Friendster Forever

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

News has it that Friendster faces its last day as a social networking site today, May 31, 2011. Reflecting on what I feel about this, I thought I shouldn’t feel too sad. After all, I did say goodbye to Friendster more than 2 years ago. I won’t be even needing the Friendster Exporter, an application offered to members for compressing years of memories into a downloadable file. But all the same and perhaps more, the memories had been secured in my time capsule, which had been retrieved by my dear “Gyun Woo” at the right time.

I had reasons for deleting my account and believe me, it wasn’t a very easy decision. It’s just that a lot of things can happen in five years. I was introduced to the network by sis. Dian, back in December 2004 when the site was still fresh and its growth was quite viral. I wasn’t too choosy with friend requests either and I have to admit, half of my friends list was perhaps strangers. On one occasion, after the 2005 National Youth Convention (NYC) in May, I received a message and friend request from Nilo. That was how I met the man I love most. You see, this premise alone would justify the value Friendster has to me. It served as the connecting ground for us even though we were separated miles apart. He was asking how the NYC went that year, for that was the first year that Nilo wasn’t able to participate in the Church activity.

What started as an innocent inquiry turned into interests for each other. Inspecting his Friendster profile, it was quite disappointing to see how fairly minimalist it was without much info to delve into. He had but three pictures, one of which was a camel's. He had but a handful of testimonials too, nothing compared to mine where some anxious suitors even bravely confessed. His description of himself was as simple as "simple" though it was a relief that his status was not "it's complicated." What struck me though, his answer to the famous one liner “Who I Want to Meet:” was “My Sassy Girl.” Now that was a bit different to the usual “friends, classmates, families” and the like.

Since then, our relationship was similar to the frequency I updated my profile account, which was on and off. We were nothing more than best friends but his frequent tantrums would cause us silence that could stretch for months. When the dark ages in my life happened, he wasn’t around to be aware. Until one day, I decided to reach out. Despite the distance, our friendship needed not much restoration though, maybe because we were really destined for each other.

When the storm of the dark ages subsided, I started picking up remnants of my life. Not everything could be restored I realized, and so I needed to let go of the others. This included my Friendster account. As I’ve said before, it wasn’t easy and I had second thoughts. But while I was browsing through my profile, I realized there was just too much mess to clean up that it was better to just delete the entire thing. So one by one, I kept the good memories in my time capsule.

By and by, Nilo retrieved the time capsule and discovered the painful tragedy I went through. In the process, his love for me became confirmed and gradually, he too slowly healed. One day he decided to delete his Friendster account too with much gratitude. There was no more need for a social networking site looking for the person he wanted to meet. He found her and would not let her go anymore. I was his Sassy Girl. We fell in love with each other.

And now, Friendster’s finally saying goodbye too. Not that it’s totally closing down, but it’s changing its format from a social networking site to a media hub. Nevertheless, it will always be the Friendster I know of, such that when I hear the name, it will draw me back to when I was 5 years younger. Whether a social site or media hub, testimonials and all, it's complicated or not, my shout out will always be, Friendster Forever. :)
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Nintendo Days

Monday, May 30, 2011

The other night, while my husband and I were reminiscing after putting the kids to bed, our conversation landed on sharing about computer games we enjoyed ages ago. Being the sentimental that I am, it got me awake til past the slumber time my body clock dictates and I have this excited feeling until now to recall the games we used to play.

Back when we were still young, when there was more time for recreation than worries, we spent a considerable part of our lives playing and fighting over the Family Computer. During those days, nobody was an exception in the family I guess that makes the name very appropriate. Kuya Kris was the most expert in my opinion, for he excelled in almost all games. But I recalled it’s kind of obnoxious sometimes, how he hogs the computer most of the times thinking that his expertise was an excuse for his selfishness (haha I’m not bitter huh?). But okay, I admit, it was more enjoyable to watch him play than me so in a sense it was kind of a privilege for him. Nobody complained at him for keeping the computer to himself as long as he made the watch exciting which he certainly never failed to do. Kuya Niño on the other hand was good at plane fighting and boxing games. He was the first to defeat Mike Tyson in punch out, a game I didn’t play much because it got me so nervous my hands were practically shaking whenever I did. My types of game were always cute and childish, like the Milk n Nuts or Mappy, or those that would require strategy such as the Binary Land. I think little Olie played the Circus Charlie even though she was just about 6. As for John, the youngest in the family, since he was not as exposed to the Famicom as us, he made up for the loss through PC games addiction later on. Even Dad used to play race games and his fave game was F-1 Race. And believe it or not, even Mom could not be beaten in Bomber Man.

