Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Song In My Head

Power Of Two

- Indigo Girls

now the parking lot is empty
everyone's gone someplace
i pick you up and in the trunk i've packed
a cooler and a 2-day suitcase
cause there's a place we like to drive
way out in the country
five miles out of the city limit we're singing
and your hand's upon my knee

so we're okay
we're fine
baby i'm here to stop your crying
chase all the ghosts from your head
i'm stronger than the monster beneath your bed
smarter than the tricks played on your heart
we'll look at them together then we'll take them apart
adding up the total of a love that's true
multiply life by the power of two

you know the things that i am afraid of
i'm not afraid to tell
and if we ever leave a legacy
it's that we loved each other well
cause i've seen the shadows of so many people
trying on the treasures of youth
but a road that fancy and fast
ends in a fatal crash
and i'm glad we got off
to tell you the truth

cause we're okay
we're fine
baby i'm here to stop your crying
chase all the ghosts from your head
i'm stronger than the monster beneath your bed
smarter than the tricks played on your heart
we'll look at them together then we'll take them apart
adding up the total of a love that's true
multiply life by the power of two

all the shiny little trinkets of temptation
(make new friends)
something new instead of something old
(but keep the old)
all you gotta do is scratch beneath the surface
(but remember what is gold)
and it's fools gold
(what is gold)
fools gold
(what is gold)
fools gold

now we're talking about a difficult thing
and your eyes are getting wet
i took us for better and i took us for worse
don't you ever forget it
now the steel bars between me and a promise
suddenly bend with ease
the closer i'm bound in love to you
the closer i am to free

so we're okay
we're fine
baby i'm here to stop your crying
chase all the ghosts from your head
i'm stronger than the monster beneath your bed
smarter than the tricks played on your heart
we'll look at them together then we'll take them apart
adding up the total of a love that's true
multiply life by the power of two

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday

  • I am thankful for all my friends and relatives who greeted me on my birthday! It definitely brought a big smile to my face!
  • Foot spa! Had one on my birthday at this new place inside Rustan's called Nail Tropics, and it was the best massage and pedicure I've ever had. I should have one every month!
  • Bo Sanchez's Wednesday night Kerygma show. He is one truly inspired Christian preacher whom I learn a lot from, and his TV show is very funny and inspiring. At the end of long, tiring day, it's nice to just kick back and watch a show that is as uplifting and as encouraging as his.
  • Baby registries. Keira's baptism is coming up and I have been busy with planning the actual ceremony and thanksgiving lunch for family and close friends. Baby registries just makes life so much simpler and easier for both the gift-giver and for the parent who will be accepting the gifts :-)
  • My PowerMac, which has been in and out of the shop for months now, is finally home and hopefully will be here to stay!
  • American Idol. Just a no-brainer way to tune work out and to be entertained. Yes, it can be entertaining sometimes.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Valentine Post: How We Met

Tasha's blog is having a Valentine's Day contest, and the theme is called "How We Met". I'm not quite sure if my post will even make it to her deadline, but I will post just the same because today, Valentine's Day, is a special day for me and my honey. Why? Because it also happens to be Allan's birthday! Yay!!! (Happy birthday, hon! I love you!!!) :-) Ok, here's how our story goes...

How We Met

Back in 1998, I worked as an Events Manager for a big American multi-level marketing company (yup, you probably guessed already which one..) and Allan worked as a marketing and events manager for a club near my office. My job entailed that i set up events for the distributors to attend, and they were usually within the provinces here in the country and in neighboring countries like China and Hong Kong. My office counterpart did pretty much the same but handled events here in Manila and in India. Allan, on the other hand handled big party and launch events in his club, which fit a large group -- 1000 people max. Where am I heading with this story? I guess you can pretty much predict how this turned out. When my office counterpart was assigned to India for a full 3 months to handle the launches there, I had to take over her local events. She gave me a list of venues I could book for the weekly and monthly meetings, and a list of suppliers to contact. So when event month came, I made my round of calls to set appointments with these venues for an ocular inspection of their place.

