Monday, January 31, 2011

Live, Love, Laugh, Dream

So my year started on a really sad note. My Dad's gone and there's a huge hole in my heart that's empty right now because he filled it with so much love. I'm sure it's going to take awhile before the pain ebbs away or perhaps it never will, but I'm sure my Dad doesn't want me to sulk for long. In fact I managed to force myself to go back to work after just a week because there were some people who needed help.

Anyway, my Dad has also left me a huge responsibility -- to make sure that his advocacies for the church and country would continue. I have to be strong and really act like a big girl now in order to fulfill his wish. It won't be easy, but I'm sure he did that to keep me in line and focused on what I have to do. I'm still trying to figure out though how to manage things and make it work.

My sister said in her eulogy that my Dad isn't totally gone, because he left the best of himself in each and everyone of us. And the only way to see him is to live out that legacy. It's going to be tough since my Dad achieved so much in his life. I felt really lost last week because I lost sight of my North Star. I realized over the weekend though that he's just up there beaming his light over me.

Premio regnum dei.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Green Hornet

I had my doubts about the movie when I watched the trailer and was having second thoughts about going out that night.

I was proven wrong. Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz had me laughing from start to finish. The movie's theme, "Flight of the Bumblebee" also stirred some old childhood memories of The Green Hornet, they're pretty fuzzy but I just remember that it was a show from way back.

The Green Hornet doesn't have any powers, nor is he an intelligent superhero. He's just really lucky because of Kato, not the sidekick, but the partner and I'd say the real superhero in the movie. Britt Reid though had the power to make movie goers laugh and that's why I want to watch the movie again!

BTW, there's a Mythbusters Green Hornet Special tonight at 8pm on Discovery Channel. Don't forget to watch!

Thank you Krispy Kreme for the movie treat!

Monday, January 24, 2011

For Daddy

I read this eulogy during the necrological services of the Knights of Columbus last Friday for their charter Grand Knight (my Dad). During the ceremony I was bequeathed a Philippine Flag. They said that it is what my father would have wanted, to ensure that his advocacies both for country and church will go on. Well Dad, you do have gigantic shoes to fill, but I will do my best.

I am posting this now because my Dad just visited me by playing the video of "The 3 Little Pigs" on my PC. It seems he wants me to move on and start working already.


My Dad was a superstar and he made sure each one us, his children, would become superstars as well. My sister, Ate Nats, topped the chemical engineering board exam. My brother, Kuya Jojo, is a very successful expat in Jakarta. And me, I am privileged to work for an international company.

My Dad in his younger years was a celebrity basketball player in Ateneo de Naga. I heard that his shooting record is yet to be beaten. A lot of girls were after him, but he only had his mind and heart set on my Mom. And we were lucky because my Dad spent every moment of his life for his family.

I've always been a Daddy's little girl. When I was a kid my Dad would always bring me out on dates. We'd head to Luk Yuen at Quad (Glorietta wasn't around yet) and he'd always order noodles and siopao. During that time I only liked eating the siopao skin my Dad would peel off from the siopao. There would be days that we'd go to Dayrit's and I always ordered what I believed were giant cheeseburgers. At home my I only eat crab if my Dad opens it up for me and he'd put gata on my rice with a bit of calamansi. He would also add the soup from the nilaga with some toyo on my rice so I'd eat more (I was very thin when I was a kid). I remember those dates vividly to this day. Oh and he always bought me lollipops and cotton candy.

My Dad's love for me is bottomless despite the fact that I have let him down countless of times. He was very strict and the only time I lost my curfew was when I got accepted in my current job (I was 30 already!). I thought it was really unfair and I rebelled many, many times, but my Dad has always been there for me and I'm really glad that he is my Dad. I would not have it any other way.

Here are some of the most important lessons I learned from him:

1. be service-oriented

My Dad's a homebody. The extra time he had he spent serving God and others. I was a kid when Mom and Dad were helping out in building the Parish church. I remember tagging along in countless number of meetings. I always wondered how Dad managed to help so many people. He helped an innocent prisoner go free. And he always spoke up on issues whenever something was wrong. He said we should not keep quiet whenever there is injustice.

