Showing posts from 2009

Merry Christmas!

by Junnie "The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis" From our family to yours, here's wishing you "A Merry Merry Christmas to you and your family!"

Special Celebration at Ginza

by Linnor Monica, Ingrid, me, Dahlia with the birthday boy Jerry with Manny, Kenneth, Henry and Forden The guests were quite surprised why this seemed like a special birthday celebration. This wasn't a milestone age like 18, 40 or 50. This wasn't an age that ends in 9 (19, 29, 39, etc) where Chinese customs dictate that the celebrator hosts a party to ward off bad luck. When asked, I simply replied: This has been an especially good year for hubby and we just like to cap it by sharing a special night with Jerry's close friends (with wives). :)


by Linnor A 3-day weekend is  something I always look forward to.  For this one, we didn't have anything grand planned.  Have you ever heard of "staycation"?  As Wikipedia puts it, staycation is a neologism for a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes at home or takes day trips from their home to area attractions. In our case,  we kicked off our weekend with a trip to the spa.  My hubby and I brought eldest and youngest sons along while the middle son was at boy scout camp.  Jerry, Matt and I had an hour of foot massage.  The good thing about this favorite (not expensive) spa we go to near the Grand Convention is the therapists start the massage with hand and head massage, then the foot massage (this is the part where we all doze off, involuntarily. Hehehe) and end it with a back massage.  It's actually like getting your whole body kneaded but on a Lazy Boy chair instead of a narrow bed. That was last Thursday night.  For the

Julie & Julia Project

by May Rommel and I just watched Julie & Julia. Here's a bit of what the movie is all about from Wikipedia: In the year 2002 Julie Powell (Amy Adams) attempts to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was written in the 1960s, and write a blog about it. Woven into her story is the story of Julia Child's time in Paris, in the 1950s, in which she discovers the art of cooking. Both women get much support from their husbands, although at one point Powell's husband is fed up with her excessive devotion to her hobby... I like it because I can relate to both characters. Julia is a go getter. It seems like what she wants, she gets. Her eagerness to learn and her determination to master her craft makes her stand out from the crowd (which I wish I could do too in the years to come). Julie, on the other hand, is the opposite. In the movie, it's mentioned that she can't finish whatever she gets herself into that'

Bro, Ikaw ang Star!

by May I would like to thank God for all the blessings. Honestly, I didn't expect to survive here in sg this long, knowing how expensive it is but we are able to live a normal life, satisfy our needs, and still have some for play. Ang galing talaga ni Bro! I can really feel His presence every where. His love is unimaginable, overwhelming, and huge. He surely knows our hearts' desire and He will give it to you even without you asking for it. I would also like to thank our family, friends, colleagues who are with us in every step of the way (physically or not). You are our source of inspiration and strength especially during trying times.

Heroes :: Thank You!

by Junnie We just finished watching CNN Heroes and feel the awe and inspiration that these men and women have done to impact the world they are in. Their stories leave us a nugget of wisdom and a question to answer - "What does God want me to do in my life?" At a tender age of 40, I sometimes feel I'm in halftime (who can say if I can reach 80 years old) but really and honestly what else can I do to repay the Lord all the blessings He has provided me and my family. Really, outside of the Lord, our real Hero for dying for all our sins, today, November 27 is a great day to remember our Heroes! ********* Today too, I'd like to honor and greet a "Happy Birthday" to Ninoy Aquino and to my mom-in-law. Not only are they heroes in my eyes, but are inspirations for their commitment to serve and help humanity. ********* The words of Efren Penaflorida’s acceptance speech during the CNN Heroes celebrations: “Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, r

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Linnor   For the gift of life, family, friends and all the bountiful material and non-material blessings, we give thanks to the Lord.    For each new morning with its light,  For rest and shelter of the night,  For health and food,  For love and friends,  For everything Thy goodness sends.  --Ralph Waldo Emerson   (Credit: photo courtesy of

