Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Silver Love Story

It's been 25 years since my Kuya and Ate Joy tied the knot. Wow! How time flies!



When they married I was just a froshie in high school wearing ugly braces and was a walking stick (I didn't have any fats at all!). I was tasked to be the bridesmaid together with my cousin, Tina. It was a very fun day for me since we had all our relatives present. In the next year Gabby was born and I spent weekday afternoons playing with him while studying algebra and I remember we had to spend Christmas in Baguio and Pangasinan. A year later Carissa came and then eleven months later Patricia was born.

The family moved to Jakarta though when Patty was till a toddler, but we always celebrated Christmas with them, either in Jakarta or in Manila. We thought there would just be three kids,  but soon after Michael was born a few months after Miguel and then JC came in last. This made things more crazy and fun for the family since our parents just had so much grandkids to spend time with!

One of the best memories I have of our family vacations was the time we were stuck in Jakarta airport for a few hours. My Dad gathered all the kids on one side to tell them our family history. He regaled them with the story on how they managed to escape capture from the Japanese and the adventure they had crossing the sea from Quezon to Surigao. He said they had to row through in stealth the huge Japanese ships that were in sea during that time. It was a really great story and the kids still remember that day.

My Kuya's family is a force to reckon with since there's 7 of them now! And everything's just crazy when all 7 of them are complete, haha. This Christmas will certainly be a crazy one since it's been a few years since all of them have been on one place and I'm looking forward to spending time with my nephews and nieces.

Congratulations Kuya and Ate Joy! Thank you for bringing to this world my lovable nephews and nieces! Jay and I have a long, long way to go before reach 25 years of wedded bliss!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

7 Years

I was presented with four forks in the road when I graduated in college.

(1) Be a professor in finance
(2) Work in a bank
(3) Work in the senate
(4) Work in a telco

My primary deal-breaker was the fact that I had to earn enough to make sure I'm able to feed Miguel and send him to pre-school. I didn't think I was good enough in finance to teach it. My Mom wanted me to work in a bank but I didn't think I'd survive working in one (it's still finance!). Much as I wanted to work in the senate I thought that it wouldn't pay enough for me to support Miguel. So easy enough I ended up working in a telco.

I must say that my choice of career was not deliberately planned. I had planned in broadstrokes and realized when I was taking my MBA that I wanted to specialize in marketing. At the telco they refused to give me the opportunity to transfer to another department because they wanted us to focus on selling. So I left. While finishing my MBA I helped my Mom in her export business for awhile and that's where I learned to do operations and manufacturing. Eventually I ended up in an internet company where I became product manager for a trade directory and later on for the web and mobile yellow pages. Ahh that was where I learned a lot about marketing online technologies. After that stint I spent some time in the property development industry.

In each of the jobs I had taken I made sure I learned a new skill. Sales, marketing, advertising, operations, business development, PR, and market research. I had about 10 jobs before I found THE ONE. I guess my thirst to learn more came from the 1:1 sessions I had with Dr. Ned Roberto who told me that in each and every part of my life I should have a mentor. So since then I've always strived to find someone I could follow to be my mentor (they usually don't know about it! But if I keep asking you questions or keep observing you then it means I'm trying to pick up a skill from you!).

Back when I hadn't gained my Google 15 yet.


Anyway, so I celebrated my 7th Google anniversary on my birthday. It's the longest time I've spent in one company and I must say every single day has been exciting and different and I get to learn something new everyday. So how has it been in the last seven years? Let me count the ways...

(1) I gained the Google 15 (and more!)

When I joined back in 2006 they said that everyone gains at least 10 pounds when they join Google. Now it's not just 10, it's 15! I have definitely gained that weight and more!

Rare opportunity to meet Dr. Eric Schmidt when he was president of Google.

(2) I'm learning a gazillion things

A few weeks after joining Google I realized that I was living in a hole and that there was so many things out there I didn't understand and needed to study (I still feel the same way!). There has been so many people who painstakingly taught me fundamental things I needed to know about the industry and how things worked (ask Jay, he once had to give me a 2 hour session about the different programming languages!). I've never been afraid to ask and I still continue to ask when I don't understand anything.

