Sep 30, 2009

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, maze, and coloring pages). I played birthday songs at the background to break the silence and blew balloons used for twisting for them to play with.

How did I know they enjoyed the party? Need not ask...it showed on their faces. I just love seeing children smiling and laughing especially my little girl. A few minutes ago, she came to us (mom and dad in the room with our laptops) and said "Ma, gusto ko birthday ko palagi kasi happy ako pag birthday ko. Gusto ko hindi lang sept 30 ang birthday ko. Thank you sa cake and sa gift." Hearing that washed off the oil that burned me while cooking the chicken, the pain in my arms from grating the cheese, and the headache I felt for lack of sleep. It might not be the best party for others who spent millions in hotels or function rooms but it definitely is the best for my Zia.

For photos click here

Sep 26, 2009

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, 911-5061 Help hotlines: 734-2118, 734-2120.

JerryR Watching the TV coverage of the flood in MM, glad I flew home yesterday

ApplesH Anyone know the hotline for Cainta rescue? NCR doesnt cover it and my mom & sis are stranded there. Flood waters are neck deep. Pls. help!

Rowena18 says per Teleradyo, NLEX traffic not moving...

friarminor MacGyvering: Drenched fixing drain spouts and clearing debris-causing flooded streets.

lilacbrew According to the news patrol, water in c5 near tiendesitas is now waist deep      

Sep 25, 2009

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 from the other jeepney were almost sure they were going to see a gory spectacle had I not been paying attention. It would have been another story.

As a tip, when driving in Cebu or anywhere in the Philippines, I've learned to anticipate that when a vehicle on the opposite lane decides to unload a passenger, that passenger, might not go for the nearest sidewalk but would attempt to stand in the middle of 2 lanes and cross to your side of the lane. Tsk. Scary that we can be too reckless like that.

I'm still shaken by that close call. I thank God He didn't allow anything bad to happen. Even my laptop survived the drop.

Sep 24, 2009

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 :



Sep 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Ma!

by Linnor

With Ma
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 crammed ourselves for the night. It didn't have hot water, ref and tv but these lack of the usual hotel comforts didn't matter much.

Here are pics to show why we didn't miss the tv, cellphone or internet for about 36 hours.
Durhan Resort

The small white sandy cove....


  Durhan Resort  
One of several huts...

 Durhan Resort 
My eldest boy Matt and middle son Kyle


Durhan Resort
The sun casting a golden glow...


Durhan Resort
Youngest son Jake...


Durhan Resort
Just being boys...

Durhan Resort


 Durhan Resort
Happy to see the boys enjoying the short trip


Durhan Resort
A family portrait...

Though not in pics here, the boys alternately swam, played frisbee and frolicked by the beach.  In between, they were feasting on lechon, tinolang native chicken, grilled lapu-lapu, and pancit.

Who needs the telly or the internet anyway when you're in a nice beach with family and friends? :)






Sep 21, 2009

To Party or Not to Party?



Zia's birthday is coming up and she wishes to have a party. I feel bad because this is the first time I have not planned anything for her. Usually, two months before, I have already started planning either a party at home, school, or some venue nearby.

The other day, she showed me a magazine she kept and pointed at the cake she wants. It's a doll cake worth 100sgd. Every day, she asks me "Ma, Sept 30 na ba? Birthday ko na ba?". She is really looking forward to this day and it's so hard to disappoint her. But Im thinking, maybe it will be better to bring her shopping for toys she wants instead of having a one day event. At least, the toys can last a long time and she'll surely enjoy it. Bahala na siguro si Batman. Hanap muna ako ng anda.

Sep 17, 2009

Test Drive

by Linnor

dashboard

Lately, Jerry and I together with the kids, have been visiting car dealers and test driving different car brands. It has become an activity for us to drive up to a car dealer and check out new models even if we didn't plan on buying. Hehe. It gave the boys a different satisfaction to try the cars.

