Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank You 2012

Today is the last day of the year. Time really flies fast and I can say that everything that happened in 2012 made me stronger.  It was a year full of disappointments in personal life and career, with a dash of cheating and betrayal. It was also the year that I lost a friend and my dearest nanay. 2012 tested my character, my patience but not my faith because it even led me to reuniting with St Jude.

I don't want to end 2012 in a sad note so I've listed that things that I'm thankful for

  1. Maybe its because of the thought that the world can end or its because of social media that I've had countless catch ups and reunions with all of my set of friends.
  2. Yes, Im really on that age where people greet you with "When are you getting married" instead of "hello, how are you?" The gown fittings, bridal shower, stag party and epic 4 weddings in December is an awesome pero magastos experience!
  3. It was an exciting year as a basketball fan. Ginebra Kings have no finals appearance  last season but Mark Caguioa finally bagged the MVP award. UST Tigers fell short on the UAAP finals but won their 1st PCCL Championship. Dear Studio 23, please let us savor the victory and allow us to watch the replay.
  4. I was happy experience Boracay but La Luz will always have a special place in my tummy =))
  5. I never even dreamt of going to Thailand but I did. 
  6. I bought a lot of shoes this year. period. Shoe salon is my piece of heaven on Earth.
  7. Gold's Gym & S&R memberships!
  8. I've spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights on videoke places with friends!
  9. The adventures of Baking Meisha, I even bought my own oven!
  10. A year in full bangs that automatically becomes a side bangs when a haircut is overdue.

When I was 23, my new year's resolutions are 1. save up and 2. stop slacking on the things that I need and want to do - Just do it! Now! Now that Im 4 Years older and wiser I still believe that those 2 resolutions will cover everything. 

I will claim it, 2013 is my year!!!

4 Beautiful Weddings and a lot of notes

I attended 4 weddings in December and all are equally beautiful because I know that my friends are marrying their loved ones. I also got the chance to meet and dine with the kind families of Titony & Abi. After travelling to Cavite, I need to give Romela a slowclap, her wedding folder certainly helped her DIY wedding in 4 months. I also learned new things about my long time college buddies 1) that Andrei is also known as bududoy and 2) JP is well loved by his in laws!  I better stop, this is not meant to be a cheesy or outburst post, I just want to share my notes to my future bride self ;)
Titony& Abi * Romela & Romer * Andrei & Anna * JP & Riccia
I was a bridesmaid in 3/4 weddings that I attended and it was certainly a great experience, from knowing that they chose you to be on the entourage, gown fittings, upto the actual ceremony! The silver kitten heels and Mango bag that I bought on sale, turned out to be good investments because it goes well with any motif! The kitten heels are also very comfy and wont wear you out even if you've been wearing it for 6 hours +. It really helped me move quicker on those single ladies reception games. =))

Bridesmaid of the month =)) 4 Different Hairstyles for full bangs
Dear future groom, If you happen to stumble upon this blog post, please dont be shocked or scared or think that Im weird, I just want to list what I've learned.
*Small church and venue is key for a more intimate wedding
*The church and reception venues should be near
*The priest and church coordinators are key to a stress free ceremony
*No to bubble machines
*A good host and food are crucial for the reception
*The ninong and ninangs ALWAYS leave after eating
*The bridal gown and shoes should be comfy
*On site videos are cool but expensive
*A 150k budget is not enough 0.0
*Red is a nice theme
*Photobooths are fun
*Invite your immediate family and closest friends ONLY they will stay until the end of the program
*Wedding coordinators are great help
*A good relationship with in laws will go a long way

Philippines, HIV is REAL!!

21,000 Filipinos are living with HIV todayDecember 1 was HIV/AIDS awareness day so the internet exploded with related news, blog entries and tweets about it. There was even a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode about it, too bad i missed that. 

BUT statistics are just numbers unless someone dear to you passed away because of HIV

While the global trend is a decrease , Philippines has an increasing number of new cases, there were 295 new cases of HIV in October this year – a 48% increase  compared to last year. Along with Indonesia & Pakistan, we're tagged as expanding epidemic by UN AIDS. What makes it worse is that its certainly a silent epidemic. Its a taboo. Actually few people know that its the real reason of my friends's demise.

I have a different relationship with this friend of mine, he's the type that i would see once or twice a year to catch up. He's very vocal about his different lifestyle, I dont judge but I've often felt worried about it.  I last saw him on January for a get together dinner. He was even on a middle of a date with a guy that he just met. He asked if his date can tag along, but we said no. It was kinda mean but we wanted to have a quality time on our once a year get together with him.

Fast forward August, amidst the kids parlor games my other friend blurted that she can no longer keep this secret. I was shocked when she said that our friend casually texted that he has HIV and tuberculosis. BUT I shouldn't contact him because he'll get mad that I knew about it. He also wants to get well on his other condition, TB, before we can visit him. It was a difficult situation because I wanted to reach out but Im not suppose to know about it. I was helpless so I just did what I can do. I prayed for him and even offered several candles to St Jude. Knowing about his condition also prompted me to read everything I can about HIV. Its sad to know that it cant be cured but they can live with it.

It was October, on a stressful Friday night commute, I received a text message that our friend's condition is not good and we need to visit him soon. I told my other friend that I have a previous commitment on Saturday plus I need to spend time with my nanay who'll be going back to Cabiao on Sunday. I told her that I'll go on Sunday morning instead. 

