Feb 18, 2011

Lady Gaga wasn't the Original

by Junnie

Talk about Lady Gaga coming to the Grammy's inside an egg made me recall this pic.

She wasn't original at all. But beneath those pa-weirdo facade and outrageous make over and 'do is a sensitive person. She just tweeted today how she felt happy seeing this video and how it made her realize why she is in this business. Well guys, welcome the latest Pinoy You Tube sensation.

Here was Lady Gaga's tweet entry:

and here's the reason for her tears...not as special as Charice or as compelling as the Cebu inmates...but really, to capture the attention of 1 million 2 Million 9.9 Million 36 MILLION You Tube viewers after Gaga tweeted, that is SPECIAL.

Great song. Great rendition. We are all born this way, hatched, given by God, or in my case, someone who can't sleep for 5 hrs straight....back to bed for me.

here's an update video of Maria Aragon from Canada speaking with Lady Gaga: who invites Maria to go onstage and do a duet on March 3 at Lady Gaga's Toronto Concert!

Ex-Virtual Friend

Since I started blogging in 2002 (yup that long ago), I have gained online friends. Most of these are fellow Filipinos who are based overseas. Long before Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Multiply or Friendster came along, our virtual community* kept in touch and updated each other using our blogs. We celebrated milestones and successes and gave reassurances when needed by commenting on each other's posts. The funny thing is, some of these friends, I haven't even met in person.

January 2011, the time came for me to meet one of my virtual friends. I can't seem to recall when and how we got to know each other online. The only thing I know is that we read each other's blogs (I admire her photos by the way) plus she reads my brother's too.

She is Filipina, in fact with Cebuano roots, and is now based in Europe. She was in Cebu for the holidays (Christmas up to Sinulog). And since we were in the same place at the same time, meeting each other was the most natural thing to do.

We finally met up and got to see each other... for the first time. I didn't even have to wonder how she looked. It was like seeing an old friend when she walked in Starbucks that afternoon. And we instantly hit it off.

She was talkative and was animated while telling her stories, pretty much the same way she wrote her posts on her blog. Amusing, really. And my 6yo Jake enjoyed her company too, as if she were one of his aunts.

She has since gone back to Europe but there's the assurance that we would keep in touch. I may not be as active in blogging as I was before but there's always FB. :) And who knows? We might just meet again... soon.

Sha and Jake


once more with feeling :)

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. One of the most pervasive types of virtual community include social networking services, which consist of various online communities. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_community)

Feb 15, 2011


Since getting married, we have moved quite a number of times without renting. We lived seven plus years with my mother-in-law, then another seven plus years on our own in a condo. And now, we are on our 3rd year in a townhouse.

The condo has already been sold for a good margin. That one plus the townhouse we currently live in were bought with our hard-earned funds. Like I mentioned, we saved our rent money :). Because we put in a lot of our savings and monthly income to our home, we always weigh our options in getting the best deals when it comes to housing loans, construction or renovation costs, finishing touches or furnishings.

Now with a new project that is already more than a year in the making, we are excited at the prospect of moving to a bigger space. The house (yes, it is a house this time) is already built but the contractors are now installing fixtures like the bedroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets, pantry cabinet, sink, cook top, rangehood, and the provision for a regular ref (I suddenly remembered how we tried to fit in a mini fridge in our room in my MIL's place). Taking our time are questions like: Are we going to put a wine glass rack somewhere? Do we install fascia or open shelves instead? Etcetera.

I am excited to fill the kitchen with essentials (small appliances and thingamagigs like bread slicer, hehehe). And Jerry is amused at all these kitchen talk because I don't cook at all! But then again, with a complete kitchen, who knows what I might just whip up... someday?

Feb 10, 2011

She Tried

She pleaded not to go. Pa coaxed her saying everything would be ok. The rest of us assured her that it wouldn't take long. We were all gung ho... the elder boys most especially.

I was excited at first but, admittedly, felt like backing out at the last minute just before the small mountain road got very steep. It didn't help that we were on the verge of overheating. I could smell something burning. Or was that my imagination? Oh no! Ma's fears would just be compounded!

We stopped momentarily as Jerry and I looked knowingly at each other. We were overheating! Not good. Do we proceed or not? Nobody else in the group knew what was going on and we didn't want to alarm anybody. Ma was already agitated to start with.

The steep and narrow road going up seemed to be headed nowhere and the van's temp was now on the high side. Going back down was out of the question as there was no space to maneuver. When Jerry drove on uphill, I began to murmur my prayer as I surveyed the drop on both sides of the road. Ngi.

That was the scary part. The moment we set foot on concrete ground, we totally forgot what just happened. The view before us was breathtaking on a clear afternoon.

Ma has been to Cebu countless times but she has never been to Tops, Cebu's highest peak in Busay (the city and neighboring islands can be seen from this point). We tried as many times to take her there but her fear of heights prevailed. This was her first. Though she eventually loved the place and posed for pictures, I doubt there would be a second.

Her words: "Sana iniwan nyo na lang muna ako sa casino!" (You should have left me playing in the casino!)


Zia and Jake @ Tops

Arrezas @ Tops

it doesn't look like Ma is scared of heights here...

...but this was as far as she would go


fantastic view behind

Feb 9, 2011

Call Me Loser!

As expected with the holidays, we've had family, relatives and friends gathering together. With so much scrumptious food and a lot of good company, it's not called the happiest time of the year for nothing. :)

The good times come with unwanted extras though. The holiday binge-eating "gifted" me with at least 5 additional pounds. Oh no! LOL. Hello muffin-top! My daily mantra since day 1 of 2011 has been: ...must... lose... weight!