-3'C in Zurich!

(3) Seeing the world

My parents told me I had itchy feet. They couldn't hold me down in one place. I just have to keep traveling. My brother laughs whenever I tell him I just want to be a plain housewife. They know that I have to be always on the go. Never in my life I imagined I would have the opportunity to visit other countries as much as I am doing now.

My Outreach family in 2012.

(4) Friends all over the world, and I really mean all over!

I have 24-hour support every single day and can ping anyone at any time in case I need to talk to someone. This is also one thing I didn't expect and I thank God everyday for all the new friends I meet every single day.

GBG Community <3

(5) Do what you love

My brother told me just before my final interview that I would get the job if I was meant for it. He eventually told me that he felt that I wasn't really working because I love what I do. That's true. I actually rarely take a leave and only do when I'm just tired (or need to do a lot of laundry!).

gDays in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

(6) Making an impact

Growing up my Dad said that we should always be of service to others and I'm happy that through my job I am able to help others in my own little way. I hope that I would also inspire others to do the same.



(7) Just be thankful and give it your all

I've been through a lot in the last few years but I have faith that I will always be steered in the right direction so I could complete my mission. I am thankful everyday that I got the opportunity to work in a company that's making a lot of impact in the world, a company that allows me to also make an impact. And also one that made sure I'm still going to live! :)



To everyone who's made it possible for me to mark this milestone, thank you from the bottom of my newly repaired heart! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Eraserheads in Singapore 2013

When I heard from my friend, Karla, that the Eraserheads was going to have a concert in Singapore I immediately fixed my schedule to make sure that I would be in Singapore. My original plan was to watch with my colleagues but many of them had made plans to be out of the country because of the long holiday, so I thought since it's my birthday month I might as well enjoy the concert together with family! Luckily Malacanang declared August 9 a holiday as well in Manila so my boys didn't have to miss work/school.



I worked on increasing my stamina to make sure I finish the concert and luckily an angel called up and saved me from my wobbly legs while waiting in line for 2 hours.The last time I watched the Eraserheads was in 2008 during their first reunion concert. I missed the second one because of my health. Who would've thought I'd be able to watch my favorite rock band in a rare concert just a few months after surgery? :)


I wanted to stand, dance and sing all throughout the concert but since we got tickets in the seated area we had to sit (they do follow rules strictly in Singapore!), but we got to do so towards the end and all throughout the encore. I always listen to Eheads songs since I have their albums on my iPod and so I enjoyed singing along during their performance. There were no gimmicks, no intermission, no fluff, just pure Eraserheads. And they didn't really need to do anything. They could've performed on an empty stage and I think the audience would have still gone wild just the same.


I do have a lot of favorite Filipino bands but the Eraserheads has always been (and always be) on the top of my playlist. I think Ely + Raimund + Marcus + Buddy put together is magic and no other Filipino band has been able to replicate this in my lifetime (I say mine coz I'm not sure if there are others). And I think a lot of other Filipinos see this. I saw a couple of people in the audience bowing down with their arms raised like they were venerating gods.


I had a mighty good time at the concert. From start to finish. There wasn't any dull moment and I was truly amazed they performed straight for more than 2 hours! I was especially ecstatic hearing my favorite Eheads songs live and hope that I would be able to watch again sometime in the future. And hopefully by then I can not only dance, sing, headbang, but jump too!


My bagets and niece who were not born yet when the Eheads came to fame watched the concert with me and I'm glad that they enjoyed and managed to sing along to their songs. Miguel even managed to take a lot of photos and uploaded it as soon as we got home! I made sure that he listened to Eheads songs as he was growing up so he could relate to my kind of music. So, it's not just my generation that loves the Eheads, it's also the younger ones and older ones too (my friend Karla's Dad sat beside us during the concert and was singing along all throughout the concert!).



I'd like to say thank you to the organizers, Beyond Photography Productions, for bringing the best Filipino rock band to Singapore and to Arnel for taking care of me, my family and friends.

