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.

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.

Friday, May 12, 2017

ALDUBNation Festival

Photo by @antonyostark

I wrote about my ADNFest 2016 experience here. I was lucky to be one of the organizers and I still couldn't believe we were able to pull that event off with just two months of preparation.

I realized I haven't actually blogged about our ADNFest experience as organizers other than what I wrote for our site. So here's a more detailed telling.

T-24 Hours

our rooms
On Sat, Oct 15, OrgComm members checked into Microtel with out stuff. We occupied two rooms together with the paraphernalia that we needed for the event.

We spent the afternoon walking around MOA trying to finish some last minute tasks when we learned that the Coke bottles that were supposed to be picked up from the warehouse was not available. The truck that one of our ADN friends hired to pick up the product went home empty handed. It was panic mode for us as we needed that for the participants. All we could do was sit down and panic for a few minutes.

I then called my contact and she was apologetic about the whole thing. She said that she'll get back to me. After a couple of hours, she called me and said that we will be able to pick up the drinks at a nearby warehouse and I only have two hours to do so. I swear, the fans of Alden and Maine are one of the resourceful and generous people that I have ever met. We sent out a tweet about our dilemma and we received numerous offers to use their vans/cars and whatsoever. It was bayanihan to the finest. In the end, it was one of our OrgComm members that was able to pick up the bottles by hiring a jeepney. We all literally breathed a sigh of relief.

By the way, did I mention that I was almost 5 months pregnant when this happened?

Being pregnant, my orgcomm-mates told me to stay in the hotel and get some rest for the big day. They had to fix the hall and handle the ingress so they were there most of the night. I think they got back at the hotel room at around 3 or 4 in the morning.


We were very nervous when we woke up as a storm battered Manila the night before. I heard the rain and wind hitting the window and it was nerve wracking. We stormed the heaven with prayers hoping that regardless of the weather, we will still have a nice turnout.

So after a filling breakfast, we hurried off to SMX. I was pleasantly surprised to see the set-up.  The screens were a nice touch too as the venue was so big it will enable the people at the back to see what's happening on stage.

The production team was currently on stage rehearsing as well as the singers. I just walked around and checked the booths as well as the registration area.

I also went outside to check the line and it was snaking around the SMX building. It require people to come in at 10AM so they can register and claim their wristbands and loot bags. They would then need to return at 1PM so they can enter the venue and the program can start.

View from the entrance

Entrance of the hall (really love our logo)

Speaker of the House

I was elected by my Orgcomm mates to be the spokesperson of the group. Though I'm used to speaking in front of people (I was a teacher), ADNFest was the biggest group that I ever addressed (more than 2000 people!). Thinking about my speech kept me up a few nights but I eventually ended up ditching it and speaking from the heart.

ang ganda niya! pramis!
Prior the program, I was asked to be interviewed by GMA News. I was too surprised to say no and if you ask me now, I can't recall what I said. They did get a soundbyte though which was shown during 24 Oras.

The start of the program was hosted by Nicole Hyala and Chris Tsuper--radio DJs. It was during my speech that Maine apparently arrived at the holding room. After my speech, we hurried off to the second floor.

 Meeting her was so surreal. A few months before the event, I already had my chance encounter with Alden when I saw him at St. Luke's BGC. Even had a picture taken. But I never had an encounter with Maine so seeing her there in front of us just made me burst into tears (I blame my pregnancy hormones). Actually, we all started crying when we told her how we came up with the event and how some of the attendees flew in from abroad and even from the Visayas and Mindanao.

ang iyakin na OrgComm

 I also met the director of their first movie, Imagine You and Me. Direk Mike Tuviera.

After a few minutes, we asked her if she's ready to go down. She mentioned that she wanted to go around and meet the fans. I was worried as the hall is humongous and there were 2000 people there but she was insistent. So after coordinating with security, I lead the party to the elevator where I even managed to be included in one of Ram David's elevator selfie.

The Main Event

When Maine entered the hall, the energy of the hall suddenly jumped.  Everyone started screaming and it was a good thing that our security guys were on top of everything. She tried to go around the hall but the crush of people was too much that she was whisked off to the VIP area.

So she stayed there with us while the Clingy Bunch performed and fan-made AVPs were also shown. And when Alden arrived, all hell broke loose. He performed one song from his album, said a few words and he and Maine walked around the hall trying to meet as much people as they can.

my selfie with Maine

my selfie with Alden

Meng and Alden onstage

Maine and Alden with ADNFest OrgComm

Love this picture taken of my moment with Maine
With Leysam, Alden's handler

The Aftermath

We monitored social media regarding ADNFest and we were touched and surprised with some posts that we found. It was so heartwarming to see all the kind words.

yes, I'm the tita sa gilid

Alden's IG post

Maine's IG post

Direk Mike's tweet

Ram David's (of Triple A) IG post

Leysam's IG post

Nicole Hyla's IG post

Tristan's IG post

More from Nicole Hyala

Nelson Canlas' (GMA reporter) IG post

More from Nelson Canlas

Tweet from April, Alden's cousin


October 16, 2016 still feels a dream to me. One of the highlights of my 2016 and the pinnacle of my fangirling life. We initially wanted it to be a once in a lifetime event but there might be a repeat if based on the survey that we released a few weeks back.

Do follow @adnfest in Twitter for updates.

Asthma During Pregnancy

My recent pregnancy was harder compared to my previous. The first one was easy peasy. Granted I went on leave for two weeks just for the morning sickness, but I can't recall going on bed rest or sick leave for the rest of the pregnancy (probably once or twice).

However, for this recent one, I had allergies galore specifically asthma. I've always been asthmatic but it was worse this pregnancy. My inhalers received quite a workout and I was even prescribed three inhalers early in my pregnancy. Not to mention I almost exhausted my sick leaves as my attacks became more frequent especially during my last trimester.

I was initially apprehensive and shared this with my OB as on top of my inhalers, I also had to take anti-asthma medicine. She said that she prefers the alternative of me being able to breathe as whatever happens to me, affects the baby in my tummy.

A couple of weeks before I gave birth, I visited my pulmo again to prepare for my caesarean operation. She prescribed more anti-asthma meds and even steroids which I'm supposed to take the day before.

I don't know if it's the results of all those meds but when my son came out, he was screaming madly. I guess there's no question how healthy his lungs are.

Ten weeks after giving birth, I haven't had a bad asthma attack like the ones I experienced during my pregnancy. I really hope not to go through that again.