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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Serendipity

n. 1754 (but rare before 20c.), coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) in a letter to Mann (dated Jan. 28); he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of." Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

It's been months since I last posted an entry here. The last post I made was about the first time I ever finished off half a bottle of wine. Now I want to tell you the second time I finished off another half bottle of wine. And yeah, as the title suggests... it was something serendipitous.

I say serendipitous because it was a discovery. I was not in quest of anything -- I was satisfied with my career (however little I made of it), with my lovelife (however non-existent it was), with my life in general (however abnormal it can be). I was content and at peace with where I am -- no need for adventure or something different. Until I got that bloody toe.

Yup you heard me. It all started earlier this year when accident-prone-me was walking along Salcedo street, wearing open-toe sandals, which is my usual attire in this hot and humid country. I then felt some minor irritation on my right toe. I looked and to my horror, there was a crack on my toenail, and a dark spot that needed some camouflaging. So off I went to a nearby parlor to get a pedicure.

For half-an-hour I was enjoying the pampering of a footspa with a free pedicure, until... OUCH!! The darn pedicurist pinched off a bit of my flesh on the right toe! And then... there was the sight of blood! Annoyed, I told the manager that i will only pay half of the price of the footspa service -- to which she agreed -- and left the parlor without giving anything to the pedicurist but a side glance that says "You blew it girl. Big time."

It wasn't really painful, but my toe was a real bloody mess. I walked towards the nearest drugstore, once in a while looking at my bleeding toe, and reaching down with a tissue to wipe off the blood so it does not trickle on the sidewalk. Of course, I wouldn't want traces of my blood on the street... lest someone gets my DNA and clones me. Okay that's exaggerated, I've just been watching too many medical fictions and hanging out with geeky friends.

Anyway, I repeated this action of "walk - look at my toe - wipe the blood off - walk again" until, a few meters away from the drugstore, I saw a familiar face walking my way. "Oh, the lawyer guy from IBC (my mother church) who lives in a condo in Makati," I thought to myself when I recognized him. Besides, that's all I know about him, and I haven't seen him in years! He gave me a surprised look, a question was already painted in his face, but I was first to break the non-verbal communication: "What are you doing here?" He pointed to the laptop bag and said that he needs to get his laptop fixed. He returned question, "And you?" I pointed to my toe and said "I stubbed my toe and I also need to get it fixed."

I was prepared to hear him say "Oh poor you, let me help you..." to which I shall respond "No need, I'm okay..." Ah, yes... I was the independent woman! I do not faint at the sight of blood. I am brave. But to my surprise, he gave a totally different reaction: He laughed. What?! My blood was gushing out of the system and spilling on the sidewalk... and all he did was laugh at me?? Now there you go, you so-called independent woman. You still wanted sympathy even if you will refuse help. Heh. Amused at that realization, I just said I needed to self-medicate and must now go to the drugstore. He, on the other hand, needed to revive his laptop. So we went our separate ways. Or so I thought.

After that bloody encounter -- and a few Facebook wall posts and text messages -- I found myself seated across him at Mickey's Deli. He treated me to a sumptuous yet balanced dinner of Crispy Pork Knuckles (this is the German version of the Pinoy Crispy Pata) and Ceasar Salad (to complement the rather unhealthy main dish). I will not hesitate to admit that there was a bottle of red wine (yes, I finished almost half of it, but he drank more wine than I did) and a cup of brewed coffee and pastries after (to neutralize the effect of the alcohol). The food was great. But more so the conversation. And the laughter! And it wasn't just the wine. He had enough wit to make me laugh, and was secure enough to laugh at himself. I should say, that was the most enjoyable date I ever had.

And so there it is, my friends, the second time I downed half a bottle of red wine around seven months ago (yeah this is such a delayed post, but there is value in hindsight). You may think that it was the wine that brought on the laughter. Well I thought so too. But by process of elimination, I realized that with him, with or without the wine, I was laughing. And I was happy.

And it all started the day I had a bloody toe and he had a broken laptop. Come to think of it, if not for that little pedicure accident, I would not be walking towards that drugstore. So you think I should go back to that parlor and give that darn pedicurist a tip???

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A 3-year-old unpublished post

I was checking my blogger account and found out that I had unpublished drafts dating back as far as three years ago. It was quite a find. Here's one that I can't believe I actually wrote... It was dated February 15, 2006, the day after valentines day. It's mere profundity has caused me to doubt if I were the writer. I guess, my preoccupation with business and learning has made me less introspective and more focused on the external environment. But now that I have unearthed such post from my unpublished list, I thought that it is time to share it. And so, here it is, my after-valentines thoughts almost three years ago.


-------------------------------------------
February 15, 2006


A deluge of text messages filled up my cell phone inbox – all quotations about love, trying to define its nature, and trying to explain its characteristics. But none has provoked my thoughts more than this particular message:

“Sometimes I wonder if, instead of falling madly in love,
we should aspire to fall sanely in love.
But then, what would be the point?”
– Jessica Zafra

My initial reaction? “I’d always choose sanity over madness," I said, "even when it comes to love.”

Perhaps it is because of my realistic inclinations and pragamatic attitude that made me form an ideal picture of how I should love: Use your head before your heart. Be more logical, less emotional. Love within reason.

But is love really reasonable? Is it closely connected with logic?

This morning, I saw men line up at a small flower shop just to buy roses – their neatly-ironed barongs turn into a mess of crumples as they try to negotiate their way through a crowd for one small thing: a not-so-rare flower that, with the commercialization of Valentines Day, has become more expensive than clothes. They know it will wilt in a day's time, but nonetheless, they spend two to three days worth of salary for a day's worth of fleeting happiness for their loved one. Reasonable?

Last night, I watched TV documentary about a man who works so hard for such a small amount. And at the end of the day, exhausted and hungry, he takes his pay back home, then spends all his hard-earned money to feed his children until they are satisfied. Even if there will be no food left for himself. Logical?

Several years ago, I learned of our rebellion to our Creator. All-powerful and holy, he could have chosen to annihilate us and make sin disappear from all of his creation. But instead, he sent his son to leave the richness and splendor of his kingdom, to live in the world with us sinful rebels, and take the blame and punishment for our sin – which involved great suffering and a criminal’s execution – so that we may be able to enter his kingdom, where mansions and crowns await us.

