Monday, January 01, 2018

We'll Always Go Back to High School

Fourteen years after graduating from high school, here we are, still spending some time and laughter together. Thanks to the efforts of Karl and Russ who organized this year's gathering held at Fat Russel's in Sct. Castor, Diliman on December 29.

Photo shared by Karl Edejer, with me standing beside my friend since Grade 2, Marrian

One of the reunion's highlights is having Cristine and her baby Samuel Moses with us:

In this shot, you'd see us holding mobile phones - NOT because we are busy with our own social media but because of the Kahoot app. Two rounds of questions about our high school life were prepared. Just like our younger selves, we were still cooperative!

No cheating please! (Another photo shared by Karl)

Not only did we walk down memory lane through this quiz but also, prior to the dinner, our classmates released funny throwback pictures in the privacy of our Facebook group. To avoid any case that might be filed against me, I'll just share my own picture as posted by Vyron:

JP used to be the Christmas Party organizer but since this is the second year that he isn't around, Karl asked me to print his picture before leaving the house. JP doesn't know I did that, so let's keep it a secret. Hehe...

Dinner organizer Karl with JP's picture
I think this is just the best way to start blogging in 2018, thinking about this rare bunch of genuine, funny, caring, and sentimental titos and titas of Manila. Truly, friends for keeps.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I always look forward to December because this is when I usually spend time with rarely seen yet close friends. Looking at my post last year, there seems to be a pattern. There is our company Christmas party, a hosting stint, simple family get-together, and a wedding. There's also something new. Here's my December list for 2017:

1. Sorpresa Laroza (December 9) - Paul is a close friend from high school, so when his wife Jhackie texted about a surprise birthday party at McDo and needing help in contacting our other friends, I was very willing and excited! (It's funny that just last month, I also blogged about Haydee's McDo party. My friends are indeed young at heart. Birdie, who's part of Ronald's gang, was present in both parties.)

Photos shared by Paul and Jhackie

2. MTC and Achorn International Christmas Party (December 10) - It was my first time to host their program last year, so when they contacted me again, I gladly said yes. Aside from their traditions (raffle and Stars of the Night), the song and dance performances were impressive. With their talented employees and guest performers, there was no dull moment. My personal favorite is the dance group "The Millennials" comprised of Jayson Ayala, Sarah Borja, Kim Velasquez, Shaira Mae Tolosa, and Justin Dimatulac. Members of the SHE band were also great performers.

Just before the event

3. RJ Tutor Gathering (December 16) - Curious, I didn't pass on the chance to attend the tutor gathering for the first time. Like in the previous smaller event for online tutors, co-tutor Al was there. We joined the games, munched on finger food, and posed for the photo booth.

RJ Tutor Gathering

The activity card asked us to have a photo taken with a Japanese staff, so here's mine with a moment of success: I finally caught the ball using the wooden instrument.

My friend Al is on the top right.

5. AHEAD Dinner (December 22) - Another first, Since I've been with AHEAD for six months. We all had dinner at The Alley by Vikings - The president's treat!

Photo shared by our president, Rossana Llenado

6. Conti Family Lunch (December 23) - Aside from my favorite baked shrimp dish from Conti's (though we aren't related to the owners of the popular bakeshop and resto), this year's highlight is what kept the kids and adults busy: Hatchimals!

From a giant egg, these twin Hatchimals finally met my cousin's daughter Micha

7. Pat's Wedding (December 27) - Pat and I have been friends since 2003, our Communication Arts days. This friendship continued up to when she was already taking Comparative Literature and I, Broadcast Communication. We lost contact when we were already working, and got reunited on Facebook and a chance encounter at Robinson's Magnolia. This is why being invited to witness her wedding is just amazing. Though the journey had been long, it's comforting that I never really lost her as a friend.

During the Christian ceremony, the pastor talked about 7 Marriage Essentials: a. God; b. Commitment; c. Communication; d. Romance; e. Trust; f. Forgiveness; and g. Financial Stability.

With Mr. and Mrs. Elpedez

Tonight, I'll be going to the annual Wisdom reunion. More fun awaits...

Sunday, December 17, 2017

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Save Money

It's one thing to have a mindset that you would be saving for your future and take big steps to achieve it. It's another to be wise and to always be on your toes whenever small temptations or distractions come up. Here's my advice to the gullible:

1. Order a la carte. When I go to KFC for example, I get to know the price difference between the value meal and the a la carte. Not only do I save some, I also avoid the temptation of having soda every time.

2. Make it a habit to inspect the receipt and answer surveys. Did you know that you could get free mashed potato at KFC every time you answer their survey? How about free chicken tenders at Wingstop? Just look at the receipt to see the websites where you could give customer feedback and how to redeem the freebies. Aside from restaurants, gas stations also frequently give back to those who participate in surveys.

3. Thinking of hanging out in your favorite milk tea cafe? Buy Nestea milk tea instead. And buy it from the grocer, not 711. Thai Milk Tea is my favorite variant, followed by Wintermelon. I like having it on the rocks.

4. Sell your stuff on Carousell or donate to Segunda Mana, the fund-raising project of Caritas Manila. We live in a world of excesses, and rather than hoarding or holding on to things that no longer add value to my life, I prefer selling online and putting the other items in donation boxes found in churches. For bigger items and furniture, you can schedule a pickup. The details are here.

