Wednesday, October 27, 2010

happy birthday, mahal!

it has been 35 years since the world welcomed you into her arms.

while i have known you for a much shorter period, five years to be precise, every moment with you has been a blessing.

you confuse me.
you baffle me.
you make me scratch my head.

you make me laugh.
you are silly with me.
you can be so downright corny.

but every little bit of you makes me understand what it means when you say, i love you more to day than yesterday.

happy birthday. :)


Monday, August 23, 2010


You would know about Starbucks planners every Christmas, noh? Well there was a year that I wanted to get one. Whenever I would go to Manila from Davao, I would ask J to take me to Starbucks so we can each have a coffee. It would be during these circumstances that he would ask me if I would like to split a tall or venti hot coffee. And I would tell him to have two short coffees instead because I wanted to get the planner.

I did get the planner. But I never got to use it. Like most other planners I owned which about lay untouched by mid-June.

It was one of those drinking coffees that I asked J why he keeps asking me if I want to share a Venti instead of us getting a short coffee each. He pointed how many ounces a venti was (20, thus venti) and a short cup (12 oz.). The price difference is about 40 pesos but the weight difference is already 8oz. If we get two short lattes, we'd pay P240 but if we get one venti, we pay P160. Genius! We average P80 for our coffee of 10 oz. Each ounce then has more value for money. It pays to have a frugal partner noh? :P

I eventually picked up this trend whenever we eat out. Since both of us are cheapskates... er, frugal, we prefer to save on food. Whenever we eat out, be it dessert, salad, pizza, steak or noodles, we would get the bigger order and share it between the two of us. This way we get to enjoy more food choices for a much lower cost. Not only that, we lessen the calorie intake compared to ordering one each of our meal. Even in fastfood chains, we would upsize the drink so we can just share one big glass than have two small ones. Sharing fries is often tricky because the way we eat it is different.

Call us cheap, but this is something we both enjoy doing. We present the image of being sweet to each other when in fact, we're really just stretching the budget. :P

Pictures of food we share
Apple pie and cherry pie from an organic market in The Hague.

Crepe with the works in Davao City. It looks better than it tastes though. One of those times splitting food is a great idea.

Apple and cinnamon pannenkoeken (pancake) in Schevinengen in the Hague. Eight euros for this beautiful piece of food. Expensive! But we were able to taste it though we still went home a bit hungry. :P

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

in sickness and in health


J and i are both quarantined because of conjunctivitis, aka sore eyes. J just discovered that the American version of the disease is called pink eye. Anyway, there are five of us in the house which have it. The other half have thankfully been spared, and hopefully it stays that way.

The last two days, J has spent mostly sleeping and lying down. I'm not a great fan of sleeping especially when I am not tired, so most of my rest day has been spent playing facebook games, trying to catch up on scores and increasing my level.

Our joint activity has been watching movies. We've already seen Joey Gosengfiao's Temptation Island, Hot Fuzz and What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I also played catch up with "Magkaribal," the best bitcheserye in town. LOL.

Anyway... he deserves this break much more than I do. However, the upside to this itchy scratchy situation is we get to just hang out in our room. Watching him sleep, eyes puffy and all, I can not imagine being stuck in this uncomfortable situation other than him. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

of dates and furniture

Our journey towards a new home have slowly begun. And I find it so sweet to see J quite excited by a little 20 sq. m. condo unit. He compares our home with other condo units being built and pre-sold. He has not stopped researching websites that feature decorating small spaces. I, on the other hand, barely think about it given that it is still 12 months away. I'm more worried about the payment and how to manage the house in case we have a third member of our family.

But I enjoy seeing J like that. I enjoy his passion for our new home. There are days when it is so cute.

