Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Of Weeks Gone By

Golden Compass

I do not have much liking for fantasy novels but Neil Gaiman has changed my mind. After seeing Golden Compass with my boyfriend, thanks to Microsoft, I would very much love to read his books. I remember a former colleague who adored Gaiman books. Back then, I had no idea who he was, and obviously did not care much, I think I was devouring Grisham books then.

Maybe I will try to read Gaiman this vacation, I might go to the library and try to procure a copy though, I think I remember my colleague complaining about not finding one Gaiman in the library it is still worth a try.


I am reserving my money for a book by Genevieve Dariaux, A Guide to Elegance. :) I was in Taipei and went to this 24-hour bookstore (Yes! There is one! Though a lot of their books are of course Chinese)called Eslite. It's I think 6-storey of books, books and more books!!! I came across this fiction book by Kathleen Tassaro called Elegance (that I eventually bought) and it had excerpts of Genevieve Dariaux' book! I tried to look for this book (and even asked for assistance already) in Taipei and here in the Philippines but to no avail. I looked it up in Amazon, the price is reasonable but I do not know about the shipping though. I might get it hehe... I am soh fixated!

Angels and Demons

Yes, it was only a week ago when I got a hold of a copy. I was going around the library when I chanced upon a copy and I decided to finally read it. It was a very good read of course just like Da Vinci Code was. It made a mention of CERN which was pretty cool because I have met people from CERN! EGEE one of the conferences I have been to is a major project of CERN. I am in fact a registration authority of EGEE! :) What's more is that they made a mention of the Large Hadron Collider which utilizes EGEE hehe! Some parts about physicists being atheists might have been exaggerated but it was entertaining as what a fiction book should be.

The setting was also in Rome and in the Vatican and I was just in these places early this year so everything from Piazza San Pietro to Piazza Bernini are vivid in my memory still.

After reading Angels and Demons, I would sure like to go back to Roma and explore the different churches they have been to! :) Perhaps with my baby? :)

I would love to see the Ecstasy of St. Teresa which was interpreted in a curiously different way by Brown. I would never have looked at a Church sculpture the way he did but there is something in Brown's words that can make you give his ideas a second thought. Instead of just dismissing it, it makes me more curious.

Brown is the Crichton of Art and History. I enjoy his books tremendously because I learn a lot about Art and History when I read his books.I hope he writes something about Michelangelo soon. Michelangelo's life is well-documented so I think he can come up with a novel out of it. My greatest disappointment is that he is gay. Among the documented parts of his life is that part where he had a lover. *sigh* Regardless, I will always have a profound respect for his gift.

One More Chance

After almost everybody has seen this movie, I have finally asked my baby to see this movie with me. I did not want to see this film because I thought it starred Kim Chiu and Gerald what's-his-lastname. I do not want to see them act on the big screen because it already pains me just to see them acting on TV. Anyway, when I found out that it actually starred Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz, that was enough to change my mind. I find John Lloyd good. He seems so natural when he portrays his roles.

The movie's story line was good, I think. I am no expert but I enjoyed the film. I am unashamedly going to admit that I cried buckets and buckets of tears during and after the movie hehe... I am such a cry baby! I am not going to reveal here who else did a crying fest hehe... ;)

AFter the movie, I was reminded of how blessed I am to be in such a wonderful relationship. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with my baby!

Baby's Birthday
My baby turned 27 last December 1, 2007! He celebrated his birthday with his family and me at Heaven and Eggs at the Fort at around 11 pm. They heard mass that night and the mass ended late so we got to eat out late as well. Regardless, I was happy because I got to see his family and of course my baby! :) I am grateful for another birthday of his we celebrated together! :)

2 years and 7 months
I can't believe we have been together this long! :) He surprisingly came to our door on the night of December 5. Normally, he texts me and he waits downstairs. I was so surprised that he was by the door. Imagine my surprise when I saw he had with him pink gerberas and orange stargazers! It has been a while since he last gave me flowers. He gave a card which said, "I know it has been a while since I surprised you or have given you flowers but know that I try my best to make you feel loved." or something like that :).

I love you baby! :)

Gotchi Update

Bought a Gotchi a month ago and so far, I have had three already. The first one, my baby took care of so it was able to grow up to 23 years old. My second Gotchi died after 1 day because I lost my Gotchi (yikes! I might not be ready to be a mom yet) and currently my Gotchi is 4 years old, still alive and kicking! :) Yeah!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


My head hurts. I think it's because my week i sof nonstop activities. I am again, biting off more than I can chew! Argh! I do this to myself all the time.

If I am getting married soon, this has got to change about me otherwise I am afraid my family might suffer. Just this afternoon I got an email from EGEE and there will be a winter school for Grid Computing. It will be done online but it will be 20 hours per week for a month. i do not know if my body can take that and if I should jump at the opportunity especially since I am getting married soon and I have to prepare for our wedding. Also, I am wondiering if I should do it since I have to take my Cisco Certification Exam soon.

Not really sure if I want to take the exam, mighty scared of it. I slept for two hours after my last class so I can stop my head from throbbing. Hay. And I need to go to Taipei on Sunday. I have not packed yet and I need to make exercises for my classes that I will be leaving. I also need to prepare for the meeting.

This is very stressful. It's not even cool anymore.

I also need to finish the paper that I should have finished a long time ago. It is so depressing when I need to think about all the things I have to finish.

What is annoying though is that I cannot give up a single thing I am doing now so I can find time to do more things.

Got to end this right here. I have things to do.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pieces from the Past

I do not know about your grade school but in mine we were asked to memorize several declamation pieces and recite them in class. I had my third grade in Saudi Arabia where declamation pieces were unheard of so what my mom did was to ask me to memorize a piece and recite it at home. Without an audience but my mom and my brother, I was made to recite a declamation piece over and over again. Fragments of this piece haunts me to this day....

"... and I danced and danced with my handsome Romeo"

Almost all pieces involved a dying parent or a dying self. I believe this is to force the kids to shed tears without contorting their faces to unimaginable proportions, crying and trying to remember the next line.

In the piece I memorized when I was in third grade, the mother died because she got a glass of water that the daughter refused to give her. The daughter went off to dance with her handsome Romeo. Upon getting home she then cries, "MOTHER!!!". Most declamation pieces will have this line.

Because of the gulf war, I had to go back to my previous school and declamation pieces were abound. Each student in my English class was forced to memorize a piece and recite in class. AFter a while, I had all pieces memorized by heart. While the other kids doing their chores at home sing, I recite declamation pieces, with feelings mind you. Perhaps because of so much practice, I got better and I was selected for the level eliminations. Perhaps due to so much practice, I got eliminated. I knew the pieces too well... I was speaking too fast. This is still my problem up to this very day. :)

The classic pieces way back are:

On Little Things

After visiting The Spa last Monday, my baby took me to Amici di Don Bosco, an Italian resto that sits beside Don Bosco Makati with the yummiest Italian food! Their gelato is also closest to the gelato I have tried in Italy and only for 45 Php per generous scoop! I loved the choco mint flavor! Another must try is their Italian sausage that is only 100 ++ Php and it comes with two sausages and a slice of baked potato! The sausage has to be eaten with pasta and I recommend the Pasta Bolognese! The Brazo de Mercedes was also a hit for my baby and me and for my sister who we bought a box for!

More than the good food, I also enjoyed the very nice servers and cashiers there!

Thanks baby for taking me to Amici finally!!! I have been hearing about this place from the people I work with! The visit is well-worth it! Yum!

I never got to finish my entries about Hungary mainly because I was so busy touring the place at night, that when I get home I am already poofed. I have uploaded all the pictures of my eight days in Hungary. I do not think I will find time to write stories about Hungary anymore. :) I will be going to Taipei this November 18 to 23 so that will be more backlog in my blogging. I think one day, perhaps during my Sabbatical leave I will write about my previous travels but not now. :)

Stand-up Comedy
My brother is an aspiring stand-up comedian who is just aspiring most of the time hehe... Today, he was given a slot for an open mic at the Cafe Agogo bar in Ortigas by none other than Tim Tayag. I hope everything goes well! I will be rooting for him of course! I can't wait for his performance!

Wedding Plans
Wedding plans have ceased. I do not think my fiance or myself are thinking about the wedding at all hehe... We are both very busy on so many other things. Sometimes, I worry about the lack of enthusiasm on both ends. I wonder if it is lack of enthusiasm or lack of budget that's causing it and if I should be alarmed. I don't know if this is a bad sign or if I am, as always, being paranoid. Oh well... We'll see where things take us. Though for the past few months, we are actually happy as a couple, for most parts, we do not discuss wedding details.

I think we are just happy that we have booked most of the suppliers. Maybe I am just running out of things to worry about and so the next target is our emotional welfare and the wedding. Haha...

This is why I always need my hands full with things to work on. I have tons of things to do. Must shift my focus.

I still do not have a gown! Arg! Wonder when I can visit New Yorker. Maybe after the long holiday. I like Ysabelle's design but I still want to check New Yorker too. They say their gowns are nice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cisco Fiasco

Well... almost.

Finally, it is over! Two semesters in two weeks straight. I do not even want to count how many exams there were. I still have one left. The certification.

I am not so sure if I still want to take it after all the pain that the last few semesters have caused me.

