29 February 2008

Blast from the Past

Today, I gave a career talk to the juniors of Holy. I was tasked to explain my course and my work after I graduated. I think I ended up scaring them. I really didn't mean to, honest. I just wanted to impress upon them all the things they can do after they graduated from college. I wasn't bragging when I told them that I worked from 7-4am five days a week, and for three days of that week, I attended school from 5:30-8:30pm, and of the remaining two days, I taught from 6-8pm. My point of telling them that was to let them know they shouldn't limit themselves, and that they can do whatever they want. And that hard work always pays off.

Then they erroneously jumped into concluding that I graduated summa cum laude and that I was those geeky over achievers in high school. I told them I wasn't. This somewhat encouraged the under achievers. I think my career talk was taking a direction that would stress out the guidance counselors who organized it. So I corrected their misconception as best as I could. I pressed on that they should learn to manage time, get all their readings at the first week of class, and to have fun in college but to stay out of trouble. (THE EFFORT, I swear, of saying all of these while keeping a straight face and avoiding sarcasm and self deprecating jokes.)

After the talk, I went around to take photos of all the changes that has happened to Holy since I last visited. Even my sister was stumped when she saw the photos.

Here's the clincher. Before I left, the high school principal, Ms. Cruz, who was my English teacher in third year, said if I was interested I may apply to teach next academic year. And I'm seriously considering it.

23 February 2008

Mic's Baby Shower

My first baby shower ever. It was a gathering of the girls from Holy and a few of Mic's colleagues from work. Nikka planned and executed the whole affair. And she hosted the party to boot.

Party favors: fondant cupcakes created by Gel Colet (click here for her other goodies) and sponsored by Cathy Carandang all the way from Australia.

I came in with Cissy who waited in her car until I arrived. :P

Mayang who graciously let us have the shower at her house.

(Super) Nikka. The one woman force behind the shower. She lead the prayer before we all tucked in to a sumptuous meal. (there's no other way to do a party in Holy but a pot luck.)

Our Mom of Honor, Mic.

One of the crazy games that Nikka put together. Everyone was eager to join (and Nikka secured prizes for all the winners) and it was just loads of fun!

Wala kaming ginawa kundi tumawa!

I miss the girls from Holy. It's nice to have these kinds of affairs with them. It was also great to meet Loyva and Pinky. :)

To view full album, please click here.

Photos by Aggie


Nards wasn't feeling well when he woke up. Itchy throat, headache and a fever. So I made him some breakfast.

It looks happy to see him. Or is it filled with trepidation? Either way it had no prayer once Nards had a fork.

20 February 2008

Only Children Allowed

My cellphone rang. I let it ring for a bit. My hands were full at that time, so I wasn't able to take the call. The ringing stopped. Then it rang again. I dropped what I was doing.


"Ate! I've been trying to reach you all day! No one is answering your landline! I tried your cell and I couldn't reach you! You're not even on yahoo! Are you ok???" My sister's mildly panicked (and this is a stretch considering my deadma sister) voice sharply went through the ear piece.

"I've been playing." As I gave that answer quite distractedly, I was navigating my way through the intricacies of Jojo's Fashion Show working towards the expert level.


"Uh huh," I answered back, pausing my game. (And even as the pc speakers quieted down, in the background one can hear: pata pata pata pon! -- btw, not a game for the musically challenged -- from the PSP.)

A resigned pause. Maybe even a sigh. Then she continued "so anyway...."

Playing is a favorite past time here. And I think it's grossly unfair that I am forever hearing, "para kayong mga bata." It's as if saying that grown ups (or at least people my age, pretending to be grown ups) have no right to play anymore, and must content themselves to the depressing routine of working, paying the bills, and sleeping. Why are children the only ones allowed to play?

The truth is, where I live, there are really no grown ups even though we're all way past the age of majority. Take our refrigerator for example. It has the usual: milk, eggs, vegetables, butter, etc, but there's also chocolate pudding snack packs, caramel apples, a jar of Fluff (the BEST marshmallow spread in the wurld), chocolate, cupcakes, and even lollipops. If people were to assess the inhabitants of the house based on the content of our refrigerator, they'd assume that there are children here feasting on all those sweets.

Our shelves too. There is a huge chunk of the shelf devoted to finance books, photography books, cookbooks, novels, but there is also the coveted part that has various children's books (including sesame street), comic books (aka graphic novels) that range from Calvin & Hobbes to The Sandman series. I also must mention that part of the shelf that contains small toys like bottles of bubbles (in the shapes of Snoopy and one of the Powerpuff girls), origami paper and origami booklets, toy cameras, stuffed animals who have names (and feelings mind you), a kite, clay, and if you consider a small foldable bike a toy, then it's as good as part of that shelf.

So who says, only children are allowed to play? I have this feeling that when Nards and I start our own family, the children will definitely get the boring educational toys, while the two of us get away with the really cool ones.

