amoy lampin". It's that BANGO!

And then there are the lotions... I still have my staples Alyssa Ashley in White Musk and Jergens... and the odd Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works stuff... I have 2 lotions with olive oil (for deep moisturizing) and I have J&J Bedtime lotion (also with lavender)... but the thing that gets me feeling real sexy and delicious these days is my Cocoa Body Butter from Body Shop. Even hubs tells me that he gets hungry just smelling me :) It's mighty expensive though (around P800 for a 200ml tub) and I bought it because it was recommended by a friend to be great in preventing stretch marks (but I know stretch marks has more to do with skin elasticity and genes). Basta, it smells soooo luxuriously delicious!

I smell so luxuriously delicious! :)

... is that, though you get a much-appreciated long weekend, you pay for it the next day as you get caught up in traffic because the government still celebrates these holidays on the right date.

Case in point: yesterday was declared a non-working holiday... which was well and good. But celebrating Independence Day today, and having to close certain major highways and roads while everyone is on their way to work or school just resulted in traffic jams, confusion, tardiness/absences and hate for the government (thus, the common Filipino fails to appreciate now the significance of this day).


I used to have to walk part of the way to work before... when they close Luneta (and Roxas Boulevard) since I work at the pier area. But since I couldn't do that right now, and forcing JRA to go around Manila just to bring me to my office's door would just stress us both, waste time and gasoline, I opted to commute to Sta. Cruz instead and maybe get a ride for Pier there. But alas... twas traffic like hell.

So, I just decided to eat breakfast at Happy Burger and pray during the meal that the congestion will improve.

Then I was told by my colleagues to just go home because I might also have problems going home later (for who knows what else they're planning to do in Luneta... and who knows if there won't be rallies against the government clamoring for REAL independence today).

But since Sta. Cruz is real traffic... I found myself walking to Quiapo instead. I'd have loved to buy some ham and bacon from Excellente but am not allowed to carry anything heavy. I also had to forego Ma Mon Luk. Tsk.

Finding a cab to take me to Robinson's Place (because I had to pay our water bill) proved futile. Even FXs were a challenge... or jeeps going to Mabini (so I can save on P7). After much time under the heat of the sun, I gave up and rode a jeep for Taft... got off at Faura and rode another jeep again.

At Rob... I paid the bill, bought citronella essential oil for the insects at home, cocoa butter at Body Shop for my tummy, and fish chicharon for a Ninang. All in all, I spent around P2,000.

Then I got a cab home.

So yeah, I blame the Independence Day celebrations for my impulsive shopping spree!


Good thing I didn't faint from the heat... and the phantom pains I was feeling were mostly from hunger and need for hydration.

Tapusan - Flores de Mayo

10:47 AM Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Flores de Mayo is a Catholic festival held in May. Some say that its culmination results in the Santacruzan but either the distinction has blurred significantly over the years or they're really separate feasts altogether (am more inclined to believe the latter).

The Santacruzan, I believe, is a procession borne from Catholic history, when St. Helena, upon her conversion to Christianity, went to Jerusalem to find the (or remnants) of the Holy Cross. She is the mother of Constantine. Thus, the Santacruzan's most coveted role is that of the Reyna Elena (some say the Reyna Emperatriz is a notch higher, but some perceive her as the mother of Reyna Elena) and she will always be carrying a cross and parading with a crown, and a Constantine (a little boy dressed in satin). The Santacruzan is basically a beauty pageant of sorts... where wealth and connections actually matter more than actual beauty.

Anyway... back to Flores de Mayo.

Flores de Mayo as I learned to know it from my relatives in Lipa and in the years I spent summer vacations there is a different feast. It celebrates Mary and she is appealed to for RAIN. Yes... rain for a bountiful harvest. Flowers feature a great deal in this feast.

In our town, the feast starts around nine days before April ends... which we call Krusada (notice the blurring of Catholic history there, since crusades are more connected with the finding of the Holy Grail, and should therefore be part of the Santacruzan). It's basically praying during a procession around town before the actual novena of prayers, songs and flower offerings at the TUKLONG (a small chapel).

A huge calendar of sorts is placed in the tuklong so people can commit to a day to be HERMANA. That basically means that for that day, you/your family will be in charge of providing flowers to be offered by everyone attending the novena that night... and also provide candles for the novena. They also help the Kapitanas clean the tuklong up. It has evolved into also including preparing merienda for the community (pancit or lugao with juice would suffice)... and then later on handing out candies after the novena (as a sort of reward to the prayerful).