On Saturday night, I was crying with my other friend on the phone while she told me about our friend's condition. He's so weak and they cant even recognize him because of his condition. His skin is full of scars, he lost a lot of weight, he cant speak but he'll just look to say that he recognizes you. I cried myself to sleep that night and I prayed to God to give me strength. I was actually scared, not of his disease, but I'm afraid to see him like how our other friend described him.

I woke up early that Sunday morning, I spent time with my nanay who will be leaving early to Cabiao. By quarter to 9AM, I was done blowdrying my hair and Im ready to go the hospital. I was even practicing my stories for him. I was psyching myself, Im a crybaby and I know that crying in front of him wont help. It turned out that I dont have to worry about my friend seeing me cry because I received a message that he passed away. I was an hour too late. 

The first day on internment will be for the immediate family so I cant see my friend until Monday, I just spent my whole Sunday crying because of guilt and regrets. I regretted that I didnt even call him to check his condition, nevermind that I'll break a promise. Silently praying for him is different from actually letting him know that you care.  Losing a friend is really hard because unlike family, you get to choose your friends. I also realized that it was the 1st time that I lost a friend, although I dont think that the next time will be easier. 
I cried a bucket more of tears during his wonderful eulogy ceremony. There was even a time when his grandmother consoled and hugged me in the middle of my almost hysterical parang byuda ang peg na iyak. It was an iyak-tawa moment. His family, colleague, friends and students shared how my friend touched their lives and how envious they were of him being good at everything. I learned a lot about his life. No one mentioned about his different lifestyle nor the real cause of his death but come to think of it, if you remove both, he has a life well spent. But you cant, its part of him and thats the reason why he's gone although not everyone deserves to know. I guess its better for people to have good memories of him.

Im just comforted by the fact that he wont have suffer anymore, that he's free from pain and scrutiny of close minded people. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wensha Timog Experience

My cousins and I were supposed to play laser tag but my sister was just recovering from flu so we had to use plan b. It was days before Christmas and the malls are too crowded to be an option for an all girls bonding.

Wensha Spa Timog
1st and 2nd Level Pasda Mansion Bldg. #4Timog Ave. Cor Panay Ave, QC 
While browsing for restaurants in Timog, I suddenly remembered about Wensha, a spa with buffet place, that was supposed to be my treat for my dad's birthday last March. I inquired through phone and fortunately we can be walk in guests that day. I was also informed that they increased the rate per pax from PHP650 to 780. I still think it's a good deal since it includes 1 hour body massage, buffet and maximum of 8 hours use of the facilities (sauna & Jacuzzi).

After paying to the cashier, we received our slippers then changed to robes provided to us.
We also wore these bracelets which served as the keys for our lockers. A lost bracelet will cost PHP2000 each so its also a good thing that its waterproof and we have no reason to remove it.

We proceeded with our 1 our body massage on a big, cozy room that can accommodate upto 6 guests. The masseurs used ginger oil and the technique was a combination of thai and swedish. Overall it was a relaxing experience because of the ambiance and skillful masseurs although I hope that tipping wont be shoved to customers.

We went back to the locker room to leave our stuff and proceeded to the women's shower area. It was actually my first time to be naked on a public Jacuzzi and it was a liberating experience. LOL. It was funny to be on your birthday suit but what the heck, we are all girls, I dont know them and they are also naked =)) I even overheard a lola who wouldnt give up her brown silk panty that didnt make any difference hahaha After several minutes, I followed my sister and cousins on the Sauna area where we stayed for 10 minutes. We had enough of the heat and we're famished!

On the dining area, we had shabu shabu which consists of several sliced veggies and then buffet lunch. The food was ok, nothing spectacular, just rice, lumpia, adobo, soup, spaghetti, and unlimited mango juice or iced tea no dessert :( BUT still Wensha is still a good one stop place to relax and eat.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bridesmaids Diary: How to Plan a Stag Party

How to plan a bridal shower - become uninvited - then plan a stag party instead?

You read that correctly hahaha! So how did I end up planning Titony's stag party? Because of the success of the bridal shower for Romela, I talked to Julie, the maid of honor/sister of Abi, and pitched a party for her ate. For two weeks, we were skyping and texting back and forth to finalize the date, guest list, venue and budget. Aside from us and their relatives, we also invited Abi's officemates. Then one day, our main contact texted me that they'll plan a separate bridal shower exclusive to their officemates. At first, I agreed happily because more officemate friends can attend but then I realized that we were'nt even invited =))

I knew that the boys were already thinking of throwing a stag party for Titony but even if we're just a week away from the target date, there was no concrete plan. But they have a concrete wish: a stripper =))

condo party FTW!
So, I asked Jake and Titony, who are both groomsmen if I, a bridesmaid, can join the stag party planning? =)) As usual, we divided the tasks! Jake took care of the venue, we were supposed to book a room in BSA suites again but I think because they heard that its a stag party, they became very strict in terms of number of guests. Jake had to cram and look around, finally he found Sunette Tower in Durban Street Makati Ave. The fee was higher than our allotted budget but it was a good deal: 2 bedroom, with basic kitchen, videoke system and allows unlimited guests =))

To have more beer money, they just bought and cooked fish balls, tokwa't baboy and prepared nachos as pulutan. We love the no corkage rule!!

By 10PM, Titony finally arrived and the guest list is complete! Sean, who's also a December groom joined us so we made it a double celebration. Both received a santa hat =)) I was looking for a crown but I just settled for the xmas theme! To break the ice, the first game that we played was a mash up of "Trust the groomsmen" and "Pin the boobs". Each groom needs to choose their trusted groomsmen, and since we didnt have a blindfold, we used the santa hat to cover their eyes (so thats the reason why I got fixated on that thing lol). Then the groomsmen will shout instructions for the groom to properly pin the boobs *hilarity ensues!

