Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hair color woes

I started coloring my hair when I turned 18. That's because I started getting tons of white hair at the back of my head when I was 15. It's a genetic thing--my mother's family are the salt-and-pepper type. Since I didn't want to be gray in my teens, I begged for hair color and Mama allowed me to do it at 18. So I've been black, mahogany, chestnut, warm brown, bluish black, red, strawberry red and even blond since then.

Me at Louis Phillip Kee's Greenhills salon last October

Obviously, I love coloring my hair! And since I've found Louis Phillip Kee in 2006, I have discovered the glory of highlights. I tell ya, folks, Louis is the best hair colorist ever! You have to be the adventurous type though to appreciate the many layers of colors he puts on your hair. The last time I visited Louis was in late October, where I had my hair colored bright red with blond highlights and dark red lowlights.

I love how vibrant that red is in sunlight!

Then I became pregnant in November and my husband has forbidden me to have my hair colored. Ditto with my OB. Now, I'm taking prenatal vitamins, which I believe are the best multivitamins ever. I've taken vitamins before but my body's really changed with prenatals--my nails are so strong, for example, and my hair grows really fast now. That's great, of course, except that my roots are showing!

Me, Nicole and Red at Nikki's wedding yesterday

Now my hair is red, blond and 3 inches of dark brown. It doesn't look good at all! Of course everyone says, "That's okay, you're pregnant." And, just to assure y'all, I really won't get my hair colored till after I give birth, but... Don't I look weird???

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mariel becomes a wife!

My dearest darling friend Mariel Chua just became Mrs. Alvin Jimenez over the weekend in a beautiful wedding at Cebu. Ohhhh, it was such a lovely wedding! Perfect for two of the nicest people on earth.

I don't have a lot of photos of the wedding, but I do have pics of me! Nyak! Sorry, folks. Don't ya worry--I'll try to get Mariel to give me pics (her photographer was Pat Dy! The most fabulous wedding photographer ever!) but then I can just send you over to her blog as soon as she comes down from her happy cloud and comes around to updating it! Meanwhile, here are some photos from our trip:

I'm matron of honor! Mariel chose a sunny yellow for me to match my personality. Of course, our friend Kate Torralba did the gowns. I'm wearing purple shoes under this gown but I forgot to take photos of it!

Vince and me! He was supposed to wear a tie with the suit but it was really really hot! I look so pregnant, don't I?

With the Summit girls. Most of them don't work with magazines anymore, however, all nearly gone to their next adventures.

The cathedral was huge! Huge! It's really rather beautiful inside but the pics we got didn't do the church any justice. When we finally buy a new camera, we'd take more photos. 

Here comes the bride! In a creamy tiered lace confection. That skirt is fully beaded and is layers of different kinds of lace. Mariel, you look divine!

The ceremony had us laughing and crying. Very romantic. But I have no photos! At the beach reception, the newlyweds cuddle.

Ianne Evangelista and me. She used to be the editor-in-chief of Cosmo and she gave that up to get pregnant and have a baby girl. After meeting her little Claudia--the smartest 2-year-old girl in the world--I totally understand!

Aside from making the gowns, Kate also sang a few songs. She is amazing at the piano, by the way, with a deep melodious voice. This girl can sing better than she can sew, and that's saying a lot about her musical talent!

Me and Kate with the bride. I'm holding my tummy because I ate too much and it felt really heavy. This photo is a variation of the photo from my wedding (click here for that pic)!

That's Kai, the maid of honor. Kai's Mariel's best friend since they were little kids. She's just as nice and smart as Mariel.

Mariel and Alvin, congratulations! May all the happiness in the world bless your marriage. Vince and I are so happy for you--such a great adventure ahead!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is this Manny Villar's house?

Got an email today. One look at it and I knew it was a demolition job. The email said it was presidential candidate Manny Villar's house but I've been to one of Villar's houses (we shot it for a magazine feature) and his decorating taste certainly does not look like this:

It looks like the White House!

The pool

Guests are received here

And they eat here

The master of the house sleeps here

Takes his baths here

There are many more photos but I'm lazy to post them all. I'm sure you'll get it in your inbox soon anyway, if you haven't already.