Anyone game for a round of water guns? I am. I got myself one of those huge ones that can spray literally a bucketful of water with just one pull.

Calling, calling Loreen. :) What's your newest toy?

14 February 2008

Because It's Valentines.....

We decided to use this day to our advantage. No, not to kowtow to tradition by wearing red, going on a really schmaltzy date, and indulging in overt public displays of affection enough to cause projectile vomiting everywhere.

I've decided to make chocolate covered strawberries.

I took out the leaves of some luscious strawberries that Nards brought home from Baguio. Then I found the large bar of semisweet chocolate I bought last month.

I figured since I was preparing the strawberries, I might as well take photos. (Nuks, uma-artistic.)

Where's the chocolate? There it is. (All these "artistic" shots were making my mouth water.) So I shaved off about half a cup of the chocolate, melted it, mixed it with some cream and vanilla extract.

With the chocolate done, let the dipping begin! Yum.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Photos by Aggie

12 February 2008

Walking Tour

The first photo assignment from Summit for Men's Health this year was to cover Carlos Celdran's Walking Tours. We went to Intramuros early in the morning, to meet with Omar, the writer, and to join the tour. Nards and I went to Intramuros on a whim one Sunday last year, and we combed the San Agustin Church museum, Casa Manila and Fort Santiago. That time, we went at a leisurely pace, viewing the paintings and pieces for as long as we like, even staying a couple of minutes to discuss what we thought of a particular carving or canvas.

Wall of Signatures. (I got such a kick that I could take photos inside the museum.)

Sinaunang songhits.

I did a double take on this one. The ends of this ancient farming machine looks like male genitalia. (I know, I know, I'm such a child.)

This time, we went with a large group of tourists, which was a good mix of Europeans, Americans and Filipinos who grew up overseas. It's a different experience for me to go through a tour with, well, tourists. It's different going there with classmates--everybody (more or less) knew the history and would opt to just view than listen to a history lesson. But with the foreigners, they wanted to hear about the history. Carlos indulged them. And it was highly entertaining. I laughed, I was awed and I fervently wished all my history teachers were like him. (But he just got out of UP around the time I was a freshman.)

Carlos explaining our rich history interspersed with humor and trivia.

Tilda Swinton was part of our tour group. Kidding. She's a dutch nutritionist from Netherlands who was vacationing here with her husband.

It gave me a nice warm feeling to see Muslim women inside the San Agustin church. They were very interested in our history, and was fascinated with the religious figures and paintings.

Nards taking details of the double doors of San Agustin Church.

During lunch, while Omar interviewed Carlos, and Nards took portraits, I sat at another table with Tilda Swinton and her husband. They just got back from a week in Palawan. Prior to that, they explored Sagada. They were gushing over our country saying that they loved the people and all the sights. They were surprised that they were warned that the Philippines was dangerous and not worth seeing, because they fell in love with it so to speak. They said the people were kind, friendly and helpful, despite the little corruption they encountered at the Bureau of Immigration when they applied to have their visa extended. Yep, they extended their visa because wanted more of our country. Of course, they loved Carlos' tour. But they couldn't join the afternoon walking tour at CCP and PICC because they had to make arrangements for their trip to Donsol.

Omar, interviewing Carlos, while Nards listened and checked the outtakes of the portraits he took.

Carlos giving us a very interesting account of how he conceptualized Celdran Tours.

Carlos invited us to join the afternoon tours at the CCP and PICC. It would center around Leandro Locsin, and how Imelda's story and dreams were closely related to the birth of those historic buildings. To loosely quote Carlos: the rise and fall of Imelda and the Marcos family is clearly illustrated in the various buildings in that area.

The afternoon tour was just as fun. Carlos knew a lot of trivia about Imelda and the Marcos family and he liberally peppered his "history lesson" with them. It was also very anecdotal. He shared how he met Daphne Ose�a at a party where Madame was in attendance. Daphne dragged him to meet Imelda where she told Madame that Carlos was giving tours of the Coconut Palace, and consequently talk about her. Carlos nearly passed out from mortification. And we were all doubled over with laughter after he finished the story.

Carlos' talking about Leandro Locsin's architectural masterpieces.

Change of costume. Very appropriate for the content of his tour: Imelda, the arts, disco and revolution.

We walked a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. My mary jane walking shoes gave up on me. My feet were killing me before the afternoon was over.

But I had such a great time! I want to join Carlos' Quiapo tour and Binondo tour. Painful soles are a small price to pay for a wonderful history lesson. I hope Men's Health sends us on assignment for those.

11 February 2008


So what did the paper bag say to Nards?

Please recycle me.

08 February 2008

Too Old You Say?