Since this is not a purely male party, the ladies also gamely played my now favorite clay molding contest =)) This one, is a leveled up molding contest since the boys were anxiously looking, I had to reprimand them about making comments to make sure that no one is too uncomfortable. 

Banana-rama! Another banana + condom contest but the twist is that the boys played the game and could only use their mouth =)) The last contest was banana eating for couples!

The prize for each contest was "happiness" =)) and the souvenirs were condoms with a sticker of "thanks for c__ming"!


While looking for party supplies on National Bookstore, I saw a Bingo set and decided to buy it =)) I was hesitant at first since we dont have a pot money, but the alcohol kicked in and someone gave 1k as a prize! We ended up enjoying a blackout bingo drinking game because those who are near in completing their cards need to take shots!

Stag party a.k.a bingo night, success!!!

Bridemaids Diary: How to Plan A Surprise Bridal Shower

A bridal shower is hard to pull off so a surprise bridal shower is harder to plan and execute but trust me the experience is priceless! The key here is to make sure that everyone is willing to participate (..and to keep it secret) to give the bride a memorable send off party!
mars Joni, Karen, Romela & Mei
For Romela's surprise bridal shower, Bheng (bridesmaid) and I actually mentioned it casually to her when she first announced her wedding plans in October. We had the intention but what prompted us to act on it was when her mom messaged Joni (bridesmaid) on Facebook and inquired if we have any plan =)). That activated our alpha female mode hahaha!

Save the date 2.0
It may sound weird to be a main priority but since the bride and groom are on a busy wedding schedule, you first need to check their convenient time and date. Actually, it really helps if the bride's family, groom, maid of honor and bridesmaids know each other. We coordinated with Romer (the groom), if they have a vacant saturday night. Fortunately, we agreed on a date and after that, work begun!

Divide and Conquer
The surprise bridal shower planning becomes easier if the bridesmaids work as a team to complete the checklist:

1. Guest list - Karen (maid of honor) then took care of the guest list and coordinating the surprise bridal shower to Romela's different set of friends. Its essential to know the number of confirmed guests because it will affect the overall budget. We expected 20pax for the party, bridal showers is not about quantity but quality! The spotlight should be on the bride and making sure that all of her closest friends are there.

2. Budget -Bridal showers are often a gift to the bride so bridesmaids (or even family members and other close friends) chip in, all for the love!  40% of our budget was spent on the venue, 40% on food and 20% on decor, program and prizes.

3. Venue & decor - After finalizing the date and guest list, Joni looked for possible venues. Ideally, it should be within Makati area, can accommodate at least 20 guests, has a kitchen and its crucial that it allows parties. Some hotels are really strict in terms of number of people who can stay in the room and we cant blame them, parties can really get rowdy. We ended up booking BSA suites in Makati, its accessible (near Greenbelt), has kitchen plus Romela's friend who cant make it to the event even assisted us to get a discount!
On the day of the event, Joni checked in at 2pm and began decorating the place with DIY Japanese paper flowers that matches the blue-yellow motif!

4. Food - Food can definitely affect the mood of the party so it helps that one of the bridesmaids is a chef =)
Gourmet Pasta, chicken, potatoes c/o Chef Bheng

5. Program & prizes - The main theme of the bridal shower is making the bride happy! One crucial part of the program is the timing, the guests should be complete before the bride arrives. Everyone should be introduced to each other to avoid awkward moments later. The party officially began when Romela and Romer finally buzzed on our hotel room.
Special thanks to the very cooperative groom!

We were informed that Romela's mom and relatives will join the party so we decided to immediately start with the naughty games! The first game was clay molding competition and the next one involves a condom and banana!
Guaranteed laugh trip!
The wholesome games that we did when Romela's mom and 13 year old sister arrived were "best wedding gown made out of tissues" and "memory lane" where the bride tries to guess who wrote the note about their fondest memory together! The bride also gets to keep the notes as souvenir!
Nail polish - still on blue&yellow motif - are perfect on a budget but cute prizes!
6. Souvenir - It would be nice if the souvenir is something that is associated with the theme of the bridal shower or something that can describe the bride. But, for Romela's bridal shower, one of our officemate/friend, Tyni, volunteered to make penis shaped cookies LOL that served as a funny giveaway!
Naughty and funny cookies 

Bridesmaid's Diary: 4 Weddings in December

Bridesmaid (noun) 1. "The bridesmaids are members of the bride's party in a wedding. A bridesmaid is typically a young woman, and often a close friend or sister." - from Wikipedia 2. Its also a 2011 laugh out loud film, which is a female version of The Hangover.-Mei

As early as September this year, I already knew that I would be attending several weddings in December. By October it was confirmed that I would be bridesmaid for Andrei & Anna, a guest for JP & Riccia, candle sponsor for Titony & Abi and cord sponsor for Romer & Romela. December is really a peak season in terms of wedding, its so sad that 2 weddings of close friends (Sean and Mica) fall on the same date with Titony & Andrei's.

I always feel happy when I've been invited to weddings because in a way they chose to celebrate their big day with you (unless you're just a plus 1 hehe) AND in the Philippines, in most cases, you can only have a Catholic wedding , once!

