Post-Birthday Updates

Okay, I’ve been “missing” for a week now. I’ve just been a little busy and even though I have so many things to write about, it’s only now that I’m able to really sit and be able to write what I can remember.

My Birthday
I was overwhelmed and touched by the number of people who remembered and sent me messages on my special day. I apologize for not being able to reply, especially to those who sent me text messages, because my mobile account was redirected as I failed to pay the bills that I haven’t seen yet. As of today, my line is still redirected but hopefully by tomorrow or Monday, I’ve settled the bill and my mobile’s up and running again.

October 20th, we went up to Tagaytay for Papa’s faculty development seminar. We stayed at Hotel Dominique that’s about a kilometre away from Tagaytay Junction.


The place was beautiful but I found it a bit expensive. We got their casitas with attic room, their equivalent for a family room and got a very good discounted rate for it.

October 21st was spent at Picnic Grove where we trekked the Eco-Trail Adventure. Everyone enjoyed the trek though it got us all tired. Basti had his first horseback ride. MH didn’t want him to go because it was quite a rip off for just an hour’s ride. He eventually gave in and I just told him that the smile and happiness on Basti’s face is more than the worth of the hour’s ride that he paid for.


I was able to take a couple of photos showing the closeness of MH and DS. I actually love these photos and hopefully I’ll be able to scrap them very soon.

October 22nd, my birthday, we checked out and ended up having our birthday lunch at Dencio’s instead of Leslie’s. Leslie’s was just packed and Papa decided to just transfer to another restaurant where we wouldn’t have to wait very long. We decided to go to Dencio’s and although we waited for like 10 minutes for a table, the food service was quite fast and in no time we were full to the brim! LOL! This was Dencio’s treat for me and Nicole for our birthday…

I took close to 300 photos for this weekend getaway that you can view here.

Open Season
Basti, MH and I watched Open Season at the IMAX Theatre last Thursday. It was my first time to watch at the IMAX and before the movie started, we took some pictures (even though cameras are not allowed to be used inside the theatre).

It’s just sad that Basti fell asleep in the middle of the movie. I guess he was tired and needed to take a nap. Anyway, the movie was good and if we have the time, we will be bringing Basti again to watch it.

Job Hunting
I spent most days this week updating my resume and searching for jobs. Thursday and Friday were busy days for me because of the job interviews and exams I went to. I was able to zero in on 2 jobs that I wanted. However, I turned down the job offer I received yesterday because I wanted to see what the other offer would be before I sign anything. Yesterday got me all drained and tired because of the travel and interviews. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get this other job that’s left. If not then I’ll have to start searching again and try my luck. I just hope I wouldn’t have to encounter another HR personnel who’s just too feeling and too bossy! LOL!

I got an e-mail from my British boss asking me when I’ll be going back to resume my post. He told me that Sue asked for a week’s leave because her Estonian boyfriend came over to Swansea to live with her. However, earlier during the week, he got a phone call from her saying that she wasn’t going back anymore. I’m actually torn between leaving again and staying. He was kinda expecting me to be back in Wales this December but I told him that I really can’t commit to any return date. I haven’t replied to his e-mail just yet for lack of better words/statements to tell him. We’ll see what happens.

Half Day at the Salon


I had a wonderful half day at the salon today. It felt great to be pampered once again! I know that it will take a miracle to turn me into someone as beautiful as Julia Roberts or Demi Moore but at least I feel pretty again. LOL!

Kwentong Tambay

Last October 17th, I was able to buy this book written by Batjay and finally I was able to finish reading it!!!

Wanna hear an American read an excerpt from this book?

I wanted Kim to read the excerpt because she and my other sisters have been here for more than a year but she still can’t speak even one straight sentence in Tagalog. She has learned to pronounce and say some words but oftentimes we end up laughing. She laughs at her own mistakes and I think that’s a cool trait. She tries very hard to read Tagalog and we highly-appreciate her effort.

Starbucks
We went to Starbucks Thursday night and I tried their newest coffee called, Sweet Spice Latte. I loved it! It wasn’t too strong nor too sweet – just perfect for my taste. Incidentally, they told me that their Christmas flavors are coming out next week and the 2007 planner is something to look forward to! I was able to redeem 5 of their planners last year. And I wonder how many planners I’m going to get this year.

