Tuesday, October 31, 2006

my very healthy weekend get-away

hm. before this weekend, when was the last time i spent 2 hours in the gym, pigged out, drank a Grande Cafe Moccha, slept for about 3 hours, woke up early to head for Baywalk to exercise, then hit the gym for an hour of cardio and thirty minutes of stretching?


and just when i thought my bday celebration was over, tet and mike "surprised" me by treating me out last weekend. well, technically, it was mike's treat and tet accompanied me. but since they're a couple, let's just make the whole deal conjugal. hehe.

our very action-packed weekend began at a very quiet and busy internet cafe in Megamall (how exciting!), where i finished all the things i needed to do (like reply to e-mails, download photos, and check out my Flickr site) while tet chatted with mike and rica, her brother's girlfriend. when i was finished with my deliverables, i joined the conference. we had a fun time, mostly ganging up on mike and teasing the couple til they blushed (ah, the power of the webcam.) soon, our hour was up.

then the real action began.

Shake, Belly Belly Dancer

tet and i stuck to our plan of having a healthy weekend and jumpstarted it with a trip to Slimmers Megamall. after 30 minutes of sweating it out on the transport, we attended the 6:30 belly dancing class. i've never been to one (although i watched the class for a few minutes before.) as the regular attendees, in their sparkly gold belts and midriff tops, lined up in front, tet and i waited in anticipation for the class to begin.

the warm-up was pretty simple. we followed our svelte instructor as she demonstrated the hip and arm movements. hm, looks like we won't be breaking a sweat.

after the first water break, i was getting more comfortable with the dance, which involved mostly waist, hips, and leg action. but before i was about to scream, "Eat your heart out, Shakira!" our instructor quickened the pace and added more moves. ah, so much for my bubble of confidence. Shakira makes it look so easy, i swear.

by the time we were done, i was so thirsty i practically brisk-walked to the drinking fountain.


as we were walking towards Mega Strip, we spotted Christian Bautista signing autographs on stage. i laughed and took a mental note to make gelli envious that i saw him in person before she did (she's a big Christian fan.) of course, i took a couple of photos just to make her feel worse. haha!

that night, San Miguel had an event (Oktoberfest). there were so many people and all the food spots along Mega Strip were packed. my request was Piadina and i was already dreaming about their Pasta Ariabiatta when i realized that the restaurant wasn't there anymore. bummer.

after checking out other places, tet and i ended up at Kenny Rogers. well, i haven't eaten there in a while so i didn't really mind.

our orders? Solo A meals each plus a Veggie Salad.


the greens in the salad were crunchy and fresh and i also loved their Italian dressing. too bad the dressing wasn't enough for the salad, though.

the chicken was yummy as always, although we noticed that the corn muffins are smaller than usual. never thought KR would join the cost-cutting bandwagon but looks like they did. we also tried the new side dish - cheesy garlic potatoes. it was delicious! made me forget about those muffins for a while. :D

i'm ready to dig in!

ang takaw!

while we were eating, mike called tet just to check on us. i think he was worried that i wasn't cool about eating in KR. what, me? i can eat anywhere! hehe.

look like our resto of choice is still way under the budget. so tet made up for it with coffee after dinner. :)

Caffeine Overload

Starbucks was packed but we were lucky that a group left a few minutes after we arrived. tet ordered Grande Cafe Mocchas. i actually requested for the smallest size but, seeing as the price difference isn't that significant, tet decided on an upgrade.

i used to drink a lot of coffee back in my IT days but now i rarely do because i don't really need that extra jolt. with my toddler students, i think i need something to relax me! maybe i should drink tea more often...

so should it really come as a surprise that i'd be wide awake after downing this much coffee??

looks like somebody had too much caffeine :D

anyways, it took a while for us to finish our drink so we obviously had a lot of time in our hands. we talked about life, friends, showbiz, family...everything under the sun, really. oh ,and i got to test the burst mode of my camera, too. it's a good thing i brought my mini tripod with me!

we're lucky silly people aren't banned from Starbucks!

