Monday, November 17, 2014

Product Review: Olay Moisturizer and Beauty Bar

Disclaimer: I got the product for free but we were not required to write a review. I am just happy that I found a product that actually works!

I'm not usually a fan of beauty products. Growing up, I didn't pay too much attention on my skin. I just started wearing moisturizer and using facial cleansers after I graduated from College and was able to buy my own. Prior to that, it was just soap and water for me. 

I remember starting off with the usual supermarket variety--Eskinol and Nivea were my staples then. I didn't wear make-up so I felt that there was no need for a facial wash. As I grew older and moved companies, I met colleagues who were more skin conscious and who gave me useful pointers on how to put on make-up. I also studied informally but I feel like I need to learn more.

Since I now wear all these gunk on my face, it was imperative that I find the right product to wash my face with and of course, moisturize. I'm not actually sure what my skin type is but I noticed my face gets dry a lot, especially after taking a bath. When I was also a child, I remember the skin on palms peeling off during cold season as my skin lacks moisture. Make-up base powder also changes color after being applied on my face. So, I must have dry skin and acidic to boot.

It took time until I found the product that is suitable for my skin. My mom sends us products from the US and after trial and error, I found out that my skin was  compatible with Neutrogena or Cetaphil because of its hypoallergenic properties. I also stocked up on Ivory soap as it's gentle enough for my skin, as well as my husband's.

For more than 7 years, I have always used Neutrogena as my day and night moisturizer. I loved it enough that I also used their facial wash and scrub, as well as toner (although, I still have to figure out when to use it). My skin was just ok. Nothing spectacular. I figured since these are mild products, I shouldn't expect much.

A few months ago, I got a text from Citibank saying that I was qualified to be given a gift pack from Olay. Since I've always been curious about Olay, I called the given number and they said they'll deliver my samples in a few days. True enough, I received a couple of products in the mail: Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Moisturizer with spf 15 and Olay Total Effects Moisturizing Bar.

I was rather hesitant in trying them out. In fact, it was days before I actually opened the pack. The only thing I knew about Olay was I have associated it with my grandmother as she's a regular user of their moisturizer when she was still alive. 

Anyway, I first tried out the facial moisturizer. Since I was not sure how it will turn out, I just used it during the evening. After a few days, I noticed that my skin felt smoother and the lines actually disappeared! Moreover, my face does feel oily in the afternoon. Encouraged by the results, I also started using it as my moisturizer in the morning prior to putting on make-up. After almost a month of using it, I could gladly say that I am a very pleased convert and will definitely buy another bottle when this one runs out.
Just recently, I remembered the beauty bar that they also sent. I didn't want to use it as my experience with moisturizing bars were not that good. Dove, which they say is 1/4 moisturizing cream makes my face and skin dry up. I've never attempted to use any other moisturizing soap ever since. So I was not really sure if their beauty soap will also be a dunce. But my curiosity won the battle so I unpacked it and used it last weekend. 
Lo and behold, their soap also works! My skin felt smooth and silky after use and my face did not feel tight afterwards. In my excitement, I immediately bought 6 bars afterwards and told my husband to just use the Ivory soap while I use this. I also use it alternately with my Neutrogena facial wash and scrub.

Other than the 2 other products, I also use Olay Eye Cream which also works wonders!





Sunday, November 09, 2014

Yaya Problems

Yaya Problems: The perennial problem of a working mom.

There is no such thing as a perfect yaya. I take it as a blessing that my son gets along with his current yaya because she plays with him and treats him with care and love. Unfortunately, she does not back down whenever she feels threatened and is known to get into physical fights with other househelps and yayas. Since it does not always happen, we just cautioned her about it. But the incident last Friday was the last straw.

I was in a staff meeting last Friday when I got a text from my staff that my son's school called regarding my son. I panicked and called the given number immediately, which happens to be the number of the vice principal. All the while, I thought there was a problem with my son but apparently, it was with my son's yaya. She got into a physical fight with one of the other yayas inside the campus. I immediately called my husband who was thankfully at home, and he went to the school to talk to the school authorities. By all accounts, it seems my yaya would not calm down and even fought with the other party after talking with the vice-principal.

Since I did not see her the whole weekend, I only got the chance to talk to her this evening. For the first time, I invoked the "Fear of Sunshine" which I only use to discipline my son (it's a certain tone of voice that would call my son's attention and according to my siblings, would make your spine straighten) against her. I first let her explain what happened and based on her explanation, she was at fault and she admitted it. Long story short, I told her that there's a right place for everything. We don't care if she gets into fights as long as it is not in our house, not in our son's school and most especially, not in front of our son. I made her understand that her actions reflect badly on us and our child. Children might not play with our son anymore because they might think that he would fight with them as his yaya is a fighter.

We gave her warning that if she repeats it again, we will look for a new yaya for Basti. I really hope she behaves this time around.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NCIS: Goodbye, TIVA

A few posts ago, I noted how much I've grown to love NCIS, which was the most watched program in the US since season 7 and reaching number one in season 10--which was the best season, in my opinion. It was the year of the TiVa (a play on Tony and Ziva's names--two of the characters in the show who are romantically linked--sort of) and sadly, the last season of Ziva David.

In today's episode (S12 E6), they finally discussed Ziva ever since she left last year. Yes, only a couple of dozen of episodes later that they said her name once again. I really feel so sad for Tony and it pains me to see how much he's still pining and missing her.

I can't believe I'm this much invested in these fictional personalities. Maybe that's why I love the show so much. Its characters are so interesting and they don't just let the story be all about the cases. Not like what's happening in the recent season of CSI where it's all cases-cases-cases. So sad that it had to happen 15 years into the series.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels that Tony and Ziva should end up together. There are several fan videos uploaded in youtube that pays tribute to their characters. The one below is nice--just ignore the grammatical and spelling errors. The person who made the video really captured all the special moments (oh, and the editing needs work too).

Now, I wonder if Tony will be able to move on with another love and if that person will be someone that will be accepted by the TiVa fans.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

All By Myself

Getting sick is not my cup of tea. Heck, it's not anyone's cup of tea. Last week was the first time that I got seriously sick since 2007 when I got an appendectomy.

Funny thing was, I was not down with something extreme like dengue or ebola. When I started feeling funny last Sunday, 3 days after my son was discharged from the hospital, I knew I got the bug that infected my son. When my temperature rose to what could be defined as high-grade fever, my in-laws kindly brought me to the hospital so I can be checked.

I was prescribed the same type of antibiotic that was given to my son by the hospital doctors after they ruled that I have upper respiratory tract infection. They sent me home with prescription medicines that would do a drug dealer proud. Unfortunately, it's either the dosage was too low or the virus or bacteria was not responding to the drug. By Wednesday, the fever would still not abate.

I returned to the hospital and went to see a specialist -- a pulmonologist. According to her, my URTI is actually acute exudative tonsillopharyngitis. Meaning, there's pus growing on my tonsils. She prescribed another set of antibiotics for the bug and more medicines to control my asthma as usually cough triggers the wheezing. My temperature went down the next day and 24 hours after, I was officially on the mend.

One thing I realized is that it's so difficult to get sick if you're by yourself. My husband was not around as he's out of town on a business trip. I needed a lot of sponge baths to control the fever so I had to do it by myself. I had to limit my contact with my son as I did not want him to have a relapse.

