Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Bridal Car that Never Showed Up

Before the year ends I thought I'd leave this bit of bad news first. On my wedding day my bridal car did not show up! Imagine me waiting at the hotel's carport desperately calling up Jack & Jenn Catering and my groom. When my Dad started to stress out I knew that I just needed to be calm, so I called up my friend who was helping out for the wedding and asked him to pick me up from the hotel. Lucky enough I arrived on the dot with a freaked out taxi driver hehehe.

After the reception Jay and I didn't have transpo back to the hotel, so our dear friend, Juned, offered his trusty delivery Ford Fiera (yup PickFresh) which everyone coined as Bridal One (any transpo the US President goes on becomes Airforce One).

Presenting Bridal One (photo by Blogie Robillo):



For the full story please visit Twisted Wedding Planner.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aileen & Jay Wedding Video




Our on the day wedding video by Buddy Gancenia.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our 800th Click, Our Wedding Day



For Jay

This is the moment
I have been dreaming about all my life
It used to be you'd come in my dreams
But I never saw your face
For years I searched for you
But you never came
Until God said it was time
And unexpectedly one night
You came in my dream
Waiting for me at the altar
And today is the day
That we will say I do
To seal our love forever
That I thought
Was once just a dream.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I'm Getting Married in the Morning

Woke up early today and saw my Kuya peeping through my door. When he saw I was awake he came in my room and tickled my feet while singing, "I'm getting married in the morning..." He went on for a bit and asked for my Mom's PC's password. He's the one currently fixing up the golden wedding anniversary celebration of my parents.

Things were going great. I was busy fussing over the final set-up for the wedding and packing my bag until my Mom told me that she couldn't locate our driver. The driver was scheduled to bring me to the hotel by 2 in the afternoon, but my Mom wanted him to come in earlier since she needed to buy some stuff. That's what stressed me out a lot and from that time on I was tense for the rest of the day. My Kuya's jokes during lunch also made my mood more sour and it lasted until about a few minutes ago when Sweetie sent me a message that broke whatever it was I was feeling.

Now I'm just munching on some ensaymada while watching Boys Over Flowers. At least I can tell myself I don't have any more of those love emo problems because tomorrow I'm marrying the love of my life! Too bad I didn't see anything from the Melason love team on PBB, that would've made my day.

Anyway, I pray that things will go just great and fabulous tomorrow!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dalawang Tulog na Lang!

4It's 2:16 in the afternoon, the 24th of December 2009, meaning I would be walking down the aisle to marry the love of my life in less than 28 hours. A lot of friends have been asking how I'm feeling right now and the past few days I've been saying that I feel bangag (dazed) with a dash of excitement. I guess I am dazed from all the last minute preparations, having my Kuya and his family around, the news that my Ate's flight got cancelled due to the heavy snow fall in the US and the fact that my best friend for almost 20 years now, Darwin, won't make it to the wedding because his grandmother passed away hours before he was supposed to fly in from Cebu.

I prayed really hard that my sister would be able to get her flights re-booked. A complete family is my one and only wish for my wedding. It's been years since we've been complete. My brother and sister weren't in each others wedding when I was a kid and since then I always wanted both my siblings to be there on my wedding day.

The past few days have been a flurry of activity. After hearing mass last Sunday my high school friends headed to ATC and had a hefty lunch, spent some time at Starbucks and went to the spa. It was a happy time because we always end up laughing when we're together. After dinner I spent time with my childhood/choir friends. They were practicing for the wedding and even though we haven't gotten together for a long time now they sounded really, really good. Then we had coffee afterwards at Bastille, just like the old days.

I don't remember much what happened last Monday. I think I spent most of my day finishing up with preparations and packing the wedding boxes and shuttling from home and the soon-to-be home because there's so much stuff to fix there (our landlady is 80 years old already so we're just having stuff done and reimbursing it later). Oh! My best friend from Singapore, Tappy, passed by the house to pick up her gown last Monday. Got my wedding gown last Tuesday and my designer ooh-ed and ahh-ed at my hablon-weaved custom-made bridal shoes. Wednesday was spent doing some wedding and packing chores and then we had our family reunion in the evening.

Now all I want to do is sleep... zzzzz...

Pasko Paksiw Pasko Paksiw!



I must say that Pasko-paksiw is one of the hardest tongue twisters around. I can only reach up to the fifth repetition then I'm a goner.

It's Christmas again! I've been too busy to blog the past few weeks and just wanted to greet everyone a happy, happy Christmas. Also please don't forget to pray for those who have been severely affected by Mount Mayon's volcanic activity and the fires that's been happening all over the Metro. They'll be celebrating Christmas at evacuation centers.

Every year is like our favorite paksiw. There are times we are bitter from bad things that happen, but there are a lot of times too that things are just so sweet. This year has got to be one of the most challenging for me. I was really sick the first few months and almost had heart surgery. But on the other hand even though my physical heart was wonky it was filled with so much love and hope. I lost most of my stuff during Typhoon Ondoy, but looking back I also received so much blessings and having my Mom help me helped get me back on my feet fast.

I guess that's just how things really are, there will always be a good balance between good and bad and besides God only gives us what we can bear.

Happy birthday Jesus! May we always remember that this season is for you.

Hugs to everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Week Before the Wedding

Written on December 20, 2009, 1:17 a.m.

I'm keeping this post to myself first and publishing it after the wedding. We decided after getting engaged that we would keep our wedding day a secret because we wanted it to be a private party and spend it with family and close friends (di namin kaya SMX eh hehehe).

We spent a lot of time on the wedding. After getting engaged last March we went through all that an engaged couple goes through. Pamamanhikan, looked for a church that was in between Marikina and Paranaque, did a lot of food tasting and research to find the yummiest food and then we rested for a whole quarter. Realized we were behind sched and started running around town again, did the pre-cana, then Ondoy happened which forced us to stop doing wedding stuff for about a month and then the mad dash to the finish line.