Grabbed from Romela's facebook =P

Aside from the tasks on the actual wedding ceremony and reception, bridesmaids should also help the bride on pre wedding stuff. For Romela, its easy to talk about it, even on work day, because we're in the same office. We often meet with other bridesmaid/mars for coffee to discuss how we can help her. Plus we even have our own Facebook page to plan and update each other on wedding related duties. I have to say that Facebook is really helpful, its one of the key for our kinda surprise bridal shower for Rom! 

One of the coolest and geek-est wedding invitations ever! =)) 8Bit love
I just realized that on the next 3 weddings, I am the groom's friend. Titony is my officemate and naturally after too many TGIFs and out of town trips, I've become friends with Abi. Last year, I even helped Titony in optimizing his website and planning his geek but sweet proposal. I often say to Titony that they should distribute some chores to the secondary sponsors since they've been really hands on on most details. Here's a fun story that deserve's a separate blog post--> along with Abi's sister and maid of honor, Julie, I planned a bridal shower for Abi but we ended up being uninvited and staged a stag party for Titony instead =))

Back in college, we made a print ad for fake brand Maldita where Jessica, Jonah & I were also the models. I know, talk about narcissism hahaha! When it was time to choose who will take it home, to be fair, Andrei got dibs on the 1/4 illustration board sized print ad and embarrassingly so, he strategically displayed it on their home's staircase. We just found out about that when we visited their house, post graduation time, and his mom called the barkada's girls as "malditas" =)) In 2009,  my college barkada went to Quezon, Runie's province, and that's when Jessica and I met and got to know Andrei's then girlfriend, Anna. By that time, we managed to make her confess that she's just waiting for Andrei to propose. Of course, we didnt tell that story to Andrei until they finally got engaged.  We are actually surprised to know that Anna liked us to be in the wedding entourage because we often tease her, bordering to bullying, when we get together =)) Anyway, I think this is the wedding where there will be awkward "when are getting married?" moments c/o Andrei's mom hahaha but we love her!

At first, Andrei joked that he doesnt trust his groomsmen (mostly composed of the guys in our barkada), so he'll leave the stag party planning to me. When I asked him if he wanted to push through with it, he begged off but we'll see. For now, my techie bridesmaid task is to make a loop video for idle moments during the reception.

And lastly, JP is one of my closest guy friends since college, I've been his wingwoman hahahha and let's just say that I'm happy to be even invited on their wedding =)) 

I've thought about wearing the same dress for the 4 weddings - for fun, like a uniform - but unfortunately the stars did not align and they have different motifs(yellow, red and burnt orange)! Who am I kidding, fittings and choosing gown styles is actually one of the best parts of being a bridemaid :p I'll just wear the same silver kitten heels!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

UST Tigers in PCCL 2012

Gumu-group hug si Coach Pido LOL

Wow! What a game by UST Tigers, they displayed good offense and defense the entire game to think that most players have been playing for UST and PBA DLeague since Sunday. How I wish that was game2 of UAAP finals haha!

UST is now 1-0 on the Philippine Collegiate Championship League Final 4. This is a nationwide tournament, UST defeated Letran last Sunday during the final8 level.  They won over Adamson last Monday to be the Metro Manila Division Champion and booked the last final four slot along with Ateneo, San Beda and SWU.

Jeric Teng scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half while Abdul and Mariano were the best players on previous games. The future looks bright because aside from the 3 key players, Ferrer has been consistent, he was the best player on the BlackWater game last Tuesday! But I'll surely miss the captain, pointguard Jeric Fortuna, especially with that clutch 3 point shot while Ateneo was catching up! He ended up with 9 points, 7 assists and 8 freaking rebounds! Wow!

Here are the rest of the schedule of single round robin matches and maybe the last tournament to watch their batch play and win together. Go USTe!

Confession of a Cancer Patient's Granddaughter

Exactly a month ago my grandmother passed away. 30 days, thats the same number of days that I've been delaying this blog post because I cant seem to wrap my head thats she's really gone.

I fondly call her "nanay". I am the eldest granddaughter and when my parents were just starting their business in Caloocan, my grandparents helped in raising me in Cabiao. I think since I heard everyone calling my grandparents "nanay" and "tatay", I mimicked them. I'm also a self proclaimed favorite apo although nanay would say that she loves us all equally. I still remember that even at the age of 15, I used to sleep between them. You might wonder why Im sure of the age, its because my dear "tatay" passed away when I was in high school.

11 years ago my tatay battled and lost to colon cancer. It was a difficult ordeal that our family went through. Unfortunately, cancer won again as nanay succumbed to bone cancer after fighting for almost 5 years. I still remember her last 3 weeks vividly.

It was Monday and nanay was scheduled to be confined that day, my brother texted me that we dont have electricity so I went to yoga and strolled to the mall. I went home by 10pm and nanay, daddy and tyang lita was on the sala. Daddy was on the phone, he was speaking to the doctor who confirmed that they have an available room on Philippine Heart Center. Daddy said that they'll leave in 30 minutes, I took the time to ask nanay about her day and to tell her about mine. The conversation that I cant forget was when I was standing in front of her, nanay was sitting, she hugged me and said "Mei, pagod na ako". Good thing it was dark, the electricity asnt returned, because my tears began flowing. Trying to remain calm, with a shaking voice I said "punta ka nasa ospital bibisitahin kita, pagaling ka, hintayin mo pa apo mo sa akin e". During her last days nanay would often say that she wants to give up but I dont want encourage her negative thoughts so I used to divert her attention. Fortunately/unfortunately  I saw that nanay's pustiso was on my favorite mug, to make the situation light, i joked that im never going to use my favorite mug again!

