Thursday, June 26, 2008

Just got back... and already we need a break!

London is a very busy city. So many things to do, so many things to see, so many things to visit, and nothing very good to eat!

(To be fair, despite its notoriety for bad food, British food wasn't really that bad; in fact, it was quite okay but since I come from a country rich in spices and dishes exploding with flavor, everything I ate there tasted bland. It made me very sad, I wept.)

So Vince and I are utterly exhausted. For one thing, though we went there in the summer, it was bitterly terribly cold. The cold seeped in and settled on our bones and muscles, making us stiff and cramped. To make matters worse, London is a walking city. We walked and walked and walked with our already sore and cold muscles. I don't think we ever walked and climbed stairs and ran to catch trains that much in our life ever! On the good side, my butt and legs now look great! On the bad side, we are so very tired.

Lost in the Underground. Well, not really. The tube can be confusing at first but within two days,
we knew our way around!

So Vince declared, "I need a real vacation! I'll make you a beach lover yet. We'll go to Boracay and do nothing but eat and swim and lie in the sun. Now that's a vacation!"

So I'll lie low for a while. Recover from jet lag, recover from it all. And, to be honest, I need to focus on work since I was gone so long!

Though I sound whiny, we did have tons of fun. Tons! London is very very exciting. We did all the tourist stuff, oh we're so corny! Museums, parks, bus tours, monuments--we practically visited every famous spot in London. But we enjoyed them all!

I'll post my stories on the London holiday as soon as I feel like myself again. There's lots to tell!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Believe it or not, fashion is a political statement.

I don't know if you heard about this but bubbly TV host Rachael Ray got herself into a scandal last week when her Dunkin' Donuts ad featured her with a fringed black-and-white scarf wrapped around her neck. I've seen this scarf, called a kaffiyeh, around a lot of Hollywood necks actually (Joshua Jackson comes to mind) and I was even thinking of featuring it in my magazine since it is obviously a Hollywood fashion craze. It's sold here everywhere, too--malls, tiangges, street vendors, etc--so clearly I shouldn't ignore this new trend. Then this whole Dunkin' Donuts thing happened and I found out that the scarf is associated with terrorism.

''The kaffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad,'' conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote in her syndicated column. "Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not-so-ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons," she said.

Well, there you go. What is just a fashion craze for us is, for some people, a political statement.

For example, I was utterly horrified when the Japanese flag with the sun rays coming out of it used to be fashionable here. That was the flag of the Japanese Occupation! How can Filipinos forget our terrible history when the Japanese invaded us and made our women their whores? My husband's grandfather survived the infamous Bataan Death March. From 1941-45, the Philippines was subjected to devastation--not just the physical land but also our people, our spirit, our dignity. Sure, kids these days weren't alive when the war happened but I still have my grandparents' words echoing in my ears and I believe the Imperial flag is something Filipinos should never wear.

It's not just me. When Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party, the whole of Brittania went into an uproar. He was just having fun (it was a costume party, for heaven's sake!), but as a British citizen and the grandson of the queen who lived during and steered her country through World War II, the costume was a terrible faux pas. The prince was forced to apologize but his royal subjects were deeply offended by his innocent fun.

And when Cameron Diaz brought a Mao Zedung bag on her trip to Peru, the Peruvians were outraged. In the 1980s to early '90s, Peru was devastated by the Maoist Path Insurgency that left 70,000 Peruvians dead. Her bag, which she bought on a trip to China (and looked really cool, I think), was definitely not cool in Peru.

Or when American missionary Gracia Burnham was forced by her Abu Sayyaf kidnappers to wear a veil, Christians in the US were shocked. Since she was not a Muslim, they believed that Gracia forced to wear a veil was an act of terrorism, too.

I've heard so many stories about people getting into fights or even getting killed because of a T-shirt. Vince, for example, won't be bringing any of his football jerseys to London. We heard that if you're wearing the wrong football jersey and you got off at the wrong tube station, you can get into trouble very quickly. When I was 18, I headed home after PE class wearing my gym shorts when a woman suddenly pointed at me and screamed, "Girls who wear shorts steal other women's husbands!" Oh dear, I cried so much and I was wearing crappy shorts, too!