Each Flores de Mayo month-long feast is managed by at least six people (the Kapitana sa Bulaklak, her Bise, the Kapitana sa Singsing, her Bise, the Presidente ng Kabataan and his Bise) and they all sort of report to the Katatandaan (there is also a President). The Kapitanas and their Bises (Captain and vice-captain) find their own flowers to offer (plus, they have these wooden fixtures shaped like crosses and hearts to attach their flowers to). After the transfer of crowns, the Kapitana's work starts... which is basically to lead the coming up of funds for the next Flores (holding disco nights at the town fiesta, going Christmas caroling or pangangaluluwa, etc.). They do receive a certain amount from the Katatandaan and other donations from the families in the community... but of course, they mostly spend their own money. The Presidente ng Kabataan (usually the Kapitana's partner at the Tapusan) helps raise funds (mostly collecting from his friends) for the fireworks and the meryenda.

The Kapitanas are usually the eldest daughter of the family... there is a master list where people sign up. My aunt was Kapitana sa Singsing before but none from our generation got recruited. People tried to pressure my Dad (esply since I was always there during vacation time) because we're pretty well-off and my grandparents' house was strategically built at a fork in the road... just in front of where they will permanently build the tuklong (which was pawid and wood before, and located some three mintes away). Anyway, my Mom was keen on the idea but it was an extravagance my Dad didn't welcome... he finds it absurd enough to be feeding people during the town fiesta (January 02) and he didn't want to invite more strangers into their family home.

The novena, like what I said, is composed of prayers, songs and flower offerings. Two of its major parts are the SABOG and the ALAY. The Sabog is where little girls with baskets of flower petals shower these on the statue of Mother Mary in time with a song.

Tuhog na bulaklak, sadyang salit-salit,
Sa mahal mong noo'y aming ikakapit,
Lubos ang pag-asa nami't pananalig,
Na tatanggapin mo, handog na pag-ibig!

The Alay is where people line up to offer flowers to the statue, also in time with a song.

Halina, tayo'y mag-alay ng bulaklak kay Maria /
Palitan mo Birheng Mahal ng tuwa sa kalangitan

Before the first two weeks of May is finished, the HAMBO is held. In the olden days, people would walk to Tagbakin, a lake (extension of Taal lake actually) that's a few kilometers away. Now, people rode trucks and jeeps. There would be rosary praying and singing on the way to the lake... then most of the company would board bancas upon arriving there. The image of the Virgin Mary will be taken to two particular points in the lake to be bathed with water that was perfumed with flowers. The same water used to bathe the statue will be preserved in pails... and everyone will then bless themselves and the children with the water (usually by scooping up water and pouring it on your head while saying a prayer). Only after that can people bathe/swim in the lake. Lunch is prepared and cooked by men, there will be drinking and it will be a sort of community outing. Around 3 pm or so, we'd head back to the chapel and finish the prayers there.

Sure enough, the holding of the Hambo perfectly comes before the rains.

Now, the Tapusan of the Flores de Mayo is the grand culmination of the feast. Traditionally, the Kapitana sa Bulaklak shoulders the meals for everyone helping out at the event (from providing snacks to the adolescents who start grooming the arkos weeks before the finale), especially the grand lunch during the day (but of course, since pigs are already slaughtered the night before, the feast also starts then, with people helping out fed that night and also for breakfast). The Kapitana sa Bulaklak is also in-charge of beautifying the tuklong with flowers for the event, and decorating the karo which will bear the image of the Virgin. The Kapitana sa Singsing, on the other hand, shoulders the grand meryenda... after the SIBATAN.

Weeks before the tapusan, the Kapitana sa Singsing will go house to house asking for sponsors for the sibatan... who are generally single females. Monetary donations are welcome, but the sponsors are usually asked for a gift for those who will compete at the sibatan. I'm not exactly sure if they really started with sibats (a Filipino spear that's used as a a weapon or tool) but anyway, I know they started with men riding horses. Sibats are fashioned from wood, pencil-length and twice as thick, with one end trimmed in such a way that it will stop a ring it has speared. Boys and single men will then ride horses carrying this small sibat and try to spear one of the rings hung from a clothesline as they thunder through. The rings are made from kawayan (bamboo) that's about two inches thick and wrapped with a ribbon (bearing some maiden's name). I'm not exactly sure how these rings are strung but anyway, once someone has already speared the Kapitana sa Singsing's ring, the sibatan has come to an end. The boys pay a minimal fee, I think, to help raise funds for the next Kapitana... and given three attempts to get a ring. He'd then get the gift the sponsor gave as prize. Any remaining prize will be raffled off or given as a game prize at the party after the novena.

