My Great Singapore Experience

I have to say, that this is one of my best summer ever for I was able to travel and visit one of the most interesting country in Asia, Singapore. For a small country in terms of land area, I must say that Singapore has it all. Every space is maximized and not a single space is wasted. Smack right in the middle of the city you will find parks, mountains, rivers and forest reservations. It is urban planning at its finest. I love Singapore because it is very tourist friendly. I also like the no fuss, no frills, straight forward style of living. Everything is well thought out and organized. You just have to read and follow instructions well. We stayed for about a week and during this time we visited quite a number of interesting places…

ESPLANADE
This is an events place where plays, concerts and large functions are held. When we were there, the stage play, CATS, was showing. It is also known for its Durian-like structure which makes it one of the most popular architectural structures in Singapore. We had fun taking pictures around the place because the view is just great.
CHARGE: Free of charge (unless you would want to watch a concert or play)

MERLION PARK
Of course, trip to Singapore will not be complete without paying tribute to the famous Merlion (don’t ask me about the legend because I’ve simply forgotten all about it, pardon my anesthesia induced short term memory). It is a good 5-10 minutes walk from the Esplanade. We passed by this wonderful bridge with the great view of Singapore skyline at night. Better go there night time because the view at night is just perfect. We had to make lots of stops along the bridge to take pictures. From here you can see the flyer, the largest Ferris wheel in the world. The statue of the Merlion in this park is better looking than the one in Sentosa and this one is also a fountain, thus making it picture perfect. From here we rode the really nice tugboat that took us on a wonderful river cruise. We got a good view of the posh Fullerton Hotel and the strips of restos lining up Clarke Quay, which is the endpoint of the river cruise. You will love the gentle breeze and all that romantic feeling that a river cruise always brings on so better have your hubby along if you plan to do this. I didn’t, so I was just imagining him beside me.:)
CHARGE: Free of charge for the park and $ 6.00 per pax for the river cruise


CLARKE QUAY

Clarke Quay is the place to be if you’re looking for that perfect night out with friends. It has loads of restaurants and bars. There’s the Clinic Bar with an interesting set-up. Hospital beds as lounges and wheel chairs as guests chairs. You will be served in dextrose and get intoxicated by the alchohol shot! Nah, just kidding. Of course famous Hooters and Fashion bar are there together with the other popular restos and bars. There are about a hundred or so restaurants to choose from with delectable food and yummy cocktail drinks.
CHARGE: Free of charge when you step into Clarke Quay but full of charge if you take on one or two drinks and eat some yummy food there.

CHINATOWN
Since this is a Chinese country of course there’s a Chinatown, where you can get the best bargains for your pasalubongs. If you’re going to SG, I recommend you buy most of your pasalubongs here because the signature SG shirt is really cheap here compared to the ones in the mall. You can get them for like 3 for $10. See, such a bargain. You can also buy lots of cute trinkets and other Chinese goodluck charms for cheap. We bought some really cute jade bracelets and cellphone charmers as giveaways. Plus, picture taking is great here because of the bursts of colors. There are also temples around such as the Burmese and Indian temples that you can visit.
CHARGE: bring lots of money because you won’t be able to resists the good buys here

MUSTAFA
This is the place where Indians abound and I must say this is a shopper’s heaven. Everything in Mustafa is cheap, cheap, cheap. From branded perfumes, watches, shades, bags and homewares down to the candies, chocolates. The goods are cheap in this place because it has something to do with the tariff cuts/agreement. Anyway, basta cheap that’s all that matters. You can get a very good bargain there. Another place where you can indulge yourself and where you can buy your pasalubongs.
CHARGE: No charge except for the ones you’ll buy

ORCHARD ROAD
If you love hitting the malls, this one’s for you because here you can find rows and rows of malls which at the time we went there were mostly on sale. In Takashimaya mall, there was an on going shoes and bags sale. 50% -70% off on branded items like Lacoste, Guess, Nine West, Aldo, Calvin Klein etc. etc. All your favorite shops you can find here, just wear your most comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking.
CHARGE: Free of charge except for the ones you’ll buy