To most of us, it's just a piece of cloth but, as every die-hard fashionista will tell you, every piece we wear is a statement. High heels, mini skirts, thigh-high boots, tube tops, baseball caps, bling-bling, leather jackets, Mao Zedung bags, Imperial flags, a veil, a scarf associated with terrorism, et al... innocuous clothing perhaps but these offend some people.

What should we do??? I don't know! Me, I believe in freedom of expression. So if the person truly is making a statement with what he's wearing, then I may not like it, but I'll respect it. And perhaps we should educate ourselves more on every piece of clothing and accessory we buy and wear. After all, some people have died because of the clothes they wore. So you might as well know what the hell you're dying for!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And the winner is...

KV Caidic from Paranaque City!

KV won my silly little contest that asked readers to guess where Vince and I are headed for our much anticipated but always delayed honeymoon. We're going to the magnificent city of London, people! And we're leaving next week! Hooray!

The entries are published in the comments section of that post. However, I didn't publish the wrong answers. Most of the answers were correct; after all, with the tons of clues I gave, it wasn't really very hard to guess, right? But KV was the very first one to give the correct answer so applause applause!

Congratulations, KV! You get your very own bottle of Burberry The Beat. Reply to my email asap so I can send you your prize asap!

To the rest of you, thanks for joining and keep checking this blog for more contests. I plan to give away freebies every month!

P.S. Get to know KV and check out her blog here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My blog is reborn!

Hehe, not really but it's getting there!

Observe my URL. It's now! It's like a real website! It's part of my plans for this blog. I've already edited out my too personal posts from the last two years (that was painful, I must admit) and I've begun steering this blog to what matters to me most outside my marriage--the things that make me happy, like movies, magazines, TV shows, music, shopping, etc! Yes, I'm not going to be unhappy and heavy and gloomy anymore. I want to be fun and light and, er, shallow!

This is super exciting for me! This blog has been a great source of release for me in the past when it came to dealing with life's harsh realities, but now, since I'm older and hopefully more mature, I want this blog to start being something else--be a good and happy place, where I can be thrilled about the stuff and ideas that tickle me most, to delight the readers that often stumble upon it, to inform these same readers about how wonderful life is and the fabulous things that make it wonderful.

So good luck to me! And hope you can stick around while I deal with the birth pains. I'm not really good with the Internet and websites and all things related to that. But one must keep learning! If you have any suggestions, please email me at Wow, I have a personal email address! Isn't that great? It excites me a lot but actually, I don't know if that email address works (haha!) so please email me there so I can see! So many things I have to learn with this new beginning!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Getting ready for the UK!

So, like I said, Vince and I will be flying off to the United Kingdom (I won't say where exactly because I have an ongoing contest) in two weeks. We just bought luggage. Thank goodness Robinsons Galleria has a Bag and Shoe Fair this whole month of May because we were able to buy beautiful luggage from Echolac. Actually, I was content to buy a cheap local brand but Vince said, "If we must buy something, let's check out the expensive brands first then we'll work our way down." He's right; we may actually be able to afford it! And we did!

Echolac is a Japanese brand and from the moment we heard that line, "This is from Japan..." we were sold. So we're super duper happy because we now have lovely respectable luggage that we're sure won't get mangled at the baggage area.

I've booked the hotel, too. For six nights! I really like the Trip Advisor site because customer reviews are honest and brutal so you know which hotels to avoid. Their tag line is "Get the truth. Then go." And so that's where I got the bulk of my research. While I booked a hotel that was GBP 20 over budget (multiply that with six nights and that's P8,000 I didn't want to spend), I'm confident I made the right choice. I was looking for a hotel that had a GBP 100/night rate but Travel Advisor reviews on those hotels were really bad so I'm going with Premier Travel Inn. Not the most cheap for what is supposed to be a budget hotel line but certainly good. Look at how clean it is. I stayed in a Premier Travel Inn in 2006, and I liked it there. Simple, no fuss, convenient. And the breakfast buffet (at a painful GBP 7++) was amazing!

I'm giddy with anticipation. I've just bought a Lonely Planet guide book and it's pretty good since the book tells us what sights are really good to see and what tourist traps we should avoid. I'm also studying travel insurance options. Right now, I'm seriously considering World Nomads. The coverage is USD 300,000 each for Vince and me, and it's quite comprehensive. The sweetest thing about it is I pay just USD 30 for both of us!

Yes, everything's ready for Vince and me! We're super duper excited!

All I worry about now is the rabbits.

*image from Premier Travel Inn website.