It's also important to keep yourself entertained. If I had it my way, I would've wrapped gifts or made headway on my complicated cross-stitch piece. But I could barely keep myself seated so I spent most of the time on bed. So it was either read or watch TV.

I whiled away the time by rewatching the Twilight series (which, for the life of me, I could not bear to watch any other day) and catch up on the shows on my favorite channels. I was so bored and also sore that due to my illness, I missed the festivities at work.

Upside of the whole thing was that I lost at least 5 lbs. Hopefully, I won't gain it right back. I've also (hopefully), lost my taste for sweet stuff (except for Mogu Mogu which was my only source of sugar) and just the other day, just had salad for lunch and deemed myself full.

I'm scheduled for an APE later next month. Hopefully, I'll get to know the real state of my health so I can make changes--hopefully, I'll have the strength to make them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

P is for Pneumonia

My son has been struggling with his cough since early this week. His cough was so bad that his school sent him home Tuesday morning and he was made to rest for another day.

He returned to school on Thursday and come Friday evening, he was complaining that he was not feeling well. I woke up around midnight with Basti burning with a 39.1C fever. I panicked as it was the first time ever that he sported such high temperatures. We gave him Paracetamol which he fortunately was able to take and we went back to sleep.

The next day, I had to go to school to give my final exam and I immediately went home afterwards. When I saw that Basti's temperature was not improving, we brought him to the ER at Asian Hospital.

I was initially hesitant to do so as my recent experience with them was not pleasant at all (e.g. we were here last month when Basti was complaining of an ear ache and the ER doctors had no beside manners and the ER nurse gave my son Ibuprofen without asking whether he ate something. It was not surprise that he started throwing up afterwards). But since I was anxious already, we hurriedly brought Basti to Asian.

A few minutes after we were ushered into a cubicle in the ER, a Dr. Carlos Vicente Gabriel checked Basti and I was very happy with the way he did the examination. He certainly knows how to handle children and he was definitely a big improvement compared to the previous pedia resident that looked at Basti before. After a couple of tests, it was found that Basti has pneumonia and since it was at the early stage, we were sent home with an assortment of medicines that will do a drug dealer proud.

However, Basti could not tolerate the oral medication and would throw up everything that was given to him. I called the ER spoke with Dr. Gabriel. I mentioned that we will be returning and would request for confinement. He readily agreed and waited for us to arrive to process our admission.

The admission process was also hassle-free. I was very pleased with the nurse when he was able to administer the heplock with no fuss at all and with no need of a repeat. I was also amazed with Basti as he insisted on observing when we told him to look away. He did not scream although he did voice out his pain. He also stared with wonder when they extracted blood from his arm. He barely flinched when he saw the needle enter his skin.

Unfortunately, his pedia, Dr. Clemente, no longer has a clinic at Asian so we went by his referral, Dr. Morada, the same pedia that admitted him a couple of years ago also due to pneumonia. He was able to see Basti earlier today and prescribed more medicines which would hopefully kill the bacteria, thereby bringing down his temp and ultimately, letting us go home in the fastest period of time.

I decided to stay in the hospital every night with no assistance from the yaya to take care of my son. It's our bonding moment and something that I hope he would remember when he would start questioning my love for him when I practice my usual tough love stance.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Lea Salonga's Awesomeness

I am such a fan of Lea Salonga--ever since her Miss Saigon days. The 25th Anniversary of the musical that made her famous worldwide made my admiration for her reach new heights.




She returned to West End in London for the gala and she has not lost her touch. I cried when she appeared and saw how much the crowd still loved her. I wish the show was longer and the same tribute was given like was given to Les Miserables. But then, the latter is more famous than the former so it was more deserving of its O2 Arena venue.

While surfing for more singing videos of her, I came across this clip of her singing in Cory Aquino's funeral more than 5 years ago. I recall crying so much during the funeral and those tears flowed freely again when I watched the clip below:


Earlier in my class, my students and I were discussing taxes and I expressed my frustration with my government. I expressed my dismay in not getting anything from the taxes that I paid. I'm still paying for the use of the roads, for water, for health, for education. Basically, I am not benefiting from my taxes other than giving our politicians more money to line their pockets. And then I wondered why I'm still here in this country when there is always the opportunity for me to leave and settle elsewhere. But after watching the video above, I suddenly remembered why I'm still here. Regardless of all the news that are surfacing about incompetent politicians and government officials, I still have faith and I still love my country. And I still have hope that one day, I will see it free from the shackles of corruption.

Ibon mang may layang lumipad
Kulungin mo at umiiyak
Bayan pa kayang sakdal-dilag
Ang 'di magnasang makaalpas.

Pilipinas kong minumutya
Pugad ng luha at dalita
Aking adhika
Makita kang sadkal laya

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Album Review: David Cook


Ok, so this album review is SO delayed considering it was released on November 2008. But listening to it again almost 6 years after it's release made me realize how much I love this album.

According to his discography in Wikipedia, there are 15 tracks but the CD that I bought only has 12. It doesn't have "Time of my Life" (which was his winner's song in Idol but I bought that separately), "My Last Request" (which was an ITunes pre-order song) and "Breathe Tonight" (which was only released in Japan). I won't go through all the songs but I'll just focus on the ones that I like.

In my opinion, the best song in the album is "Lie"(you can watch his live performance in the youtube video below). I can't understand why they made "Light On" as the carrier single when this song is emo to the max. People with relationship problems (especially those on the verge of ending one) can so relate to this song.

So lie to me and tell me that it's gonna be alright
So lie to me and tell me that we'll make it through the night
I don't mind if you wait before you tear me apart
Look me in the eye
Lie, lie, lie
So lie to me and tell me that we're gonna be ok
So lie to me and tell me that we'll make it through the day
I don't mind if you wait before you tear me apart
Look me in the eye
Lie, lie, lie




David Cook really rocks his lyrics. "Mr. Sensitive" and "Life on the Moon" is also catchy.  His gravelly voice makes me want to just listen to him all day long. I'm still sore that he was dropped by his label after only 2 albums.

Just a disclaimer, wala akong pinagdadaanan. :) I could just feel his frustration and heartbreak when I listened to the song.

I realized that I wrote a blog about his second album which can be found here.

I hope he'll release more songs in Itunes. I miss his voice the clips being posted in youtube of his live performances can only tide me over so much.

By the way, when I was pregnant with my son, I would listen to David Cook a lot. No wonder my son is so musically inclined. And handsome too. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

NCIS: Medal of Honor

I got hooked into NCIS when I was looking for another series to watch while I do my cross-stitch. I've been seeing the series at FOX channel and an officemate lent/gave me the first 2 seasons (and I got the rest). I finished all 11 seasons in 3 months and I can't wait for season 12 to start next week.

The episode below is one of my favorites. I cried when I watched the scene below. It was just so touching.




But my favorite thing about NCIS is Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the tandem of Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) + Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). Too bad Cote left the series at the start of Season 11. Their chemistry was something to behold. It's reminisce of Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis characters in the 80's series, Moonlighting.

Watching NCIS made me appreciate the Military more. I wish our own military personnel has the same support as what they have in the U.S. If I was any younger, I would've considered the Corps or the Navy as a career path. (Yeah, and I thought of becoming a crime scene investigation after watching CSI).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Goodbye, My Captain

O Captain! My Captain!

