Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gotcha! (A repost from the STAR)

Something I read in the Philippine Star (hindi pa rin ba obvious kung ano newspaper namin?Ü) and worth sharing. Hope all endings are like this...though I seriously doubt that all stories similar to this end this way. Read on...


NEW BEGINNINGS By Büm D. Tenorio, Jr.
The Philippine STAR 01/28/2007

I caught my friend’s husband with another woman. And I bet you I almost fainted at the scene.

It seemed to be an ordinary Tuesday morning in a shopping complex in Greenhills that day. Except for my excitement to see my balikbayan friend, on vacation for the summer, I had no other business hanging around in that mall. I arrived 30 minutes earlier than the appointed time so I decided to check the place. My feet brought me to the clothes section, an aberration on my part considering that I hardly shop, let alone on a summer day.

So there I was, going from one alley to another, looking at the clothes, sometimes silently laughing at the sight of a Burberry coat or a Prada jacket for only P400, the tag price of which was announced on both sides of a cardboard paper that swayed like an Argentine tango dancer in mid-air. The air-conditioning unit in the mall betrayed the desiccating heat outside. I was feeling cold until kernels of sweat started to sprout on my forehead because from a distance – about 15 meters away from the stall where I was looking at the authentic fake merchandise – I saw a familiar face doing an unfamiliar activity. Christian, 34, husband of my very good friend Liza, 38, from Laguna, was in Greenhills with another woman. The girl’s arm was wrapped around Christian’s waist. His arm, on the other hand, caressed her shoulder. They kissed from time to time, nonchalant in their display of public affection, like lovers shopping at Gallerie Lafayette in gay Paris.

That moment, I wanted to evaporate. I was both feeling uneasy and ashamed of the situation. It was not I who was having extra dalliances but how come I was the one feeling the shame? I was so embarrassed for him. More like, I was more embarrassed for Liza who, every now and then, would relate to me that their marriage was a walk in the park.

I stayed in the stall with fake Prada and Burberry items, waiting for the real thing to happen, unmindful of the SMS of my balikbayan friend that she was already in our meeting place. As Christian and his inamorata walked towards me, I could feel my legs shaking. I was almost throwing up in tension. I was afraid. I had the choice to leave the scene and leave everything behind but I chose to stay because I knew that this was one event I would allow my friend Liza to know. I was certain about it. The heck if Christian brands me chismoso. Then, from being frozen, I felt anger at my friend’s husband. It was a whirlwind of emotion. I was angry that he had the temerity to cheat on my friend.

As Christian and his girl inched their way towards the stall where I was, I decided to approach them. Believe me, there was no expression on my face when I said: "Oyy, Christian. Kumusta ka na?" Such hypocrisy on my part because what I wanted to say that day was "Isusumbong kita."

Christian did not say a word, trying to remain unaffected. He just nodded at me, the type that tells me to keep to myself what I saw. Our meeting was so fleeting it only lasted less than a minute. But its impact was so disarming I lost all my appetite when I finally decided to meet up with my balikbayan friend in the restaurant.

For four days I managed to keep "our" secret from Liza. It was already OUR secret because I already knew about it, therefore I was already part of the "crime." Since I felt like an accessory to Christian’s womanizing, I had sleepless nights. My conscience bothered me. Part of me was saying: "It’s their business. Don’t meddle." Another part countered: "But Liza is your very good friend. She’s like a sister to you. What kind of friend are you if you keep mum about it?"

Come Saturday, I phoned Liza to invite her to play bowling in Biñan, Laguna. On that day, I had the intention of turning myself into the star witness.

"Would you love to have late dinner with Christian and me after our game?" she asked.

"Sure," I said.

Bowling night came. I was not myself. I was waiting for the perfect moment to tell Liza everything. Then in the middle of the game, I cried. I just cried. My friend was worried, handed me a bottle of water then brought me to her car outside.

"Who broke your heart?" Liza asked me as I was in between sobs. I did not reply. She was probably thinking a lover broke my heart again.