Dad also focused on specific advocacies and he wrote about these advocacies with much passion. I would say that his lifelong work which includes his fight for the unborn child can be found in his book. In the last year even though he was physically weak he focused on distributing this book to people in government and people with influence. And that goes to show that it is in my Dad's heart to continue serving others even when he is gone.

2. be humble and have integrity

My Dad was never boastful. I only found out that he was a basketball superstar from his high school classmates. And mind you he was also always on honor roll, their high school salutatorian and magna cum laude in college. I only found out about that because I oftentimes leafed through his high school and college yearbooks. What my Dad wanted us to do is just to get the job done and make sure we do it right.

My Dad was incorruptible. I learned the lesson on integrity when I was just 12. I had a classmate in St. Scho, who's by the way a congresswoman now, who had a PhP200 daily allowance and my baon back then was just ten pesos. I asked my Dad why my baon was so small compared to my classmate. I asked him, “Dad, ganun ba kayaman mga mayor?” And my Dad then explained to me all about corruption. He always reminded us that a good name is far more important than material wealth.

3. live simply

My Dad always told us that his only pamana to us is our education and he made sure that all three of us got the best education and that's why he enrolled all of us in De La Salle University and not his alma mater (which is Ateneo). And because all of us valued what he said we all got a Masters in Business Administration.

One thing I also made an impression on me was Dad's “Share a Family” project where you'd have to prepare and share a meal with a less fortunate family. It was truly an eye opener to share one's blessings with others. I hope that this is something that my Titos at the Knights of Columbus can continue.

4. Family first

Family came always first with my Dad. In all of my 35 years I never saw him go out just to make lakwatsa. Whenever there was a gathering with his friends, he'd ask either my Mom or me to go with him – para raw makauwi siya ng maaga. He was always home before sunset and inasmuch as I took that for granted, I only realized later on that other Dads weren't like that.

We were on our own with our studies, but my Dad always lent a helping hand whenever I had questions. I oftentimes sought his help for assignments in Filipino and my law classes back in college. Dad taught us to always think outside of the box. To always see beyond what was on the news. To always ask questions. And we had lessons on politics every day during dinner.

Dad left management of the house to Mom, except the kitchen. Dad always came up with really delicious dishes and I only learned how to cook some of it when I got married. You see, my Dad never opened a recipe book to cook. He was a talented cook and he cooked for us and Mom for 50 years.

Daddy was the disciplinarian. He would rarely get mad, pero ang style niya eh he'll ask Mom to do the first-level sermon. Makuha ka sa tingin. He was strict, but only because he wanted what was best for us and he wanted us to be safe. A lot of my friends used to be scared of him, what they didn't know though is my Dad is the corniest joker around and he'd only sing two songs – the “kamote song” and a funny Japanese song. Oh, and my Dad was extremely ticklish and we all got that from him. Later on though my Dad mellowed down and my friends eventually treated him like their Dad too.

5. And finally, give your trust to the Lord and everything will follow

This is the most important lesson that Dad taught all of us and was his central message during my wedding. I always asked him before how he and my Mom managed their marriage and he just said that all throughout the years they just lifted everything to God and all the problems and issues were ironed out on its own. We were truly blessed as a family because of their faith in God.

Before I end this sharing I'd like to thank my Dad for all the love and care he gave me, Ate and Kuya and my Mom. For standing in as father figure for Miguel. I will never forget what you taught me Dad. You have a huge pair of shoes that's going to be hard to fill in, but we will try our best to deliver the mission that has been given to us. And do not worry because we will take care of Mom.

Thank you Dad and I love you very much.


Thank you to everyone who stayed with us during this time of grief and thank you for your prayers.

To Tito Pete, Tita Dolly, Tita Dena, Tita Gay, Tita Helen, Tito Mel, thank you so much for coming to our rescue. Mom and I had no idea what to do when the doctor declared Daddy's demise. And to Tita Letty for the support and making sure we always had food during the wake.