Sane??

The greatest of loves is always the most incomprehensible. Love itself cannot be accurately defined nor explained. It is beyond the emotions of the heart. It transcends the logic and reason of the mind. It is both madness and sanity. It is as unfathomable as the One who invented it.

Love is God. God is Love.

That is the only accurate definition I could ever find. And that is the only explanation that makes enough sense for me to understand it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why I deleted my Friendster and Multiply accounts

Yes I did.

It was a bit hard to do, I had 235 friends in Friendster, and I had tons of photos uploaded on my Multiply account. But my motto for this year is to simplify my life. I went through my yahoogroups and left half of the groups I was subscribed to. I even deleted all my inactive accounts in Shelfari, Flixster, Tagged and what-have-yous. Then I stopped at Friendster.

I looked at all my 235 friends and realized that only a handful were my real friends. And they did not even update their account! I do not want virtual friendsters who would just post some glittery greeting on my message board or send me virtual smileys. I wanted friends who I can talk to over coffee, tell the details about the going-ons in my life and laugh at the idiosyncrasies of people around me. Including myself.

And so I went to the account settings and hit the delete button. When Friendster asked for a reason why I was deleting my account, I typed in: "It's complicated."

Then I went to Multiply. I kept that account for couple more weeks after I bid farewell to Friendster. I still hanged on to the idea that I had friends in Multiply who may want to read my blog or view my photos. But then, I got tired viewing their photos and letting them view mine. I got tired responding to their blogs and seeing their responses to mine. Maybe I wanted more meaningful conversations than one-line comments. Or maybe I was rebelling against all forms of convention. And Multiply IS convention. Everyone seems to have it. I wanted to be different.

Blame the artist in me, for it was the one that made me go to my account settings and delete my Multiply account. When the team at Multiply asked why I was deleting my account, I said "I did not want to Multiply, I wanted to simplify." And simplify I did.

Now I have put all my blogs, published articles and photos into one site: www.vanessavelasco.com. It's not a social site, I just put that up for professional purposes. Like a profile or portfolio for would-be clients or contacts. But still I linked this blog to that site, because my blog is something I really cannot delete. I don't know why. Maybe because all my good memories are kept here. And I do want to keep them.

But as for social media, I am making myself scarce on cyberspace. For I'd rather see my friends' real smiles than their virtual smileys, or hear them laugh than see the letters "ROFL" or view some yellow bald cartoon rolling on the floor laughing on my computer window. I guess social media has made me anti-social.

And oh... thank you for reading this entry. Wanna have some coffee sometime? =)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Love and Unique Family Names

I just read an interesting conversation in my mailbox that inspired me to post this entry. The email was from Toto, a friend I knew back in college. Back then there was nothing extraordinary about him. He was intelligent. Argumentative. Pilosopo. the typical UP student. But the one thing about him that really stands out -- what people remember him for -- is his surname.

I admit, I snickered when I heard his surname. It was uhmmm... unique. I even remember those days when he was still a post-graduate student in France -- I was chatting with him online when my dad entered the room, looked at the computer screen and said: "sino yang ka-chat mo, bakit ganyan ng pangalan??"

Then there was a time when he was back in the country on vacation, we got together and he was ranting why he was still single while he can be considered a good catch. He has the looks, he has the brains and he has the things women would want in a man. But how come no girl has ever fallen for him yet? Our advice: "Kuya Toto (yes, we called him kuya back then) palitan mo na kasi apelyido mo para may magpakasal na sayo!"

He didn't. He took pride in the fact that his surname was unique -- even exotic -- to the French people.

After earning his doctorate degree, he came home. Here, a friend introduced him to a pretty lady doctor at St. Lukes. They fell in love and got married.

Recently, I was checking the messages in our yahoogroups when I read that particular email when he was kidding that he wanted a baby girl so when she grows up and gets married, she would not have to live with the surname of Bacolcol forever. Then someone dared to ask the question: "Toto, are you serious that you want a baby girl to eliminate 'Bacolcol.' Wifey doesn't use Dra. Bacolcol? Curious lang."

His response: "My wife uses my family name of course. But before we got married, I told her she may use her family name if she wants to. Pero ayaw ng asawa ko. Siyempre love covers all, unique family names included :-)"

That made me smile. Lucky guy. He found true love.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rediscovered Treasures

There was once a city I fell in love with. I savored each day by waking up early to watch the sunrise and listen to the quiet waves on the seashore, and going to bed late at night just to witness the moon rise and cast its soft light upon the waters. I very seldom took cabs because I loved walking on its acacia-lined streets and listening to the citysounds -- a blend of roaring motorbikes and rhythmic rustling of leaves. It was almost like second home to me.

When I came back to Manila, I wrote about that city. I kept tons of pictures of it and displayed its sceneries on my computer's wallpaper that would make me relive those moments when I breathed its air. Soon enough I was inspired to write about it in a magazine. When my articles and my pictures were published, I was encouraged to write more about other things I loved. Not only about the city I loved, but also about the music I loved, the causes I loved. I have rediscovered my love for these things and my love for writing.

Then my computer crashed.

The first thing that came to mind was to save all the school reports and papers I have worked on for my MBA classes. I have forgotten about my articles -- they were published anyway. I have forgotten about my photos -- I keep them in my blog anyway. My mind was on saving all the years of hard work I put into my MBA courses. And so I did save my MBA reports and files. All others were gone.

Almost two years later, I chanced upon the blog of an old friend. And there, on one page of his blog, he gave a place for the article and the pictures I have written about that city. Soon enough, it inspired me to search for all the other articles i have written and published in the magazine where I used to contribute. It is a good thing that Gmail archives all received and sent emails, that I was able to find the emails and attachments I sent to my editor.

I then decided to create another blog (I know, I know... this is my nth blog!!) where I archived all my published works. Just for posterity's sake. And who knows... maybe it will inspire me once more to pursue writing and photography... maybe after I finish my MBA.

If you want to view the archive of my published works, just click here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Overrated Ten

Ooooh I've been tagged by Jessica Biel...

