Category: Places

It is just recently that I realized that I have not posted an entry for more than a month now. I have tons of topics to blog about, but each time I think of posting an entry, time and other factors halt me.

I have previously blogged about my problem with Ira’s caregiver. My Ima and I fought severely about taking Ate Kriselle back, my mom knowing that this maid has a knack for leaving without a word, compromising everything else in your life. Well, I fought for our dear (or not so dear) Ate Kriselle. It was my way of telling my mom that we can stand up on our own and that we make our own decisions for Ira. Turned out after all that Ima was right. Let me not dwell on the details because it gives me the worst heartache for a maid.

In sum, we are (again) looking for Ira’s yaya. Truth be told, I just want the person to be sane. I can easily teach her all the chores I need her to do and Ira’s routine. But I cannot simply impose sanity on one person. Ima arrived from Pampanga to bring a yaya but I told Ryan from day one that this person can only last for a month (that is a generous estimate already). She doesn’t even know how to put Ira to sleep. On her first day, Ira only drank one bottle of formula. She said Ira refused to drink milk in the afternoon. I was like, whaaat? One bottle for more than 8 hours? Of course Ira will refuse with all her might to drink the milk prepared in the morning! Heeelllo??? Sasakit pa tyan ng anak ko. I wanted to send her out of the house right then and there.  She has more boo boos that can make a mom go crazy, but never mind. I will spare you the opportunity of laughing your hearts out.

We are in full blown preparation for Ira’s birthday. Ria of Partycraft and I have been in constant communication about the details of Ira’s party. I am getting more tensed as days go by. Good thing I have her, she pacifies my nerves with her ever cool attitude.

Last Saturday, we took Ira, the new nanny and Ima (who decided to come last minute) to our company outing in Splash Island. It was a breath of fresh air except that there were 2600 employees (with their families) from Toyota who were also having their outing there.  So Ira and I just took a quick dip and caved in for the rest of the day in a cabana. I was surprised that Ira enjoyed the swimming immensely. She would dip her whole face in the water and be shocked after. She walked along the pool even up to chest-deep level and I never saw her got scared. I was a proud and happy mommy that day.

After that, we went to Mamplasan to buy a pair of running shoes. Hubby and I have been yearning to go there I can’t remember when. But men’s shoes ran out of sizes so I was the only one who went home with a pair. Oh, he was able to buy sandals pala. The one like Sanuk. He was happy with it na rin.

We were caught by the traffic on our way home from Susana Heights until after Alabang and Ryan was already cursing SLEX under his breath.  He really hated going to the South on account of this factor.

Over all, it was a fun-filled day. I was happy to have spent time again with my mom. We have a different relationship but we get along just fine (until the next fight, haha). I can see that she loves Ira and enjoys taking care of her more now.

When we arrived in Makati, we had to go to the Picture Company for Ira’s photo sessions in preparation for her birthday but believe me when I say that details of her session is worthy of another post.

I have a very bad headache now which I had to consult the doctor for. The doctor said it is still my recurring Myofascial Pain Sydrome. I am due for cervical spine X-ray tomorrow and have a referral to the Rehab doctor. I am really stressed coz there are just so many things to do and yet I cant seem to finish anything.  I am getting this headache because things are just all mixed up.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. And it better be. 🙂


Party Planning

Ira will turn 8-months old on Friday, January 15. Few months away she will be one year old already. I feel like I was just in the delivery room last month, now she is pulling things her hands can get a grip on and just endlessly blabbering.

Since Monday, I have been trying to search party planners, magicians, venues and what have you. I only tried to call today and believe it or not, even though Ira’s birthday is still four months away, most venues are already booked. I have checked forums and blogs on ideas on the venue but I did not realize that I would already be having a hard time.

Hubby and I were thinking that since Ira’s birthday falls on summer, maybe it will be good to have a pool party or something in an open place like a clubhouse. To my surprise, not only are the prices quite steep (considering you’d have to pay for a caterer and party decorator separately), most of them are booked.

I called up first Palladium in Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong. It is near our place and it would be very easy for guests to locate it since it lies along Shaw Blvd. But whad’ya know?! “Sorry Ma’am, we’re already booked on that date” was the answer of the woman on the other line. Pfft. Whatever. This made my venue-hunting frustrating. First option is already out.

And all other clubhouses I called are also booked on Ira’s day. Talk about dilemma, huh?

I am currently exchanging emails with Active Fun and with Kiko’s Balloons and Events Services (the latter claims to work under the budget you give them). I want to see their rates and I am hoping I can work out a deal with any of these suppliers soon.