BY WALT WHITMAN
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            The arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

(Taken from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174742)

I first heard about Robin Williams' passing while listening to my favorite morning radio show, The Morning Rush. I initially thought it was Robbie Williams but before I could hear more, I lost the radio signal as I was underground. When I got to my workstation, I immediately started a google search. When no mention about Robbie Williams, I searched for Robin Williams. I could only sit there in shock while my mind went into #TBT mode.

Robin Williams played a big part in my teenage life. Dead Poets Society was the favorite movie of my high school barkada. In fact, we named our barkada after it. There's something about seizing the day that made us relate to the characters in the show. 

The poem above was our chorale recitation piece after hearing it at the DPS movie. I could still remember the feeling of grief which we internalized when we recited the poem. I felt the same grief when I first heard the news and I'm still reeling from it, 14 hours later.

As I write this entry, I'm watching Youtube clips of different Robin Williams interviews. I can't believe that a man who made others happy is battling horrible sadness that eventually took his life.

My Captain has fallen cold and dead but his memory will continue to live on with every laughter.

RIP, Robin Williams (1951-2014). You are now truly free.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

US Vacation 2014

at the plane with Basti

at HKIA taking a break
We've been planning this US trip since my husband's aunt informed us of the date of her son's (my husband's cousin) ordination to the Catholic priesthood. That was our primary reason for the trip and it will be the first time that we'll be bringing our son on a long haul trip.

We bought our tickets sometime March and my countdown began. Unlike our 2011 trip where we had something planned to do almost every day, we took it easy this time around. It's hard to travel with a toddler as being in the US involves a LOT of walking.

A few weeks before we left, I had to do some major shopping for pasalubong for my relatives in the US and I have tons of them. The most popular item that they wanted was the Monopod. Fortunately, I found a cheaper supplier in Greenhills and bought a dozen of them. Our Cathay Pacific flight left on May 16 with a layover at Hongkong and will arrive in Newark at May 16 in the evening.

 

I have no complaints regarding our flight on the way to the US. Our plane model would let you charge your device via their USB plugs and would even serve Haagen Daas ice cream for dessert!

When we arrived in Jersey, it was raining and temperature was down in the teens (celsius). We quickly cleared immigration and found our bags. My sister found me a few minutes later. After loading our stuff in the van we hurried to their house 45 minutes away.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom is the most beautiful woman I've ever known. I wish that I am as beautiful as her.

Being the eldest, my mom raised me differently from my other siblings. I guess it goes with the territory as she was the eldest as well. She had it tougher as she had 12 other siblings to look after while I only had 3.

She raised me to be independent, responsible and tough. We rarely had heart-to-heart moments and I will treasure those rare times.

There was this one instance when I was in College, I went to my parents room as my boyfriend broke up with me over the phone and he seemed so distraught and even sounded suicidal. He did not want to answer my calls and I got worried over him. I went inside my parent's room and lied down beside my mom and just cried. I told her what happened and shared my worries. She offered to drive for me to see my boyfriend in the morning and see if he's alright. Thinking about it now is just so embarrassing but what made the moment very poignant was that she did not like my boyfriend at all but she did it because she loved me.

My mom is such a selfless person. People perceive her as tough but she is one of the most soft-hearted and generous person I have ever known. Her siblings look up to her and she never hesitates to give when needed. I can never question her love and dedication to me and my siblings. I am so happy that she got her second chance for happily-ever-after with my stepfather, Russell.

I was in Batangas to visit some of her relatives yesterday. When they asked me how I was, they remarked that all my mom's children are very successful. It goes to show that she and my dad, raised me and my siblings well.

My mom now lives a thousand miles from me and I don't get to talk or see her as much as I want. I love her so much and I can't wait to hug her again when I see her this weekend.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I hope one day, my son can see me the way I see you now. I love you!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Panic Mode, On!


In 13 days, we're leaving for our US Vacation. And I'm panicking already.

I have tons of relatives in the US, including my mom and sister. Naturally, like most homesick people, our luggage will be full of "pasalubong" or gifts for our family. However, I still have not made much headway to the list that they sent me. Most of the stuff that they want are food items but I cannot buy them until the week we leave and I have to do that on top of packing and doing my turnover at work. Oh well, I only get to do this twice every five years (every other year if we're lucky) so might as well suck it up.

I'm quite excited already as it will be our first trip abroad as a family. We did not bring Basti with us in our last US trip so this will be a trip to remember. Not to mention, we will be going to Disneyworld!

Speaking of Disneyworld, my brother-in-law sent me the picture on the left letting me know that our magic bands have arrived. This will be our ticket to the park, not to mention it will make a nice souvenir afterwards. Though I've been to Hongkong Disneyland, Disneyworld is literally a world apart.

The first time I went to the US more than 20 years ago, I wanted to visit Disneyland. Looks like I'll be getting that wish, 20 years later. It's funny that I'm more excited than my 5 year old son.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In Sickness and in Health

I am always prone to tonsillitis. At least twice a year, I would be stricken by this virus that would make my throat sore, my nose run and my body succumb to fever. I would drown myself in water and oral antiseptics and drink vitamin C twice a day to combat the darn sickness. I am seriously considering to have a tonsillectomy. However, medical literature that I have perused only recommends the procedure if one suffers from throat infection for at least 7x/year. My case is not yet that acute--I hope.

So for now, I would let this virus run its course and hopefully, I'll be well enough to return to work tomorrow. This had to happen when I'm close to a deadline.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pre-Eval Summer Outing



I created a committee at work whose sole function is to come up with employee-engagement activities. For the past 2 years, we always prepare for 2 important events -- the department Christmas Party and the department Summer Outing.

This year, the committee exceeded my expectations once again. We went to this place in Pansol, Laguna--a place famous for its hot springs--called Villa Ana. We found it by accident while scouting for a venue a few months ago. It was quite pricey which is not surprising considering it's peak season but it was worth it considering we had a headcount of 41 and we had the whole house to ourselves.

the culprit
I was glad that it was an overnight as it gave me an excuse to drink. Whenever there's an occasion to drink, I couldn't imbibe on too much alcohol as I usually drive myself home. I prepared for the drinking session with my staff by buying a bottle of my beloved Bailey's (too bad the store did not have caramel flavor) and a couple of bottles of Bacardi Gold. I also bought Coke and Sprite for chasers.

My staff also came prepared by bringing what looks like a 5 gallon bottle of lambanog (although I'm not sure if it was 5 gallons but it came in a big-ass bottle). The place also had an awesome videoke machine which made the drinking session more fun. They gave me a couple of shots and I polished off probably 1/4 of the Bailey's bottle. I later on realized how strong Bacardi can be as after drinking a glass of Bacardi with Coke, I felt woozy. And to think I only a glass. I let the rest of the staff finish the other bottle because if I continue to drink, I think I'll pass out.

I did not want to go to sleep drunk as I'm scared I might vomit in my sleep. I continued on singing and chatting it up with my colleagues until I began to feel my face again which grew numb from the drunkenness.