My Top Ten Overrated Things

10. Dating (the perennial search for a partner and never finding one)
9. Boracay (as if it is a paradise that you need to visit every year)
8. Nursing (now even AMA has a college of nursing!!!)
7. US citizenship (as if Filipinos there are living so grand)
6. AIM (too high tuition fees, but you can get the same MBA education at DLSU)
5. Starbucks (I find the Cowhead 3-in-1 coffee better tasting, really)
4. Kris Aquino (don't we get enough of her?)
3. Pinoy Big Brother (why do people watch a bunch of people who have nothing better to do than stay in some camera-laden house for months??)
2. Leadership books (duh... same principles written in several different ways and they still sell millions of copies!!)
1. The meaning of life (the more you try to find meaning, the more it seems meaningless)

Tagging: whoever comes across this!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blog Monster

Yes I admit I have too many blogs.

My writer's blog (this blog).
My photo blog

Then I created another blog where to put all my recipes for cooking experiments . I did not intend to tell people about this blog because I will just use it for personal use -- I wanted to preserve the recipes for posterity's sake. =) Anyway, now that I wrote about it, feel free to visit the blog and comment on my cooking (even though you have not tasted the recipes, you might want to tell me to add an ingredient or something).

Well, I wouldn't want to mention that I have posts in my friendster blog and photos in multiply as well. But all of them are updated maybe once a month, or once every six months. But my most-read blog is this one, so I think I'll just focus all my posts in here. What do you think? Somebody give me ideas how to consolidate all my blogs! =O

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cooking Experiments

Okay so I've been absent from this blog for such a looooooooong time. Perhaps all the papers for my coursework took away my apetite to write. Even though writing these papers are more technical in nature, still, it's writing. So I shifted to a new hobby aside from photography (I've been neglecting that hobby for a while now, since I haven't been to new and exotic places lately) -- something that has absolutely nothing to do with work and school -- cooking!


It started when my great auntie Esther gave us this set of herbs and spices last Christmas. It contains almost every flavoring you would need for your cooking needs aside from the usual salt and pepper -- oregano, basil leaves, paprika, sage, rosemary, chives. So I got inspired to embark on come cooking experiments.

Then I headed to the supermarket to buy some groceries. I have been culinary-challenged for so long so I had no idea what to buy. So I bought a little of everything -- chicken, beef tenderloin, pork chop, and my favorite fish: salmon.

Now, the experiment begins. I have a small stove in my apartment with an over and grill in it, so I decided to grill my salmon steak. I placed half a teaspoon each of all the herbs that sound familiar to me: oregano, basil, parsley and marjoram in a cup. I soaked the salmon steak with calamansi, buttered it on all sides and coated it with the mixture of herbs, then put it on the grill. Then when the pinkish hue of the salmon started becoming lighter I assumed it was already cooked. I placed it on a plate, put a slice of butter on top of it and some calamansi for garnish (should be lemon slices, but for the lack of lemon, I settled for calamansi). Viola! My first grilled herbed salmon. =)


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Overcast skies

The avenue to the university campus grew dark. Rain clouds started to envelop the mid-afternoon sky as the sun hid its rays behind the gathering clouds. I saw them descending upon the college building where I had to meet with my former professor for a possible project. The darkness hung above the horizon for a moment while students started to run for shelter, anticipating a heavy downpour.

Overcast skies. Rain clouds still hanging in mid-air. You await the rainfall. You anticipate the downpour.

A phone call. Several text messages. None of them made the day appear brighter, for they do not contain any answers. The sky only grew darker, and the rain clouds heavier. I ran towards the building and went directly to the Research department. I heard a heavy downpour outside.

Two hours later, I walked around the campus. The heavy clouds have precipitated, soft rays of sunlight began to peak from the behind clouds. Leaves and grass sparkled with raindrops in the faint sunlight. A fresh scent filled the afternoon air. The birds started chirping their gentle melodies above the trees. Joggers commenced their late afternoon routine around the oval. Life flowed back into the surroundings. Everything was simply beautiful.

When rainclouds come, you can only wait for the rain to fall. For the matter to be concluded. Only then can you discover that the sun still shines behind overcast skies. And realize that things are always lovelier after the rain.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh Brother!


This print ad actually caught me by surprise. I remember receiving a call from Ford several weeks ago asking for Rick's contact number, but knowing my geeky melancholic brother, he's not the type to pose for print ads. I'd imagine our youngest, Raymond, doing so -- being the social sanguine that he is. But Rick? Nah... It takes a lot of effort for this guy to even make an appearance at parties or socialize with visitors at home.

But I gave them Rick's number nonetheless. I can still remember him telling me that he didn't want to show up for the Ford pictorials, but he might do so for the P10,000 worth of free gasoline incentive. Well, I guess free gas won him over. And I think I should ask for a cut for giving them his contact number. =)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Okay, okay... I'm posting an entry!

Due to insistent popular demand (first by Beng, now by Bong) I am posting a blog entry!

Now some of you may be curious why I have not been blogging for a while. Here are my reasons:

  1. When writing has become work, it ceases to become leisure. I've been doing too much writing at work that my favorite past time at home has switched from blogging to playing DOTA (blame it all on my brothers who introduced me to that game).


  2. There are less significant events but more significant expectations. But I'd rather write about things as they happen, so as not to disappoint my readers - or myself - when things do not happen the way we expect or want them to.


  3. The most interesting of stories are better told in person. Now for those who want to be updated about my life, and can't find the more interesting or juicy stuff on my blog, all you have to do is invite me for a chat over coffee. ;)

There. I've a blog entry na ha. =)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Text Discoveries

“Ang profound naman ng discovery mo,” was Pastor Bong’s response to my text message. The limits of SMS messaging is not enough to show the sarcastic tone in his message – though knowing Pastor Bong, I can tell for sure that it was (hehe). But that text was not the discovery in itself – for the real discoveries came in with responses I received. Let me explain.

Having been swamped with so many social gatherings and interactions over the week, I decided to spend time alone in Makati on a Sunday afternoon. While having a solitary dinner at Greenbelt 1, I felt I needed some conversation. So I decided to use the unlimited Globe-to-Globe text promo I availed of the day before. So I typed in this message:

“M here havng diner alone at Thai in a Box in Greenbelt.
Solitude is good, but after a wyl, u realyz havng company is beter. Hehe.”