Let's Get Physical

just as i expected. i could hardly sleep a wink that night! my body was so tired yet my mind was working in overdrive. not my idea of a good night's rest, especially since we were scheduled to wake up at 6 for our Baywalk escapade.

it was pretty frustrating that i woke up a few minutes before my cellphone alarm came off. what do baristas put in their coffee anyways??

anyways, by the time tet and i got to Baywalk, i was wide awake and raring to go. we began our day with a doze of good ol' healthy taho. yum! when we were finished eating, we started brisk walking the whole stretch of Baywalk. i realized then that it was my first time to be in Roxas Boulevard early morning. i was used to seeing the sunset, the lights, and sounds from the live bands along the bay. mornings at Baywalk was relaxing and invigorating at the same time. i felt the cool breeze during our walk and decided to ignore the mild stench that came from the breakwater (well, at least i can say it's a treat to the senses - touch and smell.) the site wasn't as colorful during the day as it was at night but there were a lot of colorful characters who enjoyed an early morning stroll along the bay. couples (who were probably there since the night before), parents with their kids, friends, old friends, and even pets filled up Baywalk.

once tet and i reached the other end of the bay, we chanced upon several aero classes going on. the first one ended the minute we got there but we were able to join the other group a few paces away. although we were there the last 20 minutes of the class, we still got a workout as the instructor added kickboxing moves to his very interesting aero repertoire. i say interesting because majority of the moves consisted of gyrating your waist and hips like a burlesk dancer. well, at least we were being consistent, considering we attended a belly dancing class the night before. guess our tummies and hips really needed more exercise. :D

after the work-out, we headed towards the port. yachts and ships (mostly for Corregidor tours) lined the part of this strip. i got a pleasant surprise when i saw the rows of restaurants (Pancake House, Dencio's among others) and, lo and behold, Starbucks! they're everywhere, i tell you!

trip to Corregidor, anyone?

after taking a few shots in front of the Corregidor tour ships, i had a fantastic idea. i turned to tet and told her to jump. not into the water, friends, but along the port for an action picture. :D

hurrah for Starbucks!

when it was my turn, i decided to use the burst mode of my digicam and had a little fun. the people in Starbucks were probably regretting their decision to quietly enjoy a cup of coffee that morning.


well, our adventure didn't end there. our next stop - Pan Pacific Hotel!

The Final Leg

speaking of leg, my legs were aching already by the time we got to the hotel. well, we did walk all the way there. and let's not forget our early morning work-out along Baywalk.

that said, tet and i marched to the Slimmers lobby and signed up for the cardio class.

a cardio class after brisk walking, attending an aero class, and walking all the way to the hotel? my, my, i never knew i still had that much energy! tet, looks like we're not that old after all! haha!

of course, all thoughts of being young and energetic flew out the window about 20 minutes into the cardio routine. what were we thinking??? needless to say, i stuck to my guns and tried my very best to complete the class. by the time we were doing the final set, i was too dizzy from doing all those turns that i just stopped and let the experts do their thing. i think i took a water break about 10 times within that hour!

at last, the class was done and i was raring to plop down on the mat. while i stretched and lazed around, tet did several sit-ups (naks, mike would be so proud :p)

when i checked the time, my eyes practically bugged out. it was past 11 am! we've been out since before 7 am. no wonder my legs were aching (excuses, excuses...)

before we left the hotel, we lounged around the pool area for a photo op. :D

certified divas

when i got to tet's house, i was so famished. somehow, my food vanished into thin air in less than 20 minutes (or was that 10?)

i wasn't ready to leave after lunch. actually, i wasn't even ready to move yet, so tet and i watched My Super Ex-Girlfriend to kill time. it was a great movie, very light and funny.

before i left, we had our last "photo shoot" with chay. :D

chay, it's not bad luck if we're 3 in the photo, you know! :D

weeelll, what a weekend it was! with that killer work-out schedule, i'm pretty sure this get-toghether is at the top of my Most Healthy Gimmick list. not that i'm planning to lengthen that list any soon now. :D

mike, thanks again for the treat! and tet, thanks for a very fun (and energetic!) weekend! till next gimmick! :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Who Moved My Bread?

