Monday, January 29, 2007

What to Give Your Crush On Valentine's Day

My friend's been agonizing the past week about what give or do for his crush on Valentine's day. So the past week we've been brainstorming about it and we've been trying to get bits and pieces from my past experiences.

My recommendation was to simply send a Valentine's day gift. Why send it? I'll explain later. Any of the following would be great:

1. Flowers - Of course, it's a standard. I remember my officemate Leo gave each of the girls in our unit a long-stemmed red rose. And then he gave Michelle a whole bunch. There's nothing like flowers! Aside from the excitement of receiving flowers in the office, the anticipation of finding out who sent it also gives a fabulous rush. So just send it!

2. Chocolates - Everybody loves chocolates! My Kuya everytime he travels loads up on this in his hotel room (whoops! was that a secret Kuya?). My Dad would always get my Mom chocolates for Valentine's. He'd usually insist on going to the mall on Valentine's day and then disappears for a while and then comes back with a whole bagful of chocolates for my Mom. And after 47 years of marriage I'm sure he'd do the same this year.

3. Something Red - Well, I dunno. I'm back to having red as my favorite color. Even had my closet re-painted in bloody red. I just noticed that red is always in from Christmas to Valentine's Day. Something red to decorate her room would be nice - and the catchy color would surely remind her of you.

4. A Love Letter - A few weeks ago my Mom found a boxful of their old love letters and one Sunday morning my Dad read it to me and my friends. We were all so kilig! Well my friends were kilig, I was kinda fidgeting (hey parents ko yun noh!). I had to snatch the letter from my Dad coz he didn't want to read further. I was giggling while reading it. Where has the art of love letter writing gone? The last time I got a non-electronic love letter was back in college - before beeping, sending SMS, internet connection and emailing because so easy!

5. An Alternative Gift - Well sometimes the best way to "send your love" is to find out what your crush really likes. One of the best Valentine's gifts I ever received was a plastic full of little fishies - I had an aquarium-full of Oscars back then and I was so gaga over it. Instead of flowers, my ever practical boyfriend at that time gave me fish food. And that gave him super plus points.

If you're too shy or too diyahe to give it in person then just send a Valentine's gift to your crush. And then, of course, ask her out after!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Starstruck!

I think I've seen so many stars this week. It started out earlier this week with Christian Bautista, then Rachelle Ann Go with Jeremy Marquez and then last night Bo Sanchez.


I've been a fan of Bo Sanchez for the longest time. I almost worked for Kerygma as a writer back in college, but I had to beg off because the office was too far away (and back then internet connection wasn't this easy). I've been reading his books and other published works for quite some time now and have even encouraged my friends to read his books. Why? Because they're inspirational and they help in improving one's faith and relationship with God.


Two years ago I read in one of his books that as a single person you should manage to serve better. When I was a kid I used to be so active in our Parish. I was either an officer or a member of so many organizations. I eventually trimmed things down and just remained active in the Sun Valley Music Ministry (16 years now!). During the time I read that book I was sooo busy preparing to launch LUK4, but there was that nagging feeling that I was set to do something for my service.


And the day came that our Parish Priest, Fr. Leo Acierto, C.P. invited parishioners to join in creating a parish newsletter. Di ako mapakale. Well, eventually I ended up being it's editor despite the busy schedule. Somebody said that serving is never easy. Believe me, it hasn't.


So imagine how thrilled (galak na galak na galak!) I was when Bo Sanchez showed up in yesterday's Blog Parteeh `07. I was talking with someone and was half-listening to the program and thought that he'd appear through a video message. My jaw dropped when he suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Grabeh! I was so embarrased with the person I was talking with coz I became so distracted (sorry po!).


After Bo's short talk I excused myself and went up to him immediately. I introduced myself as a fan. Sigggghhhh. And then Brother Bo had to go and interview someone and I had to do my spiel for the bloggers. I thought that was the end of it, but Jomar approached me and said that Brother Bo wanted to interview me for his video blog. My jaw dropped a second time that evening. Me? I said, "Me?"


I guess I was tulala most of the time in the interview. I completely forgot to mention that aside from my social communications ministry duties I was active in our parish choir. Oh well, I was just simply thrilled and couldn't wait for my Mom and sister-in-law to get home from Bicol so I can make tsismis about this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Jomar gave away some free books and I asked Brother Bo for an autograph in his book "How to Find Your One True Love". He signed it, "Create love." Uyyy, create love... (Read related post).


