Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour

I'm very proud to say that our home participated in the Earth Hour movement which happened tonight between 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

How did we do it? We shut off all the lights, and removed all plugs from the sockets (except the refrigerator) and sat in the sala, chatting and playing Mario Kart on our Nintendo DS for an hour. My son Kyle enjoyed the weird experience and I feel it's an activity he's open to doing again. Our living room window gives us a good view of the Araneta Center and when we looked out during Earth Hour, it was darker than usual. It honestly felt good to be part of something to help save the planet. I thought, why stop at just turning off the lights for an hour, right? Like, when you order your favorite drink at Starbucks for dine in, opt to have your drink in the mug and not the wax-lined cup. Or, not get a straw when ordering your soda from your next fastfood meal.

With the state Mother Earth is in, I think Earth Hour should be a regular weekly or monthly activity initiated by our local governments, don't you think? Or we could have some sort of competition between districts like who had the least consumption of electricity/water for the month. Just a thought. :)

Holy Week Holidays

With Holy Week holiday inching in, each day now feels soooo long. It's the first long break after Christmas break and all hard workers in the country are eagerly looking forward to this well deserved vacation.

So, where are you going during this glorious 4 -day respite from the hustle and bustle of work? To the mountains? Or the beach? Or maybe stay at home and do the Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday?

My friends and I are going to Subic this Thursday and I'm excited! I've been there once before with Kyle, Alice, and Ridley to see the attractions in Zoobic (which I will write about soon) but we didn't get any swimming into the schedule since we were only there for the day.

I'm looking forward to spending the day at the Camayan Resort swim in the clear water and sizzle under the hot summer sun. The last time I went to Subic, I visited Camayan just to have lunch and remember the clear water and white sandy shores beckoning me to take a dip, but alas, night was falling and we needed to get out of SCTEX before dark. SCTEX does not have any lighting in some parts and it could be dangerous if you traverse this road at night.

But this time, it's me and the beach baby!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Got squished?

Riding the MRT when it isn't rush hour is so convenient. It takes the train approximately 25 minutes to travel from end to end. The first car is exclusively for: the pregnant, the old, the physically challenged, and anyone with kids. The rest of the cars are for men or women who prefer to ride with their male companions or women who simply do not run fast enough to reach the first car when they enter the platform area...However, let me warn you, riding the train during rush hour is a totally different story.

First, there's the long queue for buying tickets. There's one window devoted to selling tickets to people who can give the exact change. This window is also, more often than not, where you can buy your stored value tickets for P100. The other window/s are for people who haven't got exact change. Then, there's the line to enter the platform. If you're lucky, the security guards won't give the harrassed and impatient passengers ahead of you, any reason to delay their entry. Then (and here's the biggie) once you're inside the platform area, you are confronted with a battlefield.

I ride the first car all the time, only because I feel safer around other women and I won't mind losing my personal space for 10 minutes to other fellow females. Anyway, before you can get in, you have to inch your way to the door. It'll take about 2-3 cars before you can have your turn. Though no one is actually saying it, you can visualize the thought bubbles on everyone's heads: "Diyos ko, sana makasakay na ako sa susunod na tren" (Lord, I wish that I'll be able to get on the next train). Pushing other people ahead of you in this situation is quite acceptable. In fact, they might even thank you for it. Once you're in, you're in. All you have to do is wait for your stop. Inhale...Exhale...Getting out is another ordeal as you need to announce to everyone ahead of you that you are getting off on the next stop. By the time you get off you feel like you know each other too well.But once you're out, you're out. And thank heaven for that.

So, the next time you're riding the train, think, am I in the mood to get squished or not?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tender Bob's

I decided to treat Alice and Kyle to lunch at Tender Bob’s in Greenhills last Sunday for no reason. The first time I dined there was with my BFF and let me tell you, we were pleasantly surprised. You see, I’m no expert on food. I don’t know how to aptly describe flavor and texture using the jargon you hear only on Iron Chef or any of those food shows on cable. All I can tell you is that I enjoyed every single bite!

We started with the potato skins which are a must-try for anyone eating there for the first time. Warning though: it can be habit forming.

Kyle had the baked Zitti and the usual vanilla milkshake which he enjoyed as far as I could tell. He was silent throughout the meal, anyways.

I had the Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables on the side. I definitely recommend their mashed potatoes. Yummy!