SINGAPORE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS
This is one of the best place I have been to in Singapore. It is home to one of the world’s vast primates collection. You will encounter here animals that are not present in most zoos such as the white polar bear, endangered species like walrus, penguins and sea lions, pumas, Leopard, cheetah, wolf and jaenas. One of the interesting species in the world, the white tigers, can also be found here. They also have a huge reptile collection as well as the animals that we come to love as we grow up like the giraffes, zebras, hippopotamus, elephant, kangaroos, white rhinoceros, flamingos etc. What is good about this zoo also is that it is a conservation and research center as well as a breeding site for most endangered animals. The zoo was able to recreate a place that is so close to the natural habitat of these animals that is why most animals are not in cages (well, except for the wild ones), they roam around their personal spaces. You will really get to be up close and personal with them. As you enter you will be given a map, you can either walk on foot and explore the whole zoo or ride on trams and just get off at certain points if you like. My sister, daughter and I decided to explore the zoo on foot and so we were leisurely walking around when we noticed at the side of the road a lizard/iguana looking reptile that is about one meter long cautiously walking along the road. When it spotted us rooted on the ground with our mouths hanging open, we quickly turned our backs and rode on the next tram that passed by. I’m sure it is harmless or else it wouldn’t be allowed to roam around but my sister remembered this tiny bit of information that those kinds like to chase people around so, just imagine us at that moment and you will get the picture. There are also scheduled animals shows such as Elephant Show, Dolphin Show, Bird Show, Penguin/Sea Lion Show everyday where you can pop in and watch. My daughter absolutely loved this. This is truly a great place to bring kids and kids at heart.
CHARGE: Entrance – Adult $16.87 and Child $8.41 ; Tram ride – Adult and $5 Child 2.50

NIGHT SAFARI
This is also one of the must see places in Singapore. As the Singapore Zoo closes at 6, Night Safari opens at 7 in the same place. Of course here, you will get to view their vast collection of nocturnal animals. You can either go and explore on foot by yourselves or ride the tram. I suggest you ride a tram because you never really know what animals are lurking in the dark out there because like I said some are free to roam around (awoooo…hehehe). Flash photography is strictly prohibited for this will definitely render these nocturnal animals blind. There is an excellent tour guide in the tram who will get everyone familiarize with all the animals that you can see there. There is also a scheduled Animal show every night at 7:30 and 8:30. It was an entertaining show, the animals are very well-trained to show-off.:)
CHARGE: Adult $30 and child $27 : Tram ride $11

SENTOSA ISLAND
And now we come to my favorite place in Singapore, Sentosa Island. You have two options if you plan to go there. You can take the monorail from Harbour Front to Sentosa and back, or you can take the cable car (which we did) from Harbour Front to Sentosa and back. It was my first cable car ride and I must say, I felt a different kind of high when we were up there seeing the whole Singapore from a hundred feet high and seeing Sentosa island slowly coming into view. My daughter and I were all giddy and excited. I totally enjoyed this whole island very much. For me it is better than Disney. They have so much to offer, it’s like having a great birthday treat. There’s the Animal Encounters, Underwater World, Sky Tower, 4D Magix, Images of Singapore, Butterfly Park and Insect kingdom, Luge and Sky ride, Merlion Walk, Flying Trapeze and Songs of the Sea. There are also lots of beach bars, restaurants and cafes/ bistros in the island so food and comfort are not a problem. My daughter and I particularly like the 4D magix where you can feel the crabs pinch, the bees sting, birds flying and water splashes and oh what the heck, that whole kiddie feeling . During that time Pirates was showing. We were also surely captivated by the Songs of the Sea, a 30 minute show featuring pyrotechnics, water jets, brilliant lasers, captivating music and other dramatic effects. It was just simply amazing, that’s the only word that can describe it. You can also go visit and explore the three beaches in Sentosa, the Siloso beach, Tanjong beach and Palawan beach, which is considered as the southernmost point of Continental Asia. I suggest you allot two days if you plan to explore this island because the one whole day that we were there was just not enough.
CHARGES: Cable car two-way A $19/ C $9.50, Entrance $ 2, Animal and Bird encounters (free), Butterfly park and insect kingdom A $16/ C $10, Desperados $ 12, Dolphin Lagoon A $22.90/ C 14.60, Images of Singapore A $10/ C $7, Sentosa 4D Magix A $18/ C $ 11, Cine Blast A $18/ C $ 11, Songs of the Sea $10 per person, Underwater world A $22.90/ C 14.60, Tiger Sky Tower A $ 12/ C $8

