Friday, February 27, 2009

The Stroller Dilemma

I'm not sure I understand all this hype about strollers nowadays. Mothers seem to be scrambling for the latest MACLAREN model, nevermind if the prices are enough to cause a considerable dent on their wallets. I, on the other hand, have always trusted GRACO to do the job when it comes to baby gear. When Anissa was born, we purchased a Graco bassinet/playpen and stroller. So when Sabine arrived, it was a no-brainer. But I was shocked at how much the prices had gone up since I last went baby gear shopping. MACLAREN strollers are even worse!

Sabine's current one is now too bulky for us. Most of the time it's more an inconvenience to bring it along. She has an umbrella stroller, a generic brand I bought from an online seller. But I got it not because I thought it would serve its purpose for years, but because it has Dora The Explorer's huge figure on the backrest. That's it. Honestly though, I'm sure it won't last too long. It's good for short trips or even visits to the mall sometimes but that's about it. So I'm back in the market for another one, this time a much sturdier one.

I'm not too sold on the MACLAREN though. First of all, Sabine's turning 3. Although she's tiny for her age, I don't see the urgent need to spend P15,000 on a stroller that she'll get tired of using in a couple of years. The designs are very tempting though and yes, I know this is supposed to be the Mercedes Benz of strollers.

Tell me why I should get this

The MACLAREN Quest Mod, approximately $225

over this

CHICCO Liteway, around $130

(Please don't say the Maclaren is cuter hahaha!)

Summer Glorious Summer!

I'm weird. The summer heat really makes me irritable. But make me choose between summer and winter and I'll always choose the former. Most of you would agree that summer is here quite early this year and it's actually a bit scary, if you think about it. What with all these changes brought about by Global Warming.

I am looking forward to having fun this summer though. As always...the plans are being arranged as I type. There are talks of beach trips with my friends and my family and even a HK vacation for Sabine's 3rd birthday in April so she can personally meet KeeKee Mouse (hehehe that's Mickey Mouse, of course). I'm hoping to add Baguio to the itinerary so that we can take a breather from the Metro Manila heat.

I've started looking at all the stuff I need to get for everyone : new swimsuits, sunblock (already bought a spray bottle of Coppertone from Duty Free for the kids), flip flops and sandals, straw totes, duffle bags, tank tops, board shorts, coverups --- the works! I even bought a cute beachmat already!

I'm still dying to go back to Bora. It's been more than 2 years since our last trip. I would love for Sabine to experience it before it's too late.

Can't wait to get that much coveted tan!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ateneo 4th Grader Dies in Freak Accident

My friend whose 2 boys go to Ateneo relayed this tragic story to me early yesterday morning. It gave me goosebumps and made me say a prayer for Anissa, who was en route to school by then. 

10-year old Ateneo de Manila 4th grade student, Amiel Alcantara, was run over by a car while on his way to his own family vehicle at dismissal time with his yaya. The first accounts of the story were that the driver of the suspect's vehicle went down and left the car on "drive" so that it moved down the slope where it was parked. The driver's employer who was in the car that time, took the wheel but instead of stepping on the brakes, stepped on the accelerator instead. The poor boy who was crossing the street was sandwiched. But according to news reports, the suspect Teresa Torres, also an Ateneo parent claimed the car accelerated uncontrollably. Whether or not it's true, the bottomline is...the child is gone, just like that.

Every morning when I see Anissa off to school, there's only one prayer I've whispered everyday for the past 10 years : Please watch over her and bring her home safely to me. And everytime I remember her during the day, I say the prayer again. I feel so sorry for Amiel's parents. Sorry too for Mrs. Torres who, I am sure, did not intend to cause the damage. But this is tragic, no matter which angle you see it from. The loss of one's child is always extremely painful, life-altering.

My prayers go to Amiel's family, that they may eventually find acceptance and forgiveness in their hearts.

Read the FULL STORY here. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

What Is Happening To Our Children???