I want to start with the planning while I still have more time. I don’t want to procrastinate (just like in my wedding and Ira’s baptism). I want to make Ira’s 1st birthday extra special. I don’t intend to be so ostentatious with the party. I just want to make it something people will remember Ira by and something that my baby will be proud of when she grows up.

I have to start working now. Gotta go. I will update you once I have concrete details already. 🙂

My family and I are frequenters of the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati, not because of any vain reason, but because it is the nearest mall to our place. It takes us less than 10 minutes to get there on a Sunday and probably 20 minutes on an ordinary traffic day. When the bridge from our street which connects Mandaluyong directly to Rockwell (yes, directly from the street where we live!) is completed, then it would probably take us just about 5 minutes to get there. Neat, huh?

We go to church there every Sunday, straight to the supermarket for our weekly supplies. Naturally, we try different restaurants whenever we could.

One restaurant that we really like(d) is C2 Classic Cuisine. I like its quaintness and the homey feeling that comes with it. I like the design and the utensils used, even the condiments holder. I like the fact that the kitchen is just separated by a glass whereby customers can see what the chefs are doing. For me, that promotes transparency. So whenever there is nowhere else to eat, we go for C2.

My co-lawyers and I usually choose this whenever we have lunch-outs (this is after we got tired of Via Mare in Landmark). One of the main reasons why we go there is the price. For some, it may be a bit pricey, but if you learn to order just the right dish for you, then the price will be alright. This I have learned after several times of eating there. We have especially liked Crispy Kare-kare, Dory Escabeche, Ginataang Puso ng Saging (which is extra spicy! yum!), Sisig Express and their oh-so-yummy Bibingka Souffle. During peak hours, you have to wait to be seated because the customers pile in like crazy, even on weekdays.

The creamy and yummy Bibingka Souffle. Ask the Waiter to serve "for later". Watch out though, because the inside is sometimes scorching hot. May burn your tongues!

So last December 26, 2009, after arriving from Pampanga (and opening Ira’s gifts), we went straight to Rockwell to meet BIL Patrick and some. Hubby and I decided to eat at C2 since for us, we have time tested it.

I was surprised to see that they had a new menu. The fonts were embossed (does that matter?) and some dishes have been scrapped away and there were new items too. But what struck me the most is the change in price. I instantly told hubby about it and our eyebrows raised involuntarily. We went ahead with the ordering, and after some discussions, we chose Ensaladang Mangga, Crispy Ribs Sinigang, Pork and Chicken Barbeque and Sisig Express. I wanted some veggie dish but reluctantly stopped with the ordering.

Crispy Ribs Sinigang. The soup is served separately. But not much different with the ordinary sinigang. I prefer the Crispy Kare-Kare.

When asked for the drinks, hubby suggested Calamansi juice coz I prefer this often and because my colds just started during that time. However, I saw that they have Moringa Tea. Being a breastfeeding mom, I knew that this had malunggay as its main ingredient. I was interested and I asked about how it tastes — the waiter offered to give me a free taste. After checking with the kitchen, he said they do not have moringa anymore. ^Sigh. Too bad for Ira.

So I was back to the calamansi again. The waiter asked if I want it hot or cold. I looked at the price and was surprised to see that hot calamansi was only Php45.00! Hubby asked how much the cold one is, and the waiter replied, “pareho lang po ng hot” .

All of us, except for one, ordered the said juice.

When our food arrived, we munched away. I liked the juice, and compared it to other restaurant’s. I found it okay and noticed that the food serving have been considerably reduced. Anyhoo, we tried to enjoy whatever food we had.

When hubby asked for the bill, he instantly gave me a nudge to show me how much the bill was. For three dishes and one appetizer, we had more than Php2000 for the bill! Goodness gracious! We did not even order anything beyond Php500, I whispered.  I then thoroughly inspected the bill. I saw that for the juice alone, the charge was almost Php600! I checked and saw that they charged Php135 for each friggin’ calamansi juice.

Of course I called the attention of the person who handed the bill to us. I told her that we were told that the juice was just 45 pesos. And that I will not pay for 135pesos for one calamansi juice. She said its for 135 because it falls under “fresh fruit juice”. Oh yeah? I asked. Why didn’t the waiter tell me then? Had we been told that the calamansi juice  was 135, we would not have ordered it. We would have ordered fruits which are more costly for that matter.

