Tuesday, August 31, 2010


you know how they say that things come when you least expect them to come?

well, that's exactly how it happened: a text message on a tuesday night, which i was *thankfully* able to act on immediately since i was at tita mayu's and had internet access. the reply came on a wednesday morning -- go go go.

a bazillion emails, text messages, and much praying all around, i got my answer.

and you know what's the cool part? things were extremely different friday night -- i wanted it, but i didn't know exactly how to make things happen. then came the day of prayer when some realizations just came to me and i knew this was something i had to do, as long as some conditions were met. so i fired off an email first thing this morning, and more texts and emails were exchanged, and tonight, i said yes.

maybe i'll finally say goodbye to cafe world, and maybe blogging won't be as frequent anymore. maybe tweets will have to stop. maybe you'll see less of me. i don't really know. but one thing is for sure: change is definitely coming.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

cardriver turned busrider once more

let me let you in on a not-quite-a-secret: i love commuting, as long as commuting is an option and i can take the car when i want.

complicated? here's the long-ish explanation that i hope will make sense:

growing up, i couldn't really understand why my mom would sometimes opt to commute rather than take the car to work. she'd drive and park at a certain undisclosed location, then take the jeepney all the way to laguna. it isn't safe at all, some of her friends reminded her.

me -- i resented not being able to use the car, even more so when my mom and dad first went to the US and i was living in las pinas and commuting to ortigas on a daily basis. there were two serviceable cars in the garage, and there i was, in my teacher outfit, daring myself to go out in the pouring rain. i think more than once i almost cried at the thought that the cars were drier that i was.

and so what if i couldn't drive yet. IMHO, the reason why i couldn't drive was the fact that i didn't have any vehicle to practice on.

then my mom went home, and then she migrated to the US for real and she had no choice but to distribute the cars to her kids: one for my brother, and one for myself. and since i had to get an operation which basically left me unable to get around in jeepneys and buses, i had to learn how to drive real fast.

and you know what, i did. of course that didn't happen without a bazillion mishaps taking place, but i didn't care. a car is a thing. a thing can be replaced and/or fixed. freedom -- the kind that comes with a vehicle -- is priceless.

so i drove -- to the shopping center (from my dorm 300 meters away, but so what?), to law school, then eventually to work, then one magnificent moment -- from UP to BF. after that, sky's the limit. i had me and my car, and we were going places.

and when spike arrived, that meant more freedom -- spike was tiny, can be parked easily, and zoomed (as quickly as a 1.3 can) around the city. spike went to tagaytay. spike went to cabanatuan. spike went to subic. spike went where i wanted to go. i may have had boyfriends then, but spike, spike was (and is) my one true love.

then gas prices increased. and spike had to learn how to stay at home. or, since taking a trike was expensive, spike had to be parked in the exact undisclosed location where my mom used to park her car.

they say an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. in this particular case, as much as it pains me to admit, yes, i am very much like my own mother.

but then as i am the one who pays for insurance, regular maintenance, gasoline, and all other incidental car expenses, i finally understood the charm that comes from having a car and then not using it. when i wake up each morning, i'm faced with a dilemma -- do i take the car or not? if i'm late, i definitely take it. if i'm not, i sometimes don't. if i'm sleepy or particularly broke, i commute. and if i'm feeling rich or the skies are dark, then i take spike. i realized that freedom didn't come from car ownership; freedom came from having the choice as to what to do with the car.

so, while i still am a cardriver, i regularly dabble with being a busrider once in a while. try it ... it could be fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

shoe love

you know me. i love shoes.

to even use the word "love" might be an understatement. but let's just say that that's the most extreme emotion one can feel for some inanimate object that can never return the feeling no matter how hard one tries.

having established that my heart more than flutters at the thought of shoes, let's just say i try not to buy shoes full price. because given the amount i already spend on shoes, buying them full price would make me financially irresponsible already. and, come on, we all know that if there's one thing i'm responsible with, it's with my money.

yes, i really am, notwithstanding the accusations that were hurled my way when i bought myself ferragamo sling back pumps for my 30th birthday. come on -- not only were they Php5,000 only, they also were my exact shoe size. no making pilit, no corks -- it was as if god knew then that i was going to pass the bar and needed lawyer shoes to wear on my signing of the roll.

once in a while though i fall in major love with a pair of shoes. and when that happens, all thoughts of fiscal responsibility, savings, and never paying for anything full price flies out of the window.

enter my merrell shoes.