On March 17, 1998 I drove out with my friend to go to one of my appointments at Meralco theatre, a local theatre in Manila, to check out the place. I was in the passenger seat of the car staring at the road ahead when my eye caught the name of a club. Limits was the name. I stared at it for awhile, and i wondered why I had a strange feeling about the place. My heart did a skip and I felt the urge to turn the car around to go back to that club. On impulse, I asked my friend to make a u-turn. He kinda freaked out at my request since we had driven quite a distance already. He asked if I had an appointment set there, and I replied that I didn't. I just felt that I had to check the place out. So, in kind obedience (hehe), he drove back and we went down to check the venue. I arrived the door of the club, but was hesitant to knock because it was dark inside and it seemed like it was still closed. Somebody must have seen our silhouettes through the glass door, because someone came running out to open it. And there he was. Allan. My future husband was standing right in front of me. Smiling in his dark short-sleeved polo shirt and brown slacks. Believe it or not, that's exactly what I thought at that very moment -- that he was my future husband! I was probably crazy to think that way, being single at that time and having come out of a really bad break-up two years before that. But it was true. Anyway, we inquired about the venue. To my pleasant surprise, the place was really big! It had everything I needed for me to put together this event I was planning. In short it was the perfect place. Allan stood up to get the details of the place and the contract. I stared at him as he walked away, and turned to my friend to ask, "how do i look?". He looked at me like I was possessed. "What??" I didn't understand it either. All I knew at the moment was I wanted to book the place and I wanted to look pretty while booking it. Allan came back out and took in the details of the event and explained more of the amenities, da da dah..da dah... I just stared at him the whole time wondering if there was such a thing as love at first sight. Surprisingly, he confessed that he felt the same way! He told me that he wasn't supposed to be at work that hour of the day, because the club opens at 6pm and he usually arrives work just before 6. When he saw me at the door he said he felt different and wondered at that moment if I had a boyfriend and...get this... if I had nice feet! Haha!

For all those who think the concept is unreal, well I am telling you all now -- Love at first sight IS possible and real! To fast forward my story, Allan and I met up everyday since that fateful day as friends getting to know each other. We became boyfriend-girlfriend after just a month. Then we became engaged in just four months after. By August of that same year we were already married civilly! We got caught in the whirlwind of that very first meeting and we've been married for 8 years already. Call it fate. Call it divine intervention. We were in places at that very moment were we shouldn't have been at. We were supposed to be meeting totally different people that day. But for some reason we were brought together, and everything happened almost spontaneously! Plans changed with just a snap of a finger. Just goes to show that we are never really in full control of our life. We think we have great plans, but God always has something better. And better was His plan for me indeed! 8 Valentine's days and 2 children later, I can say I am happy that I made that u-turn. :-)


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Proud to be Filipino

I came across this article in an email written by Ed Lapiz of which is entitled "What Makes the Filipino Special?". It is a very informative write-up which I would like to share with all my non-Filipino readers and blog buds. Hopefully this will give you an insight as to who I am beyond the stories I tell and the photos I post. I am actually not entirely Filipino. I am part British (maternal grandfather from Glasgow, Scotland), part Japanese (maternal grandmother from Okinawa, Japan), part Chinese (paternal grandfather) and part Filipino. But I am Filipino in almost all other aspects in my life. Read the article by Ed Lapiz below and get a better appreciation of who I really am.

What makes the Filipino Special?
Ed Lapiz

December 01, 2006

Filipinos are brown. Their color is at the center of human racial strains. This point is not racism, but for many Filipinos to realize that our color should not be a source or reason for an inferiority complex. While we pine for a fair complexion, white people are religiously tanning themselves whenever they could, under the sun or some artificial light, just to approximate the Filipino complexion.