PS On a side note, I finally got the chance to meet the adorable Marcus Adoro who I have been exchanging emails with for about 2 years now. When I introduced myself to him he immediately took my hand and made mano! Hahaha!

PPS On another note, I had met Ely about 10 years ago at work when he presented our product jingle. I was seriously starstruck and our company president noticed how enamoured I was with Ely. He approved the project because I didn't stop gushing about the Eheads after the meeting (probably to shut me up, haha). 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Healing and the End of the Age of Indulgence

After hearing the first few bars of Freddie Aguilar's "Anak" when I boarded the taxi early this morning I knew that it was going to be a really good and happy day. I told the uncle taxi driver that I was surprised he was listening to a classic Filipino song. He said that it's good to start the day with good songs. He went on and on and at some point of our conversation I found out he was Catholic. Another surprise.

I asked him how and why he converted to the Catholic faith and he said that he was a bad husband. His wife left him because he (pointing to his mouth) was abusive. His wife moved in with her sister in law who was Catholic. She advised her to pray the novena and uncle mentioned that when he was alone he just had the urge to go to the church near his home. He went there and sat at the last pew, not really knowing all the practices we do in church. He realized that he had to go back to his wife. He did and told her that he wanted to become a good husband. They continued to hear mass and then eventually they converted.

Uncle went on to tell me that he had already visited the Vatican. He said he prayed for it and he managed to sell enough cars to buy a ticket to visit the Vatican. He's also visited quite a number of other places and he said that God gives you what you wish for when you pray for it. He's also had a heart attack and several surgeries but he's pulled through because of his faith.

Ask and you shall receive. Pray. That's what I did when I was in so much pain after my surgery. I honestly thought I wasn't going to make it because the pain made me want to give up. But I knew I had to be strong for my boys, Miguel and Jay, because I promised them that I would get well. It's been a struggle the last few months, but I'm happy to say the saga has reached its happy ending.

I had my sixth month check-up last week and both my doctors (cardio and surgeon) have declared that I have fully recovered from mitral valve surgery. I still feel a bit odd at times, a bit unbalanced, but surviving a huge event, climbing Borobudur and being able to do a lot of other stuff now (there are times when I feel I have so much energy!), tells me I'm good to go. Ready to rampa! Ready to take on my mission again.

And today I just felt so inspired from the uncle taxi driver's story. He wasn't born into the faith that he embraced when he was older, but in less than 30 minutes he managed to inspire me and bring me back on the right track. I also feel that God got him to drive me today because I've been missing my Dad the last few days. I've been wanting to hear from him and get guidance on my next steps because he always did that for me. He was my guiding light.

The age of indulgence is over. Time to diet. Eat more healthy and stop shopping!

Thank you Lord. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Joy: 6 Months After Surgery

I love playing with babies so it's really been a pain not to be able to carry one in the last six months because of the surgery. Being able to carry a baby again was one of my motivations to exercise and work on my stamina because one of my physiotherapists told me that if I didn't work hard I wouldn't be able to carry my baby ever. I don't know if I'd have another baby again, but I certainly like cuddling babies so I've been pushing myself the last few months.

It's been six months since I had mitral valve surgery (heart surgery) and I can now say I'm feeling about 90% normal again. There's still some aches and pains here and there every so often and I still tire easily, but at least I'm very much functional again. Some accomplishments in the last 2 months are worth mentioning:

(1) Traveling

Traveling is part and parcel of my job so I had to work on going up and down a flight of stairs. I also had to be able to carry at least 7 kilograms up a flight of stairs (inevitable especially when you travel to provinces). Ahh, but I impressed some travelers when I managed to get off my 20+kg. luggage off the conveyor belt without having to carry it (how I did it is a secret, Yoda powers!). And the most important thing I had to work on was gaining back my confidence of being able to travel alone.

Enroute to Carbin Reef.

And because I have regained that confidence I actually surprised my boys by going home to Manila the day after their birthday. All along they thought I had flown to Jakarta to avoid the haze but I felt really sad to have missed both their birthdays so I just booked a flight and went straight home to Manila (my doctor told me not to go back to Singapore until the haze is gone). And a happy day it was!