I tried to go to sleep at around 3AM but was unsuccessful as somebody did not want to leave the videoke machine alone. Not to mention the aircon vent was pointed at me and the place was not equipped with blankets (it had beddings and pillows but no blankets. Make sure to bring your own if you decide to go there). Probably after an hour or two of fitful sleep, I gave up and went out to join some of my staff who were still up and about. I went back to bed at around 5AM and got up at around 630AM. By then, I felt awful due to lack of sleep (I was up at 4AM the day before) and couldn't have a decent conversation with those who were up.

post-boodle fight
I felt better afterwards when I had breakfast and frolicked in the pool with the team. I stopped being conscious about my fat body as I started to enjoy the water sports. It's been awhile but I'm glad my swimming and diving skills came back to me. It somehow redeemed my hideous physique. I suddenly wished I'm buff enough to wear a bikini or at least a decent Speedo. I had to wear this swimsuit with a skirt to hide my thunder thighs and bulging stomach but is not meant for swimming due to the additional drag. At least, I was able to win the coin-retrieval race.

For lunch, we had a boodle fight which was basically putting all the food on banana leaves and spreading the rice around. It was my first boodle fight and will certainly not be my last. It was so fun especially we were eating with our hands. We had fried tilapia, inihaw na liempo, boiled vegetables (eggplant, okra, kamote tops) with bagoong and salted egg and tomatoes. It was the most delicious meal I ever had.

We rested a bit in the afternoon and I left at 3PM as I still had errands to run. I am really blessed to head a department with such fun and talented people. It somehow made my work more bearable during the difficult times.

I sung the song below during one of our drunken videoke moments. It had everyone dancing and jumping and singing along with me. It was definitely the theme of the night.




Added Postscript:

When I came to work on Monday, I learned that I did some stuff which I really can't remember doing. I think it happened during the Bacardi-induced black-out period. According to them, I rapped the Rihanna-Eminem song (which I really cannot for the life of me remember doing) and swam in the pool (good thing I was still on my bathing suit, but why did I end up in the water?). They even had to wake me up as I almost fell asleep on the side of the pool. At least I did not do anything embarrassing. One thing's for sure, that drink will not be a staple in my future drinking sprees with my staff. Even if it's cheaper than the other spirits.

Drink Tally: 2 shots of Lambanog, 1 glass of Bailey's, 1/4 glass of Bacardi gold mixed with 3/4 Coke = black-out drunk 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Taxed Teacher

I used to never worry about my taxes. Since I get my salary monthly, my employer deducts my income tax and files them for me with the BIR. All I have to do is to check whether the correct amount was deducted and to sign my W2s.

My tax woes started when I was officially hired as part-time teacher in the school where I am teaching. Since I am officially employed by the College (although at a part-time basis), I have to consolidate the income that I earn there with my regular income. When I did this early this year, I was shocked when I learned that I still have a tax deficit which I have to settle before the April 15 deadline.

It took some time for me to understand it and I had to confer with my Accountant friends to figure it out. Apparently, my regular job taxes me the max at 32%. Since I am only earning a pittance as a teacher, I am taxed only with the basic rate. So when I consolidated the two together, the tax rate that was applied with my regular job was also applied to my teaching rate. Ergo, the tax deficit.

Also, according to my Accountant friends, if I do not want to have a repeat of the tax deficit, I have to inform the school that the salary that I draw from teaching should also be taxed at 32% moving forward. That was devastating news as if that happens, my net pay won't even be enough to cover for my weekly transportation expenses going to school. Teaching is something that I am beginning to love and since I love this, it's beginning to love me back (I deduce this based on the high grades that I got on my teacher's evaluation).

I sent a formal letter to our dean to change my status from part-time to consultant. If that happens, I will no longer be included in the school's alpha list. Moreover, SSS will no longer be deducted (that is also my other concern. The school is deducting SSS from my wages when my regular job is already deducting the max amount. SSS owes me a refund which I can only claim if I write a letter etc etc. Not worth the hassle). And I believe only VAT will be deducted from my fees. Hopefully, my request will be granted so I can continue teaching. Otherwise, I will be forced to resign to look for a teaching position nearer my place of residence.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

April Fool's

And just that, the first quarter of 2014 is over. The second quarter has now begun.

One word I can use to describe the previous quarter is "hectic". It was chaotic, frenetic and frenzied. I literally hit the ground running when the year started. There were days when I barely had time to comb my hair or brush my teeth after lunch.

Summer has also officially begun and it's vacation mode from school. I relish having my Saturdays back and spending it with my family. Just this morning, we were up and early at the mall so Basti can play bowling. It was heaven for my bowling-crazy son. I don't know why he's so hooked into this. He has been fascinated with the sport ever since he got his first set of plastic bowling pins. In fact, he has this favorite youtube video of a young boy playing bowling that he watched over and over again.

At first, he was contented with playing bowling at Timezone but ever since he was exposed to the real bowling alley, he insisted that we always bring him there. Not good for our wallets though. We don't know how long we can keep this up. One game itself is cheap but my son insists playing a minimum of 5 games. Well, you do the math. And he has not stopped bugging us to return within the week. Oh dear.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ang Unang Pagkikita

I wrote the piece below almost 10 years ago. I found it while digging through my old files. Thought I'd post it here. And yes, it's the story of how I met my husband. :)

----------------

ANG UNANG PAGKIKITA

“Excuse me, miss. Is this seat taken?”

I look up from the registration form that I was painstakingly trying to figure out and saw this guy standing right in front of me. He wasn't someone who would take your breath away. In fact, he was your typical average Joe. You know. One of those guys you would pass by and won't warrant a second look. Heck, even a glance would not suffice. But there I was, staring at him with probably a confused look at my face. I guess he would be around my age, although he looked older due to his balding hairline, spectacles and a heavy build. Not to mention he was wearing an outfit that was screaming “Yuppie!”

I shook my head, smiled and continued on with my writing. Heck, who ever thought that going back to school would be this difficult! This was my second form since they made me fill up a new one for my first one was full of erasures. When did my name and address become so difficult to spell?

I’m 27 years old and I decided to go back to school to take up masterals in business. I never even thought that I’ll be going back to hit the books. I barely survived college and I’m going back to the classroom! But my friends were taking it up and since I did not have anything better to do, I decided to give it a try. I found myself visiting the campus in Makati and next thing I knew, I was paying for the entrance examination fee.

I did not know what made me apply and take the exam. Going back to school was never part of my plans and there I was, forking out P300 bucks for an application form. Business school was for people who are intent on climbing the corporate ladder. I was satisfied to be at the bottom rung. I did not want to run the rat race because I’m definitely not a rat. I’m more of a pig (literally), or a mouse (figuratively). I’m content to wallow in the pool of mediocrity and not strive to become someone great. Greatness is for people with “greatness” written in their destinies. “Mediocre” was written somewhere in my birth certificate.

“Hi, I’m Jericho.”

My seatmate’s statement jerked me out of my reverie making me blink at him. Gosh, he must be thinking that I’m an idiot who is not capable of stringing together a few sentences. I’ve been unconsciously blinking at him for the past few minutes! He must think I’m making a pass at him. Oh save me from lonely fools!

“Oh, hi…I’m Sam,” smiling sheepishly as I shook his offered hand. I went back to tackling the registration form hoping he’ll get the hint that I’m busy.

Apparently, subtlety is wasted on the guy. “Where are you working?”

I put down my pen feeling that it’ll be awhile before I can finish the form, “Oh this bank,” and named the bank, hoping against hope that he won’t recognize it.

Of course, being not my day, he instantly recalled the name. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “Isn’t there some sort of inquiry happening right now regarding your company?” This guy apparently knows his news. I’ll give him that.