Like I said, I've seen how Villar lives. Villar's home decor is actually more shabby chic—floral, wood, comfy seating. I personally am not a fan of his taste in decor but hey, it's not my house! Besides, Villar is one of the richest men in the country so I always thought he'd have a fabulous house and it turns out he actually doesn't. Well, it's not ugly, not like it was constructed out of stainless steel drums, but he sure doesn't live as well as certain people I know! And one more dead giveaway that this ain't his: Villar loves photos. His house is literally covered with picture frames of him and his family. The house above has no photos.

Now, I'm not voting for Villar in May (I like another candidate. My only clue for you is he has a pretty wife) but I think this email is just disturbing.

This house isn't Villar's. I can tell because I'm a magazine editor. Those photos were obviously taken by a professional photographer—the flooded-with-light look gives it away. If Villar wanted to keep this house hush-hush, why would he have it photographed by a team of professionals? It's just stupid. As a journalist, I quickly investigated whose house this is and found this blog entry: Is This Really Mugabe's Mansion?. Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe and he's been holding power since 1980, so he's like our Marcos.

Anyway, so now the house is supposedly Mugabe's but after further investigation, it turns out it also isn't! It supposedly belongs to the biggest movie star in the world. Who's that? Tom Cruise? Brad Pitt? Angelina Jolie? Puh-leeze. They don't even hold a candle to this guy! The biggest movie star in the world is Shah Rukh Khan, with a fan base of a billion. Yes, you read that right—a billion! He's Bollywood, baby, and everyone in the film industry knows that Hollywood is so much smaller than Bollywood.

Yes, I can believe that a guy who poses for pictures like this 
can live in a house as ridiculous as that!

What I'm trying to say is don't believe everything you read. Don't be gullible and don't be stupid. The elections are coming up so expect the mudslinging fest to commence. But don't get caught up in it. Be responsible and do not spread lies about other people even if you don't like that person!

UPDATE: According to, it isn't Shah Rukh Khan's. Here's what the website that investigates urban legends says: "In fact, these photographs actually depict a home half a world away from Zimbabwe, a mansion in the tony Bel Air section of Los Angeles that has been extensively photographed inside and out because it is sometimes used as the site of location shooting for television and films."

UPDATE: That mansion "belongs" to either Lady Gaga or Robin Thicke! Someone sent me another email, you see, with the following videos and, wowza, that mansion looks even better when there are half-naked people romping in it!

I'm loving Lady Gaga's poison ring. WendyB has something similar called the Borgia Ring. I also love the legs and butt of the model who plays Robin's lover. Those legs and ass are fantabulous!

Manny Villar's team may rest easy now.

*actor's image from The Bollywood Zone.

Monday, February 22, 2010

In defense of Cinderella

My V-Day post was popular with the ladies but I didn't post all the comments because some girls said they'll break up with their boyfriends because they're not as great at gift-giving as Vince is. Oh my! I don't want anyone getting heartbroken, okay? Then there was this one comment that said she now has hope because it's her dream to marry a rich man one day and she loves how Vince "rescued" me from "poverty" and that I am "a true Cinderella."

Let me tell you about Cinderella. Yes, she was always portrayed as this poor girl whose lot in life improved when the prince fell in love with her. But though gold-diggers everywhere worship her as their heroine, let me point out the facts in the story that everyone conveniently looks over:

1. Cinderella was the daughter of a nobleman so she wasn't poor. Her stepmother and stepsisters made her their slave but no matter how many times she washed clothes or scrubbed floors, that doesn't change the fact that she had very aristocratic blood running in her veins.

2. Being of noble birth, Cinderella had been educated to become the wife of an important man. Her grace, her charm, and her dancing skills didn't just appear out of nowhere. That's why when the prince met her, she knew exactly what to do because she's been trained all her life for that moment!

3. The prince is still a man and being a man, he gets attracted to pretty girls. Being a prince, he also knew that he had to get a suitable wife. Imagine if Cinderella showed up at the ball in her rags. Will the prince even spare her a glance? Perhaps. And then he'd have her thrown out of the palace!