I just didn't have time to write about this yesterday. For the sake of other parents like myself who have teenagers or children who are about to enter this age, I'd like to share this really scary story, which even Chuvaness has written about. It's been spreading via email and blog posts but if you haven't come across it it is, a letter from the parent of a young boy, Marcel Piezas from Ateneo:

February 9, 2009

Dear Ateneo parents, students and STOYA members,

Three months back, I found out that an "OPEN PARTY" organized by students of the Assumption was booked at our village clubhouse. In this event, the venue meant for 300 pax was packed with as many as  800, due to the zealousness of its organizers to maximize their earnings. Many of the attendees had no recourse but to spill over to the parking area. 
That night, a nasty brawl occurred right outside the venue, and the security incident report outlined the destruction caused to the clubhouse facilities, the sight of inebriated teenagers holding bottles of liquor roaming the streets, and the discovery of used condoms on the park grounds and alleys the following day. (You can verify this yourself.) 
We were on an out of town trip when all these happened and I could only imagine the chaos that went on.

Last January 16, 2009 my son Marcel Piezas, a 2nd year Ateneo student, pleaded with me to allow him to attend an "OPEN PARTY" organized by 3rd year Poveda High School students at Greenmeadows. I warned him about the untoward incidents in our village but due to his persistent pleas, reassurances, acceptance of certain conditions (e.g. curfew) coupled with guilt trips of being labeled an outcast once denied of participation, I succumbed to his appeal.

That night at around half past eleven, I found myself praying for Marcel's protection, possibly owing to vague intuition, not knowing what was going just a stone's throw away.

At around 11:30 p.m., after having danced with around three other girls, Marcel asked for a dance with Ms. A (name withheld). The dance was uneventful except for the part where she asked Marcel if she could take a picture of them, which my son agreed to. 
Immediately after the dance, Marcel thanked her, and excused himself since his 12 midnight curfew was fast approaching. He and his classmate B (name withheld) proceeded to exit the dance hall to meet four other classmates who were already at the parking area.

Three meters from the exit, two teen-aged boys came out of the hall together with Ms. A, the girl Marcel just danced with, blaringly asking, "Sino ang nangbastos sa pinsan ko? Kayo ba? Kayo ba?" 
It seems that, Ms. A pointed out my son to the two boys, wilfully or otherwise, prompting them to pull his shoulder and start punching him on the head, which caused a laceration and multiple hematomas. 
The two boys shouted invectives at Marcel (e.g. "Sabihin mo sa nanay mo, malansa ang kaniyang puk_", "pu__ ina mo, gusto mo mamatay?" etc.) and repeatedly slapped him. 

After a while, the group of three had swelled to five. They were joined by other boys (names withheld). A few seconds more, and the crowd had expanded to around twenty, arm in arm, they formed a circle around Marcel. They continued to punch, slap, insult and spit at my defenceless boy. One of them even ordered him to kneel down and apologize, which he did, even if he knew he was not guilty of anything, if only to stop the beating. After his apology, he was punched hard on the mouth, causing a cut on the lower lip, and three front teeth to turn mobile.

There were big bodied bouncers hired during the party, and some village guards manning the gates. Neither of them lifted a finger to help my son. All they uttered was "Tama na yan." The lone defender of Marcel was a school mate, Boy B (name withheld).
At the expense of enduring a few blows himself, he pleaded with the boys and tried to convince them that they have the wrong guy, and that Marcel was a good boy, incapable of the accusation they were throwing at him. 

The mauling miraculously stopped for around 15 seconds (probably around the same time I was praying for him) which gave another brave classmate the chance to grab then bloody Marcel by the arm and pull him out of the circle of tormentors. They ran for it and left in a car with their other classmates who were too stunned 
and traumatized themselves. 
Minutes after escaping the assailants, Marcel continued receiving phone calls through his mobile phone, 
wherein he was harassed and taunted. The calls and text have persisted until a week ago.

After our preliminary investigation, we discovered that the aggressors are members of TGF or "The Good Fraternity", a loose group of high school students (boys and a few girls) who frequent the party scene, SOME of whom are reputed to be bullies, war freaks, alcoholics, possibly drug users, and carriers of deadly weapons such as guns, knives, tasers, etc. 
Apparently, some of them use this strategy of bullying helpless-looking boys in the guise of being gallant men saving a damsel in distress for having been "disrespected".

The exact same scenario by the same people happened to a fellow Atenean at a different party a few weeks 
earlier. Many other boys from other schools have experienced beating from the same group for the most senseless reason as having been ogled at orhaving flexed biceps and triceps to the annoyance of the bullies.