"Hoy, bakit ka nga umiiyak. Ituro mo sa akin kung sinong nagpaiyak sa iyo at gugulpihin natin (Hey, why are you crying. Tell me who caused your despair and we’ll get back on that person)," she was adamant to know.

I remained inconsolable. That moment I was both afraid to tell her the truth and at the same time anxious about her reaction. Would she believe me? Would she be mad at me?

"Tell me, who broke your heart?" there was urgency in her voice.

"Si Christian," I said.

"Sinong Christian," she asked, still clueless about her husband’s misdeed on her, "bago mong lover?"

"Hindi. Si Christian mo, may lover."

Then she cried. I told her what I saw in Greenhills. She was inconsolable despite the warmth I provided her.

We sped back to her house where a sumptuous dinner was waiting. Christian was there. A low-voiced confrontation ensued. Christian admitted his mistakes. He cried. He embraced Liza, saying "Sorry" profusely, his apologies said like a mantra. Liza did not embrace him back. I, too, was crying.

"What did I do wrong to deserve this?" Liza asked her husband.

"I’m sorry. I was the one who did you wrong," Christian said.

Christian admitted he had been going out with the girl from Sampaloc, Manila for about a year now. He met her when he was delivering garments in Manila. (Christian and Liza have their medium-scale textile business.) It was the illicit affair that kept Christian to frequent Manila twice a week, even if their delivery was only twice a month.

Liza said the pain she felt was indescribable. A great dent was created in their relationship. Christian stopped seeing the girl but not without her hearing a word or two from Liza, up close and personal.

In the end, there’s nothing that the heart will not understand for the one you love. Liza and Christian are enjoying a blessed relationship now. But Christian had to labor hard enough to win Liza back.

Last Christmas, I got a bottle of wine from Christian with a note: "Pare, thank you. Kung di dahil sa ‘yo, siguro sira na pamilya ko."

Oh well. Truth hurts. But truth also heals.

(I have secured permission from Christian and Liza, not their real names, by the way, that I would write about their story. For your new beginnings, please e-mail me at or Have a blessed Sunday!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shanghai Shopping Experience

After a year of working at PAL, I finally got hold of the best benefit we PAL employees have: the TRIP PASS. After one year of working for the company, I'm only allowed a regional/domestic trip pass (not least not yet. After my 2nd year i'll be eligible for that Ü), so what better place to spend it in than in Shanghai, where my older brother, Walter, has been living for more than a decade now (meaning: free board & lodging!).

I went there with my Mom, Dad and little bro (Kyle) and we just basically shopped 'til we dropped. Since my dad would rather spend money on shopping rather than sightseeing, then that was exactly what we did. We just shopped. For the entire week that we were there. We shopped and ate. And of course we slept as well. I'm not complaining or anything, but it would've been nice to see some of the sights Shanghai has to offer. Good thing Walter brought us to see The Bund and The Pearl Tower on our first night there. So that was the closest thing we got to sightseeing in Shanghai: The Bund and The Pearl Tower. Oh, and there was this Sundial in one of the rotondas there. Very nicely done. Walter says it actually says the time during the day, although I didn't catch it (or I just didn't know how to read/interpret). We also got to see Century Luneta multiplied by a hundred times (HAHA!). You may scroll on the pictures below to appreciate better all these things i'm talking about.

So...since we basically shopped, what more can I share to you but our shopping experience there. Everyone who goes to Shanghai would've heard of the XiangYang Shopping Market. From what i've heard, the original XiangYang market got closed down due to rampant sale of everything imitation: LV, Chloe, D&G, Lacoste, Juicy, Omega, name it, they have it. And mind you guys, their imitations are of very good quality if you know how to look. So the original (market) got closed down but a gazillion other little XiangYang shopping markets opened in different parts of Shanghai. You just have to know where to look. Thus, we were mainly at a different venue of XiangYang market everyday. But the items sold are basically the same. Like Divi Mall, Tutuban and 168 Mall: three different venues but the items that you can find inside are practically the same.