It was truly an enchanted evening for me. It's been 24 hours and I'm still starstruck...

Read my views about loving in my post "When God Writes Your Love Story".

The Party I Missed

I felt sad about missing the post-Christmas party of the SVMM Choir. I'm so envious of the fun they must've had last night at Ate Edith's studio.

Here's the fun I missed:

From JM's camera: http://bluepiranha.multiply.com/photos/album/13
From Micholle's camera: http://mishowl24.multiply.com/photos/album/62
A video: http://mishowl24.multiply.com/video/item/22

Awwww...

The Valentine Search is On

Whoopsies! So the cat’s out of the bag. My bet with Stephanie’s no longer a secret and it’s a riot!

Friendly-friend Janette blogged about it. So read it there. I’m quite embarrassed about it (red-faced), but hey, it’s out so I’m just here to explain why.

Wait... wait... lemme hyperventilate for awhile...

Why the search?

1. It’s something I’ve been ignoring. It’s been a while since I really thought about these things… okay, okay I’ll say the word… love (there that wasn’t so hard). Gulp. Janette was flabbergasted with my top 10 to-do list for the year. She said, “How do you intend to find him if it’s not even in our plans?” Good point. So I’m adding it as my 11th thing to do this year. I guess I never really thought it’s achievable that’s why I didn’t right it down.

2. I’ve been too busy. When you’re too busy with work this thing really becomes the least priority. My parents keep asking me when’s the next time I’m going to go out. Don’t get me wrong, I do go out but it’s just that I guess I haven’t met the right person.

3. It’s all Bo Sanchez’ fault. I’ve gotten so messed up reading so many books on dating (The Rules, He’s Not Into You, Boy Meets Girl) that I’ve ended up being scared to do it! Anyway, his newest bestseller “How to Find Your One True Love” has changed my views. Kuya Bo has an assignment in his book that Stephanie and I are helping each other to complete (yes moral support needed!).

4. And finally, my best friends are going crazy over me. My poor best friends have been taking care of me all these years and I think I’ve driven them to the brink of insanity. So, my dear future SO, please show up soon coz they might end up in the mental hospital already.

Qualifications and How to Apply (ha-ha-ha)

Well… hmm… it’s in Janette’s blog. But, overall, I think you should just read “How to Find Your One True Love”.

Promise, di ako magsusungit. Or you can go through my screening committee (ha-ha): Darwin, Tappy, Anne , Janette, Ely and/or Jay.

Read my thoughts about loving in my article "When God Writes Your Love Story".

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why I Wanna Stay Home

No, I don't mean I want to go out of my house. What I mean is I don't want to work outside of the country. I don't mean offense to Filipinos working abroad. My brother and sister are abroad and have been there for over a decade already. It's a choice, and my choice is to stay here.

I remember sitting beside Michael, an American based in Texas, on a plane ride to SFO last September. I was on my way to the US for a training and we had a long chat about why a lot of Filipinos are going abroad. I told him it's because of better opportunities. My sister keeps telling me that her kids are getting a lot of things that we didn't have here at home. Aside from regular academic work her kids have been experiencing a lot of after-school training that we don't have here.

BUT, I still want to stay here I told Michael. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself and if I really like the job then that's the only time I'd consider moving. I think though my calling is to stay here. Michael was very surprised at my answer. He said I'm the only Filipino he met who doesn't want to migrate.

Joel Alarilla of Inquirer.net said in his article, "I'm just saying we have alternatives. If people want to go abroad, that's fine. But if people also start to realize that the jobs can migrate to them instead of us having to migrate, what's wrong with that?"

I certainly agree to his admonition - "And while I'm sure my friends who have chosen to work abroad mean well, sometimes I get sick of some of them asking when I'm going abroad dahil sayang lang ang talino mo diyan sa Pinas... " I get a lot of that as well, and yes, it is a choice and whatever choice we make should be respected.