To my SVMM family, for being there and for singing such beautiful songs for Daddy. I'm sure you made him smile.

To the Knights of Columbus Council 7806, thank you for the tribute and the necrological service. I hope my Dad's legacy would live on with your projects.

To my Daddy's Ateneo classmates and friends, thank you for sharing such lovely stories of my Dad when he was young. He oftentimes told me about how you guys drew lots on who's going to go first. Dad was supposed to be the last, but as Tito Ed said, "Your Dad didn't have any vice or affairs. Masyado siya mabait."

To my sisters golden high school classmates, thank you for standing in for my Ate. I guess 15 years from now we'll be doing the same for our batch. And my SSC friends too, thank you for the alalay.

To the Passionist fathers, thank you especially to Fr. Luis who anointed and gave the eucharist to Dad just before he passed.

To the Sun Valley Homeowners Association and Barangay Sun Valley, thank you too. Please take care of our park, that it may continue to be our community's "lungs".

To Jun Lozada, thank you for coming, the fight will go on.

To my best friend, Darwin. Thank you for flying in from Cebu and just being there. And to Anne and Harry, for coming too. My blogger friends, for keeping us company and the kwentos.

To our relatives, neighbors and friends, my Dad's former colleagues, thank you for your support and prayers. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daddy's Gone to Heaven

My father, (Former) Judge Jose T. Apolo, passed away last night at the age of 77.

His remains lie at the St. Gabriel Hall, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Sun Valley, Paranaque.

Interment will be on January 23, 2011, Sunday after the 9 a.m. mass at the St. Gabriel Hall. His remains will be brought to Manila Memorial Park (Paranaque) right after.

St. Gabriel Hall

View Larger Map

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crispy Pata

Crispy pata is deep fried pork leg which is on top of the many Filipino cardiac delight dishes. Crispy pata is not for the faint hearted, but definitely a delicious dish that you would crave for often.

And that's why I accepted the invitation of Max's Restaurant for an evening with crispy pata. I just couldn't resist!

I've eaten crispy pata many times already and I must say that there are three key success factors to a delicious crispy pata.

(1) it's not oily
(2) the skin is crispy
(3) the meat should come off the bone easily

I'm no expert chef, but I can pretty sure say that the three factors are hard to meet. Max's Restaurant definitely met my expectations. An added plus was the soy sauce-vinegar dip that came with the meat. I didn't add the sili because it was just good as it is.

The PhP865 meal* came with sinigang na bangus. The soup dish definitely matched the crispy pata and made me feel good that I was eating something nutritious to go with the meat.

Dessert was buko pandan. I had taken a spoonful already before I remembered to take a photo! Haha. It was pretty good too.

Of course, my table-mates were hubby and my crispy pata connoissieur friend, Juned.

We definitely loved the crispy pata... hehehe.

*Crispy pata + 4 rice + 4 glasses of soda + sinigang + buko pandan, roughly just PhP200+ per person for a group of four!


Interesting to note that if you are abroad you can do two things with Max's Restaurant:

(1) Go eat in any of their 7 international locations.
(2) Order online for your family back home! Just go to the Max's website.

And did you notice the cool uniform and motorcycle of their delivery crew?

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Crowning Glory

"Our greatest achievement isn't our own, but the success of your own child."

That's what a former boss told me when I applied to take a vacation leave to attend Miguel's school awarding ceremony back when he was in first grade. I was grinning from ear to ear back then because he announced it during our team lead meeting.

I am on Mommy Cloud 9 right now. Miguel announced during dinner that he also passed the Ateneo College Entrance Exam (ACET). I was very much content already that he passed the Mapua, UP and La Salle college entrance exams (past post here), but this was definitely additional icing on the cake which I'm sure would make his Papa Lolo and Tito Jay really happy too.

We still have two major events - prom and high school graduation - before he goes off to college, but I am so excited for Miguel. We have been briefing him a bit about college life and prepping him for "life almost on your own". On the other hand, I also just couldn't believe that I'll have a kid in college a few months from now.

