Saturday, December 29, 2007

White Christmas

I don't know where to begin. All I can say is... I had so much fun.

(Christmas Day) December 25
Flew to SF, arrived Christmas day. Al and his mom (with Sid, their dog) picked me up and then we headed off to Reno, NV. Quite a few stopovers so it was dark when we reached Reno. Checked in at Circus Circus and then had dinner. Mama went to the slot machines while Al and I checked up on Sid and went out to get Reno night shots. When we got back, Mama still hooked on the slot machine so we just went to have midnight snack at a cafe. Cozy talks. I got three gifts: an Old Navy fleece sweatshirt from Papa, an Escada perfume from Mama and an AK wristwatch from him. I got him a D40 (the one we used the entire trip) and got his parents something for the home.

December 26

Got ready for Lake Tahoe and had brunch at a Chinese resto in Reno. Fell asleep right after and when I woke up I was seeing mountains and snowcaps. Stopped by a vista point to look at the lake from Nevada side and then crossed the border of NV and CA, stopover at Carrows for something warm; more pictures and then played with snowballs. Headed home and watched Chuck and Larry (he fell asleep right away after I gave him a massage, poor Al, got tired drivin).

December 27
He was playing with Xbox 360 all morning while I had breakfast with his mom. We got ready and went to pay our T-Mo bill, and Mama went shopping while we had my watch resized. Ate at the food court, went to Best Buy to look for lens filters and a camera bag (unfortunately we didn't feel like buying em), and tried to find Xbox 360 games that I'd like. Went to another mall to pick up his mom and we ended up buying my own controller (pink!) and a couple of games.
Xbox-ed our night away and watched The Heartbreak Kid when we got tired.

December 28
I don't wanna get up. I'm sleepy and I didn't wanna leave.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve Misadventure

I got to Korea the night of the 23rd. Immediately went out to have Ssam Gyup Sal dinner and coffee and pretzel hangout with four of my donggis: Cha, Mica, Jila and Kim. All of them were flying out on the 24th so only Cristia (arriving on the morning of the 24th) and I will be at the hotel on Christmas eve.

As mentioned on the previous post, I was unlucky trying to find a church. Well anyway on the morning of 24th, I still tried to call up churches and searched the net. I found an internation Catholic [something] and they have English mass but I'm not sure where it was (directions were so vague), but anyhow I kept that option open. I asked the front desk to call up Hyehwa, the church with a Filipino mass every Sunday, coz I just know na ang pinoy--in Mica's words--hindi papayag na walang Christmas eve mass.

Indeed there is a mass, just that the Filipinos have to relocate coz the church will have a Korean mass for the parish. I didn't know where the new location was but according to the Filipina I talked to on the phone, everybody would meet up at the church and altogether go to the venue.

Anyway so Ms Crystal (my senior), Cristia and I went to the church after we had dinner at Han's Deli. We arrived early so we were wondering where all the people were. It turned out there were no Filipinos there (the meetup place might have to be someplace else) and we tried going to the direction that the priest told us to go to, but ended up going into the church anyway. Yes, the Korean mass.

Besides the fact that everything is in Korean, the sequence is quite different. I would have stayed if the Christmas carols were in English man lang but they were also translated: Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. So I just prayed and told God, "It's the thought that counts." And then we head back to the hotel after praying. I was able to pray well though, as the Koreans were really solemn when it comes to their masses.

Subway human traffic was enormous especially at our stop, Hong Dae, because our area is where a lot of bars and clubs are and it's where young people go to. And it being a holiday eve, people were heading our way.

Anyway, what turkey is to Thanksgiving is cake to Christmas here in Korea. Just a useless info. :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

All I want for Christmas... to hear/attend Christmas mass.

Seriously. I couldn't really ask for anything more 'coz God's been so good to me, even granting a long (3D/4N) layover in SF. I have a day off in Korea on the 24th and flying out on Christmas day to SF.

I inquired about [English and Tagalog] Christmas masses on two churches that usually have 'em on Sundays; unfortunately they won't have foreign language masses the day before, prolly just on Christmas day itself. My heart sank. Last Christmas I also wasn't able to go to church because I had a flight. And now that I have the chance, there are no masses I could actually understand.

Told Al about it and my only hope would be to hear mass when I get to SF (which, because of the 17-hour time difference, is still Christmas day). I was already at the office awaiting my showup for my Seattle flight and I was there MapQuest-ing nearby churches in SF. Luckily I found one that had the earliest possible time (with my arrival being sometime between 10am-12noon) -- a 1pm mass -- at a church four minutes away. It got my hopes up and gladly told him about it.

The thing is, we had planned to leave SF as soon as I get there to go to Reno, NV, which i s like a four hour drive (depending on how heavy the snow would be) and he wouldn't want us caught up in snow and driving through it dark and late. He didn't actually say no to my Christmas mass thing, but he didn't really say yes either.