I have been a lot of entrepreneurs, technopreneurs and people in the IT industry lately and it amazes me how talented Filipinos really are. Pinoydelikasi.com founder Jovel Cipriano started his e-commerce business with just PhP10,000. He left a very stable job with IBM to sell Filipino food products online a few years ago and now his business is very successful. Janette Toral of Digitalfilipino.com started out the club a few years ago through a mailing list and she now provides a lot of useful trainings to her club members. Charlie Gaw of the Wedding Library sells butterflies. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado earns from her blog. My best friend managed to buy a truck (in cash) from his siomai business. The list is endless. What's important to note is the fact that Filipino entrepreneurs are good businessmen and we have a lot of opportunities. We just need to discover them and make it work.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Confession

My friends have been complaining lately on why it's so hard to drag me out of the house to have dinner on a weeknight. No, it's not because there's work the next day. It's not because I'm not allowed to go out (my parents have been pushing me out the door lately actually). It's not because I'm financially-challenged. It's because of this:

"I... NEVER... SAID... that I love you."

If you know where that line came from then you must admit, you're hooked too.

Yes, I'm addicted to watching MSKM. I watch it every single night. And tonight my heart was broken. Jackie bumped her head (for the third time!) and finally remembered everything. And then she left Ely. Sniff sniff.

And I thought she promised Ely "mamahalin kita, maging sino ka man".

Sigh... nakaka-tense!

I stopped watching telenovelas more than a year ago. I didn't even watch the beginning of MSKM. Waste of time I thought. I don't remember how I got to watch it. I think it was my Mom who said she found it interesting. Well, since my Mom doesn't really watch telenovelas I thought that was a good compelement and tried watching. And then I got hooked. So much for spending that time to read.

What I love about Filipino telenovelas though are the happy endings. I remember they had to change the ending of Lovers in Paris here because it wasn't really a happy ending in the Korean version.

Well, whatever the elixir they put in MSKM to get me and many of my friends hooked, there's one thing to remember: If you love that person, magpakatotoo ka sister or brother nang di ka maging loser. Haha.

Cheers! I hope Jackie and Ely get together again soon. Masyado nang nakaka-tense!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Starry Day in the Life of a Music Media Technopreneur

I've been experiencing quite a lot of new things lately. The other day my friendly friend Jay invited me to tag along in an album launch. Since I love OPM I agreed to join him and be his PA for the day. I thought it would be interesting to experience what a music-media person does.

So, off I went to ABS-CBN and waited at Starbucks. I didn't expect that I would be stargazing even before lunch. Jay arrived and off we went to Club O (formerly Dish), venue of Christian Bautista's "Live Christian Bautista" album launch. I got the album a few weeks ago and I most certainly enjoyed it. I thought it was very charming that the Nina Live album would be followed by Christian Bautista. Most certainly a good choice (but I really wish they'd produce a duet album of Nina and Nyoy).

I told Jay that I'd probably get starstruck and I'd be a useless PA. I warned him that if I start he should just put a paper bag over my face. Well, good thing I got over it and managed to put on my "corporate" poker face. I joined the media people in the interview room and I just observed the reporters interview Christian. There was the usual questions on how the artist felt while doing the album, tsismis, intriga and more showbiz questions. It was flattering that some of the reporters thought I was a writer. Some of them even gave me tips on how to interview.

After Christian sang some of the songs in his new album (including my favorite "You"), I summoned myself to approach him and get his autograph (yeah, yeah I know it's baduy, eh fan ako eh, bakit ba) and, of course a picture! My legs were shaking so badly after that encounter. Isa akong starstruck fan! Hehehe. I walked away fast, worried that I might start hyperventilating and make a mess of myself. Haha.

After that I remembered I was a PA for the time-being and assisted Jay in taking Christian's photo. I got up the nerve to ask him if he uses Google and he said yes. I think that was so much of a left-field question coz he looked at me strangely. So, I introduced myself and gave him my business card (in case he'd want to have his website marketed).

Went to my meetings in the afternoon and was supposed to go home already, but new found friend Cecille invited me to join them in Rachelle Ann Go and Jimmy Marquez' album launch at Mugen Bar, Metrowalk. So, I went with them since I'm an OPM fan and I was curious who Jimmy Marquez was. And lucky me! I won a t-shirt!!!



Jimmy Marquez was a runner up in ABS-CBN's Star in a Million. I remember voting for him as well since he was really good. I got both their albums at the venue and most certainly liked Jimmy Marquez' "I was Looking for Someone to Love". I hope VIVA Records supports him more coz he's a very talented and sweet person.