I answered his question with an official press release statement which earned a laugh from him. We chatted more about our respective companies and work in general. He also mentioned a girlfriend somewhere in our conversation. When my name was called, I said goodbye with a “hope to see you soon.” That was sincere! I mean hey, even if the guy was a nerd, I need all the friends I need.

I left the registration room and tried to look for the ID room. Wonder of wonders, I got myself lost in the halls of my alma mater. Heck, I studied in this school for almost five years and I’m lost. How pathetic can you get?

My savior came in the form of Jericho. My new-found friend is earning his keep already. “Sam! Punta kang ID room? Sabay tayo!” I breathed a sigh of relief and nodded my acquiescence. My stupidity won’t be making a grand entrance after all. “Sure!”

I let him lead and chatted with him as we walked down the corridor. We talked more about work and about the subjects that we’re taking that first term. We found out that we were classmates and were excited on the fact that we won’t be in a room of strangers on the first day of school.

While my new found friend was having his picture taken, I went back to my thoughts and why I was there in the first place.

People have their reasons of going back to school. Some for career reasons, some for love reasons, some for social reasons, while others just to have something to do. I fall in the last category. Though my officemates saw it as a career move, I saw it as something that would occupy my mind. Something that would distract me from the fact that I was the only single person left among my siblings.  All of them are attached or married and I was alone. I was already accepting the fact that I’ll be living a life of singlehood and will be taking care of my parents. School will help me distract myself from those depressing thoughts and maybe I’ll pick up something helpful in the process.

My thoughts were again interrupted by the screech of an intercom speaker. “The following please form a line outside the ID room.” A list of names was rattled off and I stood up when I heard my name being called. I quickly joined the growing line and patiently stood there while I tried to gather my thoughts.

 I saw Jericho leave the ID room and our eyes met that instant. We exchanged smiles and somehow, I felt a niggling thought that going back to school will inevitably change my life.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Proud Mommy

The small medal is for his Academic Award  (top
honors) and the big medals are for Kumon (reading
and writing)
I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when I attended the Moving Up Day of my son.

A couple of days ago, my son's teacher sent me text messages asking me if I got our invite and confirming our attendance. And then last night, she sent another text message saying that my son got a Gold Medal for Kumon. I shrugged it off, thinking that there are other gold medal awardees.

I always thought that my son was an average child. I mean, I know he is special and extraordinary but whenever I would see his quarterly exams and grades, it's seldom that he would get a perfect score. So I thought he was just like any other student. We don't push him as he's just a pre-schooler and I want him to enjoy his childhood. Although we set aside daily time for him to do his Kumon assignments, we let him play as much as he want.

When we arrived in school, the teachers who recognized me offered their congratulations. I just smiled as I was thinking it was because of his teacher's text that my son is an awardee. It was when I saw the programme that I realized how big of an award he will truly get. And I could not help but shed tears.

For one, he was given an academic award for being one of the top students of their class. There were 5 students recognized out of their class of 15 and he ranks second.

Next, he was given a Gold Medal for his Kumon studies. Two Gold medals actually, one for Reading and one for Mathematics. What made me more proud was he was the only one given such an award for Kumon. I had to research what it meant and apparently, he's doing work that's 3 levels higher than his current grade.

What Milk Did He Drink?

One of the common questions that I hear about Basti is asking what milk we gave him when he was an infant. My son was not purely breastfed. I was mix feeding for 3 months and when I returned to work, he was on pure formula (Enfalac A+). Don't get me wrong. I am still an advocate of pure breastfeeding as the benefits are definitely favorable for the child's development. If ever we will be blessed with a second child, I will breastfeed him/her up to the best of my abilities.

When he turned one, we switched to NAN and kept at that until he turned 36 months. When he turned 3, we had to switch milk but for some reason, he refused to drink all the kinds of milk that we gave him until we just finally gave up. His pedia assured us that he'll be fine as long as he gets other sources of calcium (yogurt, ice cream, Chuckie, cheese).

We do not have a lot of restrictions in our house probably because we do not have enough energy to enforce them. I salute moms who are able to raise kids in a no-TV and no-tablet household. My son was the opposite. We let him watch TV but for some reason, he would only watch for a few minutes and then would go back to playing. Nowadays, he seldom watches TV and would only do so if we're watching.

We let him play with the laptop so now, he can navigate Windows like a pro. He's always on Youtube as he loves watching music videos of his favorite songs. Although we only let him do this when an adult is with him. Who knows what he might stumble on while he's searching.

Kindermusik and Playschool

Probably one of the best decisions that we did was enroll Basti in Kindermusik. He was only 18 months when he started with Teacher Ana Castro at Alabang Country Club (although I think she holds classes now at BF. You can call her at 502-8241; 0917-5322437). I heard that music helps with cognitive development and with the prodding of a-friend, we enrolled him in his first Kindermusik class.

Basti was so hyper before. He would seldom sit down and he started off running around the place but he eventually learned how to sit down and I would want to think, he learned how to love music because of this class. We enrolled him for 3 more semesters until he started his pre-school in Toolbox with Teacher Gittel.

Toolbox Learning Center is all the way in BF which is a good 15 minutes from our house (barring any traffic). From a weekly class in Kindermusik, Basti now goes to class everyday for 2 hours. It was here where he learned different life skills and developed his social skills. Whenever we would have our parent-teacher conference with Teacher Gittel (238-3542; 0922-8015915), she always has good things to say about Basti. One thing that she remarked on was his incredible memory (quite my opposite). I don't know if his memory can be considered photographic but he has this uncanny ability to remember everything that we tell him. That's why we're very careful whenever we promise him something because he will remember.

He spent 2 years with Teacher Gittel and her wonderful crew. When we had his recognition day there, they were made to read a book in front of everyone. My Basti memorized the whole book and barely needed the help of the teacher assisting them.

Pre-School

We tried having Basti admitted in Pre-Kinder with De La Salle Zobel but for some reason, they did not accept him. Their non-acceptance somehow made me reevaluate my perception of my son. I still think he's extraordinary but I changed it to thinking that there were more extraordinary kids than him. I just shrugged it off (although my husband was very upset as he's an alumni and wanted our son to follow his footsteps) and we enrolled him in The Learning Child which is also found inside the same village as DLSZ.

It turned out it was a blessing in disguise. It was in this school that Basti learned how to play with other kids and his social skills really bloomed. I noticed beforehand that Basti does not like to play with other children. We thought that since he's an only child, he'd rather be with himself. But in Learning Child, he found his bestfriend who he positively adores to pieces. His teachers tell me that they are inseparable.

I really love their arts-based curriculum. Basti is now fascinated with art materials. Whenever we would go to the mall, he would literally drag us to National Bookstore so we can get him new crayons or markers. On his birthday, I asked if he wanted Lego or any other toy, instead, he asked for art materials. So we splurged on that. Fortunately, we have a lot of scratch papers at home courtesy from our MBA days. I knew there was a reason why I did not throw away our old papers.

My son would draw random things or even write down the names of his classmates (full names, mind you). The funniest thing he did was write down the whole playlist of a Beatles album that he's listening to. Complete with running time per song and track number.

Next school year, Basti will no longer be returning to Learning Child as DLSZ finally accepted him as a Kindergarten student. However, he will still be returning to TLC as he will continue his Kumon there. It has been very beneficial for him and hopefully, keep him from getting bored. Also, it'll be the chance to see his bestfriend who is staying behind for one more year. Hopefully, we can arrange more playdates with his mom.