I'm not being a pessimist here, just stating the facts. Even Diana, Princess of Wales, was adored because she was the modern-day Cinderella, the girl-next-door who caught the eye and heart of the Prince of Wales. Now, who lives next door to a prince anyway? Someone just as wealthy and aristocratic! And Lady Diana, daughter of the Earl of Spencer and a member of an old noble line, has more British noble blood in her than all of the Windsors (they're Germanic).

So while those telenovelas and movies love that storyline, it just doesn't ring true. In real life, you usually fall in love with someone who's just like you--same school, same neighborhood, same church--which means you're usually from the same economic background. Of course this changes when you start working. Your circle widens, and the more money you make, the more people you meet. But somehow people still end up with people who are still the same. Devout men marry pious women, intelligent men marry smart women, crude men marry women with no manners, vain men marry shallow women and so on and so forth.

With Vince and me, it wasn't any different. Sure, my family was poor when we met but we weren't always poor. Things just got bad economically in our teens. But my parents had already planted the seeds--sent us to exclusive private schools, made us read the Shakespeares and the classics, taught us good manners and right conduct, the works! I knew how to use all those forks and knives in an elegant dinner setting, I knew how to dress for every occasion, I knew how to make small talk.

So when Vince met me, it wasn't like he had to cross huge distances for us to understand each other. For one thing, Vince preferred speaking English because he spent his childhood in London and Hong Kong. Imagine if I didn't know how to speak English! That'll be the end of it! Next, Vince is a writer and I am, too, so we hit it off immediately because we shared a passion and a love. Next, we both love books and we love to read, and that definitely increased the attraction because we can't stand people who don't read books! Plus, there are an infinite number of things people who love books can talk about. And it's been 11 years and Vince and I are still having long conversations!

This is me and Vince after Mariel's lovely beach wedding yesterday. 
We're both exhausted--it was such an emotional day!--but very happy!

Nope, I'm no Cinderella but I do love my love story because it may sound like a fairy tale but it's real, it's love. I didn't marry Vince for his money or his looks or his brain or his whatever. I really did marry for love! So, to you gold-diggers out there, yes, a well-off lifestyle can be achieved by marrying a rich man--it's been done before!--but it's so much better to become rich first yourself. Then you value your own worth, you know you belong in the same world and, most important of all, you didn't need a man to make your dreams come true. Cinderella will tell you the same thing!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shopping again... for a hospital!

I'm in St. Luke's Global City. I only came here to interview an OBG for an article on prenatal massage for Smart Parenting magazine. But I found myself roaming about, too!

I like it here. It's so big and new and shiny and bright! The hallways are wide, there's real piano music playing in the lobby which has paintings, sculptures and nice modern furniture. I have other reasons (they're all in my mommy blog) but I forgot to add that I also like that I look so pretty in the mirror of this clinic. And when you're pregnant, you like mirrors that make you look real purty! 
Oh, I'm wearing an oversized tank layered over an oversized t-shirt from Gingersnaps. These are suuuper soft! Shoes are triple-bow gold flats from Schu. Bag is a Longchamp. Necklace is Liz Claiborne (see necklace in the mommy blog post). 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Outfits and friends

Oh, today was a fun day. Had a glamorous lunch at the Manila Peninsula. Such a lovely hotel, very old, very elegant. First time I ever went there (years ago but not that long ago), I was so impressed, I said very loudly, "Wow, ang ganda naman dito!" Na-obvious tuloy na taga-bundok ako. My hubby chuckles at this story and always says he should bring me to Vegas because the hotels there are out-of-this-world amazing.

Anyway, the lunch was hosted by Pond's. They launched new concentrated serums of their whitening and anti wrinkle creams. I'll write more about those in my sadly neglected beauty blog this week. This post, meanwhile, will be about clothes!

This is me and my gorgeous friends Nicole Delos Angeles and Mariel Chua. They are soooo hot, right?
  • Nicole is wearing a tank top, leather pencil skirt, bondage shoes and carrying a Prada bag. 
  • Mariel is in a Kate Torralba tube dress, gold ballet flats and Forever 21 earrings (Forever 21 U.S. not the gaya-gaya store here). 
  • I'm carrying my Longchamp bag (given by my friend in France, Aida). I'm wearing a Gingersnaps dress, which is a wee too short so I'll wear tights with that next time. Oh, and I love my new Kenneth Cole shoes. I bought them for Mariel's wedding and I'm breaking them in. Those purple shoes are satin and suede and super comfy! Love them!

