Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Goodbye, ALDUB

It's no secret that I'm a fan of this phenomenal loveteam that broke records and gave birth to their fan base called ALDUB Nation. I shipped them so hard that together with a group of friends, we came up with the Aldub Nation Fest which we organized two years in a row. However, all it had to take was a tweeted open letter to break our collective hearts.

Shipping an LT means loving them both equally. And I did. And I still do, which makes me really sad knowing that both of them are hurting over this fiasco. Not only them but the fans as well--including me.

It has been a horribly busy weekend so I was somewhat distracted for me to comprehend the full meaning of that post. My friends have gone through the five stages of grief and as for me, I finally admitted to myself that ALDUB is no more.

I don't want to think that the past two years were a waste. ALDUB helped me get through a tough time and I will forever be thankful for that. I choose to remember how it was back then when everyone was so happy. It's just really sad that it had to come to this.

Some say that there could still be a loveteam but it just hurts knowing that what you're seeing is just play acting. The allure of ALDUB was you were always kept guessing about their status and being the hopeless romantic I am, I would want to think that there was a time that they were indeed a pair. Knowing now that they're just only "friends" puts a damper on things.

I honestly don't know how they can move forward from this. Their respective PR teams are frustratingly silent which lead me to believe that maybe, they would want this to end as well.

So thank you, Alden and Maine. You don't know how much you both helped me get through one of the toughest moments in my life. I met so many friends because of you and made me realize that I can do so many things which I thought I could not. You made me happy and I hope, someday, that both of you will be happy too. I still silently hope and pray that in the future, you'll both end up together but it is what it is.

God bless and I hope someday our roads will cross again. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Join the Dance


In one of my previous jobs, I had 14 bosses in a span of 10 years. I quickly learned how to adapt and to be resilient as each boss has a different personality and goal. I experienced doing one project only to be dropped when the new boss came along.

But I left that company 8 years ago and in a span of 8 years, I only had 3 bosses which is quite stable. Sad to say, I've grown complacent because of it. However, at the start of this year, I  had a new boss and he was the type of person who works fast and expects the same from me. And so I did. I felt harassed but so productive. I had a person micromanaging me which I don't mind as it is what I'm used to in my previous jobs.We managed to launch 2 projects and several more in the pipeline. He managed to push one project which I've been harping on for the past 4 years and I'm truly grateful.

Yesterday, he surprised us by announcing his resignation. Actually, I've learned about it in the grapevine (I work in a small industry) but kept quiet about it as I was praying that it's not true. I actually shed several tears during his announcement as I will honest-to-goodness miss him. He was our father figure and he fought some of our battles for us.

In the 7 months (4 months for me as I was on maternity leave for three months) that he was with our division, he implemented so many changes for the betterment of our people and introduced so many process saves. I learned so much from him in those short 4 months and I truly wish it was longer.

I wish that whoever will take over will have the same drive and passion as he had. One who will inspire me to do my job the best way that I can.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Back to Life, Back to Reality

I returned to work last Monday which marked the end of my maternity leave. It was how I expected it to be. I was so sleepy and tired as my body was adjusting to the lack of sleep. I also drove that day so I had to leave extra early being the first day of the week.

Other than that, I still have not figured out my schedule as I had to fit in my pumping around my meetings. I know I should pump every 2 hours but I end up expressing milk every 4 hours instead.

Moreover, I need to wrap my head around the changes in our department's process as well as other changes that happened in the past 3 months that I was away.

But what I really missed most was my son. I missed breastfeeding him any time during the day and have to make do having him latch in the morning when we wake up and when I get home at night.

The woes of the working mom.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Destined To Be Yours?



Yes, the question mark was intentional. Though I know this will have a happy ending, the way the story is going makes me question that belief.

I'm not a regular viewer of teleseryes. Come to think of it, I cannot recall when I was so hooked into a local drama series--one that I would watch regularly. I also do not watch Korea novelas which seems to be the in thing nowadays. I did not even go through the Meteor Garden phase which most of my contemporaries seem to love.

However, I made an exception to this teleserye of Alden and Maine, Destined To Be Yours, for the fact that I'm an avid fan of the two. Ever since ALDub was born, we have always longed for a teleserye for them on top of a movie. So when reports came out that they will be doing one, we were all overjoyed.