Life is awesome. Thank you Lord.

*You can check for Ateneo College Entrance Exam/ACET Results here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

50 Pounds Later...

Finally had time to meet up with my high school buddies today. There's just 5 of us in our barkada and probably around 15 in our extended one. We usually meet-up for Christmas but with work parties and family reunions, it was just hard to bring all of us together.

One of my best buds arrived from China. She arrived on the day I left for Singapore last week and I just arrived in the nick of time for our annual Christmas get-together. Time flies so fast we just realized today that we've been together for more than 23 years now. We were just high school freshmen when fate sat us in class together. We figured that since we were all seated together then we'd be friends (it was that simple before!). So for all four years of high school we ate together everyday at the lunch counter.

We all had varied interests and we practically did not see each other when we went to college (to think we all went to the same university). What kept us together though were some traditions we started off in high school. Here are some:

1. Valentine's day - we weren't popular in high school and we were definitely wall flowers during high school dances, so we made a pact that until we marry we'd celebrate Valentine's day together. We still have two singletons so we continue to celebrate Valentine's together -- usually a day before or after now.

2. Christmas - I don't really know how it started, but for many years now we each create our own wish list and send it to each other and we buy our Christmas gifts based on that and that reassures us that we received gifts we really like during Christmas. And, of course, we always get together for the holidays.

3. Bridal Showers/Baby Showers - we do this for each other depending on who's getting married/having a baby.

4. Summer outings/out of the country trips - we do this every once in awhile and our brood's growing so we try to make sure that we go to places where the kids would enjoy.

5. Always have something the same - it may be pajamas, a blouse, a bag, Christmas decors or whatever catches our fancy. Every year we get something the same. Mababaw lang but it keeps us together.

We don't really see each other that often nor do we keep tabs each other through social networking sites, but our friendship has so far been fun and meaningful through the years.

Love you girls! Here's to xx more pounds! Haha.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Look at the Nexus S

Such a beautiful phone. Just took a look for now...

(Thanks Paul for lending your phone for awhile).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Airport Talk (a 3 a.m. Post at the Airport)

I'm bored and I'm too sleepy to read the book I brought and the airport is still quite empty so no people watching for me right now. Just another day at the airport.

I don't know how many hours I've spent at the airport in the past five years. It's been a lot and I find myself increasing lazy to travel except when my boys are with me. This will probably shock my family and friends, but I guess I've finally settled down and prefer to leave the nest only when it's very important.

And since I'm at the airport I thought I'd make a rundown of my favorite things in different Philippine airports:

1. NAIA Terminal 1 - not really a favorite, but there's a stall in there that sells really yummy siomai and it's quite easy to buy ice cream as pasalubong since it's already packed with dry ice.

2. NAIA Terminal 2 - I fly PAL more often because I don't like going to the ugly airport (harsh but true). I like the fact that it's full of sunlight during the day. I hope though that there would be more restaurants aside from Cafe France (used to be Delifrance), I like the tuna mayo sandwich there though.

3. NAIA Terminal 3 - I end up taking CebuPac when I couldn't get a PAL flight or when the PAL airfare is much more expensive. I love this terminal since they have a lot of restaurants you can choose from. My favorite hang-out place though is Kopi Roti and I always get a Jollibee hotdog before I head to the departure area. At the departure area also reminds me of Salt Lake City's departure area.

4. Iloilo International Airport - I didn't get to see the original airport at Iloilo, but I like the departure area the best. Similar to NAIA Terminal 2 it has full of sunlight and kinda reminds me of the Hongkong airport. I love the fact that the restaurants offer really affordable food and baked items.

5. Mactan International Airport - I always grab a bite before I leave Cebu and I've tried most of the restos there. I had a full meal the last time I was there at the coffee shop at the right end of the departure area and the breakfast meal wasn't so bad. They also indulged me by giving me hot water for my instant coffee baon. Lot of pasalubong shops but quite expensive compared to shops in the city.