(2) Doing House Chores

We all take for granted our ability to carry stuff. After surgery I could barely raise a glass of water and I had to use a mug with a straw to drink. Eventually when I could finally raise a glass of water I worked on being able to carry my Nexus 7, then my laptop etc. I love doing the laundry so I always had to ask one of my boys to help me carry the basket to the laundry room. It was also pure joy when I could sweep and mop the floor without wincing in pain.

(3) Carrying a Baby

I couldn't help but grin when Joy (my one-year old playmate) finally asked me to carry her today. I was apprehensive at first because I was scared I might drop her, but I couldn't say no so I bent down and lifted her. I was so happy I insisted she come with me when the driver brought me home. She was barely crawling when I left for Singapore for my surgery and now she's already running around!

(4) Run a Huge Event

I wasn't sure if I was really ready to run a huge event. A few weeks back we brought over 200 of our communities across the region to Yogyakarta. I just put in my mind that I could do it and made sure I managed my energy well. There were times though I thought I'd break but I just prayed I'd survive. All was well and everyone who attended was happy.



(5) Climbing a Temple

I love traveling and exploring places. In my last post I mentioned that achieved climbing Borubodur. Originally I did not really plan to do the trek up since the 3 flights just getting to the grounds of the temple was already too much for me. The temple though was so beautiful I just had to see the sunrise from the top. I was really happy when I reached the top (not sure though if my doctors would be! Haha).

(6) Eating Chicken Again

My long-time mild allergies were activated when I had pneumonia and I have sadly not been eating chicken since 2008. My doctor mentioned the possibility of my immune system improving after surgery. Things were bad in the first few months, but I've been feeling great lately and thought I should try eating chicken and lo and behold I can now eat about 2.5 Don Hen buffalo wings without having an asthma attack (I only sneezed!). So happy! (Little secret: I had McChicken sandwich twice this week alone!).

(7) Gaining Weight

It seems though that with 100% blood flow it's easier for me to gain weight despite moving around more (argggh fast metabolism where did you go?). I'm at least 5 kilograms over the limit my doctor gave me so I'm sure I'm going to get a scolding next week.

Life is good. Life is joyful. I thank God everyday that I survived what could've had a disastrous ending. I understand I still have a mission to accomplish and whatever it is I just leave it to God to navigate me where I should be.

Love you all!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mapping the Philippines 2013

Life is just really awesome when your 20% project makes a huge impact. Everything though is because of the thousands of volunteer mappers across the country who believed that they could help and contribute in their own little way.



Thank you my dear mapper-friends!

(And thanks ANC Alerts and TJ Manotoc for this feature).

More:
Wall Street Journal feature
Interaksyon's feature

Monday, July 1, 2013

Achievement Unlocked: Climbing Borubodur


Last Sunday my dear friend Avel went around and asked everybody to describe Borubodur in one word. It was Juned who gave the perfect description on how I felt about Borubodur. He said, "Achievable!"


It was a mean feat for me and Juned to climb the temple. On the path to the temple I held on to Juned because it was dark and I didn't want him to stumble. Just as when we managed to get up to the frontage of the temple everybody disappeared and good thing Vanj stayed behind to assist me and Juned (thanks Vanj!). Both Juned and I were huffing from the steep flights of stairs from the entrance. We took a leisurely pace as we got up the temple.


Fifteen minutes later, with dirty hands and pants we surprised everybody when we showed up at the top of the temple. Ahh, photos were in order to mark our achievement. I realized though that it wasn't as difficult for me since I've been working up on my stamina and practicing on Hyatt Yogya's stairs paid off. I wouldn't have made it if you had me do it 2 months ago.



I love exploring museums, temples, watching about the histories of civilizations etc. and I originally wanted to be an archaeologist so I was beaming with pleasure the whole time we were in Borubodur. Watching the sun break in the day was an awesome spiritual experience. I just stood there in awe while take photos of the sunrise (check out the auto-awesomed photos here). It was one of those times I felt really happy I survived my heart surgery adventure.