The series actually started end of February and the premise was promising. Maine played Sinag, a country lass from a fictional artistic town called Pelangi. Alden played Benjie, an architect whose family wants to build a resort in the hometown of Sinag.


The first weeks were entertaining enough and I was looking forward for the two protagonists to meet. And when they did, you could hear the ALDub Nation collectively sigh and swoon. And then things went downhill. The plot became convoluted and the storyline deviated from the premise. Moreover, they introduced a third party to drive the story which was somewhat formulaic of teleseryes. As fans tend to be overprotective of their love team, everyone was up in arms.

I really don't know how to feel about this. Some were really furious as they felt that the teleserye was not well written and was a wasted effort of Alden and Maine. In my case, I take this with a grain of salt. Maybe because I knew teleseryes would tend to be cut-and-dried so I did not really have high expectations on this project.

Putting aside the story, the supporting cast was really good. I'm really hating the antagonists, which is the right emotion to be invoked. Yes, there are so many of them! Maybe they're there to drive the point that even if there are people holding the main characters from each other, destiny will find a way for the two of them to be together. (Why do I want to throw up after typing that?). Ina Feleo's Catalina is the best of them, in my opinion, because I could understand what drives her character. But the others? I can only just scratch my head and wonder if the role was meant to confuse the viewer.

Another stand-out is Janice de Belen's character, Sally, the mother of Sinag. She literally stands out because of our bright pink hair. I felt that her role was consistently written and I could depend on her to react the right way. Of course, being Janice de Belen (I remember seeing her act during her Flordeluna days), her acting was smooth and just right. I really saw her as the doting mother and supportive wife and she played it to the T.

Lotlot de Leon, who played Benjie's mother, was also a revelation as I never saw her act in dramas before. During the early episodes, I could sympathize with her and her crying also brought tears to my eyes. But lately, her actions have been confusing me. Not consistent on how she was built up.

But my favorite characters (other than Benjie and Sinag) are Jason, the bestfriend of Benjie played by Dominic Roco and Ninay, the bestfriend of Sinag played by Sheena Halili. Amusingly, they are the ones whose actions seem logical and apt for their roles and the story. You want to cheer them on as they help their respective bestfriends.


Regardless of the irregularities and the irritating plot, I enjoyed the show because I get to see my beloved couple on a daily basis. They are my happy pill and seeing them do scenes with each other (whether they are heartbreaking scenes or kilig scenes), are enough for me. I take refuge in the fact that they bonded while shooting and that Maine has greatly improved in her acting. This was a good vehicle for her to develop her talent and skill.

There are news that they will have a movie after this and I can't wait for that. Imagine You and Me, their first movie, was well done (kudos Direk Mike!). With Maine's newly honed acting prowess, I can't wait to see what she can do with Alden.

ps.
I usually live tweet my reactions while I watch. Do follow me at twitter @sunshi_fairy

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My SSS Experience

Being on the last leg of my maternity leave, I've been spending the remaining days going to various government offices to fix or file whatever needs to be done. Things that I would not have done any regular day unless I have no other choice.

I've been married for 10 years and though I have changed my name, I never did request for a change in plastic specifically for my SSS as I do not relish going to their office to have this done. Since I have nothing better to do, might as well request for the change in ID.

I first tried going to the SSS branch at SM Aura as being out of the way, I thought the line and the office won't be too cramped. When I went there a couple of weeks ago after having lunch with an officemate, I did a double take when I saw the room. People were sitting at the corridors and the room was so full! You could literally smell the sweat of the person beside you. I asked which number they were servicing and there were 200 people in front of me. I just shook my head and went home.

Good thing there's an SSS office near my house. So after having my car registered this morning, I parked my car at Alabang Town Center and rode a jeepney going to the Alabang-Zapote SSS branch. It's near Acacia Avenue with a Mini Stop, Yellow Cab and Mercury Drug at the ground floor. I could actually park there but the traffic was bad and I don't like leaving the car out under the sun (I don't like getting into a hot car).

Preparing myself for the worst, I climbed up to the second floor expecting to see long lines and a hot room. I was surprised when I entered the establishment to find the aircon actually works and the lines were not that long. Moreover, you could actually talk to someone from their information counter and they have a place where you can fill up forms. It was not cramped at all!