I then sent it to a dozen of my friends, partly to find out how they would respond to my musings, and mostly to just use up my free alone time and maximize my unlimited Globe-to-Globe text. Here are their responses...
  • Four of them thought I wanted company that particular time, and even said they'd join me for dinner had they been free that time. These responses really caught my attention, since I did not intend to invite them to join me. Knowing the hospitable nature of us Filipinos, however, I guess we simply can read between the lines and are gracious in offering our company to someone who seems to need it.
  • Three people asked “Why are you alone?” – two of them were simply curious what drove me to spend alone-time on a weekend, while the other one found it unusual for me to have dinner alone in Greenbelt.
  • Two out of twelve knew that the text was just one of the outlets of my self-expression: Olive (who, perhaps having known me for almost a quarter of a century, just knows that it was one of those days when I would text my thoughts out loud); and Pastor Bong (whose response made me laugh out loud because of its sarcasm)
  • And, there was one very different response – Jun, one of my cellgroup mates in IVCF, said: “Hehe… wrong send!”
Now I feel like I have done a text survey. I guess, I now have shifted to the researcher mode, and published a small research work on my blog.

By the way, it might interest you to know that I did a quota sampling of the respondents who were chosen based on their level of intellect and profundity (read: those whom I texted are people whom I consider intelligent and profound). And of course, they have to be a Globe subscriber. Hehehe...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pause

It’s that blank page in between chapters. The rest between the musical notes. It’s that pause. That much-needed pause that form part of a masterpiece.

The absence of words does not connote emptiness. Silence is not synonymous with insignificance. For some things are just left unwritten. Events that are better left untold.

Write them all down I tried, but words escape me. It's like staring in silent admiration at something so beautiful that no words can aptly describe. Or maybe it is just a prolonged case of writer's block -- but until now I have not found a cure.

And so now I shift from writer to reader. The Author is beckoning me to re-read the past chapter in my life -- see the details of His matchless love – then sit silently as I behold a new one unfold. I have no idea what the next chapter will contain, but one thing’s for sure – the story will have a happy ending.

Soon I will share anecdotes with you, as I always have. But as of the moment, allow me to read first. Allow me that pause. I shall write again later.

Till my next entry.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas Lights

Walking along the Makati Business District the night before, I can't help but notice the lights that lined the streets. Ayala Avenue is beautifully adorned with bright lanterns. Small twinkling bulbs elegantly cascade the lamposts and the leaves of trees and bushes. The buildings glitter with their own Christmas decorations, making the grey walls alive with color.

And the brightest of all lights along Ayala? Headlights. Christmas rush becomes traffic. Horrendous traffic. The jingle of the bells are mixed with the sound of roaring engines. Christmas carols are drowned out by the noise of the crowd during their last minute shopping spree. I then felt the exhaustion of the commercialized Christmas. Too many deadlines. Too many papers. Too many social gatherings. More often than not, I just wanted to stay home and stay far from the madding crowd.

Then I looked up above the towering buildings, and saw what may be left of the view of the evening sky. Beyond the restlessness of the city are another set of lights -- millions of miles away, lighting the dark expanse of the universe for thousands of years are the stars. Their faint faraway glow amid the brighter citylights may go unnoticed -- but in looking upon them, I had a glimpse of timelessness. Of eternity.

These may be the same stars that the shepherds gazed upon while they were watching their flocks the night the angels sang. These may be the same stars that led the wise men to the small stable in Bethlehem. The same stars that gave light upon the manger where the Savior was born -- only, they grew brighter that particular night.

And these are the timeless lights that constantly remind me what Christmas is all about -- more than two thousand years ago, the Creator came to earth to redeem His creation. An eternal and all-powerful God, in an infant's body, born among us lowly creatures. And in the humblest of all settings.

This truth never ceases to bring me awe. And enough joy as well to make me want to celebrate Christmas ... and find meaning and peace amid the glare of headlights and blare of horns.

May you all find meaning and wonder this Christmas as well. =)

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Story Behind the New Look

A frenzied sked this week had me looking for diversions to escape the reality of work and MBA life. I tried planning for a weekend getaway with Olive and Oliver to visit Pastor Bong in Baguio -- and enjoy the fresh mountain air that we Manila people are deprived of. But the girl has puppies to feed (at least that's a good preparation for motherhood, hehe), so the planning turned to drawing. I ended up instead in an impromptu overnight Friday gimik with Pierre, Third and Macoy, disrupting their normal evening routines and sleeping comforts (and appreciating the maximum tolerance they exerted just to accommodate my impulsive trippings). The rest of the weekend was a normal gym routine with Iam, an Italianni's dinner with my family and a window shopping spree with my mom.

Back home, I shifted to my normal but favorite diversion: blogging. I took a test on blogthings mostly for fun -- and partly to deal with my "mid-stress crisis" (hehe) -- and here was a rather revealing result of one of my tests...



You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)



You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.

You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.




Should I, really? Well, that had me thinking... the creativity of Fine Arts is a lot more enjoyable than the numbers I am enduring in my MBA. A few minutes ago, I was trying to decipher a number of financial statements, balance sheets, economic indicators and what-have-yous for my Refresher Paper in Financial Management -- the fifth of seven papers I have to submit this term. And the deadline is the same date as the big event that we are planning for our major client next week! Talk about toxic.

"You'd make an incredible artist, photographer or film maker," so says my test result. Well, I'm not quite convinced, but it did get me into the artistic mood. I set aside the 29-page Telkom South Africa case and all its financial annexes, opened my Photoshop and started working on a new design for my banner. Soon, I was also experimenting on my RGB codes and changing the shades of my blog. Upon seeing my finished product, I said to myself "Not bad for a Fine Arts Master - wannabe."

Now that my artwork is finished, it's time to go back to my real course -- and drown myself once more in financial ratios, risks and corporate valuations. Gah.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wireless!

Nechie has gone wireless!