Must have been the hormones working and I was crying in front of a computer at the office, ruining my makeup. It made me half-wish I'm spending Christmas at home, where people would certainly drop everything for a Christmas mass. It's so difficult expecting people to be doing the same stuff that you're used to, having the same beliefs that you have had all your life.

Christmas, is CHRIST-mas. How could I not go to church?

My cousin dete Jan--who flew to Yokohama the day I left Manila a few days ago--was right. It would have been easier to leave and not miss the people in our family/home had it been any other family. But when you're having the best, how could you find any place better?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Three kids have student visas valid until January 2008. If you ask me, I wouldn't even know visas are needed in the Philippines. December 2007, the kids--who had been studying at Brent in Laguna--are to go back to their country for Christmas break. But the immigration officer demands P2000 from each of the gradeschoolers for an "invalid visa"; he says the visas had to come with the receipts.

Tell me, have you ever seen a passport with receipts stapled to it?

One of the kids' mom comes to the rescue and asks an airline staff to talk to the immigration officer. It is, after all, a twisted reason. And guess what, the immigration officer agrees to accept $200 for all three kids.

Christmas. Money. Corruption.

Only in the Philippines.

WOW, Philippines.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 Summary

I was having a facial yesterday at Mall of Asia yesterday and I was laying still, eyes closed as the attendant was putting on my mask. Must've been the calming effects of the mask (or the fact that the place I chose wasn't too crowded like Let's Face It's) that I got to--ahem--reflect on my 2007.

A lot of things happened this year (well of course given 365 days, a lot would really happen), some sad but most are to be thankful of.

  • I've been shopping--quite often. Had learned the art of it. A bit.
  • Some of my donggis are no longer in Asiana: Erika, Mara, Anne, Sebie, Ate Jacq, Bianca and the most recent, Kat.
  • I've never dated before so I tried dating early this year.
  • Bought D *super smile*
  • My maternal lolo died.
  • Al. Enough said. :) Did he even know I was tryin' to be single this year?
  • If aL is God's way of rewarding me for what I did for Mav, then all of you reading this must know that God sure does know what "compensation" means!
  • Out of some twisted fate, I found a long lost friend named Kaye.
  • I got my US tourist visa! Ten years validity, multiple entries. I did not blog about this because it was a surprise for aL last month.
  • My parents celebrated 25 years of marriage.
  • I've experienced snow. (In Korea!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I'm stuck at home. Broke. Haha. Usually you won't find me at home on my days off in Manila. I'd most likely be at the mall shopping, or at the supermarket doing my grocery shopping, or at the spa getting a facial/mani/pedi or something. But I'm here at home and I don't wanna go out coz I only have five thousand pesos spending money. And no backups.

Yesterday I had to withdraw all the money I have from my ATM account (and oh boy it was the first time I had to carry cash that much coz mom would always just give us checks, or I'd keep it in my debit card instead of carrying cash) coz dad needs money for some reason. He said I'll have it back by this week naman. So I'm here and just left myself 5,000 pesos just in case I really need to go out.

I've decided to take care of my finances on my own; I didn't even know how to pay my bills, could you believe that? We always had someone who'd take the money from us and go pay the bills (and eventually causing me to overpay the broadband bill!), so I'm clueless on where to go to pay 'em, now that I'm tryin' to be responsible and pay for them myself. I'm starting to try learn what goes on with banks, credit cards, ATMs and whatevers. Haha. I feel like I'm getting older so I have to know how.

I spent all morning in front of the PC trying to decide which credit card company to apply for. And the first one on my list?

American Express!

Haha, I can hear people humming "Dream a Dream," or saying, "Dream on!" Hahaha. I browsed the website and there's just one card available, and it's a platinum so it's like difficult to get approved. Ideal income to get approved: PhP 1M per annum. I took out a calculator and started fiddling. Mmhmm... I didn't reach 1M! Ahaha. Major *toink* moment. I call up the sales department and inquire.

Me: I just have a few questions regarding the platinum peso card?
Agent: Go ahead.
Me: Are they strict about that one million pesos per annum income requirement?
Agent: Uh, yes ma'am.
Me: They are?
Agent: Uhm, ma'am, how young are you?
Me: (napataas ang kilay) Twenty-one?

I was wondering if I did sound young. Well I don't look young and I don't definitely sound young. I dunno why she asked my age. Anyway she said minimum might be 800k per year coz I said I didn't reach the 1M requirement, my annual income totalling to approximately a little over that. So okay maybe I still have a shot.

Then I browsed through Citibank; they have like so many different cards that I ended up asking dad how they chose theirs (dad has the Shell and Cathay Pacific ones and mom has Cathay Pacific and the rewards thing cards). Looks like I'm still clueless about it but I'm inclined on getting the Cathay Pacific Gold. Income requirement: 360k. Good. I could pass the requirement using my peso payslips.

Next stop: HSBC. I dunno why Mica's been telling me to get HSBC, except for the Mabuhay Miles. Hmm. Maybe I'd apply for one. But I can't find how much their annual fees are.