After detailing my request, I was given several forms and instruction to go to the nearby bank to pay the fee. I shrugged as the nearest BDO branch she mentioned was a few meters away. So I went back downstairs and walked to BDO. Entering the branch, I was surprised at the amount of people in the office. I asked assistance from the guard and he said that they are out of the Special Bank Receipt which they use for the SSS payment transactions.

Refusing to be defeated, I asked for alternatives. He pointed me to somewhere to the left and told me to inquire there. Unfortunately, the person who he directed me to was with a customer and there was a line. I waited for around 10 minutes hoping that someone would notice me but seeing that no one would be helping me soon, I excused myself and asked about my transaction. Thankfully, the teller directed me to the PSBank beside their branch.

So I stepped out again under the hot sun and walked to PSBank. Even before I entered the branch, I asked the guard and he said they're also out of forms. He then told me to go to Metrobank which was further away.

By then, my long patience was already wearing thin but I refused to give up. When I got to Metrobank, they fortunately have that special receipt. And what do you know, the lines were not that long! My only complaint was their aircon was too cold that for a person coming out from the sun, my asthma decided to act up.

That done, I heaved a sigh of relief and returned to the SSS office. Good thing the person at information gave me a number before I went bank hopping so my place in line was somewhat secured. When I arrived, number 42 was called and I was number 56. I then settled down to wait. However, since it was nearing lunch time and considering that it might take time before I'm called, I went back downstairs to have lunch at Mini Stop. I ordered their fried siomai with the rice and it was really good, especially the rice. Soft and pasty, just the way I like it. :)

I remember arriving at the SSS office at 1030 and my number was called exactly two hours later at 1230. Unfortunately, I had to wait for another 30 more minutes as the "no lunch break" policy does not cover the picture taking step. When the person in charge for the ID arrived, I was happily first in line. So I was done in 10 minutes and was home by 1:30PM. Three hours. Not bad.

Thankfully and hopefully, this will be my last government office visit for a long time. You really need to have a lot of patience when dealing with them. To be fair, they really are professional and nice. Just be prepared to wait.

Oh, and I'll be getting my SSS ID in 3 to 6 months! I guess it's better than my driver's license which they say will be available this July and my license plate which I have no idea when will arrive.

Post Partum Depression Is Not a Myth

I belong to an online mommy community where most of the members are breastfeeding advocates. It was through their constant preaching that I decided to breastfeed if ever I get pregnant again.

Lo, and behold, I did! So I conditioned myself on the hardships and complications of breastfeeding. When I gave birth, they brought my newborn to me and immediately latched. I could never be happier.

True enough, breastfeeding is not a walk in the park. The first week was difficult but I never gave up. Every contraction and chapped nipples actually urged me on and I held firm on my resolve.

But what got to me that made me decide to mix feed was post partum depression. 

Contrary to what people think, it's not a myth. One friend even shared that her elders does not believe in it as it only happens in the US. The shift in hormones can really make your brain go haywire. I went through crying spurts and wishing that I never got pregnant. There were moments that I didn't want to see my baby. Having no yaya for a month also added to the cocktail of volatile emotions that it's a big miracle I held everything together and lived to tell the tale.

Two months post partum, I could say I'm in a better place. Still not 100% there but definitely better than where I was a month before. Here are my learnings from my experience:

1. Don't be ashamed to accept or ask for help - having a dependable yaya nowadays is a valuable commodity--like looking for that rare pokemon. In case you're not successful in your search, have your mom or a relative/friend stay with you to help you out or even vice versa. Live with your mom while you're on maternity leave. Nothing like your mom's tender loving care to help you take care of yourself as well as your baby. Though we are painted as such, our superwoman powers can only take us so far. Take that long bath. Have that me time so you can breathe. Have someone wash the clothes or cook the meals. For CS moms (like me), you just went through a major operation. Give your bodies time to heal and recuperate.
In my case, my mother-in-law was a big help. Whenever she's at home, she would take the baby and let me have time to myself. I took my time taking a bath and finally had the chance to scrub off the grime from my operation. 