She stayed on the hospital for about a week and I visited her on weekends. My cousin Jessica was there the entire time to take care of nanay. I was surprised when she was allowed to go home even though her condition did not change, she cant eat, she's too weak to move and uses a bed pan to pee. My aunts and cousins from Cabiao stayed on our house for about a week to help in taking care of nanay, these are the times that she cant even speak, she just nods and stay on her bed all the time.

Finally, it was a Sunday and they went to Cabiao, nanay always want to stay there so they granted her wish. By that time I knew that nanay will be gone soon. By friday, I was texting my dad to ask about  my tita from US who went home and also nanay's condition. Daddy said that its still the same, not getting any better :( That night, I went to a dinner with my high school barkada because our friend Pam was home for a short vacation. It was past 12midnight and we are talking about staying overnight on a friend's place. I cant make up my mind because my family and I will go to Cabiao to visit nanay by lunch time. My heart skipped when I saw a missed call from my tita Anne, I knew something was up. I immediately called her and she was sobbing "wala na si nanay" she said. I started crying but I just have 1 question, "did she die peacefully?" That was my only concern, she doesnt deserve anymore pain :( My aunt confirmed that it was a peaceful death, I started crying and hung up the phone.

I said goodbye to my barkada and they escorted me to hail a cab. UP techno hub to Caloocan was a breeze, I went straight to my room and called my sister. She went to my room and we started crying. My tears are not all sad tears, its for relief as well. No matter how you try to prepare yourself, you cant accept death. I was crying because I will miss her and at the same time because she's in a better place. She can finally rest and be from all the pain and all her medicines that she tries to swallow every 3 hours.

Nanay's bone cancer was already on 4th stage when it was discovered by the doctors. By that time they said she'll have 2-3 years but she lasted for almost 5 years. It was a good fight and I can say that as a granddaughter, I dont have any regrets. I cant remember the countless times I've styed overnight or accompanied nanay on her checkup at Heart Center, National Kidney Institute and UST Hospital. When she stays on our house for a week or two for her monthly check up, I always buy her YES magazine and her favorite lumpia from Goldilocks. We've spent countless hours skype-ing with my aunts, watching PBA games, Pacquiao fights or just talking about anything.

On the night after nanay's burial, I dreamt about her. The burial ceremony was replayed on my dream but tatay and uncle (who passed away) was there. I woke up at around 4am, kinda scared. I needed to pee but i held it until 7am when ninang was awake. On her pa-siyam, I also dreamt about her and we were talking to nanay. It was like a ceremony where were telling her that we are letting her go. I dont know if its on my subconcious thats why Im dreaming about these or nanay is following my instructions not to make her presence felt. I told her that I miss her but Im scared hahaha. Im weird that way but I love her big time and she'll always be in my heart. <3

Monday, November 19, 2012

Buffet Weekend: Yakimix & Sofitel Experience

I have a love and hate relationship with November. Its the birthday month of my three siblings and my mommy so we have a lot to celebrate but I also spend a lot on gifts =)) But the important thing is birthdays are always the best time to be with my family, doing what we love best - eating!!

My little cousin Angella's birthday is 1 day before my mommy's so they had a joint celebration at Yakimix. I think its my 4th time to eat at Yakimix this year (on 4 different branches - SM North, Podium, Greenbelt and Trinoma) and it doesn't disappoint. Its my favorite buffet because I always come out of the resto with a happy tummy and bigger belly =)) 

My plates!! As you can see, my buffet (super kain) technique is to replace rice with sushi hehehe! I get to try out various sushi and I dont easily get full from rice. That's hitting 2 birds with 1 stone ;) I finished off my carbo loading meals with fresh fruits, halo halo and ice cream. Buffet din ang dessert =))
Its tiring to eat so to cool down, we went to timezone. My cousins played while the oldies hoarded the massage chairs. I tried 4D Rider again, I really love the Underworld series, it was another screamfest!
The next day, we went to Sofitel Manila to celebrate my mommy's 50th birthday. From a mainstream buffet, sosyalan/expensive buffet naman, but I can say that its worth it. Spiral restaurant just opened on the same week, good thing that I didnt have a hard time to reserve a table for us.
 The selection of Spiral buffet is just amazing. I've spent at least 20 minutes walking around and trying to decide what to eat first =)) I went to Asian section, I skipped Chinese, Filipino and Thai food  but dig into Korean dishes. It was really spicy but yummy! On my second plate ak.a. try something new plate, I tried out lamb, steak, duck, cheese, foi gras and  indian dish with na'an bread. I was super full but the dessert area feels like heaven! I indulged on bibingka, puto bumbong, cakes, macaroons, fresh fruits covered in chocolate, and finally ube ice cream with pistachio.  

It was an amazing experience, I want to go back and try out the lunch buffet at Spiral. I just need to find someone to treat me =))

Sunday, September 30, 2012

UST Tigers: Repeat 2006 in 2012

Dear UST Tigers, Thats a wish and an order! xoxo Mei

I really believe that Season75 is UST's best chance to win the senior men's basketball championship again!

#1 They have a solid first five in pointguard Jeric Fortuna, shooting guard Jeric Teng, forward Aljon Mariano & Kevin Ferrer and super improved center Karim Abdul plus a deep bench with Clark Bautista, Melo Afuang, Paulo Pe, Kim Lo, Daquioag and Haina.

#2 A girl can dream =) At the start of the season, they weren't even projected to enter the final four. A dark horse, they said. It was the same Cinderella finish in 2006 championship and I'm praying hard for the same result! I've also read somewhere that UST becomes a champion on the same year that Miami Heat does (2006, 2012)!

