Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To My Dearest Anissa (on your 13th birthday)




I swear that if I close my eyes and think hard enough, I can still see you...


LYING BESIDE ME on my hospital bed while I wondered how on earth I gave birth to an 8.5 pound baby


CRYING SO HARD almost every night at 2 months because you were very colick-y


LAUGHING AND SCREAMING everytime you were in the tub for your bath


RUNNING AROUND with your curly hair (ala Shirley Temple pigtails) bouncing up and down


SITTING QUIETLY at a children's party, your eyes wide open while trying to absorb the sights


SINGING "Tomorrow" from Annie while I pretended to listen intently, tape recorder hidden somewhere so I could capture your beautiful voice


TUGGING AT MY SHIRT saying, "Mommy, I wanna go on the carousel AGAIN!" (at Shang Mall where you used to take 3,4,5 rides one after another)


WALKING STRAIGHT INTO your pre-school classroom, without any anxiety


BASKING IN Lolo and Momsie's love and affection as only grandchild for 10 years before Sabine arrived


TODAY though, things are very, very different.


You no longer tug at my shirt when you need something...your curls are gone (because we had your hair relaxed 2 weeks ago, per your request)...you refuse to sing for me or anyone for that matter because "Mom, I just don't want to!"...you don't want to be seen with me when you're around your friends...you know that you're still Lolo and Momsie's original baby but you hate it and squirm when they smother you.


Proof that you've really grown up! I wish you could be a baby forever but we both know that's not gonna happen. To me though, you'll always be just that --- my baby. My FIRSTBORN and the one I give credit to for the many firsts that happened in my life. You and I have gone through so much. Sometimes, despite what people see on the outside, I think you're made of tougher stuff. At a very young age, you were unintentionally thrown into difficult situations but I never had any reason to worry because you stood strong and have grown up to be level-headed, mature in some ways and extremely smart. For that, let me just say (if I don't say it often enough) how truly proud I am of you!


The road ahead will be both exciting and scary because it's new. But trust that I'll be around all the time to make sure you go through these next few years with as little difficulty as possible. I too am excited and scared because I know my skills will be put to many tests...some of which, I might fail. I hope that God grants you a heart that's forgiving enough so that you can understand that the bottomline is always : I only want what's best for you.


HAPPY HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY, BIG GIRL!!!
THERE IS SO MUCH LOVE IN MOMMY'S HEART FOR YOU!!!


The world will turn, and the seasons will change...and all the lessons we will learn, will be beautiful and strange. We'll have our fill of tears, our share of sighs...My only prayer is that you realize...you'll always be beautiful in my eyes...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

READ THIS (and let's see if your blood boils just like mine did)!!!

I encourage you to read this ARTICLE entitled The War At Home, written by Chip Tsao on HK Online. Make sure you have your maintenance meds within arms reach (if you're hypertensive or are prone to high blood pressure) or at the very least, a pack of ice to put on your head after reading...

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diร oyรบ Island. That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

OKAY now here's my take on Mr Tsao's sentiments...
FIRST OF ALL ... I didn't even know GOD was Chinese. What makes this man think that having a Filipina domestic helper in his payroll entitles him to write all this crap? He thinks he's better than her (and Filipinos in general, as his article clearly voices out) because of their master-servant relationship? I feel sorry for this idiot, I could fly to HK right now and piss on his stupid logic.

Let's take away the fact that he's of Chinese descent because, #1 : I have A FEW Chinese friends who were raised to be grounded, level-headed individuals and #2 : I'm not about to be accused of being a racist PERIOD.

I don't even want to discuss the Spratleys, for crying out loud! I was never into politics and hate talking about anything that involves mentioning the word "government". Regardless of who really owns the friggin' island...the point here is this :

MR TSAO is a RACIST who thinks he's above Filipinos because he has a "hostage" in his midst. Someone who gives him 16 hours of work a day (isn't that something the Commission on Human Rights should be looking into?) by cleaning his toilet and washing his smelly clothes. Lashing out at a poor Filipina maid because he's upset about some old political issue that the maid is not directly responsible for? MR TSAO...have you tried to engage your maid in an intelligent conversation about Philippine politics? You mentioned that she has a degree in International Politics. Why not try and pick her brains as I think she flushed yours while cleaning your toilet a long time ago.

Hey wait! I just remembered...my gardener/maintenance guy has Chinese blood! First thing Monday, when he reports for work, I should kick his ass, scream at him and double his work load because some idiot who shares his race thinks having a Filipina maid makes him better than everyone.

"As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter." --- someone PLEASE give this guy a one-way ticket to the Philippines. He obviously has never been here. But from the looks of it, this guy won't even make it past the Immigration Counters at the airport if anyone recognizes him.