Color me boring. It used to be that Friday nights meant putting on the little black dress, gussying up and going out with either: a) the girls; b) the gang; or c) a date. (In my case, it's usually a or b.) Now, I'm very happy just to spend my Friday evenings at home, reading, surfing, blogging or having friends over for dinner. Is it a sign that I'm getting old? Probably. But I find it a waste of my time to go out just to breathe in second hand smoke, listen to ear-damaging loud music, and eat expensive unhealthy food. I am tired of it. And I hate it that I get to be a candidate for cancer because of other people's disgusting habit. Or that I have to put up with music that I don't like, just because the place is supposedly the place to be in on a Friday night. Ah crap. I do sound old. No. I am old.

Nards went to Sagada yesterday for a shoot. I was supposed to go with him, but couldn't go because it's Mama's birthday dinner last night. Which got postponed to Saturday because Papa wasn't feeling well. Omar called, and we have a shoot with Summit on Tuesday. I'm glad we have a shoot which is going to be in Intramuros, so it should be interesting.

Tonight, I'm just staying in with Beng. We watched a DVD of The Longest Yard an hour ago, and we're now comfortably bent over our respective computer screens: I'm blogging, and she's on the desktop playing Fab Fashion. (She hit the motherlode of games. I have 1.5GB of game installers stashed in our data drive. I gather she'll be up all night. But she's prepared. She brought a flash drive to copy all the games so she can install it at her desktop at home.) I'm currently installing a few games on my laptop. Nothing fancy like the Sims. (It's installed on the desktop so I can enjoy it in the large monitor.) Just simple action games like Diner Dash and Burger Shop. (Nards knows I'm playing Burger Shop when I get a major jones for burger and fries.) For the life of me, I can't seem to outgrow playing games. Whether it's a computer game, a video game or even a board game.

I guess I'm not that old.

05 February 2008

Belly Up

There was one morning around October last year, when I went to my parents' house for the weekend, that I woke up earlier than the rest of the household. I was on my way to the kitchen to fix myself a bowl of cereals, when I casually glanced at the aquarium that separates the kitchen from the dining room.

I panicked when I saw my mom's Flowerhorn belly up in it's aquarium.

It took a few seconds for me to realize that the fish wasn't dead. It looked unhealthy though, and even though it was responsive to my actions (running my hand--not tapping-- across the glass, reaching for the container of food, and sprinkling some in the tank), I was worried that it would be dying in a few days.

Early January, it was getting worse. It stayed on the corner where the filter was spewing bubbles and it's tail had folded solidly. I knew its time was up. I wanted to bring it to a vet, but my Dad vetoed it saying it was too much trouble for one fish.

My brother had thoughtfully bought some fungal solution a few weeks back. My mom puts in a few drops daily, which gives the water a decidedly blue tinge. Surprisingly, the fish started getting better.

It's still belly up though, but there is definitely a marked improvement. Maybe, the fish is destined to live a long life after all. It certainly outlived my cat. There was a time when my Mom was giving me dire warnings that if she catches Figaro with its paws in the aquarium, that I'm going to get it. Well, my cat passed away two Christmases ago and the fish survives despite its infection.

My brother hates that fish (ironically, he was the one who bought the solution), because it bit his little finger. (He was trying to transfer it to a different tank at that time.) His finger is a few millimeters shorter because of this.

By the way, the fish is named Brosia. It was previously named Bruce, after the shark in Finding Nemo. But it layed eggs. So he turned out to be a she. So Bruce became Brosia. For a few minutes when the eggs hatched there was a school of baby Flowerhorns swimming in the tank, until Brosia turned psychotic and ate them all. We all jokingly asked ourselves who was the father of all those late fishies, and we logically assumed it was the tiny skittish red janitor fish that was forever shielding itself behind the rock in one corner of the aquarium. Brosia killed that fish too. Pecked him to death.

My Mom loves this fish. I was actually waiting for it to turn belly up for real. I was going to give her a couple of benign goldfish, maybe even a seahorse. I haven't forgiven Brosia for killing the janitor fish.

03 February 2008

Fried Ice Cream

Imagine a scoop of strawberry and chocolate ice cream, individual wrapped in crepes and fried for a few seconds; which were then placed on a top of fruit purees and syrup ladled on a plate. This is what we had after dinner, which was our reward after an afternoon of taking photos.

My body aches from getting wet with the rains that fell this afternoon. We did a photo shoot with Jun and Gail for their post nuptial/(semi)trash the dress session. We had no intention of trashing the dress, but because of the rain, it was nearly as good as trashed. We ran around campus trying to catch whatever good light we had before sunset, all the while maximizing the dry surfaces.

Despite not being able to go to our originally planned shoot locations, we were able to luck out. We had to improvise on the spot because of the weather, and I had to give it to Nards for his quick thinking and reactions. (You'll know what I'm talking about when you see the outtakes.)

We had enormous fun, but we were both exhausted afterwards. If the weather was cooperative, I'm pretty sure, we would have been wired afterwards instead of tired.

I'll be posting their photos soon. :)

For now, I'm going to bed.

Photo by Aggie


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