What happened to Marcel was a nightmare not only to him but to ourselves as parents. My husband who is working in Canada can only cry in helplessness at not having been around to defend or at the very least comfort him. 

I cannot sleep soundly knowing that our sons and daughters are prone to being swallowed by profligacy. Did you parents know that kids nowadays dance "spooning" style? Did you know that there are mobile bars for rent that serve "mocktails" or full-fledged cocktails and beer in bubble containers to our young teen-agers unmindful of the alcohol prohibition for minors (ask Sober Club, Elation, Party Fuel, Club Fishbone, Booze, Event Shaker, On The Rocks, etc.). I even heard that open parties are now being used by pushers as their market for mood altering wares. 

I didn't even know that the Greenmeadows party that Marcel attended was entitled "Lust", which is one of a series of seven parties named after the seven deadly sins. I was shocked at having found out the organizers' preference for their party names.

I have vowed to make this an advocacy. We are filing a complaint with the authorities about the matter, not only to seek justice for my son, but to stop this culture of violence and immorality among the youth. 
I would have wanted to treat this as privately and as quietly as I can but recent developments have forced me to do otherwise. I came across this blog site which made my stomach turn at seeing how insensitive, frivolous, and unprincipled the authors of this entry and its supporters are. 

Rumors are spreading like wildfire and the ugly misinformation is causing yet another trauma on my son. Some stories are going around about his being too drunk to have had control of himself, thus the molestation. To correct the defamation being spread, and to give these STOYA boys who have a lot of growing up to do a piece of my mind, allow me categorically say that:

1) My son NEVER molested anyone and we can prove this to the hilt. The bloggers didn't even give him the benefit of the doubt by adding the world "allegedly". They wrote it as if it were a fact. 
Instead of supporting your fellow Atenean, you are pushing him towards the furnace by spreading this lie.

2) My son, who, for one week after the assault, endured nightmares and anxiety attacks over possible retaliatory acts by perceived sympathetic blue blooded members of TGF NEVER squealed on any one to the APSA. He bore his psychological injuries which far outweighed the physical wounds with dignity and bravery. He never even brought up the incident with his football coach who benched him during two crucial games for having missed a week's practice clueless that Marcel was waiting for the contusions on his head to heal. For all I know, he was also possibly avoiding aggressive tussling, inevitable in the sport, which might stir fearsome memories. He felt so down but didn't want his coach to think he was making excuses for his absences.

3) I never complained verbally, or in writing, to APSA regarding what happened to my son knowing that STOYA per se, is not the enemy. I simply wrote a letter of excuse for Marcel's two-day absence while he was recovering from the trauma.

4) I never accused STOYA of harassment when they approached Marcel in an effort to convince me to tell Mr. Dennis Dator of their innocence regarding the mauling. I simply felt that it is futile to make that appointment since I never filed a complaint against them in the first place.

5) To say that "it can only take ONE person to destroy a party. All he/she needs to do is to tell his/her parents to call up the school, name names and say drugs or what not has been going around" reeks of a distorted sense of values. It's as if parties are the end all and be all of life's existence. Never mind if a person gets hurt... the show must go on! Besides, I never did what they accuse me of doing.

6) Do you honestly think that this line "The police can always be ordered to go to a party to end it" is preventive or is it a curative solution to a done disaster which only takes a few minutes to happen? Hunky bouncers and security guards were around when Marcel was beaten up. What good did they do?

7) From STOYA: "Pucha, everyday people DIE due to far more worse (sic) incidents than mere fist fights and now people start making this such a HUGE deal since it happened to someone close to them?" 

Response: What if the blow on Marcel's head were a tad stronger than they were causing irreversible brain damage? Would that be big deal enough to warrant your attention? 

8) From STOYA: "don't call us insensitive and immoral for promoting alcohol under the age of 18. You've never had a shot of vodka or a cold glass of beer? Don't be a hypocrite and lie. It's part of high school" 

Response: The law is the law and it was created for a reason, and it is meant to be adhered to, otherwise suffer penalties.

9) "Also, It's the parents' choice to allow their children to go and do these things so if you have a problem with parties, don't allow your children" 

Response: Parents unwittingly allow their children to attend these parties without the knowledge of the imminent dangers that abound in such parties, thus, my cause of letting it be known. No matter how well we try to raise our children, they sometimes make the wrong, stubborn choices and succumb to peer pressure thinking that what is prevalent is "cool", or is acceptable.