We haven't had a decent date in the past few months. What little time and energy I had left after work was spent on preparing for the wedding and in the 9 months since we got engaged I've been to Singapore twice, Cagayan de Oro thrice, Iloilo twice, Davao, Bataan and I don't remember anymore where I've been and let's not talk about all the events I've done and attended too. If not for the miracle last April I would probably not have survived the last 2 quarters of this year.

It's been a stressful time. I never expected to be stressed out over the wedding. The jitters set in when December came around. I honestly started to feel overwhelmed and anxious. I thought I'd just be cool and happy about things, but I guess it's just normal. Sweetie said earlier that next week would be a turning point in both our lives and we're going to go through it together. What he said made me less anxious and I feel excited again.

So we had our last date today as boyfriend-girlfriend. It felt odd since we had to go to the church, check the hotel and buy stuff for our new home. I guess we can just go back to our normal dating routine once we settle down in our new home.

A new life, a new adventure. By the time you get to read this I am already Mrs. Aileen Apolo-De Jesus. Yihee!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Map Your Neighborhood and Get a Chance to Win $50,000 for the Philippines!

Google has announced a competition that could benefit you and your country! All you need to do is map your neighborhood through Google Mapmaker. I have been relying a lot on Google Maps for map info especially when I go in and out of Manila and remember how we used the map during Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng?

Interested people can register for the Map Maker Global Competition at http://www.google.com/help/mapmaker/competitions/global/getstarted.html. The contest is open from December 15, 2009 to January 31, 2010. Entries will be evaluated on:

· Mapping quality: Mapping additions and edits must be accurate and detailed.
· Mapping quantity: The more mapping additions and edits published, the better!
· Moderation quality: Moderations of mapping changes must be polite, helpful, and correct.
· Moderation quantity: The more moderations completed, the better!

In addition to the USD50,000 UNICEF donation, the contest winner will get a VIP tour from UNICEF officials of the local project in their country that will benefit from the donation. Google will also invite the winner to attend the Google Super Mappers 2010 conference, all expenses paid.

The winner will be announced by February 15, 2010.

Additional information about the Map Maker Global Competition can be found on http://www.google.com/help/mapmaker/competitions/global/index.html.

Here's some resources you can use to guide you on how to use Google Mapmaker:

Google Mapmaker Tutorial
Mapping Party Kit (if you wanna do it with friends)
Google Mapmaker Youtube Channel (for video tutorials)

Here's a great vid of how Laoag was mapped by Leonel (a doctor!):

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Last Few Days as a Singleton

The past few months have been really crazy for me. There was typhoon Ondoy, then I had to handle a project that took up every waking moment and required me to travel a lot and then wedding preparations. I realized last night that I have not spent any quality time for myself before the wedding.

After getting scolded by some friends and colleagues I finally succumbed and asked permission from my boss to take some time off. I did. But I've still been doing some work the past week and finishing up with preparations for the wedding. Good thing my loyal and lovable high school friends have been really helpful and they've planned out a surprise for Sunday. I really have no idea what they are up to and they've been really secretive about it!

Anyway I've been experiencing some wedding jitters already and that's the reason why I have not been able to blog. I thought I'd make a list of stuff I'd do before the big day:

1. Get a massage, body scrub and a facial.
2. Buy myself a Christmas gift.
3. Go out with the girls.
4. Get a lot of shut-eye.
5. Spend some time with the son, the siblings and the bestfriend.

Any other suggestions?


Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Story about the White Rose

How do you know he is the one?

I got this question from my Formspring page. Years ago I asked the same question and I bugged quite a number of married friends. Most of them said the same thing,

"You will just know."

So I bugged more people, including my brother and he said the same thing. One friend though gave me very valuable advise. Her then boyfriend (now husband) was 7 years younger than her and she felt very anxious about their age difference. She kept breaking up with him, but he kept wooing her back. Throughout their relationship she would ask for a sign and the signs were very specific signs like a certain number of flowers, food and the last one she asked before she left for another country was a white angel. She prayed for all those signs and got positive responses each and every time.

So I did the same thing. I asked for several signs and got frustrated each and every time. It took years before I finally settled on one specific sign, white roses.

I followed Brother Bo's advise from his book, "Finding Your One True Love." He said one should meet as many guys as you can and turn these guys into friends and then pray. I can no longer count how many guy friends I have. A LOT! But looking back I think I met Sweetie during the first month I actively followed Bo's advise. He became a friend, then my best friend, my boyfriend, then my fiance. And things have been easy going between us. Things just fell into place.

And the white rose came into play the first time he visited me at home. My friends and I held a despidida de soltera for our soon-to-be-wed friend at home and I invited Sweetie to visit so he can meet my parents and my childhood friends. I was cooking spaghetti when he arrived and I didn't expect him to bring anything, much less flowers.

When my Mom called me to meet Sweetie at the door I almost fainted when I saw what he had brought me. Three white roses.

And my spaghetti? It burned. Worst spaghetti I ever cooked.

And that's how I knew he was the one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

I'm not sure about my Mom's real age because she never gave the same answer whenever I asked. I checked out her IDs before and it had different birth years! My Mom vaguely explained that she got her driver's license at a very young age and so they had to add a couple of years on the form so she could get one. Another time she said that she started working young and the bank had an age requirement. Oh well, so I never really asked how old she really is. My guesstimate is she's about 2 years younger than my Dad.

My Mom loves flowers. She's got this huge garden (plus backyard) filled with flowering plants, including orchids. A lot of our neighbors say that she's got a green thumb and is a very talented amateur florist. And because of her garden my Mom doesn't like taking long vacations because her garden only comes to life when she is around. She left the garden to my care several times before and even though I water the plants and talk to them they all just wilt and turn brown on me. Hmph.

