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 =))