10) STOYA, your entrepreneurial spirit is partly admirable. "Dreams of creating seven parties in 10 months". However, if your ventures are money making, may I ask if you give out receipts to your patrons? Do you pay taxes to the BIR? Maybe this is another angle worth looking at.

Dear STOYA boys and supporters, I hope you broaden your minds a little bit more and see where concerned school authorities and parents are coming from. You, our dear boys are gifts from God entrusted to us for guidance and moulding. Our commitment to our Maker, and to the Giver of life is to lead you back to Him in life 
eternity. It's true that life is full of risks, that life is well lived if freedom abounds, and that it is important to stand by what we believe in. But as graduating students of a highly reputable Catholic school for which your parents toil hard to make your enrollment possible, I would have hoped that you had loftier beliefs that you would adamantly fight for. Year in, year out, you learn in CLE that free will has its limitations. As minors your care rests on those who are supposedly more ripe in wisdom. If we can shield you from as much pain, suffering and harm as we can, we will do so by all means because that is an expression of LOVE. You may sulk all you want but take it like a man. Like you all said, you will be adults in a few months time anyway. Start acting like one!

Yours truly,


How on earth could something like this happen???  I was terribly bullied in HS and I thought that was the worst that could happen to anyone. But this is a new generation of bullies we're talking about here. The girl went as far as making up a story so that this group of boys would have reason to "come to her rescue". And what's the whole point of it all? What's the prize for acting like jerks? Popularity??? Don't these kids know the difference between that and notoriety? Which brings me back to the time when Anissa came home crying because her so-called barkada told her she couldn't be part of their group anymore for some shallow reason. This was one of the lessons I taught her then. Being popular and being branded as notorious for something are not the same. And if she needs to do something bad or unacceptable just to be noticed, it's not worth it. 

Now tell do we allow our children to experience what could be the most enjoyable part of their growing up years without feeling terrified everytime they ask permission to go to one of these parties? The responses of STOYA to the outrage are even more to be furious about. Don't call them insensitive or immoral for promoting alcohol to kids 18 and under??? What the hell do you call that?!  There's a reason kids below 18 are tagged as MINORS, you imbeciles! 

What has happened to our children? I swear...stories like this make me want to be the ultimate Hitler Mom. But I'm torn between being one and wanting my kids to experience the things I almost never got to enjoy to the maximum level (I was allowed to attend parties with a chaperone and a ridiculous curfew). Whatever happened to good clean fun? I remember attending parties in high school and college and just spending a few hours dancing and getting to know the boys. Sure there was drinking and smoking...but it was all manageable and done mostly out of curiosity. 

I hope and pray that the Piezas family is compensated for their trauma. It's a good thing Marcel survived the incident. Others are not as lucky...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic --- coming soon!

I've already entered a reminder on my phone
FEBRUARY 18 is a date I shouldn't forget!

I've read every book and now the movie is finally going to be shown that's why I can't wait!
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, starring Isla Fisher as Rebecca "Becky" Bloomwood, the character whom a lot of us can relate to (atleast during my single years).

Rebecca Bloomwood is a sweet and charming New York City girl who has a tiny, little problem that is rapidly turning into a big problem: she's hopelessly addicted to shopping and drowning in a sea of debt. While Rebecca has dreams of working for a top fashion magazine, she can't quite get her foot in the door -- that is, until she snags a job as an advice columnist for a new financial magazine published by the same company. Overnight, her column becomes hugely popular, turning her into an overnight celebrity, but when her compulsive shopping and growing debt issues threaten to destroy her love life and derail her career, she struggles to keep it all from spiraling out of control--and is ultimately forced to reevaluate what's really important in life.
The movie also stars John Cusack and John Lithgow, among others. The reviews on it so far are not spectacular but if only to see how they managed to turn it into a movie, I'd definitely still watch it. Who wants to watch with me?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


Have an awesome V-Day!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday Family Style : The Terrace @ 5th

This is one of the newer places in Greenbelt 5. As early as Monday, DF already texted me that he wanted us to have dinner here Sunday. So even if we were coming all the way from Tagaytay, I made sure we were present! We were all tired from the weekend and the drive but the food here was (in Anissa's own words), TO DIE FOR!