we have a monster in our house.

not the growling, gnashing, roaring, foot-stomping kind. our creepy-crawler is furry, squeaks, and scampers about when no one is around.

right, a rat.

house rats are old news to most people but the one living under our roof is no ordinary rodent. this dude has special powers.

what kind of powers, you may ask?

for starters, he can squeeze himself into tight openings and extremely narrow corners. yes, their species has this ability. but i'm talking about a rodent the size of a cat. you know, like those you find in a farm or field.

because of its sheer size, it can turn on the switch of our living room table lamp just by running around it. when i spotted our lamp on, i almost freaked out. not because it's almost Halloween and a ghost could have played a trick on us. but i was extremely worried somebody broke into our house (again). when i asked gelli about it, she said, oh so matter-of-factly, that seeing the lamp turned on has been a regular occurance and that it was that rat.


then, just this afternoon, i went downstairs to get a glass of water. as i got to the middle of the stairs, i saw that the plastic container where we keep the bread was wide open. i usually place my red lunch box on top of it but, for some reason, the lunch box was lying on its side, on the oven right beside the bread.


i ran down the steps and looked inside the container.

yes, the monster strikes again.

it ate through the plastic and took several bites of our bread. the bread that papa just bought.


after i calmed down, it dawned on me. the rat opened the container by itself.

great. i realize that we have a smart monster. is this Jurassic Park, Family Edition?? maybe rats have special weapons that can open plastic food containers and turn on lamps. but then again, it could have used its weight like cavemen do.

well, i don't care what technique it used. i'm not taking any chances.

now if that monster can still lift this green plastic dome (that, mind you, is tightly squeezed between the oven and the rice container), i don't know if i should call the mice exterminator or the police.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

an Aby birthday

the blessings just came pouring in.

i swear, i have never been so overwhelmed the week of my birthday.

It's An Explosion! (yuck, baduy! hehe)

it all began with a text message from robert (rareimages) last monday, just two days shy of my bday. he told me to check the FPC site and discussion thread because - take this - I JUST WON FIRST PRIZE IN OUR FIREWORKS FUN PHOTO CONTEST! as i mentioned in my previous post, i never expected to win. so my initial reaction was total disbelief.

"Ows?? Talaga?" were the first two words in my text reply.

i had a feeling robert isn't the type to joke about these things but i still couldn't believe the good news. i think his reply to my questions went sort of like this - "Oo. No Kidding. :)"


i never won first prize at anything!

i did win a different online photo contest but there were a lot of winners that time so this most recent one is different.

a few hours later, i was able to check the discussion thread. and sure enough, i won 1st place! :)

the winning photo

and thanks to the generosity of celina_d and joel, i got a GC from Ceragem Philippines and a 1-year Flickr Pro Account respectively! thanks again, guys! i've always wanted a Pro account but my current finances can't support it (plus the fact that i don't have a credit card ^_^.)

the next few days, i was finally able to update my photo sets. :)

the Flickr meet was included in the FPC blog, along with the results of the contest. pat (Hocchuan) even linked to my blog post. aand speaking of blogs, the guys (robert and pat) invited me to be a contributor to the FPC blog. what an honor! :)

i still pinch myself until now.


the morning of my bday (Oct 18), my family surprised me with a brand new Nokia 6020! i couldn't believe it! (again!)

my old phone, a beat-up Nokia 6510, has been begging to be replaced for a looooong time. again, because of my current financial state (i sound like a broken record), a new cellphone is just out of the budget.

i think my family felt my (and my phone's) pain and chipped in for the new phone.

wow, first prize, a Flickr Pro account, Ceragem GC, a new cellphone....i must be dreaming!

thankfully, i wasn't :D

i felt like a kid in a candy store. better yet, i felt like a kid opening her Christmas gifts and getting everything she ever wished for. sniff.


since tonet was still in Pampanga last wednesday, i decided to move my family celebration to sunday and spent the rest of my day with the SOLV sisters.