I speak on behalf of the handful of Chinese friends I have...YOU'RE A TOTAL DISGRACE.
P.S. Special mention goes to my friend, G.E.P. who called my attention to this article.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bonding With My Big Girl



I finally enrolled Anissa at Club Gymnastica today. She'll be taking 3 hour classes, 3 times a week for a whole month starting tomorrow. That's a lot of hours spent on the floor but this is what she really wanted. I made her choose between dance classes at Orange (right where Gymnastica is, too) and gymnastics and she opted for the latter because she feels the need to develop her skills in this area. Good point! I think she's a good enough dancer at this point, just needs a little more confidence while performing, but that can easily be dealt with. I'm happy she was able to make that decision all by herself.

After enrolling her, it was off to Megamall to buy gym clothes. Good thing the ever-reliable YVONNE'S is still around! I used to buy a lot of my leotards and tights from them while taking ballet lessons and I don't know if there's any other local brand you can trust to this day.  And while we were at it, she decided to look around and shop some more. I agreed because we didn't have any other plans and her birthday's coming up in a few days. She picked out swimsuits and sunglasses for our trip to Bora, a new Coleman jug to take with her to gym classes and a really cute pair of Vans sneakers, as part of my birthday gift daw. Emphasis on the PART --- she's still thinking of other things she wants for her birthday daw (gulp!). After that, we both couldn't resist the urge to scoot over to the Children's Section to look for pasalubong for Sabine. We ended up picking out more stuff for the little girl!

Anissa got hungry soon after that and requested for some sushi (what's new?) so off we went to Teriyaki Boy at the Atrium, where we both ate a heavy merienda before heading home.

THANK YOU, MOMMY with a big smile --- that's what I got from her over and over again during our afternoon together. Super simple yet so meaningful. Was she saying thank you to me for her new loot? Maybe. But I, on the other hand, was thankful for the precious time spent with her. I went home empty-handed from this shopping trip, which is a HUGE achievement, if you know me well hehehe. But my "basket" is full nevertheless.

I'm really looking forward to Tuesday, her actual birthday. More precious bonding time!

Another Great Ebay Score!

Every year, around February is the time I start looking for swimsuits for the summer. Yes, I am really OC that way. Blame it on my BFF who is a swimsuit addict and needs to buy new ones yearly. The habit rubbed off on me and now it's become like a "tradition" of sorts and we always end up comparing our finds since we spend a lot of weekends at the beach with our respective families every year.

This is my FIRST find this year...

Anne Cole Studio 8 Black Belted Maillot

I was praying all this time that I got the right size and I DID!

I just really love that silver belt! The only problem is, salt water will tarnish it for sure.
I tried it on earlier today as soon as I got it in the mail and I was proud of myself for finding it. THANKS AS ALWAYS, B!!!

Up next...another swimsuit from GAP.com. Can't wait to get it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Teenager Loves Me (Chapter 3)

This time, I KNOW she really will!

Anissa will be 13 on Tuesday, March 31. I can hardly believe she'll be a teenager in just a few days. Primarily because she only looks like one but doesn't act like it. I'm glad she's still so playful and makulit, although sometimes her kakulitan really puts my patience to the test (yes, more than Sabine's).

I know she'll really love me because on Tuesday, I'm planning to take her with me when I go to Nail Loft. I'll make her get whatever she wants to have and I'm sure it's going to be a manicure-pedicure with her choice of nail polish. It's summer, she's off from school and I think it's okay for her to wear color on her nails just this time. And because it's always been hard to get her friends to come over for a small party or get-together because school's out, I'll probably take her shopping afterwards, so she can choose her gift. Not that I'm totally clueless about what to get her. Just that I want to make sure she gets something she absolutely wants (and I have a feeling it's shoes from Ecko, which she's been telling me about) and probably some clothes from either People R People or Bayo --- take note: NOT Kids of Bayo daw. If she had her way though, she would like to receive a mini-laptop, but I think it's much too early in the ball game for Mom to give in to this request. There's a desktop at home that she can use anytime she wants except on schooldays. I don't think she's responsible enough just yet to be given her own laptop. That can probably wait until she's in high school.

I also promised to enroll her in either gymnastics or dance classes for the summer, so she can prepare for cheerleading competitions next school year.

I'm going to be Mom to a teenager very, very soon! Happy? Sentimental? Both, I guess. But I know that the "headaches" are just about to start. I'm so glad I still have Sabine because I know Anissa will want to spend less time with me eventually. Seriously though, despite the fears and everything Anissa and I have gone through, I look at her and I feel proud to have raised a beautiful, talented, articulate, smart and kind-hearted daughter.

Now let me go back to what I was doing before I decided to write this entry. I still don't have the design for her birthday cake!

Sunday Family Style : The Flying Pig

It sits right beside BluFish on the ground level of Eastwood Mall. I suppose there's only one owner because when you order, they give you the menu from BluFish as well.I give this place 3 stars because I personally like the food in BluFish better.
This is our favorite fish dish from BluFish (the ratatouille is to die for)
Smoked Burger from The Flying Pig. I love the "Twister" Fries!

She finished the whole thing!
This little girl ate off of everyone's plates
My Grilled Rack of Lamb, with Salted Basmati Rice and Roasted Vegetable Gratin

From FM's Camera




Taken at the lunch, after FM's funeral on March 11
Loyola Grand Villas Clubhouse
Thanks, Maxx...mwahhh!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

STOP EXPLOITING FRANCIS M'S DEATH PLEASE!