Alice had the tenderloin steak. She’s a real steak person and likes hers well done. Did she like it or not? Well, she forgot to take a picture of her food when it was served and only remembered halfway through her meal. Well, her half-eaten plate (which took her about 10 minutes to wolf down) says it all. Not bad for a P295 steak!

All in all, Tender Bobs gets an 8 out of 10 for me. I have yet to try the rest of their menu. Will keep you posted!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My MelloYello Life

Let me tell you how my normal day goes ever since I did away with the house help (who never came back after a long vacay) and moved into a new condo:

I wake up at 5am. I cook breakfast, heat water for coffee/Milo, cook rice and ulam for my son’s lunch, make him a sandwich for merienda, and cook his dinner in case I get home too late from work. After he gets picked up by the school bus, I prepare for work which, fortunately for me, starts at 10 am. I then eat breakfast and hitch a ride with my best friend. As soon as I get to my office cube, work starts. My day at the office goes by way too fast. I work for a magazine publishing company and boy, does it get hectic. We work on the issue 2 months before its release date, so right now, I don’t feel that it’s March; I imagine that it’s May. How’s that for putting your life in fast-forward mode?

Anyway, work ends at 6:30 and I commute going home. Riding the MRT is the fastest but not the most convenient way to get home. If I’m lucky, the escalator works, the queue to enter the platform area isn’t too long, and I won’t get pushed onto the tracks and die as I squeeze my way into the already packed car.

I get off the MRT and tread the some 200-meters way to the jeepney stop. I risk my life crossing the breadth of EDSA, and wait for the jeep which passes by oh-so-infrequently. I get home and without winding down, I clean up, do the laundries, help my son with his homework if he needs it, and prepare next day’s meals for easy cooking in the morning. All this I get done by 10 pm the earliest. I get ready for bed, play with my Nintendo DS and fall asleep in no time.

These may sound like rants to most, but to me this is extremely fulfilling. Sure, there are days when I feel that I’m ready to give up and just let all things fall into place even when I didn’t exactly approve where they fall. BUT these responsibilities give me a sense of accomplishment that nothing else in the world can beat. And I embrace them with all my heart. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How I found my voice

For as long as I can remember, my older and only sister Moriah (that’s not her real name) was the family’s singer and reunion program organizer. She would choreograph song and dance numbers for me and my cousins to perform during our summer and Christmas reunions. She bought minus one tapes whenever she could and would pass the day away , locked up in our room practicing her favorite “performance pieces”. Having no one to play with or talk to, I would imitate her and put in my favorite cassette tapes of Cyndi Lauper, Heart, and Roxette and sing along with them in front of a mirror, holding my mom’s hairbrush as props and test the limits of my lungsand vocal chords as to see how high I could go. I never bothered to get an audience to listen and critique my singing because at the time I didn’t really care what anyone thought of it.

Sometime during my sophomore in UP, my old friend Jon and I saw posters calling out for auditions to a prominent university choir. On a dare, we committed ourselves to it and tried out. I never really tried out for anything in my life, and I was so nervous about how I’d do and how I’d handle the rejection. Jon, on the other hand, had been singing with our HS choir for 4 years straight and knew exactly what to expect.

We had to wait an hour or so for our turn to audition. It was grueling. We knew we were going to be asked to sing 1 song of choice and another required piece. I remember beads of cold sweat running across my forehead as I entered the room. The choirmaster asked me to sing whatever he played on the piano using weird syllables. “Mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi…zee-hee-zee-hee-zee-hee-zee-hee-zeeee!” I tried not to laugh as I was asked to sing these and stretch my voice high and low in a weird way. The choirmaster did not send any messages that I passed or flunked. He simply asked me to wait outside and someone will call out the names of those who passed after everyone was done with their audition.

Waiting for the results was torture. I was already way past dinnertime and since we couldn’t leave the premises for fear that we’d miss the news, Jon and I decided to satisfy our hungry tummies with fishballs and coke from the friendly vendor just outside the building. After another hour of waiting, news arrived. Jon’s name and mine were called by the choir’s membership committee head and we were asked to come back for the next rehearsal. Woo-hoo!

Little did I know this was the beginning of an eventful 17-year career as a chorista. Travelling to my dream destinations, gaining friends from the other side of the planet, and garnering awards for the country were just a few benefits of being part of a choir in the Philippines. Looking back, I certainly do not regret agreeing to a dare that as trivial as it seemed then, changed my life.