Thursday, October 27, 2016

Les Miserables - Manila

I was supposed to post this last April but I've forgotten all about it.  Since I'm stuck at home for the week recuperating from a bad bout of asthma, I'm continuing this post.


When I was in high school, it was the time that Miss Saigon was launched. We would sing the whole album and memorized every line, especially the duets. Since we were into musicals, we also discovered Les Miserables. I can't recall who lent me the cassette tape but I think it was my dad who bought the album and we listened to it over and over again.

The songs were just enchanting and haunting. When they had the 25th Anniversary last October 2010 at the O2 at London, I remember scouring YouTube looking for videos of the event. One Day More will always be my favorite song from the musical and the cast then was just perfect (well, except for the Jonas brother. Yes, he can sing but I had different expectations for Marius).

I loved the musical so much that the last three times I was in the US the past 5 years, I tried my damned best to catch it in Broadway or wherever it was playing but the schedule does not seem to mesh with my itinerary. So when I heard the announcement that they will be coming here in Manila this year, I did not hesitate to buy tickets. And I certainly did not scrimp. Front row seats (well, 7th row that is) FTW!

I managed to persuade my husband to join me as he has seen it before in the US. We were at Solaire Hotel early on the showing date  as we haven't been there before. I couldn't help but have my picture taken of the big wall poster of the musical. I was so excited to be there and to finally see my dream realized.

We were so close to the stage and I didn't mind. I relished everything and tried very hard not to sing along.

I'm thankful to have finally seen the musical that I waited 25 years for. Next goal is to see Wicked and Book of Mormon.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Yes, Digong, I Voted For You

For the first time in voting history, I went to an election without a clear president in mind. I am usually not ashamed to reveal who I will be voting for but this time around, I could not pick anyone.

During election, especially a national one at that, we usually choose the best leader for our country. But this time around, I had to choose the lesser evil. It's saddening because I felt that nobody was fit enough to be what this country need AND deserves.

There were so many arguments floating around like we NEED this leader but we DESERVE this leader. What is the difference between the two anyway?

The Philippines has sadly devolved through the years--from the traffic, to inefficiency to several unfortunate national and international issues. We are a country that has lagged behind our Asian neighbors as we continue to be bogged down by graft and corruption.

I honestly had high hopes when PNoy got elected to office. I really did. To be fair to him, we made headway in our economy but there were too many glaring instances that I felt, would've been handled in a better way (e.g. Hongkong tourists held hostage; Mamasapano; Yolanda; decline of the MRT; traffic; among others).

I am 40 years old and among my siblings, I am the only one who has chosen to stay in this country. Like some of our countrymen, they chose to live their life abroad because they believe that they have a better future there. I chose to stay here as I still believe in this country (in reality, my husband does not want to live anywhere else so I had to make it my reality as well). But seriously, I still have hope for my homeland regardless of all the issues that we're facing. This is my home and being Pinoy (even if I use a foreign language to write this post) will always run through my veins.

While casting my vote at the precinct last Monday, I still had doubts on who I was voting for. I shaded his name with an accompanying prayer that I hope I will not be sorry that I chose him. I wanted to cry afterwards because my heart was not fully in that vote, but I had to make a choice. I knew I could always abstain, but for my country, I had to decide.

Though he has yet to be proclaimed, the clear winner and our soon-to-be 16th president is the former mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. As a reluctant candidate, he won the hearts of more than 38% of the voting population translating to an absolute value of more than 15M.

When I was at the voting precinct, I was still deciding between him and Mar Roxas as both had pros and cons. Now this is where the "DESERVES" and "NEEDS" statement come in.

We are sadly, a nation who lacks discipline. One of the reasons why traffic is horrible in Manila is that most of the drivers disregard traffic rules and make their own rules instead. Being a driver for more than 7 years, I can relate to the frustration when somebody cuts me because he/she refuses to line up; or when I'm driving at the maximum speed limit but the person behinds me flashes his/her lights because they want me to speed up; or when someone counter flows because they want to be first in line.