So I got Mom this really pretty orchid from the Manila Flower Center. When I saw the orchid I knew I had to get it for my Mom even though it meant that I wouldn't have any money left for lunch, merienda and dinner (yes, it was expensive!). I got the plant and prayed that it wouldn't wilt while Sweetie and I were delivering wedding invitations. The sacrifice was worth it because Mom had this huge smile on her face when she saw my pasalubong and early birthday gift. It was the same smile she always had when I brought her home a rose I'd buy after school when I was in sixth grade (I did so for about a week by scrimping on my allowance).

Happy birthday Mom! I know I'll be moving out soon... don't be sad (she's been emo the past quarter), I'll just be around the corner :)

*Special thanks to our Ninang and my baptismal Ninang for feeding us lunch and dinner. Hehehe.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santino

I get goosebumps whenever I see Santino (with Bro) perform miracles in the hit telenovela, "May Bukas Pa." I mention the show whenever I do speaking engagements and I always see people smiling and nodding when I say it's one of my favorite shows. And I think everyone is watching it (but most are doing so secretly).

We need a miracle.

Our nation needs a MIRACLE.

I cannot explain to my friends and colleagues abroad why these things are happening in my country. Nakakahiya. I have to keep defending that there are many good things in my country too. It's sad because there are a lot of good things happening, but these bad things just keep happening, one after the other.

I keep the belief that God only gives us what we can bear. And the things that are happening in our nation is something that we all have to slug through together and rise from.

Miracles do happen.

I have been healed by Bro twice this year. The first one was in Lucban and the other time was at the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo. Both times I felt a kalabit and an overwhelming feeling of love.

Maybe, if we all pray together and act then hopefully the golden age of country will soon come. Diba Santino?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Divisoria Experience

Divisoria during summer.

Divisoria is not for the faint hearted.

My Mom and I heard mass at 6 this morning because she didn't want to go to Divisoria late in the morning. Traffic on the way was very light and we reached Divi before 9. Surprise, surprise! All the parking spaces in 168 and nearby streets were already full. We were lucky to find a spot in an eskinita. Good thing we had Manong Lito drive us since the guard wanted us to leave the keys. Manong Lito stayed behind with the car.

At 9 a.m. 168 was already bustling with activity. I think everyone who didn't go out of town was there! We just passed through 168 and walked towards Ylaya which was already very crowded. Promptly got lost inside of Yangco building and had to be rescued by one of the keepers of the shop we were going to visit (in Galvez building pala). Went back to Yangco building to get to Tabora which wasn't as bad as Ylaya. Got some ribbons from Morning Glory and some sinamay at a street vendor.

Got a pedicab to Reina Regente since Mom and I had about 5 huge bags of stuff. It took us an hour to get to Reina Regente from the corner of Ylaya. I tell you, Divisoria during the Christmas season is not for the faint hearted, but it is still the best place to get everything you need at the most practical prices. (Oh the pedicab driver was mean, we were just supposed to pay PhP50, he asked for PhP100 instead!).

We weren't able to go back to 168 anymore because there was just too many people. Bitin!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anger and Power

When anger rises, think of the consequences.” - Confucius

That was the opening line of Fr. Rudy Fernandez in his homily last Sunday and it stuck in my head. Fr. Rudy cited a traffic altercation he experienced in another country. He was the one who was wronged, but even though he was angry he surprised the other guy by giving him a pleasant greeting. The other guy was taken aback and the anger just dissipated.

The homily was still on my mind all day Monday since I've been wanting to update my Homegrown blog every week (have failed miserably). Mid-afternoon I was surprised to see Avel's Plurk about unconfirmed reports that more than 40 people were killed in Maguindanao. A number of them were his media friends. Later on it was all over the news.

I still could not quite grasp what happened in Maguindanao. I cannot understand why people were massacred and news reports say that it’s because of warring clans. The area reportedly has warlords ruling over the territory.

The struggle for power. We’ve seen this happen again and again throughout history and it usually involves bloodshed and death. The want for power seems to always have anger involved and innocent people are always victimized in pursuit for it. We always see this plot in movies and telenovelas, but it's really shocking to see it really happening.

A lot of people in the blogosphere have been asking what can be done. I honestly have no idea what we can do about this because this is really big, big stuff. What my Mom always tells me is to start with yourself and pray. And going back to what Fr. Rudy said when he quoted Confucius, "When anger rises, think of the consequences."

Hope you can take a moment of silence to pray for the victims and their families. God bless!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Marriage License Experience


My Mom always took care of my documents and eventually she taught me how to do things on my own. That didn't mean though that I liked doing "grown-up" stuff. The internet though has been very helpful though and it's much easier now to prepare stuff before going to the government agency involved (like how I renewed my passport).

Tying the knot involves a LONG document trail. I had to go to two churches for my baptismal and confirmation certificate. Requested for name change at the Diocese of Paranaque because the church misspelled my name in my confirmation certificate. My original birth certificates from NSO disintegrated during the flood. Good thing you can now easily request for your birth certificate and the ever important CENOMAR by ordering online. Whew!

We kept postponing our trip to the city hall because... well, just because. We planned to get our marriage license back in October, but Ondoy happened so we moved a lot of stuff to a later date. We originally planned to get it from Marikina, but ended up in Paranaque because we felt that things haven't settled in the area.

So THE day came and we prepared all the docs we needed (original and photocopies). We went to the Paranaque City Hall, found the Civil Registrar's office and we were immediately let in the office. A civil servant checked our documents and then gave us the application form. We filled it out, had it notarized (PhP50 only) and then paid for the application (PhP200). We then met the Civil Registrar (multi-awarded based on all the plaques I saw in her office). Everything just took less than an hour.

I'm so glad we processed our marriage license at the Paranaque City Hall. We did not encounter any fixers unlike my friend who processed her license at the Las Pinas City Hall and she paid PhP1,500!