a week or so before my HK trip, i stumbled upon lovely addidas ballerina flats. i didn't try them (i found the sale price still prohibitive ... in hindsight, it really wasn't, at least compared to what i paid for my merrell shoes) but it entered my mind that i needed non-rubbershoes, but with rubbershoes comfort, walking shoes for my upcoming vacations. i had envisioned lots of walking, for which rubbershoes would really do the trick, but i figured that i don't really look great with rubbershoes and shorts.

however, we searched high and low in the week leading up to the HK trip but i wasn't able to find anything that made me happy. so i ended up walking around HK in my ratty, dirty pink ballerina crocs. they were comfortable, and i still love them dearly, but i wouldn't mind replacing them for the vietnam trip.

so the night (yes, night!!! i was cutting it close!) before my friends and i were set to leave for vietnam, (and ironically the night before a hearing! crazy lawyer girl) i went on a search for some non-rubbershoes walking shoes once more. my store of choice, SM. oh, henry sy, you must love me so.

i first saw the fila stand. there were cheap shoes (not that cheap, but let's just say i wouldn't mind paying that price for those shoes) but they weren't exactly what i needed. they would look great with jeans, but not with my shorts. so a big fat x. i checked the others and while i marginally liked some -- and even tried on a couple -- there was always something wrong. one which was really cheap hurt the back of my ankles, and if it hurt just walking to and fro the mirror, i can't imagine how much it would hurt walking around an entire city. so goodbye cheap, pretty shoes. there was another one i liked -- i really liked -- but they didn't have it in my size. the guy said he could order one for me, but i didn't have the heart to tell him i needed them in less than 24 hours. nahiya ako.

so i left sm and walked around the mall. some were okay, but as i said, unless they had the word SALE marked on them (or that tiny second sticker saying it's now so and so less than the original price) i wasn't really tempted. this girl wasn't going to pay more than what was absolutely necessary for shoes that might not see the light of day once i ceased being the globetrotter i briefly turned into this year.

and the i saw the merrell shoes at sporthouse. they were lovely. and expensive. so i walked away. i looked at more stores but none came close to the merrell shoes. oh there was one -- and it was mighty cute too -- except that they were for kids. me and my juvenile taste.

i went back to SM to try the others once more, especially the one-size bigger shoe but, unfortunately, it really was one size bigger and there was no way it would fit my feet. i tried on even shoes i marginally liked once more but by this time, i knew i was a goner. i truly had fallen in love with the merrell shoes.

add to that the memory of my mom praising the merrell shoes she wore all over HK (and her entire manila vacation for that matter) and i could not help but want the shoes.

so i looked at them. and looked at them once more (they also had a booth at SM ... kanis). and i walked away. they were beyond my budget. they weren't on sale. and while they were exactly what i wanted, it wasn't like i was going to climb mountains and cross rivers and need protection from oil slicks. as a matter of fact, all i was going to do was walk along the paved streets of ho chi minh. so i needed none of the fancy-shmancy stuff that went with buying hi-tech shoes.

so i bought snacks. and looked for a raincoat (my aunt's instructions). and i went back and looked at the shoes once more.

sigh. they were pretty.

so i said, hey, maybe they're pretty, but they (a) won't fit me well, (b) won't look good on my feet, or (c) didn't have them in my size. so i told the saleslady (who was already laughing at my indecision by this time) i wanted to try them on.

and they had it in my size. and they looked great on my feet. and they fit me like a glove. i couldn't have asked for more.

i closed my eyes, and paid for them, and prayed that lightning wouldn't strike me for spending that much money on a pair of shoes that i won't ever get to use regularly. then again, they made me extremely happy and happiness isn't exactly something you could buy in a box ... unless they were these pair of shoes.

p.s. here comes the sad part -- SM is having a mega shoe sale this coming weekend and merrell is going to be one of the brands on sale. i want to go (cole haan is going to be on sale too) but there's a part of me that's scared to see my merrell's on sale. i might just die (or some approximation of it). after all, remember the puma's i sort of wanted but passed up on? a week later, they were 50% off.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the road less traveled

ever since i was a kid, according to my mom, i've been good with directions. so good, she related once, that i was actually able to direct her through the regular short-cut my school bus takes when i was a teeny-tiny pre-schooler.

i kid you not.

so, i don't know if it was just the built-in confidence level or my innate directional skills but i grew up with a good sense of direction. and that translated to me being adventurous with roads.

enter the c5 extension.