Discipline is basically doing something right even when somebody is not looking. I am reminded of this group from the Bureau of Customs who refuses to have CCTVs installed because they say, it violates their human rights. They even said that their salaries should be increased so they would not be forced to resort to graft. It was a facepalm moment right there and made me more ashamed of my poeple.

A lot has been said how Duterte imposed his own form of discipline in Davao and made the city progressive and one of the safest places to live in in this country. Imposing your will in a city that is only 2,400 square kilometers and with a population of 1.4M is different from a 300,000 square kilometer country and a population of almost 100M. The difference is actually daunting so I do not blame Digong for crying over his parents' tombs to ask for guidance. The challenge is quite intimidating indeed.

Perhaps Duterte is the leader that we need right now, and probably, deserve as well. Filipinos are known to be a happy lot and are known for our positive traits around the world. But our negative traits are the ones that bring us down and prevents us from moving forward.

We need a leader with strong political will and somebody who can instill the change from the usual traditional politics. We need a leader who can makes things happen and not let himself be bogged down by red tape. We need a leader who can show results and compassion for his people.

We also deserve a leader who will punish us whenever we cross the line. We deserve a leader who will treat us like children whenever we act like children. And most of all, we deserve a leader who will tell us if we are wrong and show us how we can be better.

Duterte trumpeted the word "Change" in his platform. But we should remember that change should come from us. We want change? Then start following the goddamn traffic rules! Start lining up! Start paying your taxes! Start throwing your trash in the right places!

Yes, Digong, I voted for you. Please prove to me that my precious vote did not go to waste. Please prove to me that you are the leader that we need and deserve. Please prove to me, and to the other 90+ million of my fellow citizens, that we are still a country worth living and dying for.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sa Tamang Panahon

Eat Bulaga came up with an ALDUB song writing contest last February. If I'm not mistaken, it went on for several months and it was only on February that they announced the winner.

The song below was my favorite but it did not unfortunately get the top prize (the winner was another catchy tune and is being played during the Sugod Bahay segment).

I Write, Therefore, I Am

When I was in high school, I wrote a lot as I expressed myself better in writing rather than verbally. I dabbled mostly in poetry but not much in fiction. I was ecstatic when in my senior year, one of my poems was published in our school organ. Unfortunately, I didn't get a copy of the paper for posterity's sake but knowing that my editor told me that it's included is enough. I even kept numerous journals which were unfortunately lost during our countless residential moves. My memory is so bad lately that it was the only way for me to prove that whenever somebody tells me a story about what I did in the past.

When I joined our university's literary organ in college, I was encouraged to write more. I was exposed to better and prolific writers. We also had a theme for the paper per trimester and it was (un)fortunate that the theme for my first year with the publication was Erotica.

So, what does a 17 year old girl, fresh out of high school write about erotica? Lest to say, my short story that was submitted for the workshop was sliced and diced to pieces. I don't know if the panelists knew that that story was written by a naive, innocent girl who knew nothing about diving, sucking or licking. Whatever the case, it was enough to strip my confidence in my writing capabilities that I stopped writing fiction and focused my efforts on creating poetry instead. I found my niche in Filipino poetry that I even won two awards because of it. It was quite ironic when my thought language is English.

When I graduated from college, I stopped writing altogether and immersed myself in the banal life of corporate world.

Fast forward 23 years later.

I got into this ALDUB craze and am still an avid fan. My ALDUB friends introduced me to Wattpad and the wonders of fanfiction. I got so engrossed into reading made-up stories of our favorite celebrities and even read the not-so-good ones (read: grammatical and typographical errors). I was an interactive reader in a sense that I would let an author know if I liked her work and kept quiet if I didn't (I don't know if people are open to constructive criticism here. And it's hard to give not good feedback when you don't see the person face-to-face).

Anyway, I sent this author a tweet telling her how much I enjoyed her story. She tweeted me back and invited me to collaborate with her. The rest, is history.

I never thought I had it in me to write fiction again. Yes, I can edit but writing is another matter. There's a saying that goes "Write in white heat. Edit in cold blood." I sometimes write something but after a few days when I read it again, I mostly end up deleting it. Due to my training and the level of literature that I was exposed to way back in college, I always felt that my works were not good enough. I still feel like that up to now. That's why to see my collab with this other writer to be well received by our readers somehow revived my interest in fiction and made me believe that I am capable of coming up with well-written stories. Granted that they are not thought-provoking and mostly fluff, but at least, our readers like them.