We were not expecting much from the Ford Everest but Jerry was surprised at how much power it gave while we were going uphill to Nivel Hills. On the other hand, the more popular Mitsubishi Montero which the boys were pining for in case we were in the market for a replacement car, turned out to be a slight disappointment. We were given a test unit that was about a year old but looked and sounded like it's been around longer. It gave us a picture of how this vehicle's condition would be like 1 or 2 years down the road.

Then we went to Toyota to check out the Fortuner and the Prius. And my oh my, the Prius at P2.2M, really costs a lot! I think these hybrid cars should be given tax breaks so as not to be too expensive.

After checking out BMW and skipping on the Volvos, Hyundais and Chevrolets, we went to our last stop.

The last brand we tried was Kia. We test-drove the Soul and the Sportage and found the latter to be underpowered versus our very own Carens. Weird. In contrast, the Soul was a great ride and the form factor, is just radical. Either you love it or you hate it. Lol!

After having gone through all the brands (that mattered), we now have a clear picture of what we want to get.  (Care to make a guess?)  As to when... that's a different story altogether.

Sep 16, 2009

A Working Mother's Instant Spa...sans the massage and the aromas



Every time I come back home from work, my children have their own way of greeting me. My little girl would say "Hello, Mama" then run to me to give me a hug. On the other hand, my little boy, since he still cannot walk and talk, would stand on his crib, flash his round eyes and curly lashes, smile with his 4 tiny teeth and show his cute little dimple. Such a wonderful sight after a tiring day.

Sep 15, 2009

CIO Forum

by Linnor


This is the aftermath of a very well-attended forum. :) Great work from the team of organizers and speakers.

There's Only One Bling Bling For Me : My SiBLINGs

by Junnie



There is no other treasure I consider my own. Except my 2 sisters. Naks. But seriously I am as happy for them for their families and their children's achievements. You see we only spent 22 years together in one house, for May it was even less. I feel bitin about those number of years. Despite all the ruckus and the disagreements, those moments were fun. Nowadays, we cherish the moments we are together and the times that we can be all free for a webcam or a skype conversation. Here's looking forward to more sibling revelry this year and for the years to come. (Picture above was taken from Picture City at Market Market. We were all smiles despite the weird setting, and the potential of a flaky dinner) :) Remember this day?

Sep 14, 2009

The promise I cannot make...

by May

From the time we got here in SG until now, all my free time goes to my kids. I have never thought of going out with friends and I feel guilty when Rommel and I leave the children at home while we do some errands. Yes, everytime I open the front door to leave the kids, I suffer from separation anxiety.

This afternoon, I felt sad when my daughter said "I love you, Mama. Sana palagi nalang tayo magkasama". I answered "pano pag nasa office si mama syempre matagal siya mawawala". She insisted "basta gusto ko sumama sayo kahit nasa office ka o kaya kahit saan". I feel guilty because I cannot promise such a thing. As much as I want to be with them 24/7, circumstances just won't allow that to happen. That is why I make it a point to spend quality time with them as much as I could. If the time comes that I won't be able to do it as often, I have already planted good memories to live by.

For mothers who think more of their career advancement, I suggest that you think hard. The higher you go the corporate ladder, the heavier your responsibilities become, and the lesser your time spent with your families.

Post script: Today, Zia and I had a Mcflurry date. When we came home, it was play time for Ziggy and me. Just about now, the front door opened...quality time with Rommel just started...

Sep 12, 2009

Ziggy and his First Vaccine in SG



Since we came here, it was only last Sept 9 when he got his vaccine. The doctor kinda scolded me for bringing him too late. Oh well, it's better late than never..hehe. He developed a slight fever but just for a day. Thank God. His next jab will be on Oct 9. He cried when we held him tight but when the injection was inserted, he stopped crying...weird! We tried taking his photo but the doctor didn't allow us to take pictures nor videos...arte!

The next day, I brought them to a children's birthday party at my boss' place. The recipes were all Chinese...not the usual siomai, siopao, and sweet and sour pork like what I used to eat in the Philippines. Everything was new for my taste. Some I liked, some I didn't like.