I enjoy teaching Cisco. Without a doubt I do. I just hate it that the instructors training has to be one sem per week and the passing mark has to be higher. It was absolutely stressful. I had fun but for most parts, it was just stressful.

After the training, I am taking a bit time off by relaxing.

I was able to visit The Spa last Monday thanks to the GC my baby gave me for my birthday. I really saved it for the most stressful time. Whew!

Thanks, to the long weekend, I think I can begin working on my dissertation proposal and check some backlog papers. Wonder if my mom would want to head to Tagaytay some time during the long break. My brother seems to be busy with work so that might be out of the question.

I will be going to Taipei again from November 18 to 23 to attend a conference and a kick off meeting for a project. It's pretty exciting to be heading back. I hope to find the cherry earrings that I loved and lost in the Tower of London. *sigh* Now if I can remember where the stall was.

The last time I was there, most of the places were very expensive, hopefully I can have enough time to go to the cheaper place. It's supposed to be an hour from Taipei. We will be leaving afternoon of Sunday so I do not know if I will have time to go to the bargain place.

While I was slaving away and finishing my Cisco sems, my baby was off winning photo contests! Well a photo contest. He won the Grand Prize!!! Congratulations to my baby!!!

This is all I feel like writing for now. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Budapest Day 2 and 3

It is now my third day here in Budapest. I failed to write last night because I was just too tired to blog and I would much rather write my baby a long email. Tonight I can write because I went home right away. The conference ended at 7:30pm today so there was barely time to go back to the city and to wander around. So instead of winging it, I decided to give my nerves a break and not risk getting left behind by the bus.

Yesterday, the conference ended at 5:30pm, so together with my Malaysian and Indonesian friend we went off to find Vaci Utca the shopping street. Utca means street in Hungarian. We found it after getting a bit lost, the map is extremely hard to read at night because the letters are too small... I can't complain because these are just the free maps. I don't like buying maps. This makes me a bit guilty because I do not think foreigners get free maps at all. I can just imagine what nightmare they go through to understand our crazy public transportation.

Anyway, after a while, we were able to find our way. By the time we got to Vaci Utca most of the shops were closed. Fortunately though, there was still some arts and crafts store open and my friends got to buy souvenir stuff. I just found out today that there is a flea market here but it's only open until 4pm so I do not think visiting it is a possibility. I would rather take the chairlift ride! I wonder where the bus stop is though. I know I am to ride the bus 158 from Moskva Ter, Ter means terminal. It's like their Quiapo here. Or at least I think. It's my sanctuary hehe... I know I can find my way back to the hotel if I am able to find my way to Mozkva Ter. The only bus that passes by my hotel is No. 22 and its terminal is in Moskva Ter. Also, the Metro is there so it's easy to get around from there. :)

I had to learn all these last Sunday but then again, I had all the time last Sunday. Plenty of daylight.

Tomorrow, the conference should end at 5:30 pm but we will have a Danube Cruise dinner courtesy of the organizers so I won't be able to wander off and explore the city on my own. I am delighted though because last Sunday I was thinking how nice it would be to ride the cruise. Their cruise here is not like the catamarans on the Thames in London or on Seinne in Paris, it's really romantic. Now if only my baby were with me. There will be a folk music band on board and I am hoping the food will be great.

Their food here is pretty meaty. Though there are sliced sausages everywhere. I am yet to see the Hungarian Sausage that we have in the Philippines. It seems all their sausages are sliced and nothing tastes like the Hungarian Sausage that I know of. If any thing, Bratwurst of Amsterdam tastes more like the Philippine Hungarian Sausage hehe... I have not given up hope, I am still hoping of finding it.

On Friday, I should be able to go to the chairlift because we get off at 12:30 hopefully, earlier than that because the chairlifts close at 5:00pm. I am kind of hoping too that it would not take so long so I can still go and try to find the flea market. I wonder what time Castle Hill closes too... I was meaning to go back again and check out some things.

I don't think I will bother to see the Opera House here since I have seen the Royal Opera Garnier in Paris already. Besides, it's not that fun without my siblings to explore it with... Haha the last time we were there... we scared the hell out of my sister! It would just make me sad if I went there, it will make me miss them more.

By the way, the pictures are in my multiply site.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Budapest Day 1 - B

It is now Sept 30. I am writing this on my notepad because I do not have Internet access in my hotel. This morning I said that I will be transferred to another room. The room is smaller but it has a loft that i will not use because I am alone. There is also a bathroom and satellite TV with Hungarian shows. There's Hungarian Discovery, Hungarian HBO, Hungarian ANIMAX, Hungarian National Geographic. I appreciate it still because now, there is no more deafening silence.

I have spent the day going around. Since I am in a far away place called Budakeszi (outskirts of Budapest), I took a bus 22 to Mozka Ter. Of course I was clueless. I had no idea where I wanted to go or where I wanted to get off the bus. The final stop was Mozka Ter so I got off there.

I rode the bus without a ticket because there was no place where I could buy tickets from our hotel.

It was good that there was no inspector that time. You can get on and off the bus and not have to show your ticket to the driver, instead you validate the ticket. There is a concept of two-month, 1 week, 1-day ticket as in London and in other European countries. However, an inspector in civilian clothes can inspect randomly. The inspector shows identification after he/she catches you.

They really implement this because just this afternoon at the tram, a family was caught. I do not know what happens after but they were tourists so they should have been spared.

Their tickets here are confusing compared to other countries. For the train for example, you have a maximum of three stops of the same line, otherwise, you have to buy another ticket. There is another kind where you just have one stop. For someone like me who is still unfamiliar with all the stops, and does not know exactly where she wants to go, it's difficult so I got the 1-week ticket that can be used on all transportations. It's cheaper too than if I have to buy a book of ten tickets... I need to make ten trips to the conference venue, plus all my other escapades. Today alone, I rode the publis transpo at least ten times, Metro, tram and bus.

It was not very difficult to get around because I have a map. It's the hardest to read compared to the other countries I have been to but I was able to manage because the layout of public transpo here is I think alright. They only have three lines for the Metro here, which is too bad because I am a big fan of the subway hehe... Now I am forced to take the tram and the buses... Guess they're not so bad either.

I was thinking since last night how I will hear mass here. The first place I chanced upon was a church! I was able to hear mass! It was great! It was in Hungarian but I was still able to participate because I have all the parts memorized. Maybe that is why the mass is so formulaic... because Catholic means universal. At first I was a bit in doubt because I could not find a cross outside but seeing the interior of the church, I was sure already. The most beautiful church I have seen here so far is the St. Stephen Church.

I got ripped of by the funicular which goes up to the Royal Palace, Museum of Military stuff and Museum of Fine Arts! I was already in the area when I went to visit Mattias Templon ( a church)! I was so out of breath this morning because I hiked and climbed the hill to the Templon. Finding out later on, that there is actually a bus that goes up there from Mozka Ter, Bus number 10! I should have taken the funicular going up and I should have just saved the money I paid them to
go down... That was 600 forint too!

The people here, as in Paris, tend to kiss anywhere too. Except that I find Budapest more romantic. Really. It's not squeaky clean here, but it's not exactly super dirty here as well. In fact, in so many ways, this place is cleaner than Paris. It smells better too! I also love the people here, I swear they are always smiling! Even the babies like to play with and smile at me. I would normally initiate the peek-a-boo with kids. This morning, a baby in her stroller, started playing with me! :) She was soh cute!

Even the elders are nice! I still love the Philippines but Hungary is also a beautiful place. Maybe it has something to do with their difficult past as well. It made them humble. I think it also helps them find happiness in simple things. Like a concert in a park.

I wanted to stay late and watch the concert in the park but I could not wait 'til eleven before coming home because I might miss my stop. It is so dark in where I stop so it would be difficult if I get lost and there are no more buses available.

Today, I felt the hands of God shoo me in the right directions. He led me to the church so I can hear mass. He sent someone tonight to tell me where to get off. I was not even asking. Thank you Father because you are looking after me. I feel Your love.

To those praying for my safety, thank you very much!

To my baby, I miss you soh much! I wish you were here with me! You will go crazy taking pictures! Let's go to Budapest someday!

I love you!

Budapest Day 1 - A

I am off to explore Budapest. I only have maps with me so I do hope things go well and my feet take me to interesting places with the help of the Lord.

I got a good night's sleep save for the cramps that I got in my left and right legs.

The hotel room is not that bad, at least I get my own toilet and bath for the first night. There has been a mix-up and the room I got tonight is not the room that I booked. Question is, is this the better room? I am supposed to have a TV so I am hoping this is not the best I can have here.

I have to go now, lest I might miss a lot. :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Escape Blogging

I promise after this post, I will go back to studying...

I have been procrastinating the past few days which explains my bountiful entries here in my blog. I am running away from something again or some things if I should state it correctly. I am running away from Cisco Sem 3 hehe... I have a stubborn chapter 2. I know Sem 3 only has 9 chapters but darn, the chapters are really long. Plus, I have to read them online because we do not have a book. I read poorly on the monitor.

I have also been running away from my dissertation proposal and my URCO research. I have to get start doing that as well. So after this blog, I am going back to Sem 3.