flor, my cellgroup leader, gathered the other members and a few sisters for our dinner get-together in A Veneto, Glorietta. perfect because i love Italian food. (next to chocolate, of course. hehe.)

i thought it would just be our cellgroup, so imagine my surprise when ate marla, an "institution" in the community (as i joked her), irene, and ems joined us for dinner. i was honored that they were there to celebrate my bday.

ate marla, flor, and irene

we still had a hang-over from our recent sisterhood (my next post!), an obvious observation from the general discussion that night. we talked about the games, the sharings, our love languages, and other anecdotes that made us burst out laughing.

ems, ross, and leah

we had a great time and the food was terrific!

we had seafood pasta in tomato sauce, assorted pizzas, and another tomato pasta dish with chicken cutlets. mm-mm-mmmm!

ang takaw ko no? :)

ang paglamon ni ross (hehe)

when we were almost done eating, the sisters gave an honoring. it has been a while since i was the receiptient to our community tradition and it really felt encouraging and humbling to know how much i touched the lives of my sisters, particularly during those moments that i've taken for granted.

group peeectuuuure!

we closed the night with the restaurant's Decadent Cake garnished with the words, "Happy Birthday" in sweet caramel icing.

happy birthday to meeh!

Tayo na sa Tiendesitas...

i capped off my week-long bday celebration with my family at Tiendesitas last sunday.

mama and i went ahead (since we attended an anticipated mass the day before, separately) to Tiendesitas. while waiting for papa and my sisters (they went to mass at Christ the King), we went around the tiangges (me, searching for new cellphone accessories) and spent the rest of the time watching the awarding ceremonies in the cat show (didn't catch the title of the event, though).

right after the show, mama and i met up with the rest of the family and headed for the food court for dinner. the menu? grilled liempo, sinigang, and tuna belly!

while eating our sumptuous dinner, we watched the live band sing songs from yesteryears. oldies but goodies, indeed.

we spent the rest of the night checking out the other stores, particularly the pet shops. if you're a pet lover, you better check out these rows of
shops. they have everything, from pet accessories, clothes, grooming, toys, gadgets, food, and even photography! the only thing they don't have is an inhouse vet.

adorable doggie booties ^_^

it's doggie retail heaven!

Tiendesitas is also a pet-friendly area. my sisters and i actually look forward to seeing the dogs visitors bring with them, rather than checking out the celebrities (you'll always spot one when you're there.)

pet avenue

cuuuuutttteeee! :)

a favorite pet shop of ours has a big display window with different animals featured everyday. that time, there were two adorable poodles.

i had a grand time watching them play with each other. they looked so cute in their outfits that a lot of people were taking their photos (me included).

we went to another pet store that had Chow-Chows and Bulldogs (tonet's favorite breed.) they even had my favorite - the Siberian Husky. the staff allowed us to carry two of the dogs. i was seriously thinking of dognapping the Chow-Chow. i mean, who can resist that face??? :D


what a week! it was definitely an Aby birthday for me! ^_~

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mabuhay ang bagong...

...uwi! MABUHAAAAAY!!! :p

last wednesday, we (the sigma and tna peeps) celebrated mildred's return from singapore. she arrived last saturday and only stayed in the country for a week (boooo!). actually, ang totoo nyan, tumakas lang talaga sya sa boss nya. hahaha!

i was the official organizer of our dinner get-together. but before i talk about the major boo-boo that i did, i just want to say that this week was pretty hectic. really! not that i'm being defensive... :D

anyways, eto kasi nangyari. when mildred and i last talked about the dinner, i said that i'll inform the people through e-mail. she mentioned that joy, flor, doins, and dennis confirmed already. since ayie texted me back that he was good to go, i decided to send a general e-mail to the sigma group only. when i was finished typing my (short) invite, i started to enter the sigmaLang yahoogroup. eh sa address book ko kasi, may List ako na Sigma. i haven't used that list in a while and when it came out while typing, i thought that it was my shortcut for the yahoogroups email. so i clicked on it and sent my message.