now, i'm a las pinera, and the c5 extension thing has been this giant white elephant, at least insofar as i was concerned, cause i never figured out (at least in my head) where it leads to. of course it says "c5 extension" and i knew where c5 was, but i couldn't exactly figure out how it connected to the c5. until one day, it made sense in my head and i thought, maybe somewhere through multi or villamor or something like that.

however, since a working day was never really a good day to try out new routes and i hardly ever leave the south on a weekend, i never had the chance to try out the c5 extension road.

until today.

so even if i hadn't had lunch yet (it was 430 p.m. already) and i had every plan of driving through the mcdonald's at kabihasnan, i figured, why not today?

so i tried it out.

at first it seemed promising: wide roads, directional signs, and most importantly, no traffic.

however, it wasn't long before i ended right smack in the middle of multi/merville. and there was zero directional signs. thank goodness for my (amazing!) skill in following other cars and my (amazing!) memory (translation: medyo naalala ko siya from the two or so times i passed there previously) because after a couple or so minutes of being *slightly* lost, i sort of found my way and was happily driving on familiar roads once more.

the verdict: it was a longer route, much longer than passing through kabihasnan-coastal-baclaran-edsa extension, and it was slightly hectic, especially if you're not familiar with the roads inside multinational and merville. also, it's about 2 to 3 kilometers only of paved highway before you hit the village and you're faced with a typical village road -- complete with humps, tricycles, and potholes. not exactly the fastest way to get from point a to b.

i love manny villar (even if i did not vote for him) and i love what his family has done for las pinas (at least the parts that i know). but i must say, i think the c5 extension was just a waste of the taxpayers' money.

*image uploaded by user "apiong" on http://www.skyscrapercity.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

comfort clothes

a long, long time ago (also known as *gasp* four years ago), i went to baguio without a jacket.

or a sweater.

or anything to ward the cold away.

i thought, hey, it's the middle of summer. and because of global warming, baguio isn't as cold as it used to be. so i saved on precious luggage space (cause i always overpack on the wrong things) and brought stuff other than a sweater.

then we got there and it was cold.

well, maybe not by much but it was chilly and with the wind chill (naks!) factor, it was cold enough to make me need a sweater. or jacket. or anything to ward the cold away.

thank goodness there was an SM with a surplus shop (since i never buy anything that's not on sale. wait, i do, but most of the time. so there.) and within minutes, i came out with a sweater that i loved.


i loved how it had a "sleek" line and it was long-ish so i felt it made me look thinner than i really am.

and we all know how i love kidding myself about that, right?

notice that the shoes are also blinding white? well, here they are closer:

yes, they're also new (at that time). except they're not from surplus shop. they're from SM (oh how i love henry sy so much). and they were on sale. and they were in UP colors. and i've wanted not-gym shoes-not sneakers - but perfect for jeans - in something like leather rubbershoes for the longest time. and these were just perfect. so i also got them.

anyway, i digress.

so i got the sweater and i was warm in baguio from then on. and i used the sweater sporadically over the course of the past four years (it hardly gets to be that cold anymore).

and yesterday, i brought it to work.

and somehow, under the garish white work lights, the once perfect hoodie, with a vintage feel to it, just looks old, and faded.

did i leave it for too long in the sampayan? or is it simply too old to be wearing around in a place where i'm supposed to be charging by the minute?

you know what's crazy? those pair of shoes? i've sold them in a garage sale for Php100 already. yet as for this hoodie, i can't imagine giving it up yet. i slipped it on and it felt perfect -- just-right warm, fuzzy, and the long-ish length still makes me feel oh-so-payat. and we all know how important that is, right?

Friday, August 20, 2010

rage against the crazy hair

there are a lot of things about me that i wouldn't mind changing.

like my giant legs. or my armpits. or my prematurely gray hair. or my "parang-nakipagsabunutan-sa-malditang-kapitbahay" hair.

my giant legs i've learned to hide in pants, my armpits in sleeves, and my gray hair with monthly trips to the parlor.

but my hair's crazy texture, well, it still remains to be a problem. i thought once that rebonding it would be they key but apparently, after the first rebonding session, the succeeding ones aren't as pretty as the first. and, with the monthly trips to the colorist, i'm thinking, if my hair could talk, i wouldn't be hearing pretty things.

as a matter of fact, right now, i think it's speaking volumes: i'm experiencing hair fall (thank goodness i have more than enough to spare), knotted ends, and this "bewang" look where the rebonded portion ends and my real hair begins. i've tried cutting it short and keeping it in ponytails most of the time but, to be honest, that's not exactly what i want.

i want pretty hair.