Shopping in Shanghai was a bit of a breeze for us. Probably coz my dad and bro know how to speak a bit of Mandarin (FYI: Fookien, which is a different dialect from Mandarin, is more widely-used here in the Philippines). And may be also due to the fact that some Shanghainese understand English and some even know how to speak. So it won't be a struggle to ask them how much an item costs while shopping, because, when all else fails, these vendors instinctively grab their calculator and punch down the cost of the item you're asking for (most of the time this is what happens anyway).

Almost always, when you motion that you find the item expensive, they'll let you punch in the amount that you want to pay them, after which starts the "bargaining struggle" where the vendor lowers his/her price, and you don't give in, until you reach an agreement and pay for the item at the agreed price.

One tip though: these vendors ALWAYS give you an initial price that is SKY HIGH! And I mean super sky high! Such that a RMB400 item can be bought, after much bargaining, at RMB80. That's a 500% decrease in original price! Gheezh! Talk about taking advantage! Anyway, we found that our bargaining skills improved as the days passed by, such that at the end of our one week trip, we were already bargaining experts (or at least i'd like to believe so).

To sum it all up...Shanghai is a very nice city to visit such that my mom and dad are contemplating on staying there for good (HUWAT!?!?!??!!! And how am I supposed to converse with these Shanghainese people when I don't know how to speak Chinese??!????!!!). I know i've just written mostly about shopping, but I promise to write another blog about Shanghai to tell you more about the other stuff we went to and did. But for now, let me just leave you with some fun facts that I've gathered during my one week stay in Shanghai.

Current exchange rate to Peso is 6.3 (i.e. 1RMB=P6.30)
RMB (Renminbi) and YUAN are the same.
They have toilets bowls on the floor...Literally! As in you have to squat.
Mandarin is the main language spoken in Shanghai.
Some of the few words I learned while at Shanghai are:
she-she = thank you
me-yo = wala
hen-to = marami
hao-chu = delicious
hen-hao = very good
pu-hao = bad
huan-yi kwang-ling = I actually don't know what this directly translates to...but they say this when someone enters the restaurant.
san-su-chi = 37 (since i'm a size 7, this was especially helpful when telling them what size of shoe I need during shopping Ü)
san-su-pa = 38 (just in case size 7 does not fit Ü)
ti-ti = younger brother (i know what you're thinking Ü...don't be bastos...Ü)
mei-mei = younger sister
ko-ko = older brother
che-che = older sister
e = 1
er = 2
san = 3
si = 4
wu = 5
liou = 6
chi = 7
pa = 8
chou = 9
su = 10

e-pai = 100

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

60 Things To Do In 2007

I'm again sharing to you an article by Ricky Lo (i know, i know...i've been sharing a lot lately...not really doing any personal blogs...promise, i'll be making one soon Ü): 60 Things To Do in 2007. Again, snippets from yours truly are in blue italics. Then, by the end of the year, let's see what things in the list I was able to do. Mark down those things you were able to do as well! Enjoy!


60 things to do in 2007
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
The Philippine Star 12/30/2006

As we like to say, dalawang tulog na lang at bagong taon na.

The countdown to 2007 has begun, to culminate at midnight tomorrow with the usual explosions (the harmless ones, let’s keep our fingers crossed...Hmmmm, count them and make sure you still have 10 in both hands after you have exploded those Super Lolos and those Sinturon ni Hudas).

Here are the first 30 of Funfare’s traditional "60 things to do" (the list is trimmed down from 100) in the next 365 days. (Clip page and paste on bedroom wall as reminder.)

1. Sleep early. Remember that early to bed and early to rise makes Juan healthy, wealthy and wise.

- I would really love to do this...but it's very hard especially if you have to wake up at 5am to bring your not-so-little brother to school...and to think my office is a mere 20-minute drive from our house...and work starts at 8am...sigh!