CITY TOUR
Of course not to forget, before you head home, the city tour. Singapore downtown has a lot to offer. There are great structures that truly are an architect’s delight in this city. When we were there we visited Vivo City, which was cited as one of the best mall in the world. We also dined at Suntec City mall where IT Fairs are held. We checked out the Fountain of Wealth and passed by Rendevouz Hotel and Raffles Hotel, two oldest hotels to date. We also visited this quaint place Chijmes, which was actually a convent before but is now a fabulous place that is home to some nice restaurants. We also visited Singapore Art Museum, National Library , Singapore Management University and City Hall. The city is definitely as engaging as the other tourist spots.
CHARGE: free of charge (just a leisure walk around)

FOOD
There are lots of different restaurants around–Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Thai to name a few, with great food. If you like food adventure, I highly recommend Glutton’s Bay near Esplanade, which serves all the local dishes. McDonald’s, KFC and other fastfood restos don’t serve rice plus the chicken that they serve is a little spicy. The food rates are relatively high if you will convert, so do not convert anymore if you want to really enjoy your meal.:)

Some travel tips: Although there are lots of taxis around with honest taxi drivers better ride the MRTand the bus to save money that you can just use for shopping and sight seeing. Buy a store value card in one of the stations to avoid having to get a ticket for every ride. You can also use this store value card when riding the bus. If you plan to ride the bus, check which bus no. will pass by your destination at the bus stations/stop because not all buses go there, the places are bus coded. When in an elevator or stairs, always keep left, because the right side is always for the ones who are in a hurry. When crossing the street, wait for the walk signal to light up, you can’t just cross the street just like what we do here. Always bring along hand tissue and wipes although most public toilets in restaurants, stations and malls are very very clean with tissue and all, some foodcourts do not provide tissue. And lastly, do not forget to smile and say please, thank you and excuse me all the time, Singaporeans are known to be very polite.

We had a great, great time in Singapore. The one week that we were there was simply not enough. There are lots to see and to appreciate there. It is not true that you can tour Singapore in one day, those who claim to have toured this city in just one day is simply stupid because who in his right mind would just go around driving in this beautiful city. It takes 4 or more days to actually unearth the beauty, get immersed in the rich culture and be totally captivated by this beautiful Tiger city which has so much to offer. T’was love at first, second and third and fourth and….sight for me.:)

Why God Never Gives…

Sometimes i wonder why God never gives that exact thing that I always asks for and why sometimes it is taking so long for him to respond to my pleas and prayers. I also wonder why sometimes He seems to confuse me more than let me see clearly what to do…I guess

God never gives us the answer to our problem because He would want us to figure out the solution ourselves. He believes in us so much that he gives us different choices on how to live our life. He never imposes himself to us nor dictates to our hearts how to go about our life.

God never gives us the perfect life that we always aim for because He wants to give us so many chances and opportunities instead. He would want us to work on the kind of life that we can be truly proud of. He believes in us so much that he never imposes himself nor dictates to our hearts how to live our life.

God never gives us the perfect health that we always pray for because He would want us to use our will power in choosing the kind of lifestyle that we would adapt and lead. He believes in us so much that He never imposes Himself to us nor dictates to our hearts how to love our life.

God never gives us the perfect partner in life because He would want us to find that person instead in our own perfect time and to grow in love everyday with that person that we choose to spend the rest of our life with. He never imposes himself nor dictates to our hearts whom to love and when to love.

God never gives us everything in a snap of a finger because He loves us so much that He would want us to see clearly the kind of person that we have become and the kind of person that we can be.

God never gives us everything easy because He would want us to realize how great we can be if only allow ourselves to be.

Finally, God never gives us just anything but instead everything we need. He knows every heartaches, struggles and confusions. He is just there all over the place, in everything and in anything, all we have to do is just look closely. He never imposes Himself nor dictates to our hearts to choose Him, follow Him, believe in Him and have complete trust in Him…it is always up to us…

Have a blessed holy week everyone…

Teacher’s Notes

You know what I like about teaching? It’s that part where you sometimes get stunned by the unexpected things that students do. Those “wow’ moments. I had a lot of those moments this school year. That is why even though I keep telling my students I wouldn’t miss them and I’m glad to send them off to intermediate, there is still that part of me that is just a bit wistful, a bit sad actually, for I will truly truly miss their craziness.