so i'm pretty ma-horde when it comes to hair products. if i have money, and i can afford it (translation: cheap), then i wouldn't mind spending money on a shampoo/conditioner/at-home hair treatment. once in a while, i even splurge on a salon hair treatment. that's how i want my hair to be pretty.

hence, the vietnam stash:

now, i'm also the type of girl who doesn't need to finish an entire bottle of shampoo/conditioner/hair treatment before starting on a new one. so, despite that i've four or five bottles of shampoo and conditioner currently in rotation, i immediately dove into these giant bottles of pantene shampoo and conditioner. after all, feeling ko, ako din sina erich, empress, and andi. showbiz is me.

a bit of a disclaimer though -- while i am easily swayed to buy all of these hair care products, i have also ceased believing that they can actually change my life, este, my hair. i realized that after i had my hair rebonded for the first time -- no amount of shampooing and conditioning will change the texture of my hair. admittedly, some shampoo-conditioner tandems are better, but in the long run, it's still the same banana -- my hair is buhaghag and unless i blow dry it or have it chemically altered, it will be buhaghag. such is life.

me, i just do what i can. and if that means that i use up two bottles of conditioner for every bottle of shampoo, then so be it. anything to make it easier to comb it out after a bath.

then, as i said, i tried out pantene. one of the writers who tried it out commented how she didn't need as much conditioner to "tame" her hair. when i read it, i said to myself, "phooey." i even thought, maybe she had nice hair to begin with. or nice water (our water is deep well which, to my mind, has all of these unwanted sediments). my first try, it felt like my hair was already conditioned after i shampooed it -- it wasn't so stiff, it wasn't so tangled. it could've been better, but even at that stage, the hair felt smoother already. then -- since this was my vietnam stash and no way i could get more in the immediate future -- i used about half of the conditioner i normally use, about the same amount of shampoo, and tried to spread that out on my thick hair. i kept my fingers crossed that my hair would be fine.

and you know what -- it turned out fine.

okay, i won't lie (like one of those hateful shampoo commercials) and say that i can now walk with hair swaying and what not. my hair's texture still leaves much to be desired. still, there are marked improvements, like how easy it is to comb my hair after each bath even if i just used a wee bit of conditioner. or how i can finger comb my hair. i'm still experiencing hair fall, but maybe i just need to wait a bit before that problem is cured too.

so, good job, pantene. you've turned me into a convert.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

random notes on a wednesday morning

♥ if i were plagued with a life-threatening illness and there was almost zero chance of survival, i will eat bacon three times a day (and more if possible) to comfort me and to ensure that the remaining days of my life will be happy.

☺ i was once perceived as a happy sunshiny person. somehow, that changed because of hormone injections. one day, i shall be happy and sunshiny once more. all i need is a change of environment.

♥ text messages (or requests for phone conversations) in the middle of the night are never good. however, since my best friend's call for help (which still resulted in the unwanted even if i did my absolute best to comfort him at that time), i am unable to resist "helping" in whatever way i can. who knows if the next call (or text) from that number will be from a next of kin telling you something you never expect to hear in your lifetime?

☺ sleeping is my greatest luxury. that said, it was weird how when i was young, i told my grandmother that once i become an adult, i will never ever sleep again. truly, youth is wasted on the young. (teka, parang mali yung application nung quote. hahaha)

♥ in the same manner, i hated accompanying my mom to the homeworld area of any department store when i was younger. i couldn't understand the fascination with plates, glasses, containers, and what-nots. guess where i hang out now?

☺ i am in love with houses with more "living spaces" than bedrooms. that said, my house has bedrooms and minimal "living spaces". i am still trying to figure out how to get my brother to finally empty out his bedroom at home so i can convert it to a guest room/office. ambitious, diba?

♥ the grand plan to move to cabanatuan is still festering in my mind. unfortunately, i have yet to take a step to make that into reality. i haven't even prayed for it yet. boo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a primer on long weekends

thanks to republic act no. 9492, sometimes referred to as "holiday economics", filipinos began enjoying three-day weekends several times a year. save for religious holidays (i.e. christmas) and labor day (may 1, which happens to be international workers' day), all holidays are moved to the nearest monday, thereby making weekends at least one day longer for the lowly laborer.

even better, republic act no. 9492 specifically provides that "the president shall issue a proclamation, at least six months prior to the holiday concerned, the specific date that shall be declared as a nonworking day. translation: as early as six months before the following year, filipinos are made aware of the upcoming holidays AND can begin making holiday plans already (oh, hello, piso fare and seat sales!)