#3 They showed that they are Season75's comeback kings because of their numerous come from behind wins thru 2nd half dominance. Chamba or not, the credit goes to coach Pido for instilling the never say die attitude and composure in closing games. One memorable line from coach was "O alas tres na, gising na!" True enough they played a great 3rd and 4th quarter after a lackluster 1st half.

#4 They have a deep offensive arsenal and great defense! There is no single focal point in offense because this is a solid team plus they are currently #1 in steals and points off turnover.

#5 Yes they are the underdog against Ateneo but they are in the finals and is ALSO 2 games away from winning the title!

Thanks to Twitter and I've been able to follow UST Tigers' games from round 1 to the final four game last Saturday! I even watched it live. Even after they got the twice to beat advantage for the semis round, I was delaying to blog about it because I'm scared to jinx their entry to the finals. Yes, Im that much of a fan. :P

UST Senior Men's Basketball team for Season75
On their first 2 games, UST Tigers were leading when they entered the fourth quarter but it didn't have the same result. They had a heartbreaking 1 point loss on their first game as co-captain Jeric Fortuna, who is on his final year, committed a crucial turnover. The next game against Ateneo was another heart attack game, the Tigers won over the eagles by 1 point to break the 12 game losing streak since 2007. Coach Pido was quoted saying "naka-chamba rin."

UST again surprised everyone with a 77-71 win against pre season FilOil cup champion and projected Final Four contender NU bulldogs.
The start of the Chowing-serye :P
2 brothers, 2 overtimes and 1 point win again. Its awesome to watch 2 brothers play against each other but the much awaited Teng vs Teng was overshadowed by Aljon Mariano's breakout game! Aljon is a junior who sit out last year because of an injury, its always nice to see athletes come back strong after a setback.

#1 sa distrito! 

UST Tigers went on to win over Adamson, UE and UP thru the Fortuna-Teng-Mariano-Abdul fire power then finished with 6wins-1 loss record by the end of the first round. Because they won over Ateneo, they finished as the #1 ranked team.

On the 2nd round, FEU again showed their mastery of the Tigers as they beat them with a major 35 points lead! They played it on a Thursday and I didnt even bother to watch the highlights :P

Coincidentally, Jeric's younger brother & DLSU rookie Jeron scored 35 points on the same day :P

Have no fear. Fortuna is here!
Jeric Fortuna, who's on his 5th & last playing year, definitely made up for his 1st game error as he showed solid leadership for the team all season long, while shooting crucial shots along the way! Another key for their 2nd win against NU was the defense of former juniors MVP, Kevin Ferrer, to Rayray Parks. There were funny moments caught on camera especially when the 2 Jerics and Kevin were taunting Rayray who was about to shoot crucial FTs. Sorry but it was hilarious! #mindGames

On the 2nd round, aside from the tambakan with FEU, UST Tigers had 2 heartbreaking games! A 2 points loss from Ateneo, I think that  the 2 teams are really matched per position and it was a great game, too bad that the breaks of the game was not on our side (I agree on the denied UST protest by the way).

Before sweeping the last 3 remaining games, they suffered a 1 point loss c/o Jeron Teng's last second shot.  

UST finished the second round with 10 wins-4 losses record. The wins by DLSU and NU also helped the tigers to be ranked 2nd overall and gain twice to beat advantage. I felt old after knowing that the last time that they had final four twice to beat advantage was in 1999, with coach Aric and the duo Cyrus Baguio and Nino Gelig. Their last playing year was my 1st year in college (2002) and fastforward 2012, both are now veterans in the PBA!

Parks vs Ferrer LOL & the UST's 2 Jerics
UST Tigers had the right mindset of treating the Final 4 game with NU as a do or die game instead of banking on their twice to beat advantage. Even after knowing that they'll face NU, I trust that Kevin Ferrer is key on stopping back to back MVP Parks but he did more than that. He provided the offense when the rest was struggling. It was nice to see Ferrer's breakout game.

Final four. Final two. 1 Champion
This is the last year that we'll have the 2 Jerics (Fortuna and Teng) on our backcourt so hopefully the Tigers will be rewarded with a championship!

I hope that UST Tigers will play well, no injuries, that referees will be fair and let the players decide the outcome of the game.

Go USTeeeeee!!! Bring the glory back to Espanya, promise papa-pizza ako =))

Photo credits:

UAAP Final Four Experience: UST vs NU

I have a different kind of hangover, one that is from watching a live UAAP Final Four game! It is an awesome experience to watch a live basketball game but what made this one special is having 3/4 of the arena crowd cheering with you! Although its been 6 years+ since I graduated, I cant help but root for the UST Tigers every season! I love college basketball! It is safe to say that majority of the crowd at the Araneta Colosseum earlier was rooting for UST, I was even surprised that the NU side wasn't full considering that its their 1st time since 2001 to be the 3rd seed team.

Too early but its ok =)

Its kinda funny how I have gold rubbershoes but I dont have a yellow shirt! Last night, I turned my closet upside down to find one before finally settling for a white shirt with yellow and black streaks. Anyway, my friend Runie and I were one of the early crowd since we only managed to get an upperbox ticket that doesn't have reserved seats. The perk was we were able to watch the team warm ups and got to  choose a good seat, yay! On the UST side, check! In the middle section to see the full court action, check!