Last night, a Chinese man called me and asked for a man named Suresh because he said the latter owed him $25 taxi fare. I told him that I don't know any Suresh. He insisted that I pay the amount or else he'd call the police. It made me so mad that I told him to go ahead because for sure, he'd be embarrassed for accusing me of such a thing. He mellowed down and then said goodbye. After a few seconds, he called again. I just told him to check the number. Nakakakulo ng dugo.

Sep 10, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: Lansangan

by Linnor

 With traffic on most major roads in Manila, meron pa palang kalye na walang traffic... :)
LP: Lansangan
This week's entry to:

Sep 9, 2009

New Mall Buddy

by Linnor

It's 090909 and a local holiday in Cebu (Osmena Day).  I was looking forward to bonding with the boys but Matt and Kyle requested me to drive them to school for their practice or project-making.  So I just made a date with them at the mall at 5pm, after they've spent enough time with their friends/classmates.

After dropping the elder boys off, I looked at Jake and thought perhaps the two of us should bond without his brothers.  Why not?  So I drove to the ATM at IT Park and then proceeded to Ayala Center just as they opened their doors for today's mall-goers.

I walked to Salon de Rose to have my mani-pedi and a retouch to hide the gray regrowth but at the back of my mind, I was silently hoping that Jake would not think of going to the toy store or anywhere but the salon.  To my surprise, he just sat on one of the empty barber's chairs to play with his PSP with nary a complaint.

Then he walked to another kid who happened to be with his mom too.  Great, I thought, that should keep him company.  Then when the kid and the mom had left, Jake went back to the barber's chair and continued playing his PSP for at least an hour.

Contented and happy to have my way without a fussing 5 year-old, I busied myself reading the magazines while the stylist tried to finish the job.   

Then it hit me. I do not have to resent the fact that the elder boys are out with their friends instead of with me or that Jerry is out of town and I have to do things alone sometimes.   I realized I had a new mall buddy in Jake.  I just have to make sure his PSP is fully charged. :)

while Pa shopped at Celio

Sep 8, 2009

Ziggy's funny face caught on camera



Ziggy's antics are hard to capture on picture nor on video. Good thing, he woke up this afternoon with a very good mood. I immediately grabbed my phone and hit the record button before it's too late. Voila! Ziggy's funny face caught on camera. I hope you enjoyed watching it as much as we enjoy it everyday.

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for” - Anonymous

Sep 6, 2009

1st Grading Period Results

by Linnor

This morning was the boys' report card distribution.  Matt, the 4th year high school student, got good grades except for his Physics and CLF (Christian Life Formation) which he needs to bring up in the next quarters.  Kyle, the 1st year high school student, ranked 4th in the top 10 of his class but needs to improve on his Filipino, Mandarin and English.

Jake the preschooler got all Excellent marks  but this is what is written as a summary of his 1st quarter performance:  "He is friendly and playful.  He works and plays well with his classmates.  He is attentive and participative in the class discussions.  During work period, he is constantly reminded to observe our classroom rules and procedures.  He is also encouraged to pray reverently all the time."

Hehehe... It clearly means they all need to exert more effort in the next grading periods.  So, busy days for this Ma and Pa will continue as expected...

Since we knew how much work they put in for the last quarter, Jerry and I decided to treat them out for lunch and had a sumptuous paella lunch buffet at Hola Espana.

hola espana
hola espana
photo.jpg
photo.jpg

Sep 5, 2009

Spot the Difference

by Junnie


Six Years After. We still enjoy, (should I put the word enjoy in quotes?), each other's company. Yes, be it the French Alps or the Merlion at the background, the 3 Arreza siblings take time out to enjoy special bonding moments together, sans Paparazzi and Mama. :) We may have added more weight, more white hair, more wrinkles, but alongside those additional things were added maturity and wisdom. Although we still enjoy talking about the past, we enjoy this time talking about the present and the future and what lies ahead. This blog is going to be a channel for all those banterings, minus the hair pulling and shouting. Pramis.