Another thing that made the trip more pleasurable was being with friends from across the country and parts of Southeast Asia. The last seven years have truly been a huge adventure of opportunities for me. The best thing about my work was meeting lovely friends from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao! I feel like we celebrated our friendship with a jumpshot (see the auto-awesomed photo here!). I really didn't know if it was okay for me to jump, but jump I did!





One thing though that would have made me happier would've been to have both my boys with me since it was their birthday weekend. Ahh but I made a big surprise the day after when I showed up unexpected at home in Manila. Their look was priceless!




Oh Borubodur, I hope to visit again one day with Sweetie and Miguel!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Epic Summit in Yogyakarta

It's been more than a month since I've had the chance to blog. I've been extremely busy since I went back to work and I must say that I've had to carefully manage my energy so I could complete my tasks everyday. It's not been easy since I'm still not a hundred percent back to normal. I don't really know what normal for me would be, but I'm just taking each day as it comes.

I spent a whole week last week in Yogyakarta, Indonesia where we held the first ever community summit of the GBGs, GDGs, GSAs and mappers. It was truly an ambitious event, moreso since I'm still recuperating but with careful planning (5 Ps!) we managed to come out with an epic event!

Two Days Before

I arrived in Yogya from Singapore. What I didn't know was I managed to escape the haze that plagued Singapore. No wonder I had a hard time breathing when I arrived late Sunday evening. When I arrived in Yogyakarta, Hadi whisked me away to UGM for Pepi's project launch. I hope my Bahasa wasn't so bad!

One Day Before

Just stayed in the hotel preparing my presos, having meetings and running around to check preps. During dinner some of the delegates started to arrive! Van said that he had adopted the Vietnamese GSAs during their flight to Yogya. =)

(Photos)

Day Zero


I'm glad I "saved energy" because I felt like I had adopted more than a hundred kids! Really happy that they were so participative and excited.


(Photos)

Day One

I was so nervous before I got onstage but I realized this was a dream come true for me to bring together all the communities in one event. I just hope that they will all share the same passion I have to get more people to do projects that will make an impact in their own countries.


There was one thing I forgot to mention during my opening and it was about my outfit. I wore a Tboli dress because I wanted to show that even in our own little way we can make an impact. Last year GDG Philippines ran a Map Your Town competition and the winner, Nanardzx, chose Lake Sebu Central Elementary School as his beneficiary. The school caters mostly to Tboli children and in the last few weeks utilized the donation to reconstruct the perimeter walls in their school. Warm, fuzzy feeling <3







(Photos)

Day Two



We had sessions for most of day 2 but what was inspiring was the performances made by the communities, led by the GSAs. My colleague, Andrew, said that the kids were truly sincere in sharing their own culture. Unscripted, full of heart... love.

(Photos)

Day Three

Saddest day ever when almost everyone headed home. I shed some tears when the GSAs started to bid goodbye to me.

(Photos)


The SEA Outreach Summit was truly an epic event for me. I am looking forward to next year's summit where I should be back to normal (and maybe next year I'm going to jump in the pool too!).

Thank you to everybody who took time and effort to travel all the way to beautiful Yogyakarta. Hadi and Nee Khern for being strong and keeping calm! My bosses, Nelson and William for the all-out support! My brother-colleagues, Sebastian, Sunil, Monirul, Rohan, Phillip and Badar, for help and moral support and helping us keep calm. Ola, Chelle, Andrew, Noha and Miriam who we kept bugging for content! My extended Google family, Sam, Pepi, Janet and Wendy! My lovely friends and kids from Southeast Asia and South Asia! Yansen and Putri and the rest of the gang, yes, I love you! And special thanks to my Pinoy friends for constantly checking on me and reminding me to rest and eat.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Vote 2013

When I was a kid my Dad stressed out that we had to vote. I became a registered voter when I was just 15 years old so I could participate in the Sangguniang Kabataan elections. I wasn't able to vote though in the 1992 elections because I was still underage. Even so my Dad encouraged me to be a participative citizen. Before I became a full-fledged voter I had already experienced being a PPCRV volunteer and a pollwatcher.