happiness, right?

and then this happened.

my initial reaction? why, noynoy, why? my subsequent reaction: does noynoy have the right to amend the law?

first things first: under the constitution, the three branches of government enjoy separation of powers. this means that the legislative (senate and congress) make laws, the executive enforces laws, and the judiciary interprets laws. and, by virtue of the separation of powers, none of these branches of government can encroach on the power of the other.

therefore, to my mind, since holiday economics is based on a law (ra 9492), then the president, by virtue of a mere proclamation, does not have the authority to effectively amend ra 9492 by declaring that ninoy aquino day (august 21) shall no longer be a movable holiday and shall be celebrated, instead of august 23, 2010, on august 21, 2010 which falls on a saturday.

apparently i was wrong. because in amended the administrative code, ra 9492 also provided that the regular and special holidays declared therein may be "modified by law and or proclamation." in layman's terms, the holidays enumerated therein may be subject to change not only by congress (law) but also by the president (proclamation). and that, my friends, was exactly what noynoy did.

which brings us to another legal topic -- undue delegation of authority. but that's a more complicated matter for another day.

in the meantime, just know this: while we may still enjoy a three-day weekend this august (yay, august 30!), know that the three-day long weekends may soon be a thing of the past.

Monday, August 16, 2010

i wish ...

... for more reasons to flash a smile. as i grow older, i find myself smiling less and frowning more. that shouldn't be the case.

... i were nicer. i've been blaming hormones for my short temper for the past year. it's time to admit that hormones are but 75% of it -- the rest can be blamed to my temperament. still, that shouldn't be a bar to me attempting to be less of the person i am and more of the person i want to become.

... i had more money in the bank for security. now, this one's easy: lay off SM, rosa!!!

... life were less complicated. except thinking that alone makes it all the more complicated, IMHO.

there are so many things in life that i wish were true, except that they aren't. for now, though, i choose to be thankful for the things that ARE true.

i am thankful for all the opportunities for travel this year. i may be broke, but i gained a multitude of experience that cannot be bought with money.

i am thankful that i have a job that i *somewhat* love. it's a love-hate relationship, but at the end of the day, just one text message from a client, or a decision ruled in my client's favor, or even an a-ha moment is still enough to put a smile on my face.

i am thankful for family and friends, both of which i have -- maybe not in abundance, but they more than make it up for in quality.

life is STILL good.

116 kilometers away

a couple of weeks ago, an offer came from my aunt: to move in with her and the rest of the family in nueva ecija.

the offer came with the basics -- imagine a home where i don't have to worry about meals, laundry, ironing and other responsibilities that come with being a homeowner. it also came with certain built-in perks -- maids to do my bidding and free internet, neither of which i have at home. lastly, it came with a bribe that one must offer to any self-respecting mall rat like me -- bi-weekly trips to manila for shopping and other forms of entertainment.

had this offer come when i was buried under my own mess, zero prospect of water in bf, and no close relationships whatsoever, i would have jumped at the chance to pack up and leave. except that i've begun channeling my inner martha and have made significant steps towards home diva-ness, i'm months away from having running water (finally!!!) after five years of water deliveries, and have friends whose company i treasure, moving to the province -- no matter how highly urbanized it has become over the past decade -- is still a major decision to be made.

admittedly, there a pros, having family around me being on top of the list. there are, however, a number of cons too. let's not forget that i've basically lived alone and independently for quite some time now. how will i deal with people asking where i am? will i do well in a household where i'd have to be polite even if i don't feel like it?

and let's not forget -- as a friend pointed out -- will i meet my true love in a land far, far away?

you might have noticed that i've weighed everything except my career. oddly enough, it's not on the forefront of the decision-making process. it's weird, i know, but so many things have happened over the past year, i suppose, that i'm not exactly thinking about it. of course, moving to nueva ecija means that i have to secure a job there first, but i guess that's what it means to be living with family -- i'm not as scared to venture out to new prospects knowing that meralco (or in their case, the local electric cooperative) won't be cutting my electricity since someone else -- at least for the meantime -- will be taking care of that.

sigh, i don't know.

but if you ever catch me staring off into the distance in near catatonic state, then at least you know what's on my mind.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the first 44 days

dear president aquino,

i will admit that i did not vote for you. i voted for gibo for a whole lot of reasons. but a great number of friends and relatives chose you because of your integrity. and, while that alone was not enough to make me cast my ballot for yet another aquino in malacanang, i accepted the people's choice calmly. they have spoken, and despite your lack of experience, lack of laws passed, and (on a totally shallow note) lack of charisma, i believed that the choice they made was a fair choice.