Expectations

People have been saying that he should be accelerated or whatsoever. Personally, I do not want that to happen. I want him to stay with his age group so his social skills will grow the same rate. I want him to have a happy childhood and not burden him with people's assumptions.


Even with his extraordinary skills, I still do not want to expect more from my son. In fact, he continues to surprise me everyday. Whatever he achieves, I know that we will be proud. In fact, whatever he has done now is beyond my expectations already so I am doubly proud.

I've been asked what I would want my son to be when he grows up. Honestly, I have no idea and if have, I will not tell my child. I want him to chart his own course and make his own path. As parents, we will provide him the best education and teach him the right values so he will have basis for the career he will eventually choose.





Sunday, March 16, 2014

I've Been Pwned!

I received a very sharp lesson in humility last night and it was my sister that handed my ass over to me. I realized that the past few years, I have grown apathetic and selfish. That I became too encapsulated in my own worries and that I've forgotten that others have graver problems than I do. It's not an excuse and it's something that I have to change.

I am now more conscious in my words and in my deeds. At least I was able to acknowledge that I was wrong and am now thinking who I should seek to give my apologies. It looks like I have to make up to a lot of people--my family foremost.

It's only fitting that I get to learn all this during Lent--a time of reflection and sacrifice. At least now I know that I can still feel again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Here We Go Again

Seven years ago, I posted something in my blog  about work-related stuff that I was struggling with. It came to the point that I couldn't sleep because it was bothering me so much. I'm sad to say that the feeling is back, although I can still sleep at night. Nevertheless, the feeling of being unsettled is there.

The circumstances are different 7 years ago compared to now but I still can't help but feel apprehensive. Back then, my health was taking such a beating that I had difficulty breathing and I had to take a long leave just to get myself back together. Hopefully, I'm more equipped now to handle the stress.

If worse comes to worse, I can just quit.I don't deserve the stress.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Travelling with a Toddler

Two months from now, we'll be going on a long-haul flight with my 5-year old. I'm really dreading it as my son gets bored easily. This was evident during our wait at the US Embassy for his visa interview. We waited for almost two hours for his number to be called and he was horribly bored by the time we were in line with the consul. Since electronic devices were not allowed inside the US Embassy, we had to contend with a sticker book and chatting with seatmates.

I'm already planning my strategy for our flight. It will be a three-hour wait at the NAIA 1 airport as we intend to be there by 8AM for our 11AM flight. And then 2 hours on the plane to Hongkong. Another 4 hour wait at HKIA before our flight leaves at 540PM. And then there's the 16-hour flight to Newark where we'll arrive at 940PM. That is more than 24 hours of travelling!

I'm thinking of adjusting his body clock even before we leave. That means that I'll be disrupting his sleeping schedule. I'll have him sleep sometime after midnight the night before we leave. So by the time we leave for the first leg of our flight, he'll be very sleepy at the airport. When we get to Hongkong, hopefully, he'll sleep it off while waiting for our flight. However, that means he is awake most of the 16 hour flight to Newark. I guess I just have to entertain him with books, crayons, IPad and hopefully, the movies of Cathay are entertaining enough for him. Or my husband and I can take turns taking catnaps while somebody watches over him. I truly hope he won't annoy the other passengers as he can get really loud and chatty. I guess we have to brief him on flight etiquette first.

I will definitely be posting on our experience when we get back.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Norman Reedus

There's something about Norman Reedus that makes me root for him in Walking Dead. Though he started off as a redneck, he has somehow evolved into a very likeable character at Season 4 of this series juggernaut.

I just watched E12S4 of Walking Dead and I am again obsessed over him. I don't know if it's the penetrating glare or the vibes that he give but he's just so oh-some!

I wish I have some artistic talent so I can make some fan-art for him as Daryl so I'll just watch youtube videos of him and continue to watch Walking Dead and hope against hope that he'll be one of the last men standing. What makes him cooler is his crossbow. Whenever I make an RPG character, she always has a bow.

Here are some of my favorite Norman Reedus interviews:





It's odd. It seems that he hasn't guested in Ellen yet. I couldn't find an interview of him in Youtube appearing in her show. I wish she would guest him.

Sunday Musings

I wanted to write a blogpost but I've been staring at the screen for a long five minutes.  I've been struggling what to write about as I just finished checking the comprehensive exams of my Seniors. Unfortunately, there were some who did not make it but then my portion of their exam is only 30% as the other professor is handling the 70%. I truly hope they would pass her part of the exams. I don't know if I should feel guilty for making the exam but it was relatively easy compared to the other prof's. It was just a reprint of their previous quizzes and finals. All they had to do was study that. And I was very generous to them in a sense that I would reproduce their quizzes so that they have a reviewer.

On a happier note, I added a widget on the right side of my page counting down the days before we leave for our vacation. Our primary reason for visiting is to attend the Ordination of my husband's cousin. However, we will spend a week at the "Happiest Place on Earth" (aka Disneyworld Florida). We will be staying in the park itself which makes me extra giddy. I remember when I was first interviewed for my US Visa when I was 11 years old, the consul asked me why I wanted to go to the US. Like any bright-eyed child, I said I wanted to go to Disneyland. However, I was not able to go when I visited back then and also in 2011. This year, I'm getting my wish. (I did visit Hongkong Disneyland in 2010 but somehow, this is very different).

I can't wait for March to be over so I can get my Saturdays back. Though I love teaching, there are days that I just want to stay home during the weekends. I'm also planning to petition our Dean to change my status from part-time faculty to Consultant. When I consolidated my tax from both employers, I just found out that I have a four digit tax discrepancy. Apparently, there's a big difference between the tax that is being deducted to me by my part-time employer versus my full-time employer. This sucks big time. If my request cannot be granted, I'll be forced to resign as my part-time earnings are not even enough for gas and toll. I'm already looking around my area in case there's a school that is willing to accept me as a part-time faculty.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Oscars

I enjoy watching award shows--maybe because I get to see my favourite actors and actresses all in one event. Also, they usually have once-in-a-lifetime musical numbers or highlights.

The Oscars is something that I look forward to every year and when they announced that Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards, I was pretty excited. I used to watch her a lot when I was on maternity leave as I found her so entertaining. True enough, she literally delivered.

There was this bit wherein she had pizza delivered and offered it to her audience. For a supposedly formal and stuffy event, she made it fun and interacted with her audience a lot.



Of course, who would forget the most talked about selfie that she took with A-list stars (I would definitely want to be in that photo). And it was retweeted more than 3 million times and counting and it broke Twitter as well.



I was ecstatic when Frozen won as the song really resonated across all ages, sex and race. However, I was desolated when Leo lost the Oscar race for Best Actor once again. When he won in the Golden Globes, I really thought he'll have the chance. There's always next year though. Hopefully, he and Martin Scorsese can come up with another Oscar-worthy vehicle for him.

Congratulations to the winners!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Not Again!

view from the back
I've only been in a car accident before once. It also involved the car that I'm using now but back then, my husband was driving and I was seated at the back with my son. I posted about it here. However, in the accident that I got into today, I was by my lonesome.

I finished class at around noon so from St. Scho, I drove to South Supermarket at Alabang to have lunch before going home. I was able to park in front of Teriyaki Boy but I did not get down first as I was checking messages on my phone. Next thing I knew, there was a loud crunching sound and lo and behold, the white Toyota van on my left was turning right which was against the traffic flow. I was surprised as he should not have been able to hit me as vehicles exiting the parking lot should only turn left.