Ok, I guess that’s about if for now – at least that’s what I can remember for now! Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday Thirteen Week 14

I’ve been back home for almost a week now. I’m almost getting back to my normal body clock and I have been trying to establish a more acceptable routine for me while I’m here. I’m also trying to secure work for myself. I’ve been seeing a lot of available work listings but I still have to decide which one I’ll be seriously applying to. One prospect actually rang me mid-morning but turned me down during the telephone interview, most probably because they got “turned off” by the huge salary I got on my last job. The girl said that you don’t expect us to give you that kind of salary and we can’t even offer you a 5-digit amount at the moment. In the end, they gave me the proverbial, “Thank you very much and we’ll get in touch with you about your application.” In my head I was like: “Yeah right!” Oh well! So there goes my job-hunting for the week. LOL!

Yesterday, I had to get my old ride fixed in the morning then I went to Glorietta with Dhong and met up with MH’s niece for her laptop and with the sister of a UK-based friend for her laptop as well. We had mid-morning snacks at Seattle’s Best at the Digital Exchange while waiting for them. We then had lunch at this new Chinese stall at Food Choices (and I forgot the name already). I ordered their Lechon Macau with Kangkong which really tasted very good. Their prices weren’t that bad too. I will be going back there to eat again.

MH and I had another intense fight over text messaging and the phone. I wasn’t expecting to see him in the evening but I did because we both attended the birthday celebration of a good friend with Papa. Papa knew that we were fighting. The night ended up badly for both of us. I cried myself to sleep last night after speaking to Pam in Canada and I must admit that crying did help me release the bottled-up feelings that I had brought with me from the UK in connection with MH.

This morning, I woke up with my eyes looking so puffy. I looked terrible! I received text messages from MH apologizing for what he did. Knowing myself, I know that I’ve already forgiven him since yesterday but I have to admit that yesterday’s happenings were different and hurt me more than I have ever imagined that I’ve resurrected that dismal thought called annulment. Anyway, we’re a bit okay now but I don’t know how I’d react if I see him tomorrow.

Moving on, I have been back in Manila for a week already but I have to admit that I am quite missing the life I left in the UK. I did enjoy the simple life I had there except for the fact that I missed my Sweetheart so much. So for this week’s TT, I’m going to list down…

The Thirteen Things I Miss About the United Kingdom

01. The unpredictable weather – it can be sunny and rainy all in one day
02. Fish and chips seasoned with salt and malt vinegar – SO YUM!
03. The courteous and disciplined motorists, especially the bus drivers.
04. The roundabouts – for some reason, I find them very effective in curbing traffic
05. The set bus schedule so that no one has an excuse to be late even though you don’t have a car.
06. The free-flowing water from the tap
07. The train rides
08. The fresh air that I breathed every single day I was there
09. The sweet smell of the grass when you go out early in the morning
10. The prompt and excellent service of the Royal Mail
11. My nephew, Justin
12. The occasional sessions with Stella Artois
13. My early evenings to bed

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend starting tomorrow. We’re off to Tagaytay for Papa’s faculty development seminar. It’s gonna be the second year that I’ll be spending my birthday in Tagaytay with family. And I’m hoping that the next days would be better for me.

Credits for the Thursday Thirteen header:
Gentleness by Ashley Olson from her Fruits of the Spirit CD Collection available at Scrapbook-Bytes.
Font: Tempus Sans ITC

Basti’s Newest Photo Shoot

I only had a couple of hours sleep but I managed to get up and renewed my driving license today in Makati. We finished just in time before the LTO closed for their lunch break. We went to eat at GoodAh! along Buendia Avenue. Wow! It’s been a while since I last had a great meal from there. I had adsi and lumpiang gulay which were really yummy!

After lunch, we picked up Basti from the DMSI office and then went to Papa’s office for a visit and to pick up Dhong. We stayed there for about half an hour then went to the SM Mall of Asia for some sightseeing.

It was my first time to go there and I’m actually pleased with what I saw. It’s huge and I think everything we need is there. It would actually be great to shop there especially if you have the moolah to do it 🙂

Basti had his haircut and then we ate at Jollibee for snacks. I was suprised that there are new entries on their menu but I just ordered their spaghetti with yum meal. Gosh! I really missed Jollibee! Call me weird but I also ordered their creamy macaroni soup (that I totally love!). Weird combination for snacks, don’t you think?