My husband, who was still in his other side of the world that time, did relate to this childhood folly and that night, enjoyed sharing the games he preferred. But since he is male, I found the games he liked as boring, such as Galaga and Galaxians. We did agree on Super Mario Brothers 1 and 3 though. But then again, who wouldn’t?

Since I am in the state of sentimental mood again, I might as well dig through my dusty chest of computer games and share a piece of my childhood while readers, especially those within my age range, might as well allow that slight tug on their sentimental strings too. NOTE: Title of games were written in all caps.


I know I am not much of an explorer for my attitude toward things is to try a bit of everything but stick only to a few selections. My list had been expanded much already including those that I did not often play. So if you think your favorite or familiar game isn’t on the list, you are most welcome to enlighten me and add this on the comment panel. Happy reminiscing! :)
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Can-Afford Dinner Date With Bes

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Between the hustle and bustle of work and extra-curricular activities, Bes and I managed to meet again at the Ateneo de Manila grounds where I visited her last May 12 and just like any other meetings, this called for a celebration. ;)

First of all, it was nice to have toured around her working place. The Ateneo grounds were really peaceful. With lots of trees and plants, secluded streets and quiet buildings, the atmosphere made me miss my old high school days. Lucky for Bes, memories of her school days were always refreshed as she gets to jog around the area with friends after office hours.

Then she took me inside the IPC building to introduce me to several friends and bosses. There was noticeably no “prospectus” around (for possible male “friend”) and this was confirmed by Bes herself. What an unfortunate state for such a lovely place (Hehe just kidding).
[caption id="attachment_313" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="IPC building has a beautiful long hallway that stretches on both side from the stairs. "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_312" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Male CR: for ornamental purposes. No prospectus remember? (Hehe, just kidding.) "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_314" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bonding inside the CR for heaven’s sake!"][/caption]

After that, we went to her office room which she occupies all by herself. By the side was a couch, perfect for an afternoon nap (this was perhaps the most used object in the room hahaha ;)). She has 4 computers, 2 on each corner beside the window. At that moment she was using the the PC by the right corner but her real station was on the left. Everywhere were shelves of books and more books. Then one side of the room was full glass window. If you would open the blinds, you would be relaxed by the view of an old tree with its branches and leaves reaching the windowpane. Very cozy indeed!

But when the sun sets I guess it would be a different feeling. For one thing, the other vacant computers invite use to you-know-what (sorry Bes, that’s one of my foolish notions hehe). The shelves of books casted shadows: best for hiding places of imaginary creatures. And then perhaps the branches tapping against the wide window would be too disturbing a sound in the quiet of the dead night. And yet you couldn’t have the guts to face the window because you might discover that Sadako had been watching you as keenly as you were at work. Believe it or not though, Bes confessed that she had managed to stay alone working until 11pm. She really deserves a prize, braving against the unseen for the sake of dear work. Hahaha, enough nonsense. Still, I’d trade the cozy couch for any reward, that’s how embarrassingly scaredy-cat I am. Hehehe…

Bes did get herself the reward she deserves: a printed acknowledgement on books she had helped in the publication and printing! I was so proud when I saw her name scattered on the pages of the books they use in Urban Planning Development. Not to mention the one printed right on the front cover.

It was a short while until Bes finished work. [caption id="attachment_318" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bes at work"][/caption] Soon, we were on our way out of the Ateneo grounds (which very much reminded me of my dear St. Scho Marikina grounds – sweet high school days) to the most interesting “Ken Afford.” This was the place suggested by Bes where we could enjoy a pleasant dinner date and just like always, her talent in food recommendation hasn’t failed. A few walks afterwards, I finally came face to face with the eating place and though it was quite small, it looked a little fancy. :D

Since Bes was the one frequent with the place, I let her chose the menu: crisply kangkong with chicken in white sauce and the undying pork sisig (best and crunchy!). I picked out the yummy sylvanna and the complete set costed us Php240 only.

Ken Afford really :) While chatting over the remnants afterwards, though we practically wiped out the dishes clean, (hehe) Bes saw our old high school friend, Pauleen. We didn’t leave the place without saying our hi’s and how are you’s, of course.