so 2 days passed and we were all set. i wasn't able to check my e-mails during those days so i wasn't aware of the invite. pagdating ng wednesday, i thought - no, assumed - that others informed flor and dennis about the venue.

anyways, when i got to Gerry's Grill @ Park Square, joy, doins, flor, and dennis were there and already ordered appetizers (calamari and tofu). aba, nalaman ko nalang na hindi pala yahoogroups ang naka-save sa list ko kundi yung individual e-mail addresses nila!! waah! kaya tuloy, late na nung nalaman ni mikelec and rex na kasama pala sila!

kaya guys, i'm so sorry!!! valid naman explanation ko diba?? (di naman ako guilty e. medyo lang. :P)

ok, tama na explanation at baka may mangbato ng sapatos dito. hehe.

joy and i brought our cameras and were the official paparazzi of the night. while waiting for our guest of honor, we killed time by taking photos....

joy, anong tinitignan mo??

doins and boss dennis (may asungot o! :p)

...and, of course, catched up on the latest gossip, er, stories. lagi naman ako huli sa balita, e! :D

at dumating din ang guest of horror, este honor. :D

aba, feeling artista talaga! mildsky, pwede ka na sa The Buzz magazine (yung may mga paparazzi photos). and the hair! let's not forget her newly relaxed tresses. iba talaga pag ikakasal na noh? ^_~

later, mommy bernie arrived. grabe berns, parang di ka nanganak! (naks) after ordering, talking about bernie's new baby, and grilling doins about her new "gerlash," tipen showed up. i just wish i had a recorder that time. panalo talaga ang q&a portion namin nun. i can't remember the exact dialogue but some of stephen's questions went:

kasal na si bernie? kay mon ba? (dude, may baby na nga sila e! mas huli ka pa pala sa balita sa kin e! :p)
(to doins) may asawa ka na ba? (yeeessssss!)

pero teka. ba't ako, never mo tinanong kung may asawa na ha?? hehe.

a few minutes after our orders were served, ayie came. tamang-tama ang timing mo!

our orders? pinakbet, pancit bihon, grilled squid, baked scallops (my special request ^_~), kare-kare (joy's special request), and sinigang na hipon. yes, i'm not allergic to shrimps anymore! sorry ka nalang, ayie at napasa ko sa yo!

si rex nagtampo kasi di ko raw sya nasama sa e-mail ko. (sorry na nga e!) anyways, i talked to him over the phone and explained everything. oo, nagpaliwanag na ko sa lawyer mo! hahaha. dibale, nalibre naman sya ni mildsky the next day e so ok na rin yun. :D

what's a get-together without more photos right? kaya si ayie, nagpresintang photographer (paparazzi lang kami ni joy e. hehe.) and took more shots of the group.

mga bungisngis

walang magawa

nice hair, doins! :p

we spent the rest of dinner talking about former officemates, mildred and donna's straight hair, joy's previously curly hair (sayang di ka namin nakita ni mildred nung sexy days mo!), and more tsismis - as usual.

after that yummy dinner (thanks, mildsky!) we capped off the night @ The Coffee Bean, Greenbelt. unfortunately, tipen had to leave early for a "meeting." (yan na ba tawag sa date ngayon???)

from local tsismis, the topics turned to Prison Break, Grey's Anatomy, and my break-ups with Wentworth (Miller), Brandon (Routh), and Brad (Pitt). see tipen, ang dami mong na-miss! ewan ko ba kung ba't ayaw maniwala nung iba. honest naman ako magkwento diba???

at around 11, we called it a night.

salamat ulit, mildsky! sana bumalik ka kagad. but i have a feeling the next time we meet, sa simbahan na! (yi-heey!) sa kasal ko, no. anong akala mo?? o bawal kumontra, blog ko to! :p

p.s.star, bigyan mo raw ng tips si mildsky on long-distance relationships and marriage! ayaw na ni flor e. hehe.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FPC @ MoA? Ok!

i attended my first Flickrs Photo Club meet yesterday!