Rachelle Ann was also cool, very warm and bubbly. Her album's very interesting compared to the first one and her singing was superb and full of emotion (siguro dahil in-love! swerte naman ni Papa Christian!). The tracks in her new album are interesting and showcases her voice range. It's a wonder how she did sang the high notes while seated. It's talent!




I was exhausted by the time I got home. It was more than a day with the Stars. It was a day in the life of a music mediaman. As always, I worked when I got home and Jay, the not so DJ, was also working on the stuff he got from the launches. And what's great about the day, was meeting new friends, Cecille, Ginnie and Victor. At last I have friends who love OPM too. :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Yellow Evening

Christmas ain't over yet for me since I missed a lot of holiday gimmicks because of my trip. Every few months or so my colleagues/friends from E-Yellowpages get together to catch up, reminisce, help someone in need, fix a wedding or we get together just to have a few drinks. Of course, Christmas is not complete without a get-together. We finally had our Christmas gimmick last January 18, Thursday at Giligan's, Market Market.

What's great about my colleagues-turned-friends is we never miss a beat. When we get together it's as if we still see each other everyday. We may be working for different places now, live in far-flung places (Laguna, Caloocan, Paranaque... we're literally apart), live different lives, but there is a bond that would always be there. Most of us have moved on to greener pastures:

Jap - Sykes, still very much the same (I miss your Monday morning stories!) / Dave - DMCI with a baby in the way / Ruth - housewife and hoping for a baby / Portia - Market, Market (I miss our lunch chikahan!) / Anne, Haydee and Jako are still with DPC / Eug - Digitel / me - Google

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Eat-all-you-can at Greenwich Pizza

Did I? Didn't I?

I didn't.

New found friend, Jay invited me to witness a pizza eating contest - him vs. Chel. They wanted me to join in, but I declined since I had a meeting to attend after (I was afraid I'd eat so much and feel sleepy).


Anyway, here they are before they started eating pizza, pizza, pizza and more pizza.

Well, I guess they should've gone earlier. They went to several branches before they called me up to ask if there were any branches in Makati. (My friends usually use me as their Yellow Pages). So, I texted LUK4 BIZ GREENWICH, MAKATI, sent it to 2851 and I got the Greenwich branches in Makati. (I haven't lost my touch!). I tried calling the Park Square branch, but they weren't picking up the phone. I tried the delivery hotline, but it was taking so long. So I just called Jihan to ask where the branch was in Park Square. Well, I could say, she's the best map I've ever consulted (tsk tsk tsk). Anyway, so off they went to Park Square from Waltermart. I was at Glorietta killing time for my next appointment, so I joined them to be the referee.

The most number of pizza slices I've ever eaten is... 7! It was during Eddie's birthday bash at Pizza Hut back in college. Pizza Hut then had an eat-all-you-can promo and the boys forced me to eat all seven slices (crust included!). I don't remember how I managed to get back to school... I probably crawled. Well, Jay and Chel need a re-match coz it was a tie. They ate a measly 5 and a half slices. The last slice came from me and they shared it. Well, I hope Chel wins in their re-match (ha-ha-ha)!





Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Babae Po Ako

I had a long discussion this morning about my writing style with a friend. He got me to check out how my writings would fare in the Gender Genie (http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.html). So, I opened my blog and tried it out. Lo and behold! Results showed again and again that my writings reflect that I am a male writer! A male writer! Me? Male? Meeeeh?

I think I tried about ten times. I tried out my different blogs and save one entry (my column for our parish newsletter) all the results said I was male. :(

My friend had a grand time teasing me. He was already calling me pare, tol, bro . I wasn't annoyed. I was challenged to find a reason why the results showed I was male. I was really curious why. There are times I don't recognize what I've written. Even my friends who read my work sometimes don't think I wrote it (I tested that before by emailing a short story I wrote).

It took the whole day and another friend to find the answer. I tested my private blog using entries from 2005 until 2006. And, whoopsies! It showed an overwhelming poll for female.

Because I was wailing about the results to my other friend, he told me to take the Gender Brain test on Blogthings.com and this was the result:


Your Brain is 73% Female, 27% Male

Your brain leans female
You think with your heart, not your head
Sweet and considerate, you are a giver
But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!


So why did my public blogs show I was male? Go figure or ask my best friend. :)

Top 10 Things I'll Do This Year

I don't usually write down what I want to do for the New Year, but I realized that I should keep track of it so I could review what I've done at the end of the year.