Special thanks to Ms. Ma. Elnora L. Espiritu, City Civil Registrar of Paranaque, and her very kind staff for making the experience painless. And thank you to Kuya Edwin Budayao, kagawad of Barangay Sun Valley for my barangay clearance.

If we had these kind of civil servants there's definitely a lot of hope for our country.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Googlers try Chicharon Bulaklak

A few months ago I had the pleasure of capturing on video some visitors from Wordpress and Firefox who tried out balut (day old duck). This time around I had some visitors from Google try out chicharon bulaklak (fried pig intestines). I can't quite pinpoint if they liked it, but they were good sports. Here's the vid -



Thanks Mickey, Nikki, Christine and Diana!

*Chicharon Bulaklak at Congo Grill, PhP180/plate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Passport Renewal Experience

My passport got mutilated during Typhoon Ondoy. Good thing though that I managed to transfer it inside a bag which I threw in my closet. I wanted to get the bag from my closet but water was already up to my chest and I knew I had to go then. It wasn't worth the risk.

Replacing documents though is such a huge hassle. I called up my good friend, Mercy, and asked advise from her on how to go about replacing my passport. She told me to just go the the DFA site and set an appointment. I've been so busy so our Q&A went on for a couple of weeks. It didn't help that I heard rumors that everybody is required to change to old passports to e-passports lest you get turned away in other countries! Que horror! I didn't see any advise about it though on the DFA site. My friend also advised to get an e-passport.

So I went to the DFA site and requested for an appointment. I saw the reply a few days later in my spam box. They replied immediately but unfortunately the reply went in the spam box so I wasn't able to see it immediately. They were very accommodating when I requested for specific days.

Last night I asked my friend Mercy again about going to DFA. I've just been renewing my passport via mail the past few years and the last time I went my Mom accompanied me that's why I was apprehensive. My friend told me, "Mag-ingat ka sa fixers! Dumiretso ka lang sa loob dahil may appointment ka na."

I'm glad that she gave me that bit of advise because fixers were swarming outside of DFA. They had "Pasay City Mayor's Office" IDs on and you'd really think that they were legit. When I went down the car someone immediately escorted me across the street and said I should get a form inside one of the stalls. I said I already had an appointment. Another guy approached me and said in a loud voice, "Kumuha ka ng form dun sa stall kasi di ka papapasukin!" And then another one said, "Agency ba? Agency? Dito ka! Dito ka!" I felt really harassed and I ran to the guard who I felt was working for the DFA. I told him, "Manong, hinaharass na nila ako, may appointment ako." He immediately let me in the DFA premises.

I brought with me the following:
1. Print out of the appointment email.
2. Original passport
3. Photocopy of my passport
4. Affidavit of Mutilation (had my Dad do it for me)

I just got a form at the gym (just get it from the guard) and then went inside and went to Window 26 (you can go to W26-28). There are seats by the window where you can fill out the form. There are also photocopy machines inside. The staff was very nice even though I missed filling out some stuff on the form (I was dazed because of the fixers). She also provided a free affidavit of mutilation which I just filled-out.

After processing my papers at window 26 I went to the cashier just outside the door and then went to the second floor to have my photo and thumbprint taken (applicable only for e-passport). Went back to the gym to pay 2Go to just deliver my passport at home next week.

I finished everything in less than an hour. It was a great experience save for the awful fixers outside of DFA (I wonder when they'll finally get rid of that) and the fact that you aren't allowed to smile on your passport photo (you should see my license!).

When in doubt just visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website, they have extensive info on the site.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mahna Mahna

Here's what I got from hanging out with Sweetie and Juned last night at the Mall of Asia:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Initial Approach

My muse woke me up today. Unbelievably early for a Saturday! I was dreaming that I was in a bridal funhouse with my high school girl friends. Weird huh.

So my muse woke me up. It's been bugging me the past few days to write and I know I should've been writing down the stuff it's been whispering to me, but I've just been so dead tired running around the country!

On the plane yesterday I couldn't help but think that I'm currently at the initial approach to settling down. Life is just like a plane ride. There are times you are up in the air, down on the tarmac, bumping along air pockets, but you essentially just have to buckle up, be ready and alert and enjoy the ride.

My life hasn't been a smooth ride, but I always believed that things would settle down when the time is right. Here's a couple of things I can say about getting married:

1. It's exciting! Years ago I dreaded the thought of marrying, I guess I just wasn't ready then.

2. Wild! The time between the engagement and the wedding day is definitely wild and will force you to sharpen your decision making skills.

3. It will make you palpitate! My former boss told me, "Ah so you're moving into the dark side." I've been getting a lot of advise from friends, business contacts and colleagues about being married, but despite that I feel like I'm about to zip down an endless line.

4. Crazy! I've been told time and again that getting married is something you really have to think about. But I say that if you think too much about it you'll probably end up unmarried.

5. Happy! Of course! Who wouldn't be?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time

There are some things that money cannot buy and one of those things is TIME. I learned though from a mentor that you can actually expand your time. If there's something that is not your competency, you can most likely just hire someone with that skill and have them do it for you. It saves you time from having to learn something from scratch and it frees up your time to do other things. This thing reminds me of my not-so-favorite subject, Quatech (quantitative techniques) and my white-haired professor who spoke gibberish all term. I eventually passed the subject by doing self-study (a skill I used to pass Procter&Gamble's management exam).

Anyway, I digress. Lately I've been so pressed for time and I realized that it's something that I should learn to manage better. And here are some things I've been doing to maximize my time:

1. Do a daily task list.
2. Prioritize, if there's something in the task list that's not so important, do it the next day.
3. Get others to help you (thank God for my girl friends, they are more worried about the wedding than me!).
4. Do what you are supposed to do. Do not procrastinate (talking to myself).
5. Make sure things don't fall through cracks.