Before ending the date, Bes helped me picked up a few groceries, that is: a 1.4kg box of milk, bulky diaper set of 34s, a large bread with cream and cheese on top plus a few other hygiene stuffs. Okay, few is quite a relative word, y’know, because Bes picked up only the latter stuffs, hehe. Alas, it was time to part ways. Time was really short when you’re having fun but it’s not such a bad thing. It only made me want to look forward to more visits with my bestest friend, Lorraine. :D
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Go Fuego!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not until this holy week (April 16 onwards) did summer come this year nevertheless, it’s very much here and it’s saying, it’s never too late to visit the beach! I may not be an avid fan of beaches and pools or swimming as a whole, but this year, I decided to go to our Company swim outing at Punta Fuego which was held last May 7, not for my sake really but for the kids. :) [caption id="attachment_297" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The beautiful Punta Fuego"][/caption]
Thanks to God for the Company’s generosity, married employees like me could take 2 family members for free plus kids below 7 years old. So I was able to take my husband, the kids and ate Edna too. The minute I told them about the outing, Demi was so excited and her cheerfulness was so contagious it got into me and Dear in no time. We got the kids floats and beach toys: We bought them swim suits too, while I sewed matching beach skirts (with really long slits at the side) :) Weeks before the outing, we were almost ready except for one problem… What am I to wear?

Basically, this is the trouble that makes me back out with swimming. But I can’t back out without bursting the kids’ bubble so I spent the remaining time canvassing for the most proper beach wear. I can not show too much skin, but I want to fit in with the place. If it was with the brethrens, I’d have no trouble wearing t-shirt over beach pants. This is not the case though because resorts have certain restrictions. It was quite a task but I managed to find the perfect wear I couldn’t even describe before hand haha!

The complete get up consisted of a white cover-up over a blue Y-strapped (?) blouse and pair of shorts that’s covered with sarong (the whole time I was out of water). Special compliments to Jhen for providing and teaching me how to use the sarong. ;) I tried on the clothes a day before while we were packing things up. Excited? Haha, considering I wasn’t feeling too well that time.

Counting down until it’s zero hour and off we go to Punta Fuego!

We arrived punctually by 5am at the office lobby and while waiting for the final announcement on bus arrangement, Demi and Daisy allowed themselves to be mesmerized by the flower horn fishes next to the reception desk.
It didn’t take long before they finally designated which bus is which. Ours was Bus D and our coordinators were kuya Resty (Sangki) and sir Mike. My dear friend Ethel was at the same bus with us. :)
At exactly 5:30am, the buses left for our destination.

It was a long drive and the kids tried several ways to amuse themselves. From eating chips and Jollibee (provided by Philex), to singing bahay-kubo, and Demi’s trend setter lyrics of “sigarilyo at mani,” both of them managed to get sleep during the travel.
Kuya Sangki and sir Mike distributed the bandannas with colours showing our team. Ours was blue (Bluetooth later on hehehe…). As we neared the destination, the kids woke up in good mood, refreshed and ready for action. Excellent!

We arrived at the resort by past 9 and among group cheers, welcoming remarks (by SVP-HR sir Garcia), and breakfast of oven-baked macaroni with garlic bread and iced tea, we finally got to swim by 11am. :)
First we tried the pool. There’s this “watch-man” who was so strict about clothing he asked everyone with cover-ups to remove them. Most was pissed off of course and decided to just go to the beach. I, myself would have opted too, except that this was for the kids and so I had to be obedient. Fortunately, the only people around were kids and women save my husband and that watch.

Then we tried the beach where the water was a lot cooler. It was enjoyable but the kids were getting tired which spells B-A-D-T-E-M-P-E-R. Dear splattered the kids with wet sand which sent them hollering in protests of disgust (Demi was practically screaming “kadiri, ayaw ko ng lupa!”).

Soon, everyone’s attention was to us, embarrassing as it was. Nothing beats my Dear’s talent in teasing them. I took this as a signal to take them out of the water. Not to mention that it was 12 noon and way past their morning nap.

At almost 1pm, we had completely showered and changed clothes. We went back to the Function Room for delectable lunch of sweet & sour fish fillet, grilled pork liempo, chicken ragout, vegetable teppanyaki and lechon. I devoured the fish fillet (partida pa, I was holding Daisy on one arm for she was sleeping by this time), Dear and Demi consumed the lechon while ate Edna’s favourite was the liempo. To seal the hunger, we satisfied our tastebuds with the creamy leche flan, which sweetness was just exact. Now I’m feeling sorry for having to forget taking pictures of the glorious food :(

By past 2 in the afternoon, the games officially began. For most of the games, Bluetooth won, that is, during the trials only hahaha! As for the actual, I think we won the group jump rope and one round of the sort-of-charades. The Pink Archers was the champion though.