In the last few years though my health hasn't allowed me to volunteer to help out with the elections so I had to find new ways of being participative. In 2010, me and Google-engineer friend, Dan Delima, came up with the app Find Your Precinct. I thought that the clustering of 280,000 precincts to just 80,000 was going to create confusion among voters. And this held true as I saw a lot of disgruntled voters in 2010 who didn't know that their precinct location changed.

I pushed to get out of medical leave so I could help run the project again and I'm really happy that we had 30 precinct mapUps across the country in the last 3 weeks. This also allowed citizens to participate in the elections and potentially help millions of voters who need help to locate their precincts. [To all those who volunteered thank you for the bottom of my newly repaired heart!] Google Philippines also came out with an elections page which helped me check the list of candidates in the national and local elections (I didn't like the thought of scouting for flyers or going to the barangay hall to check the list).

My precinct a day before.

It's still early, please go out and vote! If you aren't registered then maybe you can help map more precincts by going to http://www.findyourprecinct.ph!

[BTW, thank you to the DepEd teachers, our community doctor (Dr. Guzman), and neighbors for assisting me so I didn't have to line up to vote. The heat was really awful and could've spelled disaster for me.]


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Precinct Mapping

Getting people to map has been my passion in the last few years and I'm glad I found a buddy who can translate my idea into something useful for a lot of people. Couple that with a company and friends and community who supports crazy ideas equals a useful app for voters and those who want to volunteer.

I really pushed hard to get back to work in order to run this project again for this year's election and I was deliriously happy when it was featured on Jessica Soho's State of the Nation and ANC Alerts.




Weee! Thanks a heap Dan, Gail, Ryan, Vince, Reymart, Juned, Chelle, Allan, Vanj, JR, Theo, Bernie, Yen, Anne, Richard, Noel, Avel, Doc Remo, Andrew, Clint, Ryann, Ruben, Bino, AJ, Fatz, Yunel and the many, many people who contributed to make this project successful (hope I didn't forget anyone!).

*This post was blogged on a Chromebook! (A borrowed one hehe). 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Third Life: the GenSan and Lake Sebu Adventure

I finally went home exactly a month ago and promptly lost any free time to blog. It's amazing though how being closer to family and friends contribute to faster recovery. When I went home a month ago I was huffing and puffing all over the place (getting off the plane and walking to the baggage area was like running a marathon for me) and the heat was just terrible. Eventually though with a lot of encouragement from Sweetie, Mom and Miguel, I slowly adjusted back to my regular routine -- work and domestic chores.

Getting up and down a flight of stairs was a huge achievement for me. I had to re-learn quickly since I went to GenSan on the third week of April and local airports usually don't have passenger tubes to walk on. I was just really happy to see my friends and the communities I work with. They took care of me really well (thanks Avel and Chelle!) and it was a relief to have Doc Remo around all the time (in case of emergency!).



Aside from visiting GenSan for some events we also went to Lake Sebu to visit the school Nanardzx chose as his beneficiary when he won the GDG Map Your Town competition last year. Lake Sebu Central Elementary School is located high up in the mountains in Lake Sebu, about 2 hours away from GenSan. The people were so warm and lovely (thank you Mrs. Manalac!) and I just wish we can do more to help.



It's always been my dream to try on the T'boli traditional attire (this is because my best friend stayed there for about a month when we were teenagers) and so I did! They fixed me up like a princess! (I loved the outfit so much I bought it hehe).



My doctor said during my check up last weekend that my heart is finally clear of unnecessary fluids, but I need to work on my stamina. So I'm doing well but need to listen to my body. I still feel the some odd pain at times (especially when it's hot) but I'm happy I don't need to drink any painkiller or maintenance medicine. My concentration has been a lot better and I think my family and team is benefiting from this (I hope!). Hopefully by end of May my stamina will be back so I could travel on my own and visit my many friends across Southeast Asia!

(Oh, do notice that G+ commenting has been enabled on my blog!). 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grounded No More

My Mom left this note for Sweetie when she left for Manila last January after my surgery. My eyes welled up when I read the note since my Mom is quite reserved, so this note spoke volumes.


