29 September 2011


Two nights ago, I was watching Notting Hill for the nth time. 

Got my DVD from HMV HK.

And because my Hubby knows me too well, he watched with me nung Press Conference at The Savoy sequence na. Of course, hindi yung eksena ang inaabangan niya kundi ang pag-iyak ko! LOL.

Yes, even after seeing the film a million times, I still end up crying in a lot of scenes, but especially during the finale -- The Savoy sequence, followed by the wedding, red carpet and reading by the garden bench montage. (I'm silly that way.) Kaya hayun, while I was crying like crazy, may mamang tawa nang tawa, kissing and hugging me until the end credits rolled.  

Sabi nga ni Anna Scott sa movie, "Some people do spend their whole lives together." I think we have a really good chance of being among them. *wink*


Photo booths are now event staples in Manila. Below are a few photos from my niece's birthday merienda. It was no party. But friends of my brother and sis-in-law were so thoughtful to gift her with the photo booth experience, for free. Such good friends! =) The kids and the feeling kids (kami yun, haha) had so much fun hamming it up for the cam.

The bday girl with her cousins and guests.

S #2 enjoyed changing head gears. Here with Yayay.

With my dear cousins and sis-in-law.

Us again with E and Hubby J (nakatalikod).

24 September 2011

TODAY's GIFTS 092411

Today I'm especially grateful.

Cried "Thank You" tears in Church. God is too good! I am humbled.

Thank you...

  1. For today's "delivery." YAHOOO!
  2. For our Attitude of Gratitude. To have this mindset while on a career break is a blessing.
  3. That we can afford this career break. There are even 'little luxuries' despite the tipid mode.
  4. That we can afford to gamble. For our dreams.
  5. For the team that J and I are. I love us!
  6. That we can stand on our own. Hindi kami umaasa sa iba. 
  7. Pero inuulan pa rin ng help, without us asking.
  8. For my supportive family and relatives. 
  9. We're both healthier today. Hubby and I got a little sick this week. (What we confirmed: Mas mabilis ang recovery while on a career break! LOL)
  10. For every one volunteering tips, leads, what-have-yous. Special mention to: G, J, C who are all currently living in SG (see you soon!); D & J who are in other parts of the world pero tumutulong pa rin (very touched by the gesture). 
  11. For all my friends. Especially those who make time. 
  12. For every one na pumatol sa aming ukay-ukay
  13. For all the words of encouragement.
  14. For L and R's free legal advice. 
  15. For all the despedida.
  16. For R's 'where to shop in SG' tips.
  17. For our daily accomplishments. More "To Dos" in the coming days. 
  18. I got to zip my first luggage. Nagkasya sila!
  19. For the free movie dates.
  20. For Manila's affordable laundry services. (I'll miss you.)
  21. For everything that lies ahead.

Today, what are you especially thankful for?


BonChon Chicken's Shangrila Mall branch is now open. It's located at the basement (food court floor), between Jollibee and KFC, near the Rustan's grocery.

Their claim: BonChon's the "Best Chicken in America," as declared by The New York Times, GQ and Esquire.

We've tried the Ayala Triangle and Megamall branches. We're celebrating because this one's so much nearer our home. Yey!

Hubby's flavor of choice: Hot & Spicy  

Mine: Soy-Garlic

With BonChon so near, I'll stop doing home-made buffalo wings na muna. LOL.

Last night's BonChon Take Out

23 September 2011


Two massage dates this week. Ahhhh, love it!

Monday: Ton Ton Massage, along Shaw Blvd. 

Only Php250 for a full body Thai Massage if you go between 12nn and 6pm.

We so needed this in the middle of all the errands, packing and never-ending To Dos. 

I'll surely miss Manila's cheap spa treats. We've tried the massage services in SG's Chinatown and Bugis areas. They're also good. Their forte: reflexology. But nothing is as cheap as Manila's Php250 (approx USD5) one hour, full body service. 

We'll definitely go back to TonTon before flying out. Cheap lang naman eh. *wink*

Wednesday: The Spa, Trinoma, QC

This was part of Tito C's never-ending birthday celebration. He treated every one -- there were eight of us -- to a massage of our choice. Happy bday!