Making Memories with Free Hugs

by Junnie My name is a combination of 2 Lolos. Mar or Lolo Mayong is my mama's dad, while Lu or Lolo Luz is from Dad's side. Put together, my second name, Marlu was conceived. I never have much recollection about my time spent with my 2 lolos. (Lolas are different. I spent practically my whole pre-teen years with Lola Meding.) I remember the drawing sessions we had with Lolo Mayong, replete with the stick drawings of people on a ship, we agreed to call Sweet Faith. I was 3 then and I knew that my drawing skills never came from him. Lol. Lolo Luz was maybe old enough or never really was the lolo-carrying-apo kind that I never remembered anytime spent in his arms. Yes, I remember him to smile at me and that deep-set eyes telling me that I look more like my Lola Unang than my sister Linnor who took to his pair of eyes. So I promised myself that Gabriel will spend a lot of times in his lolo's arms. For him and his Lolo, these are memories that Gabriel will remember well


by Linnor Jake has been spending the afternoons in Jerry's office lately, largely because I do not want to leave him at home with the new nanny yet.  While in the office, sometimes he would be approached by some colleagues for small talk.  A colleague of mine narrated how her conversation with our 5yo Jake went.  It was something like this: A:   Jake, can you spell "apple"? Jake proceeds to write. J :  A a a "a" .  Ap ap ap "p" .  Apl apl apl "l" . A: (Looks at the "apl" that Jake wrote...) Oh, that's not a word.  That's an acronym like BPI (Bank of Phil Islands), etc. J: Eh how do you read this? A : Uh..."apple" Lololol! J:   Ok, I won't spell na lang .  I will draw an apple instead. :D Jake (2nd from left) is here with friends and Fr. Manny during the preschool acquaintance party.


by Linnor One Sunday, Jerry and I dressed up in comfy clothes to join our sons in their annual sports fest. The weather was not too ideal for the day-long affair. In fact, it rained on their parade! Pun intended. Thankfully, the preschoolers were not part of the parade around the school grounds or I would have worried about Jake getting sick with colds which he is normally wont to do at the slightest exposure to the elements. My teenage sons, however, were not spared because they were drenched! Haha! I think they must have enjoyed it more, scampering to covered areas, although a little too late. :) Jerry and I were with the other quick-thinking parents who stayed safely covered in the school gym. We secured a good spot where we could comfortably watch the yells and cheer dancing. Some parents weren't lucky enough because by the time they got to the gym, the whole place was already packed. As a recap, Kyle's class won in soccer that day. He was so proud that he

Tell Me It's Real

by May I just found this and decided to share it with you. My husband made this while the kids and I were still in the Philippines. He must have missed me soo much. Hahaha. Sweet noh?! This is enough to make me feel "kilig". Nothing fancy.

Ziggy Can Walk

by May I would just like to show you the day Ziggy walked longer than usual without holding on to anything. I hope you like it.

Pinoy Smile Contest

by May , vote here At the beginning, this contest used comments as votes but after a few days, reports showed that some comments were done fraudulently by creating multiple accounts. Therefore, the organizers decided to change the rules. They made it into a poll. 1 IP address equals 1 vote. Please help me campaign for my daughter so that she wins the contest. Thank you in advance. The slide above will show you who you're voting for.

It's Like A Walk in the Park...Literally

by Junnie The best part of my day is the time between waking up and having breakfast. To think that I was never a morning person. I realized that even if my eyes were half shut-half open, and my contact lenses are as hard as a broken glass, I long to smell that sweet scent and carry those small arms that cling to me like a tarsier to a tree. Yes! I wake up to this every morning and God only knows why I was blessed this much, sometimes I feel I don't deserve all His blessings. But yes, you can never outdo a giving God. But God has His mysterious ways and our stay in the Philippines has been more than a mystery to us, it is drama and comedy combined with a lot of children stories on the side. I hope to tell them to all of you - personally. When? you may ask. Maybe, while walking down the path to a coffee shop or our regular morning walks to the park? Sama ka?

Singapore Science Centre is a lot of Fun!!!

by May Rommel applied for a leave of absence without knowing what to do or where to go. He immediately searched the web for ideas and found out about the Science Centre of Singapore. At first, I was hesitant because aside from being too far (Jurong), I thought it would be boring but instead, we had so much fun and we're planning to go back to check out the exhibits we didn't see due to lack of time. We watched 'Under the Sea' at the Omni Theatre. We also visited following exhibits: The Mind's Eye, Space Science, iSpace, Our Solar System, Ecogarden, Nanotechnology, Amazing Electron, Discovery Zone, Primary Science Learning Experience, Climate Change, Genome, Atrium, and Energy. For our next destination, we want Body Worlds (real cadavers are used for the exhibit), Snow City (just to experience snow in this part of the world), and Stargazing (only on Fridays). The video is just to show some of the things to see inside the centre. Sorry if some scenes were re