Like any other UST game in season 75, it was a close game! Jeric Teng had 3 early fouls in the first half, so it was a blessing that aside from Abdul, Fortuna, and Mariano, Kevin Ferrer stepped up with 15 points.  Actually, I was counting on Ferrer to guard Rayray Parks, his defense is enough and everything else is a big bonus for the team.
UST Yellow Jackets

Since the Tigers lead the Bulldogs 38-34 by the end of the halftime, the UST Yellow Jackets got to perform first. I remember when I was in college, my friend Jessie and I had a really huge crush on one of the YJ and we named him "Jake". This went thru from 1st to 4th year (but nothing creepy or stalker-ish) and then sometime on our last year, we were studying or nagchichikahan on one of the Engineering pavilions when "Jake" approached us along with other Central Student Council candidates. It was so funny when after how many years, he recognized our existence and we got to know his real name,..that I cant recall right now =))

Back in the finals!
UST led on most parts of the game but it was by only less than 10 points, that showed how close the game was. NU Bulldogs would have mini runs but they will be silenced by the Tigers. Jeric Teng led the 6-0 run at the end of the 3rd quarter. When I watched the replay, thats when I remembered the reason why NU finally grabbed the lead. Abdul was called on an unsportsmanlike foul but when the replay was shown on the wide screen, clearly it was a wrong call. He was outside of the circle and did not commit a foul. UST crowd chanted "luto! luto!" in dismay. I hope they can review it because Abdul already got the same foul last game and getting 2 consecutive UF can lead to suspension on the next game :( Because of the free throws and possession, NU led by 4 points! But not for long since Jeric Fortuna hit a step back three then Mariano was fouled and converted his freethrows.

The Tigers had 9 pts lead with 7 minutes on the game but failed to answer NU's 7 straight points. With less than 3 minutes remaining, UST was only up by 2 points then Mariano converted to extend the lead, 61-57. On the last 2 minutes, NU had numerous 3 pts attemps but they cant convert. Fortuna was also able to swipe the inbound pass with 24 seconds remaining. It was also crucial that NU only had 1 team foul , it prevented them from turning the game into a free throw shooting contest. There was an instance, I think with 8 seconds remaining when Mariano was fouled and the 5 on the floor thought he was taking FTs. Mariano walked to the UST side to prepare while the rest of the players were already hugging each other. It turned out that they still need to inbound the ball from full court. Fortuna successfully crossed the line then Ferrer scored a no look layup for the final score of 63-57. It was the team defense that booked the Tiger's finals stint. They limited Mbe and Parks to 14 points combined. Offense failed them on the last quarter but defense saved them!
shirtless thomasians and funny banners

I cant remember the last time I shouted and jumped this hard, plus I cant remember some of the cheers :P But if you're a Thomasian and you know "Go USTeeee and O, defensa!" I think you're good to go! The atmosphere was amazing, we did a human wave with almost 3/4 of the crowd in Araneta. The funniest thing is that one guy in yellow was in the NU side and he was the last stop for the wave before it goes counterclockwise =)) I think you need to be there to find it hilarious or Im just not a good story teller..After the game, it was hard to find a restaurant where we can eat but we didn't mind, UST Tigers is in the finals after 6 years!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bliss Yoga Manila Experience

Here I go again with my love-hate thing with online vouchers! I really missed doing yoga so when I saw with promo from CashCashPinoy, PHP700 for 7 sessions at Bliss Yoga Manila , I was on the checkout page after 5 minutes! Talk about conversion, well how can I not? It was conveniently located in Jupiter, Makati and offers several schedules for different yoga classes.

Heated Flow Class. On the first date that I was allowed to claim my voucher, I went ahead to the first available afternoon yoga class! When I was researching for the place using Google maps, I found out that it was near TopGrill, my favorite videoke place. Unfortunately I had to spend 30 minutes getting lost because come to think of it I'm often half sober when Im on that area! Finally, I found the right street and building then I had 10 minutes to sign up the registration form and rented a mat for additional 50 pesos.

According to their site, "Heated Flow is a challenging 75 minute vinyasa flow class practiced in a heated room.  The heat warms the body’s muscles and joints, which allows for maximum stretching and strengthening with a reduced rate of injury. A great way to detoxify the body through sweating!"

It was hot indeed! At first, I thought it was because of the packed room, I think there were 25-30 students but then I realized that there was a heater. Oops! I cant remember the last time I had sweat flowing like I just got out of the pool. Im not exaggerating, I really sweat a lot during yoga class on air-conditioned Gold's gym room so what more on a heated room! Our instructor told us that its a way to detoxify through stretching and sweating.  There were times that the hot temperature is catching up on me, good thing that beforehand, our instructor told us to go to child's pose when we feel tired or cant do a pose.

I'm happy that I did core yoga strengthening weeks before the actual class before this is not for first timers! Due to lack of space, our instructor would just say the poses and its up to us to do it. You can look around and copy other student's poses though=) But there's a certain pride for catching up and actually trying to do everything - except the headstand! That was a crazy experience, we were on 3 legged downward dog then were told that we can do a headstand! While I was upside down, I suddenly saw majority of the class doing headstand like its a natural thing to do! Its inspiring to be around experienced yoga practitioners!

Vinsaya Flow. I was very excited to try another yoga class, 

"Vinyasa Flow is a dymanic system of linking the breath (prana) to the postures (asanas).  This is accomplished through building heat in the body, which promotes flexibility, strength, and balance.  Sequencing is often built around sun salutations."