I would never choose fine over casual dining but the ambience here is not too stiff. I love the theme of the interiors --- green and white!

Softshell Crab Salad (sorry for the crappy pic)

Dungeness Crab --- I'm craving for this again. It was THE BOMB!

Porterhouse Steak with Bernaise Sauce --- 1000 grams!

(Hindi ko kinaya ito hahaha)

Afterwards...we had coffee at their al fresco area

DF and Sabine aka Punky Brewster

To those of you who like celebrating Valentine's Day (I don't hehehe)...

This place is highly-recommended!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Visit to Ilog Maria

We were in Tagaytay for the weekend anyway so it was "now or never". I've been wanting to visit their store but never had the chance to do it until yesterday. I literally dragged Neal and his two sisters and we had a great time on this impromptu shopping spree!
The store was really bright and airy. Each of the display shelves were labelled with their individual prices and a brief explanation of what the product is for. They even sell pinewood buckets and boxes, if you're planning to give your purchases out as gifts.

My SIL Michelle and I while waiting for our turn at the cashier

And here's my loot : Honey Face Scrub, 3 bottles of Propolis Throat Spray (been so loyal to this, it really works!), Eucalyptus Bath Gel, Massage Oil, Honey Shampoo and 500 grams of their homegrown coffee beans!!! All this for P900 flat. All natural at that.

Just a sidenote though...there was a huge sign on their wall that said they were out of Virgin Honey for the rest of the year. We asked the owner why and he blames it on global warming. The bees are not producing enough because they're not getting enugh nectar from the flowers. Super sad and scary!

Anyhoo...for those of you who've never even tried any of Ilog Maria's products, don't fear. You can place your orders online since they don't have a store in Manila and don't intend on putting up one to preserve their wholesale prices.

Visit : and register to have your own account.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Congrats, Dad!!!

Taken from Ricky Lo's entertainment column in today's issue of the Philippine Star:

• Meanwhile, congratulations to former ABS-CBN vice president and San Beda College Golden Jubilarian Lito Balquiedra who was recently given a special award by his alma mater for his pioneering spirit in conceptualizing Frolics, an annual school fair that has promoted camaraderie among its alumni for the last 47 years. On Feb. 10, Lito will also be honored as an Outstanding Bedan in the field of Media and Communications at The Tent, The Fort, Taguig City.

Congratulations, dear dear Daddy!!! I'll be there on the 19th (not on the 10th as printed) at his homecoming to see him accept this honor.

Missing Them All

Thanks to my cousin, Ria for posting this in her Shutterfly album. I don't know where my copy's somewhere around I know but I haven't looked at it in a while. This picture brings back bittersweet memories of this family reunion (Mom's side) in 1999. We flew all the way to LA for this. It was the first in a very long time for this side of the family. It was also Anissa's first US trip, a gift from the Spoilers (aka my parents). The others came from the East Coast to join us. This took place in December 1999. We welcomed the new millenium in the US (where it was so boring hahaha).

Kneeling left to right: Cousins Nicky, Pam, Gabby, Addie (back turned) and 
 on Tito Bem's lap
2nd row left to right: Mama Gran, Tita Cecille (party hidden), Tita Dulce, Cousin Ria, Tita Peps with cousin Martin in front of her, Cousins Chris and EJ, Tita Manda, Me and Mom
Back row: Cousin Raymond and my brother Bombi

Three family members in this photo have left us since...

my Tita Peps (Mom's younger sister), the one in the middle wearing glasses, who passed on 8 yrs ago after a short battle with the big C. She was diagnosed with the illness just a few months after this gathering took place. She was the coolest aunt I ever had. I seriously think she took most of my secrets with her to the grave. I love and miss her terribly.

my Grandmother, on the left, 2nd row wearing dark glasses, who left us just last year

and my cousin, Gabby, front row in the grey long-sleeved shirt, who also left us soon after Mama Gran did

I think Anissa was either asleep in the bedroom or running around playing with the other kids when this photo was taken. Dad, I remember was smoking his cigar in the backyard with my other uncles. 

This isn't even the entire family yet. There are 9 siblings on my Mom's side and a total of 23 (or is it 25?) grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren (and twins coming in May this year) and believe it or not...2 great-grandchildren (yes I am a grandma!). 