Top Ten Things I Want (Will) Do This Year:

(random)
1. Bring Miggy to HK Disneyland.
2. Renovate my basement.
3. Buy a car.
4. Set-up our resort in Bicol.
5. Complete my OKRs (this is work-related).
6. Complete 6 issues of The Beads (parish newsletter).
7. Help set-up Darwin's siomai biz here (yummy!).
8. Read at least 6 business books.
9. Blog at least once a week.
10. Bring Miggy to one local travel destination.

Hmmm... fair enough.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Peter Pan at the CCP

I watched Peter Pan last night with Miggy. I wasn't feeling well and was quite skeptical about the show, but I got the tickets and invited friends to watch with me so we still watched.

Blurbs from the flyer claimed "Whatever you remember as a kid - pump it up 10 times!" (South China Morning Post), "Young and old gasped in delight!" (Straits Times)...

After hurried phone calls to my friends who were stuck in traffic at the Mall of Asia, Miggy and I ran to catch the start of the show. The beginning of the show was your usual chorus, intro of characters yada-yada. What was astounding was Peter Pan flying down from the "heavens". Cool, I thought. Miggy was so delighted with all the aerial acrobatics. I was excited about it, but I couldn't help but think how dangerous it was for the kids flying all over the place. What if the line broke? (Knock on wood...).

The last Peter Pan movie I watched were the ones done with Robin Williams (Hook) and the one directed by P.J. Hogan (Peter Pan). I grew up with Peter Pan as one of my bed time stories. The play presented a little bit of a twist to the story. It was a battle of survival where Captain Hook had to be convinced to believe in fairies to save Neverland. The story line was stable, sound, but I think it could've used a bit of fast forwarding. I couldn't also understand some of the words being sung. Some of the performers' voices were hoarse.

What awed me really was the set. If it weren't for the set I would've thought I was watching a high school production, although the aerial acrobatics was fabulous, I think some other Pinoy performers would've done a better job. But since the show delighted Miggy it was worth watching for me.

One sad thing though, my friends didn't make it to the show because of the extraordinary traffic caused by the Pyrotechnics Show at the Mall of Asia. They were stuck there for more than 3 hours! Only about half of the theater was filled, I think the producer should be more considerate in allowing those who didn't make it last night to get their money's worth. It's not as if they were irresponsible in not being able to make it. Traffic was out of control! A lot of those who got tickets for last night did not make it because of the heavy, heavy traffic. I hope the producer gives some consideration for those who missed the show last night.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Bali






Day 1

Woke up bright and early for our 11 a.m. flight to Denpasar (Bali). Weekday traffic wasn’t so bad and we arrived at the airport before 10 a.m. After checking-in we settled at the waiting area where the kids interviewed their Lolo about his younger days. Flight was delayed for more than 30 minutes and I was surprised to see the number of people who were waiting for the same flight, most were locals.

We arrived at Bali at around 3 p.m. (time’s the same as Manila) and we ate at KFC while waiting for our ride. We arrived at the Ritz Carlton Hotel at 4 p.m. and after check-in we surveyed the grounds – and I thought the stuff in magazines are just mock-ups. They’re real! As you enter the hotel the infinity pool looks like its part of the sea, and the vast horizon just brings a sense of peace and the realization that you are on vacation (haha). We went 172 steps down to the seashore and took some photos. I could barely make it back up and had to take some stopovers. We then stayed at the sunset garden and waited for the sun to set.

Dinner was at an open air restaurant, much like Puerto Galera and we had yummy seafood. After dinner we tried out the hot water pool a the resort. It was quite hard getting in the water since it felt like it was boiling, but one gets used to it after a while.

Day 2

Kuya woke us up early to prepare for our day at Waterbom. I was panicking quite a bit since I had to check my mail. Good thing there was an internet café beside McDonald’s and I managed to send and check my mail.

Waterbom is much like Splash Island, only better. The resort was very clean and there weren’t that many people, most were Japanese and some Australians. We enjoyed the river rafting and had Gabby pull us around and around. I wouldn’t forget almost drowning in the water spouts that was all over the place. Kuya forced me to try out the Boomerang, it’s a huge slide where you go through a long, spiraling tube and then when you go out in the open one goes through a vertical drop slide and then slide back up (like a roller coaster) and get thrown down to the edge of the slide. Whew! It was a good thing I partnered with Patricia and our weight slowed down the raft a bit. I also tried the Macaroni Tube with Miggy. It’s a long, winding, spiraling closed slide where you almost go 360 degrees around the tube. I screamed my head off, but what was really funny was this guy who went ahead of us and he was screaming like a banshee.