after all, had you not won, it seemed that the alternative would be to have another six years of erap. and that, to me, was totally unacceptable.

half of the filipino population (or more) waited for your inaugural address. sad to say, i went to dapitan to shop with my friends. still, i heard so much about your famous speech, especially where you promised not to use wang-wang anymore. you definitely shocked binay with that order, i must admit.

i also admired you for promising during your campaign to impose no new taxes. i'm a middle-class single employee with zero dependents. the government's taxes has burdened me greatly over the years, and my only pampalubag-loob was the fact that i went to UP when tuition fee was still Php300 per unit -- four years of undergraduate education and five years (i did evening class) of law school meant that i have used up my fair share of taxes to be the person i am today.

like obama, you promised change. you were a breath of fresh air. you, the president's people, instantly became the symbol of hope that our country needed so badly.

so why am i disappointed?

you want to increase basic education for another two years. if you've been inside a public school classroom recently, you'd realize that another two years in an environment where very little learning takes place is just a waste of time. were you not informed that these children go to class as early as 6 am in some places because two more shifts have to use the classroom that same day? are you not aware that there is a major lack of teachers, not to mention qualified teachers, to teach subjects like english, math, and science? is quantity of education necessarily the same as quality? as a former educator myself, as a practicum coordinator who has fielded her own students to public schools, as someone who has visited more public school classrooms that she can remember over the last ten years, i can validly claim that before anyone should think of burdening parents with an additional two years, we must make the ten years that are already there worth it. quality first, mr. president, before quantity.

you want to increase revenue by taxing toll fees. the BIR claims that this translates to an additional 1 billion in revenue. still, how does this jive with your earlier promise of no new taxes? oh, right, VAT is already a tax, and therefore, to apply VAT to something that was not previously taxed is, technically your BIR people say, not a new tax. so are we going into technicalities now? i guess since you live in QC you are quite unaware of how toll fees are already quite burdensome ... a 12% VAT would mean that an ordinary motorist like me will have to resort to circuitous routes to avoid paying more than what i believe is reasonable. i don't even want to go into the question of whether or not it is proper to impose VAT on toll fees which, to the mind of some politicians, are already levies by the government which, to a certain extent, are taxes on the people.

you refuse to comply with holiday economics. so yes, the 21st is a special holiday, and yes, you did declare that saturday to be a non-working holiday. i also understand that some businessmen lose a great deal of money because of the movable holidays that GMA came up with. so i agree, celebrating our independence day on a day other than june 12 is weird. still, these 3-day holidays have done wonders for our tourism, and has given our overburdened workers the rest they need. in a country where an increase in salary is more imaginary than anything, i believe that these holidays are the mini-treats that buoys the spirit of the working class.

then again, who am i? i am largely apolitical at most. i have voted "trapo" in local government for years. as a matter of fact, embarrassing as it may be, i will admit to having voted for jaworski because my mom asked me too. but i'd also like to think that i am a filipino, with opinions and feelings, with ideas that matter. i know you are listening to your conscience. but please, mr. president, listen to me too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

about that vietnam trip

oh, ho chi minh ... you're such a lovely city. so much like home, and yet so much unlike manila. i had fun, and there are so many things to write about.

like that wonderful topiary park we accidentally discovered while walking around the city

or how our very own crazy tricycles would not stand a chance against the rampaging scooters that lord it over the streets 24 hours a day.

i could write about how we were surprised to stumble upon a louis vuitton store in a country without starbucks ...

... or how much i learned about the vietnam war from a brief visit to the war remnants' museum (learn ... hmmm, maybe more like shocked from all the information).

i could write about how we realized that there was a reason behind the muddy water at the puppet theater, and how the mekong delta is always this muddy brown color ...

... and how we tried the elephant ear fish which is supposed to be the area's specialty but tasted like a not-so-good tilapia.

but, i will not write about those things. instead i will write about the beauty loot i got from vietnam. see:

while they had only recently released the all new pantene shampoo, conditioner, and treatment in the philippines (remember all those mystery shampoo posts?), i stumbled upon them in a tiny grocery in vietnam and couldn't help but buy them considering that the 350 ml bottle cost around Php123 only and the treatment around Php150 only. not only that, the sunsilk leave on conditioner (and it's the new products too -- the one with the tie-ups) cost me a measly Php27.75 per bottle, and the schwarzkopf treatment thingee less than Php100. all in all, my stash of hair stuff cost less than a trip to the salon.