Due to a writer's block the past few weeks, I had to take down a couple of my stories that are pending, I really liked the concept and I just hope I have the strength and will to see them through.

The past couple of months that I've been writing made me realize how much I enjoyed the process. There were times that my fingers were just flying on the keyboard trying to get down as much thoughts as I can on the word application. There are days wherein I would just stare at the screen and try to pick out something from my brain.

One thing I always keep in mind though is that, I write for myself. It'd be nice if I would attract readers but I'm not getting paid anyway. Being recognized and finding my niche is enough for me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Barely Breathing

My recent prescription

When I said in my blog introduction that I'm asthmatic since I was a child, I'm not kidding. I've been hospitalized before because of it and I do not want it to happen again.

Ever since I returned from the US last December, I haven't stopped coughing. I've visited a doctor twice: one on Dec. 22 and the other on Jan. 14. The December doctor noted (this was at the Asian Hospital ER) that I just arrived from the US a couple of weeks before my consultation and immediately had x-rays done. Since I was not showing any signs of infection, he just prescribed Strepsils for Dry Cough. I went home relieved and bought my first batch of lozenges. Unfortunately, even if I'm sucking on those tablets like crazy, the cough still won't abate.

I went back to the hospital on January and this time, visited a pulmonologist. After listening to my breathing and my lungs and considering my other symptoms, she ruled that I'm having an asthma attack. I was surprised as I was barely wheezing but apparently, the cough is already a symptom in itself. Since my attacks have been not as frequent lately, I have not been taking my maintenance, moreover, I'm not comfortable in taking in medication. I just use my inhaler whenever I'm having an attack.

So, she gave me steroids, asthma medication and something for my cough. I took those things as prescribed but the cough, though it abated a bit, still won't go away.

When I had a bad attack last weekend which kept me in bed the whole time, I succumbed and found another pulmonologist yesterday. This time around, she added to my medication as noted in my prescription above. I was shocked when I saw it but since my symptoms were not going away, she decided to aggressively treat my asthma. It was that or be hospitalized due to bronchial spasm which my lungs will I will end up with if I don't treat my current condition. I was also given antibiotics as the lethargy that I was feeling which made me take half the day off last Friday was already a throat infection, which exacerbated my cough.

I've also been ordered to rest for another day. Hopefully, I will get better soon. I miss walking and biking. I want my life back!

Asthma is a condition which I have to live with for the rest of my life. I just have to learn to live with it and not let it rule my life. Unfortunately, having a low RBC count is not helping my case. I'm still having tests done for that as I'm perennially anemic which means that oxygen is also not circulating properly in my blood. Thus, it was not a surprise that I feel faint whenever I push my heart rate (in fact, in my last Executive check-up, the nurse made me life down after my treadmill as I was quite pale and my blood pressure was dropping too fast). Let's just see where that will go.

In the meantime, I hope this latest batch of meds will do the trick!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Dear BB,

And here's another Valentine's Day.

We don't usually celebrate it as we've learned our lesson way way back when we had a traumatic experience during our first Valentine's date together.I don't mind as I'd rather stay at home rather than brave the traffic and crowds.

I just want to thank you...for everything. For putting up with my craziness (i.e. my ALDUB shipping), with my spontaneity, with my mess. Thank you for letting me do all these things and letting me be.

I don't really mind if you leave me alone to do my own thing, especially if it's something new. But I do all these things knowing that you're there to cheer for me or to hold my hand along the way and with the knowledge that at the end of the day, I have you to go home to.

You are my home. You are my rock. You give me the stability in this insane world. I never could imagine living the rest of my life without you by my side.

Forgive me for my shortcomings. I am still striving to be a good wife and good mother. Just talk to me if you think I am forgetting those two most important roles. Even if I am so many things at the same time (banker, reporter, writer, teacher, gamer etc etc), being a wife and mother are the aspects of my life that I treasure most and will give priority to.