Last Sunday, Tita Vivian celebrated her birthday at the Legend Chinese Resto near World Trade Center. It was my first time in that restaurant and the food was pretty good. Vince texted me that morning to tell me that Tita Vivian was inviting me to go to the celebration. It was a bit short notice and so we did not have a gift. We picked out the gift at MOA after the lunch.

While picking out her gift, I chanced upon this skirt that I have been looking for since I was sixteen. Eleven years later, and several varicose veins and cellulite later, it appears before me. Darn it! I might never get to wear it or at least my family might never let me get away with wearing that in public so I think it will just be worn when no one is around. Still, I revel in the comfort of knowing, after all these years, I have found the skirt. I guess I was ahead of fashion hehe... Which makes me out of fashion. Darn it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gay Saturday!

Today, after swimming (Yay for me again! I have to stop using parentheses (it's annoying!)), my sister and I took a cab (promise, last one for this entry hehe... my car is in Cavite, my brother's car is sitting on our parking slot here) to MOA and skated for hours! I am glad that she has finally gotten the hang of it. For so long, she was not interested in skating. Thanks to peer pressure from her classmates, she suddenly felt this urge to learn! And now, she is all interested and wanting to learn how to figure skate! I cannot be more proud! She is indeed part of the family after all.. hehe... She was the only one who did not know how to skate in the family, well not counting my dad who is in Saudi where they use wax for ice. I know because I have tried skating in those. I did not know yet how to skate on ice then, but I knew how to rollerskate and it was terrible! I even got a burn to prove it. Not a blister but a burn. Yes. I forget the concept of pain when I am having fun! :) I know I said it was terrible but because it was skating, it was still fun. It was just a bit difficult to do because the blades kept on slippin on the thin was. Whoever thought of that should be sacked. Anyway, I still kept skating on wax until my dad forced me to get out of the rink and when I took off my skates, rectangular raw flesh was crying in pain in front of my very eyes. What did the staff of the rink do? He heartlessly sprayed on painful meds on my open wound! The rubber boot kept on rubbing against my leg and burned it. I know it's called rubber but I did not think it would literally rub my skin to raw flesh!

That was a really long side story! Anyway after skating, Vince met us at the rink so we can see Chuck and Larry. My sister has seen it with her friends but she watched it again tonight with Vince and me. We were supposed to see it last night but all seats were taken at GB3 so we opted for Joshua instead.

The movie was so funny! It's mostly about gay discrimination and really good friendship. I enjoyed every minute of it! No wonder we could not get seats last night, Adam Sandler has done it again! :) Along with all of his consistent supporting actors in Happy Madison productions.

If you have seen the Bee Movie trailer, you would know that Steven Spielberg said that E.T. is made of chicken wire and PlayDough. There is a part of the trailer where a CG Bee with the voice of Jerry Seinfeld says, try doing this with chicken wire and PlayDough and the guy two seats from where my sister was seated said, "Hello? Jurassic Park?". Talk about a guy who cannot take a joke. My sister thinks it was a first date with a girl. In most parts of the movie, according to my sister, the guy was making embarassing remarks. I did not notice because after last night, I had my fill of side shows.

You see, last night, while we were watching Joshua, there was a couple who were fighting. A Filipina and her foreign boyfriend were fighting about something and the girl just kept on hissing and for most of the time, talking out loud. The foreigner was crying already. It was amusing at first but after a while, it gets old.

Speaking of Joshua, the movie fell short of my expectations. The boy's acting was noteworthy though. Freak factor was definitely lower than that of 1408.

I know I am so disorganized, then again, I always have been. I am no closet case so I won't bother to restructure this whole thing. Drafts were never my thing.

After skating and before Chuck and Larry, we went to Time Zone because my sister had a loaded card. She played Guitar Freaks while Vince and I sat on a bench. I appreciated his warm armpits hehe... my hands were still freezing after skating for hours without a jacket.

Vince and I took a shot at the difficult stage of Dance Revo and did horribly. On the second round, we tried tag team. On the third round, we danced on one pad. He did the down and left button and I took care of the right button. It was fun! Thanks Janine!

After TZ we went to Jatujak and had our fill of Thai cuisine! Yum yum!

Then off to the movies we went!

I had so much fun with two of my favorite people in the world! :)

Thanks guys! :)

Hello Hungary!!!


To those who said prayers with me, I thank you because tonight,I have once again laid my eyes on my passports! I sent two because my older visa has the valid US visa. Apparently, Hungary uses it as basis too because if you have one, your application has a bigger chance of getting approved. It's even on their website.

I was not able to send a self-addressed envelope (something my mom told me about two days ago, this is required for US visas) because it was not stated as part of the requirements in the website I viewed. Then again, that website was assuming I live in Jakarta and that I will be applying from Jakarta and not the Philippines. I do not know if they have to walk in or send their documents as well. In any case, it was the Hungarian Consulate Office of the Philippines' job to inform applicants of requirements. In fact, they should be the one sending the documents to Jakarta in behalf of the applicants. Sadly though, when you call them up all they tell you are fragments of what you need to know plus the lady who takes care of these things are as friendly as a plywood. Well there are days when she is even irritable. I had to ask myself if I was annoying and if I have asked my questions several times in my past life because I definitely asked them for the first time in this particular lifetime!

The first time I called, she said that I should just put in 35 Euros in the package. I was going to send it already but my fiance stopped me and asked me to check with the consulate again just in case I am forgetting anything. So I did.

The second time I called, she said that I should just put in 35 Euros in the package. I had to ask this time around about how my documents will get sent back. She paused for a while and told me to put in 20 more Euros for the shipping. Darn! It was a good thing my fiance stopped me from sending the package lest I would never see my documents again! Doesn't she have a list or something?

Obviously, this lady in the consulate (I do not want to generalize everybody working in this firm), does not understand how important these documents and this application are. She does not take her task seriously and she should be assigned to do some other task that she will hold in high esteem. Maybe this is just committee work in their firm, I wouldn't know, but if you agreed to do it, you should do it right.


In introspect, I think I should apply this for myself too. I have been Pagkamulat coordinator in the past three years and so far, I think I am doing okay. I mean the Computer Literacy program has won the Harvest of Winners award and this year it was nominated for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations or at least the two orgs I have been working with, LSCS and CLAY. But these past few months have been terrible, I have been less responsive, partly because of all the work that I had to take care of. I realized now, that this has to change. I have agreed to be the coordinator so I should do my task with fervor and passion. I will start by soliciting books for the MACE Learning Center.

I guess deep down, I understand where the lady is coming from, but then again, the documents she is taking care of are really important so I do hope that she be careful with the instructions she gives out.

Mix of Rants and Raves

In the meantime, I should start reading on what to expect of Budapest because I am going there this Saturday! :) I better not binge while I am there! Most of my extra pounds are courtesy of all my other trips! :)

Oh and yeah...

I might be going to Taiwan this November for a kick-off meeting of the approved FP7 project. :) The French Embassy is sending me. They said they'll take care of my air fare. I am not going if they do not take care of my accommodations because that will be too much strain on my budget already, and the project has been approved already anyway. :D

After I get back, it will be hectic again... I will be teaching Sem 2 of Cisco every Saturday and then I will be taking my Cisco 3 and 4 starting October 15 to October 29! Yikes! And then, November 19, I will be off to Taiwan if all things fall into place. I have to finish my incomplete dissertation proposal and my URCO research is due this term as well... Oh my! Thank goodness the wedding is not until July of next year hehe!

I swam three times this week! Heard mass thrice too, next week I plan to make it five. I am falling back into my old routine, and I am just happy to be back! :) I have also started attending bible studies again, had two sessions already and it was refreshing!

Thank you Lord for sending my passport back to me. I was so stressed the entire week. Thanks for sending me my loving fiance who kept me sane the entire week! For never forsaking me Father, thank you!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Getting Hitch-ed

I saw Hitch again this morning because it was on cable. This was the first movie that I saw with Vince along with my high school friend Bhennie (who introduced us with the encouragement of her mom). Watching it made me reminisce that experience.

I was coming from an outreach by FORMDEV, went home first to freshen up and then I met up with my friend. We invited him to watch the movie with us since he did not have anything better to do that time (or so he said). I was so panicky. I cannot remember why, but I was so self conscious then. I was worried that he might see something he did not like. It's superficial I know, but I guess dating sort of starts out that way. It's funny because now I cannot even remember what I was wearing anymore that day.

During the movie, Vince cried. I thought it was kind of cute that he cries in movies. He seemed sensitive. :) He was a gentleman throughout the film except that his right knee kept on touching mine and I kept moving my left knee away. :) He is still denying that this happened!

When we saw the movie we were not in love with each other yet but it feels nice looking back because I did not think that the man I was going to marry was that man next to me as I was watching Hitch. We saw this movie as unhitched people and now we are about to get hitched for life!

I am glad things turned out the way they did.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cisco Po!

I have started reading Cisco Sem 3. It has only nine modules but so far I am still in Module 2. As always there are a lot of things that I must remember. I have not so much time left until the five day crash course begins so I do hope I get to finish soon.

On the lighter side of things, we won the game against Ateneo! Also, I got to swim! Yehey for me! I do hope this becomes a regular habit. I was not able to hear mass today though because I moved very slowly this morning and I was also very sleepy. I think I am still tired from our retreat over the weekend. After swimming though, my muscles are feeling better already.