No matter what they say, there will always be one or two students who will take those soft spots in every teacher’s heart. In my case, there were actually two. One is a toughie who was at the start a bit wary of me. She didn’t trust me right away like the other girls, instead I had to win her trust. She was a bully in the making and the self-appointed class leader. She was not afraid to challenge authority. She was and still is quite a handful. But I discovered that underneath the toughness is a kid who often needs reassurance and a boost in her confidence. The kind of relationship that we had is one that I will never forget. She is my toughie who is actually a softie. The other one is the classic problem kid, she was somebody who had been marked and branded as the hard headed one since first grade. She came to my class a spitfire. She was so damned honest she often leaves her classmates bleeding with her sharp tongue. She always sends someone crying to me often last year. I guess my patience and blind faith in her paid off, because when classes resumed after Christmas break, she was a totally different kid. She is my stone who is actually a jewel.

For the last quarter we were talking about rights, citizen’s roles and government. For my student’s last project, they had to come up with a law based on a problem that they observed happening in school. One of the reminders was not to make the obvious ones like no-littering or anti-noise pollution laws anymore. While I was checking their project, I can’t help but laugh at a few. Here are some…Anti-Gossip Law (no blackmailing, no back stabbing and no teasing, those who will violate this law will clean the bathrooms for several weeks)… Anti-Rumor Law (you should not make someone look bad, you should not believe in rumors, you should not mind rumors, you should not make rumors that no one will enjoy-hahahaha, all rumor makers will take the place of auxiliaries (cleaning ladies) for one week). ..No Showing Off Law (no bringing of fancy stuffs, no bragging, no flipping of hair—where did that come from,hahaha, those who will violate these law will have to donate the fancy stuffs to Gawad Kalinga)…No breaking of Promises Law (this law prohibits students from breaking their promises, students should not ditch, curse or forget their best friends at all times–there’s bitterness somewhere here-hahaha)…Sitting Properly Law (all should obey this law, no crossing of legs, putting feet up, slouching, sitting on top of the table and removing of shoes inside the classroom, those who will violate this law will sit in an electric chair)…Well, we can definitely learn a thing or two from kids.

My students fulfilled some of my wishes this year, that is for me to see clearly the good change I made in them and for them to change something in me for the better…I remember, the other day while I was checking the diary, my attention was caught by a small brass lamp that one of my student was holding, it was a prop for their role play in Language. While I was admiring it, I jokingly said, “Do you think a genie will come out of this thing?” They said ‘Yes miss, try it” and so I made a show of rubbing it and was surprised when suddenly my students laughed uncontrollably and pointed at my side. When I looked up, true enough there standing beside me was a genie… my student Jeannie Shin saying “Miss, your wish is my command” With these kids around you really don’t need a fairy tale genie, they will make your wishes come true if you just believe in them.:)

A Taste Of Heaven Here On Earth

Up in the mountain where the earth meets the sky, I got a taste of heaven…It was pure bliss to sleep in fresh, crisp, white sheets and fluffy pillows. Being awaken from deep slumber at night and being scared shitless by all these nocturnal animals like that tuko paying homage from our screened window. It felt good not worry about getting the sheets mussed or having it changed or putting the bed in order…eating food that you would not even thought about preparing for yourself. Healthy appetizers (veggies in assorted dips and sauces), well thought out main dish and sinful desserts served in porcelain plates and silverware…fine dining and being served upon by charming ladies at each meal. In an ordinary day, I would be eating a hurriedly prepared meal and I wouldn’t think about using different kinds of plates, spoons, forks and knives at each course of a meal since I’d be thinking about the pile of dishes that i had to wash…It felt good being waited upon and not to worrying about a thing…spending the afternoons strolling along trails and enjoying the breeze and the sloping view of the mountain and the city far away….spending mornings doing quiet meditation or solemn prayers. In that place where there is not that much noise you can clearly hear your thoughts and the desires of your heart. It felt good confessing to a priest who got amused with my sins, hearing him laugh out loud while I was recounting with him little anecdotes of my sins. He never made me feel awful for being a sinner like some priests i know but instead he made me feel good in knowing that no sin is ever great not to be forgiven. At that time, I felt like it was really God I was confiding in.