About a couple of weeks back, while I was playing FB games, J went in the room carrying a newspaper. He asked me if I wanted to go on a date. Then showed me the newspaper. Home Depot was 70% off. He said we can go to that UP Thai restaurant that I liked. I was laughing a bit. I told him I would take his offer because he rarely asks me out on a date. It does not matter that it will be in a furniture store. I kidded that I was just humoring him because he was so excited. It was mostly true but the entire truth was I could not help but feel happy to be with a man who is really excited about his home. :)

photo from

Monday, May 31, 2010

House hunting

Ever since I returned to the Philippines, J and I have been living with his parents in Pasig (bordering Cainta). Of course, finding our own place has been in the pipe line even before we got married but I had to leave for studies and all that. The plans had to take a back seat.

When I got back, there was a lot of uncertainty. Despite a masters degree, I had no guarantee I'd get a good job. I'd run back to Davao if I would just think of my career path but work for J is not as thriving as it is Manila, so I figured we should try things out here first.

It was a crazy twist of fate that after six or seven years of freelance work, J got invited by a friend to work for his company. J, who was quite comfortable with the freelance set-up, thought that if he would be tied up to an employer, it might as well be with something he can really contribute to and someone he would want to help. So J was finally employed.

I, on the other hand, was becoming desperate for work having been two months out of school already. It is true what they say though, "when it rains, it pours" because calls for job interviews came one after another. I even had to turn down a couple and intentionally make myself undesirable for another one. After two and half months, I finally landed a job. Better-paying compared to my previous job and most importantly, the office is in the same street as J. We travel to work and back home together. :)

Things pretty much settled for us in terms of work. It was time to get our act together as a family unit. We both believe it begins with our own place. At first, I was just interested in renting a place near our work place. Just so we can avoid the traffic going to and from work. The nearer to work, the better it would be.

But events do happen as they please, even if things aren't the way you planned it. J and I came across a couple of pre-selling condominium units near Don Bosco. One was Vista Land and another Ayala Land. It was actually enjoyable checking out model units. I particularly love how Ayala Land was able to deck out the units to look quite homey and livable. Honestly though, I never really imagined myself to be a condo girl. I've always lived in a house with sufficient space for everything.

We found ourselves liking Avida Towera (Ayala) over Trevi (Vista Land) because it was better-designed and looked like it was given more thought. Here's the thing though... much as we would like to have at least a one bedroom unit, we could not afford it. It was almost double the price of the studio unit, which with a little bit of stretching, we can afford (if we stay with our work forever! :P).

The studio is this small...
26 square meters. 18 sq. m of living space, 3 sq. m of the bathroom and 4 sq. m of balcony (facing Manila Bay... if Filinvest does not cover our view!).

Just last Friday, I found out that our water and sanitation kits are 25 cubic meters. That's our condo unit. Wow. Teeny-tiny little thing. A container van would probably have a bigger space.

But we took it anyway. Over a bigger place that would be available probably somewhere in Las Pinas or Sta. Rosa.

1) I know that more and more development will happen that side of the world and most of them work our side of the world. The traffic will never go away. So we will have a nice big place we can't enjoy because we are too tired to do anything when we get home. Most of the time would be spent on the road.

2) We don't intend to stay there forever. We hope to have children someday and we would not fit in the teeny-tiny studio unit. It, however, will be an investment. Maybe rent it out or sell it. This is Ayala property we are talking about, so I'm sure it will be worth something.

3) The location is great. Just on the fringes of Makati CBD. We could walk to work. Yahoo.

The major catch is it won't be ready until July next year. Boo.

However, we are still excited for our little humble __C (our future unit address). J has been looking around possible expandable-contractable-convertible furniture in the internet. I have been visualizing how convenient it is to get around. We are both computing the mortgage. Mortgage... such an adult word.

So it begins... marriage takes a new turn for us. Excited to see how it goes. :P

Sunday, May 23, 2010

honeymoon: our first solo travel together (whu?)

Prior to getting married, J and I usually traveled with our friends. I actually don't remember going away on long trips just with him. And our friends are quite fun to travel with which makes every vacation a memorable one for us.