After the snacks, I fancied on having Basti participate in my “photo shoot.” This was the first “photo shoot” I had with Basti after being away for a while. My son’s such a poser and he proved it to me with his new “look” and his usual cutesy poses.

Our final stop for the day at the mall was at Toy Kingdom where Basti got to pick a toy for him to bring home. As per usual, he had a hard time choosing which toy to buy but eventually picked a Matchbox shark something. Of course, little Basti held up poor old Mom again but I forgot all about it when he showered me with kisses on the lips and a very, very tight hug. Oh my! That was ecstatic and that is definitely priceless!

We brought him back home to his grandma and he didn’t want to be left with her. But his Dada was able to persuade him to stay after assuring him that he will be coming back right away. And I guess that’s what they call separation anxiety, which I hope he will outgrow when the time comes for him to go to school.

The boys and I met Papa at Harbour Square where we had a nice dinner at Tapa King. They had a few rounds of beer while I drowned myself with water. We went home before 9pm.

It was a fun-filled day today! I loved it! How I wish there’ll be more days like this than the gloomy ones.

Ramblings from a jet-lagged person

I got home safe and sound on Friday morning. But I was very irritated, very tired and exhausted being awake for 48 hours for a long-haul flight. To make matters worse, my checked-in baggage went somewhere else and I found out on Sunday that it went to Singapore. Lucky baggage for it was able to go to SG free of charge! LOL!

Anyway, I got the baggage on Sunday night and discovered that it was opened and one lock was missing. Bad thing was that my gigantic Legoland bag was missing as well and I wasn’t happy with that. My Motorola software disc and wired headset was missing and some of my things were actually put into the main compartment like my moisturizer. Well, at least, they didn’t get any of the dirty clothes that I had in there that I finally got to bring to the launderette last night. That would’ve been so mean of them! I can’t imagine people in Singapore wearing size 16-20 clothes! LOL! Anyway, I can’t wait to get into my freshly-washed clothes. I guess I deserve them after all the hassle I’ve been going through.

I am not very well since I got here. As of this writing, I’m suffering from a mild cold, quite a bad cough and a body clock that’s driving me crazy. It’s 9PM in Swansea and my body is still attuned to GMT. It’s almost 4AM here and I am just feeling sleepy at this time. I know it can get crazy. I’ve tried to wear myself out but I ended messing up even more. Well, anyway, I’m sure I can get past this (hopefully) this week.

On Saturday, I met up with my “bes” and ate supper at Teriyaki Boy. I had a feast and I wanted more sushi but decided against it. Next stop was Starbucks at Shell Macapagal because the one at Harbour Square was packed. I had my favorite coffee and tried the newest thing I saw…the heavenly and guilt-ridden Banoffee Pie. Oh my! It was an awesome treat…REALLY!

Sunday, we went to Glorietta and had supper at Heaven and Eggs after grabbing a couple of churros con chocolate at Dulcinea. I have to say that nothing really beats restaurants over here in Manila. I won’t be surprised if I’ll gain back the weight that I lost in the UK in like a week’s time! LOL! We actually went to Starbucks again before going to the airport and I had a Mango Frappuccino Blended Tea and another Banoffee Pie.

Monday, I just spent half of the day sleeping and woke up just the usual time that I would wake up back in Swansea. I prepared lunch and then just tinkered with Photoshop to try my hand at scrapping again. I actually fell asleep again in the afternoon because I felt exhausted and tired for reasons I don’t understand.

I was able to complete 2 layouts tonight and I don’t think they’re really any good. But I posted them anyway in my scrap blog and at The Scrapping Garden. I was its Creative Team leader before I left and I just had to give up the post for someone else to fill. I was actually surprised when I posted in the forum and found out that I’m still on the team. I couldn’t say much except to thank the owners for the understanding and the warm welcome they’ve given me when I came back. I am still part of the Creative Team but we had an agreement that I can hop in and do my duties when I’m ready. I think that’s fair for both parties. I’m excited and happy about this news. And I hope to be back in circulation very soon.

I need to go to bed now and catch some sleep. I need to wake up early later on to renew my driving licence. And oh, incidentally, I did try to apply for a job tonight but was rejected. Better luck for me next time, I suppose.

And now I am just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that my upcoming birthday weekend would be a happy one.