The lawyer in me insisted that I will not pay 135 for each juice. I will only pay 45 and that’s it. No further statements. The lady then called the manager (who was young to be one). He talked to me and I said my piece. My last statement was “I will not pay 135 for each juice, wherever this matter may bring us. Period” So the discreetly arrogant Manager went away. The revised bill was returned to us, showing that we ordered Hot Calamansi instead and we were charged Php45 for each juice. I think about 1/4 of our bill was slashed.

I was kinda bothered if I acted just right or if I went beyond the borders. But I knew that I was just acting within my rights’ limits as a mom, as a person and as a lawyer. I just asserted what was rightful. Maybe the waiter who took our orders was admonished, but I know that a calamansi juice, however pricey it may be in the market, will not cost Php135. The cold and hot one do not have much difference other than the temperature, so why will the price be so considerably different from one another? In some restaurants, the price of a cold calamansi ranges from Php60-80. It is usually the cheapest fruit juice.

Maybe C2 needs to rethink this area of their business. When I even told the Manager about the changes in the Menu, he snootily told me that the price of their supplies went up. Well Mr. Manager, you could have said it nicely since you caused us inconvenience and stress with that juice thingy! I did not even get an apology from you! Hmp! And the next time we get confused with where to eat, your restaurant is scrapped from my list. I have had enough of you and your discreet arrogance.

(Note: I even googled if calamansi was indeed a fruit. Turned out yes. Hehehe. ;))

barely a month ago, my ima (as the whole family and lots of friends call her) or my mother, chided me with a simple request of having her 61st birthday celebrated somewhere other than our place in pampanga. she suggested a weekend getaway somewhere since her birthday will fall on a long weekend. i gave in instantly since she didnt get to celebrate her 60th bday last year due to her mother’s demise. our initial choice was somewhere in laguna, but it was pricey and far from pampanga. then came canyon cove, still pricey and far. we needed a house, not just a room like in canyon cove.

the living room and a view of the kitchen/dining area of the villa we stayed in. you can also see the veranda where we grilled bbq and where our dog stayed. the space was enough for the whole family!

so came the fontana idea. the villa will be perfect for the size of our family. we just needed someone who can get the cheaper rates. atty. vic gladly helped me out to get the reservations and her sister obligingly helped me through the checking-in process. (lots of thanks!)

early this year, PGMA announced that november 27-28 are special non-working holidays for the muslim festival. without much surprise though, she changed her mind and recalled her earlier proclamation. so as not to ruin our plans, ryan and i just filed for leave from work.

sadly, my kuya jme couldn’t join us coz of work and coz of a long overdue issue of bringing her girl along.

days before the 27th, which is my ima’s actual birthday, i had series of hearings out-of-town. unfortunately, this prevented me from suitably preparing for our weekend getaway. as a ratpack, i hated this so much! argh!

so on the 26th, i packed and packed as much as i could, in ways that will not show that we are off for a month’s vacation. is it my fault then that i have a 6-month old baby who needed sterilizer? who needed feeding  bottles and all the stuff that comes with it? hah!

we left home at about 10:30 AM, with me cussing under my breath, coz ate freli is not home to help me with the chores and all the preparations.

we arrived in lubao, pampanga (technically, my hometown) at around 12PM just in time for lunch. we immediately greeted the birthday girl and kissed her. i knew instantly that by mere presence, we made her happy. she then started babbling with eat this, eat that. shouted at everyone in the household for rice, for water, for viands, etc. she was always like that. she has a spunk that everyone would love –and/or hate at the same time.

after eating, and after my brothers and ryan decided to play counter-strike at the family-owned computer shop, we left for fontana. we arrived there around 3pm and after settling our things in the villa, we immediately ate pansit canton and empanada for snacks. when ira felt sleepy, ima thought she can lull her to sleep by doing her old trick of putting the baby on top of a pillow and racking her feet. no-oh! not with ira. when i tried it on her, she just laughed and laughed. that’s what she did with ima too.

it was a fun-filled weekend for the entire family. the kids immensely enjoyed swimming and running in and outside the villa. ira, for one, cried at the wave pool and slept through her bathing suit. ima had almost everything prepared, from siling labuyo to marinated pork belly. she played with my little ira, with my baby immediately learning the 1-2-3 solid trick her lola ima taught her. we enjoyed eating ima’s good ole’ cooking. we all loved, oh except for ate freli and ate sarah, the free centralized aircon we had for three days. i sulked in the warm bath day in and day out.

ira's first plunge into the water...she doesnt quite like it though. 🙂

there was no regret that we went ahead with the plan, despite budget constraints. i know that ima felt, and still feels happy with her birthday celebration. i can imagine her talking to friends, bragging that her kids planned this for her birthday.