[caption id="attachment_291" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption=""Itaguyod and bandera ng Bluetooth Team!" - We were all winners says Atty. Ike hehe ;)"][/caption]

Before calling it a day, snacks of empanada and iced tea were served. Afterwards, we fixed the duffel bag which got heavier because of the wet clothes and waited outside (and took advantage of the natural light which was perfect for pictures!).

The shuttles took us back to where our buses parked. At 5pm, we were hitting the roads to get back to Manila. Demi was the first to sleep before Daisy.

We were home sweet home by 9:30pm… :) What a wonderful way to celebrate summer, and who knows? I think I’ll be planning another swimming escapade this year because I’m beginning to like the water. ;)
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NBI Clearance

Monday, May 16, 2011

The last time I took my NBI clearance, their office was still at Carriedo in Quiapo, Manila. Darn, had it been really ages ago? I got mine last May 3 at the new location of course, and for the benefit of those who’d get their NBI clearances too, the address is:

VICTORY CENTRAL MALL, 5th Floor, #717 Old Victory Liner Compound, Rizal Avenue

The easiest way to get there is by the old LRT. It’s walking distance from the Monumento Terminal.

If you’re getting a renewal, you could just authorize someone to get it for you. All you need is the authorization letter, your ID, the authorized person’s ID, and the old NBI clearance. Initially, my husband should get it for me, but I needed to update from my maiden name (I told you it was ages ago ;-)) so I needed to go there personally.

We took Demi with us because ate Edna would have a hard time taking care of the two kids, for I bet it’d take us the whole day almost. It took us two hours to get there. Aside from the travel time alone, we also went to PNB first to update my bank account to my married name too, but that was just about 15-20 minutes.

Once you get to the building, go to the 5th floor. If you have passed by Madam Auring’s massage booth, you’re on the right track! Keep going up, and once at the 5th floor, look around for the signs “STEP 1 to 5.”

STEP 1: It’s quite easy to secure a new NBI clearance. My husband had gotten me the fingerprint card beforehand and I had filled it out at home so that when got there, I immediately lined up for the information check.

STEP 2: Next is paying of Php115 fees. This would take most of the transaction time because of long lines although there were several operational windows already.

STEP 3: This step is the taking of picture. This was quite fast!

STEP 4: Then the fingerprinting. Be ready with 2 peso coins for the wet wipes. You’ll need it to wipe the ink off your fingers afterwards.

STEP 5: This is the last step. You’ll just need to show the accomplished card to the person at the window and should be a fast step except that it is noticeable that some of the windows were idle. Lines are very very very very long.

If you’re name is unique, you most likely would get your NBI clearance that same day. In my case, I was “HIT,” the term they use if your name has more than one owner. Contemplating though, perhaps they should consider taking ALL three names of a person so that there’d be less (or none at all) hits and every clearances issued at the same day. Seriously, travelling to Monumento, if you’re from Cainta is not too easy...

STEP 6: This is the most likeable part, the bonding time! :) Daddy and I took Demi to Inasal (it’s at the ground floor of the building) and perhaps due to fatigue, she surprisingly ate A LOT!

Daddy and daughter moment :)

Before finally going home, we went to National Bookstore where Demi bought stencils for herself, and another set of crayons (the nth I’ve bought) for her and Daisy.
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Rainforest Adventure

Friday, May 13, 2011

As a sequel of our anniversary celebration, we treated the kids out the next day, April 30, 2011. We wanted to bring the kids to some place new because it had always been at the Playroom (we particularly like the one in Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall), and some place not too distant. It proved that the Pasig Rainforest Park best suited the description so off we went!

First off, it was free entrance :) The park has three attractions, the Butterfly Garden, Mini-Zoo, and the Train but you have to pay for tickets to get in. Fees are very cheap though, that is Php5 for adults and Php1 for children if you are residents of Pasig, and Php20 for adults and Php5 for children for nonresidents. They also have a pool but I heard it’s always crowded with people despite its considerable size so I wasn’t interested much to try it, much less, to know the entrance fees (sorry :D).