My darling friends! Mariel and Nic were the very first people I voiced my suspicions about my pregnancy. We were lunching at Cibo on December 1 and I said, "Guys, I might be pregnant." They both squealed in delight. But I said, "I'm not sure yet so don't tell anyone." And you know, they didn't breathe a word to any soul--even to their significant others! That's friendship for ya. I don't deserve my friends really. I can't keep secrets at all!

*apologies to my non-Filipino readers for the Tagalog words and lack of translation. I ran out of English today!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's Valentine's Day today but my head's not there because tomorrow is Vince's birthday. All he wants is a video game. Again. I've been giving him video games for the last eight or so years and I'm really starting to think I'm a horrible gift giver. I've given Vince shirts, toys, shoes but nothing makes him as happy as the latest video game. So I'm giving him (surprise!) a PS3 game tomorrow.

Now when it comes to gifts, Vince is very very good. He gives me the best gifts! Special edition books, quirky stuff like my hot pink Christmas tree, roses as big as my fist, my diamond engagement ring... Then there are the poems and love letters! He's an A+ when it comes to gifts. But let me tell you about my favorite gift of all.

When Vince and I met, he was a talented writer from a rich family, lived in a posh gated neighborhood, drove his own car, had a lucrative advertising career. I was a nobody. His girlfriends were these beautiful women who were incredibly rich and glamorous. I was a nobody and I owned three pairs of shoes. His friends were jetsetters who talked about diving in Palau, shopping in Hong Kong, summers in Spain. I was a nobody who's never been anywhere. I honestly didn't know what he saw in me.

One afternoon, Vince and I were walking in a mall when I saw this beautiful red velvet bag. It was small and it was hand-beaded completely with shiny beads and sequins. I ran my hands over the bag and said, "This is so beautiful, Vince!"

"Buy it," he said.

I put the bag back on the shelf and sadly said, "It's too pretty for me," and I put it out of my mind because back then we were so poor that to be happy, we just didn't dwell on things we didn't, couldn't have.

A few days later, Vince gave me a package and in it... was the red velvet bag. He said, "Everyone deserves to have something pretty. And you're beautiful."

That pretty much changed my life. I used to think I should just be content with my lot, to not want and ask for more because I didn't deserve anything good and beautiful. But with that one bag, Vince showed me that I'm special, that I'm somebody after all and the world was mine to conquer. Everything--jobs, friends, life--was easy after that.

The bag is not the most expensive gift Vince gave me, not even the prettiest, or rarest, or most fabulous. But it's my favorite because it changed my life. Thanks, Vincent. Happy hearts day and happy happy birthday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kat is in school so we miss her

Two weddings are coming up: Mariel's and Nikki's. We're all in a flurry of preparations but there'll be one friend missing from the parties--darling Kat.

Kat and me at the Belle de Jour event, where she made me a speaker.
Kat resigned from her job as the super chic fashion editor of Cosmopolitan to study fashion merchandising in NYC. Years ago, Kat and I would talk about further studies but since life was so good to us (my goodness, we have the best jobs in the world!), what was the point of leaving our cushy lives and becoming a student again? But she told me she wants to take up something fashion so she can work in the mega fashion brands of the world. I told her that I want to freshen up my literature and creative writing knowledge so I can--get ready for this--teach Koreans.

With my buddies Kat and Nicole--the best gals to talk with about love!

Kat said she was thinking of studying abroad. I said I was thinking of enrolling at an online university; after all, I can't leave my husband and rabbit to study! I already looked at schools like the London School of Journalism and Penn Foster Career School. The LSJ appeals to me because it's a British school and my favorite writers are British so obviously I would benefit from British teachers. The Penn Foster school is also known to have successful graduates and, like the LSJ, the courses are quite affordable. Someone sent me an email telling me to check out the online degree programs of Western Governors University but I was pretty disappointed that its offerings are mostly for those interested in business, IT, education, and the health industry. So while I'm sure it's a great school, it doesn't have anything to offer me.