I cannot write much today even if I wanted to because it's already 1:30 in the morning and I would like to hear mass tomorrow before I begin a day of many meetings!

Whoever reads this today, please join me in praying for my passports' return. I sent my documents to Indonesia because the consulate office here basically does nothing. And, it has been two weeks and still I have not received my passport. I should be leaving on September 29 already for Hungary.


Monday, September 17, 2007


Last Friday evening I found myself in a bus on the way up to Antipolo, listening to my iPod while holding in my pee. I was on my way to Our Lady of Antipolo Retreat House. I had no expectations. I felt far from the Lord for a while. I have not been hearing mass everyday anymore. This started when I had to do my Cisco training and right after that, I had to conduct a series of seminars at NCC. My routine was gravely disrupted and somehow, I have never gotten back to the program.

I attended a retreat with my LSCS students since I am their adviser. I have been for I don't know how many years already. I do not know when I started being their adviser. I'm glad I was able to go on a retreat with them because it was a very different experience.

Of all the retreats that I have attended, this was the most physical one. We literally cradled those who wanted to be prayed over. We literally washed the feet of the students so we can feel how, more or less, it felt like when Christ washed the feet of the apostles. Over all, it was a beautiful and meaningful retreat. It was led by Noel Judith.

In summary, I learned I am like a pencil. We all are.

  • We have some good in us. (i.e., Graphite that makes the pencil write)

  • We are sharpened every now and then.

  • We have erasers for when we make mistakes.

  • Somebody is holding us. (i.e., Jesus Christ)

  • We have to leave a mark.

So now it is Monday, I am back in Manila, with all the distractions and work and so many things to keep myself busy with. I still have fresh in my head my retreat and my confession to the priest (something I have not done in a while) and I am glad, slowly, I am coming back to my routine. I got to hear mass again today. It was a good one.

When I confessed, father said... "Don't be too hard on yourself.". My penance? Fr. Balatbat asked me to pray for those who have hurt me in the past. The Lord is a merciful God and I am just glad to be back Lord.


After the mass in Antipolo, I heard mass again with my fiance because he picked me up from HP. The bus could not go nearer Taft Avenue due to the board exams. I have missed him too so we decided to spend the rest of the day together. We saw The Brave One and it was such a great movie! Another Jodie Foster must watch film! Gave me the creeps though. I had so much fun last Sunday with my Baby! I love him soh much! Just really cannot wait to be his wife!

Okay it was not as creepy as Stephen King's 1408. Another must watch for those who just started dating! A guaranteed hug for the guys from the really scared date hehe...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Term Break

28th Month

Vince and I celebrated our 2 years and 4 months with Janine at Sentro. I was coming from Ysabelle's because I checked out their gown which turned out to be sold already. I saw it at the Wedding Expo. Anyway, they can make me another gown made for me but it will be for 20K. I have not paid yet so I can still change my mind. I brought Janine along for a second opinion.

Vince met us at Sentro. He had dinner (by that time, we were already done) a bit late because he had to finish some work at at the office. After dinner, we decided to watch Hairspray, another musical from Broadway. It was a fun musical and it starred Zac Efron from the High School Musical! It was fun, that Janine, Vince and I wanted to dance along after!

After the movie, we stopped by Bizu because Janine and I were craving for an Opera cake. We had it take out because Vince was going to go home late already. Janine also picked out some macaroons that are still in our ref to this day.

Sonya's Garden

The term break has come and gone but I do not think I wasted a day of it. Last Thursday, we went up to Tagaytay and had lunch at Sonya's Garden. I love their garden! It's so pretty! I have been there with my baby on several occasions and I wanted to share the experience with my family.

They loved the place but my mom did not like the food very much since most of it were greens. I love eating salad! I can eat salad all day if only it were cheap and if it were easy to find all the greens. Maybe when I am married and I can make our own meals. Vince, prepare yourself to live the life of a goat hehe... grass here and grass there... Meh! Vinaigrette's my fave dressing but all they have is ranch dressing that's yummy too... and fattening. :) They also had frozen jackfruit that delighted my sister and of course other fresh fruits like melon, pineapple, etc. We also visited their Bed and Breakfast, my mom was appalled that all comfort rooms had big windows so that you can see nature and vice versa while you do your thang! :) She loved the house but we chose not to stay there because they did not have television sets, phone and the place is too far. It's in Alfonso, Cavite by the way just after the Royal Estate and Splendido.

Taal Vista Hotel

We were not really planning on staying overnight but you see, after eating so much my mom and Janine wanted to sleep so we decided to check in at Taal Vista Hotel (yup they don't call it Lodge anymore). We slept until six and then headed out for Antonio's.


It is such a romantic place! Hay. And the food... Yum! Don't get me started! I love their soup, salad wit Raspberry Vinaigrette hay these alone are enough to make my mouth water. The Sea Bass was just soh delectable and the dessert too! I got to meet Chef Antonio. I was surprised that he was still very young! Antonio's is such a great place i do not mind the difficult drive going there. My mom plans to come back soon in spite our bill of 5K haha!

Casino Filipino Tagaytay

After Antonio's, we headed out to Casino Filipino. I parked my RAV at Taal Vista first and then walked to the Casino Filipino. I was wearing my Havaianas so I did not mind but then I remembered that flip flops are not allowed in the casino and so I had to walk back to the car and wear Janine's tacky Happy Feet. It was a difficult walk back to the casino. Janine was able to go inside because she already had her license.

Inside, we got to play slot machines. Almost had a conflict with old women who did not want to give up their machines. Janine was waiting patiently but after the old woman's coins ran out she still did not want to give up the machine so I asked her nicely to allow us to play since we only had a few coins. She did not talk to us, instead she took the chair and turned it slightly over so we cannot sit down. She even told the woman beside her to make sure we do not touch the machine. Instead of provoking her further, I asked Janine to settle with the more expensive machines since there were less people there. Hehe... That was my first encounter with casino addicts. The slot machine should have two handles, that way they get to tone both arms. :)

After the casino, we went back to our room to watch some TV and sleep. It did not take us long before we went back to our room because the slot machine a.k.a. one-arm bandit stole our money in a very short time. We were not born to gamble (except in the stock market) so we did not bet so much that night. :) We were just in it for the experience.

We were supposed to have breakfast at the Bag of Beans but Janine insisted she wanted to have it in front of the Taal volcano so we had it at the Taal Vista. The food was yummy there too but of course the Bag of Beans experience could have been more different. Maybe next time.

Picnic Grove

There is nothing to see at the Picnic Grove really but my sister was inisting that we go. When we left the market (my mom bought some jackfruit and some steak) the weather was really great. But as soon as we got to Picnic Grove, it started raining soh hard! You'd think there was a thunderstorm! As soon as we got out of the Picnic Grove (20m. from it) the sun was shining again! Really weird! Anyhow, we just decided Picnic Grove was not meant for us to visit that day.

Pink Sisters

That morning, I also asked Janine to write a letter so that the Pink Sisters can pray for her. We went to the Pink Sisters to pray and to drop off our letters. After that we headed for Angels Hills.

Angels Hills

This place is where I had my Singles Encounter retreat right before I joined the Singles Apostolate of the St. James Renewal Movement. I wonder when I can convince Vince to join SE! :) Anyway, during the retreat, I got to try their Buko Tart and it tasted nice. I decided to get a box for mom, our unit and for Vince's family.

After the Angels Hills we were on our way back to Cavite.


I have not been in Cavite for the longest time. I think it has been more than a year. I missed the exercise machines. My mom has a collection of gym equipments. She has a treadmill, a stationary bike, climb master and other abs stuff that she has put away. I decided to make the most of my stay by running on the treadmill and sweating it out on the climb master. It was fun! My mom prepared steak with mashed potato gravy sauce for dinner and of course, fresh jackfruit!!! Yuhmeeh!


After dinner and some bumming around, we were back to the condo. We decided to come home because our beds were not made up and we did not want to bother my mom further.

Avenue Q

The following day, my sister, myself and my mom (Vince had his badminton tournament) got to see Avenue Q! It was such a fun musical. I thought Rachel Alejandro did very well as Kate Monster and Lucy The Slut. Hilarious! The playwrights and the composers are pure genius! Aiza did a great a job as Gary Coleman too! She definitely exceeded my expectations! Princeton's voice was nice but a bit soft. Christmas Eve was played by Frenchie Dy I think. She did good too... I think. I do not like Christmas Eve as a character per se... maybe that's why I did not give her performance much thought. :) I am still listening to the soundtrack and learning the music by heart because I am just soh in love with the musical!

The following day, we cleaned the condo because Jet was coming home from HK and we did not want him ranting about how dirty the place was. Later that night, we went to Italianni's to have dinner with my dad. Then we went to Hai to have beer with my dad. Yes, I do not drink but because he asked us to drink (including Janine) I had half a San Mig Light bottle! Janine had one bottle!

Jet will be on an all boys night out with my dad this Sat and on Sunday he'll be off on his way back to Saudi again.