Here am I, at Starbucks Morato, using Macoy's high-tech WiFi-enabled laptop... happily blogging without the use of dial-up servers or internet cables... over the sweet aroma of toffee nut latte and the delectable taste of oreo cheesecake. First time in all my blogging history!

Ah the wonders of technology. ;)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Something New

When I attended the convergence of Influencers International a week ago, I wanted to leave Tagaytay discovering something new about three long-time friends who were with me on that adventure. Let me tell you about them and my recent discoveries.


Beng. Having her as my roommate during the convergence gave me the chance to discover more about Beng. I have known her since I was in fifth grade, but I was closer to her sister Chayen who was my contemporary. The short greetings after church service is never enough to discern this lady's mind and heart, though you get a glimpse of both through her blog. But being a blogger myself, there are just some things you do not write about for everyone's consumption - and usually, these are the things that reveal much about you. I'm glad to have had access -- even for a short time -- to such things in Beng's mind. Things you will not see her write in her blog. It is then that I have confirmed that she is a woman of depth. Yet, despite the profundity of her thoughts, she still is shallow (o di ba, deep but shallow?). For I discovered that Beng is one of the enjoyable companions when it comes to "girl talks." To spare you the mystery, we mostly laugh about the idiosyncrasies of men (hehe) and how much we enjoy our differences with them. Everytime Beng gives a piece of her mind, I know for sure it is a "piece" can definitely make you learn and laugh.


Toto. I remember calling him Kuya Toto way back in college for he was two years my senior. Soon afterwards, I had to do away with the kuya - not that I lost respect for him - but somehow, as you get older, the age gap closes. I missed my chance of getting to know Toto during my college days since I used to steer away from people his age thinking they were a bit too mature for me. That is why, it was only through this convergence that I had a glimpse into the extremely opinionated -- almost volcanic -- mind of this individual. You would see him talking with different people, debating, discussing. I recall seeing him get into intense discussions and heated debates back in college. His emails in our yahoogroups and the exchange between him and some other opinionated movers is enough proof how passionate he is in expressing his views. And I enjoyed listening to him debate and challenge other people's thinking and stimulate discussion. The discussions were more interesting with him around, for he was not afraid to go against the flow. What an interesting discovery.


Pierre. I never expected to discover anything new about Pierre during the convergence. He has been one of my closest friends since college, and I've seen that the years have not changed him much. I saw that he is still the quiet leader I've known him to be, only wiser now. He still had the habit of asking hard questions, though they are more thought-provoking now. He still takes time for one-on-one conversations, but now, such times are more precious since they are subject to the limits of his schedule. Having been constantly in touch with him, I held no expectations of new discoveries about Pierre during the convergence. I was right. Because it happened the week after: I was rummaging through the pictures in his wallet, which allowed me to see a side of Pierre I have not seen in the twelve years I've known him. The girl in the picture inside his wallet whom he calls his "first love" is actually his mom when she was still a teenager (all the while I thought it was someone else!). And, it was only then that I realized that he had a brother (for twelve years, I lived with the notion that all three of his siblings were girls!). Sometimes my discoveries surprise me. "Imagine knowing a person for more than a decade and all the while she thinks you're the only boy among four siblings," he reacts, "that's new."

Lesson learned from all these? No matter how long you have known a person, you cannot say for sure that you actually know them. There will always be something new to discover. =) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sevens for Pastor Bong

I missed Pastor Bong's despedida at church today. As my penance, I am dedicating this blog entry enumerating my sevens for my favorite pastor (hehehe, sipsip!). Here they are...

Seven reasons why i missed the despedida:
1. I live in faraway Quezon City
2. I have to finish a Management Science Refresher Paper by Friday
3. I did not have a meal to bring to the potluck dinner
4. I hate goodbyes
5. I will still see him naman eh
6. I plan to visit Baguio soon (at makikituloy ako sa kanila ni Danielle)
7. Drawing ako eh, hehehe

Seven things I like most about Pastor Bong:
1. His sense of humor and fun-loving disposition
2. His interesting sermons and writings
3. His book collection
4. His movie recommendations
5. His cooking!
6. His photochromic glasses
7. His colorful table cloth... er, I mean polo, hehe

Seven important things I learned from Pastor Bong
1. This "Sevens" game
2. Christianity is fun
3. Under the Tuscan Sun
4. Fitness First
5. Indian Mongo Curry
6. Post Modernism
7. Chocolate Mudshake! (hehehe)

Seven random facts I know about Pastor Bong
1. Aside from the obvious fact that he's a book and movie buff?
2. He is "omnipresent" in coffee shops within Makati & Paranaque
3. He's being paired up with *toot*
4. and *toot*
5. and *toot*
6. He once lived in a Hobbit Hole in BF Homes
7. He is the "Roar of the Rings" ...hahaha!

Seven things I plan to do to Pastor Bong before Rapture
1. Get his pasta recipes
2. Treat him to Grappas (as I promised but never delivered... yet!)
3. Swap Under The Tuscan Sun paperbacks with him (as promised too)
4. Attend his wedding
5. Attend his wedding
6. Attend his wedding
7. Attend his wedding (hehehe)

Seven people I want to comment on this post
1. Beng
2. Olive
3. Aleks
4. Dennis
5. Pastor Bong
6. Pastor Bong
7. Pastor Bong
8. Pastor Bong (oops... lumampas, seven lang pala dapat!)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Wishing for Rapture

It was but a short drive from Makati to Quezon City, but feeling the exhaustion of an emotionally tiring weekend and an equally physically tiring Monday late enrollment, I asked my classmate Leo to drive. I have not had enough sleep over the weekend. There were just too many things to do and visitors to attend to during my lola's wake. I felt like it was a town fiesta since the barangay closed half the street to accommodate the influx of visitors who came to pay their last respects. The people spilled over to the street, blocking all vehicles who wanted to pass by. Many are the lives Lola Siony had touched. Now, the old ancestral house will be empty of her laughter. Of the radiant smile that would greet its visitors at the door. Of the listening ear that was patient enough to sit through all our raves and our rants.