My attention was called to this just a few minutes ago. I am, to say the least, really disgusted with what people are capable of doing for money. Let's just say they really just want to honor Francis' memory (let's just say)...the least they could have done was to inform Pia about their intention. They want shirts? Get from FMCC at a special bulk rate and sell them at a profit, heck...whatever! Basta they should've asked permission PERIOD. They're on Facebook for crying out loud, and so are Pia and her kids. How hard was it to send a message?

Anyhoo...please read on:
This is the shirt they're selling for $30 each. The WORST part is, they're saying that proceeds will go to the Francis Magalona Foundation. THERE IS NO SUCH FOUNDATION. If there was one, Pia would be first to announce its existence.



PLEASE...if you are truly a Francis Magalona fan, if you really loved him for his music and his achievements, then you will not fall prey to this (and other tactics out there, as I've been told).
None of these people have the permission of Francis' family.



Here are a couple of links that will give you full details on the above:
FREEMAN
THREE STARS AND A SUN



To my contacts who are based in Canada, please heed this warning and don't be fooled...




Salon Day and Clara's Christening

I was touched, to say the least, when Pia asked me to be one of Clara's godmothers at her baptism today. I've always been fond of both Arkin and Clara so, naturally, I immediately said yes I would be happy to be Clara's ninang!But before that, I had a date with my girls. I promised Anissa that I would take her to the salon today to have her hair relaxed --- not rebonded, which is what she wanted to do at first. Sabine tagged along and was a good girl (well, 80% of the time) while we waited hours for Ate.

After that, we rushed (as in literally) to the Christ the King church in Greenmeadows because I didn't want to be late for the baptism/9th day mass for Francis (has it been 9 days already?). Good thing it started 15 minutes past the appointed time and when I got there, Smile's hubby Cameron told me, "You look harassed...breathe in, breathe out". Hahaha!

Now I can OFFICIALLY say that Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon and Bitoy are my "kumpares" (pero syempre hindi nila alam yon). Oh but before I forget, just before everyone left the church we all noticed this huge butterfly in the room (the mass and ceremony was held at the smaller chapel on the side of the main church). It looked exactly like the ones that were released at FM's funeral last Wednesday and according to Pia, it had been there before during their novena masses after FM's death. Coincidence? I think it must have been FM, witnessing his baby's entry into the Christian world. He must be one uber proud Pop!

Anyhoo...after the ceremony, we all trooped up north to Bitoy's residence (beautiful by the way but I don't have pics to share) for the reception. I wanted to stay long but had promised my family that we would catch up with them for our Sunday dinner.


TO MY DEAR DEAR CLARA SANTITA...CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME TO GOD'S BIG, HAPPY FAMILY!!!

At Clara's Christening...

Good job, Anissa!

Last Saturday, March 14, at the 2009 National Cheerleading Championship held at the Ynares Sports Complex along Shaw Blvd in Pasig.The St Paul College Pasig cheerleading varsity performed during the intermission (along with 2 other junior teams, Poveda and Holy Spirit).
They didn't compete this year because the grade school division will only be allowed to compete next year. So this was like a preview of what they're going to go through in 2010. (Note : I initially thought they were competing na because that's what Anissa told me. Turns out, she put one over me! Bumabawi siguro because I made her inis about bringing a streamer etc)
I was impressed by her team's performance and had flashbacks of my cheerleading days in grade school, although I never really got to compete. I'm hoping they really do well and make it to next year's cut (stage Mom talking). Video to follow...

Food Review : Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel

Yup, you read it right. This new restaurant in Eastwood Mall is part of the Cafe Ysabel group. We were late for dinner because we came from Clara's baptism and reception. That's why I only have a few food pics from tonight.As expected --- good food, even better service!
How can you go wrong with a US Angus Steak that big for less than P800?

Food Review : Old Vine Grille

This is the BEST new restaurant we've tried so far at the new Eastwood Mall.
Here's a blow by blow review on our orders:Fish and Chips - served really crispy on the outside but cooked perfectly on the inside. The fish was still soft and juicy (I hate it when it's really dry). The potato wedge were just the right size.Chef's Quarter Steak (to share portion) - Neal loved this! He thought he had ordered too much but he finished off what was on the entire plate. Came with salad, too.Grilled Tiger Prawns - this was my order. Loved it! Came with salad and a generous serving of mashed potatoes.Grilled Salmon - Anissa the salmon freak had this and was so happy too. The fish was (again) cooked to perfection. She loved the Wasabi dressing that was generously spread on top of the big slice of salmon.Baked Dory with Pasta - DM's order. Didn't get to try this but she said it was really good.
Can't complain about the service either. Dad says this place is always packed. I don't wonder at all why. Ave check is P600.
P.S. They also kept replenishing our complimentary basket of dinner rolls (even without being asked). The bread was freshly-baked.