Friday, March 23, 2018

That Place Called "Toys R Us"

"Toys R Us" = child's heaven.

I was in the just in the US last week and I heard about the closing of Toys R Us several times on the news. I was really shocked to hear about it since it's a place you think would be just there forever. I have very fond memories of Toys R Us. I spent some time in the US when I was a child and a trip to Toys R Us was always so exciting for me.

Happiness for me then was just going around the aisles and checking out all the cool toys. I never expected to buy anything. It was my Titay's friends who'd usually get something for me. The most memorable toy I got from Toys R Us was a Cabbage Patch Preemie bought by Tita Florie during one of the trips there. Cabbage Patch was huge during that time and you were a really cool kid if you had one. The name of my Cabbage Patch is Azalea. I actually still have her with me in my home in Manila and refused to part with it even when I got married already haha.

I also kept all the Barbie Dolls my Mom and Titay bought for me (12 in all!). Most of them they bought from Toys R Us. I've also kept them in their boxes. I thought I was going to have a daughter who would inherit it. My son though thoroughly enjoyed Barbie's car and it's now unrecognizable huhu. Funny though I only had one Ken doll!

I had two other memorable toys from Toys R Us. One is the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine! I surprisingly found it again at Target two years ago. They have been reproducing some old toys and this is one of it. The other is a Mickey Mouse record player (like this). I think it's what helped me fall in love with listening to music. I remember I also had Henri. A stuffed toy which was very common when I was a child. I'm not sure though where my Mom got it.  The Cocker Spaniel above is also a toy I've had since I was a child. It was one of the few toys I was able to save from Typhoon Ondoy.

 I never outgrew my love for toys. I keep several stuffed toys across our home and have a Care Bear, Yoda, a dog and a Mi stuffed toy on my side of the bed. I collect Yoda. Still play lego and will never part with my favorite toys. I know parents are always scared to bring their children to Toys R Us. I was too, but it's all about managing your kid's expectations. I was always happy already just to look around. I still do whenever I go to the US and go about once or twice a quarter to Toys R Us Singapore. It's heaven for children (and the child in me). I wish they don't have to close it down. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

2018 Blogging for Thirty Days

To keep the blogging habit I usually blog for 30 days straight during the month of January. I started the year on the wrong side of the bed so I delayed this annual project. I realize though that I tend to blog about mundane topics whenever I get stuck so what I'll do this year is post in my other blogs and just note the links here. Looking back I should have not diversified so much because having so many blogs became too overwhelming. I used to have more time to write too and now most of my blogs have been neglected.

Through the years I have painstakingly kept a good log of my photos. I kept them neatly in folders, by date and with easy to find album titles. I told myself that I would find time to blog about all of my adventures. I think I have almost 10 years worth of photos now that have been left unblogged... People change and I guess I just didn't feel like sharing so much about myself publicly anymore. I still like writing so I blog every so often when the mood strikes. My hobbies have also changed since I had to adjust to what my body can and cannot do.

Here's a rundown of my blogs (based on activity):

An Apple a Day - personal blog
Tea Completely - where I blog with Jay and Andrew on our favorite drink (tea/milk tea)
The Evening Quilter - newly renamed, this is where I blog about my hobby
Lakwatsera Ako - my travel blog, I still travel very often, just a bit lazy to blog
Twisted Wedding Planner - tips on organizing your wedding
Mabuhay ang Bagong Kasal - marriage and cooking blog
Paranaque City Life - supposed blog on Paranaque, but I don't go home often anymore
You Got Tech - group blog on tech stuff
Homegrown - my supposed inspirational blog

To get me going, I'm going to post here links to my daily blog for the next 30 days:
Day 1 - Craft Shop in the United States: Michaels + this post on my 30-day challenge
Day 2 - Guimaras Mango Festival and Mango Pizza
Day 3 - Melbourne: Bad Boys Gourmet Burger Bar
Day 4 - Quilt Project: Pillowcases for Dr. Koo
Day 5 - That Place Called "Toys R Us"
Day 6 -
Day 7 -
Day 8 -
Day 9 -
Day 10 -

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I was 4 years old the last time I was in New York City. The only thing I remember was going up the Empire State Building. I never had the chance to come visit since most of my US trips have been either to California or Washington DC. I regard NYC though very fondly since this is where I was hatched as a Googler. My recruiter was based in NYC when she hired me. Too bad though I never had the opportunity to meet her in person since she's left the company.