We secured tickets for all the attractions but the vendors told us the train wasn’t operational. My husband and I were a little disappointed, nevertheless we decided it will have to do next time. We toured around first to plan the itinerary. The Butterfly Garden closes at 10am and re-opens at 2pm so we decided to go there first, since it was quarter to 10 already. However, Nilo decided to buy a few chips first and took him longer than he planned such that when he got back, the garden was closed. :( So, we went to the Mini-Zoo:

The Mini-Zoo:

Demi showing off the mini-zoo stamp on her hand:

Although the zoo was quite small, it took us a long while to see everything, especially since the kids took time to play with the other children they saw at the zoo. Plus, I wanted to capture every scenic view, not to mention force the kids to be part of the pictures, hehe. We ate lunch and changed the kids’ clothes afterwards.

And then we went to the rainforest playground.

After that, we saw several teenage boys running and playing at the grassy open area right beside the train terminal. The lawn looked inviting especially for the kids, so we went there too and discovered that the boys were playing with a “salagubang,” throwing it as far away as any one of them could. I didn’t know if I’d laugh or cry for the salagubang’s sake! Anyway, the place was very cool, so I began to wonder why not too many people went there.

Right beside the area was the desolated train station, which was closed. :(

A few minutes later, the security guard came and excused himself saying that the place is restricted for the time being because they were letting the grass grow. Figures, haha! It was okay, we had taken enough pictures already. :D

Next destination, we decided to try the Senior Citizen’s Park. Upon entering the Seniors’ park, we noticed again that it was empty, except for a maintenance woman who was sleeping on the seat enclosing the round covered veranda. We went in nevertheless and walked barefooted over the pebbly area, which I think has some health purposes. It was for the old people after all. This was my husband’s favourite place (he’s getting old hehehe).

The kids were starting to get cranky so we decided to just wait for the Butterfly Garden to re-open for the last stop before heading home. But then we saw the train! It was operating! Immediately, we went to the station but the guard said it was just being tested. Several people complained though, since they have bought tickets to the train already. So the guard went to the ticket booth to inform the vendors to stop selling tickets. To appease the clamors though, he said to accommodate everyone who had tickets already. We were able to ride the third batch. :)

Soon we were all tired and though it was just 3pm, we called it a day, took a cab, and went home, exhausted but definitely happy. :) Next time, we will try the Butterfly Garden, too… God willing, of course. :)
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Pilgrimage Back to Life

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

April 29. Not only does this date mark the remembrance of the bond I have with the man I love most, but a few years before we finally united in love, I remember how it also marked the beginning of a new life for me, after the miserable times in my life.

For more than a year, I had been imprisoned by miseries and that future for me was bleak. It was a very sad life and I thought that only death would be my freedom. But the wisdom of God is really unfathomable, my vision, limited. I did not know that this is how the despair would end. This was my story…

The results of a broken heart begot childish decisions that resulted to a series of disasters until I found myself trapped. For more than a year, I was no longer the holder of my life. Still, I remained faithful and did what I knew was right, trying not to be bitter about life although during those times death looked sweeter. Finally, in the month of April, something happened and I was free. It wasn’t easy though, trust me, and at a very young age, I was able to say what only older people can, “I have been there.”

Freedom came with a great reward, and although the price had been enormous too, I did not allow myself to destruction. Instead, with help from my parents, I mustered up all the strength that’s still left and began picking up pieces of my life again.

April 29. I took a refuge to Ozamis, where my brother and his family worked and lived. This was the time when I felt most humbled because I had nothing to hold on to except hope. Financially, I was unemployed and broke. Socially, I was a recluse, and had damaged relationships even with the persons closest to me. Physically, I was able yes, but a depressed spirit left me incapable of many things. Only hope. That was my only possession.

Slowly, life began to grow inside me. And with God’s intervention, I was able to face the world with anticipation again. After a month, I began to reach out to people. The best account was encompassed in this letter dated May 28:

It's a beautiful Monday morning today here in the Philippines... Yesterday, I finally met the brethrens from locale of Ozamis and we all went to Lokal of Sinacaban, it's the next nearest lokal here, where we were supposed to have the WS and viewing. Supposed because it didn't happen, unfortunately there was a power blackout so we spent the rest of the morning from 8am to 12noon chatting and eating. There is this one sister they called "Nanay" who generously supplied us with breakfast of boiled bananas and camotes and hot Milo, and then with lunch of ABC noodles (with sort of spaghetti sauce), sardines, rice, and cold orange juice, and dessert of ripe mangoes. As for the WS and viewing, it was rescheduled on Thursday. We shall start at 9 for the WS, the viewing, then the PM.