As I was reminiscing the days when lola was still alive, Leo mentioned the movie "Left Behind." Soon, the conversation turned to talks of rapture. I noticed that lately, discussions about the end of the world are being brought up, particularly now that the disaster keeps striking at different parts of the world. Tsunamis. Bombings. Hurricanes. Rising Super Powers. Is the end really near?

I then found myself wishing for rapture. Partly because I just want to find myself caught up in the clouds and not experience death. And partly because I do not want to experience losing any one of my loved ones again. As I articulated my desire for rapture, Leo reacted: He still wanted to do a lot of things before leaving this world. Wel, I, too, had listed in this blog, seven things I wanted to do before I die (or, if I am fortunate enough, before I get raptured). But as I read through my list, I realized that I do not really mind if I don't get to do these things during my lifetime. Except one. That is: make a difference in the lives of my relatives and friends.

Well, I guess I have to start working on that. Pray with me, that they may all come to know Jesus personally. Once they do, then I can already think about diving at Apo Island and visiting Europe. And of course, finding true love. hahaha... ;)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Back to Bach


This is the cello that occupied the right side of the stage of the PhilAmLife Theatre last Sunday. It is two centuries old. Antique. Ancient. But it can still produce music.

The cello gave a visual prelude to what we were about to witness that night. As the hall lights started to dim, the old cello became more resplendent. Then the cellists came. I soon found myself in a musical journey from the Baroque period of the late 1600s to the high romantics of the 19th century. After the intermission, it was heavy metal music -- only, the finer sound of eighteen cellos played in lieu of electric guitars. It was Bach to Metallica indeed.

It has been quite a while since I last attended a concert like this. For several years I had access to almost all of Manila's classical concerts, plays, and musicals. I even remember watching Lea Salonga in the musical Miss Saigon at the CCP Main Theatre -- one orchestra center ticket costs P4,000 and I got it for free! All these I took for granted.

Soon I left the station, and became busy with other things such as free trips to Negros Oriental (hehe), graduate studies, work and gimiks. My classmates exposed me to the more boisterous music such as Rock, Reggae and House. I would genuinely enjoy the beat for a few minutes. Then I would try to look for a finer tune -- a more meaningful and deeper sound beyond the beat of drums of the rhythm of electric guitars. Finding none, I switch to jazz and crossover music -- having temporarily forgotten that there is such a thing as classical music.

My recent assignment for the October issue of Enterprise Magazine brought me back to the old hang-outs with old friends, discussing long-forgotten topics such as orchestras and classical artists and the station. Then I found myself in a familiar place, listening to a familiar tune. Thanks to Martin who so generously gave me orchestra center seats to this concert he so creatively organized, and to Deo who obliged to take photos when I cannot (yes, he took these photos -- his digital SLR captured more beautifully the color and action that my point-and-shoot cannot) -- and most of all to Sir Bombing (if not for him, I would not have had this assignment) -- I found myself once again indulging in two things that have deprived myself of for years: listening to classical music, and writing about it.

It does feel good to be Bach... i mean, back. =) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thinking of Seven

Due to insistent popular demand (okay, it's just Pastor Bong and Beng who asked me to do this)... here are my sevens...

Seven things that scare me
1. "A cage. To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them."
2. Snakes and sharks and any animal that bites! (even mosquitos)
3. All kinds of diseases
4. Being the center of attention (I have stage fright)
5. “totally blind” dates (going out with a total stranger freaks me out)
6. The End of the World (that’s why I want to be “Raptured”)
7. “Divine Discipline” (it can be quite painful, you know)

Seven things I like the most
1. Enjoyable conversations
2. Inspiring words (from movies, books, sermons or a simple chat)
3. The Great Outdoors
4. Relaxing Music
5. Smiles of people
6. Water (to drink, to take a bath in, the swim in, to relax in)
7. Chocolate (specially the ones with a tinge of alcohol, hehehe)

Seven important things in my room
1. The Window! (wishing it had a great view)
2. Cotton or Wool Blanket
3. Two Pillows
4. My Bible
5. My Journal and its bookmark
6. Closet Full of Clothes
7. House slippers

Seven random facts about me
1. Most people have wrong first impressions about me
2. I have eyeglasses that I don’t wear (unless my eyes are strained)
3. I can be a tour guide in Negros Oriental though I’m not a native
4. I modeled for a fashion brochure when I was five years old
5. I've a gazillion nicknames (invented by my friends)
6. I’m a published photojournalist! (hehe, proud ba)
7. I firmly believe that God answers all our prayers

Seven things I plan to do before I die
1. Dive at Apo Island
2. Visit Europe
3. Write my autobiography (even if it doesn’t get published)
4. Own a top-of-the-line digital SLR
5. Make a difference in the lives of my relatives & friends
6. Get a life insurance
7. Find true love (hehehe, mushy!)

Seven things I can do
1. Chat for hours (well, actually it depends who I am chatting with)
2. Write and take pictures
3. Swim (though I get scared when it gets around 10 feet deep)
4. Recite some lines from the LOTR movies
5. Cook a few edible meals (Wana share to me your recipes? hehe)
6. See humor in the most mundane things
7. Listen.

Seven things I can’t do
1. Wear 4-inch stilettos (I’d trip!)
2. Be totally comprehensible at half past midnight
3. Read my MBA books from cover to cover (even if it were required)
4. Sing in front of people (I can sing in the bathroom though)
5. Be on Fear Factor (I can’t do what they do)
6. Solve complex mathematical problems
7. Solve people’s problems (I can only listen and give advice)

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex
1. Intelligence
2. Good-natured humor
3. Strong values and rock-solid principles
4. Mga Talentado!
5. Voice (baritone sounds good, hehe)
6. Smile (who wants a frown, anyway?)
7. Fashionable eyeglasses
(I don’t know why, but I find them attractive, hehe)

Seven things I say the most
1. Hahahahaha
2. Hehehehe
3. Ngyak
4. Yikes
5. Haller
6. Hala
7. Yeah right

Seven celebrity crushes
1. Jim Elliot (it’s his passion)
2. Aragorn (it’s his rugged charm)
3. Will Smith (he is so fun and witty)
4. Hugh Grant (it’s the boyish yet cultured countenance)
5. Prince William (It’s his royal title)
6. Gary V (the voice!)
7. Sam Milby (cute sya eh, hehe)

Seven People I Want To Take This Quiz
People who haven’t taken it yet…
1. Rick
2. Macoy
3. Christine
4. Joni
5. Grace
6. Liezl
7. Doms

Monday, August 15, 2005

Trip to Reality

I had long postponed this trip. Not because I found the city less beautiful than the others. I actually have loved this city since childhood. Most of my summer vacations were spent here enjoying the countryside scenes and the company of my cousins. But lately, I have been afraid to go back. Afraid of the changes I shall see. Not of the city streets and sceneries – they have remained largely the same over the years – but changes I will see in people.