Hubby and I chose the Combination Massage -- Swedish on our backs, Shiatsu everywhere else (oil only on our backs, dry on the rest of our bodies). 

We missed The Spa. Since saving up for The SG Dream, we've gone only to the more affordable spas (Holistic Circle at Megamall and TonTon). Wednesday's massage reminded us that The Spa's treats are worth every peso. Yes, you do pay for more. But you'll see and feel the difference. Alam mo kung saan napupunta ang pera mo. Love it there. (Highly-recommended: Traditional Hilot at The Spa.)

We all felt so relaxed after our massages. Too relaxed and too happy that we pigged out at Abe's Trinoma -- crispy pata, sisig, laing, gising-gising, pinaputok na pla-pla, sinigang na bangus sa bayabas, loads of rice. Hala!

Tito C's never-ending bday celebration!
Photo taken by Hubby.

22 September 2011


 Among true friends there are no goodbyes.

So to all my friends from the network, 

Many thanks for everything. Everything. 

I'll miss you all. 

See you around! 


Proud to have been part of the Philippines' No.1 News Channel, GMA News TV.
At the Orange Office, 3F GMA Annex

Tuloy ang chika until we're old and gray, ok? 
My dearest "sisters" J, N, G and M. Too bad the other M couldn't make it.
At Mary Grace, Trinoma.

And the Petit Four Tradition lives on!
True friends M, M, J, K, E, N, M.
Why do I feel like mine's the final Petit Four dinner? Hmmm.

 It was an honor working with brilliant minds.
With Station Head / News and Public Affairs VP - N
and Producers - N, J, and N. Sayang A wasn't around.

More of the friends I've gained through the years.
With some of the fabulous VDM Ladies, P, S and R.
With Doc L (my classmate from high school) and
our Angel Nurse R (she stood by us during J's accident).
With my dear friend and colleague, Entertainment TV's AVP - G.

With our very talented team mates. 
Learned so much from this group. I'll forever be grateful.
Always Have Fun, ok?
We love all of you!

With the hard-working Project Managers.
Hang tough, Ladies!

20 September 2011


"What I know for sure: Often we don't even realize who we're meant to be because we're so busy trying to live out someone else's ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.

What has made me successful is the ability to surrender my plans, dreams, and goals to a power that's greater than other people and greater than myself.

Before making any major moves, I first ask: What would you have me do? Who would you have me be?

And then I try to live the answer."

-- Oprah, from the O magazine


We just enjoyed back-to-back (Sunday and Monday) dinner celebrations with my dear relatives. These are among the moments I'll surely miss when we move to our 'new home'. Good thing some of them have booked their Singapore trips. Yey, family reunions in SG by November!

Sunday was E's birthday dinner at YakiMix, Greenbelt. She has a "younger" celebration with her friends this weekend.

My YakiMix favorites:
  • From the sushi bar - salmon sashimi
  • From the 'for grilling' station - salmon, the asparagus rolled in bacon, bacon strips, spicy chicken in skewers 
  • From the cooked meals - crispy squid with the very garlic-y vinegar dip, steamed pechay
  • From the dessert bar - ube ice cream  

Happy Bday, E! We love you!
Photos: Mine

Titos, Titas, cousins, pamangkins.
Wish my parents and sister were here.
Not in picture: Hubby J (The official photographer. LOL)

Monday was Tito C's turn. We had cocktails and dinner at Conway's, at the Shangrila Hotel Makati. I ordered the Singapore Sling (Bakit kaya? LOL) and the burger (definitely for sharing). What else we shared: the appetizer sampler (I liked the lechon kawali), calamares, kebab sampler, nachos, etc.

Happy Bday, Tito C! We love you.
It was too dark in Conway's to take photos
kaya konti lang ito.

Most fun for me: Aside from the chika, I'll say the band. I forgot their name but they used to perform on "The Sweet Life" (a QTV show I used to handle). Their repertoire: very mainstream -- current pop favorites, 80s and OPM. I liked that they sang Sharon Cuneta's "Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko" and Apo's "Panalangin" (the re-arranged, more modern versions) for our balikbayans. Hubby's so NOT into mainstream music. Ako ang mainstream, obvious ba? But we had a fun time. Thanks to the great company of people we love and love us back. Awwww.