The nearest lokal here requires that you ride a tricycle, a bus, and hitch at the back of single motor cycles. Four of us met at lokal of Ozamis then we went to Sinacaban together, two were workers, bro. Jori and bro. Ronald, and the other was bro. Ronell. The hitch at the back of single motors is quite scary because the way was uphill, and rough roads. I rode on one of the motors with a large package tied at the back and it somewhat served as a back support to me. The other three, rode on another motor so they were 4 all in all including the driver. It was exciting and funny. Imagine, gasoline stations were actually nipa huts with bottles of 1 litter coke displayed hehe... The driver of my motor stopped at one of these "gasoline stations" and said 1 litter mix and the lady mixed a small scoop of some liquid into the one litter of gas... I can't keep a straight face I had to smile it's so funny to me...

After a while, we finally stopped in front of a house with the banner of lokal ng Sinacaban. It was a beautiful provincial house, elevated from the floor and the floor of the porch was made of kawayan. The walls and floor of the house were made of wood. It was really cool there. So provincial with green bermuda grasses, pots with flowers, trees and all. After a while, the power black out happened then we had to wait until bro. Jori called the RS (here the DS is equivalent to Region Servant already because lokals here are comparatively fewer) and they decided to re-sched the services.

On June 10 and 11, we shall be going to Lokal of Oroquieta (it's a different town from Ozamis already) for the PBK, a quite beautiful b-day gift to me. Bro. Ronald was telling us that the brethrens there were warned of an appearing ghost. They said that the tenants before them didn't last a week because their only son who was only 5 years old was apparently playing with someone or something they do not see. Bro. Jori said he had seen a lady with flowing dress there on one occasion. Another told us that a white "thing" passed behind him while he was chatting on YM. It was actually his chat mate who saw the thing on cam. They don't know for sure what the ghost really is. Another story says that a group of young teens had burried an aborted baby underneath one of the wooden floors. But believe it or not, during PBKs, the brethrens want to sleep over those wooden floors because it's cooler there, and they don't care less about that aborted baby burried there. I think they are sensible.

On our way back, we walked from the lokal downhill until we reached the main road where the buses are. It was a 45-minute walk, quite pleasant except for the overhead sun which I think burnt the back of my neck hehe... I didn't notice the walk but this morning when I got up, my calf muscles were complaining... heheh

While we waited for another 30 minutes for the "right" bus (because it was either full or aircon - bro. Ronald says bro. Jori is allergic to aircon hehe but the real reason is we were saving.) Bro. Jori was talking to me and I don't know how, but he got the whole truth out from me. […] Besides, I already felt that he had been wondering about me because a one year vacation in my brother's house when there seems to be no problem with my residence in manila is quite mind boggling... He's smart! He knew something was wrong with me... In the end he just said, "basta patuloy ka lang... anjan na yan eh... malay natin, kung kayo, kyo talaga..." I couldn't care less about the romance part. I just want to get my life straight again...

Anyway, that's all... I was just excited. Thanks for the audience!

Sis. Jenny

Anyway, I didn’t spend my birthday as I expected because plans came abruptly. My sister-in-law had a week conference in Cebu and my brother and their 2-month-old son had to come too, to visit her family. Fare was expensive so I decided to stay with my Tita Belen in Dumingag, a town several hours away from Ozamis. It was a wonderful vacation and thanks to God for Tita Belen and her kindness. Their place was really great, too bad I didn’t have camera.

After another month, the one year vacation had to be cut to two and a half months because I was very eager to go home already and began crossing out dates at the calendar. I knew I had recovered enough to face normal life but my mother was afraid. Out of pity perhaps, my father finally let me go home. By chance, my sister and brother had another conference in July, this time in Manila. So by July 4, we all went home… The pilgrimage didn’t end there though… It had just began. :)
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Royal Anniversary

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

April 29, 2011. While the rest of the world grippingly watched the fairy tale love story of Prince William and Kate, I and my Dear husband were enthralled by our own plans for a lovely wedding anniversary celebration. For me, it’s quite emblematic that their chosen date of wedding was the same as ours. Now I have the folly to pretend that royal blooded people think alike (lol). 