2. Surround yourself with positive things - itapon lahat ng nega. I didn't watch any heavy drama series during this period. I kept tabs on my favorite ALDUB LT which was my happy pill. I also listened to relaxing music and gorged on interesting shows on TV (FYI is my favorite channel and I want a "Tiny House"!). If you have people around you who think they know better, just tune them out. And if you need to, call a friend just to rant and share what you feel. You really need to get it out and you cannot keep it to yourself. Don't be ashamed that you're crying for no reason at all.

3. Get out of the house - once you're able, get out of your room. A change of scenery will do you good. In case you can't leave the house, go to a different room or get some fresh air. Being cooped up in our room the whole day drove me crazy. I was climbing walls and it added to my depression. Less than one month post partum, I wanted to go back to work! What I did was after lunch, I would bring my son to the den and I would watch my tv shows from there. And then would just go up to our room at twilight. Besides, it's better to stay at the ground floor as I had the misfortune of giving birth during summer. It's hotter at the second floor of the house as the heat rises up.

4. Sleep - better said than done considering your infant does not know how to differentiate night from day. But given a chance, get some rest. Believe me, your brain will conjure more depressing stuff when sleep deprived. Everything will look better after a good night's (or in our case, a couple of hours) sleep. 
During the height of my depression, I confided to a friend and she sent me a Spotify playlist which really let me relax and get some sleep.


5. Breastfeed - this actually releases happy endorphins. So even if I'm mixed feeding, I ensure to do this. It not only benefits him but me as well.

So remember, you are not alone in what you are feeling. Warm hugs to you and know that if I was able to get through it, you will too.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Vaccines Galore

When having a newborn, the mind-boggling medical expenses does not stop at birth. It continues on until the first twelve months of life of the infant.

Though some mothers think otherwise, we prefer to have our baby vaccinated.

At birth, he was given BCG and HepaB. Cost was included in the hospital bill so I'm not particularly sure how much it was.




















On his sixth week, we returned to his pedia to have his first immunization shot post birth. He was given a 6 in 1 shot consisting of DPT, Polio, Hib, Pertussis, Tetanus and second shot of Hepa B. Brand was Hexaxim. Cost was around P6,500 (can't find the receipt).
 
At two months and two weeks, we went back today for another vaccine shot which is pneumococcal. Brand was Prevenar 13. Cost was P5,500.

I'm dreading the vaccine next month as it's a 5 in 1 and an oral rotavirus. I already inquired and the cost of both vaccines is a whopping P8,000 (P4,500 + P3,500).

On a happy note, my son has gained 2.64 pounds since his last check-up. He has also grown more than 5cm which I could actually confirm as he's already the size of my breastfeeding pillow when previously, he was just so tiny against the pillow. His head circumference also grew by 3cm. All in all, my baby is growing just fine.

Probably the only complaint that we have, which is pretty minor compared to the other stories that I've been seeing on my mommy group, is his cradle cap and rashes.


For the cradle cap, we used the Mustela shampoo mousse which really helped. Good thing there's a stall at Alabang Town Center and I bought a bottle for P450. The Gentle Cleansing Gel I actually got as a baby shower present and I used that for his rashes.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When Something Bad Happens

Being 41 years old, I could say that I've seen and experienced my share of trials and hardships. Going through post partum depression is one of them.

Times like these, I revisit and remind myself of old sayings and quotes that helped me get through previous ordeals:

- This too shall pass
- When you're down, there's no way but up
- Every cloud has a silver lining.
- There's a light at the end of the tunnel

My writer's heart flinches at the cliches but they do serve their purpose.

Nights are bad for me as it's when I feel that everything is closing in around me that I can't almost breathe. Somehow, it gets worse when I'm just at home the whole day. I guess that's why I'm raring to return to work to give me a different environment.

During last night's feeding, I browsed through my Facebook feed and saw this. It was so apt that I can't help but share it here.




It made me reflect on God's plan for me. Hardships happen because there's a reason for it. It's difficult to see it now but when it unfolds, there is actually something good that will come out of it. It also reminded me of this quote from Friedrich Nietzsche. 

"That what does not kill us, makes us stronger."

Every trial toughens us up and prepares us for something bigger and better. We just have to cling to His grace that He will not give us anything that we cannot handle. 

As what we say in the vernacular: Kapit lang. Tiwala lang. 
(Hold on. Just believe).

Hugs to all who needs it. We can do this.