Anyway, these are the stuff Kat and I would chat about late at night, interspersed with gossip and love stories and shopping finds. Then we'd laugh at ourselves for thinking such silly things ("School! So far out!") and we'd go back to our glam lives.

Kat likes her alcohol just as much as she likes her friends!

Little did I know that Kat was actually dead serious. A few months ago, she said she got accepted at the Fashion Institute of Technology. We were thrilled for her! And then she said, "I'm moving to New York City!" And our smiles died. The gang was losing one member and though we were so excited, we will miss her so.

Last month, Kat left for the US of A, her top concerns being: (1) how to fit all her clothes within her luggage capacity and (2) how to look fashionable and not freeze to death while doing so. Typical Kat, she's found solutions to (1)--it involves a smitten man!--and (2)--it involves creative layering. But being a student means no job which means save money, so she won't be able to fly back here to attend the weddings of our friends.  

But she's in school, pursuing her dreams. She's excited and happy, and that's all we ever wanted for such a fabulous girl. I truly want nothing less for Kat. I feel a bit left behind, though! Maybe I should start looking at those online schools again but with a baby on the way and a career to manage, how will I ever find the time? I'm not unhappy, just a little dazed at how our lives are changing. Kat is in New York, Nicole has also quit her fab beauty editor position at Cosmo, Nikki's getting married and I'm having a baby!

This year is going to be more than exciting! I only wish we had more time to be together. Life's happening so fast and that's when you need your friends most, right? Sweet irony but sweet still.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

See Jane die

When Vince and I went to London for our honeymoon, my biggest regret was not setting aside an entire three days for the National Gallery. We spent just three hours instead and then we had to catch the plane to Manila. We missed our plane but you can read more about London here (although back then, my posts were mostly written in Taglish).

Anyway, I took a few courses in Renaissance Art in college since I've always been fascinated with it when I was a kid. So when we entered the National Gallery and I saw the works of Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Titian, Holbein, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet... I completely lost it. I just cried! Seeing those paintings has got to be one of the most amazing things in my life and I will go back. And I will spend an entire hour staring at this:

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche
(click to enlarge)

This is a huge painting. It's bigger than my house, I think. This depicts the tragic conclusion of the life of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for a mere nine days. She was the grandniece of that notorious Henry VIII (he of the six wives) and though she was royalty and had the best life had to offer, she didn't have her parents' love. Their ambition was her undoing.

I won't do a history lesson here but I just wanted to say that this was my favorite painting in the precious few hours we spent at the National Gallery. Vince and I stood before this painting transfixed. It is absolutely stunning--the alabaster of her skin, the satin of her gown, the way she fumbled about for the chopping block, the gentle way she was assisted to her death, the distress of her maids, the calm of her executioner. And she was but 19 years old. Poor thing.

The painting is magnificent and Lady Jane truly does inspire some of the most remarkable art. WendyB, my gorgeous blogger friend who I admire and adore, has created a pendant inspired by the tragic Lady Jane.

Within the rock crystal teardrop are rubies, symbolizing blood and tears. It's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. And I want it! I'll have to earn tons of money to afford it, however, but I've already put that photo on my dream board and whatever I put on that board, I get!

1. Interested in Jane's story? WendyB has a fun and easy post about her. Click here!
2. The necklace is about PHP 300,000.

*painting photo from Wikipedia, pendant photo from Wendy Brandes

Thank you but back to regular programming

Thanks everybody for your kind words. And to those who didn't have any kind words, fuck you.

I'm not going to talk about my pregnancy anymore or anything serious. I always said before that shallowness is the theme of this blog and yet I keep insisting on otherwise. I'm not just talking about the pregnancy; even my mother was criticized when I wrote about her recently. For Pete's sake, the woman is dead! Did ya forget to take your anti-depressants or something?

So let's go back to fun and vanity and frivolity. Better to be called stupid and vain than all the other nasty things I've been called recently. On to shopping! And parties! And shoes! And celebrities!