The plan was to see at least half of this year's Cine Europa films. We're on vacation and we're neighbors with the Shangrila Mall so that should be attainable, right? Wrong. We got to see only two (Austria's "Little Robbers" and Sweden's "Mammoth") out of the seventeen titles. Our "to-dos" are never ending kasi. Hehe.

The free tickets are released
30 minutes before each screening.

The child actors from "Little Robbers" stole our hearts. They were so adorable! The film was so funny -- the comedy's fresh (dahil sa mga bagets), the story was single-minded (its simplicity worked), the timing and pacing just right. 
Siblings Robby and Louise attempt to rob a bank that
forcibly banished their parents from their apartment
after their father lost his job (from PEP.ph)

Mammoth: parang MMK! As in Maalaala Mo Kaya. In more ways than one. (1) A Pinay Nanny working in New York takes really good care of her ward habang nangungulila sa ina ang mga anak niya sa Pilipinas. (2) There were a lot of scenes shot in the Philippines to show the struggle of the Pinay Nanny's family. (3) The dramatic storytelling style is so familiar. Was someone from Star Cinema or ABS-CBN part of the production team? LOL.
The quiet life of a couple changes
after the husband faces unlikely encounters
during his travels. (from PEP.ph)

Pinay actress Marife Necesito who played the role of Nanny Gloria in Mammoth was present during the September 16 Cine Europa screening. Had my photo taken with her, see below. Hubby and I watched this with my college friends L and M.
Watched Mammoth because I'm a fan of Gael Garcia Bernal.
Photos taken from my lowly Nokia E63, sorry.


Laughed out loud over the film "Crazy Stupid Love." It was crazy funny. Loved it.

Now, whenever I hear the song "Time of My Life," top of mind is Crazy Stupid Love (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's scene), not Dirty Dancing.  Hehe.

Hubby and I had the same reaction when the end credits rolled -- it's Hollywood's version of the British comedy "Love Actually." You know, subplots creatively weaved together to create one solid story. But if I have to choose between the two, my vote will go to Love Actually. I find its twists more interesting -- there are more layers, more depth.

I love love stories!


"Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation." -- Dr. Ian Sussman, Contagion

Me: Agree.


17 September 2011


It's already mid-September and I'm still waiting for my 'got nothing to do' day. Every day's still too busy (happy busy). Waaah!

Photo credit: trininista.blogspot.com

15 September 2011


We love Cafe Provencal's Garlic Roasted Chicken! It's so very flavorful! As in. For all chicken lovers out there, this one's a must-try! If chicken can melt in your mouth, ito yun. 

Cafe Provencal is located at the 2F of Shangrila Mall, beside Steve Madden, near the carousel. 

Half chicken marinated in rosemary, garlic, olive oil,
served with fettucine alio olio,
roasted garlic heads garlic roast potatoes and red wine gravy

We had this with pumpkin soup (Php155) and the Caesar salad (Php295). The chicken is less than Php600. 

Happy, hearty dinner to you all! Good night. 

We said less eating out, not naman 'no more eating out.' Hehe. 


I just finished my very first ebook (an Amazon gift from my dear friend L - Thank you!). It's Samantha Sotto's "Before Ever After."

Loved some parts, hated (too harsh) didn't like the other parts so much.

Was intrigued by the premise: Shelley is a young widow, mourning the death of her husband, Max. One day she meets his supposed grandson, and learns that Max could still be alive, is actually 200 years old and immortal!

Going back to the many lives Max has lived started out very interesting and yes, fresh. Until it became a drag -- 200 years old na nga kasi!

Told Hubby about the story and his reaction -- "Highlander?" Have you seen the film and the TV series? I didn't watch either. But reading through the plot lines via Wikipedia, I see the similarities. Hmmm.