Note that a lot of the elements of this feast is also like a mating ritual of sorts... since it's usually single men and women who are involved. But of course, traditions evolve. Some families enlist their daughters even when they're still young (which can be weird, because a girl of 10 cannot really handle the responsibility, nor enjoy the pomp and attention). And because the roads were cemented, we stopped using horses... and the boys rode bikes instead.

After meryenda, people will then go home to prepare for the grand procession complete with musiko (band). Boys and girls (and teenage men and women) who have gowns or barongs can all attend the procession. Of course, the Kapitanas try to get people to commit beforehand so that the town will have something to watch during the procession aside from the images and the prayerful. We term this PAGSASAYA and PAGBABARONG. I only did this once, at my first summer then, mainly because I wanted to parade around town with my then boyfriend (my guy cousin partnered with a friend behind us, and harped on my dress the entire procession). I was supposed to do it again when the Kapitana was my cousin's (same cousin who annoyed me so) girlfriend but it rained so much so I opted to not join the procession anymore. Oh and yes, everybody's hardpressed to get the guys to 'dress up'... so it's not unusual to find a girl parading alone. The men will only usually dress up if they're in a relationship with a girl, or courting her (and it's actually funny how they'd go around loaning/borrowing pants, barongs and shoes among their peers).

Last Tapusan, one of my nieces (who had a gown from being a flower girl at a recent wedding) joined the procession. The other cried so much so she and her brother didn't join. And most unfortunately enough, we only arrived in time for the Mass (held after the procession), thus... no pictures :)

Anyway, after the procession comes the Mass... then the novena. This time, however, only six girls, dressed in white, will be throwing flowers. And this time, unlike the many nights that came before, everyone turns up to offer flowers... even the men! See, on most novena nights, men usually just hovered outside the chapel (awaiting their candy, just hanging out with the menfolk, waiting to bring their mothers, sisters or girl-interest home) and they seldom offered flowers.

During the PUTONG, basically the transfer of crowns from the Kapitanas to the Bise, fireworks are lit (some men also fire guns). This marks the end of the feast... after which, people are enjoined again to eat meryenda at the former Kapitana sa Bulaklak's house. Traditionally too, a disco (dancing) is held at the Kapitana's place (but now I hear it has evolved into hiring bands or acoustic performers instead since barrio-youth are hardpressed to dance anymore).

That's also actually one of the reasons why they kept recruiting me before... because my grandparents' house had a long, cemented driveway (with a roof!) conducive to partying... whereas other homes have to level their dirt yards to create a space for the cooking, the eating and the dancing.


My cousin (same annoying cousin) ended up marrying the former Kapitana... and since her father is known to be pretty rich, her family has enlisted her youngest sister to be Kapitana again. Hubby enjoyed the little he's seen of this particular feast so we agreed to be more involved next year. I promise to take more pictures, and force all my nieces and nephews to parade (which is inevitable because Kia is aunt to three of them).

In the meantime, I hope this shows the fun we still managed to have :)

feeling a little more cheerful

9:17 PM Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm around 5.5 months along now... and though I haven't gained weight yet, I'm also already sporting the unmistakable bump of a pregnant woman (meaning, I don't just look like I binged on lunch).

So now, am loving my body in a new way... I especially love it when I look at myself when am freshly showered, all glistening and bump-y :) I find it weird to feel turned on by this new curve... bwahahaha. I can't say it makes me feel more of a woman, but I will say that it's absolutely fantastic and amazing to have this entirely new shape and feel absolutely, absolutely glorified.

Lolz. I doubt am making sense. But really, my current shape evokes a sensuality I never felt before. I find myself stupidly smiling and always proudly showing the bump to my wonderfully appreciative spouse. I'm feeling like one of those women Renoir painted. Wehehe. Utterly beautiful!

Maybe when I get more cheerful and feeling 'normal-like' again, i'd finally get around to taking nudie pics (I want to hire a professional sana but my confinements took a lot from our budget so i'd have to utilize my cam's timer again), this time highlighting my glorious bump. For the meantime, let me just share this pic taken by my hubs' at the hospital (my bump is still pretty small here):

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Tagged by Kathy (and because I can't think of people to tag, am not tagging anyone else):

~ I season mongo viands with calamansi :)

~ I eat raisins but not when it's mixed with something else, or cooked. I eat carrots or tomatoes when raw but not when they're cooked.

~ I have a not-so-silent wish to be a witch... or to have psychic abilities (not sure if I can handle it, but I still wish it)

~ I have a morbid fascination over break-ups, separation, losses and death. I think it's why I was interested in counselling/psychotherapy in the first place.

~ I love taking pictures of my nude self.

~ It's when am hurt and angry the most that I don't cry.