6. Davao International Airport - Davao is my favorite city in the Philippines so I love their airport as well since they have free wifi. I bought one of my favorite bags at the airport and oftentimes get last minute pasalubong. Just don't get a last flight in since they sometimes ran out of cabs.

7. Bacolod-Silay Airport - I experienced the old Bacolod airport and I'm so glad that the province got a new airport! It was a shiny new airport when I went there. Not so big, but the cafes had a delicious selection of cakes.

8. Naga, Legaspi, Zamboanga, GenSan, Tacloban Airport - pretty much a traditional airport. I hope they get a new one or a renovation at the very least (for McArthur's return!). Naga and Legaspi had pasalubong stalls, Zamboanga only had one. What I love at the Legaspi airport is the majestic view of the Mayon Volcano.

9. Cagayan de Oro Airport - I know CDO is going to get a new airport soon, but what I love about the old airport is the pasalubong area where I always buy fresh Vandjep pastel.

10. Laoag Airport - it's been years since I've been to Laoag but I absolutely loved the airport's architecture. It looks totally different compared to all the other local airports I've been too and reminds me of Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport.

I do have photos of all these airports and hope to dig it up when I get home next weekend.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thunder Thighs, How I'm Trying to Loose the Excess Fat

No, I'm not going to post any photo of my thunder thighs. I have unfortunately gained so much weight because of my trips (Zamboanga + Iloilo + Cebu + GenSan), plus Christmas food and too much milk tea and Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Frap! All the excess food have deposited themselves in my thighs.

The same happened to me a few years ago and my thunder thighs only went back to normal when I had pneumonia. I'm trying to loose some weight before it's too late again. I'm not allowed to do any strenuous exercise so this is my action plan:

1. Walk. When I'm just home I just end up in front of the computer most of the day. I visit my parents everyday in the afternoon so that's about half a kilometer a day. When I'm out for meetings I try to walk from Greenbelt to EDSA and according to Jay that's about 1.5 to 2 kilometers and sometimes I walk from Ayala. Not bad.

2. Less Milk Tea. Drew and I are addicted to milk tea and I absolutely love adding condensed milk whenever I make a glass. I did this everyday last December and the milk definitely contributed a few pounds.

3. No More Peppermint Mocha Frap! Thank God Christmas is over and it's going to be 11 months before Starbucks offers it again.

4. More Veggies, Less Meat. Argh, this is the hardest thing to do. I also started a small vegetable garden so I could harvest fresh, organic veggies everyday. My mustasa is almost ready for harvesting later this month! Yumyum!

5. Lots of Water to flush out the toxins and sleep early as much as I could.

I hope my trip next week wouldn't add to my weight again! Good luck to me and all my friends who are trying to loose weight.

Oh and to keep track I have re-positioned our weighing scale at the kitchen doorway hehehe.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ten Things I Will Do This Year (or Decade)

I was going to say that I was going to make a blog post everday, but I already missed January second! Family matters always take precedence before my blog so that's oftentimes beyond my control. Anyway, I noticed that it took me three years to complete my 2008 listing and I'm still working on the other stuff on that list. So I guess I should make then things I will do for this new DECADE. Hmmm... (in ramdom order)

1. Do something about the leaky heart.

2. Grow an organic vegetable garden (and eventually grow it as a business).

3. Spend the right amount of time online so I can work on my crafts.

4. Do the writing project I've been meaning to do the past 5 years (it's a book!).

5. Go to 3 local destinations I have not been to this year and one international destination if budget permits.

6. Get a car! Grrrrrr! (it's been 3 years since I planned to get one).

7. More time with my family - I practically spend most of my time with my family already and don't have a social life anymore, but well, family's family!

8. Work on investments, cut down on "want" spending and work on other sources of income. Live simply.

9. Work on my service. And, of course, do a great job at work.

10. Learn to cook healthy dishes and help the boys lose weight.

Results for UPCAT, La Salle and Mapua

It seems just like yesterday when I took my college entrance exam. All I remember now is waking up early and Mom and Dad bringing me to the school with lots of baon. The third quarter last year was a mad dash to the University of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology, Ateneo de Manila University and in October, my alma mater, De La Salle University, for Miguel's college entrance exams.