I miss everyone!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Product Review : Prestige Liquid Eyeliner

This is why I don't like attending meetings in or close to the mall!

I had a 4pm meeting at Power Plant today and was slightly early. So after I was dropped off at the mall's entrance beside Starbucks, I decided to do a quick detour to the Beauty Bar. I wanted to check out the new Smashbox Bronzer but they didn't have it so this is what I ended up with.

I tried it out using their tester and proceeded to my meeting. I wanted to see if it would smudge or smear because I have oily eyelids. About an hour or so later when my meeting was over, I checked on it and I was impressed. It looked as fresh as when I applied it. It also took me just a few seconds to apply it on both eyelids. The teeny brush is great...perfect for those who are just starting to get used to lining their eyes. 

Damage to my wallet? About Php 375 (or was it P395?). I got the black one because I think it makes the eyes pop out more. 

Go and grab yours =)

Remembering Mike Francis

I was shocked when I saw a friend's Facebook status a few days ago about 80's Pop icon Mike Francis' passing. According to a Phil. Daily Inquirer article, he died of a lingering illness and was only 47. There were no other details provided.

Sad! I listened to his songs all the time and I still do when I feel like waxing nostalgic. His music brings back lots of good memories...high school dances, parties at the Corinthian Clubhouse, weekends at Faces. My most favorite Mike Francis song is "Friends", which he did with Amy Stewart. I have it in my iPod and always look forward to hearing it play on 89.9's Friday Magic Madness.
His star may have faded a bit but he'll always be one of my favorites. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Product Review : Nokia E71

I waited a few days before writing this review to make sure my comments are accurate. I did get this new baby the day after I first blogged about wanting to get it. I've used it non-stop ever since and I guess the 4-star rating says it all. I want to give it 5 start but that won't be realistic =)

Overall...I'd say this is a really good phone to invest in. The tag price of Php 19,000 is not too steep considering these factors : aesthetics, features and user experience in general. The only thing I had a difficult time adjusting to was the Qwerty keyboard but that was not a major problem. I was texting like crazy on day 2 or 3. 

I have no problem surfing when I'm out and Neal was easily able to configure both my personal and work email addresses into the phone. 

It really is like having your very own Blackberry at half the price. 

I don't regret getting it at all! (But I do miss my Nokia N82's 5mp camera. The E71's camera is only 3.2mp)

Product Review : Vanilla & Company Olive Dry Oil MIst

I can say goodbye to The Body Shop's Olive Dry Oil Mist! It smells and works just as well. And for P169 a bottle, who's to complain? =)

Been using this everyday since I received my Vanilla and Company orders so it's now safe to say that I'm definitely sticking to it. 

Real value for money!

P.S. I just read some really exciting news...they've just opened shop in Wilson St. Greenhills, which is like a 10-minute drive from the house. Woohoo!!!

Vanilla and Company's site :

Product Review : Coastal Scents 26 Neutral Palette

I received this in the mail yesterday and took it for a road test today. Not bad! The palette costs only P900 (that's like...P30 something bucks per shade!) and these are the shades that I prefer to use. I'm not the type to use non-neutral colors on my face. I blended 2 shades today and got just the results that I wanted. Too bad I was in such a rush, I forgot to take photos. Will do next time. =)

I got this from DollFace Cosmetics. Here's a link to Pearl's site :

She's a really nice seller too!

Movie Review : Slumdog Millionaire

After watching this movie receive 4 Golden Globe Awards, we knew we had to see it.

Full Synopsis: It's the story of Jamal Malik, an 18-year old orphan from the slums of Mumbai who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 Million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?". But when the show breaks for a night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Freida Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions.Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery : what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show?

When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and 60 million viewers were about to find out.

My take : it's no wonder this movie received all those recognitions and many more nominations. What's admirable is the fact that the movie's director, Danny Boyle, took the money to be paid to the 3 lead child characters, put it in a trust fund which the kids can access when they reach the age of 16 and are done with grade school. He's also arranged for the kids to be brought to school every single day until they're 16. I suppose these 3 kids really are slum-dwellers?