So you see, my term break was definitely maxed out because I kept myself busy! Not that I am not busy right now hehe... :) This type of work gets me drained the term break activities got me all charged for this term. :) So to help me with stress, I am back to swimming! Yahoo!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hungry for Hungary

I know corny title but indulge me please. :)

I will be going to Hungary courtesy of CERN. Yay! Since our passport is good without a visa in only very few countries, I have to apply for a visa. I found at that Hungary is not part of Schengen and will require a Hungarian visa. I searched for the Hungarian Embassy address here in the Philippines but to no avail. I eventually found out that there was no Hungarian Embassy here in the Philippines. It was good that the agency from Hungary that issued me a ticket sent me an email. I inquired about a consulate here in the Philippines because it will be harder for me to coordinate with their embassy in Jakarta. The travel agency replied promptly and gave me this address of the consulate for Hungary:

address: c/o Argosy Advisers, Inc. 8th floor, Pacific Star Building Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Makati Avenue 1200 Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines,
phone: 632-811-5519, 632-811-5521
fax: 811-5545
honorary consul: Alfonso S. Yuchengco III.
e-mail: asyuchengco@argosyinvestments.com

I hope this helps all the others who are planning to go to Hungary and are in search of their embassy here in the Philippines. I should call them tomorrow. The Pacific Star Building also has the French Embassy. They used to house the Taiwan Embassy too before they transferred to RCBC.

On Malu Fernandez

I realize my last post on our France trip is incomplete but I do not feel like retelling the story yet. :)

I wanted to write about Malu Fernandez, the tongue-in-cheek writer who lambasted OFW's because she took an Emirates flight with an economy ticket.

She complained about her thighs getting bruised. If you want your thighs not bruised, lose weight or get bigger seats or buy the next seat.

She said her only consolation was her entertainment set in front of her was not working. Here is my theory, it was working. These things take some time to start up (because the files are actually shared by each row, there is only one machine that contains this, assuming it's the same for all planes) and seeing from how she wrote the article that she is an impatient woman, she probably assumed it's not working.

She ranted about the cheap perfume that she smelled on board. She should be thankful they smelled of cheap perfume instead of body odor! She did not enjoy her flight because all she ever did was to find things that was wrong with the flight.

She hated how the "migrant workers" were talking too loud. Maybe if she were half a sociable person she would have found this rather interesting. Maybe if she bothered to talk to one of them maybe she would have learned a thing or two about how to be a human being and the realities of life.

There were more things that she talked about but this is as much attention I want to give her. She berated these people as though she had every right to do so. Even if she were a big time socialite (which I take she is not because she could not afford a first class ticket) she did not have the right to say such mean things about these people who are actually contributing to our GNP.

Next time, if you want to go to Greece, you should travel in style and stop bitching about things you have inflicted upon yourself.

Trip to the Book Shop

I was in MOA alone on a Sunday morning and I found my feet moving towards Books for Less. I buy secondhand books because I think it's practical.

I love books! If only I had all the time in the world to read all the books I want! I saw Stephen King books. I am a big fan of his but I stopped reading his books back in college. I guess I got tired of all the creepiness and moved to John Grisham's lawyer tales. I am not into chick lit save for Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedman that I also bought from Books for Less I do not have any chick lit book. I have a copy of The Devil Wears Prada but only because I asked Janine, my sister to buy it for me hehe... I just feel that buying chick lit is a waste of money. I mean I do not get much out of it anyway. But that morning, I picked up Edge of Reason (yes, the one that was turned into a movie) and I found the format rather interesting and really funny. I thought of buying it but it was hardbound and I thought it was too much for a chick lit.

I was itching to buy a book but which one? I looked at the John Grishams and the Stephen Kings, we have all the Michael Crichtons already at home and most of it I have read already so it was just Grisham or King but then I realized we have these in our library in school.

Why can't I buy a book? I mean I did buy a 350 Php worth of Wedding Magazine but then again I did get a lot out of this wedding magazine. Probably a whole lot more that I will get compared to the chick lit. I cannot seem to just buy a book out of sheer entertainment and pleasure! I have Crichton to thank for. I love his books. I always learn something new from his books whether be it something in biotechnology or medieval times or even information technology. He's amazing! To think, he graduated with a med degree! After reading Crichton, I seem to look for more value from the book I am reading.

I am currently reading Beyond Recall by Stephen Kyle. I like the plot (so far) but I hate it that he makes a lot of nasty remarks about third world countries. I swear he makes my teeth grit with anger.

I was itching to buy a book that morning but I ended up buying nothing. Crichton, King, Grisham and other best selling authors (of non chick lit books) are available in our trusty library in the university. I have not given up on the thought of buyin chick lit. Maybe it's time I read for entertainment.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tour de France

You may view pictures from My Multiply .

First Day
The tourist information center of France is very helpful. I was very glad because people in London were not as nice. I mean they had no maps in the airport, there was no tourist information there (I did not see one anyway). The maps were in the tourist information centers in the Underground and the people there can be sometimes snobbish. They are helpful but they're cold. It's hard to describe but you will know as soon as you get to talk to them.

The very day our plane landed in France we started going around already. Thanks to the maps that we were able to obtain. I decided to take unlimited passes for five days for the Metro so we can ride the Metro as many times as we want (just in case we get lost). We ate at a French restaurant first. They do not serve the food right away. They serve it one at a time, the appetizer first then the main course and then the dessert. Most of the orders have "plat du jour" or plate of the day which comprises of three courses. :) Evian is just a normal mineral water there so every other bottled water is priced the same. They are all expensive in peso, around 1 to 2 Euros. (1 Euro to 60 to 70 Php)

We first visited the L'arc De Triomphe (I hope I spelled this right, I am too lazy to check). We took a lot of pictures there. You can see the pictures at My Multiply . After that we took the Metro again and after a few transfers, we were able to see the Eiffel tower. We were planning to wait until it gets dark so we can see it lit up but then I had a girly emergency so we had to go home much to the annoyance of my siblings. I could have gone home alone but I was also their navigator so grudgingly, they went home along with mois.

Upon arrival at the hotel, everybody was just ready to sleep. My mom has been craving for rice since London. We found a Chinese resto in London before we left and my mom was happy that there was a Chinese resto again near our place. We had to learn the French words for fish, chicken and pork since they did not speak much English there. They are nice people, not at all snobbish but most of them do not speak English.

I do not understand you.Je's nes pas comprendre pas. (Or something like that!
I'm sorry. Pardones mois.
Excuse me.Excusez mois

These are all that I can remember. It also helped me familiarize myself in reading some of their dipthongs (or whatever they call it in French). :)

2nd Day
On the second day we went to see the Notre Dame. I have seen Hunchback of Notre Dame and I know how nice the work of the animators was and how grand the church is but nothing could have prepared me for the grandeur of it. The stained glass was spectacular. I have never seen such intricate things. A tour guide of a group (I overheard this. It's a bad habit hehe) said that beautiful artwork in churches were provided so as to keep people entertained during the mass. The Disney animated film did a good job creating a version of the Notre Dame because it was pretty close to the actual thing. Underneath the church is a lair which they turned into a museum.

After the visit to Notre Dame we went to another building but I have forgotten the name of it hehe... Apparently it did not make any impact on me. Sorry.

I wanted to walk around Paris to feel the romance of the city so we did. My family hated me for making them walk (I am in charge of navigation). They basically follow me around and curse me when they are tired or if they feel we are lost. Many times, we were not lost but they curse me anyway because they think we are lost. *sigh* Such is the fate of a tour guide and a clueless one at that. :)

During our walk along the River Sienne, we passed by several bridges (pont). Pont Neuf is the bridge made famous by Bourne Supremacy. I also got to see the Louis Vuitton building and finally we were able to see the Louvre. By this time they were too tired, while I was too amused by the paintings on the sidewalks and the old books they sell (which are all in French). We also dropped by gift shops. I did not buy anything because everything was way too expensive! I just bought several Eiffel Tower key chains while we were in Notre Dame.

We decided not to go to Louvre yet because we wanted to reserve one whole day to explore the spacious, jam packed French museum. We failed to go to D'Orseille and Versailles. We ran out of time and my siblings were no longer interested. After Louvre, we walked some more and this made them even more tired. After that, we proceeded to go to the Royal Garnier Opera house from which the novel Phantom of the Opera was based. When they made the movie musical, they used this as basis as well. We could not go in either because it was already closed. I have not mentioned in my blogs that the daylight there lasts until 9 to 10 pm. Yup it only gets dark at around 10pm! But everything closes at around 5pm so imagine how bored we get after 5pm!

While eating fresh cherries at our hotel, we realized, we could go to Lourdes. And so, off we went.We took first class seats, thinking there would be bunk beds! There were no bunk beds, just really comfortable seats! We got to Lourdes (after eight hours of travel) at 4 in the morning and it was freezing cold! At first we thought it was just because it was early in the morning but as the clock struck 9am, there was no sign of the environment getting warmer. In Paris, it was already pretty warm. We did not know Lourdes was a mountainous region and that it was cold there all year round! It was also raining that day so it was as cold as it could get and we only had shirts on! Thinking about it makes me shiver!

We rode a taxi to town and we bought very thick fat jackets that made us look like Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters or for those of the younger generation, we looked like Kenny from South Park! It felt nice to have a warm jacket but our feet were wet and cold too from the rain. Still we trekked on. We got on the bus going to Our Lady of Lourdes.