Please Vote for Zia Once Everyday...Thank you.

by May My Zia joined a contest online and is needing your support. Your comment once a day will be very much appreciated. Just complete either of the ff sentences: 1. Zophia Maureen Roca is my winning Pinoy Smile because... 2. My tip for a healthy smile is... 3. My dental question for Pinoy Smile is... 4. The Pinoy Smile website can be improved by... 5. I take care of my teeth by... 6. Teeth are important because... 7. I take care of my child's teeth... and post it here...

Our Family Picture

by May Since last week, my dad has been asking me for a family picture, here is our contribution. I'm sorry but we are just too lazy to look for a studio or even sit on our couch to have our photo taken. Rommel and I work even on weekends.

Collecting Angels

by Junnie My wife collected angel figurines prior to our engagement in 1994. It made my gifts on visits and special occasions a little easier since I know what to give and add to her collection. This went to as far as having almost a third of her room filled with Angels. In fact our wedding cake was adorned by blowing angels and our tokens to our lil flower girls were seraphs and cherubs. Fast forward to 2009, and the good news came and the angel is here with us.

Next Generation

by Linnor This is the third and last installment of last Saturday's activities.  After the Chinese birthday lunch and the afternoon coffee, Jerry, Jake and I hied off to Majestic to meet up with Team Cordero, Team Maglana and Team Arbasa, for Chinese (2nd time today) dinner buffet. I think I ingested too much MSG consumed my calorie requirement for the week in just one day!  Parents all:  the Maglanas, George, Jerry and myself, the Arbasas.  We're never too busy to find time to have dinner together. Daddies' mini-me: Christian Arbasa, Gremmie Cordero, our Jake, and Mikey Maglana Starting 'em young.  These boys could very well be the next generation leaders of their dads' organization. 

Keeping the Sanity

by Linnor O-kay... If this is not your first time here, you would have noticed that this collaborative blog is turning into a solo blog. Hehe.  Both my brother and sister are busy with a lot of things, but that is not to say I'm not as busy.  I have a husband, 3 sons and a full time job, and the nanny just moved back to her province... yada-yada-yada... I have my share of hectic days too, you know, and that is about everyday of the week.  So what's my point in all this blabbering?  I'm just happy to blog about an afternoon I had with friends a few days back.  It was last Saturday, right after the lunch treat at Big Mao.  The exchange of experiences and views, and the frequent laughter at our self-deprecating statements were the perfect prescription to keep our "sanity" until the next time we meet up, hopefully. At a glance, we look like the women of SATC minus 1... senior version.  :P with Ann and Dahlia (photo taken by my 5yo son, Jake)

Birthday/Halloween Lunch

by Linnor It's been 13 days since Kyle turned 13.  That officially makes us parents to two teenagers.  Here are pictures of the birthday lunch treat we had with Kyle's friends at Big Mao at the Terraces (Ayala Center Cebu) last Saturday. Posing ala Addams Family Kyle and his masked and "bolted" friends All three pictures above were swiped from our teacher-friend, Mr. Suralta.  More "scary" pics can be found in this album:  Birthday Halloween Party And here's a pic of the other guests

The Heavens Conspired

by Linnor There was no plan. I know, now is certainly not the best of times for most of us to be splurging. But it couldn't be helped. :) Not when the universe and heavens conspire to make something happen. To make the long story short, our 2 year old car was appraised at a really good price which enabled us to pay off the existing financing on it. The deal left us with enough to spare, to get a replacement car with a very minimal increment on our monthly dues. It's literally like exchanging our old car for a new one without breaking the bank. The deal was sweetened even more with the 30% downpayment being stretched to 4 months interest free, without us asking for it. Jerry was just blown over. Haha! Men... Men and their toys.... :D So this morning, just before lunch, and after getting the boys from school, we drove it to Redemptorist Church, just like we did in 2007 with our Carens.  We had it blessed and we gave thanks to the greatest Provider for giving us the

Kyle's 13th

by Linnor At the height of the boys' preparation for their school periodic exams last weekend, we quietly celebrated (2nd son) Kyle's 13th birthday with a mass, Chinese lunch at Big Mao in Ayala Terraces (Cebu) and dinner at Georg Cafe. His birthday treat to friends is scheduled next weekend, when he and his friends are done with the tests and just before they take their sem break. :) So... What are the changes to this new teen's life so far? He just asked my permission last night if he could join his Ahia (Matt) in the school dance tomorrow (Saturday). Hmm... That's a first and definitely not the last.