Jetlag is real and I've not been able to do much here because I've been conking out as soon as I reach the hotel haha. It also snowed yesterday and that's been a real struggle for me. (Now I know why my pulmo had a lot of concerns about me traveling to cold weather...). Here's the snowfall when it wasn't falling too hard yet --

Apart from the half-day snowfall yesterday this trip is also going to be very memorable. The taxi I rode from the airport got clipped by another car. It was a very soft bump, but my driver ran after the car just to tell the person off since she didn't even stop to check what happened. The car ran off. Good thing my taxi driver wasn't too pissed and just let her go. I thought about taking a photo of the license plate, but thought the driver already did. Good thing no one was injured from the accident.

I'm just staying for a few more busy days. If it's not too cold I hope to see more of NYC!

Monday, February 26, 2018

How Do you Carry Your Cross?

Time flies so fast. It's the end of February and we're almost 2 weeks now through the Lenten season. Every year we are reminded about how Jesus bore the Cross for all of our sins. The past two weeks the homily has been about that. The priest yesterday though took a more practical approach in his sermon and it got me thinking. What is the Cross that you bear? And how do you carry it?

“The presence of God will be a great advantage to you to help and 
to inspire you to do your actions well.” - St. John Baptist de La Salle

Oftentimes when I'm going through something challenging I always try to remind myself that it's usually not about the person challenging you, but how you react to it. It's so easy to strike back and just hurt the other person. It's oftentimes hard to be the better person. Experience and a lot of patience helps, so I oftentimes find myself revising an email I'm about to send. I reword it so that it's much more constructive than hurtful. Adversity with others is difficult, but what about with yourself?

I think one of the heaviest crosses I carry is my health. I had open heart surgery 5 years ago and things have never been the same. The heart is mechanically good, but for the past year I had a delayed onset of adult asthma. It's under control now, but when I'm unwell my bright, sunny, cheerful world turns dark (like Gotham City). When I'm unable to do anything, I lie helpless in bed and I become really sad. Coupled with grieving and work stress it's not a good place to be in.

I prayed and I prayed really hard. I know God's sends me angels to show me the way, like the uncle taxi driver who drove me to the airport in Taipei. He had a very cheerful disposition in life and reminded me so much about my Dad (see story below). Our uncle shuttle bus driver who said I was special because I had the bus all to myself. The students of my MIL who shared the impact she made in their lives. My cardio who noted during my check-up that I continue to have a sunny disposition despite my ailments (he always puts this on his records). He said that it really helps in keeping me alive. I am also very thankful that my family is very loving and supportive.  It's the little things that usually bring me back to my usual happy self.

We all bear different crosses. I always try to remember as well that God only gives us crosses that we can bear. It's there because there is a lesson to be learned. In the last 5 years since my surgery I adjusted a lot. My allergologist said, "The first step is acceptance." I accepted the fact that my body isn't the same as everyone else and I have limitations on what I can do physically (that's probably why my brain is always so hyperactive, all my energy is there). I have accepted it and just let the Will of God guide me through everything I do. It ain't easy. Just do all things with love.

What about you? What cross do you bear? How do you manage it?


My guardian angel: Uncle Tiger

Guardian angels come in different forms and sizes. Today's guardian angel is Uncle Tiger. He saved me from the freezing cold lobby where I had a meeting, helped me pick up my luggage and whisked me off to the airport. He spoke very good English so I asked him what his previous work was. He was a mechanical engineer who worked in 5 different countries. He said he is 68 years old now and drives a taxi because he is bored and likes meeting interesting people. Young at heart he said his past time is driving around on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He had so much infectious joy in him (I need this badly!).. Hopefully I'll see him again when I'm back in Taipei.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Why Counting Your Blessings Everyday is Important

Happy new year everyone! I don't have a new year's resolution nor a bucketlist for 2018. I'm not sure if I want to make one. I haven't really been good with lists since my life seems to go different directions every single year. It's usually not by choice but through the invisible hand of God. He always puts me where I should be. I'm not without challenges. I have a lot of them, but I usually pray for guidance when I'm stuck in a rut or want to run away from something.