PS: I did lose more than a kilo (for real) since cutting out junk food from my diet, controlling portions, being (slightly more) active and drinking green tea. :D

That's a start right?

A sampling of the holiday binge-eating follows...


Starbucks on several occasions

@Figaro IT Park



Dinner @ Cafe Laguna
Cafe Laguna

Ching Palace

Christmas Day Dinner @ Mesa

Christmas Day Dinner @ Mesa

Feb 8, 2011


It is not a bed of roses, so they say. There will always be good days as well as bad. And I'm not being jaded here when I say no marriage is completely blissful. It takes effort. Both partners must work on the relationship, commit to each other and stick it out no matter what. After all, marriage is supposed to be "till death do us part". Right? Ideally...

I'm not going to write about the statistics of failed marriages here or what breaks apart a once-loving union. Whatever is the reason for the break up, we all know that separation is not uncommon these days. Sad.

So every December, we happily celebrate Pa and Ma's wedding anniversary to mark another year of togetherness. Last December was their 44th. Yes, 44th! Oh, shush... They are not perfect. Pa's (too) silent demeanor annoys Ma to the hilt and Ma's loud and aggressive personality drives Pa nuts. They bicker, they taunt each other. Typical. Sometimes their argument is serious enough to cause a rift. But still...

They may be poles apart in views and personalities but one thing they have in common is their God-centeredness. My siblings and I know, because how Pa and Ma handle things is pretty much WYSIWYG, "what you see is what you get".

And... God-willing... what I see is a lot more celebrations to look forward to. :)

the half where i got my square-jaw from

Kyle and Matt
Kyle and Matt, 3rd gen

Anniversary Couple with Sisters
anniversary couple with sisters


Feb 7, 2011

Effortless Entertainment

Last December, cousin Mimi and I planned some sort of a get-together. Nothing grand... just an afternoon of games, chitchat over pizza, ice cream and bottles of Fit and Right. :) After all, family members from Manila, Asia, Europe and Middle East were in town. Only those from North America were not around. (I just made that sound like we're very dispersed).

The 3rd generation kids (aged 2-6) who don't see each other often, because of geography, were excitedly running about. Ziggy and 2nd-cousin Zach danced to "Evolution of Dance" (too cute!) while elder sisters Zia and Marti were busy with the Wii.

When my Aunt Didi and my Pa started handing out $ and Php bills, the kids eagerly showed off their talents. What a sight!

What was supposed to be a get-together for a couple of hours stretched to a few more. Stories seemed never-ending, well, at least for me and Mimi. :D As if we're not FB or Twitter friends. Haha!

Just when we thought there was a lull, my Pa stood up to do his magic tricks. Oh yes, these are the same magic tricks he did during Junnie's grade school Father-and-Son Camp back in the late 1970s (?). The younger ones were in awe while the elder ones pretended it was their first time seeing the tricks too. Hihi... conspiracy.

Above the din of the excited kids and belly-laughs of the adults, my thoughts were alternately going back to the past and to the present... Here's wishing they treasure the bond and remember these priceless moments, like I did (still do) my own.

How did you do that Lolo?
How did you do that Lolo?

Lolo, are you sure this string will go through my body without hurting me?

Focus now... learning curve

The moves!


I knew Pa got this idea from Junnie and Mitzi during his recent vacation in Canada. And he was too eager to run the same gimmick during the Christmas break in Cebu. When he set foot in the mall, he walked towards another direction while the rest of us were busily figuring out where to have our lunch. Laguna Garden? Max's? Mesa? You'd think he was going to panic-shop for gifts for all of us as he quickly moved in the direction of Metro Ayala.

And on his return, he proudly showed us his loot - a set of bingo! LOL... It was the kind that you needed to punch the round plastic number "tiles" (do tiles come in round shape too?) from the "mat" it came with. Rather crude. He worked on it for the rest of the day until he had his chance to emcee the game right at home, after our Christmas dinner.

And what do you know? We had FUN! The laughter echoing within the corners of our humble home was too precious! The kids were game even if it only meant winning pens, recycled gifts (haha!), small items, chips, nuts, chocolates and the occasional cash. And the twist to the game was a novelty too. The winner got to grab any gift he/she wanted. It was hilarious!

Who would have thought a game of bingo would be that fun??? We enjoyed it so much we had another session with our cousins, the Herreras, Cruzes and Villaruels. :) Yup, just a couple of days after.

Christmas Day Huddle

Another round of bingo


All smiles :)

I didn't know bingo was this fun
I didn't know bingo could be this fun!

The bingo games were a blast AND the pizza and the barbecue, chorizo, puso and ice cream our cousins sponsored made the extended family bonding perfect!

All (But One) in Cebu

We've always had to divide our Christmas season between Cebu, where we are based, and Manila, where my parents and siblings live. Sometimes, it would be Christmas in one place then New Year in another place or the other way around. That would be the case even after Junnie and Mitzi migrated to Canada, and a few times more even after May, Rommel and kids moved to Singapore. For 2010, we thought, "how about having everyone here in Cebu for a change?".

The plan was great but the events leading to it were quite a different story altogether. Work got in the way (haha!)... Schedules did not quite jive... Plans changed every now and then. And... ugh, it was a roller-coaster ride!

I'm not sure now how it all fell into place but, to make the long story short, we all (except for Junnie and family) found ourselves celebrating Christmas 2010 in one place - Cebu! Junnie joined us via Skype so it was like he was with us as well. :)

And what's a reunion without the regulation gathering around the table, right? We hauled ourselves between eating at home and trying out local restos. It was always a riot, in a happily chaotic way.

I ♥ this family!


Two branches of the Arreza family, in Cebu


On Skype
Junnie and Gab via Skype on Christmas Day