Family first though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Earthquake!

I rarely experience earthquakes because when it hits in Manila I'm either in transit or in my basement. I don't really remember the last time I actually felt the earth move.

I was busy reviewing my slides for an event tomorrow when I suddenly felt the bed shake. I looked around and didn't notice anything moving. The bed kept rocking and I said to myself, "Oh boy I really need some rest!" I don't know how long it lasted but another thought crossed my mind, "Mumu!" I prayed that it was an earthquake and (1) not me dismantling; and (2) that it wasn't an invisible guest welcoming me here at the hotel.

Oh well, be safe everyone.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The City of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Cagayan de Oro, my second this year (and I'll be there again next week!). My dear friend, Honey, who I believe is the reyna of CDO showed us around and here's a short video blog of the places we managed to visit.


Detailed posts will be placed at Lakwatsera Ako in the coming weeks.

Panagatan
Candy
Divine Mercy Shrine
Del Monte Pineapple Plantation (Bukidnon)
The Del Monte Steak
Ostrich and Crocodile Farm

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Philippines Business Stimulus Package

Front (L-R) Derek Callow (Google), Commissioner Mon Ibrahim (CICT), Mr. Monico Jacob (STI)
Back (L-R) Benette Alinduza (GoNegosyo), Mylene Abiva (PMA), Thelma Dumpit-Murillo (CITEM)

Google together with the Commission on Information and Communications Technology, GoNegosyo, Philippine Marketing Association, Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions and STI launched the Philippines Business Stimulus Package.

The packages offers the following for SMEs:

1. Free advertising on Google - get PhP2,000 worth of Google Adwords credits.
2. Website development from STI. The first 200 qualified businesses get it for free. For those who don't meet the cut-off you can have it made for only PhP3,000. (Details are here.)

Here's a video of Derek Callow, regional marketing head of Google Southeast Asia, talking about the project:


I've been in the online advertising industry for 8 years now and I think this is an awesome project that would surely help SMEs understand better how they can utilize the internet for their business.


(Thank you so much to partners supporting this project).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This is It!


Managed to find some time to watch "This is It" with Sweetie and Miguel yesterday. Typhoon Santi almost ruined our plans, good thing though the storm cleared up by mid-morning. I was really looking forward to watching the movie (and cramming some wedding stuff).

Awesome.

Amazing.

Fantastic.

Genius.

And in CDO-speak, "Tsada!" (which means wonderful).

And I was left panting after watching the show because I felt like I was dancing along with Michael Jackson (my toes were) when he was doing all those amazing moves and he was looking really good even at 50. It would have been THE concert to watch and I would have definitely watched if he went here.

"This is It" is a MUST watch show and I'm not just saying that because I am a fan of MJ.

And here is one wish I have for tonight. I will keep praying that it will happen. (To my Mama Lola, Papa Lolo, and Tito Tony in heaven hope you also intercede. I miss you all!).



Saturday, October 31, 2009

On Monsters, Ghosts, Aliens and What-Not, It's Halloween!

I thought it was already the thirty-first of October yesterday that's why I made a haphazard halloween post. My brain was zonking out already because I've been working non-stop the past few weeks (no weekends mind you!).

And so I reflected about halloween after watching Qtube's feature the other night of my group ghost blog and realized that real terrorizing horror is not about seeing ghosts, monsters or aliens. It's about things that you do that may hurt or even sever relationships.

Here are some monsters, ghosts and aliens that I think we all can do without:

1. Mudslinging, online and offline, more often than not misunderstandings stem from lack of communication.

2. Lying, if you ask permission that you are going to location A, be sure you're there and not at location B. Social networking sites work well as evidence nowadays (nyahaha). Besides lying leads to loss of trust.

3. Being selfish, being bratty. I remember all too well my bratinella days. It took more than a decade before I realized why I should've listened to my parents when I was a kid. I was so emo back then I didn't realize that they just wanted the best for me.

4. Treating helpers as helpers. Treat them as family. We've always had helpers at home and they're truly valuable they are. I don't think I'll manage to do what I do without their help.

5. Being inconsiderate. Usually because of #3.

6. The I'm better than you attitude. I wonder if there's anyone who's not like this? I fall prey to this too. Often.

7. Being unforgiving. I've experienced quarreling with family and friends too, some were resolved immediately, others have taken years, but I learned that in time and when heads have cooled things can always be discussed and mended. You just always have to remember why you guys love and accept each other.

I know it's never going to be a perfect world and nobody's perfect, but with time and a dash of maturity things could be better.

Exorcise those ghosts!

And on a happy thought, here's the making of the Qtube feature on "Tales of the Moonless Sky". (You can watch the feature here).


And you might want to read about, "The Scary Story Behind the Feature" (one of the reasons why we chickened out on the second shooting day).

Happy halloween and happy birthday to a dear friend in China (I hope you exorcise your "ghost" soon!)!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tales of the Moonless Sky

It's been more than a month since typhoon Ondoy hit our country and I'd say it's a scarier than any ghost sighting. It's real horror that will likely haunt all those affected for the rest of our lives. On the way to CDO last week I was horrified to see that most of Laguna was still under water. I don't think any of those buildings and houses would be useful after the water goes down.

Here in Manila most of us are probably back to our routines. Busy with work. I've been very busy with work, but life for me hasn't really gone back to normal. I'm still an evacuee in my parents' house, but I'm hoping I'd be able to go back to my basement this weekend (weather permitting because typhoon Santi is just around the corner).

Anyway, I've been trying to get back my groove and here's something I did with my best friend and her best friend a few weeks ago. Qtube featured our ghost blog, Tales of the Moonless Sky, for their halloween episode.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Heart of the Philippines

I was on my way to Cagayan de Oro the other day and saw a group of interesting looking islands. I whipped out my camera and took some photos. I took quite a number of photos since I wanted to identify the location using Google Maps. All of the photos were overexposed, but with Picasa's "I'm feeling lucky" edit button the photos kinda became decent. I was showing them off to Miguel when I noticed an island that's shaped like a heart.