Sep 4, 2009

Killiney

How do you say that? "Kee-lee-nee"? I tasted this breakfast combo for the first time during my recent trip to Singapore. We were at the airport early and thought of getting breakfast before the flight back to the Philippines. It was a good way to spend the waiting time for this hungry trio who cannot seem to run out of topics to talk about.

May gamely picked up the tab and treated me and Junnie to a breakfast combo that consisted of a cup of coffee, soft boiled egg and slices of kaya toast. Though I'm not a big fan of soft boiled egg, it was actually something I enjoyed . I guess when I'm on a trip, I become more adventurous to try food I don't normally have back home. :)

Killiney
Have you tried this? Did you like it?

Sep 2, 2009

Mandarin Lesson

by Linnor

Mandarin Lesson
I love looking at this scene. Jake seems to enjoy learning the name of fruits in Mandarin.

Ma-Noy of the Philippines

by May

JUST A THOUGHT. Mar Roxas and Noynoy Aquino show the true meaning of being friends. You know why? You see, they share the same dream of becoming a president and they share the same lady, Korina Sanchez (Noynoy's Ex and Mar's bride-to-be). In fairness, they're both principled men so if they're going to run for the presidency, it will definitely be a close fight.

Double Job in SG

by May

My family and I live in one of the most expensive countries in the world and every day the stress of making money gets in my nerves. Sometimes, the thought of just going back to the easy life back home tempts me but I still find myself waking up on the same bed, in the same room, and the same neighborhood. This is reality. It's not easy. It's never easy. If I want to achieve something, I have to work hard for it. That's why I started applying for a second job AGAIN. I tried it before but it didn't work for some reason. Now, I believe I'm ready. My mind is set.

Weekend in SG

by Linnor

It was a quick decision, the impulse to buy the ticket and join my brother Junnie on a short trip to Singapore to visit sis May and her family.  The heavens conspired and my usually hectic schedule seemingly cleared up to make way for the trip.

Not counting the numerous reunions we had in Manila or Cebu, this trip was the second time we were out of the country in the company of each other.  And what's amusing of all, this was the first time we were together without the usual petty squabbles we used to have during younger years.  Well, there was one minor incident where I found myself running the length of Orchard road to beat the time to redeem my GST.  Hehe...

The whirlwind weekend was filled with food binging on roti prata, chili crab, laksa and Asian fusion food delicacies.  Gastronomic delights in between sightseeing, shopping and just being with each other truly made for a great get-together of sorts.

Looking forward to the next one... hopefully, really soon!

Lunch at Popeye's
May, Rommel, Zia, me, and Junnie

Sep 1, 2009

Maya

by Linnor

Just by looking at the over-sized carved wooden doors and wrought-iron chandeliers, or the classy Aztec inspired interiors, you'd think this place is intimidating and pricey. That was not the case even as we surveyed the bar list and menu comprised mostly of Mexican food.

Sure they probably have the biggest collection of tequila (in Cebu) and other spirits, but we found the food and drinks generally affordable. In fact, in a span of a week, we've been to the place twice. That pretty much says a lot, I guess. And I'm sure we'll be going back.



Maya 
This giant bowl of masa chips and fresh salsa rojo was just about P150

Lakan 2009

by Linnor

The boys' school had their Buwan ng Wika culminating activity last Friday.  It was the same day too that Matthew competed against 13 other boys for the Lakan 2009 title.

What does it take to be a Lakan?  One would have to have the total package: looks, stage presence, and ability to express your views in fluent Pilipino.





lakan2

lakan


Filipino is the language or dialect that is least spoken in our household in Cebu. Though I speak fluent Filipino (being born and raised in Manila), mostly it's Cebuano or English.  Filipino fares just a notch better than Jerry's Chinese dialect, Fookien. So imagine my amusement at first knowing that Matthew was to compete with other high school boys. And imagine my surprise even more when he emerged the winner!

Jerry and I, together with Kyle and Jake, are proud that Matthew bested them all. :)

(These photos were swiped from the album of the boys' teacher friend.  See the rest of the pics here).