And we have such sweet friends! As their gift for our wedding, the fuhkers/barkadayawan peeps pooled their money together to pay for our tickets to Puerto Princesa. I was deeply touched and grateful for the wonderful gift. It was somehow appropriate. :)

It was our first night in Sabang and we have been going around the Baragatan Festival expo in the provincial plaza. After a while, we decided to have dinner in Ka Lui's. The restaurant is quite famous in Puerto Princesa so we wanted to try it for ourselves.

When we got there, we found out that the place was closed on Mondays. Whu?!! Just so we don't have to stress out on our meal too much, we decided to go the restaurant next door, Lotus Garden. The set-up of the place was beautiful and artsy. The food was just average.

I think we were having some soup when my new husband blurted out, "nakaka-miss sina Je." I told him, "di ko alam kung gusto kitang batukan e" or some vile thing like that. I was kidding of course, but I did not know what to make of it. I mean, it was our honeymoon for good sakes. Finally, after years together, we actually get to go to a place just by ourselves and he would say that. I quickly thought, was I that boring a company. I didn't keep it a thought for long. "So what, you think I'm boring company?" Half-kidding, half-serious.

"Di naman. Sanay lang ako na lagi silang kasama." I just laughed at the statement though a part of me still wanted to pinch him in the sides. Or maybe I did pinch him, I just don't remember any more. :P

A couple days later, we were having breakfast by the sea watching the calm early morning beach and the boats floating serenely, when I told J, "oo nga, nakakamiss sila." Then we started laughing and remembering the crazy adventures we had with our friends.

While we did miss the company of our friends, we did enjoy our honeymoon the same way we did with people. We explored most of Sabang, including silly poses (FHM-ish, can't help it, we were just too inspired by the scenery and the quiet) by the Sabang Falls. We splurged on our last day at the amazing, worth-it splurge of Daluyon resort.

Typhoon Frank did turn our relaxing week in Palawan into an Amazing Race trip home, but otherwise it was a perfect time together. A nice start to our new life. :)

The only thing I was certain of, the downside with just two of you in a trip... you don't get the best photos. But you do get a lot of silly ones. :)

In a hammock in Dap Dap Resort while waiting for our crabs to cook. I think I taught Jan to eat crabs more here. Pinaghimay ko ng konti e.

On the way to Sabang Falls. We were able to ask the caretaker/toll collector to take a photo of us.

Enjoying our last night at Sabang. Before we saw the sun set and the full moon rise. One of my best moments with the hubby. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

our gift for the year

Some people may have thought that leaving during the first year of our marriage was not really a good idea. I would not say it was great but it was not something I decided on lightly. I am just so glad to have been blessed to have found a very understanding partner in J, for accepting my decision to pursue studies and conquer Europe for 15 months. He did not only accept, but understood.

Now that I am back in the Philippines, we are starting to build our life together. Soon, we will be starting our apartment search. This is something I am excited about. But there is something I am particularly thankful for, and that is J and I work on the same street in Makati.

It was quite serendipitous for us. He was invited to work for a friend's digital advertising company late February. After some deliberation, he decided to take the offer and be, for a first time in many years, an employee again. It took some adjustment but he eventually got used to having a fixed time. He also started to enjoy it.

I, on the other hand, have been on the prowl for work since January. March became my lucky month because calls came one after the other. I had to turn down one offer for various reasons. After some time, it boiled down to two organizations. Both had interesting work. Both were of international scope. I was more qualified and knowledgeable for one, while I needed a lot of work for the work of the other. It was amusing how I got a call a hiring from the other while I was on my way for my last stage of interview in the other. I decided to accept the offer and somewhat intentionally flubbed the interview I was going to.

The one I chose was the one I had less knowledge about. It was something I was weighing on for days. And while I know I can really perform with the other job, the idea of leaving every week was not as pleasurable as it was years ago. I knew that I had my time for travel last year. I think my call is now to find a way to start a family with J.

It was a wonderful bonus to have our offices on the same street. While his call time is 9AM and mine is 8AM, we go to work together. We also try to wait for each other when we go home. Sometimes we have lunch together. It's really a great set-up for us. We get to spend more quality time during the day together. This is something not a lot of couples get to enjoy.