Monday, February 08, 2010

On honesty in blogging... and everything else actually

The previous post was interesting because some reader got offended by a comment I made and some readers reacted and then it became nasty and then I just had to not allow nasty comments anymore (the exchange is at my mommy blog--yes, I double post!). To be honest with ya, I found the exchange fascinating. I always liked controversy and dirt (which explains why I work in an entertainment magazine!) but since that is a mommy blog, I kinda figured I better clean it up since mommies seem to be expected to be positive and perfect. And since I'm spilling my guts there (and here) about how I feel about pregnancy and people around me (and guts aren't pretty), well, I'm rubbing people the wrong way.

First of all, I want to assure everybody that I love my unborn child. I hate feeling vomity and hungry and dizzy and tired and I certainly do not like my acne and the unsolicited advice being thrown at me left and right, but hey, it comes with the territory. I don't like what comes with the pregnancy but I love the kid that's causing all this fuss. The Jelly Bean is worth it.

Second, I'm honest but I'm not mean. People can't tell the difference. If you're fat and you ask me, "Hey, am I fat?", I will say, "Yes, you're fat." I will not mince words and I will not look away. But when I do say that, I'm not being nasty; I just answered your frikkin' question. So when I said in my previous post that I noticed that only ugly and unfashionable women tell me to stop trying to look good, I did mean that--that I'm fascinated with the fact that beautiful, kind and stylish women are encouraging and helpful while ugly women are nasty and discouraging. It's true! I wasn't being snarky when I wrote that; I was stating an observation.

Third, second point doesn't mean I'm a good and gentle person. If I were, this discussion won't even exist. I can be cruel and unkind. My friends and family call me "brutally honest" and they say this fondly but my family and friends are wonderful people who love me despite having been victims of my tongue. I've hurt a lot of people even though I didn't mean to. My sister once told me, "You're an editor so edit yourself!" As I've gotten older, I've learned to hold in my opinion, to lie even, but people can always tell if I'm lying. So now I say, "Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."

Fourth, will my brutal honesty harm my child? I have no idea. My mother was just as brutal while my father's philosophy was, "Honesty is not always the best policy." I don't want to know why my father will live by that credo but in my experience, I appreciated my mother's truthfulness so I want to be just as truthful with my kid. But I do hope that wisdom and compassion will hold my tongue and, to be honest with ya, just right now, wisdom and compassion are two things I'm still learning about. So help me God!

Fifth, what does this mean for my blogging and my promise to be completely candid? Well, this means I'll still tell you how I really feel. And if you think I've said too much, do tell me. Sometimes I really am not aware if I'm already being hurtful. My husband, my friends, my brother and sister are always telling me to be careful, to shut up, to delete that post, etc. So tell me if I was out of line--I'm used to being told off and I don't get offended because I know how stupid and careless I can be. Also, if you notice, I don't really blog daily. That's because there are days I really really am miserable but I don't want to post it because I really don't want to record too much ugliness.

They say pregnancy is a beautiful thing. So far, it's been pretty ugly (sniff! sniff!). But I do have moments of happiness--the ultrasound and seeing that beautiful little Jelly Bean swimming about as we counted its fingers and toes (complete sets!), the gentle way my husband treats me and tells me I'm beautiful even though pimples have multiplied on my face and back, the way drivers will stop their cars or strangers will open doors when they see me waddling past, the way people's eyes light up when they find out I'm pregnant... There is kindness, too. And I'm happy to be honest about that!

Pregnant pics

As you can see, I'm not showing so much yet. Unless I spent the entire day eating, which I do. Since these were taken just before breakfast, no tummy yet. But by the time lunchtime rolled, people were asking to rub my distended belly.

Pregnant women, take note: You can look fab even when preggy! So now that I'm the pregnant one, I am making sure I look as gorgeous as possible!  

Here I am wearing a shirt dress. I won't fit in it soon (buttons will pop if I insist!). I am also wearing black support tights--perfect for when you want to prevent the dreaded varicose veins but still look stylish. If you're pregnant like me, there's no need to buy maternity dresses (at least until we're around 7 months and beyond!). 