There were so many people in Lourdes when we got there. A lot of them were in wheelchairs. There was a big church built for Our Lady of Lourdes and there were other chapels named after different saints. We fell in line so we can touch the grotto where Our Lady made an apparition. The rocks were already very smooth from so many people who touched the rocks!

The water from the grotto flowing down from the hill where the church for Our Lady was built can now be conveniently accessed at the same time by people through a series of faucets. I got three bottles of water. I bought Our Lady of Lourdes containers where I put water when I got back to the Philippines.

St. Joan of Arc's shrine was also nearby but my mom's legs that are cold and wet can no longer bear the rain so we decided to pass up. We stayed at the station for most of the day until our train going back to Paris arrived. We got back to Paris at around 11 pm and we had our pictures taken by the Eiffel tower. We looked wasted but the Eiffel tower looked great!

It was a very tiring day, the following day was supposedly a rest day so we decided to just go to the Louvre! Haha!

Extra Extra!!!

I have written somehing about Paris but let me post that next time... I have more exciting news!

I just found out today that Josh Groban (one of my favorite singers... the roster includes Michael Jackson, yes, I am weird so sue me) will be coming to the Philippines, October 17! It will overlap with my Cisco training but I really want to go and see him perform live!!! I wonder how much the ticket costs... It's a concern because I am going to Budapest a few weeks before the concert and I know I will be spending a lot because though they are shouldering air fare and predeparture expenses my accommodation will not be shouldered by CERN. Yikes... I hope I can find a cheap place. I heard October is peak season too so good luck to me. I will be going there for Enabling Grid for E-SciencE 2007. I am very excited! I will be there for seven days! More travel, more backlog in my blog hehe... :)

Also, Avenue Q, a really cute, funny, naughty musical from Broadway (or West End if you are from London) is here in the Philippines. There's a show on September 5. My fellow faculty members and my sister plan to watch. I am not sure yet if Vince is up for this one but just in case I ordered (thanks to the sister of a friend) an extra ticket.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lost in London

You may view pictures at my Multiply Account .

I can't say I was absolutely looking forward to the Europe trip because I had to leave a lot of work at home. Then again, how do you pass up the chance to go to Europe?

Our first stop was London but since our carrier is KLM, our hub airport was Amsterdam. We had to stop at Amsterdam before going to London. I love their airport. Biggest by far among the other countries we have been to. During the flight from Manila to Amsterdam, my mom discovered that she has left ALL her credit cards and ATM cards in the Philippines... it's that or she has dropped them somewhere. *gasp* We do
not have money! And we have not even landed yet!

Fortunately, I had my card with me, which is a card that will access my mom's account as well but we were not so sure yet if it would work since I have never used that card before. My mom had some cash on her but we don't think we can survive on that.

I was worried but I could not ignore how exciting the trip was by the time we landed in Amsterdam. I started clicking away with my camera. As soon as we found an ATM my mom tried my card out and it worked! I paused for a while to thank the Lord for the miracle.

We boarded a smaller plane that will take us to London. I was so thrilled to see the city from the plane as we landed. It was pretty!

First Night

We took a London taxi, that was also so very cute! I have seen these in the movies of course but it was a thrilling experience to be riding it. Hehe... The buildings were a beauty to behold! We stayed at the Holiday Inn at the Oxford Circus. It's a very nice location because it's walking distance to the train station. First thing I looked for? Where to buy tickets for Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. :D Hey... This is my chance to finally see the musicals of my dreams! :D

First Day

We went to Picadilly Circus where the tickets are. This is also your stop if you intend to watch Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables since their theaters are in this area. Phantom was showing in Her Majesty's Theater and Les Miserables is showing in errr.. Hmm... forgot already. :D We took the Hop On Hop Off bus since a Malaysian from one of my conferences recommended that we take this rather than getting lost most of the time. This took us to the different spots like the White Marble Arch, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Stephen's Clock Tower (Big Ben), The Parliament (which is basically in the same building as Big Ben), Tower Bridge (we call it London Bridge but London Bridge is not what we think it is, it's another fugly bridge), Tower of London, Victoria Station, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's Cathedral and so many more! We also took the cruise on the Thames River! We also got to see the house of Benjamin Franklin! I thought he was American!

We spent most of our mornings standing in front of Buckingham for the Changing of the Guards which in retrospect, was soh not worth it! You just see a bunch of guards marching to the music. Maybe it's an impressive display but it's not worth standing around for uhmm... three hours? Not doing that again. But if my future husband and I will get to go there together, maybe I will do it again for him. :D On the same day, we tried to get into Westminster Abbey but it was closed since it was Good Friday (I think). We also got to visit the National Gallery for a bit. Really beautiful! The artworks were breathtaking. It was during this day that I got to see Virgin on the Rocks of Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, the painting mentioned in the Da Vinci Code. Apparently, Leonardo created two versions. One is in the Louvre in Paris and another in the National Gallery. The first one created was the one in the National Gallery. A man commissioned him to do it but he sold the first one to somebody else so he was forced to do another one or the police was going to get him. We did not get to finish all the rooms so we told ourselves we'll come back again.

The bus ticket is only good for a day so I took note of the Underground stops (MRT in London :)) so we can just take the train the succeeding days. I already obtained a map and their Underground is pretty easy to navigate. We bought our tickets for Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera that day as well. :D The tickets were pretty pricey at 50 Sterling Pounds each. It's 100 PHp per 1 Sterling Pound. Never mind, I was sure it was going to be well worth it.

Second Day

On the second day, we went to Westminster Abbey and finally, we were able to go in. We were not allowed to take pictures but it's also a very nice place. Mostly, you'll see a lot of graves of the people. Yes, this is another Da Vinci Code place. This is where Sir Isaac Newton is buried. This is where the "orb" is hehe... Bodies of kings and queens are in this place, Queen Elizabeth I is here but Princess Diana is not. This is used for worship still but they have very limited seats since there isn't much space inside anymore. There's also a school in the grounds. They say the school there is very expensive. Also famous music people are buried in that place like Handel. Famous poets like Robert Frost and more (Sorry, I cannot recall everybody) were also there. They made us pay a lot of money too...

After the Westminster Abbey, we went to St. Paul's Cathedral. At this time I was already very much addicted to Paul (a chain of bakeries in Europe) croissants and other pastries. :D My mom and I keep on buying everytime we see one! We went inside and it was pretty too. All the churches they have there are all grand that after a while, all the grand things, begin to seem ordinary. When I got home, all the churches I go to seem to be so bare now. All the stained glass seem to be too simple and elementary but I do not care, hearing mass here beats any mass in Europe. :) I missed the Philippines.

We had lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant. We were not very happy with their food there because everything was bland. They're not into salt. People there are trying to live healthy lives and eating right.

Afterwards, we went to the National Gallery to view more paintings. I got to see one of the Sunflowers of Van Gogh. There was only one painting of Picasso. Famous impressionists like Manet and Monet were there as well. I did not know there was a Manet! :) I was overwhelmed by the beauty of all the artworks! There is no entrance fee to the National Gallery.

Since the Trafalgar Square is in front of the National Gallery, we also hung out there.

After the National Gallery, we had some dinner and went on to see Les Miserables. It did not disappoint me at all. It was amazing. Still I had to wonder, how amazing it would have been if Lea had been Eponine. Lea never performed in London since she did her stint in Broadway but still I had to wonder.

Third Day
I think our third day was a Sunday :), so we heard mass. We were surprised that the church was following old rites. It was a bit weird. We just had to follow what everybody was doing. The priest's back was turned against us. I was amazed because I got to experience how masses were said before Vatican II. I like the post Vatican II masses better. :)

After this, mom chose to stay at the hotel while the three of us went to the Tower of London. It was an old castle of King Richard. Famous people got executed there including those who planned the November 5th bombing of the Parliament which inspired the movie, V. It was nice, but the highlight was the precious crown jewels of the Royal Family they had in display. I have never seen precious stones as big as the ones set in the different crowns, scepters, punch bowls (yes punch bowls!), laddles and other trivial things!

We also went to the Tower Bridge and saw... nothing but what was beneath us hehe... It was nice too though it's just that it's nicer from the outside. Going up to the bridge is not really worth the entrance fee. After, we went to the Imperial War Museum near the Elephant and Castle stop. This Underground stop used to be a bomb shelter.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to the Imperial War Museum, it was going to close already so we decided to save it for the following day.

We went to Harrod's after and then went home finally. My mom got so bored in the hotel so the following day, she said she was going to go with us.

Fourth Day
On our fourth day, we got to see Phantom of the Opera! But before that we went back to the Imperial War Museum. The tanks used for the war against Germany were there. My brother's eyes twinkled since he has always been very much into weapons and warfare. He has a lot of books on WWI and WWII and he even has a whole set of Weapons and Warfare encyclopedia! He wandered around the museum while my sister and I went to see the children of war section. After a while, it got a bit boring too... hehe... So we just waited with our mom by the Berlin Wall (part of it) until my brother was finally done.

After the museum, we also visited other museums like the Science museum. My sister had fun. We did not realize that it was her first Science museum. My first was in Saudi Arabia when I was nine. It was fun for her and we were all glad that she had fun. After, we proceeded to Her Majesty's Theater to see the Phantom of the Opera. It was a grand, grand play. Our seat was in the third row so the view was spectacular! I shall never forget my experience watching my favorite musicals!