held at the Mall of Asia (yep, i'm there again!), the get-together was organized by pat (
Hocchuan, FPC's founder and moderator). the purpose of the whole meet was to do a fireworks photo shoot and have a little bonding session afterwards. of course, my objective was to learn how to really shoot fireworks. i've photographed fireworks before but never with a tripod. i was really psyched because it was the first time i used papa's tripod for my digicam. alhtough i have my own tripod, it's too tiny for the photo session (my tripod's literally as tall as the whole length of my hand!)

we're fortunate that four members (siblings
squarefoot and doy and their cousins, archie and aris) of FPC are part of Starmaker, the company who runs the fireworks show in MoA. thanks to them, we were easily permitted to set-up the shoot in the fireworks area.

although not everybody who confirmed were there, i got to meet some of the members of FPC: karen (
angelynne), jen (Lady_G), ed (Ed's), robert (rareimages), shutterglass, janzedrik, mtxtremist, and Starmaker's aris and doy. i thought we were going to stay in the fireworks zone but they advised us that it was too close for photographing the show. so, the ladies, ed, aris, and i positioned ourselves in the Music Hall, right across the fireworks zone. we didn't have any idea where the rest of the guys went but i'm pretty sure they chose prime spots.

before the shoot, i asked for photo tips from doy (who also has a p&s camera) and ed. finally, i understood how some of the manual settings in my camera worked, particularly the shutter speed i adjusted my camera to Manual mode and set the shutter speed to 2 seconds with an aperture of 8. now, all that was left for me to do was to wait for the show to start!

as i looked at ed and jen's 350D cameras and karen's 30D, i realized that, more important than the fact that all of us are Canon patriots, i was the only one who has a p&s camera. hahaha! my A520 sure looked pretty "cute" beside their humungous SLRs! :D too bad my camera was screwed in place on my tripod or i would have snapped a picture. fortunately, ed was able to take a
photo of my baby beside karen's 30D. :D

oh, did i mention about the photo contest? pat decided to add spice to the Flickr meet and organized the contest.
celina_d was kind enough to donate Gift Certificates for Free Massage Treatments from Ceragem Philippines to the top 3 winners while Joel, a.k.a., From the inside looking out, offered to give the 1st price winner a flickr “pro” account. i really don't expect to win so there was absolutely no pressure for me. hahaha!

finally, after making small talk with karen and jen, the announcer's voice boomed over the excited chaos. the show was about to start! i quickly turned my camera on and waited to take my first shot.

in tune to High School Musical's Breaking Free, the fireworks display was a sight to behold. aris, who was standing at my right, told me that the whole show is choreographed according to the music. all they needed to do was to press a few buttons in their computerized switchboard and the magic begins. cool!

my excitement slowly diminished and turned into frustration as i waited for my shots to appear in the LCD screen. for the nth time, i wished for an SLR! the processing was slow but i remembered that the shutter speed was set to 2 seconds. i guess that explains the lag (at least i hope it did).

after about 4 shots, my finger accidentally brushed my lens and i realized that it was partially opened!! waah! my first few shots look like tilted panoramic photos.

thankfully, the song just started so i still had time to take more shots.

then, it was over.

i wasn't ecstatic over my photos but they're not too bad. at least now i have an idea how to set my camera when another fireworks photo opportunity comes up. thank goodness MoA holds weekly fireworks shows! i will definitely be back!

after poring over our shots, some of the guys bid goodbye to spend time with their families. meanwhile, karen and i joined jen's family - her husband, Lord Jaime (hehe) and their two teenage sons, who also serve as Lady G's all-around bodyguards, assistants, and photo directors.

during dinner at Teriyaki Boy, we talked about photography, their cameras (they're lucky i didn't drool over their babies. hahaha!), and their Flickr experiences. karen shared the photo workshops she's attended and explained a few of the technicalities in photography. jen kept us laughing with her funny comments and stories.

after dinner, i went along with them as they went to the Canon store to buy accessories for their cameras then headed off to Odyssey to look for the latest Evanesence album. after a few minutes, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

to the FPC guys, thanks for welcoming me! and to MoA, i'll be bahhhhkkk!