Anyway, I love dresses in silk jersey--these hug the body's curves lovingly. This is me in my black silk jersey dress (sorry, forgot to take a full-length one but this has a full skirt). It has stretch so even as I am gaining weight around the boob and tummy areas, I can still look pretty. If you must buy maternity dresses, just browse end-of-season sales where you can get good clearance savings, then you won't have to spend a fortune! And accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! I'm wearing enamel bangles with my Vita Fede leather-and-gold bangles. In my hair, my feather headband. Everyone said I looked pretty, and when you're pregnant, that's music to your ears!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Dear Mama

Yesterday, I was telling some girls at work that when I was younger, I'd be in hospitals so much because of my asthma and my favorite thing to do was to grab my IV bag and visit the other patients and ask them about their lives, which was hell of a lot better to do than stare at my room's ceiling and listen to myself breathe. The girls at work didn't seem fascinated with my story and focused on only one thing: "Why were you alone? Wasn't your mom with you?" And I said, "Oh, Mama never really came to visit me when I was sick. She was only there to pick me up, and that's also because she had to pay the bill."

Mama, they looked at me like I had a terrible mother, and I guess the story did make you sound like one. Yikes! Thinking about it now, I never felt any resentment whenever you and Papa deposited me at the hospital and came back for me when the doctor said I was free to go. For one thing, I knew you had work. I also enjoyed being on my own; in fact, I enjoyed it so much, I couldn't wait to leave home and be independent! And if you hadn't left me alone so much, I wouldn't learn to love reading, to venture out by myself, to talk to strangers (which you never discouraged) and be interested in their stories, to explore a world outside my own, and to be happy with my own company. All those nights in the hospital never felt lonely because I fell asleep immediately--I had a full day chatting with doctors, nurses, patients and their relatives. I saw some really sick people, some of them died when I was there, which was sad because I had just met them, but I was a happy kid and you always told me there was a heaven.

Well, now you're in heaven and I'm glad you're there. Really! I know you had a hard life, Mama, so it's great you're living it up somewhere vastly more wonderful than here. I do miss you, especially now that I'm going to have a baby. I want to raise my child the way you raised me but apparently your way isn't popular anymore. Listening to all the unsolicited advice I get these days, one would think you were a truly terrible mother. "Children should be loved, you should never leave them alone, you shouldn't let them play outside, you shouldn't spank them, you should be their friend, you should feed them organic stuff only, etc ad infinitum nauseum." Mama, kids these days are coddled and treated like emperors, like they were the centers of their parents' universe. You always made it clear to me and my siblings that God was the first in your life, then Papa, then--if there were no other people who needed your help--then and only then do we enter the picture.

I kinda liked knowing that we weren't that special, Mama. For one thing, no one can ever accuse any of your children for being spoiled brats. We're kinda wonderful actually, all smart and talented and strong. People think your children are fantastic, Mama! And we are, we are indeed. So if anyone dare say your way was wrong, well, let's just see what kind of kids they bring up!

I think you understood parenting more than anyone these days. Parenting is for crazy people actually because it's a doomed relationship. From the moment your child takes its first breath, you teach it the skills to do just one thing: Leave you. And you, unlike most parents who just baby their children, you always pushed, pushed, pushed! And look where I am now! I know you're so proud, Mama.

To be honest, I wouldn't be who I am if you had always been there. Well, you were there for me by not being there all the time. Sometimes, I would feel you holding back, sometimes I felt you closed your eyes, sometimes I felt you turned away. All those times made me stronger, because I knew that though you didn't help, you did so consciously, knowing I'd be better if I did it on my own. And I am. I don't know what willpower it took to stop yourself from scooping us into your arms, from not quitting work to be with us, from not defending us when we whined. You were one tough mama! 

At your wake, there were so many people, it was crazy. I met so many people whose lives you changed. I even remember feeling jealous because I had to share you with soooo many people! I remember calling home one day and saying, "Mama, let's go shopping!" And you said, "I have to do counseling and discipleship today. Maybe another time." There was never another time, Mama, because you always chose the less fortunate. I always got angry over that but when you died and I saw how many people mourned you--some of them were crying more than I or Papa or my siblings did--I realized you chose the right thing.