Fifth Day

The following day, we went to Salisbury to see the Stonehenge. They still do not know what the Stonehenge is for. Some say it was used as an altar. Some say it was used as a calendar or clock. They also do not know how those rocks were placed there. If you see it, it is indeed gigantic! And there are no rocks around the area but only those. It felt like we were inside Windows XP while we were in Salisbury since it was just fields and more fields. Green fields! The train ride was pretty long and one of the stations was not working so we had to take a bus going to the next station which took a very long time. After this ride we were too tired.

Sixth Day
We went to the Windsor Castle during this day. It was a luxurious castle with a lot of gold in almost every corner of the castle. I cannot bring justice or even attempt to put into words the grandeur I have laid my eyes on. I will try to post pictures here instead. I do not remember if we were allowed to take pictures though. There was also a doll house with working plumbing and electricity. Even the objects in the house was adorned with gold! There were also a collection of dolls! Beautiful, delicate porcelain dolls with clothes done by the famous designers of Paris. It was a gift from princesses of France. Wow!

Seventh Day
I think we went to France on the seventh day. Not before we discovered my sister's ticket was cancelled so we had to purchase all her tickets right then and there. I did not get to go around Heathrow Airport because we were going to be left by the airplane already. Thanks to the delay caused by the cancelled ticket. We found out later on that the travel agency here in Manila made a mistake. Sheesh...

London is nice but the people there are snobbish (as in!) and the food is bland. It's a nice place to visit but I would not want to live there. I still think the beaches in Boracay can whoop their snobby asses anytime. :) They have the intricate architecture and lavish castle decors but we have the natural beauty exuding from our land and our people. I have never been more proud to be Filipino than when I was in Europe.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rant, Rant and Rant!!!

I have been lagging on my posts here because I have been too busy updating our wedding blog, Getting There .

I don't feel like talking about the Europe trips yet especially since I still can't find where my sister put the DVD with our pictures.

The trimester is about to come to an end and now I find myself once again going nuts with soh many things that I need to do! I have to finish checking all the practicum requirements first and foremost because I need to come up with a list of recommendations and a mentoring report. I also need to come up with a dissertation document before the term ends or else I will get delayed by one term. I could not find the time to work on it. I also do not know where to begin honestly. *sigh*

I have also been busy teaching CCNA Sem 1. I know it's just Sem 1 but it takes most of my Fridays preparing for it. Handling the masteral class for Advanced Operating Systems is not so easy for me as well because I have to prepare for it every Tuesday. My entire Tuesday is devoted to that alone. I have been lagging on my swimming because of all these activities. I am also advising two thesis groups and they also take up most of my time.

I just remembered, I should start preparing for the final exam of my ADVANOS class! I will also be checking their documents. Ack! All these are enough to send me to an anxiety attack.

Must take things one at a time!

1. Finish practicum stuff.
2. Reimburse practicum receipts.
3. Prepare final exam for ADVANOS.
4. Finish Chapters 1 - 3 of dissertation.

I think this is it for now!


My brother bought a wireless access point so now I can surf the net any time I want! Yahoo!!! I soh love my brother! Now I can do my dissertation! No more excuses!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Wedding Blog!

Here is the link to my wedding blog so you can also see our preparations for our big day Getting There . I am yet to update this site because I still have so many things to write about... After the Taiwan trip, I crammed my UP stint and my final grade computations and flew to London with my family. Seven days after we went to Paris and on our second day there we went to Lourdes, on the same day we went to Paris. After seven days in Paris, we went to Rome for two days and then headed for Venice. On the same day we headed for Florence to spend the night and 2 days. After that, we headed to Pisa and then headed for Rome for our flight to Athens. We stayed in Athens for five long restful days and then moved to Amsterdam. We stayed in Amsterdam for two days and one night and then moved to Barcelona for three days. After which, we went to our last stop, Berlin for three days and then we headed back to Manila. There are a lot of stories in between but I am too busy right now to tell you everything, much more to post pictures... I am yet to find the DVD where my sister put the pictures...

This is it for now... :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Taiwan Tales

A few weeks after my Singapore trip, I went to Taiwan. It was a bit stressful because I had to process my visa myself for the first time. I was so tensed because I did not know if it will get approved or not. Fortunately, at that time, I already had my UK visa and my Schengen visa, so that should have convinced them I will not overstay. I also had a letter from Academia Sinica inviting me to speak in the International Symposium on Grid Computing.

After three days (or was it a week? I can't remember anymore!) I was able to get my visa and was pleased to know that they approved my visa. I was pleased and relieved because I already bought a ticket! If you are going to apply for a Taiwan visa, their embassy is at RCBC and you have to acquire a number from the reception and wait outside alongside human chimneys! On my first visit, I was able to go through the process without a problem but on my visit to claim the visa, I was annoyed that I was to claim the visa in the afternoon and I did not see the time thanks to the small notice at the back of the receipt!

My mom had to get my visa for me.

I had minimal budget so I decided not to take the taxi from the airport. It was around 1,500 NT from airport to the university. I was going to stay at the University guest house, however, to get there, I had to take a bus from the airport and alight at a hotel and then walk to a bus stop and ride another bus.

When I got to the lobby of the airport, I went to the tourist information center first and obtained all the maps and then proceeded to the bus booths. Everything was in Chinese characters! I was lucky that there was one person who could speak a little English. She gave me a bus number to ride. I had to wait for a few minutes for the bus to arrive. The bus was very luxurious! I think I failed to capture it in the picture above. I left the memory card of my camera so I had to just use my phone camera. The old Taiwanese was getting freaked out from my cam-whoring so I had to stop after a few attempts of self-portraits.

The driver only spoke Chinese so I had to get my Chinese map and point to where I wanted to go. Apparently, the bus number 5 had two routes! There was a blue route and a green route! I was to take the blue one but I took the green one! Crap! I was a bit off from where I should be so I took a taxi going to the hotel. It was pretty near so I did not have to pay so much to the driver and I did not want to drag my suitcase all over Taipei.

Once again, the Lord sent me an angel in the person of a bellboy who knew how to speak English and he pointed me to the direction of a bus stop. I rode the bus there. An old lady told me that my stop was to be the last one. She also told the driver to let me know if it is already my stop. I waited for the last stop and guess what?! I ended up in the bus yard!

Though I felt like I would never get to my destination, I began to pray and a driver who spoke English came and he took me into his bus. I had no more coins left and their machines do not give change but he said I did not have to pay anymore. Thank you Mr. Bus Driver!!!

My stop was two stops after the bus yard so the lady was more or less right. I dragged my suitcase out the bus and rolled it across the street. I asked a Taiwanese to point me to the direction of the Guest House and after a few blocks, I finally got to the building. I was so happy to see my Taiwanese friend! Whew!

He found my adventure rather amusing! He let me rest for the afternoon since I was already able to attend the tutorial he offered. I went up to my room (which was pretty nice considering I only paid 800 Php a night) and discovered that I have left my lens tray! Immediately, I decided to go to the city. With a city map and a few instructions from a newly found Taiwanese friend, I went to the city.

This time I took a bus and transferred to their nice subway. I walked and went around their many malls! They had really big malls filled with designer stuff. The fanciest was Taipei 101 which happens to be the tallest building in the world as well! I got my lens tray first and then went around the shops.

As I was cam-whoring again, a Taiwanese guy took pity on me and took my picture. He also asked what I was doing in Taiwan. He was a salesman and he was sellin SK-II products but of course I did not buy. After that I went to New York, New York and Taipei 101. The sales ladies were so nice and acommodating that they even asked me to try a Cartier ring and a Tiffany & Co. saleslady was insisting that I try a Tiffany diamond ring! I said no. I should not even be looking at rings! I so wanted an engagement ring at that time. Little did I know my ring was coming very soon!

I was soh tired when I got home! I almost forgot I was going to give a talk the following day! I prepared still! I think I slept early morning already!

The following day, I gave my talk. I met a Filipino woman who works for CERN! How cool is that?! We also had our picture taken that day. I am the one wearing the pink jacket in front. The dinner was also during that day. After my talk, I got to meet people who were into Grid computing and I was able to meet a German guy who is now offering me a PhD position (as in research assistant) in his supercomputing institute. I might take it next year around September...

That night, I went with the Filipina whom I just met, along with a Vietnamese who I met in Thailand and the Malaysian who I met in Manila's APAN. We went to the night market which devastated me because everything was so darn expensive! I was only able to buy some cellphone charms and not particularly cheap but really cute cherry earrings!

We also went to the supposedly market for techie gadgets. They had cheap flash drives but apart from that, everything else was so darn expensive! Even the laptops made in Taiwan are more expensive there than here or in Malaysia or Vietnam. I checked when I was in Europe and yes, it's even cheaper there! I do not know why but it is expensive there.

So, defeated and tired, I went home with the Viet and the Filipina. The Malaysian guy was too tired and so he went home before the three of us did.

It was fun getting lost while looking for the techie market but it was no fun knowing that they do not have accessible money changers (only in hotels and banks and the banks were already closed) and knowing that everything is so darn expensive. It was probably better that way though because I did not spend too much.