and, i must admit that if i had more (1) time (2) money and (3) baggage allowance, i would have bought more stuff.

so forget about the cute beaded bags and the yummy dried jackfruit. ignore the much talked about coffee and the original north face backpacks for only Php875. the next time i set foot in vietnam, i'm going to make sure that i'm going to be bringing home a ginormous stash of beauty loot.

btw -- i've tried the "new" pantene stuff and i must say, i likey :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

para sa ikagaganda ng aking balat

thanks to the generosity of beauty for a living's frances amper sales, i am now the proud owner of a bottle of kiehl's midnight recovery concentrate. that's Php2,880.00 worth of beauty in a bottle that i didn't have to shell out money for thanks to a blog contest which i won with this entry.

i received the package on a tuesday -- i had almost forgotten about it because of the frenzy that i went through before going on my mini-vacation but sometime before lunch, the receptionist came bearing a small bag from rustan's. five seconds later, it struck me: this was the prize that i had been waiting for and it's finally here.

that night, i tried following every single requirement that would help me on my way towards skin perfection. but, i must admit, i couldn't wait to wake up the following morning and see the miracle that took place while i was asleep. the verdict -- i felt a bit of oil when i rubbed my cheeks (then again, i'm always oily) but lo and behold, i looked well-rested when i checked myself on the mirror. very, very good.

happy with my first night's experience, i immediately packed the bottle to take with me on vacation. and, while i knew i was in for two red-eye flights, i almost didn't mind. i believed in my heart that the kiehl's midnight recovery concentrate will shoo away all of my skin's issues and make me no less than picture perfect for my vacation photos.

my bad: since we arrived at almost two in the morning, i wasn't able to put some on my face anymore on the first day. and while i was able to do the routine on the second evening (hello beautiful skin once more), me waiting for my aunt to arrive on our third evening and the flight back to manila on the fourth evening meant no miracle recovery concentrate once more. but last night i put on the requisite two drops and slept early after turning off the television. so, guess what i woke up to once more -- pretty skin.

i must admit that in spite of the abuse my skin received while on vacation -- late nights, sun, hardly any skin regimen -- my skin stayed blemish-free. i'd like to think that more than anything, it's the concentrate working overtime to keep my skin supple. good job, kiehl's.

i got a big bottle from frances, and with only two drops before sleeping, i'm sure that my concentrate will go a long, long way. and considering that using the concentrate will force me to acquire good habits (sleep at least 7 hours, turn off the tv before sleeping, and drink lots of fluids), truly, me having beautiful skin is a miracle that i'm confident will happen soon.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

abogado de campanilla

two years ago, i left government service to become, according to a good friend, an abogado de campanilla. oh, how i hated that term, not to mention how he made me feel that i wasn't doing the right thing. i was abandoning a great job - a job which admittedly taught me much, a job which allowed me to take the bar while still gainfully employed, a job which didn't tax me to oblivion - in favor of a job which not only paid less but promised to be more difficult.

in the words of my former boss, it was sheer katangahan.

of course, at that time, switching jobs meant the world to me. i was in heaven over the fact that i had a secretary, i had my own room, and i had my own computer. after a while, i was also assigned cases, and clients called me for advice. i appeared in court, bought my first suit in years, and was even happy over the fact that now i had to stay late in the office sometimes to finish things. in my mind, i was finally the lawyer i wanted to become.

but you know, everyone goes through this. and, while i am presently more unhappy than i am with my job, i know that if i pray hard enough, i'll figure out what god's plans for me are. after all, it was a tearfully said prayer that allowed this job to materialize ... i am sure that another heartfelt prayer will bring more answers than questions.

in the meantime, i owe it to myself to just enjoy the blessings i've received -- and there are plenty believe me. it's so easy to be upset when things aren't going my way, but i know that things will be worse for me if things aren't going God's way, right?

and considering that i almost bumped into (a still very good-looking) eddie garcia in the lobby, i have every reason to smile.

Monday, August 02, 2010

kuripot din ako

from the way i've been going on and on about shopping for home stuff, traveling, and treating myself, you might have begun thinking that "hey, there's this single girl in her thirties who knows nothing about saving money." either that or you might have started entertaining doubts about my being heir to the ayala fortune. but, since the latter could not be any more farther from the truth, then let's just stick to the premise that given my habits, i'm waldas.

well, that's where you're wrong. here are a couple of things i do to make sure that in spite of a lowly associate's salary (and it's tiny, believe me) and my gastadora ways, i am able to live within my means:

1. the moment i receive my salary/allowance, i immediately partition it to the various items in my budget

largely owing to the training i received from my mother, i work with a monthly budget. i therefore am fully aware of the average amount of my bills and immediately set aside money for the various items. included in the budget items are my monthly tithe, utility bills, phone bills, and weekly personal allowance. i also set aside money for savings, as well as shallow things such as "personal maintenance", so that i know exactly how much i have to spare (or to splurge) at any given time.