I'd still recommend that you read "Before Ever After." Pinoys, let's support our kababayan. Besides, I'm a believer of shaping your own opinion about things. Huwag nakasalalay sa opinyon ng iba. *wink*

Sharing with you some lines I liked:

  • We change at least one person's life just by being born. If you don't believe me, go ask your mother.
  • If we accept time for what it is, how it flows and how we flow with it, I doubt very much that we would continue wasting loads of it by constantly checking our watches.
  • Where we are now is where a lifetime's worth of steps have taken us.
  • You can make a child believe a lot of things. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny...just about anything really, except love. You cannot make a child believe you love him if you don't.
  • Children know when they're loved. It's when you grow up that you're more easily fooled.
  • As the body rots, so does the cage that traps us in our worldly concerns. When my legs became too weak to carry my body, I stopped pacing with worry. When my fingers became twisted, I stopped pointing blame. When I lost my sight, I stopped seeing illusions. It may be dark in the pot that I am simmering in, but I can see more clearly than I have ever seen in my life.
  • My dear, you might be surprised at how much happiness you can find in the pages of the shortest of love stories. Unlike penises, their length truly does not count. (LOL)

As for reading printed material versus e-books, I'm surprised to enjoy both equally. I used to have apprehensions about Kindle (was afraid it'd be uncomfortable for my eyes). OK naman pala. The thing I love most: I can carry 20 plus books in one iPad, how convenient! Plus there's an instant dictionary app for words I do not understand. I don't think I'll give up on the printed versions though. I'm open to trying everything new, but I'm still old-school in a lot of ways. That's just me.

14 September 2011


What's your favorite merienda?

Here are two of my recent home-made merienda creations...


I simply browned the beef in onion and garlic. Then added the taco powder mixture. I used really lean ground beef -- the Australian Weight Watcher's Choice from Rustan's. Wala ngang sebo! Ang galing! And it tastes really good. Highly-recommended ko siya. Next, I chopped the tomatoes and lettuce. And grated lots of cheese. It was perfect with the taco chips I bought from my dear friend L (good thing I dropped by the office, umabot ako sa benta, hehe). We used the Old El Paso taco sauce and Tabasco hot sauce to spice it all up. We're very happy with this! Winner merienda!

We were disappointed with the Mc Cormick Screamer. As spicy food lovers we expected too much. The flavor mix tasted "fake" -- on the surface lang siya hot, hindi nanunuot. So sobrang bitin kami. "Whisperer" lang siya, not "screamer." LOL

I first boiled the wings. After, I rolled them in the Mc Cormick powder mixture. Then deep frying na. Next, I placed the wings in a plastic container, poured the spicy sauce, covered the container and shake-shake-shake, making sure pantay ang coverage. My version of the buffalo wings was just OK, edible. And mas maputla than the photo above.

It's 4pm na (Manila time). Nagugutom na ako. Bye.

13 September 2011


Here's what I shared with my dear colleagues on our last day at the network...

Follow your fear
Prepare don't plan
Do what you say
Say what you mean
Know what you don't know
Don't hold yourself to other people's standards 
Own a pet
Call your parents
Create a comfortable living space
Be happy for other people
Cultivate friendships
Stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves
Understand what realistic expectations are
Don't lie
Get to know your gut and then listen to it
Say you're sorry before you're too embarrassed to
Always wear clean underwear
Be on time
Be nice to receptionists
Appreciate other people's talents
Identify people who don't have your best interests in mind
People will disappoint you
People will amaze you
People will inspire you
You will disappoint people
You will amaze people
You will inspire people
Don't drink too much alcohol
Remember that the old lady who's taking forever in line is someone's grandma
Be curious
Ask questions
Give yourself a break
Have truthful conversations with yourself
Think about your day in the shower
Reflect on your day before you fall asleep
Reward yourself from time to time
Have a good clean joke at the ready
Have a good dirty joke at the ready
Silence can be golden
Have someone you admire evaluate your handshake
Be humbly confident
Smell good
Don't let the highs be too high, so the lows aren't too low
Get to know you
Learn to like you
Let people love you
No one does you better than you
Want what you have and you'll have what you want
Lead with justice and judge with mercy
Don't let your mouth overload your rear

--"But mostly, have a really fun time"
Emmy Award-Winning Actor Eric Stonestreet


The question for Ms. Philippines Shamcey Supsup in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant held today in Brazil: Would you change your religion to marry someone you love?