I was reluctant to spend those three days up there in the mountain because for me it was very hard to leave my busy, comfortable life, and I felt guilty being away from my family that long. But with all the countless blessings I have been receiving, how can I not give just three days of my whole life to commune with God. While I was there, I realized that we are tied to our “busy” life as tightly as we would like to be, when we loosen our hold we will realize that the world that we left behind did not stop just because we let go. Sometimes we need to be with our self to find again our balance and our purpose, to reaffirm our beliefs and values, to not get our “self” lost in that busy state called life…When I left for three days, the world did not fall apart, no major catastrophe happened, no major conflict arose like what I feared, instead everything just work out on its own..It is true that everything is ready in the plan of God.

My “Wow” Moments

I need a perk up. It’s been difficult lately. I am a bit shaken by some thoughts of impending changes in our life that might be too soon in coming. I have to remind myself to think happy, positive thoughts. And so I will, by writing down the moments in my life that bring/brought smile on my face and that make/made me feel grateful and happy..

Here are some of those moments when the word WOW aptly describes everything…

the first time I had a heart to heart talk with my dad, who just did the opposite of what i expected would be his first reaction. Instead of getting mad at me and throwing me out of the house he laughed at me and hugged me and promised me that he would take care of everything

the first time my husband and I kissed and made love

the first time I held my daughter in my arms

the first time my daughter walked her first steps and said her first word

the first time I witnessed a butterfly coming out of its chrysalis

the first time I saw all these amazing sea creatures up close especially my favorite sting ray

the first time I sat behind the wheel again and drive after seven years of not driving

everytime my husband hugs me and kiss me and says I love you unexpectedly

everytime my husband go to great lengths just to please me

everytime my husband wakes up at an ungodly hour without complaints just to get me water or to accompany me or my daughter in the bathroom to pee

eveytime one of my close friend says exactly the right words that i need to hear or words that will soothe me and make me feel alright

everytime I receive answered prayers

everytime I experience deja’ vu

everytime I wake up without the help of my handy alarm clock at exactly the time that I am supposed to wake up

everytime I meet twins and the thought that I have nephews who are twins also

everytime I notice some semblance of myself or my husband in my daughter

everytime I find underneath drawers or cabinets things I have long forgotten already

everytime I gaze at our pictures in our photo albums and seeing how much we’ve grown and changed over the years

everytime I receive unexpected windfalls especially when we need it most

my bridal march during my wedding day with my daddy sniffling loudly at the background

those times before when my dad tirelessly played with my daughter and turned putty in her hands when he was still alive–he was after all a Police Colonel..:)

that time when my dad survived despite being in critical condition in the hospital for a month and how he was able to live another full month where he made sure to leave us many a happy memories that are still vivid in my mind

the sight of our flowers blooming everyday in our garden patch thus affirming my husband’s long standing belief that he has a green thumb

witnessing a garbage dumpsite successfully becoming a Gawad Kalinga community and being part of it all

being told by a student that I am the best teacher in the whole world

receiving a spontaneous hug from a student who is not part of my class but who just feels like giving me one

being told by this kid all the time that I look like 20 rather than my age 30 not so much because I really
look like it I’m sure, but because she just wants to go out of her way to make me feel good about myself and to see me smile

not experiencing any serious accident, injuries and illness for the past 30 years

staying married to the same guy for the past 8 years and still feeling blissfully happy with it despite of some minor problems that happen once in awhile

thinking about how everything always turns out well and how everything in my life just feels like a thousand puzzle pieces fitting perfectly together right from the start

the thought that whatever will happen, it has been planned and carefully thought out by that Mighty Hand…and the feeling right now that amidst all the confusions and uncertainties I feel at peace knowing that He will always bless me and my family and will always make sure to give me lots of things that will make feel..Wow..

TO DO LIST for this Year

I realized that there are a thousand things I want to do in my life. Some I have started doing last year and just need follow through, some I had totally forgotten until now and a lot more other things that I haven’t started yet…

So now, I’m back at my desk again just like last year making a list of things that will occupy my mind and energy for the whole year…here are some…

EXERCISE…I intend to do this regularly. Not to have that body to die for (I would leave that to my single friends) but to have that strong and healthy body that I need as a wife and mom. I’m sure nobody would want an obese and sickly wife and mom. I owe this much to myself and family.