You always did actually. And that entire time we were at the wake, a strange thing happened: We found ourselves comforting others, instead of the other way around. We had taken over your role of comforter and guidance counselor--you kinda didn't give us a choice!--even though we were the ones who lost a mother and a wife. But by stepping into your shoes, we became better human beings.

This reminds me of that story you told us of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus had visited their home and Martha was super busy cleaning and cooking so that Jesus will feel important. Mary sat by His feet and listened to Him speak. Martha got angry and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" And Jesus said, "Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42). Now, I always thought this story was stupid and an excuse to be lazy. But when you died, Mama, I got it. It took me 32 years but I finally got it. You always did choose the right thing and now you have been rewarded.

Oh, I'm going to be a great mom! I just know it. Because I had you, and though everyone tells me that there are new ways to raise kids these days, I think I'm going to be just like you--tough, strict, totally no-nonsense and firmly rooted on God's Word. And if I turn out half as good a person as you were, Mama, then my little Jelly Bean is in very good hands.

I miss you,

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Want, want, want!

I guess you all probably all know that Apple launched the funnily named iPad last week.

Well, I want one. It's the future, my friends. I won't really go into all the specifics and what it can and can't do (this isn't a tech site and my husband can explain it better!) but from what I've seen, it's magic!

This week, Sony also launched their adorable new VAIOs, the super colorful VAIO E. Vince and I were invited to a lovely dinner for the launch but I wasn't feeling well and Vince had to stay at work so we didn't show up. Therese and Avvy of Virtusio, if you're reading this, I'm sorry! Was this the series you were launching? Just wondering...
I think these babies are beyond cute but Sony really has to offer better laptop deals--their laptops are insanely overpriced so, much as I want a VAIO, I bought my HP Mini instead (which I love!) and if I ever get oodles of money, I'd buy a MAC!

Or an iPad. I read that Sony plans to copy the iPad. Sony's CFO Nobuyuki Oneda said, "We are confident we have the skills to create a [similar] product." I'm sure, but again, Sony, you have to make your prices competitive. Since the iPad is only around $500 (P23,000), that's an unbeatable price for such an amazing gadget!

We're definitely getting the iPad come March. But we have to buy that Olympus EP1 first! How about you? Any gadget lusts?

I want to go to Boracay... for free!

I haven't been to Boracay since 2004. Don't feel bad for me, folks, I'm not a beach person. But 6 years away from the most famous beach in the Philippines is starting to feel wrong. My days these days have been filled with work, clinic appointments, inquiring after medical and life insurance quotes, reading pregnancy books, hugging the toilet as I vomit my meal yet again... So, before Jelly Bean takes over our lives, I think it's time for more getaways (yes, more trips aside from Tagaytay and Cebu!). And if I'm lucky, I can go have an all-expense-paid trip to the island!

Boracay Packages is having a fabulous contest open to everyone in the entire world! In celebration of its 5th anniversary (hey, it's the 5th anniversary of OK! Philippines, too!), the site is treating 2 people to a 5-day stay at the lovely Le Soleil de Boracay! Here are the details:

Win a Free Boracay Vacation Package 
by WOW Philippines Travel Agency

WOW Philippines Travel Agency, Inc. is celebrating its 5th year in business on July of 2010, and we would like you to have a chance to celebrate with us. We decided to give away a FREE Boracay Package complete with 5-Star accommodations at the luxurious Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel on Boracay Island. The lucky winner will win the following Boracay vacation package:

Vacation Package Inclusions:
- 5 Days / 4 Nights Luxury 5-Star Accommodations at the Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel
- Flights to Boracay from Manila to Caticlan Airport on Philippine Airlines
- Island Transfers - Door-to-Door from Manila to the resort and back to Manila
- Three (3) Meals each day, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- Boracay Activities - Horseback Riding, Island Hopping, Glass Bottom Boat
- PLUS - 5,000 peso Spending Cash

Read More Information:

Oh, I want to win this! To be honest, it was the Philippine Airlines aspect that won me over. Really don't want to fly on Cebu Pacific anymore. But that's another story for another day! Let me just look for my ancient Boracay photos so you can see how much I enjoyed Boracay. And that's coming from a girl who hates sun and sand!

If you want to join the contest yourself, click here!