Anyway my credit card application day would have to wait until next month coz I have to request for COEs pa pala. Hay.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Heart on my Sleeve

For my bf, from my flipflops :)

Why do I wear my heart on my sleeve? Is that even right even if it's too much? I noticed that not everyone who's in love or is in a relationship seems to be as--for the lack of better term--flaunting as I am.

I don't know why but it seems that most often than not, the only topic I could think of would be aL, or something that has to do with him. Is that even normal?

So I miss him, I love him, I everything him; but not everyone who everythings somebody else actually is as transparent as I am.

I can't help it! Anyway below's a really good (read: mushy) song. That so fits my I-miss-aL-while-earphones-are-plugged-in moments.

+ + +

The Last Time
Eric Benet

The first time I fell in love was long ago
I didn't know how to give my love at all
The next time I settled for what felt so close
But without romance, you're never gonna fall

After everything I've learned
Now it's finally my turn
This is the last time I'll fall... in love.

The first time we walked under that starry sky
there was a moment when everything was clear
I didn't need to ask or even wonder why
Because each question is answered when your near
And I'm wise enough to know when a miracle unfolds
This is the last time i'll fall in love.

Now don't hold back, just let me know
Could i be moving much too fast or way too slow
'Cause all of my life, I've waited for this day
To find that once in a lifetime, this is it, I'll never be the same
You'll never know what it's taken me to say these words
And now that I've said them, they could never be enough
As far as I can see, there's only you and only me.

This is the last time I'll fall in love.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh, the LIFE!

OMG, I loved my layover in Phuket! I flew for a 24-hour stay with Jack and oh boy it felt like more than a couple of days coz we maximized the time! (More photos for my contacts in Multiply.)

2 AM. Arrival at Novotel Phuket Resort: dead tired.

9 AM. Peeling ourselves off the bed and drag our feet to the shower.
9-ish. Buffet breakfast at the cafe's veranda, under the umbrella and overlooking the beach.

10-ish. Walking along Patong Beach, can't decide whether to go sun baking first or Thai massage.

11 AM. Stumbles upon a decent and cozy-looking massage shop. Changes money from USDs to THBs and forgets the world. One hour authentic Thai massage then an hour of oil massage.

1:30 PM. Resurrects from death (oh heavenly death!) and walks along Patong Beach to find a good spot. Finds fruit vendors and buys watermelon, mango and pineapple slices.

2:30 PM. Laying on the beach chair, under the umbrella. Can't stop saying, "This is the life!"

3:00 PM. Starts wandering around the waters :) Gets a go signal from the owner to go have a picture on the jetski. FUN.

4:40 PM. Puts on the dress again and heads for the eateries. Orders Phad Thai and Thai iced tea! Owyea! YUM!

5-ish. Starts to walk back to the hotel but gets amazed with the sunset. Decides to sit on the sand and watch the sunset.

6-ish. Back at the hotel, hops into the shower and gets three hours of sleep before showing up for the flight back to Korea.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

7H sleep for 60H

I slept just under seven hours for a span of sixty hours. That's coz I went to Seattle and went out immediately post-flight. I flew with Jackie and Precious was already in Seattle; we hunted the first Starbucks store despite the cold and the rain!

We found it at Pike Place Market--a small store where you order your coffee to go. No tables and chairs. (The coffee and the cups they use are the same new ones that most stores use but the store was kept with the original logo and countertops.) They take your order at the counter, girl scribbles down on the cup, throws your cup to a barista almost two meters away, barista catches it and makes your coffee. Cool, eh? Bought aL a mug with the old logo on it.

Would anybody argue that this barista is so hot?

Starbucks' old logo.
It was in downtown Seattle and it was my first time there and it was awesome. I feel Christmas, I feel like I'm in a different country. Downtown LA nor San Francisco, not even Manhattan felt as downtown-y as Seattle's. We dropped by Ross coz Jack wants to get bags as Christmas gifts; Walgreens to get some chips; a mall where we had dinner (I had Chinese food); and Pacific Place to get twelve (12!) Victoria's Secret mists that Mica had asked me to get her.

I have thing for Christmas and Christmas trees okay :)

Then we walked to the bus station and waited more than fifteen minutes for the bus--I fell asleep during the bus ride! We stayed at Precious' room and ordered Pizza Hut too :) Slumber pizza party--and then we learned of the coup happening in Manila and then we slept!

Jack and I were add crew on the way back, sitting as passengers on a 12-hour flight. I find it hard to fall asleep on a chair, especially on a flight so I was wide awake and just eating and chatting with Precious when she's not busy with passengers or just listening to music with aL's B20.

We arrived last night and had dinner with dongkis at the lounge; later on Cha put some oil on my back and massaged me a bit (ooh thank God!) coz my back hurt from sitting for 12 hours; then I checked my January sched and fell dead asleep.