I love you, BB. I do not say it enough and I hope you won't get tired of hearing me say it.

Here's to our poreber,


Monday, January 25, 2016

Socializing the Media

I consider myself an introvert. Back then, it was difficult for me to make friends. Starting a conversation can be quite difficult. When I was a child, I would rather spend my spare time in the library.

Up to now, I can still say that I'm still introvert in a sense that I would rather stay at home rather than go to parties. I've somehow gotten over my difficulty in starting conversations and learned how to approach people but I'm not what you can consider as the life of the party. I'm pretty happy just to stay in the background.

Maybe that's why I found my voice in social media. I've always been better in expressing my thoughts in the written word. That's why when mIRC chats were the in-thing more than a decade ago, I made so many online friends as I can get really chatty (and my 100 wpm typing speed certainly asserted my loquaciousness online). I even started this blog so I have a more permanent avenue to air and record my thoughts (being the forgetful person that I am, it definitely helped me remember things). And when Facebook and Twitter was born, expressing my thoughts in an abbreviated manner became easier for me (thankfully, I still managed not to make text speak a habit).

Relationships also evolved around social media. Case in point, ALDUB.

Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards have their own Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. Being the fans that we are, we follow them religiously and even have our notifications set to on whenever they post something. Their posts last night set the online world abuzz and probably lead to fans not being to sleep due to a healthy dose of giddiness brought about by the indirect exchange of the two.

At around 7-730PM Sunday night of January 24, Alden posted a video of him Dubsmashing to Boyce Avenue's version of "A Thousand Years". It sent their fans (including myself) in a frenzy as the hashtag used (#whereitallstarted) paid homage to how his pairing with Maine started. Moreover, the song was also used earlier that day during their segment in Eat Bulaga. Just when we thought we've calmed down, a couple of hours later, Maine posted a video of her dubsmashing also to "A Thousand Years" but she made it a point to start off where Alden's version ended. Twitter world was suddenly jolted awake and you could literally hear people screaming their hearts out online. And what added to the excitement was Alden' "liking" Maine's video.

A video posted by Alden Richards (@aldenrichards02) on

A video posted by Maine Mendoza (@mainedcm) on

Screencap of Alden "liking" Maine's dubsmash video

The relationship dynamics have changed since social media came to life. Letting a girl know that you like her was to bring her to school or bring her gifts. Nowadays, a simple "like" even to an innocuous IG post can speak volumes.

I'm still having second thoughts whether such dynamics is actually healthier. It certainly made communication easier and connecting to people you've thought you've lost track of faster. Nothing could replace face-to-face conversation but as of now, seeing things unfold like this makes it so much fun to watch. Definitely looking forward to the next installment to Aldub's twitter/IG-serye.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My 2015

I initially did not expect much for 2015 as even if it was the year I turned 40, I just wanted to quietly celebrate it and get it over with. Didn't know that life had other plans for me. It was literally a roller coaster but I'm glad I survived to tell my tale of 40.


1. My Father-in-Law

It started mid-June when my in-laws returned from their US vacation. My Father-in-law (FIL) was not feeling well so my mother-in-law scheduled him for a check-up. He was scheduled for an angiogram and they found out that he needed a bypass ASAP. No wonder he was feeling poorly and it was a miracle that he did not have a heart attack while they were in the US. So on July 1 at 7 in the morning, we waited outside the Operating Room while my FIL had his open heart surgery.

The doctor came out around 6 hours later and informed us that the surgery was a success. There was no touch and go moment and my FIL responded well to the procedure. Breathing a collective sigh of relief, we all then decided to do our own things while we waited for my FIL to wake up. My Mother-in-Law (MIL) went home with my husband while my Sister-in-Law (SIL) and I decided to watch a movie.

In the middle of the movie, our phones started ringing. We were being asked to return to the hospital immediately as my FIL was rushed back to the Operating Room due to excessive bleeding. When we were eventually picked up by my brother-in-law, it was very quiet in the car and nobody was speaking. Getting to the hospital, we immediately jumped out of the car and ran up the second floor where my MIL was waiting. She started crying when she saw us and I ran back downstairs to buy water for her. It was a tense two hours while we waited for the doctor's verdict. When the surgeon eventually came out, he informed us that they were able to trace the source of the bleeding and address it. Our second collective sigh of relief was more pronounced and accompanied with tears.