As I child, my heart would jump everytime I hear the word “Cavite.” It means that I will again pay a visit to my lola’s house. That I will have a taste of her delicious tinola, her crunchy fried chicken and her mouth-watering cordon. That I will play with my cousins at the well, where we douse each other with its cold water then hear our lola’s loud voice telling us to stop all our mischief. At night, we stay at her sala, hiding from the bats that come out after dark, and just listen to stories of her youth – of how she loved playing the piano, how she enjoyed fiestas and won for herself a beauty queen title in their barangay.

That was then. Now there is a stark change in the image I see. The hands that once nimbly glided through the piano keyboard now cannot even hold a spoon to feed herself. The voice that strongly but lovingly scolded us for all our mischief has grown faint. The youth in Barangay San Antonio’s former beauty queen seems to have vanished, and turned into a thin and frail figure lying on a bed all day.

Sometimes reality strikes hard at you. I shiver at the thought that many years ago, this woman was once like me – attending parties, developing her talents, joining competitions -- experiencing all that life has to offer, only to come to a point of total dependence on the people around her. More so at the thought that I, too, may come to a point in my life when my eyes will no longer feast on the magnificence of the sunrise or on the smiles of my loved ones; when my feet will not anymore take me trekking up mountainslopes, or down the street toward a friend's house; when my hands can no longer play the piano or sketch a picture or write a poem.

I have long denied this reality. A lot of us do. We live our lives as if there is no tomorrow. As if none of us will ever grow old. As if time will stand still for us. Well, it never did. And it never will. Each tick of the clock brings us closer to the reality that we all must face: our mortality.

But despite the weakening of her body, I noticed my lola still had the spark and the spirit she always possessed throughout the years. Her eyes, no matter how weak they have grown, still sparkled when she hears our voice calling her name. Her smile, which would have won her the beauty title in her teenage years, is even more beautiful at this age, for with it comes the many joyful days she spent with her children, and her children’s children. And her soft voice can still utter the usual wit and sarcasm that is typical of lola, eliciting tons of laughter from those around her.

I’m glad I made that trip. Though I had to face that harsh reality about our humanity, I also encountered one glorious truth: that beyond the frailty of our bodies, is an eternal spirit. I had a glimpse of that spirit in my lola. Indeed, there is promise of eternity. And on that promise I rest.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time,
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done
from beginning to end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, August 01, 2005

Published!

There was a time when I came across this question: "If you had the time and the money to do whatever you wanted, how would you be living your life right now?" The first thing that came to mind was: "I'd be a travel writer and photojournalist... I'd travel to places, delight in the beauty of nature, enjoy the richness of the culture; then preserve the images my eyes can see in pictures, and the impressions my mind can make in words."

That's one of the reason why I keep my own writer's blogck and my photo blogck -- I guess it's an outlet of two things I've always loved doing: writing and photography. So you can't really blame a girl for raving about this article published in the August 2005 issue of Enterprise Magazine, can you?

Just check out the name of the writer and photographer, if you want to know what i mean. ;)






Now don't those photos look familiar? Click on the images if you want a closer look at the article... or if you want to see it for real, go buy a copy at your nearest magazine stand. ;) . Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

That Little Book

What will you do
when the person whose name
is sporadically mentioned in your journal
suddenly discovers that secret little book
that no one ever has access to, except you?
When you have no idea
which part he might have read,
and if, in the few pages he may have flipped through,
he found his name, written in your handwriting,
with such fondness
that you don’t usually ascribe to your other friends?

How will you react
when he casually hands you your treasured little book,
saying it fell from among the things you were carrying?
And as he hands it to you,
straight faced,
innocent-looking,
with no sign of mischief,
he says “This must be your diary?”
And upon checking that little book, you realize
that the bookmark is on the page of your last entry,
and his name on the first paragraph?

What if
he may already have an inkling
of your thoughts about him?
If he was able to get a glimpse
of the words you poured into that little book,
written as if no one will ever read it,
or even just glance at it?
And you ask yourself why, of all people,
should he be the first one to do so?
Will you be embarrassed of that little revelation?
Or would you be glad that at least he now knows?


Thursday, July 07, 2005

That Little Letter Blooper


This picture is a remembrance of that little letter blooper we committed last week. Three were we -- Leo (the budding photographer who took this photo) Marianna (the photogenic Lisa Macuja look-alike in picture) and me (in candid mode, photo-finishing our presentation) -- the more industrious and more intelligent half of the group (hehe), seen here working late into the night while the other half did not even bother attend the meetings. Tired and exhausted after finishing our report, we vent all our frustrations on a letter addressed to the three freeloaders -- with warnings of "impending doom" should they not pull their act together; but without any intention of sending the letter to them, all in the name of peace. It was just our "stress reliever" for the night. And yes, we are very nice and forgiving MBA students, so we simply saved the file on Marianna's laptop and called it a day.

Report time came the following day, and just when we decided to erase all traces of last night's sneer and satire, the letter was no where to be found! And of all people who had to discover the file, it was one of the unintended recipients -- the file was just on the laptop's desktop, with his name as the file name!

Blooper of the trimester? Indeed. Should we be bothered that he read the unfiltered sarcasms we poured out on that letter? Maybe. But honestly, I wasn't bothered at all. I found the blooper totally hilarious, and somehow, I'm actually glad he read it. =) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Alone Again

Just when I had so much to do this week – reports in school, reports at work, client calls and meetings – that little accident had to happen. It was largely my fault because I was not looking where I was stepping. An uneven portion of the parking lot floor sent me tumbling down on one knee with a sprained ankle. I had to climb back up my unit hopping on one leg, calling the office that I can’t report for work, and texting my groupmates that I cannot join them in our report tonight. Well, they were gracious to me, maybe because they simply loved the animated powerpoint presentation I whipped up for our report (one of the things I learned from my brother Rick).