I had to go home the following day. I knew already how to commute in Taipei like the back of my hand but I knew I had to be early because I had to catch the bus. Fortunately, I was just in time and the bus driver knew exactly where my gate should be. Whew! I do not want to miss my plane!

At the airport I met an old woman with such a cute granddaughter. Her daughter married a Filipino who was working for a Japanese firm in Taiwan. She only had a tourist visa so she had to go home already after a month of stay there. She was very sad about leaving and I felt bad for her. I made sure that she was able to board the plane properly but I did not see her get out but she probably got out before I did because my seat was at the far end of the plane.

I was seated beside another Filipino who worked in Taiwan for two years. She worked for a nursing home 24/7 because she lived in the nursing home. She was younger than I was yet I know she has aged more than I due to the kind of life she lived in Taoyuen. This is a town near Taipei and according to her, this is where the bargains are. It's 45 minutes away from Taipei if I remember correctly. She has never been to Taipei because she had a curfew in the nursing home.

Soon she will be applying to UK. I do hope that her fate there will be better.

My mom picked me up from the airport after Taiwan since my boyfriend still had work when my plane landed.

Sing Singapore

After Malaysia, I headed to Singapore with three guys and a girl who I work with. We decided to stay for two days there. I have been there when I was 11 and I did not find the city that charming so I figured two days should be enough.

We took a train from Changi airport to Lloyd's Inn. It's near the house of the prime minister and a few blocks from Orchard Road and it's only 40 Singaporean Dollars a night. It smells a bit of cigarette but because I did not have a big budget I am not going to complain. On the first day, it was drizzling so instead of goin to the Safari, we decided to just go around the city. We were able to go to the St. Andrew Church there, the Parliament, supreme court, a museum, the Merlion, the Durian (hehe) and the strip of bars by the river.

We were to meet a colleague that night but I got bored waiting so I decided to go to the night bazaar alone. I went to a temple first, and then to Sing Lim where the electronic gadgets are cheap. True enough the cameras there were cheap! I also went to some malls there. The bazaar was a bit pricey compared to Bangkok but it was a bit cheaper compared to some things sold in Malaysia.

I had to go home before eleven because the subway closes early and the buses stop their operation early as well. I decided to wander around Orchard Road a bit before heading home.

The way home was a bit scary as it was very dark but I remembered I was in Singapore! Besides, I was in the street where the prime minister of Singapore lives!

I got home before all the others did. They had to take the taxi because they did not realize that the subway and buses stop their operation at around 11 at night.

The following day, I just went shopping. I was able to buy a Sennheiser earphones for 600 pesos and this is from Digital Mall. It's a fairly decent price. I looked up the price of the Sennheiser earphones that I bought in Germany (yes, I went to Germany, more of my Europe trip next time) and it was so much cheaper in Sing! I was also able to buy a Lacoste bag that was on sale. It was 50% off! So what was originally 3,500 Php here in the Philippines was just 1,250 Php in Sing! I had to buy it but it took me a while before I bought it!

I was actually contemplating on buying another one but it was a good thing I was able to stop myself!

I was not able to go to Sentosa because I ran out of time. We tried to extend it but we had to pay more money if we did. It's alright though, I can go back with my fiance next time. :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Proposal

A day after the day, I am still very high from the euphoria of getting proposed to, by the only man who can love me for the raving lunatic that I am! I really love this man and I cannot believe that the guy I have met more than two years ago was bound to be the man who will be my husband!

So on to explaining how he did the thing that I could hardly wait for. I swear, I thought he would never ask! I know it has only been two years but you see, I am already 27 years old and I made a deal with my best friend that if at 27 I am still not bound to marry, I will go to a sperm bank and make an in vitro baby! Well, a few years after, I realized (with the help of my brother) that it is unfair to bring a baby into this world without a father. As you know, in sperm banks, you cannot know who the donor is. The kid and myself will never know who the real father is and is it not the right of the kid to at least know who his or her father is. Upon this new realization, I knew that I should not turn 27 without a husband! Of course this an order too tall since there are a lot of jerks walking on the planet. I was just blessed that the right man came into my life more than two years ago.

I know I am dragging the story needlessly... So let me continue.

June 20, 2008, it was a day as normal as any, I did not feel like taking a bath yet, I was still in bed when the phone rang. It was my boyfriend. He was making sure I was awake. Normally, he would call and I would hear busy people on the background, this time it was quiet. He said he just got to the building and he does not know where everybody was. This also happens to our faculty room so I just shrugged it off and moved on to the next topic.

He nonchalantly asked me what time my classes were for the day and I answered because it's a habit of his to ask about my schedule even if it were to really just that, to ask me. He reminded me not to be late for my 1140 class so after I hung up, I procrastinated for a few minutes and then braved the warm shower.

An hour later, I got into our faculty room and already, some of my colleagues were smiling widely, asking me about what I did wrong. Lo and behold, there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my messy table! The bouquet had carnations and gerbera and stargazers my favorite! It smelled lovely in my cubicle! There was a card that said, "I hope this will make you smile" Hugs and Kisses, vince. I was surprised that he was able to leave the flowers on my table. I do not know when he left them.

I was wondering what was the occasion yet no matter how much I rack my brain, nothing was coming. It was definitely not my birthday and most definitely not our anniversary. I just could not figure it out until I realized, it was almost time for class.

The class went well, we just discussed the thesis guidelines and such. After class, there he was when I turned for the stairs. I was so surprised to see him clad in jeans and a blue shirt and white sneakers. With him was his laptop and charming smile! I was so surprised, I think I yelped!

We had lunch at the Animo Canteen where we first had lunch together. (This was two days after I saw him for the first time), that time we had Japanese food. This time, we had Japanese food again! :) We spent lunch discussing my class and how I was going to deliver it. I was still thinking of how to go about it. I thought of a charades game over lunch so it would be fun for the students in my personal effectiveness class.

After lunch, I gathered my things and went straight to class. He followed me because he said he really wanted to sit in. So I let him. He just sat on one side of the room. He also participated in the activities.

We had the charades game first and the students had to charade words like love, respect, trust, partner, marriage, engagement, infidelity, commitment, faith, boyfriend. It was fun because the students really felt comfortable and were shouting words like sex, intercourse, virgin, etc.! Very candid and relaxed was the class!

My students were very participative that day because we were discussing relationships. Some students shared their past heartaches and why they ended the relationship. Some described painful breakups and so on. It was very touching that they shared. I really liked it that they chose to share.

I did not know that there are defined stages of a relationship:

  • Sampling This is when you are finding someone interesting or attractive

  • Bargaining This is when you try to evaluate a person and the consequences to come should you choose to go deeper into a relationship with the person. You analyze the cost and rewards.

  • Commitment This is the part where you will leave all the others behind and choose just one you really want to have a serious relationship with.Evaluation of the person and the relationship will not stop here.

  • Institutionalization This is when you sign a contract that says you will really work on the relationship. This is when you recognize that you want the relationship to be permanent.

Some of the other things that were discussed the phases of relationship failures:

  • Lack of tolerance for the other

  • Drifting Apart

  • Ending

I asked the students to form a human collage that will show a scene of a stage in a relationship. They were supposed to just pose and then the class was to guess what they were posing... This was also fun particularly because a group insisted on moving! We were calling them gif's! (Well now it sounds corny but we were having a great time then) And yes, my boyfriend participated in this activity as well!!!

We also discussed climates where a relationship can thrive:

  • sponteniety

  • openness and trust

  • descriptiveness

  • not imposing on the other your opinion

There was also the ABC on love. Each letter has to have some tips to use to make relationships work. The students were also asked to come up with the words.

After I have handed out the assignments, I asked the students if there were any questions, they answered no but Vince raised his hand. He said he had a question but he wanted to charade the question. So he did, Sounds like: Wheel You Merry Me? I was like an idiot on the platform because I did not know what he was acting out I was screaming "Bike" instead of Wheel! It really helped that the students figured it out. I was flustered and I did not know what was happening really. All I know is that I wanted to throw things at him for making me think he was not up to something! I forgot that I was supposed to say yes, and that I was supposed to stand still so he can kneel. He was able to catch me and he held my hand, he knelt and asked me again, "Will you marry me?" I answered, "Yes.". And with his hand really cold and trembling, he put the diamond tiffany set ring (after a few attempts) on my left ring finger! I wanted to cry but I could not cry in front of my students. I was maroon from blushing!

My female students were so giddy about what happened and they were screaming "I want to be a teacher too!", another said, "I am going to tell my mom of what happened" (I hope her mom takes it well, I don't think Vince asked the Vice-Dean if he could do it in class). My male students yelled, "Right place, right time. Galing!". Yup, my boyfriend will forever be those kids' hero.

I love you baby!

Thank you for risking and laying your dignity on the line. Thanks for making your proposal so memorable for me and for my students.

Thanks for choosing to take our relationship to the next level. I don't know how things will go or what the future holds. One thing is for certain though, I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you so let's get through this wedding thing.

Thank you Lord for leading me to him and him to me. This has always been my prayer over the years (started when I was in high school). Finally, I am in the arms of the one who loves me and the one I love so much. Lets hope that won't change as we begin to plan the wedding.

It's hard to express love in words as the letters disrobe it of its too profound meaning we spend a lifetime of discovering.

And so the planning begins...