2. My Sister-in-Law

Around mid-July, my brother announced that his wife is pregnant with their second child. It's a big deal for them as their eldest is already 10 years old and they've been wanting a baby for the longest time.

Come last week of July, we learned that my SIL's pregnancy was ectopic. She had to be operated on immediately. Since I know my brother would not be able to afford the hospitalization bill by himself, I went to the hospital to use my card to pay a certain portion of their bill.  It's a big blow for them but we've accepted that it's really not meant to be and that there are other plans for them.

3. My Dad

On August 2, I was having a quiet Sunday evening when my phone started ringing incessantly. I was in the other room so I didn't hear my phone. My husband brought my phone to me and it was my brother on the line. He said that our dad had a heart attack and was at the ER of Makati Med. I quickly dressed and Leo drove as fast as he can to get me to the hospital.

I initially started crying when I called my stepmother who was with my dad in the ER. The doctors were asking me to make a decision if they are to proceed with the medical procedures that they intend to do. Unfortunately, it would involve a huge amount of money which my dad, nor I, have. Taking a deep breath, I agreed to their proposal and they whisked my dad off for an angiogram and later on, an angioplasty.

The surgeon was very nice in a sense that he spoke with us before, during and after the procedure. He gave us a short Heart 101 lecture and showed us where the infarction happened and how they inserted the stents which propped up the veins. It was a tense evening but my dad pulled through. He was kept in the ICU for a couple of days and was eventually moved to a regular room.

Since as previously mentioned, my dad did not have sufficient cash to pay for his medical bills, I had to shoulder most of it -- through credit. My sister and mom helped out but it's still not much. Who knew that a small piece of metal such as a stent can cost P100,000? And they had to use two on my dad.


I once jokingly said that in 2015, if I was not in the hospital, I was in a funeral home. I think I visited funerals at least five times last year. One of them, was for a dear friend which I posted about here. But if I'm not mistaken, I was in Loyola Memorial Chapels over at Guadalupe 4x, and once in Manila Memorial. It was definitely draining but it is the cycle of life.


You need bad days in order to appreciate the good ones.

Probably one of the joyful highlights of my 2015 was when I discovered ALDUB. You might probably scoff at that but it literally changed my life. I wrote about them also here.

It is not my habit to watch noontime shows nor to idolize celebrities. But since a dubsmashing girl smiled shyly at a bedimpled young man on live TV, I got hooked. It went to as far as me joining the multitudes of people that filled up the 55,000 seating capacity of the Philippine Arena just to watch them dance and exchange hugs. The joy that I felt then was indescribable and one that I will treasure in my lifetime.

From then on, seeing them filled me with happiness and it translated to whatever it was that I'm doing. I became more sweet towards my hubby and was actually more patient at work. I also went out of my way to go to Alabang Town Center just to see them shoot their movie (well, it was not out of the way as it's just outside my village--but nevertheless, it's still not my character).

Of course, another joyful memory was my 40th birthday.

A few weeks after my dad's operation last August, my mom contacted me and asked if I wanted to go to Vegas on my birthday. I was hesitant at first as I was cash strapped due to my dad's angioplasty but she said she'll take care of it. Next thing I knew, my plane ticket was in my inbox. I was due to leave for LA on November 26 and will arrive on Thanksgiving. The best thing was that I was going to surprise my twin sister who had no idea that I will be joining them in Vegas.

I arrived in LA where my aunt picked me up at the airport. Being the social media savvy person that I am, it was so difficult for me to stay quiet online as I could not give my sister any idea that I was in the US. Unfortunate circumstances however (aka, a death in the family) forced my mom to tell my sister of my whereabouts and I almost flew to the East Coast. However, we still pushed through with Vegas where we had a blast celebrating our 40th birthday.

2015 was definitely a year that I will remember and a great way to mark my 40th year. Here's to 40 years more.