It made me remember too, the last line of the article about me in my high school grad book: “Even if she doesn’t eventually marry Prince William, she will always be a princess.” (compliments to Tani Bocaya, a very good friend up to now). I’m thinking, I can not marry him, we have the same blood (hahaha). So God gave me another Prince to marry and we are living happily ever after.

Well, pulling myself back to the ground, it’s been a while since my Dear and I last dated out because the kids are quite a handful, plus the daily stresses were slowly trying to influence our relationship, so we had been looking forward to this special night.

As soon as we had tucked the kids to bed, we went out ready to enjoy each other’s company. We chose Isaw Haus since it’s the nearest and most commendable place for the occasion. While waiting for the food to be served, I placed a letter envelope on the table before my husband, and he sheepishly took it because he said he didn’t prepare anything for me (wow, how naturally sweet, hehe). 

I told him I expected it and didn’t mind at all, increasing his guilt all the more (haha the desired effect of course 😂). I watched him closely while he took the paper inside and opened it. At first, he was confused, because it wasn't really a love letter from me. It took a long moment of waiting before I got a reaction. The surprise finally sank into him. Prank accomplished!

It was the result of my IELTS exams, the sweet suspense. He smiled and looked at me while I raised my eyebrows and raised my hand for a high five. He kissed my hand and congratulated me, saying “See, I told you!” 

This time, I found his arrogance acceptable so I no longer argued. And, as a reward, we tolerated a bit of gluttony as he added a few more orders because he said the surprise increased his appetite (and secretly, so did mine haha). As usual, the restriction was with stomach space and keeping watch of our figures (as if we have figures to maintain haha). 

Our food consisted of inihaw varieties, tokwa’t baboy and the most loved sizzling sisig plus the undisclosed number of rice servings (hehe). 

It was a perfect night for both of us.
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Sweet Suspense

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

After a year of preparation, I decided to finally face my fears and end my agony. And so I took the test last month of April. I was scheduled on the 14th at Salustiana Tower, Makati for the first part. I arrived at least an hour earlier than the schedule and while waiting, I killed time by texting messages with Nilo, who was perhaps more excited about the results than me. In the first place, excitement was the last thing I felt at that time. I was sooo nervous. This test costed us 9k! I’d just die if I had to repeat.

I finished early with the first part and Nilo called the minute he learned it was over, he was assessing how it went and told me it looked positive because of my voice. Of course not, he has just probably mistaken the adrenalin rush with confidence. I told him I didn’t expect that my opinion about concerts would be asked for I had never been to one. And I find Nilo’s overconfidence unbearable that I had to break his bubble so when he asked me what I answered, I started to say, “The concert is beautiful…” and he immediately cut me out with his laughter and said “Go borrow another 9k!”

As for the part two, it was scheduled on the 16th at the Makati Shangrila. As usual, I arrived too early and so I had to stay at the waiting area. To fill in the time, I took shots of the place. At ten minutes before the time, I proceeded at the area and found that hundreds had been taking their registration already. I did not mind the long line though, there was plenty of extra time allotted for the registration so that nobody got late.

The test took longer than the first part, and when it was over, I felt so doomed I believed I wouldn’t get positive results. During the test, I looked at the details several times to ensure that the correct category was given to me because I found it extra difficult.

For two weeks, each test takers had been killed gradually everyday with suspense until finally the 29th came, releasing of the results! That was the date of our anniversary and so the results would have great impact on my mood (because Nilo is the optimist, not me). As early as I had arrived at the office (before 8am) I immediately checked the website and so did Nilo although he didn’t admit it at once. Unfortunately, the website was down the whole day. I took this as a bad sign, that perhaps I was being spared of the heartache on our anniversary, especially since we were planning to date out that night. But curiosity got over me so I called the agency just right on time, Ms. Lorie had just received the results and was at that exact moment scanning the document. I find it sweet now recalling how she told me it was good I wasn’t able to see the results online because the element of surprise was still intact. I asked her, did I pass? To which she replied “Passed? (My heart almost pounded out of its ribcage) You aced it!” Whew! I almost shouted haha! What a happy feeling, thanks to God for another intervention! Now I don’t want to question how it happened, all I know is that I was truthful when I said the test was difficult.

What a great gift on our wedding anniversary. I didn’t immediately tell Nilo, he was the one who suffered the great deal with suspense. Haha! Nevertheless, the surprise was sweetest for him too. :)
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