I just came back from a check-up. Both my cardio and surgeon have finally allowed me to go home to Manila (yay!) but cautioned I shouldn't go back yet to my rigorous travel schedule. My surgeon declared that the ordeal is finally over after seeing that there was no more water in my heart sac. Both my doctors said they were really worried about me and were both very happy about my recovery.

Dr. Shankar, my surgeon said that I'm where I am now because sheer willpower, my positive disposition and my beautiful family. I said that it was the only way to go and I'm lucky to have such a loving and caring family.

The secret sauce though is faith. The best decision I made in my life was to turn over the navigation and purpose to God. When I did that my life got so much better and any challenges did not seem so overwhelming. Aside from love my faith was the only thing I held on to during my surgery. I told myself that I would survive it if it was God's Will and if I didn't then I thought my mission has been completed and it was time to be reunited with my Dad.

I did survive, so I'm now praying for my new mission. It hasn't come to me yet probably because I should focus on fully recovering first. It will come in good time.

A blessed Holy Week to everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Review

I stopped listing down resolutions at the beginning of the year. The last one I made was in 2011 and I even made a disclaimer that it's not just for the year, but for a decade. I'm happy to say that I've completed about half of it. Most of the things I've completed are the big ticket items:

- do something about my leaky heart (check!)
- buy a car (Minnie! check!)
- do the writing project (started!)
- travel (too much last year! check!)
- time with family (last year was bad, so started rectifying things this year)
- work on investments (moved into new home! check!)
- work on service (finished Parish website! choir duties every time I'm home. check!)
- cooking (not much last year, diet has changed this year)

2 things I'm not able to complete:
- grow an organic garden (all the plants died, I have a brown thumb, cry)
- work on crafts (I've lost interest and gave all my stuff to my Mom)

With my leaky heart behind me I've been thinking about what to do in the next few years. I'm still trying to figure it out and hopefully I'd be able to come out with a plan in the next few weeks. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Things I'm Going to Do When I'm Back Home

If you follow me on my G+, Twitter or Plurk you'd know I can't wait to go home. I've been grounded for a few months now in Singapore because my doctor wants to make sure I'm okay before I leave. My doctor did say though that I could probably go home by April! Hooray!

I think I look much better now and my colleagues can attest that I don't look greenish anymore. Some have said I don't look like I went through heart surgery. I still hug a pillow though when I walk around so that's my dead giveaway. In any case I realized after spending two half-days at the office this week that I still need to take it slowly and conscientiously do my exercises (like malling!).

Here's my progress in the last 10 weeks.



There's a lot to do when I'm back home so I thought I'd make a list:

(1) Do groceries so I can cook (with assistance from Miguel who now knows how to cook adobo).

(2) Buy a couch. We have a long way to go before we complete the furniture needed at home. One missing item is a couch. I need a couch because I'm a full time couch potato!

(3) Visit the nail salon. I can't reach my toes yet. I need to get rid of my monster toe nails.

(4) Visit the salon. The weeks spent in the hospital has damaged my hair and I badly need a trim. Mom says my hair has reached mermaid length.

(5) Thank God by hearing mass on Easter at our church.

Of course I can't wait to see the rest of my family and friends ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I Continue to Blog

I was half-asleep early this morning when I felt Miguel checking on me. I sleepily asked, "Why?" and he said that I was too quiet (probably because I wasn't snoring). He then promptly went back to sleep when he saw I was okay.

These are moments I want to remember and that's why I blog and continue to blog. And my primary reason for blogging is to document things/events that are important to me. Sometimes I re-read old posts just to see what I've been doing years ago. Sometimes I come across old posts from search results and I laugh at myself for forgetting I had the information all along.

I have been managing a number of blogs. I have one for travel, tips for planning a wedding, a marriage blog and a smattering of tiny blogs that cater to my other interests. I don't really remember how my blogs multiplied, but I see it as a repository of information I think I'd find useful in the future. My travel blog covers the places I've been to and I write mostly about food. I have a lot of photos from different hotels I've stayed at but I haven't gotten around to posting about them.