Filipinos are a touching people. We have lots of love and are not afraid to show it. We almost inevitably create human chains with our perennial akbay (arm around another shoulder), hawak (hold), yakap (embrace), himas (caress), kalabit (touch with the tip of the finger), kalong (sitting on someone's lap), etc.

We are always reaching out, always seeking interconnection.

Filipinos are linguists. Put a Filipino in any city, any town around the world. Give him a few months or even weeks and he will speak the local language. Filipinos are adept at learning and speaking languages. In fact, it is not uncommon for Filipinos to speak at least three: his dialect, Filipino, and English. If they work abroad, many speak an added language, the host country's language.

In addition, Tagalog is not 'sexist.' While many "conscious" and "enlightened" people today are just now striving to be "politically correct" in their language, in the process, bending to
absurd depths to coin "gender sensitive" words, Tagalog has evolved gender-neutral words since time immemorial - asawa (husband or wife), anak (son or daughter), magulang (father or mother), kapatid (brother or sister), biyenan (father-in-law or mother-in-law) , manugang (son-or daughter-in- law), bayani (hero or heroine), etc. Our languages and dialects are advanced and, indeed, sophisticated! No wonder Jose Rizal, the quintessential Filipino, spoke some twenty-two languages!

Filipinos are "groupists." We love human interaction and company. We always surround ourselves with people and we hover over them, too. According to Dr. Patricia Licuanan, a psychologist from Ateneo and Miriam College , an average Filipino would have and know at
least 300 relatives.

At work, we live bayanihan (mutual help); at play, we want a kalaro (playmate) more than a laruan (toy). At socials, our invitations are open and it is common even for guests to invite and bring in other guests. In transit, we do not want to be separated from our group. So what do we do when there is no more space in a vehicle? Kalung-kalong! (sit on another's lap). No one would ever suggest splitting a group and waiting for another vehicle with more space!

Filipinos are weavers. One look at our baskets, mats, clothes, and other crafts will reveal the skill of the Filipino weaver and his inclination to weaving. This art is a metaphor of the Filipino trait.

We are social weavers. We weave theirs into ours, so that we all become parts of one another. We place a lot of premium on pakikisama (getting along) and pakikipagkapwa (relating). At almost any cost, the Filipino will avoid the two worst labels, walang pakikisama (no comradeship) and walang pakikipagkapwa (cannot relate).

We love to blend and harmonize with people, we like to include them in our "tribe," in our "family"-and we like to be included in other people's families, too.

Therefore we call our friend's mother nanay or mommy; we call a friend's sister ate (eldest sister), and so on. We even call strangers tita (aunt) or tito (uncle), tatang (grandfather) , etc.

So extensive is our social openness and interrelation that we have specific titles for extended relations like hipag (sister-in-law's spouse), balae (child-in-law' s parents), inaanak (godchild), ninong/ninang (godparents) kinakapatid (godparent's child), etc. In addition, we have the profound 'ka' institution, loosely translated as "equal to the same kind" as in kasama (of the same company), kaisa (of the same cause), kapanalig (of the same belief), etc. In our social fiber, we treat other people as co-equals.

Filipinos, because of their social "weaving" traditions, make for excellent team members.

Filipinos are adventurers. We have a tradition of separation. Our myths and legends speak of heroes and heroines who almost always get separated from their families and loved ones and are taken by circumstance to far-away lands where they find wealth or power.

Our Spanish colonial history is filled with separations caused by the reduccion (hamletting) and the forced migration to build towns, churches, fortresses or galleons. American occupation enlarged the space of Filipino wandering, including America , and there are
documented evidences of Filipino presence in America as far back as

Filipinos now compose the world's largest population of overseas workers, populating and sometimes "threshing" major capitals, minor towns, and even remote villages around the world. Filipino adventurism has made us today's citizens of the world, bringing the
bagoong (salty shrimp paste), pansit (sauteed noodles), siopao (meat-filled dough), kare-kare (peanut-flavored dish), dinuguan (innards cooked in pork blood), balut (duck egg embryo), and adobo (meat vinaigrette), along with the tabo (ladle) and tsinelas (slippers) all over the world.