2. i never withdraw (or perform any other transaction for that matter) with another atm

given that banks now charge for inter-bank transactions, i make sure to avoid another bank's ATM like the plague. while you might think that P10 (or is it more now?) is just chump change, you'd be surprised at the amount of money you actually lose if you add it all up. and remember, banks now charge even for balance inquiries.

let's not even get into the US$3 that cirrus charges should you make the mistake the transacting with one of their ATMs. true story: a friend was in the province and immediately needed money. since she couldn't find her bank's atm, she decided to transact with another bank's ATM which bore the cirrus sign. since she needed more than P20,000, she withdrew several times until she was able to get the amount she needed. at US$3 per transaction, imagine how much she was charged for making a simple withdrawal. now, of course, given that it was an emergency, she didn't exactly had a choice, which brings me to item #3 ...

3. i have emergency ATMs
since i never transact at another bank's ATM, i usually make sure that i have an "emergency" ATM with another bank from another network. this means that in the event i cannot withdraw from my payroll account in an emergency, i can always withdraw from another bank.

4. i practice credit card responsibility
translation: i do not have a credit card. well, technically, i do, but it's merely an extension card of my aunt's credit card who, notably, monitors my spending. well, it's not that she questions each purchase but let's just say the one time i went on a shopping spree at aldo she texted to ask what i spent a significant amount of money on. that said, i am quite careful in swiping my credit card knowing not only that i would have to pay it off in full at the end of each month (her requirement) but also cause i know that any fiscal irresponsibility can be easily seen by my aunt (and communicated with my dad!)

5. i pay bills before the due date through my atm payroll account
the ATM is a wonderful thing. instead of lining up to pay, or withdrawing money to pay my bills, or issuing checks, i pay most of my bills using my atm. that means no barya issues and no late charges. i remember that there was one time when i forgot to pay the meralco bill but thankfully, since it was still before midnight of the due date, i was able to pay on time, albeit only a few minutes before the day it would be overdue.

6. a good sale is my friend
i thrive on books and shoes, and not necessarily in that order. that said, i try to curb my spending on these things by making sure that i never (or almost never) buy anything full price. there was a time i was able to stock up on P20 to P30 books from national bookstore. and, while i did leave francesco one time with three pairs of shoes, the unexpected spree cost me less than a night at a hotel. not bad, considering that the shoes were all made of leather.

7. my prepaid phone is always on immortal text
well, since they stopped the immortal promo yesterday (how hateful i was too lazy to load up my phone sooner so i could have converted a P500 peso load to immortal text, boo), this might not apply anymore, but let's just say that phone companies have the best promos for prepaid telephones and so while i have a line to ensure that i can always call and text without fear of running out of load, i have another phone which i use to avail of a whole lot of promos which help me save more money in the long run.

8. i compute, compute, compute.
i'm the girl who has a calculator at the grocery checking which bag of laundry soap gives me a better deal. i read labels (do you know that shampoos and conditioners are now 90ml and 180 ml from the previous 100ml and 200ml sizes?) to further aid me in making decisions -- for example this brand of tissue might be cheaper but each pull is actually smaller than the slightly more expensive brand which might mean that i'll need more tissues. i also compute my car's mileage (hence the switch to petron which i think helps my car to be more fuel efficient).

9. i comparison shop
i know where the cheapest unleaded gasoline is on my route. i know the price of chippy in grocery stores. i never do my grocery (unless needed) at sm (cause it's more expensive). at times it could get tedious, but at the end of the day, and with good planning, you'll never really have to go out of your way to get the best deal out of anything.

10. and i don't begrudge myself if i don't get the best deal once in a while
i know that a globe P500 load card is only P490 at mini-stop, but considering that it was terribly hot during lunch, i decided to just buy it from 7-11 which was nearer. and, while things may be more expensive from SM hypermart, if i'm already there, i figured that as long as i'm not buying major things and just a tube of toothpaste, the extra P2 wouldn't be so bad. at the end of the day, there's no use worrying when i could just be happy with the purchase, right?

and there you have it, my money OC-ness made apparent.
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