What I can remember, aside from the massive sweat again, Vinsaya Flow is focused on strengthening of legs and arms. It didnt help that I brought my mother's mat which turned out to be really slippery and that I ate a lot that day, I felt so heavy! There's really a right mix of having energy but not eating too much before doing yoga. The highlight of the class was when I tried and did THE FLIP! Imagine this both arms stretched in front of you, right foot is extended then left foot is aligned with the arms. While the right foot stay put, the left arm will be slowly placed beneath the left foot until it has no choice but to raise. Viola, I was only supported by 2 arms and 1 leg! =))

The epic fail part of this experience is that I thought I can claim the 7 sessions in 1 month period but it turned out that its just for 1 week! That's why I kept thinking that it was sulit, the regular price was 500 pesos per class so 100pesos per session is too good to be true! Since I was turned down for my 3rd yoga session, I just went ahead to pay for my Gold's gym membership! As much as I enjoyed the yoga classes on Yoga Bliss Manila (Unit 101 Dona Consolacion Building
122 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air
Makati City, Manila), I cant invest 40k per year for yoga! So, hello again, Yogilates and Belly Dance classes!

What I did on my Sick Leave, "What I Did On My Holidays"

"'What I Did On My Holidays' is the story of Sophie Sturgeon, whose boyfriend (and office colleague) Callum breaks up with her the night before they're supposed to be going on a fortnight's holiday to Majorca.  Sophie tells him she'll go away without him, but when the moment comes to leave for the airport, she just can't bring herself to go alone. However, Sophie's workmates think she did go and when they commend her for her bold decision, she doesn't know what she can do other than pretend she's in Majorca while hiding out in her London flat.  Add Sophie's eccentric sister Clare into the mix and before you know it, Sophie's embarking on a full-blown fake break with hilarious results..."
What I Did On My Holidays

"Judged a book by its cover." Honestly, its very summery book cover was the first reason why I noticed it from the bookstore's shelf. After reading the excerpt, I thought the book was about a summer romance after a break-up but surprise, surprise! It was that and MORE.  The lead character Sophie is very likable because she's warm and simple. After being dumped by Callum, described as THE dream guy, Sophie blamed herself for being clingy and even doubted why he even chose her. Sophie certainly lacked self confidence on the beginning of the story but with her older sister, Clare, by her side, they became a tag team of sisterhood, empowerment and craziness!

"with hilarious results." I've had a post-holiday break up and it was gruesome so I can imagine how hard it is to have a pre-holiday PLUS pre-30th birthday break-up! Talk about a unique plot but what goes on in between was just hysterical. I literally found myself laughing out loud and cringing sometimes. Speaking of cringe, with the technology these days, how can you even fake a beach holiday and can you imagine your own mom following you on Twitter?

"twist and turns." Spoilers alert--> I've met one or 2 Callums, those guys who gained enough confidence because their girlfriends love them so much. Hmm, that's a lesson for us girls, we should love ourselves more ;) Throughout the most part of the book I sympathized with Clare who's having doubts with her fiance Evan but fortunately he turned from an annoying spending police to a sweetheart for the Sturgeon sisters. Majorca became a dream then a reality for Sophie and Clare, honestly it was the first time I've heard about this place but the book surely set a great mental image of the island! ...and Tom, the charming paramedic, is the light at the end of the tunnel for Sophie!

"What I did on my sick leave.." When I really like a book I tend to make tipid the book so that I wont finish it soon and ironically I've finished this book when I was on sick leave =)) I cant help but fall in love with Brit Chick lit, from Sophie Kinsella to Jane Green and now Chrissie Manby, they never fail me with their romantic but humorous tales!  I'm really looking forward to reading more from them!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Positivity Leads to Productivity, Indeed

I wont do a "*****" and claim that I came up with that =). I actually read that somewhere in twitter and its definitely a phrase that I want to live by, along with "dont accept mediocrity", "umarte ng ayon sa budget", "just do it" and "never say die"!

I think having a positive mindset will make things lighter and clearer especially on how we tackle a situation. Of course, Manila traffic sucks, Third world pains are evident when we look around BUT its better to keep a happy disposition especially on the stuff that we cant control. Easier said than done, I know but we should give it a try =)

Speaking of productivity, today is a day well spent! I started my Thursday by waking up at around 5am, by 6:30am I was in St Jude just in time for the novena. I hope all my special intentions for my family, friends, favorite sports teams, country and myself will be heard :)
8am-5pm: Very productive Call of duty
5:30-7pm: Yoga time at Yoga Bliss Makati -this deserves a separate blog post =)

Caloocan-Quiapo-Makati-Caloocan. And now, I even have time to draft some blog entries before going to bed :) Good vibes!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Persian Food Addition Phase

Ok, this Persian food phase is on going for more than 2 months now but I'm not complaining :)

It started when a "Persian" something stall opened on the lobby of my building. I cant believe I dont remember their name! There was a week that ate there 4 times straight. I love their beef wrap and the Kebab rice meal that I eat for meryenda. Yes, rice for meryenda :)

Good thing I have many set of friends who can join me with my Persian craving! I tried "Mr Kebab" at Timog and I loved the Chelo Chicken Kebab. I loved their garlic sauce and that they use Basmati rice. I even had Ferny for dessert but its consistency and taste is too weird for me.

 My friend Karen and I tried, Shomal Kebabs and Curries at Trinoma. I had Chelo Chicken Kebab  with Saffron rice this time. It was kinda pricey but I love the ambiance of the place. And the end of the meal, we told each other that next time we should be eating with our dates at Shomal! 

Hmm, the Persia Grill in SM North was a let down. Just look at the photo to compare the serving of Chicken Kebab plus unlike to what's shown on the photo, the only Basmati rice was the yellow toppings :( I hope to update this post with more satisfied Persian food trip!