the whole family except for ima...ira is busy with something else

i stayed in the jacuzzi for hours, just letting the pressure of the water massage my over-fatigued human body. i closed my eyes and froze the moment in my mind…i prayed to God that good things like those will keep coming to my family. i thanked and praised Him for every bit of blessings i have, and thanked Him more for those to come.

kuya kenji was splashing some water on ira's face. she seemed to be okay with it as long as i was holdng her..:)

that weekend may have meant a lot to my ima, but it meant more to me, as it not only rested my tired body, it fed my famished soul.

plane rides

I have always been afraid of riding planes, but always wanted to try it. I remember the first real story that vividly described how it feels to ride a plane came from my older brother, Kuya Jme. He and my other Kuya went to Hongkong for a trip when I was still in Law School. He so clearly described to me the experience of riding a plane. His descriptions made me both scared and excited at the same time.

So when I started to work for Grepa (that’s how we call our company), I was told there will be lots of travelling, plane rides included. I was sooooo excited back then coz I was looking for new experiences that will sort of revive my mundane life.

I had my first travel for work barely a week after I was hired. It was a hearing in General Santos City. I decided not to sleep there and take a return flight on the same day. It was my first time to ride a plane, so with the checking in and going through all the security checks, I was thrilled! As I was going through the motions of riding the plane, I realized it is not so bad after all. My boss advised me to take a window seat in order to fully experience the ride since it was my first time.

Then came the take-off. Boy was I ecstatic! I said a prayer as the plane was rallying. I held my breath the entire time the plane was taking off while my eyes were shut. Then I realized it actually felt good and not even scary! It even helped that I was seated right next to another lawyer who had a hearing in Gen San too. He told me stories the entire time about  the Labor Arbiter who will preside over my case and I was somehow entertained. Nevertheless, I kept glancing at the monitor at how fast we were moving, with the altitude we were at and all that other airplane stuff.

Then my seatmate said something that made my breath stop. He said there was something wrong. He said we have been turning round and round when we were supposed to land already. I breathed heavily. Thoughts came running through my mind. Like, whaaaat? Something’s wrong? On my first plane ride? Is this what the song Ironic of Alanis Morisette means? I thought, this can’t be! I just rejuvenated my life and I just started my new job. I can’t die on this plane!

It came to my mind then that there were two typhoons on that day. It was my Mom’s birthday too, November 27, 2007. So I said to God, oh no, I can’t die on my Mom’s birthday! It will crush her to pieces. I prayed and prayed. And the pilot spoke. He said the clouds were hazy and that he couldn’t land the plane as the runway cannot be seen.

Apparently, we were losing fuel so we had to emergency land at the Mactan Cebu Airport. My seatmate said, there goes your hearing. I missed my first hearing for the company. But I was more concerned with a lot of things beside that. I texted my boss and he was scared. He was concerned that I will have trauma after that incident. But at the back of my mind, I was excited to see Cebu, even just the airport. After refueling, we went back to Gen San. As expected, I missed my hearing but they knew already as my office called them up.

I found out then that taxi fares there are fixed since they barely have customers. I had to pay Php500 for going around Gen San. The driver (named Popo) showed me around, like where the grocery of Manny Pacquiao is and other stuffs. He helped me find the store where the cheapest Tuna is sold. I bought kilos of tuna and Suha. After we ate, I happily went back to the airport (though still scared).

On the way back, I forgot to ask for a window seat when I checked in. My seatmate now is a young girl, about 17-18 yrs old. She said it was her first time to ride a plane and she was holding a White Flower (the liniment?) next to her nose the whole time. She was crying. I suddenly felt like a pro and I appeased her.

I have experienced hundreds of plane rides after that. Its better when you’re not travelling alone but otherwise, its okay. I have gotten used to it. Even when I was already pregnant, I traveled via plane a lot. But I preferred to stop after 5 months because there were too many forms to fill up and I needed clearance from my OB.

Yesterday was my first plane ride after a long time (after giving birth and all). It still felt the same. I usually just doze off even before take off. I loved that there was no air turbulence yesterday and the ride was smooth.

I am looking forward to more plane rides, safe ones at that. But I hope to have more with Ryan and Ira. I hope she doesnt get sick on the plane or cry like other babies do. I want her to experience it early and get rid of the fear early, unlike her mom.

I like it up there, no pollution, no dust. I like the feeling of watching over the clouds and seeing how beautiful the world really is. It is quiet up there and the feeling that you will be seeing another place is revitalizing. I want Ira to see and realize all these for herself. Hopefully this coming summer, we will be able to do that with her.