Hubby told me the other day he had a friend who was stuck in a rut. He asked me what he should tell his friend. I took a few moments to think about what I did to recover from break-ups and being stuck (I oftentimes over-worry and overthink things). I took myself to the time when I was recovering from a very bad break-up. I read multiple self-help books and kept praying. I was really down back then and kept to myself usually.

Aside from praying the one thing that helped me go back to being happy was counting blessings. I picked it up from one of Bo Sanchez' books. At first it was difficult to even think of one blessing I received in a day. Bo pointed out that one should start with very simple blessings, like waking up to a new day. Hearing birds chirping. Seeing a nice colored leaf. Drinking a glass of soda. Any mundane thing can be a blessing. My list grew from one to two then three, five, ten to thirty etc. I was feeling a lot better already when I was able to reach ten blessings per day. I just made it really simple for me to recognize that everything is a blessing.

I do still get myself in a rut. Usually happens when I'm very stressed and when something doesn't go as planned. Sometimes it takes days/weeks for me to go back to my usual self, but when I start counting my blessings I'm usually back to my normal self in no time.

Try it :) It'll do wonders to your mood :)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Crazy Year that was Twenty Seventeen

The year just flew by really fast. I just remember that I did so many trips in the past year, mostly work.

Las Vegas in January

Manila for my 25th HS Jubilee

Mav and JM's wedding

Boracay with family

Wedding in Kalibo

March was quietly spent in Singapore with a visit from my grand nephew

Finally saw very pretty cherry blossoms in Tokyo

And got a haircut!

First time in Auckland in May

Sydney and Melbourne with the fambam

Weekend trip to Manila


Hong Kong after 10 long years!

Got to see Tita Pet and Uncle Fumio again in Tokyo in July

Taipei again just before my birthday

Went to work on my birthday

Japan again, I don't exactly remember what I did there, possibly just all work.

Mama Mary book launch in Manila!

Then another trip to Taiwan I think

Family vacation in the US with the fambam

Korea with the beks!

Crazy 5-day Japan trip where I finally experienced the Shinkansen and traversed Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka. Dropped dead when I got home.

Then spent time in Sydney.

2017 has been a really crazy year and I survived it through sheer willpower and the steadfast support of my family. The first half of the year was hard, but things eventually got better and busier. I hope to do much better in 2018! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

What Would You Do?

Yesterday I flew from Singapore to Sydney. Woke up before 4 in the morning to make it to my 7am flight. I was looking forward to getting some sleep for a few hours of the 7 hour flight. When I boarded I was surprised to find a man sitting on my assigned seat. I immediately got help from the crew and he requested for the man's boarding pass. Instead of showing his boarding pass the man said, "I like this seat! I don't want to move!" I always get an aisle seat because I usually need to go to the toilet several times, so I got a bit stressed already from his pronouncement. The flight crew insisted for him to move and I sat down. The man kept saying again and again that he wanted my seat. I ignored him and just went on with my business.

The man and his wife eventually started to argue and the woman moved to another seat in the back. There was a lot of shuffling around as they gathered their things. The flight was a bit delayed already since we had to wait for 3 connecting flights to arrive. The cabin was busy with people still coming in. I eventually fell asleep and got a rude awakening when I saw two feet just inches away from me.

I immediately reported it to the flight crew and the supervisor had him remove his feet. The man kept looking at me with accusing eyes. I ignored him and read a book. A few minutes later the supervisor approached me to check if I was okay and asked if I wanted to be re-seated. I said that I was only willing to move if there was an aisle seat available. There was none. I told him I should be okay as long as he stopped putting his feet up on the tray table. I thought that was the end of it.

After some refreshments I decided to take another nap. I was rudely awaked when I felt something on my leg. It was the man's feet! He had put his feet on the seat pocket and probably stretched. My body had reacted violently to the touch and he woke up as well. He did not apologize and just went back to sleep.

My friends said that I should not have flown in economy. I normally do since I don't need a lot of space and as long as I'm on the aisle I'm usually not bothered by anyone or anything. I prefer to keep my savings for flights to stay in better hotels. This was really a terrible incident. I don't fault the airline because it was entirely the bad attitude of the man that ruined my experience. He was mean, unapologetic and thought that he can just do whatever he wanted.

I could've probably insisted to be re-seated in a better seat. Looking back I should have done that because the stress has affected my body and it's been quite difficult to work today. And that's the reason why I decided to write about the incident -- to "download" it from my mind so I can move on.

If you were in that situation, what would you have done?