University of the Philippines. Miguel almost wasn't able to take the exam at UP because he got sick with typhoid and the application forms were due when he got back at school. Good thing he's a good student and his school still accepted his form. We slept in Jay's parents house in Marikina so we wouldn't have to travel from Paranaque since Miguel had to be in UP by 6:30 a.m. We got stuck in traffic as early as 5:30 a.m. and got a bit lost, so Miguel and I had to literally run to his building so he could make it in time for his exam. He was eighth to the last to get in! So mommies be there earlier! (See University of the Philippines college entrance exam results).

Mapua Institute of Technology. The Mapua exam was the most stress-free. I went there in early July to submit Miguel's application form and schedule for his exam. We had breakfast in Chowking Intramuros and then brought him to Mapua about 45 minutes before his scheduled exam. Jay and I used the downtime to tour the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) and then picked up Miguel. Exam results also came out in early September. (See Mapua college entrance exam results).

Ateneo. Learning from our UP experience we just took out food for Miguel at McDo Libis and brought him to Ateneo an hour before his scheduled exam. It was a breeze. Picking him up was an entirely different matter and we saw kids running down the bridge towards Ateneo. So mommies if your son/daughter is taking the Ateneo exam have them take it in the morning. Exam results aren't out yet.

De La Salle University. I submitted Miguel's application form at DLSU the same day I submitted the one for Mapua and since it was still early in July I did not even have to line up! We got scared though because there was a marathon on the same day of his exam so we were at DLSU even before McDonald's opened. Jay and I were so bored we ended up going to Divisoria! Haha. (See La Salle college entrance exam results).

It's been a great experience and Miguel has so far gotten results for Mapua, La Salle and UP and he passed all three! =)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 51st Wedding Anniversary to my Mom and Dad!

Time flies, it was just a year ago that we celebrated my Mom and Dad's golden wedding anniversary. It was a simple celebration. We married them off again and then had the reception at Mom's garden together with family and their close friends.

Fifty one years is looooong! And I can just dream about celebrating that number with Jay, fifty years from now. If we do reach that age Miguel will probably have to wheelchair me to the altar or I'll be walking with a cane by then (that is if my heart's still beating by then). Anyway, my parents have definitely played out beautifully throughout the years their wedding vow -

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
I never sensed any trouble or misunderstanding between my parents, although my Mom claims that they do fight. The one and only time I saw them give each other the silent treatment was a month before I got married. It lasted about three days and I had to do an SOS to my sister. She called and my parents talked and then said that they had forgotten what their tampuhan was about!

Here's my parents' formula to a successful marriage:

1. Put God at the center of your marriage. Pray always.
2. Love each other everyday. Do all things with love.
3. Be patient.
4. Always settle any trouble before sleeping.
5. Live simply.

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One.One.OneOne (1.1.11)

Happy new year to everybody!

Our First Christmas Together. The past few days have been crazy busy so I was unable to write. My muse has been feeding me a myriad of thoughts so that added to the confusion as well. Anyway this Christmas was extra special since it was our first Christmas together as a family (me, Jay and Miguel) and we spent it in a simple way - just us, a Christmas tree, gifts and the star of noche buena (pineapple glazed ham). It was truly happy and I could not ask for more.

One Family. An added plus for this Christmas was both my siblings - my Ate and Kuya - who both came home to spend time with Dad. It's been a harrowing year for our family and I'm just glad we managed to pull through for the season.

First Anniversary. Jay and I also celebrated our first wedding anniversary! For some strange reason we both found ourselves broke! We both had no plans for the day, good thing Kuya said we'll all have lunch together so I took the chance to have a photo session with them and my nephews and nieces. After lunch Jay and I just went to the mall to window shop, haha.

So that's our One.One.One! Happy new year!