First thing that popped in my head: My Hubby did that for me. Haba ng hair ko? LOL

If Shamcey answered along the lines of World Peace, ala-"When religions coexist, leaders communicate, media respect neutrality...and citizens needs take precedence over profitability...peace becomes a reality, the world lives in harmony...," would she have won the crown? Just wondering.


What we recently watched at the cinema...

We love last main feature dates!

CONTAGION: The posters said "Nothing spreads like fear." Love the copy! I wanted it to scare me, to get me really praning. But it didn't. Lumaylay ang story sa gitna.

ONE DAY: It reminded us so much of Il Mare (which was later re-made into The Lake House). If it were indeed inspired by the Korean film, it failed in comparison. The storytelling was too linear. Nag-drag. Maybe I should give the book a chance?

ZOMBADINGS. PATAYIN SA SHOKOT SI REMINGTON: Funny. But it could be funnier. Seeing Roderick Paulate on the big screen again was enough entertainment for me. Lead star Mart Escudero (as Remington) was a revelation. Enjoyed his performance. He left us wondering -- how much of his acting was real? Hehe. Pero ang mga tanong nga namin ni Hubby: So what's the movie trying to say? Sumpa nga ba ang pagiging bakla? And in the end, tunay na lalaki pa rin ang hero?

CARS 2: We were in awe of the graphics and animation. Such a visual feast.


FRIGHT NIGHT (not in photo): Failed at being frightening. Parang joke. Apparently, the original film was good? True?

CONAN THE BARBARIAN (not in photo): Very B movie. Sinamahan ko lang talaga si Hubby. LOL. The original film started Arnold Schwarzenegger's career daw. I don't see any one's career taking off from the re-make.


Royce's Potato Chip Chocolate is too (two?) good -- I say it's the ultimate salt and sugar fix! I'm a salty chips addict. And I love chocolates (who doesn't?). Dito, pinagsama sila. Ah, junk food heaven! 

The perfect saltiness. And the perfect sweetness.
(Thank you, A.)

12 September 2011


I live for time spent with loved ones. 

My favorite moment from our Smurf Sunday --
the kids loved hamming it up for the camera.

11 September 2011


My brother and I grew up watching Smurfs in the '80s. So it's exciting to see the cartoon making a come back in 2011 -- with a 3D movie pa! We now have a shared experience with the Facebook / iPad generation. Aliw!

My niece S: Who's your favorite Smurf, Tita A?
Me: Smurfette, of course.
S: Me too! We're the same!

With the Smurfs movie released last month, my niece wanted a Smurfs-themed birthday (Syempre, uso.). Nothing grand. Just a simple merienda with family and friends.  

To continue the tradition, Hubby and I gifted S with cake and cupcakes from KiddieParty.com. We're very happy with their creations and service. 

Sharing with you some of the moments from S' celebration...

Our bday gift to S.
The Smurfette cupcakes were the first to go, hehe.

Our suki: Eloisa Tan of KiddieParty.Com
Her number: 6330949
Her email: eloisatan@yahoo.com
Flat cake 9"x13": Php1,500
Cupcakes: Php45 each, minimum order of 24pcs
(More elaborate designs are available.)

My brother, the bday girl,
and my blooming preggy sis-in-law.
G with a balloon that says
"Happy Smurfs Day!"
Seriously thinking about her birthday wish? LOL
 Love the shot! Photo by J.
S #2 enjoying the slide.
Ganda rin nito! Another photo by J.
 S, A, X enjoying the cupcake toppings.
Kids have such simple joys. Love it!
E's so dalaga na!
S and E are celebrating back-to-back bdays.
Lovely Mom & Daughter

Cam Crazy Cousins at the Photo Booth
Photo by J


We're currently on a career break to prepare for The Big Move. This means no pay days for awhile. So as not to drain The SG Dream Fund, we've adjusted our budget.