P.S.: I just realized that my blog is still on GMT so I had to change the time zone. Oh geez! How I wish it’s just that easy to deal with jet lag – with just a click of the mouse, everything’s back to “normal!”

I’m Coming Home

The past 3 days have been quite hectic for me because I tidied up my affairs at the office and turned over my position to the new EA. I had to literally overload her with information about the work that I do at the office so that at least she could be equipped with how to work alongside my bossy boss. LOL!

Anyway, yesterday was my last day at work. I had mixed emotions about the thought that I’m leaving and going back home to Manila. First of all, I’m very excited and happy because I’ll be able to see Basti again and the rest of the family. I’ll be able to once again enjoy the perks I had before I settled in for a lifestyle of house-work-house routine in the UK.

I’m also sad because I’ll be leaving behind colleagues at work who, in one way or the other, kept me sane during the trying times in the UK. My boss may be rough sometimes but I still adore him. Living in a foreign land is a totally humbling experience. I learned a lot and it was all worthwhile for me.

I did plan to cook lunch for the staff but I didn’t have the time on Tuesday so what I did was to just ask Simon to buy a bucket feast from KFC so we could share it for lunch. For the first time, my boss joined us for lunch and we had a nice lunch hour just being relaxed and talking about other things. It was also Sue’s birthday yesterday. Sue is the one replacing me as the PA. She’s a very nice lady and we have been familiar with each other even though we were only together for 2 days.

After lunch, I grabbed my camera and had some photos taken of the “Brady Bunch.” We didn’t have goofy pictures though. I felt awkward asking for it from my boss. LOL!

I had mixed emotions as I turned over the last set of paperwork to Sue and then headed for home. I’m pretty confident that Sue will be able to manage the office and she’ll have a grand time doing the things that I did while I was there.

I didn’t have the chance to sleep and I preferred not to because I might miss the plane. I have been up for 28 hours now and I just can’t believe that I’m still up and typing. BIL and I headed to the airport at 2am for me to arrive at least 3 hours before my flight. The airport’s about 45 minutes to an hour from where I lived. The rigid and tough security checks were in place so it was better to arrive early than to get held up somewhere else. I bid BIL goodbye with the hopes that I will be seeing him and the family soon.

I lost my allergy cream and 2 sticks of medicated lip balms to the security officers that checked and emptied my bag before check-in. I actually protested the confiscation of the lip balms because on their website, they said that lip color or gloss in liquid form won’t be allowed in. I’m sure that Blistex and Nivea didn’t fall in that category. But I was just too tired to contest further and just shrugged off the items that I left. I can actually bring them in but only if I check in my bag, which I didn’t do because I had Sly and a laptop with me. I’m not yet that crazy and knackered to have items like that checked-in.

After the crazy check-in procedures, I had a smooth and good flight to Amsterdam from Cardiff. I actually liked the chocolate chip roll that they served but their coffee was just too strong for my taste! I hated it! It wasn’t long before I realized that we’ve already landed and I was able to get like a 20-minute nap during the flight.

Amsterdam was foggy, cold and damp this morning. But just like the first time I got here, I’m still amazed at the number of people that are here. Everything and everyone’s so busy! I have to wait for 6 hours for my next flight so what I did was to scour the shops first for whatever “paaslubong” I can bring home and then I went to their communication centre to buy an all-day wi-fi internet card to check my mails and to post away here in my blog.

Now it’s almost lunch time so I would need to grab a good meal (most probably in Sbarro) and then scoot off to the check-in counter for another round of security checks. In the meantime, I took some photos of the Schipol airport while I still have a little focus in my hands and I still know what is right and wrong. LOL!

I won’t be participating in this week’s Thursday Thirteen because I’m on the verge of being totally knackered and I don’t have my thinking caps on that well at the moment.

I am hoping to get a good sleep during the flight as it’s a 13-hour non-stop flight to Manila. If I do then I won’t be having a hard time battling with jet lag when I am back home.

So long and ’til my next journey…

A Happy Day at Legoland and some other places

This weekend started off with a blast because my sister’s family and I scooted off to a weekend holiday in Windsor. Contrary to what I’ve been feeling the past couple of days, this weekend proved to be a better one for me.