Filipinos are excellent at adjustments and improvisation, managing to recreate their home, or to feel at home anywhere.

Filipinos have pakiramdam (deep feeling/ discernment) . We can feel what others feel, sometimes even anticipate it. Being manhid (insensitive) is one of the worst labels on anyone, to be avoided at all costs. We know when a guest is hungry though he insists on the contrary.

We can tell if people are lovers even if they're miles apart. We know if a person is offended though he may purposely smile. We know because we feel. In our pakikipagkapwa (fraternizing in oneness), we not only get to slip into another man's shoes, but also into his

We have a superbly developed and honored gift of discernment that makes us excellent leaders, counselors, and go-betweens.

Filipinos are very spiritual. We are transcendent. We transcend the physical world, see the unseen and hear the unheard. We have a deep sense of kaba (premonition) and kutob (hunch). A Filipino wife will instinctively feel her husband or child is going astray, whether or not telltale signs present themselves.

Filipino spirituality makes him invoke divine presence or intervention at nearly every bend of his journey. Rightly or wrongly, Filipinos are almost always acknowledging, invoking or driving away spirits into and from their lives. Seemingly trivial or even incoherent events can take on spiritual significance and will be given such space or consideration.

The Filipino has a sophisticated, developed pakiramdam. The Filipino, though becoming more and more modern (hence, materialistic) is still very spiritual in essence. This inherent and deep spirituality makes the Filipino, once correctly Christianized, a major exponent of the faith.

Filipinos are timeless. Despite the nearly half-a-millennium encroachment of the western clock into our lives, Filipinos-unless on very formal or official functions-still measure time not in hours and minutes but with feeling. This style is ingrained deep in our psyche. Our time is diffused, not framed. Our appointments are defined by umaga (morning), tanghali (noon), hapon (afternoon), or gabi (evening).

Our most exact time reference is probably katanghaliang tapat (high noon), which still allows many minutes of leeway. That is how Filipino trysts and occasions are timed: there is really no definite time.

A Filipino event has no clear-cut beginning or ending. We have a fiesta, but there is bisperas (eve) and the day after the fiesta is still considered a good time to visit. The Filipino Christmas is not confined to December 25th; it somehow begins months before December
and extends up to the first days of January.

Filipinos say good-bye to guests first at the head of the stairs, then down at the descamo (landing), the entresuelo (mezzanine), the pintuan (doorway), the tarangkahan (gate), and if the departing persons are to take public transportation, up to the bus stop or station.

Other people's tardiness and extended stays can really be annoying, but this peculiarity is also the charm of Filipinos who, governed by timelessness, show how their brothers elsewhere how to find more time to be kind and accommodating rather than prompt and

Filipinos are space-less. As in the concept of time, the Filipino concept of space is not numerical. We will not usually express space in miles or kilometers but with feeling in malayo (far) or malapit (near).

Alongside numberless-ness, Filipino space is also boundless. Indigenous culture did not divide land into private lots but kept it open for all to partake of its abundance.

The Filipino has remained avidly "space-less" in many ways. The interior of the bahay kubo (hut) can easily become receiving room, sleeping room, kitchen, dining room, chapel, funeral parlor, etc. depending on the time of the day or the needs of the moment.

The same is true with the bahay na bato (stone house). Space just flows into the next space, so that the divisions between the sala, caida, comedor, or vilada may only be faintly suggested by overhead arches of filigree. In much the same way, Filipino concept of space can be so diffused that a party may creep into and actually appropriate the street! A family business like a sari-sari store or talyer (production or work area) may extend to the sidewalk and street. Provincial folks dry palay (rice grain) on highways! Religious groups of various persuasions habitually and matter-of-factly commandeer the streets for processions and parades.

It is not uncommon to close a street to accommodate private functions. Filipinos eat, sleep, chat, socialize, quarrel, even urinate, nearly everywhere or just anywhere!