The deplorable living conditions of the people of Mumbai were enough to shock even a 3rd world citizen such as myself. The Philippines is much better off and this movie clearly defines the term THIRD WORLD. But it's also very amusing despite all the sad truths that are depicted, that's why I'm definitely watching it again as soon as I have some free time on my hands.

You should too!

Food/Restaurant Review : BLUFISH Eastwood Mall

This is the first restaurant to open at the new Eastwood Mall in Libis QC. Finally something different! We're tired of all the usual dining places in the area so we were really excited to try this out last Sunday.

Our orders consisted of : 

Appetizer - Ceviche (very similar to what's locally known as Kilawin)
Salad - Grilled Chicken Breast
Main Course - Steamed Seafood (crab, lobster, prawns, clams), Sea Bass, Salpicao, Risotto Negra with Calamares, Salmon Lasagna

The Verdict : DEFINITELY going back for more!

I didn't get to note the exact names of the dishes we ordered though, because I was too eager to try them all out. None of them were disappointing! The Sea Bass was the evening's favorite...all of us adults shared it, it was one huge fish! The Salpicao was a last-minute order and I was glad I asked for it. 

Average check is about P500 per head. 

To see my food pics please click on this link : BLUFISH

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our Day With Hannah

It finally happened!

But to backtrack a bit...

This gathering was supposed to have happened before Christmas. But due to everyone's hectic holiday schedules, it was moved but the important thing is we all came through for Hannah! 

The story of Hannah touched me in a way that I can't even begin to describe up to now. I've been visiting her website since I first discovered it, mindful of each little but meaningful milestone that her parents, Carlo and Joan would write about. I guess it helped that I'm a mother myself and Sabine is only slightly older than her. Her condition is something I hadn't heard of before. I was hooked on Hannah from day one. 

Yesterday, my friends and I finally got to see Hannah in the flesh. The objective was quite simple...we wanted to throw her a small party and bring her gifts, not just from ourselves and our respective families, but from well-meaning and kind-hearted friends, family members, colleagues at work --- whoever wanted to help Hannah and in whatever small way they could. A little went a long way and we trooped to Hannah's home in the South bearing our humble presents. 

After texting and emailing each other for months, I was glad to meet Daddy Carlo and Mommy Joan. Hannah was in her BEST element, showing off her tricks whenever she could. Her smile lit up the whole place! She was cheerful and so happy! I can see how much joy she brings into their household. Despite her condition, Hannah is as normal as normal can be. 

I had a super great time and so did everyone else. It felt so good to have been given the opportunity to reach out to this beautiful baby and her family. 

But before I direct you to the photos taken on this very special day, I must thank everyone who helped make it all happen :

TO THE HAVIES (in no particular order para walang tampuhan) : Pao, Smile, Therese, Elsa, Gee, Janis, Pia and Brenda - for not thinking twice, not asking questions and always being there with 101% support all the time, everytime! PIA AND BRENDS, we missed you at the party but thank you, thank you for your kind intentions! God did not bless me with a sister and now I know why. He gave me more than just one! 

TO OUR LOYAL PARTNERS : Venny, Cameron, Felix, Isko, Neal - thank you from our bottomless hearts!

TO MEL OF PARTYTIME PHILIPPINES (who provided the decorations, tables and chairs, utensils) : I would have wanted to meet you and thank you in person for your generosity. Thank you for being a part of this effort. We all loved what you did to the place! 

TO CHARMAINE AND RICA, the beautiful women behind Brusselsprouts Clothing : too bad you ladies couldn't make it. But thank you for all your help!

TO ALL OF HANNAH'S KIND AND GENEROUS SPONSORS : there are just too many to mention but you all know who you are. May God continue to bless you and your families abundantly. Our deepest thanks for your complete confidence in our intentions for Hannah. 

TO DADDY CARLO AND MOMMY JOAN : for welcoming us into your home and allowing us to "disrupt" Hannah's schedule for a bit. We're so glad to have met all of you. Rest assured, we'll keep you in our prayers always. 

AND TO HANNAH...for being such a gracious honoree. You truly are a sweet angel and your parents are extremely blessed to have you in their lives. Tons of hugs and kisses from all of us!!!

I'm not sure I want to recover from this awesome feeling so before I turn sappy (again!), here's the link to those great photos : 

We make a living by what we get
But we make a LIFE by what we give
-Sir Winston Churchill-