Lookie! Lookie!

The heart of the Philippines.



Me izz a hopeless romantic :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thank You Day

Today is National Thank You day, so I am just posting this note to say thank you to my family, my friends, colleagues, business contacts, acquaintances etc. who have been there for me through thick and thin, through happy times, through emo times, crazy times.

And thank you to Toblerone for the wonderful yummy cake and chocolates. You have endeared my Mom endlessly since she is a sweet tooth, and me, poor little me, I have been allergic to chocolates for 8 months now, BUT, that doesn't stop me from munching tiny portions here and there.


Be content and be thankful about everything you have. So how do you spread the sweetness of gratitude? Say thank you to your loved ones creatively by posting a photo in your blog/social networking site. Let me know about it by leaving a comment below with the URL to your post. I will then choose 5 readers who'll get Toblerone TY kits. You have until November 10 to submit your entries. Complete mechanics can be found here. (For GMA residents only.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bearhugs for Baguio

My soon-to-be ninang, popularly known online as YogaJane, posted this on her Facebook page,

I am helping my friend, Cathy Guballa, collect teddy bears and stuffed toys for the children of Baguio & surrounding areas. I can get these from you till Oct. 23, send these to Cathy on the 24th, and the toys go to Baguio Oct. 25. Below is Cathy's message:

BEARHUGS FOR BAGUIO-The children in many of Baguio’s evacuation centers have been severely traumatized by the typhoon. Reports say that many of them stare blankly at walls, and have no appetite. A stuffed toy is a small thing, but for a child who has been through a nightmare such as the recent floods and typhoon, it can mean everything and help him or her, break out of that shell. Together with PINE, a Baguio NGO, a group of friends and I are trying to raise at least 500 bears or stuffed toys to send to Baguio’s children. If you would like to donate your old teddy bears or stuffedtoys, please email 10000bears@gmail.com or send a text message to 0917-529-1964 so we can advise you of the drop-off point. Thank you very much!


I think this is something that would be very helpful for the kids to recover from the calamity. Show that you care, send a bear to Baguio!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change

Our backyard during Typhoon Ondoy. My whole basement was under water.

Last night while pondering on when I should move back to my basement one thing that crossed my mind was:

"Will there be another Ondoy in my lifetime?"

A few months ago I chanced upon an article that mentioned that the sea level will rise by at least 1.3 meters (as predicted by scientists) in the next century. I realized that it was probably the reason why the shoreline of our hideaway beach place in Bicol was eating up the land area. When I was a kid we could walk around the coral reef during low tide. In the past few years I noticed that you have to wade around in waist high water just to get on the reef (plus the reef shrank!). And whenever it rains a small creek forms at the side of our place. My Aunt said that there's been flooding in the past few years. Climate change or due to deforestation, I don't know.

I dread experiencing another Ondoy. It's not about losing things. It's about facing your mortality and questioning if you'll be safe ever again. And I've been losing sleep over that since that dreadful day Ondoy swept in floodwater in my room where I found myself in waist high to chest-deep water in less than 5 minutes. I'm glad I got out without getting grounded and I just managed to grab my hand bag. And I didn't have it that bad, my 87-year old uncle stayed on his roof at Provident Village for about 24 hours before getting rescued.

I read too that there is no stopping the ice caps from melting. This is caused by climate change. It's time for each of us to take action to slow-down the ice caps from melting. I don't even want to think about whether it is possible for our whole country to go under water.

I read that the only way to slow down climate change governments have to take big active steps. Hello President Obama, I hope the US can make the biggest initiative on this, my government is kinda very busy right now with the calamity. Please?

I say let's each lessen our carbon footprint, at least we can help in our own little way.

This post was written in support of Blog Action Day.




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Take U to the Philippines

I know I've been so emo the past few weeks. Sorry about that and it's worse when a fellow Filipino slaps you in the face by saying in not so many words, "Yeah you've been hit by a typhoon but you should still do it!" There is such a thing as compassion.

Anyway, I know things will eventually move and settle down and I thought I'd mark this day by sharing with you a video made by the Department of Tourism with famous Black Eyed Peas member, Apl, to promote our country's tourist spots -

And here's a vid on how the project came about -


Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Blogging Nation


I honestly wasn't ready yet to go out in public. I realized that when I did a speaking engagement in Iloilo just days after experiencing Typhoon Ondoy. It took every strength I had to put up a brave face and do my talk. I was still a bit of a mess and I wasn't keen on going out until I was "whole" again.

On Wednesday evening I was informed by Philippine Blog Awards president, Juned, that I was going to receive an award, digital chief, a special award from Globe. I had two days to prepare myself. Anyway with a lot of prodding from Sweetie and a mad dash around Mall of Asia to find something to wear (he didn't want me to show up wearing a Freddy Kreuger-like shirt hehehe).

So we sat at the second level of the theater. Fantastic bird's eyeview and great for photos (my settings though were a bit off). I was still apprehensive, but eventually I began to relax and enjoy the program (especially seeing the most awarded blogger of the night!) and talking with other blogger-flood victims helped too.

And there is hope. That is what I saw and felt during the blog awards. Gang Badoy mentioned in her keynote speech that bloggers have responded well and have helped out a lot during the disaster. She said, "We don't have to be united to bring forth a great nation." Indeed. We all have our own opinions, beliefs, wants, motives, needs etc., but in time of great need we all focused on one purpose, to help for relief.

And it is not over yet. We still have a lot of work to do dear friends and I hope we don't end up being complacent. We shouldn't just easily go back to our daily routine. We have to see this through together (and sana tuluy-tuloy till we finally see our country rise again).