I feel so lucky to have been gifted this chance to build a stronger relation with my partner. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wedding memories: Minette Santiago

This is an entry almost two years overdue. Better late than never though. :P

Back in college, I asked an English classmate to draw me a wedding gown. Just because. I wasn't even sure if I wanted to get married but it was just a fun thing to do on a sunny day while trying not to think of homeworks and essays to do.

That was 14 years before my actual wedding. I would have used that sketch as a peg but I don't know where it is anymore. So I was forced to look through bridal magazines (which good friend R lent to me) to look at gowns that I want mine to be patterned after. I really couldn't find something that I really wanted. Maybe because I was in the mindset that I'd just get a nice off-the-rack white dress from Karimadon. But when J's mom offered to pay for the entourage gowns, I had to think about a design and a designer.

Honestly, I don't know why I would want to spend so much money on a dress that I would wear just once. Even for a once in a lifetime event like my wedding. Yep, I am so much of cheapskate. Canvassing in wedding expo's, my jaws dropped most often. Dresses would cost from P20,000 up! Whada?!

I was lucky to have R recommend Minette Santiago. R was supposed to have Minette make her wedding gown but Minette was booked at the time of her wedding. I've also heard good reviews about her from another friend, though again, they were not able to get Minette's services because she was booked.

Since I really did not have anything in mind, I just gave her some pegs of what I thought I liked or what I thought would look good. I had to ask her to tell me whether it was okay or not. I told her I did not want a pouffy gown and I would rather not wear a petticoat.

Here's the thing... Minette was able to convince me to wear a small petticoat. She convinced me not to wear separate pieces just so I can wear it again. She was able to put together my ideas onto one dress. I wasn't entirely sure if that was what I wanted, but it looked impressive on sketch. So I said go with it.

It was always fun visiting her home/studio in White Plains because her Chow-Chow just had four pups. Other than that, she was really very professional and easy to talk to. She puts people at ease and listens to what they want and adjusts what she things can be improved on.

During my final fitting, which was a week before the wedding I think, I saw the gown. It still did not have the beads on, and it was just lace on top. I did not like it. It fit well, the skirt flowed nicely, but I felt that the top was too old. I actually cried that night thinking about the gown. I thought it wasn't me. I had to call one of my bride's maid to talk to me and tell me it will be fine.

When the day came, and Minette's staff delivered the gown, it was beautiful! I was in-love with it! It was waaaaaay better than what it looked like during the fitting. What was more, Mama G, who was going to do my make-up, also was impressed with the gown as he entered the hotel room. When he liked it, I was assured that I got the perfect dress for my wedding. It was not the way I thought it would be, but it was just right. Thanks to Minette.

I highly recommend brides to get her if they can. She is quite affordable, very professional and very friendly. My entourage also liked their dresses, except for my sister, but they never really got the chance to talk because she was in Cebu.

I really liked the silhouette of the gown. Not too pouffy.

The top that I worried about. The beading was lovely!

Simple yet elegant.

Monday, March 8, 2010

sports is sacred

When J and I were still a young couple, one of the things I get baffled at is how obsessed he can get with sports. There were occasional times I end up bickering with him, often J not seeing it coming, because of how inattentive he can get while watching basketball, and more recently soccer.

After a while, I've learned to accept how important it is to him. I recognized the fact that his love for sports came way ahead before he loved me. I don't think he will exchange me for it when a choice comes his way (i.e. me getting arrested for something as opposed to a spurs game on TV. i do hope this does not happen.

There was one time though when he was watching the all-important Olympic basketball game between Argentina and US and I was out. He promised to pick me up but the telecast was late, he asked me to take a cab. I almost got pissed because a promise was made but I also knew how important the game was for him, but it has been a long time since I took a cab by myself at 2 in the morning. We reached a compromise that he will just pick me up at my friend's house after the game. Both happy!