"Space-lessness, " in the face of modern, especially urban life, can be unlawful and really counter-productive. On the other hand, when viewed from the Filipino's context, it is just another manifestation of his spiritually and communal values. Adapted well to today's context, which may mean unstoppable urbanization, Filipino spaceless-ness may even be the answer and counter balance to humanity's greed, selfishness and isolation.

So what makes the Filipino special? We are brown, spiritual, timeless, space-less, linguist, groupist, weavers and adventurers. Seldom do all these profound qualities find personification in a people. Filipinos should allow - and should be allowed to contribute their special traits to the world-wide human community - but first, we should know and like ourselves.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thankful Thursday

  • The great pediatrician in heaven. I am thankful that nobody loves my children more than their Maker! No amount of love I pour out to Nicky and Keira can match His love for his babies. That alone should be the best reason to trust that He will make sure they are well taken care of. Keira is still not completely well. Her bacteria and pus cell count levels went up yesterday and I had to bring her to see her doctor again. She is still being monitored for fever, but thankfully she hasn't had any and she is full of energy and life still.
  • Comfort food from my favorite Cibo. Nothing takes the stress and blues away than a yummy plate of Farfalle Genovese with Pate de Fegato and Foccacia bread. Mmmmm......
  • Petroleum Jelly. It's THE BEST way to keep your foot moisturized and fresh looking! Tried and tested! Just massage your foot with half a teaspoon of petroleum jelly and cover with socks overnight. Your feet will look like a baby's in the morning :-)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Baby Blues

Last week was extremely tough for my family and I. My dear baby girl was rushed to the emergency room at 3am last Monday because of extremely high grade fever. She had experienced fevers earlier in the evening and we've been monitoring her temperature all throughout the night. It caused quite a panic when we suddenly saw her whole body tremble intensely due to chills and when her skin started to turn a deep blusih-gray color! My poor baby! While in the car driving to the hospital, I was hugging my dear Keira with a blanket wrapped tightly around her now really blue body. I was crying the whole way as I heard her breathing becoming shallow. I prayed deeply to Papa God to please watch over Keira as this was a situation where we had entirely no control of. What was happening? My baby is only 4 months old! Boy did I wish she could speak right at that moment just so I'd know what she was feeling! We arrived the emergency room after 15 minutes of travel, and the nurses immediately attended to her with a hot lamp placed over her, a thermometer, and a cold sponge bath. Her temperature was an alarming 40 degrees centigrade! I thought I'd faint then and there because apparently the whole time I was carrying her she was already having a convulsion.

After several blood tests done to her very young skin (again, poor baby!) and urinalysis tests, it was found that she had UTI (urinary tract infection) and the bacteria that was inside of her was a grave one -- E. Coli. She was immediately given treatment in the form of antibiotics that had to be administered intravenously. The medicines given were painful and I watched Keira cry each time they'd inject it into her vein. It was so emotionally exhausting to watch your newborn experience pain -- each time they'd prick her, I wished they'd just prick me instead. After 7 days of being the hospital, Keira finally came home Sunday evening. Her pus cell count had gone down from an overwhelming "LOADED" number to "0-2". She had undergone an ultrasound a day before as requested by her nephrologist to check whether her organs were normal. Thank God, she was cleared of any abnormality. Right now, Keira is still undergoing treatment for E. Coli that may still be in her body, and the doctors are monitoring for improvements as they are fearful that the bacteria may ascend to her kidneys.

I am back to work again, catching up on deadlines. I am so relieved that we were able to get through this ordeal. Because of this, we held an emergency baptism in her hospital room. I guess the fearful thought that I could lose my unbaptized baby girl haunted me enough to seek a priest.

I continue to ask for prayers from all of you that Keira will recover completely and be restored to perfect health. I also ask for prayers for my sick grandmother who was hospitalized at the same day Keira was rushed. I promise to keep all of you updated on everyone's health. Thank you in advance for your prayers :-)