I could only sit there and stare at disbelief at what happened. I initially thought that my vehicle moved to must have hit the van like that but my handbrake was firmly engaged. I turned off the engine and gingerly stepped out of the car. The owner of the car who was apparently waiting for the driver quickly approached me and apologized profusely. I actually admire her as if that was any other person, she would've been cursing the driver to high heavens but she held her tongue and spoke with me calmly and with the right dash of humility. They readily admitted that they were at fault and all the witnesses and security guards said that I was innocent of any wrongdoing.

view from the front
I quickly called my husband and asked what I should do. He initially gave me instructions but after a few minutes, he changed his mind and said he'll just go to where I was. Fortunately, the supermarket is just 10 minutes away from the house.

The guards wanted the driver to move the van as he was blocking the traffic going inside the supermarket parking lot. The bystanders in Teriyaki Boy quickly signaled that I should take pictures and I nodded saying that I already have.

Security then said that they have already contacted the local police precinct and somebody is on the way to take pictures and do our police report. True enough, a man on a motorcycle came over in less than 15 minutes. He took pictures and interviewed us as well as the supermarket security. He told us that we have to go the traffic enforcement office as we have to give our statements. Good thing that it was just under the Alabang viaduct as I do not relish facing the traffic going to Muntinlupa proper.

When we got to the office, I saw some cars that were obviously from an accident in the lot--there was even a Benz and an Audi! I wondered why the owners were not claiming them. Probably the repair costs are astronomical so they just left it there. Anyway, we went inside the office where I sat down to write my statement. I'm ashamed to admit that I struggled with it as the whole form was in Filipino. Filipino is supposedly by first language but I was suddenly at a loss on how to convey what happened. In the end, I wrote something like this: "Naka-park lang ako sa parking ng South Supermarket nang lumabas ang puting van sa kaliwa ko ng pakanan." (I was parked at the parking lot of South Supermarket when the van on my left moved out going towards the right). Not very eloquent but at least it's straight to the point.

the damage
The officer on duty asked me to step outside so he can see the damage. He also asked me what I wanted to happen. I was surprised as I thought I was there for the police report only. Apparently, I have the option to press charges as I was the aggrieved party and they were obviously at fault. I conveyed that all I wanted was the police report so I can go  home and most importantly, have lunch!

I then paid P250 for the police report (supposedly for pictures and filing but I somehow find this unbelievable, especially when I saw the receipt. I did not complain anymore as I just wanted to get out of there) and was out of the precinct in 20 minutes or so.

After the precinct, my husband and I proceeded to Honda Cars Alabang which was where I have my car regularly serviced. We asked for an estimate on the cost for repairs as it's one of the documents required for insurance claim. In less than 30 minutes, I was able to get my quote and was able to go home.

The bright side of things, the whole thing, from time of the accident until I got home only took 2 1/2 hours. Not bad considering I was able to file my police report and get an estimate already. However, it's not something that I would want to happen to me for a long time.

So for those who will find themselves unfortunate to be in a car accident, remember to do the following things:

1. Take pictures of the accident -  All angles as much as possible.
2. Keep calm and keep your cool - Getting in a shouting match with the other party will not resolve anything. However, I know this might not always be possible if both of you think you are in the right of way. But try to be calm. Usually, the other driver calms down as well so you can talk like two rational beings so you can get it settled right away.
3. Get a police report - It is usually the most important document for insurance claims. Unfortunately, you have to go to the nearest precinct to have this done.
4. Call-a-friend - If you are driving my your lonesome, try to call for someone to accompany you especially when going to the precinct.
5. Exchange numbers - Get the phone number of the other party. Make sure it works and he or she is not just giving you a bogus number.

If you are fortunate enough to be accident free, try to be prepared for it by doing the following:

1. Get a dashboard cam - I initially thought that it's just a vanity thing but when you drive by yourself and when you get into accidents, it's your most important witness.
2. Update your insurance - Do not ever let your insurance lapse. Having an expired policy seems to attract accidents.
3. Defensive driving works - I consider myself as a safe driver. I don't feel my pride getting hurt if an asshole-driver cuts into my lane. I usually think that he must badly need to use the bathroom as he's in such a hurry. Nevertheless, it does not make him less of an asshole.
4. Keep a copy of the insurance and OR/CR in the car- You'll never know when you'll need it.
5. Keep a phone charger in the car- No doubt your glove compartment will be full of stuff but there's no harm in adding a phone charger or at least keep your phone charged. You will need it to call for help.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Even though my husband was out of the country this Valentine's Day, I still went to work quite excited. Not for me, but for the love that will surely be demonstrated throughout the day in the office.

I had an officer who gave the girls some plastic flowers and it was quite a touching gesture. We also held a "Cheesiest Line" contest at my department. Had lunch at SM Aura with my colleague and we were surprised to see that the parking was almost full. That has never happened before when we would have lunch there.

There were kilig moments wherein one staff was courting another one of my staff. He left her love notes, balloons and flowers. Kicker was when he had a teddy bear strapped on a remote control car delivered to her and he personally handed a bouquet of roses. That really made the rest of the department scream with delight. I had my own thrill when I went around the room and personally interviewed those who received flowers. It was a perverse kind of thrill knowing that I made them squirm by putting them on the hot-seat. :)

When I got home, my son greeted me with his own Valentine's Card. Even though I know it was a school initiated project, I still felt touched and proud.

For all its worth, Belated Happy Hearts Day everyone.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Two Years!

Last Thursday, Feb. 6, marked my two years with my current employer. I celebrated it by treating two of my colleagues to lunch at Banapple. I don't know if it's something worth celebrating when I'm having mixed feelings with my job now but the point that I lasted this long is worth noting.

This is my fourth employer already in my 15 years of working. I'm not perfectly happy with what I do but then, there is no such thing as a perfect job. Maybe there is one but I have yet to find it.

Like what I've been telling my friends and students, happiness is a decision and it should come from within. Probably happiness is not the right term with what I'm looking for but job satisfaction. One thing's for sure, I enjoy teaching but unfortunately, it's not enough to let me pay the growing bills so as of now, I have to keep it at part-time and let my day-job fund my passion.

On that note, I'm also marking my second year in teaching. I started on January 2012 as a substitute teacher. I'm still at it two years after and enjoying every minute of it.

Just earlier, I was teaching my students cost behavior. I found certain satisfaction when I saw their faces light up with understanding when I taught them the difference between variable and fixed cost and how to price their products. Now I know why some teachers are extending their lecture time because they're in the zone.

I don't know where my career path will take me but wherever it is, here's to more successful years ahead. Cheers!

Picture taken from www.themainevent.com.au

#PHthankyou



I'm quite happy with our Department of Tourism. I guess the President got it right when he got an Ad-man (Mon Jimenez) to market the Philippines to the other countries. The video above is two-prong (which I found in Rappler): It shows us thanking the international community for their help in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan and on the other hand, it shows us as happy people with scenic sites as backdrop.

Here are other It's More Fun in the Philippines videos:


This video was the first one released showcasing the Philippines and if I may say, it's quite brilliant.