Priorities, Priorities

by Junnie These days provide some time for me to take stock and set my priorities straight. No, its not the dreary dark skies enveloping Ortigas Centre as I write this but really, it is maybe the current state of mind that I have. You see for some reason, God played a big joke when He sent us over the Philippines for a major assignment and in an apparent stroke of usual Divine blessing, He gave us more. I sometimes remember, more often forget that one can never outdo God with His provisions. I always wanted to make an impact in an organization and see it through excellence in operations, profitability and with the employees never working a single day, enjoying every minute at work. God just gave me that and more. I almost have a magic wand and can set the pace of the company in Manila we set up 8 years ago, a day before 9/11. So now I have twin assignments, twin blessings. So how can you say "no" to what He has given you. So I work and play in one day. I pray that I c

Struggling to Stay Awake

by Linnor We've been spending the last several nights (plus the weekend) reviewing the boys for their 2nd quarterly exams. With Jerry in Manila for a few days, I had to summon up extra-ordinary powers to juggle my time between work and tutoring (not to mention the driving). Nothing new except... I think I'm (a bit) old to stay awake long enough to make sure everything's been done and the boys are ready for bed. These days, at 9pm, my eyelids seem unable to defy the pull of gravity and I find myself doing a new workout regimen which consists of: blinking and yawning and keeping my head from nodding. And though I take coffee, I find myself asleep just before the caffeine kicks in. Ugh! Sleep is our friend... The boys take 5 in between review sessions... :D

Vote for Our Pinoy CNN Hero

by Linnor Inviting all to vote for CNN's Hero of the Year. :) Here's the story of one kababayan named Efren Penaflorida . His profile says "Efren PeƱaflorida gives Filipino youth an alternative to gang membership through education. His Dynamic Teen Company's 10,000 members have taught basic reading and writing to 1,500 kids living in the slums." Click the widget below to choose your hero and vote.

Angels Are All Around Us

by Junnie Metro Manila is still wet. Some parts are still with knee-deep waters. One thing we have going for us is that we have strong faith that this too shall pass, and that the Filipino will rise above. It is October already and it seemed that no one noticed that we arrived Manila last Monday at the heels of the weekend Typhoon Ondoy visited the country. This week we celebrated the feast of the Archangels - Raphael, Michael and Gabriel, and last Thursday, we celebrated the feast of our Guardian Angels. What a whole week of heroic deeds from Pinoys helping their kababayans, and for all the angels in our lives. :)

Pepeng and the Relationship Tag

by Linnor It's Friday, our counterparts in Ortigas knocked off early today to make the necessary preparations.  Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) is forecast to hit land this evening.  It threatens to pass the Isabela / Aurora areas. Meanwhile, I'm taking a short break since my interview schedules for today were rescheduled for next week.  So here's a no-brainer post..... :) Relationship  Tag What are your middle names? His is Uy and mine is Arreza.  And I always have to spell my middle name, maiden name and married name to people who ask for it. :) How long have you been together? We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary last April.  And we're still counting... How long did you know each other before you started dating? ...about a few months :).  We worked in the same company. Who asked whom out? He did. How old are each of you? He is 3 years older than I am. Whose siblings do you see the most? Mine. Which situation is the hardest on you as a coupl

LP: Linis

by Linnor When the boys are home, their room doesn't stay as orderly as the pic above.  Mistulang binagyo kapag silang lahat ay nasa loob ng kanilang asul na kwarto. :) Merong nag-gigitara, merong nagko-kompyuter at merong naglalaro ng Lego.  Sa madaling sabi, pag nasa silid sila, talagang di maiiwasan ang pagiging makalat nito.  :P Anyway, at least nasa bahay lang sila at hindi nagbabarkada sa labas. Pero sa totoo lang, after a long day at work or from school, it's always nice to come home to a clean house.  Ang sarap magpahinga sa maayos na kabahayan pagkatapos ng mahabang araw  di ba?