I enjoyed my whole day stay in Legoland on Saturday. I had fun with the 2 water rides (Extreme and Pirate Falls) and was awed by the great architecture and replicas made from Lego bricks. It’s actually Bling who has this fancy for Lego but after seeing his Lego Star Wars collection, I did want to start the Ferrari collection and the City collection. I already bought one of each a month ago and sent it back home.

I took a total of 549 photos from that Legoland trip that you can see here. The photos don’t have captions because I’m having problems with my photo account. It must be the connection.

We also went to Windsor Castle but we only had the chance to look at it from the outside and even had photos with the castle guard on duty at that time. It’s enormous and it’s beautiful!


Bling and I capped the night with a bottle of red wine that we shared. He was laughing at me because I was very red and was already having a little laughing trip on the side. It did help me sleep but of course, I felt a little horrible in the morning when I woke up. This was the culprit:


Sunday was spent at Wiltshire where we went to a number of interesting places like the Stonehenge in Salisbury, the Stone Circles in Avebury, the Avebury Manor and Garden and the Hackpen Hill White Horse, which is part of the White Horse Trail. Wiltshire is in the southern part of England and I have to admit that it’s a totally breathtaking place. It was worth the time and the effort going there. It was my first time to go up a hill to see one of the White Horses and it was just TOO COLD!!! Of course, I took pictures that you can view here.

We just got home and we’re all knackered. Tomorrow’s another day! Happy 7th birthday Miguel!

Thursday Thirteen Week 13

I am not so much in the mood today. I feel as gloomy as the weather we’re having here in Swansea – cold, wet and sad. Last night I spent 13 hours at work – I was wasted when I got home but I only managed to put myself to sleep at around 2am.

I woke up at 7am today, barely managing it, because of a phone call I received from Papa. My Mom threw my sister and her 2 babies out of the house again for crappy reasons (I suppose). Papa told me that I should just pray that he’s still sane or well by the time I go back home. I told him that it’s not gonna be long now so he just needs to hold on. On my way to work, I just wished that my Mom would just go back to America and leave us alone – just like what she’s used to doing before. Life was better for all of us before she came back. For the past 16 months since that time, she has made our lives one living hell.

I know I shouldn’t speak this way about my Mom but I can’t help it. I’ve been trying…no, not trying, but doing my very best to make it a win-win situation for all of us. I try to understand both of them as much as possible. But then again, I can only handle too much and my heart still ends up going out to Papa. He’s not young anymore, all he wants is to have his family complete and that there are no more serious problems to go through. But sadly, my Mom keeps on creating problems as if she’s trying to sabotage Papa’s plans of living happily, at least for the remaining years of his life. At 73, he’s still a problematic guy. It’s not good for his age. I must admit that I’m still included in his never-ending list of problems but I do my best to get out of it.

My parents have been separated for 18 months now (that started when Papa was in the US to see Mom and my other siblings) but because Papa was thinking about the smaller children, he managed not to leave the house and just continue life as normal – treating my Mom like bad air – no whatever between them. They walk past each other as if they’re both non-existent. I know it’s crazy, but it can be done because they have been doing it.

People close to me know that I have a very bad relationship with my Mom. It’s something that’s been going on since time immemorial. For sure that in a couple of days, I will be writing about the first fight I’m gonna have with her after I come home from the UK. And you’ll be bored hearing about the subsequent ones as well.

Today, being a Thursday, I woke up not having anything in mind for my TT this week. Then I just thought about writing down 13 of my favorite things to clear my mind of my worries and to brighten my gloomy day a bit. Remember that scene from “The Sound of Music” about your favorite things to make you feel better? That’s what I’m gonna write about for this week.


(Thank you Mandy for the TT header)
My 13 Favorite Things

01. The smell of freshly brewed coffee…moreso, if it’s a cup of coffee from Starbucks
02. Basti’s smell after he takes a bath – so fresh and sweet!
03. Fresh strawberries dipped in condensed milk
04. Spaghetti that you can buy from the “turo-turo” (a small canteen by the roadside) stand
05. Black pens that write smoothly
06. Lingerie (thongs, lacey bras, etc.)
07. Soft and fluffy pillows
08. Any cheesecake variant – blueberry, strawberry, whatever – as long as it’s cheesecake
09. My mobile phone
10. Sly – my reliable Canon 350D SLR camera
11. Silk nightwear
12. Moisturizing lotion
13. Garfield

…and the list just goes on and on and on…

I hope you’ll have better and dryer Thursdays than I do.