LAUGH…Don’t get me wrong, I do laugh, what I really mean is that I would not take life much too seriously and enjoy life to the fullest. They say laughing exercises a thousand muscles in our faces and releases happy hormones in our body that rejuvenates our whole system thus making us feel real good.

COMMIT TO A CAUSE…I think that with so much blessings I receive everyday, it is time to give something back by helping others. I will give a piece of me in this future cause for I know that whichever cause I will involve myself with will complete me as a person.

START MY OWN BUSINESS…I have grand ideas in my mind but up until now they are all still in my head. This year, I will make them happen.

TRAVEL…I’ve been wanting to go to these places for quite some time now and this year I will see to it that I will be at least in one of those places with my loved ones…I can almost see us there.

WRITE…I still have a lot of things I want to write about and I will. For writing makes me see things differently and helps keep me grounded.

LIVE NOW…yesterday’s the past and tomorrow’s the future. Sometimes I tend to dwell too much from the past and get stressed over the future. To save myself from regrets and worry, I will take each day as it is. For like what they say you cannot change things that happened already nor outrun time, but you can do something about now.

BE FINANCIALLY WISE…I will put a balance in our spending and saving. I will be a smart buyer, a wise spender and definitely a very good investor this year.

GO BACK TO SCHOOL…yup, time to stop putting off going back to school. I will take that long overdue master’s degree or any short courses that would interests me this year. It is something that will help me become better in my field.

ATTEND A RECOLLECTION/RETREAT…I am fortunate to be working in an institution that takes care not only of our professional well being but spiritual well being too. This year, I plan to take advantage of the monthly recollection that they give so I can feed and nourish my soul.

GO OUT ON DATES…more often with my husband. We have very few “together” moments lately because there of a lot of things happening in our life right now but I know we need this to keep us insanely in love with each other more. I will definitely resurrect this.

BE WITH MY DAUGHTER…we are together in the house and goes to the same place for school and work everyday, and yet sometimes I feel like I am not giving her quality time. This year I will. We will have girls day out, we’ll talk more often about trivial things and do funny, silly stuffs together.

KEEP IN TOUCH WITH FRIENDS… I realized that I haven’t been in contact with some of my close friends. This year, I will be in touch with them constantly so as not to loose the connection we were able to build because aside from family they are my treasures.

And there’s a lot more, a whole lot more. I guess I have my whole lifetime to do them so there’s really no hurry. The important thing is I have a lot in my hand this year to keep me busy.:)

New Year’s Resolutions and Why They Don’t Work

Ever since I was a kid, I always make New Year’s resolutions which I would not be able to keep. It is part of the New Year ritual like jumping up and down when the clock strikes twelve or wearing red polka-dotted shirt or dress to (sigh!) attract money in the coming year. The favorite line during a lull in a conversation after the new year funfare for a while there is, “So, what’s your new year’s resolution?!” In the pre-school where I used to teach and even now in the big school where I am now teaching, writing down one’s New Year’s resolutions is part of the back to school classroom activity.

Over the years, I noticed that people’s New Year’s resolutions are most often things that they detested to do but got to do that is why these New Year’s resolutions usually die out faster than a virus being exposed to the heat of the sun. That is also the reason why these people (me included) easily falls in to that trap of  I can’t do it coz its soooo hard to do crap. Take the case of these following new year’s resolutions:

1. I will quit smoking (If you’re a chain smoker, the thought of not havin’ that fix will completely freak you out and the more you would stuff your mouth with those cigarettes)

2. I will not fight with my wife/husband or sometimes boyfriend/girlfriend. (It is like getting a knife and slitting your own wrist. That suppressed anger will definitely give you a heart attack)

3. I will go on a diet. (if you put this in your new year’s resolution list, every food that you will lay your eyes on would beacon you to go taste and stuff them in your mouth)

4. I will go to the gym often. (believe me, every step towards that gym would be so heavy that you would believe that you really are not feeling well for that workout)

5. I will not shop so much. ( If you’re a girl and you love to shop and you put this on your list, you will be forever depressed)

6. I will forgive those who have hurt me and forget about it. (The thing about pain, it goes away with time. You cannot just force yourself to be fine with something that you feel just isn’t right that fast)

7. I will save up my money.(and forever feel sad for not buying that favorite book or that smashing outfit or that little surprise for your loved one)