How we've been tightening out belts:
  1. Switched from brown to white rice.  
  2. Switched from alkaline to distilled drinking water. 
  3. Switched from branded to the grocery's in-house eggs.
  4. Switched from muscovado to ordinary brown sugar.
  5. Switched from wheat to white bread. (The healthier items were the first to go!)
  6. Less dining out, more eating in. (Good thing I'm having fun cooking na.)
  7. Cut spa and salon trips to once or twice a month. More DIY mani-pedi for me.
  8. No more 24-hour AC. These days, it's on only when we sleep. 
  9. Less long hot showers. Cold shower muna, as much as possible.
  10. More of the train, less of the taxi.
  11. If walking distance lang, we'll gladly walk.
  12. No long trips muna. (Except for SG, of course. And we're already booked.) Day trips via train or jeep or bus, pwede pa. 
  13. Ukay the items we do not need.
  14. I've been shopping less. Promise. LOL
I know the adjustments are not exactly drastic. Well, that's because we made sure life would still be...comfortable. We saved up for comfortable.  

How's it been so far? Well you can bet your bottom dollar we're making this work at all costs. *wink*


How special was 9.10.11 to you?

The day marked a milestone for us. For the first time, J and I proudly stood as Principal Sponsors to a dear couple's wedding. Yes, we're now Ninong and Ninang. Doesn't that sound old? LOL.

L and C's 9.10.11 wedding was lovely. You could see them in every detail. Very creative. Very personal. Very cheesy. And since I'm all about cheesy (proof: this blog) I really appreciated it. I loved the AVP short film they produced about their story. Talo pa ang ibang Asianovela!

As I shared with L and C before -- "There's no greater risk than matrimony. But there is nothing happier than a happy marriage." (from Benjamin Disraeli, read this from Elizabeth Gilbert's book 'Committed'.) As for working (operative word: WORK) on a happy marriage, here's what I have to share...
  1. Making Marriage Work, read here
  2. Is It Worth Fighting For?, read here
  3. Life Partner, read here
  4. Stay Silly, read here
Best wishes, L and C! 

Red-Letter Day
It was great seeing our team mates again! Miss you, Guys. (Do not cry.)
All smiles si Ninang.
That's us down the aisle.
The lovely newlyweds (Photo taken by J).
With my beloved Kumares N and L.
More of our dear friends, D, M and N.
With lovely ladies N and H.
The reception venue.


Post Script on my OFW Errands blog entry...

Tatlong oras din yun ha!

Was telling J -- We must be in a really happy disposition to consider the three-hour-wait at the Pag-Ibig Office "fast and efficient." Ganyan kami kasaya. LOL.

This career break seems to be bringing out the best in us.

07 September 2011


We're in the thick of our OFW errands.

So happy to share that yesterday's first string of "To Dos" has been a breeze. I'm impressed with the efficient, fast and friendly service of SSS Diliman and Pag-Ibig Kamias. Mabuhay ang mga government employees na aming nakasalamuha!

First stop: Social Security System Diliman 

How to get there: It's along East Avenue. From EDSA Northbound, turn right at East Avenue. The SSS Membership Assistance Center (MAC) is located after V.Luna Road, before the East Avenue Hospital.

Errand: We need to change our membership from employee to voluntary.

We got there 10am. Proceeded to the SSS MAC Booth 1 for forms. We lined up for less than thirty seconds (Yes, that quick!). The lady gave us Form RS-5, the SSS Voluntary Contribution Table (see sample here), the SSS Voluntary Contribution Schedule. Your voluntary contribution will be based on your monthly income. And your deadline is based on the last digit of your SSS number.

We plan to advance our contributions until end of 2012, para wala ng aberya. The lines in SSS for payments are too long so hindi na doon, sa mall na lang. The SM Business Center in Megamall (5F), a 10-minute walk from our condo, is often empty so dun na lang. The banks are always puno so ayaw ko rin. Representatives may pay on your behalf, they should know lang your SSS number (Yey!).

The SSS MAC Booth 1 lady patiently answered our questions. We were out of there in less than twenty minutes! Wow.

We had all the time for early lunch. Yahoo!

Next stop: Pag-Ibig Kamias 

Address: 795 EDSA. Very near GMA Network. It's right beside the condo (Victoria Condo?) adjacent to the GMA-Kamuning MRT station.