2. Treat your friends and family to a hearty meal (burp, burp, burp!!!) at Charlemagne Lim’s Little Asia restaurant (one on Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City, and a branch at the Promenade in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila).

3. Spend solemn moments at the St. Joseph Adoration Chapel on Hemady St. (near E. Rodriguez Ext.), Quezon City, with the Pink Sisters. (You loved Joseph even more after you saw how lovingly he was portrayed in The Nativity Story, didn’t you?)

4. Have your vision checked at any of the several outlets of Vivian Sarabia’s Sarabia Optical Clinics (one in Megamall).

5. Flash a bright smile at the neighbor you have been ignoring all these years when you bump into him in the morning. Remember that a smile a day drives the blues away.

- I've been doing this lately...after 10 years of living in this block. Hehe! (trying to change my 'taray' image...coz you know, i'm not really!)

6. Make it a habit to take Maxillium fiber (available at Watson’s outlets, distributed by my fellow Waray Alex Tan’s company) as often as needed so you won’t be straining too hard in the bathroom in the morning. It makes you feel light and easy. (For inquiries, call 533-8988, 533-8986 or 533-9228.)

7. Drink as much water as you can to flush out toxins in your system.

- Ditto!

8. Take time out to, as they say, smell the flowers and appreciate a bright new day.

- Ok...will do.

9. Having problems with your skin, excess poundage and the like? Drop by at any of the outlets of Dr. Vicki Belo’s Belo Medical Group.

- problems...right now! Kainis!

10. Exercise. Remember that to be considered fit, you have to take 10,000 steps per day. Ask Oprah (she does it!).

- How will i do this? Rather than sitting in front of the PC at work, shall I now stand and walk in place? Hehe...Ü

11. Having any blood-sugar problem (at risk of becoming diabetic)? Consult Dr. Wilson Lim (diabetes specialist) at his clinics at Metropolitan Hospital (Masangkay St., Binondo, Manila), FEU Hospital (Fairview, Quezon City) or St. Luke’s Medical Center (also in Q.C.).

12. Take time out to collect those loose photos in an album or those clippings in a scrapbook. It can be "therapeutic." Try it!

- Wow! Scrapbooking can be therapeutic? Gotta do it again sometime soon then!

13. Hie off to Raymond Ong’s Panglao Island Nature Resort in Panglao, Bohol, with an ambience so serene that you could hear yourself think and thus have a chance to take stock of your life.

- So, one trip pass down for a Bohol trip.Ü

14. Read Mitch Albom’s new (third) novel For One More Day (after Tuesdays with Morrie and Five People You Meet In Heaven). It will make you long for your mom (especially when she’s gone for good) and make you cry and cry. (Ask Charo Santos-Concio who soaked the pages with copious tears while reading the book.)

- Will try and check this out.Ü

15. As The STAR Entertainment Section keeps reminding you, "Relax and enjoy; see a movie."

- I want to see Griffin & Phoenix!!!Ü

16. Get a foot-and-back massage at Mercy T. Ong’s MTO Reflexology Clinics (one on Timog Ave., Quezon City, and another one in Malate, Manila).

17. Avoid using your cell phone in public, if you can help it. Beware. The guy next to you could be a snatcher.

- This is simply very hard to do. Just try to lessen your cellphone usage in public, I guess, would be an easier task to do.

18. Watch a movie at the Gateway Mall at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. Very cozy and very comfortable.

19. Having any dental problems? Drop by at the Achacoso Clinic (near the Timog-Morato Rotunda, Quezon City). Its patients include stars like Susan Roces and Francis Magalona.

20. Have your hair cut, your nails done, your sole scrubbed and your ears cleaned at the Gruppo Barbero (the one on Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City, owned by Atty. Aga, Drew Arellano’s dad). Its star clients include Troy Montero, Ricky Davao, Tonton Gutierrez, Jericho Rosales, Polo Ravales and Rep. Ace Barbers.