And it is with much honor that I accept the "Globe Tattoo Digital Chief" award. Super duper thanks to Globe, especially Paulo Pena, and the Philippine Blog Awards.

Here's the list of winners:

SPECIAL AWARDS
Best Blog Design –
The Site Guy
Best Filipino Blog Abroad –
The Warped Zone
Best Foreign Blog –
My Sari Sari Store
Blogger’s Choice –
Micamyx
Best Filipiniana Blog –
Pilipino Komiks

TEN BEST POSTS OF THE YEAR

Karnabal by Tuyong Tinta ng Bolpen
Finding Your Soul Mate: A Statistical Analysis
by Guttervomit
Lost Gems Of Philippine History: The 1896 Board Meeting by It’s true! It’s true!
The Diving Boys of Quezon Bridge by Dennis Villegas
Twenty Pesos by Lostphotograph
The way of the leaf by SMOKE
Portrait of a dramatic highlight in Nick Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino by Gibbs Cadiz
Kaya Dumarami ang Bading Kasi… by Manila Gay Guy
The Parable of the Furry White Rabbit by Good Times Manila
The Amazing Bulul: A Story of Epiphany by The Cat Whisperer

BEST BLOGS

Best Technology Blog – Jaypee Online
Best Travel Blog –
Langyaw – Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
Best Entertainment Blog –
Lessons From the School of Inattention
Best Personal Blog –
Writing on Air
Best Food & Beverage Blog –
Table for Three, Please
Best Family & Living Blog –
Make or Break
Best News & Media Blog –
Virtual Journals
Best Business Blog –
Negosyo Ideas
Best Sports Blog –
Fire Quinito
Best Hobby & Recreation Blog –
Bearbrick Love
Best Fashion Blog –
Who is Elyoo?
Best Photoblog –
I Am a Documentary Photographer
Best Culture and Arts Blog –
magnetic-rose.net: Japanese Pop Culture for Filipino Fans
Best Commentary Blog –
The Marocharim Experiment
Best Videocast Blog –
Entrepbuff.com
Best Podcast Blog –
Brink Notes Entertainment Daily
Best Humor Blog –
The Professional Heckler
Best Gaming Blog –
Blog Mike Got Game!
Best Advocacy Blog –
Autism Society of the Philippines

Best Beauty Blog – The Doctor Is vaIN

GLOBE SPECIAL AWARDS

Digital Chief - Aileen Apolo
Digital Elders - Manolo Quezon, Janette Toral, Noemi Dado, Anton Diaz, Gibbs Cadiz

Congratulations to the winners and the PBA organizers/committee and volunteers! :)

*my award Photo by Fritz

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Because He Said He'll Never Give Up

In just a few more days we'll be done clearing up and sorting through my stuff that drowned in the flood. I had written off all of my cassette tapes since my small music cabinet that housed my collection was totally wrecked. But guess what, ONE tape actually survived!

A few months back I blogged about my treasure and listened to the tape and forgot to put it back in the cabinet. The player did not survive, but since he promised he'll never give me up, he's still alive!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Love My Mom


My Mom is like a drill sergeant when it comes to putting things back in order and that's a trait I unfortunately did not get from her. Most of my stuff have been thrown out but some are still lined up in the lanai, the sala, the backyard and all over the house. What little effort I have done did not even make a dent to clear out whatever is out there. But my Mom? She's really got this fantastic talent of putting things in order and I don't know how I would be without her.

Thank you Mom for being the best in the whole wide universe!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tips for the Flood Prone Home Owners

I'm no noob to floods. Last July I already chucked out a lot of my stuff that got wet when flood water rose almost to my knee. A few years back when Miguel was a little boy his bed floated with him on it since we were asleep when the water rose. I don't remember anymore what we lost back then. There were others, but I was away on a trip when they happened (i.e. Milenyo).

And then Ondoy happened, we lost most of our things since water rose to about 7 feet. Good thing we at least saved Theodore (my PC) and Daisy (my netbook), poor Grex (Miguel's PC) has only his heart (CPU) working, we lost 2 monitors.

I read around the net that a lot of people experienced flooding for the very first time, so I thought of putting together these important lessons I have learned throughout the years.

1.Your life is more important than any of your things. When you are already in chest deep water you better get yourself to higher ground really fast. You'll find everything anyway when the water subsides (it'll be wet though).
2.Do not put important documents and valuables where flooding may occur. I lost all my docs, but I realized that I could just simply request for new ones with the NSO, church (for baptismal and confirmation certificates), DFA (for passports) and the embassy (for visas).
3.And that goes as well for photos, especially old ones. Scan them while you still have them!
4.Keep negatives in order. A good number of my old photo albums got ruined. Good thing I was conscientious in filing negatives. I'm going to bring them to Island Photo or Digiprint soon to have them converted to a digital file. Also keep back-up digital files of your photos.
5.Data. Archive everything in an external hard drive and back up with CDs. I wonder if there's a reliable and inexpensive cloud resource I can store data in.
6.Gadgets and power cables. Don't scatter your gadgets around. Have them in one place where it'll be easy to grab them in case you need to run.
7. Appliances. I lost my 12-year old TV, DVD player and CD player. I should've thought of bringing them to higher ground when the water was still very low. Have them dry out before attempting to plug them. A friend also advised that you can tie them up to prevent them from floating away. Don't forget to unplug all appliances and turn off the main power switch.
8.Books. The only books we managed to save were the really old encyclopedias which was on the topmost shelf. Also managed to save some of my grad school books because I stored them in huge plastic boxes after July flood.
9.Clothes can be washed. My friend from Iloilo advised that the best detergent to use is Perla since this would take off the smell and any itch you may feel even after washing. Same goes for your jewelry. Don't worry, you'll find them when the water subsides and they're the easiest things to clean out.
10.Your bed. Don't worry about your bed. It will float. The only things we managed to save were the things we put on the bed. Thank God my Dad's 50+ year old love letters to my Mom survived Ondoy. And oh, don't close your door, they expand when they get wet :)

And always save up for a rainy day. Just buy what's essential after, you lived anyway before you had all those other things (and extras).