We arrived 11am. Got a number for the change of membership -- again, from employee to OCW (That's Pag-Ibig's term. SSS uses OFW.).

Our number was called one hour and twenty minutes later. But we didn't mind the waiting. We were prepared for the worst. (We thought nga sa SSS lang kami makakapunta that day.) There were enough seats for every one, the office is air-conditioned and there were TVs tuned in to Eat Bulaga. There's also a Mini-Stop nearby in case you need a quick bite. I had my magazine and iPad. Hubby had his iPod games. It was a pretty comfortable wait.

When our number was finally called, they made us fill-up forms, asked for photocopies of our passports, and made us pay for our contributions. Yung pila sa cashier mahaba, we waited for another hour. Marami kasing tao. We decided to pay up to December 2011. For the next contributions, there's a Pag-Ibig Office at the Lucky Plaza, along Orchard Road, in SG. Yey!

We decided to get our Pag-Ibig IDs na rin, andun na kami eh. The guards led us to a lady officer at the 2nd Floor. She just asked for valid I.D.s and ang bilis, nahanap na niya ang files namin. The entire thing took less than five minutes.

We were out of there before 2pm. No one was masungit. No one was mabagal. Every one was very accommodating. At maayos ang pila sa lahat ng counters. There are a lot of people lang talaga. So just patiently wait for your turn.

Errand in between errands: Coop

While waiting for our turn at the Pag-Ibig cashier, we decided to drop by the Coop (a mere 5-minute walk from Pag-Ibig) to sign some documents. O diba? We were able to squeeze in errand #3 pa! Bongga!

Brought a mag and my iPad.
Devoured my Preview September issue
at the Pag-Ibig office.

Today, we tried to get our NBI Clearances at the Mandaluyong City Hall Satellite Office. We were there 9am. But we were informed the Application Forms for the day are ubos na. Nauubos pala yun?! Arg. We'll just go back next week. We'll make sure we're there 6am (6am!), that's when they start distributing forms daw kasi.

What else do we have to work on? Ah, our PhilHealth memberships. Good thing their office is located along Shaw Boulevard. Same street as our condo. Yey!

Hope we're not missing anything.

Would you know of more Bagong Bayani must-dos?


I'm supporting Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez's call to promote the country any which way we can. Because, yes, I agree, "we deserve a visit from the world."

I'm re-posting an entry from November 2010, My Top Picks for the Philippines...

...I know there are more than three must-sees in our country. But for now, allow me to talk about my Top Three.

#1 Palawan

I've been to Palawan thrice. First with college friends right after graduation, then with J to celebrate our First Wedding Anniversary, then with my family months ago. I've only seen parts of Puerto Princesa, Sabang and Port Barton. I know there's so much more to explore. My impression: If you love the beach, minus the parties, this is where you should go. One of my life dreams is to have a family vacation home in Palawan. But the more immediate goal is to see Coron soon.

Above, Clockwise:

Fallen tree by the beach;
Off to the Monkey Trail
(Most people go to the Underground River via a 20-minute boat ride.
We chose to take the 2-hour trek);
Me, floating on water (haha);
Us on a duyan (a cradle);
rock formation in Port Barton;
baby crocs at the Crocodile Farm;
hard hats as anti-bat pee/poo gear;
exiting the Underground River;
Bulol swimming at the Star Fish Island.

A bit from our date: I remember us taking a 2-hour jeepney ride from our overnight stay in Port Barton back to Puerto Princesa. I was seated inside the jeep, together with most of the commuters while J was on the vehicle's roof (yes, top ride!), together with three squealing pigs and a couple of other locals. My husband's fearless. Sometimes, his adventurous spirit could give me a heart attack! Needless to say, I was frantic the entire trip (couldn't sit still, was worried sick about him, especially on the zigzag roads!). Why did I allow him to take the top ride? He's a pro. As a mountaineer, he's done it a gazillion times. And I didn't want to be a kill-joy so I agreed. Thank God we got to our destination safe and sound.

LONELY PLANET: "Palawan is one of the real treasures of the Philippines...Due in equal parts to its rugged topography, its small population and its distance from other islands in the archipelago, Palawan has managed to stay largely pristine.