I guess when it comes to being in a relationship, we have to figure out what things matter to our partners. He knows how much I like traveling so he tries to indulge me as much as possible. And whenever there is a game he wants to watch, I try not to schedule something or go out by myself instead. I do tease him a lot about sports being his first love and I am just the mistress. But otherwise, I learned that one way for us to have a peaceful co-existence is to let him enjoy his simple pleasures of watching and playing sports. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

getting used to being married...

it's not a secret that i had to leave a few months after the wedding because i was able to get a scholarship abroad. so my on-the-job training for being a wife and someone's 'live-in' partner had to be cut short.

now i'm back to it. both of us, i think, are still getting used to the daily motions of being married though we haven't really stabilized yet given my current state of 'lost' as i hunt for work.

a clear evidence that we are still unused to married life is... toothpaste.

yes, toothpaste.

i brought a tube back from netherlands which i was currently using. after a while, i realized that there were a couple of toothpaste tubes on the dresser which were both used. i asked him why he was using his own. he thought i wanted my own tube.

i found this absolutely hilarious. i told him i did not mind sharing because i am fairly certain that i will have to ask for toothpaste from him if i don't get work any time soon. other than that, i think sharing would be more cost-efficient if we are to be room mates anyway.

i'm glad marriage does not come with manuals. it would be no fun that way!

Monday, February 8, 2010

praying together

i hardly have the spiritual discipline for a decent prayer before going to sleep, much less structured prayers like the rosary and novenas. but for some reason, i really like going to mass. especially after several sessions with fr. jett villarin explaining the meaning of the signs and symbols of the mass.

i particularly love the idea of why it is bread and wine. for bread, the dough is kneaded over and over and over to make it the perfect bread. for wine, it is crushed to make the juice which has to be fermented to become wine. simply put, the final 'output' of bread and wine go through a process before they become the delicious food that they are.

anyway... i feel doubly content when i go to mass with j. maybe because like i said previously, i feel that being married to j is God's sacrament of His love for me. sacraments are said to be 'symbols' of God's love. i'm not sure if it is appropriate, but i often hold his hands during mass because i am reminded of my gift.

one of the best marriage homilies i have come across talked about a couple's love is like a braided hair. if there is only two strands, it would untangle. but a third strand makes it hold and makes it stronger. the priest sad that God is that third strand. makes perfect sense to me.

and after that, i decided that i shall make sure to factor in God in my next relationship. interestingly enough, j was an answered prayer. long story for another day.

i think we are still in the honeymoon period of our marriage (which i hope we can stretch as long as we can!), but i do hope in the next years of our togetherness, we do not forget to factor in God in our relationship. to remember that we are each other's symbol of God's infinite love.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

my one and only love

It was another one of those nights when J was bringing me home to Sta. Ana. He brought a tape (lost to Ondoy) to play some Sting on the way home. It was a pleasant surprise when he asked me to listen to a particular song. And an even better surprise hearing him sing along with it. He told me it was his song for me. Kinilig lola niyo! That was a rare moment of an verbal expression of love. I couldn't help but feel good.

The song became my bridal march played on the organ and violin. It was lovely. :)

written by Robert Mellin & Guy Wood

The very thought of you makes
My heart sing
Like an April breeze
On the wings of spring
And you appear in all your splendour
My one and only love

The shadows fall
And spread their mystic charms
In the hush of night
While you're in my arms
I feel your lips so warm and tender
My one and only love

The touch of your hand is like heaven
A heaven that I've never known
The blush on your cheek
Whenever I speak
Tells me that you are my own

You fill my eager heart with
Such desire
Every kiss you give
Sets my soul on fire
I give myself in sweet surrender
My one and only love

The blush on your cheek
Whenever I speak
Tells me that you are my own
You fill my eager heart with
Such desire
Every kiss you give
Sets my soul on fire
I give myself in sweet surrender
My one and only love

My one and only love

Monday, February 1, 2010

a promise

I made a promise to myself that when I get married, I will not mind being publicly affectionate. Not in the disturbing to others kind of way, but just the "I'm with this dude" kind of way. I always had this notion that married couples who still hold hands and act like they're bf-gf are way more romantic.