And I’m sure there are a lot more new year’s resolutions that we tend to make with good intentions but were not able to keep because they’re just so unattainable. Last year, I scrap new year’s resolutions in my mind and replace it with little goals for myself. I definitely don’t have a timetable for them. I told myself I’ll just find time over the year to do it. No pressure on my part at all. My little goals were things that I would like to do but haven’t really gotten around to doing. And instead of forcing myself into changing my bad habits, I put in my list of little goals, things that would make me feel happy and proud of myself. As I was reviewing my list, I was surprised to see that I was able to do most of them like keeping a journal (I did it thru this blog), getting back to my scoliosis work-up and exercises, controlling my temper, getting my finances in order, giving my husband some slack (hehehe), eat healthy food, consult with my doctor often and be more creative in my teaching etc. etc.

Our new year’s resolutions don’t work out most of the time because we put a set the bar too high and force ourselves to reach it. Most often they are  also the negative things that we truly hate that is why we are not motivated to do it.  Also, these New Year’s resolution that we force ourselves to do are even vague to us that we tend to question its whole point. Change do not happen quickly but gradually. When making resolutions remember to focus on the positive and make them clear and specific to you. We can restate the previous new year’s resolution into the following:

1.   I will smoke half a pack a day instead of the usual 1 pack.

2.   I will let off steam only after listening to his/her side.

3.   I will eat five small meals a day or will treat myself to 2 slices of cake a week instead of the usual 2 whole ones.

4.    I will do 15 minutes treadmill, 50 counts crunches and lift say 3 sets of weights a day.

5.    I will be a smart shopper.

6.   I will see the good in everyone.

7.  I will deposit 500 in my account every pay day.

Remember, make little goals that won’t deprive you of anything and will make you feel good and proud of yourself. Goals that are positive, clear and specific work best instead of the usual New Year’s resolutions that we have been used to that only last as long as the last embers of the fireworks die. Happy New Year everyone.:)

Top Ten Worst Christmas Gifts

Christmas is coming.  I can feel it in the air.  The cool breeze that greets me each morning clearly spells christmas.  I am starting to get giddy with excitement.  I am excited to put up that christmas tree, hang that capiz chistmas lantern, set-up the belen, plan the christmas menu and  of course hit the malls and different bazaars for my christmas shopping.  Over the years my list has become shorter and shorter.  Not because I’ve become stingy at this old age but because giving gifts for me has become short of something special.  Hey, I’m no Santa Claus, I am more likely one the reinders cursing Santa for putting us through those long agony of delivering presents all over the world if I had ever lived during his time.  Anyway, back to my stinginess, I mean my reinvented gift giving.  I used to give everyone I know gifts. I used to spend my whole christmas bonus buying gifts.  I would buy things in bulk and give them away, you know, whatever is cheap in bulk in divisoria so I can give everyone gifts.  But after receiving the same items that i gave away for christmas myself one christmas, I started to feel aghast and question my whole point of christmas gift giving.  And so I lay down the rules for myself, i would only give gifts to people who are very dear to me and I would only buy gifts for them that I know they would truly like and love.  I don’t want them to feel disappointed every time they open up their gift after tearing the wrapper in excitement only find the top ten worst christmas gift ever..that’s truly a heartbreak…so if you really, truly care about the person you would give gifts to this christmas, do not give them these:

10. Fruticake…Whoever invented this cake, I want to strangle him/her.  Every year we receive a lot and not even one we eat coz we suspect that these things called fruticakes are just doing the rounds because not everybody wants it.

9.  Rosary…I mean everybody has one special one so why think that he/she needs another one.  We only need one to be able to pray the rosary.

8.  Scented Candles…no imagination at all, the giver of this.  The regular brownout is long gone so people don’t really need this, it will definitely just stay in one corner until given away as recycled gift or will be used to shoo away the flies during a party. Sad.

7.  Handmade Soaps…let’s face it, not everyone will experiment with their skin and use these handmade soaps all at once.  Besides, anyone I know has already his/her own brand that he/she absolutely swears on.

6.  Picture Frame in plastic, in wood or in cheap crystals...not everyone is a picture display addict.  Now, they would rather store it in there notebook/laptop and click it at their own convenience.

5. Handkerchief/face towel with name…man! this is so last year! or worst so last decade! I mean the person you’re giving it to would totally not forget you–that is everytime he/she wipes his/her sweat or blows his/her nose..ew! you don’t want to be remembered that way, believe me!