My Zia's 5th Birthday

I know we shouldn't be celebrating when a lot of people in the Philippines are in need of donations after typhoon Ondoy but my daughter will not understand the situation. Even if I tell her a million times why we should not celebrate her birthday, she still would refuse to understand because that's just how kids are. Im not saying it's being selfish but I believe her goodness will naturally show in time. Today, we celebrated Zia's 5th birthday with her closest friends. I went to the office at 8am and went home at past 2pm to prepare the food for the party. We had spaghetti, fried chicken (i marinated the night before), sauteed shrimp, breaded cauliflower, spicy adobo (liver and gizzard), and fruit salad. The cake was ordered online. The decorations and giveaways were done the day before. The visitors came on time but I finished cooking a little past the time stated on the invitations which I anticipated so I gave the kids activity sheets I printed (connect-the-dots,

Oh No Ondoy!

by Linnor As of this writing, we are glued to the news and we see people on top of houses that are being swept away!  This has been the worst flooding (brought on by typhoon Ondoy) I've seen or could remember in years.  It's so sad that this is happening... Now praying for the safety of people in calamity-stricken areas... My twitter feed displayed the following from most recent to twits 5 hours ago: edebreo I just saw a couple of people riding what looks like a pile of garbage in a flooded marikina river. I hope they got rescued. It's horrible! macelmorph water more than 6ft high omG!! friarminor Power failure adds to Las Pinas woes. Waist-high waters in nearby village drive owners to move cars out of garages. Boo. beabear BUREAU OF FIRE PROTECTION HOTLINES: 729-5166, 410-6254, 413-8859, 407-1230 beabear Meralco emergency text numbers: 0917-5592824/0920-9292824 beabear National Disaster Coordinating Council Emergency Nos.: 912-5668, 911-1406, 912-2665, 9

Shaken but Thankful

by Linnor On my way back to work after lunch a few minutes ago (late lunch), I drove slowly as I sang along Y101's Goldrush Friday as it played "Don't say a prayer for me now. Save it 'til the morning after"... Remember that song by Duran Duran? Anyway... I was slower than my usual pace because it was drizzling.  The jeepneys on the oncoming lane were unloading as I drove past them. And then "screech!". I instinctively stepped on the brake which sent my Macbook hurtling down from the front passenger seat to the floor and then followed by my heavy purse. I think my heart stopped for a beat...ok for beats! Seconds before that, a small child who was covered by his or her adult companion from the drizzle, alighted from the jeepney on the other lane. Suddenly, both crossed to my lane without looking. The woman was mindful about getting the kid wet but not careful enough to steer clear from oncoming cars (?). Ugh... The passengers and the driver fr

Changes in Our Lives

by Junnie Ch-ch-changes. We can't get enough of David Bowie singing that 70s tunes. That could well be what we are singing these days. There are so many things happening in the domestic front. Autumn has started and that means that colder days are here again. Mama has turned a year older. Zia will have her turn next week. And for the 4th time this year, I will be in Manila... Can you sing the Pointer Sisters' hot tune? "I'm so excited....." Here's a great video of how things look from the same perspective in 1 year. Beautiful to see but we don't want to happen in our lives...all things changing while you remain static in one point :

Happy Birthday Ma!

by Linnor We thank the good Lord for blessing our family with you. We pray for your long life and continued good health. And may all the planned trips we talked about push through. :)

Durhan Resort, Tabuelan

by Linnor It took a few weeks for the plan to materialize. And finally last Saturday, we were off to Tabuelan province of Cebu for an overnight trip to the beach.  It's good to see that the roads up north were all smooth and paved. We didn't feel too shaken after the whole 2-hour drive from the city. Tabuelan is a small sleepy town. There's really not much to see as we drove along the small road leading to our destination. It's because of this remoteness that even my Cebuano husband hasn't set foot anywhere near the place. It's the same reason why he's curious to see what Tabuelan is really like. The beach is nowhere near 5-star in amenities but we loved being there just the same. Food can be brought in or guests could just cook or do barbecue.  If you prefer a more relaxed stay, you may request the resto cook to prepare some native fare for a fee. The room my family and I occupied was sparse. It was airconditioned. It had 2 beds where we cram