I've been exchanging some blogging tips with friends on Twitter the past few days and they were asking me how I've managed to continue writing despite being busy. I haven't been really conscientious about blogging since I write only when I feel like it. I never run out of content though since I keep a journal through photos and by writing down on my planner significant things that have happened. I usually just go back to check photos and my planner to see if there's anything I could write about.

So, I basically blog to entertain myself and I keep it as a repository of information I may need in the future. And well I guess my grandkids and great-grandkids can get to know the younger me when I'm old and gray. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Proposal: Four Years After

Four years ago today Sweetie sprung the biggest surprise of my life. We were in Davao for the first DFAT (Davao Food Appreciation Tour) and I had no idea that he had planned the culmination of all the clues he's been giving for me for so many months. His co-conspirators were our good friends Andrew and Blogie. Here's what happened:

(Skip to 4:22)



Time flies so fast and Sweetie and I have since tied the knot, bought our own cars, moved homes thrice, got our very own place (no more renting!) and have a son in university. Sweetie has endured a number of home disasters - my cooking, a dancing washing machine, me getting poisoned several times, cycle of dying plants, abusive real estate agents etc. - all captured in our marriage blog. We can't say that things have settled down because there's always something new everyday.

True to his promise Sweetie continues to court me every single day. When I'm home in Manila he writes me short notes everyday (to replace all his love letters which perished during Typhoon Ondoy). And after all that we've been through I just thank God everyday for writing my love story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

90 mapUps in the Philippines in 2012

Filipino mappers are the most active in the world (that's my opinion) since we had over 90 mapUps across the country.

I'm just so proud of them ;)


Monday, March 11, 2013

Malling is My Official Sport

I remember when I first met my cardiologist ten years ago he asked me what sport I played regularly. I said, "Malling." with a big smile. I thought it was usual for him to get that reply because he went on to say that it was good I had a regular sport. He then paused when he saw me smiling and said, "Did you say malling?" I replied in the affirmative and then he laughed out loud. He said that he thought that I went bowling regularly. He declared I was his funniest patient but I said that was really my favorite "sport".

I hated PE classes. I always tried to get out of it from elementary to high school to college. Sometimes I'd feign sickness just to skip school. I do remember though being one of the fastest runners when I was in first grade, but for some strange reason my time eventually slowed. I guess my condition was already making itself felt when I was still a kid.

I did try out some sports. I love swimming. My Mom usually had a hard time pulling me away from the water when I was very little and I didn't care if I got sunburnt. I spent a lot of time biking with my yellow BMX bicycle. My brother taught me how to play tennis when I was a teenager. And I took up badminton when I had to drastically lose weight to fit in my gown for my friend's wedding. My badminton trainor though gave up on me because he couldn't make me run.

Unlike my Dad and my brother who either played tennis or basketball regularly I've always preferred to stay indoors. I guess it's because I just hate perspiring (haha). When I was discharged from the hospital the physiotherapist told me to make sure I did the exercises they taught me and to keep walking. The exercise was pretty easy so I did it, also to prevent my feet from swelling and I knew it was the only way to regain my independence. The first few weeks though were very hard.

I have rediscovered my favorite sport in the last few days, albeit in very limited capacity. My Mom was so bored taking care of me and I just had to bring her around. I brought her to IKEA one day, treated her to lunch at Marche after my check-up the next day, accompanied her to Daiso and brought her to the airport. The times I was out was quite limited and I made sure to rest whenever I felt tired, but going out has proven to be helpful in my recovery because I was forced to walk more.

I'm still very wary of crowds because I'm scared I might catch a cold or a virus. I didn't want Jay to be stuck at home tending to me when he visited last week so I made it a point to eat lunch out as my exercise for the day. The doctor told me to do what I think was my body was comfortable with so I naturally went back to my official sport, malling. It's been quite helpful for my recovery although a bit expensive since I still need to take cabs, but at least I can happily report that I've reached the spirometer level my doctor wanted me to reach in the last 2 months.

Hopefully I'd be able to go home in a few weeks and work from Manila so I can go for my second favorite sport - swimming.