It will be traumatic, but cheer up. Your life is more important than any material thing. Thinking about how things would be a year from now would also be very helpful. Focus on that so you won't end up dwelling on the situation and you'd be able to mobilize yourself faster.

O Pare Ko


Currently spending a quiet afternoon with Miguel. He's hijacked my temporary bed to review for exams tomorrow. Good thing his classmate was kind enough to lend her notes and handouts so he can review. We also managed to drop by school yesterday and got the list of required books, but only found four out of the eight in National Bookstore. I didn't realize that Goodwill Bookstore (now Bridges something) only sells college books. Anyway, I hope that Miguel's teachers would be more helpful than the Registrar told Miguel, “Dapat alam mo yung gamit mo diba?” when I requested for a list of supplies that he would need. I guess I shouldn't have expected her to be compassionate about our situation.

The 9 a.m. mass was cancelled despite the fact that the church was filled with people. It looks like our parish priest would like to force everyone to attend the 11 a.m. fiesta mass because he invited the bishop to celebrate mass. It was very difficult to park earlier, so we'll just probably attend the 4 p.m. mass with my uncle later. I spent the free time to finish a commitment for the PBA.

Since the sun was out I attempted to dry out some photos and documents and promptly got dizzy when I was called to eat lunch. Heatstroke siguro since I was under the sun from 11 to 12. I was supposed to sort out stuff, but I'm still quite dizzy so I'm just doing some light stuff (can't lie down since Miguel's on the bed).

For my Mom, thank you so much for being our strength :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In the Tunnel

Before and After

It's been a week since the Ondoy struck us here in Manila. Another typhoon, Pepeng, is currently wreaking havoc in Northern Luzon. I pray that the families experiencing Pepeng's wrath would be okay. I hope they managed to prepare for the worst.

I've been swinging between being happy and sad the whole week. There would be days I would be perfectly fine, even managing to work a bit, but there would be days when I feel like I'm still in chest deep water screaming for help.

I found solace in the people I met in Iloilo early this week. They experienced the same thing when typhoon Frank flooded Iloilo July last year. They have since moved on. My dear friend, Mabel has since given birth. She was 8 months pregnant with my godchild when their house was flooded to the roof. She doesn't remember how she managed to get up to the roof. She gave birth about two weeks later with some complications.

Seeing Kyen-Kyen reminded me that there would be life after this disaster. The bundle of energy my friend struggled to contain when we were having merienda brought me hope. It took awhile but after chatting for awhile my godchild started playing with me. And that's how things will probably be. It's going to take awhile before I'll be back to my usual self, but I will get there, hopefully sooner and not later.

Happy Birthday to my Ate


Happy birthday to my sister who is going to be my matron of honor soon!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blessed Be

After 2 nights in Iloilo I'm back home. I dreaded seeing my room since I didn't know what to expect. I delayed going down to the basement since I didn't know how I would react. Finally after two hours I went downstairs. Greeted by knick-knacks as I was descending the stairs. The light in my room was on.

I walked in my now-empty room. Save for the bed frame and dresser, all the other shelves and things have been removed. The floors scrubbed clean, gleaming under the florescent light. I sought out my TV, but the space where it used to be was empty. My footsteps echoed as I walked across the room to inspect my closet. It was still bright red, whore red against the white walls my friends termed it. I peeked inside my closet and saw that my very wet clothes were still inside. I immediately closed the closet door since the stench was so bad.

I just felt relief that I am safe. That my family is safe. I thought that I was in the worst situation in the world when I was in chest-deep water holding on to my floating bed, but after seeing the devastation in the eastern side of Metro Manila I could only say that I am still very lucky.

My parents finally found my Tito. He is in his mid-80s. He lost his house in Provident Village, the worst hit place with over 100 dead. My Dad told me earlier that my Tito was eating with his family when the flood just suddenly came in their house. They immediately scrambled to the roof since their house was a bungalow at around 1 in the afternoon last Saturday. He was only rescued on Sunday and was brought by a truck to Caloocan. My parents finally located him through the help of cousins only yesterday.

I have been holding back tears because my Dad told me not to cry about what happened. It's really hard and I am trying my best to be strong and to use my strength to reach out to my friends in other countries to help my country. It will take some time to get over the trauma and the shock of losing everything I've worked hard for. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am still blessed and that I should help in whatever way I can.

If by any chance you are from another country or in another city in the Philippines and get to read this post. I hope you can help the people in Luzon by sending any help you can. You can refer to this page for ways on how to send relief.

God bless everyone.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to Send Donations for Typhoon Ondoy from the US

For those in the United States you may send your donations through Ayala Foundation US. Here's how:

AF-USA accepts cash donations (as this is most urgently needed) for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy thru the following means:

1. Check:

Make check payable to Ayala Foundation USA, indicate in the note part that the donation is for the Victims of Typhoon Ondoy and mail it to AF-USA office at 255 Shoreline Drive, Suite 428, Redwood City, CA 94065.

2. Online Donations via credit card:

Please click on this link (http://www.af-usa.org/donate_now_form.asp) and choose AF-USA Typhoon Relief fund in the drop down menu.

3. For wire transfer, below is the account details:

Account Name: Ayala Foundation USA
Account Number: 203179049
Account Type: CA
Routing Number: 321171184
Citibank, N.A.

Thank you so much.

For updates on Ondoy and other AF-USA related matters, we encourage you to please view our Facebook page. Click on this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ayala-Foundation-USA/136319814988?ref=nf . If you have a Facebook account, please log in and sign up to be our fan so you may share our updates to your own friends.