After a few texts and phone calls, my phone was soon silent. I turned to other things to pass the time – the TV, the net, the piano, my books – but none of these satisfied me. I realized, somehow, I needed to talk to people!

In my previous entry, I said I spent my birthday alone. Yes, I may have been alone that time, but still, I interacted with people– I talked to the barista at Starbucks, the cashier at Powerbooks, the saleslady at Mossimo, some fellow members at Fitness First. I wasn’t really alone during my birthday, for there were people around me.

This time, I am confined to the four walls of my apartment. I was really alone. It can get really lonely not seeing people around you. I had this compelling desire to go out, but my swollen feet wouldn’t let me. So I had to spend my alone-time really alone. I’m just glad that God gave us access to communicate with Him. Otherwise, alone-times can really be lonely. And so we talked. And guess what we talked mostly about? People. My family, my relatives, my friends, my officemates, my classmates. We even talked about GMA and about Garci.

And before I knew it, the day was over. The doorbell rang. So did my phone. I soon had family members in the apartment, and friends at the other end of the phone line. Well, I’m not really alone after all.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Song Without Words

I am writing this entry while listening to Felix Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words. This has been one of my favorite classical pieces, perhaps because of the solitary sound of the piano, which sets me in a rather reflective mood. The title itself denotes a sense of elusiveness and enigma. No words are used, the emotion and message of the song are expressed in piano music.

The piece is a good background music while I write this blog entry… the first I shall write without pictures. I know that in my previous entry, I said that I cannot write well without good photos. Thanks to Pastor Bong who lent me his book, Under The Tuscan Sun, I discovered how words without pictures can stimulate my imagination. I was fascinated at how Frances Mayes described her vintage house in Tuscany, and how my imagination flowed with images of quaint furnitures, the scent of apple trees and the sound of people's laughter. You will fall in love with the place just by reading about it. No need for pictures, only words. (I hope never to return that book… maybe Pastor Bong will just give it to me as a birthday gift, hehe.. hint… hint…)

I now realize that the absence of something explicit makes a work of art - such as a musical piece or a classic novel - beautiful.

I celebrated my birthday today without a party, and even without company. This has been my practice ever since I turned twenty. Some people ask me how come I like spending my birthdays alone. It is not because I don’t want company on this special day – I was actually blest with so many text greetings (I woke up and found more than 20 text messages in my cellphone inbox, and that’s not even half the greetings I received today!) – but it is in the absence of company that makes me all the more appreciative of the friendships I have. I had time to thank God for all the wonderful people He had brought into my life: there are new friends and acquaintances – people whom I met at this stage in my life, adding to my joy as I embark on this journey of getting to know them; and there are my loved ones and life-long friends – those who have been with me in this journey since time imemorial, who have come to know me inside out, and have accepted the person that I am.

Now, as I think about it… I wouldn’t have appreciated the magic and emotion in Mendelssohn’s piece had he placed words with the music. I wouldn’t have been fascinated by the images of Tuscany in my mind had Frances Mayes placed pictures in her book. I wouldn’t have cherished my friendships as much as I do now had I not spent solitary times to reflect upon them.

And, I wouldn’t have written this blog had I looked for a good-enough picture for this entry. I’m glad I didn’t have to.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Redirecting to my PhotoBlogck


I haven't updated my writer's blogck for a while. Why? Because I am out of good-enough pictures showing me in one of my misadventures. Admittedly, I cannot write without good photos (I think the visual images actually affect my writing) so I was compelled to learn a little photography, and take the pictures myself. I'm still an amateur though, and I know my images cannot compare with that of my professional photojournalist friends. But when I do chance upon something beautiful (such as the Dumaguete sunrise above), I cannot help but preserve the moment on my digicam. I have shared them on my photoblogck, which, as of now, is more updated than my writer's blogck. I hope you can take time to visit by clicking on the picture above. =)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Mashed Eggs, Mushy Topics


Valentines day. The air in Makati changed when nightfall came. Not that it got less polluted - though I wish it did - the Valentines ambience just made it seem so. RCBC Plaza - a high-tech building with all its hotspots and sensorized escalators - had a classic look as roses and soft lights welcomed its visitors at the lobby entrance. Starbucks had a different flavor: the aroma of freshly brewed coffee was still there, but the small round tables usually topped with books or laptops are now adorned with flowers and candlelight.

My companions soon arrived one by one, and after a small chitchat, we started discussing the most incredible topic ever on Valentines day... powdered eggs.

Yes, powdered eggs. A very appropriate topic for such a day isn't it? It was actually our report for Production Management class that was due in four days -- and we were already on panic mode. So six La Salle MBA students (you can see their pictures above, talking about powdered eggs over coffee, flowers & candlelight) met on Valentines Day. For most of us, it was no big deal. But for some, the thought of a meeting on a special occasion was simply pathetic. To top it all, our discussions revolved around such an unromantic topic: EGGS.

Though mashed eggs won the floor, there was still some degree of mushiness in the meeting. One of us tagged her date along, and another came in late since she simply had to go on a date before our meeting.

The night before was even more mushy. I received a number of corny text messages (no offense to those forwarded me those Valentines greetings), five invitations to dinners and banquets (not now, I'm on a carb diet to prepare for Chayen's wedding), a confrontation with a friend who thought I was avoiding him (is this what happens when you get too busy?), and an online chat with a former classmate who, in his own words, was feeling "mushy" and "crappy," and typed in a dash of profanities that aptly described what he was feeling (too bad there is no way to filter bad words sent through YM, unlike in Ragnarok).

Well, there is really something about Valentines day that turns people into sentimental fools. Good thing my groupmates were not as sappy as some of the people I encountered the night before. Don't get me wrong -- I like discussing life and love and the lessons learned from these. But last night was simply an overdose of slushy syndromes that I'm glad our group talked about mashed eggs rather than mushy topics. Even on Valentines Day.

Posted by Hello