I think this one is relatively new and it brought tears to my eyes.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Thankful - Feb 5

My blessings for today:

1. My office laptop - For the fact that I can work from home. By 530PM today, I still actually had a lot of work to finish. Since I had to help my son with his Kumon assignment, I hurried home and had enough time to help him with his homework. Fortunately, he finished early so I was able to continue my reports.

2. My team leaders - I lead a department of 58 employees. It's not easy to keep tabs on everyone. So I have my ever-dependable team leaders that helps me do this. We had our monthly meeting earlier and though some of it involved some sermon, I still appreciate the work that they do. I don't know where our department will be without them.

3. My Kindle - I actually have two e-readers: a Nook which I bought in 2011 when we were in the US, and a Kindle Fire which my bought bought for me as thank you gift when she visited in 2012 (she actually came home to bury her mom and I did all the leg-work involved). Nook has a longer battery life and I cannot buy any books, but I can load ebooks into it. As for the Kindle, buying books is as easy as pressing a button. For a person who's very passionate about books, this is such a wonderful blessing!

4. My son - We've always wanted another child and I posted about our TTC journey here. But for some reason, I can't seem to get pregnant and to think we duplicated the treatment that we had prior my first pregnancy. I think I've already accepted the fact that my son will only be an only child and even if we will not be blessed with another offspring, my son is already an abundance of blessings.

5. Food - Since I'm in a "tipid" mode as I have to fork out cash at the tollway (my ePass is broken), I make it a point to bring my lunch to work. As I was looking for food to bring, I spied the Christmas gift of preserved bangus that my friend gave me. After ensuring that it's not yet expired (March 2015!), I tasted it and was pleasantly surprised to find it delicious. It's now my lunch for tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Thankful - Feb 4

My blessings for today:

1. My safe travel to and from the office - I left the house extra early today. Good thing I did as after entering the highway through Filinvest, traffic came to a stand-still and I saw this plume of smoke in front of me. There were also no cars at the southbound lane. I knew then without looking at Waze or the news that there must be an accident down the road. Fortunately, traffic started moving and a kilometer before the Skyway entry ramp, a bus was at the southbound lane still smoldering. Apparently, the tire of the bus caught fire and it exploded. Good thing nobody was fatally wounded by the incident. It did, however, cause heavy traffic.

2. Helping my son with his Kumon assignment - it's a blessing that he was cooperative the whole time and he did not complain. He also used to pitch a fit if I would erase his answers because I wanted him to correct it. Tonight, he just wrote the right answers and finished his homework in less than 30 minutes. Now, if i can just teach him not to rush his work to lessen his mistakes.

3. My seatmates at work - I am blessed to have my cubicle seated between two wonderful people. My good friend and lunchmate is seated on the cubicle on my left and we sometimes talk to each other through the thin walls. People would look at us oddly whenever we would have our "through-the-wall" conversations as it looks like as if we're talking to ourselves. As to my right, I'm sharing my cubicle with another colleague who's quite financial savvy and keeps his own blog here. He's my soundboard, translator and thesaurus all in one. And he gives sound financial advise too!

4. Done Quiz for CIC - I finished my quiz for Saturday in early this week. Usually, I would be cramming it on the day before. Actually, I forced myself to finish it early as I requested my husband to have the print-out reproduced at the nearby copy center. I did not want to print the test papers on my home printer as I have more students in Cost and Internal Control (22) than in Risk Management (15).

5. My blog - This blog is a blessing for me as it helps me remember things and lets me exercise my creative writing. I also realized that my site celebrated its 10th year last year yet I did not even have a big celebration like other sites (on that note, my blog is one year older than Facebook. FB turns 10 today!). I've ignored blogging for almost 3 years and I intend to be more active in posting this year. I blame Facebook and my penchant for buying pretty notebooks which I use as journals. Sometimes, I get too lazy to post as I'll just be repeating whatever I wrote on my journal.

Party in the U.S.A.



I'm not a Miley Cyrus fan. I just posted the video as there's a very big chance that we're going to the US of A this May.

Last time we were there was 3 years ago and it was just my husband and I (see our itinerary at the side bar). This time around, we're bringing our 5 year old son with us. I'm quite excited about it and at the same time, quite scared. Basti already rode the plane when we went to Bohol a couple of years ago so he should be fine. It's just that the travel time to Newark is quite long. The shortest travel time that I found was 19 hours. That's a big difference compared to the 1 hour flight to Tagbilaran.

I'm already racking my brains on how to keep him occupied for the whole flight. Cathay Pacific, which has the cheapest fares so far, leaves in the morning. Two hour layover at HK and then the 15 hour flight to Newark. Hopefully, he'll conk out during the long-haul flight. I don't know how I'll be as the last time we went there, I barely slept on the plane (I so envied my seatmate then as she was asleep the whole flight--only to wake up during meal times). I'm praying that Basti will cooperate and will not sorely test our patience.

Anyway, we'll finalize our plans after our son's "interview" at the US embassy at the end of this month.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Thankful - Feb 3

Things to be thankful for today:

1. My son celebrating his 5th birthday in school - It has become a tradition for us to celebrate his birthdays in whatever school he's attending at that time. It started on his 2nd birthday when we had it with his Kindermusik classmates. When he started toddler school, we celebrated his 3rd and 4th birthdays there. Since he'll be going to DLSZ next year, this is the only time that he'll be celebrating it at TLC. I hope I can make a better collage of his birthdays in the future. I'm also proud and thankful that he's now blowing the candles on his cake. For the past four years, he was so scared of blowing them (something to do with his fear of fireworks) so when he blew the candles earlier, I was so proud.

2. Lunch with a good friend - Had lunch with my friend Eu today. It was rather a spur of the moment thing as I found myself free the rest of the day. I called her up and we met up at Pasto in Paseo. I really treasure her friendship and I miss her everyday. Though our work places are relatively near, it's still a big pain going from one city to the other (she's in Makati while I'm in Taguig) as traffic can be quite unpredictable. She's my best sounding board. Whenever I have something that's troubling me, she's the first person that I immediately go to and she doesn't judge. She's a great listener and I'm 100% sure that whatever I tell her will stay with her.

3. Ice cream time with my son - when I got home in the afternoon, I brought Basti to the playground where we bought ice cream and snacks at Rustan's. Unfortunately, I had some pressing things that was waiting for my response so we only stayed for less than an hour. At least he's able to eat his Magnum and Cracklings (what a combination!).

4. Conversation with Basti's teacher - we were in school today to bring food to Basti's classmates and watched them sing to Happy Birthday. While the kids were eating, the teacher and I spoke about my son. It's great that she validated my observation that Basti's quite a bright young child. He actually has the capacity to perfect his exams but since he's always in a hurry, he tends to mis-read the directions and thus his mistakes. He's also quite behaved in school (quite opposite of his behavior here at home where he will not think twice of throwing a tantrum) and is learning to be more responsible. I am so proud.

5. Reserved for Basti's Kinder DLSZ enrollment - We learned last Thursday that my son passed the entrance exam of DLSZ. The first thing we had to do to confirm the enrollment was pay the rather hefty development fee. As we were adamant that our son would have a La Sallian education (my husband is a true-green blooded La Sallian from Prep to MBA. I only went to La Salle for College and MBA), we hurriedly paid the fee this morning (installment, of course). I'm thankful that we had the funds to make this happen and to ensure that our offspring would have the best education that we can afford. Enrollment will be on the 18th and I'm already dreading to see how much his tuition would be.