- Wait...i'm a girl. I go to the salon, not the 'barbero.'Ü

21. Practice rhythmic, deep breathing. It relieves stress.

22. Donate money or used (or even new) clothes and other useful things you don’t need to victims of calamities (like those in Albay, Marinduque, Samar, Ormoc, etc.).

23. Attend the healing Masses of either Fr. Corsie Legaspi or Fr. Joey Faller. (Watch out for the schedules which Funfare publishes every now and then.)

24. Spend a weekend at the Imperial Palace Suites (Timog-Morato Rotunda, Quezon City, landline 411-0116) which is within walking distance to all kinds of restaurants and QC’s entertainment spots.

- Promise, I won't be able to do this coz i'm a 'kuripot' gal.Ü

25. Obey traffic rules.

- Ooops! Guilty!

26. Choose very carefully the candidates you will vote for in next May’s elections. Don’t vote for "crooks" (if you know what I mean.)

- Definitely!

27. Visit The Healing Zone Clinic & Spa (Your One-Stop Wellness and Natural Medicine Center, at 34 Kalayaan Ave., Quezon City) for acupuncture and other stress-relieving treatments. After I discovered the Zone, I’ve stopped going to another clinic (because of an unpleasant experience) that promised an oasis of relief. For inquiries and/or apppointment, call landline 433-4261.

28. Don’t work too hard to avoid being stressed-out or getting sick. Remember that nobody is indispensable. Remember that there’s always somebody out there better than you are.

29. Watch Blood Diamond, the new Leonardo DiCaprio starrer (after a two-year respite) opening on Jan. 8 after the ongoing Metro Filmfest.

30. Keep on reading The STAR and watching Showbiz Stripped (on GMA late Saturday nights).

31. If you haven’t yet, try to watch the entries in the 32nd Metro Filmfest (until Jan. 7).

- As of writing this...I haven't even watched a single one of them (and it's already the 12th of January).

32. Besides the Belo Medical Clinic, you can also visit the clinics of Dr. Nellie Yu (whose complexion is so flawless that she’s the walking advertisement for her clinics), also one of the country’s top dermatologists. There’s one on Carvajal St. in Binondo, Manila (telephone 241-1071) and another one in Makati (813-2429).

33. Fix (and oil) those rusty hinges on that door which you’ve been ignoring all these years.

34. Lock your doors before leaving the house. Check and recheck if electric plugs (especially that of the flat iron) have been pulled off.

35. Treat your family and friends to mouth-watering and tummy-filling pizzas and pastas (an array of them, take your pick!) at Napoli (with an outlet in Fairview, Quezon City, and another one at the ground floor of the Imperial Palace Suites on Timog-Morato Rotunda, also in Quezon City).

36. Write that long-delayed letter to a friend in the US whom you haven’t seen for ages.

37. Take a day off from work and stroll around SM Mall of Asia which is oh-so-huge that it will take you one whole day to cover the whole place. (Reminder: Wear rubber shoes.)

- Ayoko nga! Makita pa ko ng mga bossing ko...hehe!Ü

38. Try the toppings (Asian, American, Japanese – there’s one for every palate!) at Happy Ongpauco’s World Topps (with an outlet on Timog Ave., Quezon City, near the rotunda).

39. Don’t buy pirated tapes. Watching movies is more fun if you do so on a wide screen.

- Ayayayayayayay! This will be very hard to do!

40. Be kind to your pets. Always bear in mind that dogs are sometimes more loyal than humans. They bark, all right, but they don’t bite your back – not all the time, anyway.

- Okay, okay...I promise to be more 'mabait' to my brother from now on (Hehe! Peace tayo Kuya Kyle!Ü)

41. Having sleep disorder? Consult Dr. Roland dela Eva at his clinic at St. Luke’s Medical Center (Quezon City).

42. Stay tuned to Charo Santos-Concio’s long-running and award-winning drama show Maalaala Mo Kaya on ABS-CBN Friday nights.