I'm keeping true to that word. :)
(thus absolutely cheese entries to this blog. ;p)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

fall in love... and it will decide everything

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love; stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

- Pedro Arrupe, SJ

Arrupe speaks of loving God in this piece but many couples have found this quite inspirational for their relationships. I personally do not find a dichotomy between loving a person and loving God.

When I finally realized that my heart's desire for a vocation was to have a family, I prayed that I find a relationship that will make me realize that I am constantly in God's love. And true enough, I wake up each day and sleep each night knowing in my heart that I am constantly embraced in God's love having found a loving husband in J. I know we will be more blessed because we are bound in His love. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010


for the first four years of our relationship, married life included, the hubby and i spent our time mostly apart. people ask me how we were able to maintain the long-distance relationship. i ask myself that too. we were just able to. despite the fact that we don't get to talk every day.

but now that we get to spend every day together, i actually tend to miss him more. i feel it strange to leave the house without him going with me. so when we see each other again (even if it was just a matter of three or four hours) i feel so excited to be with him again.

another cheesy moment. but i guess that's why they call the first two years the "honeymoon period." but i demand an extension given that we spent 13 months apart during our first 19 months. ;p

Thursday, January 21, 2010

looking forward

photo taken from here.

When we go out, I would usually point out the old couples holding hands that we see and tell J, "that's what I want us to be."

There is something about senior citizen couples who walk hand-in-hand that makes me all kilig. I would tell J that I sometimes imagine us in our 70's holding hands in the mall walking slowly. One of us would turn to the other and ask, "where are we supposed to go?" and the other would answer, "I forgot." And because we don't know where we were supposed to go, we just keep on walking following wherever our shaky knees would take us.,

I once told En about this. I told her that I think if people want to find the one they want to spend forever with, they should try imagining themselves farther into the future when faces and bodies hardly matter anymore... when all you have are conversations and explorations, would he still be the person that you choose to talk to and walk with. If the image looks fine, then that person might be worth a shot.

I did it for J and I didn't mind the image at all. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

to sleep perchance to dream

Prior to getting married, I would sleep six to eight hours and still feel exhausted upon waking up. It was one of those post-wedding days when I realized how much more restful my sleep has become.

This has become more evident when I was away for my studies. My bed was comfortable, my pillow okay, yet I slept light and restless. It was not because I was away from home. I have slept in so many beds for most of my life given my job so it could not be a case of 'namamahay.' When he was finally able to come to Netherlands, I again had the gift of restful sleep no matter how tired my day was.

Now I'm back home. Sleep is still good. It must be because my only source of stress is thinking about what time I need to farm. But I still attribute it mostly to having someone's hand to hold before dozing off. Cheesy but true.

five years

It was the 19th of January of 2005. We were walking towards my favorite spot in school. Well, I walked and he limped. We sat on a giant slab of stone underneath a large tree. I don't remember our conversation but for some reason it steered towards defining the 'relationship.' We held hands, went out every night for two weeks and went home real late. I told myself to just go with the flow. Defining the relations was a question I did not think of asking so early in the relationship. But he asked. Strange thing for a guy to do. I wasn't expecting to leave Manila with a change of friendster status (friendster was the in social networking then). But after around 10.30PM, from 'single' I became 'in a relationship.'

Five years ago since we became a couple. I only knew him for a couple of months prior to that. Too fast I thought. But then he said something to the effect of why wait when you know it's what you want. Maybe I did not know if that was what I wanted but then I thought, "what the heck?!"

And so here we are five years since that night. He, lying in bed and snoring his tiredness away as I sit by his side typing away on the laptop as I reminisce a night I almost forgot if M did not remind us today after our Zombieland laugh trip.

Five years. It seems so long ago but it is short compared to the years ahead of us. :)