5. Stay away from misleading banners such as "50 off" and "eat all you can for 250." For the last tip here in my blog entry, I'm giving everyone a caveat: "50 off" might just mean 50 pesos off and not 50% less, while "eat all you can for 250" might just be the rate for kids. These are my real life experiences recently, so beware!

*This post is not sponsored.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Home Projects

For me, the coming of December signifies new beginnings. Rather than think of new year's resolutions after Christmas like most people do, I want to prepare for 2018 much earlier. Aside from getting hooked to YouTube videos of closet cleanup and home decorating hacks (which my dear officemate raises an eyebrow on), this month inspired me to make changes right at our own home.

Cleaning and reorganizing are therapeutic. Prior to writing the list above, I made small steps by getting a new dish rack, managing things that mom hoarded, clearing the top and side of the fridge, and changing my bathroom pail and dipper, among others. My parents have trouble with letting go of old items as long as they're functional so, that's a bit of a challenge.

The fun part is refurbishing our old body mirror with spray paint. Here are the steps:

1. Ensure that the mirror and ample surface area are covered. I cut and used brown bags.
2. Use sandpaper on the area to be painted.

3. Wipe with wet cloth.

4. Let it dry.
5. Spray.
While these are both my personal choices to add sparkle to our December, I only used Silver for this mirror project.

6. Let it dry before doing a second coat.

7. Do the third coating.

This is how it looks now, greeting anyone who enters my room.
Warning: This spray paint exercise is addictive. I'm targeting smaller objects now. Ask what my favorite shop is and you might be surprised that it's not some boutique or beauty store. Yes, it's the hardware store! OMG, is this the peak of my tita-ness? Dad even said "Dati bored na bored ka sa hardware. Ngayon nakikipagdiskurso ka pa sa salesman."

And here's the new comforter which I got for 699 pesos instead of 1299 during the one-day-only mall sale:

Believe me when I say that upon fixing this on our bed, I immediately fell into deep slumber despite having loads of plans!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

As November Ends

This month turned out to be unexpectedly thrilling. I know that Christmas is in the air but I thought family reunions and catching up with some friends would come a little later. For me, it started with our visit to the Conti ancestral home on November 18. I took some time off work as this was a rare chance for the old and young cousins to meet up in the province. We went back to Manila with our tummies satisfied and with some sinaing na tulingan, biko, suman, and londres.

Did I like the taste of londres? Well, this happened:

No, don't judge me. I shared this with family.
If you want to know more about this snack, I recommend clicking this.

On November 19, my college friend Haydee celebrated her birthday with a unicorn-themed McDonald's party package. I appreciate that after several years went by, Haydee still values our friendship and gets to invite me to special moments in her life. The girls, Meline, Madel and Camille were there too.

Photo grabbed from Madel's Facebook post

From the party, I got to meet up with Yell Adworks / hibu / TCS friend Danna that same afternoon. We simply had a kamustahan until sunset. We have to do this again!

Lastly, upon the invitation of my cousin's cousin, I took my parents to the painting exhibit Femme Petal. It features artists Carissa Muñoz and Malaya Roxanne Ad Castillo. When was the last time we appreciated art together? Can't remember.

Monday, November 27, 2017

I Think That I Shall Never See...

One, two... trees!

These past few days, I got amused by just staring at trees. Don’t you find them beautiful and calming too?

Facing the Sunken Garden, University of the Philippines (Diliman)
Growth. Reaching out. Peace. Patience. Resilience. Giving. Forgiving. Fortitude. Loyalty. Surrender. Refuge. Alone but not lonely. Mystery. Home. A tree just means a lot to me. And so I won't ever get tired of staring at thee.

And since Christmas is in the air, trees are made more beautiful or are used as symbols:

UP Town Center grounds

SM Megamall Giant Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Peppermint Dark Mocha, one of three Starbucks 2017 holiday drinks

Trivia: I've never had a Starbucks planner since I'm not a hard core fan of the coffee shop to begin with. But this year, I decided to collect stickers for the first time. Starbucks Ph celebrates it's 20th anyway.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mula Sa Bagong Suweldo Hanggang Sa Petsa De Peligro

Makailang ulit na nga ba nating narinig ang mga katagang “petsa de peligro” lalo na sa ating mga katrabaho? Kung tuwing a kinse at katapusan ka sumasahod, malamang ay dinaranas mo rin ito tuwing a diyes at a bente singko. Ngunit huwag mabalisa. Hindi ka nag-iisa... at marahil, sama-sama n’yo na lang na pinagtatawanan ang mga pamamaraan para makaraos hanggang sa susunod na suweldo.

Batay sa aking obserbasyon sa oras ng pananghalian, ganito ang mga eksena mula sa bagong suweldo hanggang sa petsa de peligro:

1. Come, one and all. Let’s explore and have milk tea after!
2. Sa ikaapat na araw: Ay, medyo pricey. Let’s have the other one na lang.
3. Sa ikapitong araw: KFC na lang! / Fruit diet ako eh (sabay kagat sa mansanas).
4. End of days: Dami pang ginagawa eh! Una na kayo, mga kasama.

Hindi ko na isasapubliko kung kailan ako sumusuweldo. Isang bagay lang ang masasabi ko: May dahilan kung bakit ito ang paksang napili ko ngayong gabi. Hehe!