43. For updates and the latest in world news, and for those incisive interviews with Larry King, stay glued to CNN.

44. For those old movies (and if you are a platinum SkyCable subscriber), there’s nothing like the TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on Channel 39 which airs ‘em non-stop. Say "Hello!" again to the likes of Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Rock Hudson, Joan Crawford and other Hollywood greats.

45. Try going vegetarian.

- OMG! No way! Hehe...Meat is just so yummy!

46. Start saving for the forthcoming concerts of, among other foreign acts, Il Divo, The Lettermen and Cliff Richard.

47. Stop being a couch potato. Don’t just lie there when watching TV. Walk in place or jump onto a stationary bike.

48. Forgive the friend you’ve been having a "cold war" with. It’s not healthy to be carrying an emotional load.

- Hay...forgiven but not forgotten.

49. After a morning jog, have breakfast at any Jollibee outlet and enjoy your sinangag with fried egg and longganisa (downed by hot chocolate) while reading The STAR (the only paper available at Jollibee, for free!).

50. Be heard. If you disagree with an issue or you have a complaint against public officials, SCREAM! Write a letter to the editor or ask Korina Sanchez or Ted Failon for air space on their DZMM radio program. Hoy, gising!

51. Check out the new line of clothes, accessories and other items at any Bench outlet.

- Ditto!

52. Enjoy a gameshow with Kris Aquino (Pilipinas, Game KNB? and Deal or No Deal) and Willie Revillame (Wowowee, but of course!).

- Join ulit? Hehe...Ü

53. Take home a stray cat or any "homeless" animal you see on the street.

- No Deal po.Ü

54. Give peace a chance. Stop being a war freak. If you can win people by smiling, why frown at all?

55. Next time you are at Shangri-La Plaza Mall, drop by at Novecento and go over the racks of colorful shirts.

56. Drive carefully. The life you save may be your own. (That’s a reminder I see at the back of buses.)

57. Have your fill of the famous halo-halo (featured recently in Time’s Best of Asia special issue) at the Peninsula lobby, served in all sizes including "family " (good for a dozen people).

58. Plant a tree, even just in your backyard.

59. Always remember that honesty is the best policy. Don’t cheat...especially in an election.

60. Pray. It works!

- Yes!


You may also check out the list from 2005 (100 Things To Do in 2005, also
by Ricky Lo). Of course, with my ever-present comments/suggestions/what-have-yous in green and pink italics

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Starbucks Planner

With the help of my officemates (namely Carrie, Dio, Kat, Jacky, and Barbie) and cousin Harvey, I finally got my first ever Starbucks planner! Yippeeeeeee! It's my first (really!) coz I've never been the type who'd do collect all those stickers come December time just to avail of the exclusive Starbucks planner. BUT (and that's a big "but")...due to PEER PRESSURE (as-in! coz everyone around me seems to be collecting stickers for this...), I started collecting all those stickers just for this planner, which, up until now, I don't know what to do with coz the planner that I ACTUALLY need is just a small one that will fit in my bag. So now I have this (the Starbucks planner) and a small planner (that fits in my bag) that I bought from Marks & Spencer. HAHAHA! Ang dami ko'ng planners! Anyway, I know i'll eventually find a purpose for this planner...maybe as a journal where i'll write significant events that happened to me on that specific day...I dunno. Let's wait and see.

I just have one (rather sad) thought though: How come this year's planner doesn't come with all those coupons like before? :( I know I said I didn't collect the past planners but my sister (who does...but is now living in Canada) would always have at least one (last year, she got 3!) and she'd give me all those extra coupons she has. Coz, if you think about it, what will she do with the 6 fattening Starbucks drinks on her hand on one of those days when she has 3 Buy one drink, get the other equally-or-lesser-priced-drink free coupons to avail? Of course, give her extra coupons to her Devilishly-Bitchy-Sister (that's what she calls me. I call her my Domestic Goddess Sis!). So there...just my thoughts.