Palawan's world-class diving, snorkelling and jungle trekking make it a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure-sports fans. The fantastic seascapes of the Bacuit Archipelago, the wrecks around Coron Town and the magical lakes of Coron Island should rank high on any visitor's list. You could spend a lifetimediscovering new islands, beaches and reefs, particularly around northern Palawanand Busuanga Island.

With convenient and quick plane and ferry connections from Luzon, Palawan is easy to get to. With few paved roads, however, it can be time consuming to travel overland around Palawan. But the views along the way are usually worth the time and effort. Of course, in the wet season, which usually runs here from June to September, road travel can be difficult in the days following a heavy rain. But, it is possible to travel in Palawan during the wet season, and many people enjoy the brilliant sunsets that come with the clouds.

All told, we consider Palawan to be one of the most rewarding outdoor-sports destinations not just in the Philippines, but in all of Southeast Asia."

#2 Sagada

I'm proud to have survived the adventures of Sagada! It was J's nth visit, my first. We were there to celebrate our Second Wedding Anniversary. Considering my limited outdoors experience and skills, it was my roughest but most rewarding travel experience so far! As for J, walang-wala sa kanya (it was peanuts), haha.

Above, Clockwise:
The rickety mini bus we rode from Baguio to Sagada
(Glad the hell ride was worth it!);
Bulol by the Sagada Bell;
Echo Mountain;
Take a peek inside the Sagada Church;
Bulol by the Pine Trees;
J hanging off the cliff! (Told you he's fearless.);
Locals dancing in the dap-ayan;
gorgeous rock formations;
hanging coffins;
Bulol by the lamp, inside the Sumaging Cave;
we went trekking;
a cow guarding one of the tomb stones at the local cemetery;
Center: That's us inside the adventure-filled Sumaging Cave
(expect to trek, rapel, walk through ice-cold, neck-deep water,
crawl through holes)

I'm a Sagada Survivor!

A bit from our date: My favorite moment was napping one afternoon in the Sagada park (near the Church), engulfed by the scent of pine trees, with the locals singing and dancing one-hundred feet away, while J watched over me. It remains to be one of the most relaxing moments of my life.

LONELY PLANET: "The absence of noise and pollution are probably the first things you'll appreciate about Sagada, a tranquil mountaintop town where you can walk down the middle of the road and only occasionally be disturbed by a passing vehicle. Backpackers have been flocking here for years to enjoy the incredible mountain scenery, cheap dope and companionship of like-minded travellers.

Sagada fills up quickly in the March-to-May high season. But despite its popularity it manages to stave off changes that would detract from its appeal as an 'ecotourism' destination - there are no massive hotels or blaring discos, and videoke is conspicuously absent. For many Sagadans, the traditional way of life remains intact. During harvest celebrations, women wear tapis while older men don G-strings and gather in the dap-ay; chickens are sacrificed, gongs are played and general merriment ensues.

Sagadans are of Applai (Northern Kankanay) ancestry and their native language is Kankanay although, as in the rest of the Cordilleras, Ilocano and English are widely spoken.

It can get chilly at night, especially from December to February, when temperatures can drop as low as 4°C. From March to May, temperatures rise as high as 30°C during the day. The rest of the year is the wet season, when the normal pattern is a sunny, pleasant morning followed by a heavy, long afternoon shower."

#3 Batanes (though we've never been here)

"Taming the wind and the waters in the northernmost Philippine frontier, the relatively isolated islands of the Batanes, the home of the resilient and welcoming Ivatans, with its rolling hills, subtropical climate, ancient cultures, windswept traditional stone houses and breathtaking landscapes and seascapes which perhaps make it one of the prettiest corners of the world." -- http://tourism-philippines.com/batanes/

Photo: philecotourism.wordpress.com

If J and I could see only one more Pinas Spot, we'd both choose Batanes. I always hear about travelers being taken back in time, as if they're transported to a totally different world.

Just how untouched is Batanes? Read about the Honesty Cafe. I wonder if there's something like it anywhere else in the world. Only in the Philippines!