After a long day at Waterbom we had dinner at Pizza Hut across the street and went back to the hotel exhausted from the day’s activities.

Day 3

Breakfast was drive-thru at McDonald’s since we had a long list of places to see. We first stopped over at a theater to watch a portrayal of a legend and then proceeded to a batik place which showed how batik stuff gets done. An hour and a half trip through the rural area of Bali brought us to the “Tagaytay” version of Bali. Kintamana is a big volcano with three craters. We were lucky to get a glimpse of it and take photos since after 15 minutes clouds engulfed the whole area including the restaurant. JC commented that it was like we were in heaven.

After lunch we traveled once more and reached Tanah Lot at around 4 p.m. Tanah Lot’s a beach place with a majestic temple built on a huge rock. There were also several cliff areas which we surveyed. There were quite a number of animals on showcase – birds, bats and a Holy Snake (and no, I didn’t even try to check it out). Did a little shopping and managed to buy a mother and child stone sculpture for a really good price.

Day 4

I think the crew at McDonald’s thought it funny we always had breakfast there. Checked my mail at the same internet café and then wolfed down a double cheeseburger. Oink! Oink!

We then went to a beach resort for our boat ride. The boat we rode had a glass bottom and there were a lot of different kinds of fish – from small to big. I think the fish at Boracay were much prettier though (and Nemo was there!).

We were quite disappointed at the turtle place since there was only one big, 40-year old turtle. The snake gave me the creeps, but Miggy was quite happy to have it placed around his shoulder. I just settled for the tucan, but got quite scared because it almost bit my fingers since it wanted the bread I had on hand. The bat was definitely stinky!

After lunch of babi guling (lechon) – which isn’t anywhere near our local lechon – we went to Kuta to have our hair braided and had some Starbucks. Dinner was at a quaint little place at Kuta. Yumyum! Mom and Ate Joy did some 5-minute shopping and then we were dragged back by Kuya to the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Day 5

McDonald’s forever! After breakfast we took a short roadtrip to Ubud, THE shopping place in Bali. Equivalent to Divisoria, I couldn’t believe how inexpensive the paintings were and ended up buying 5! I think having them framed would be more expensive! Got some stuff also for pasalubong, but was a bit disappointed I couldn’t find a shop that sells stone sculptures. I had to buy a new travel bag to fit in all the stuff I bought. Wonder how I’ll manage to bring home to Manila the paintings I bought. The heat made us give up shopping and we then went back to the city and had lunch at… McDonald’s! My gads…

Dinner was at the beach place were we had dinner on the first day. We feasted on grilled fish and pusit. At around ten we proceeded to Hardrock Café Bali. How I missed the Pinoy entertainers! I think what sets our Pinoy entertainers apart from all the others is the talent and the ability to sing foreign songs clearly. After bearing through the first set we left to have coffee, but Starbucks was unfortunately closed already. Our taxi back to the hotel cost 60,000! Rupiah, of course haha.

Day 6

We all woke up late. Miggy and I had our breakfast at the Ritz’ b-fast buffet. I didn’t eat much, but I liked the coconut and banana milk (the only beverage available I’m not allergic to!) and the siomai was good. Miggy had waffles and bacon. After breakfast Mom and I with Kuya hurried back to Kuta to buy another bag. I managed to haggle some masks from 60,000 to 25,000 each. I guess I got some of my Lola’s haggling skills after all. The prices of the paintings though were exorbitant and I just walked out of the shop. Seeing all the stuff sold I realized that the Bali merchandise sold back in Manila are a rip-off.

After a super late lunch at the airport we sat and waited, got delayed, waited and got delayed again. We made it back to Jakarta in time for the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve mass.

I always get homesick when I spend the Christmas holidays outside of the country. It always feels sad and surreal, like it’s not Christmas. Aside from the lack of décor, sparkling and twinkling lights what I miss most is the warmth and joy surrounding the country during Christmas (it’d be better minus the traffic!). Mom was in tears after the Christmas medley singing. We always take singing our Pinoy Christmas medleys, believe me, sing it in another country on Christmas eve, you’ll be bawling by the end of the song.