4.   Silver/gold Parker pen…it is so unimaginative and boring, unless he/she has this peculiar way of collecting these kind of pens.  It is for people who can’t waste time in thinking so they resort to the most convenient gift–pens.

3.   Chinese coin purses..if you give this, the ones in divisoria or in the streets of baclaran…you have this word written all over you—MAKUNAT a.k.a STINGY.

2.  Planner/calendar…you are in deep danger of becoming a relly boring christmas gift giver if you resort to giving away this one.  You will not be the only one giving away a calendar or plannerr to that person believe me.  By the end of the year, that person will have 2 or more of those calendars and that person definitely will use only one unless he/she puts them in every corner of the room.  So unless its something chic, unique or personalized, scrap this from your gift giving ideas.

1.  Mugs...if you give this away as gift you definitely are makunat (stingy), unimaginative and boring rolled into one.  Absolutely no originality and creativity in his/her bone.  You will be at the lowest level in the eyes of your recepient, a total crass.  Why? because you gave away something he/she already has since he/she graduated from the bottle and learned how to drink from the cup! Each person has one special one that he/she uses from his/her milk guzzling years down to his/her beer guzzling moments now.  Replacing his/her special mug is unthinkable.  So, your mug will just do the rounds like the others after the usually hypocrite “oh, so cute!” because nothing can replace the goo ol’ mug that a person’s mouth has been used to.  Shame on you for even thinking about it!:)

So if you want to be remembered in a nice way, do not give these gifts to your loved ones this christmas.  They say it is the thought that counts.  For me, it is not only the way the person remembered you that matters,  but add to that also are the exta mile that that person willingly went through, and the thought that that person put into that gift just so that he/she can give you the perfect one also matter.

Happy christmas shopping!:)

An Amusing Day at DFA

This one is for the books also, worth writing about just like my not so recent trip to LTO for my driver’s license renewal a few months ago.  I now kinda enjoy doing business with these government agencies with all the amusing things I’ve been experiencing and all the different characters I’ve been meeting there…my real life drama this time, well okay okay, comedy, happened at the Department of Foreign Affairs a.k.a. DFA…and here are the wacky and horrendous characters I met there…

CHARACTER NO.1: THE LONE SHARK. When we got off from the cab, this lone shark together with the other piranas swarmed before us, shouting “ate! ate, dito o me form dito, ano pa kelangan mo? picture, halika dito ka, 2 minutes lang gaganda ka pa! (WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN!)”… grrr, of course my ego was hurt, but like what my husband instructed me to do, i didn’t mind them.  And so this lone shark followed me, almost pushing me towards the photo shop and since we didn’t have any photos yet, we gave in. She didn’t stop tattling. She keeps on insisting that they have the best photos there coz you will come out beautiful in your picture (imagine at this point smoke coming out of my ears).  When she saw my DFA appointment letter and my duly accomplished application form though, she blurted out to the other pirana, “Tsugi ko nato, wala naman pala ako kikitaan dito” (AS IF?!) and with that she left in a huff.  (HELLO, ANO KO JUNK NA PAGKAKAKITAAN?!)

CHARACTER NO. 2: LOLA STRESS BALL.  And so we were in line, waiting for our turn to go inside when she arrived.  She was quite a spitfire, chatting with us and interviewing us.  There’s just one problem, she had this word written all over her forehead S-T-R-E-S-S.  When she saw me arranging my daughter’s copy of school ID, she blurted out in panic “School ID? school ID, kelangan ba nyan, wala ako nyan, naku, wala ako nyan?!” (HELLO MANANG, 50 GOING ON 60 KA NA HANAPAN KA PA BA NG SCHOOL ID?!).  A few minutes after reassuring her that it is only required for minors like my daughter, she had again another panic attack when she saw my daughter reading her baptismal certificate.  She shouted, “Baptismal, baptismal, meron ako nyan, teka papaphoto copy ko, teka, save nyo ko dyan” and off she ran to the copy center not even waiting for me to tell her that I just accidentally brought it with me  and it wasn’t needed (SI MANANG TALAGA O, ADIK!).  She never stopped chatting and panicking from processing all the way to encoding.  She even bullied my husband into asking the guard and the man in charge if we need to staple the pictures and if we need to use glue or paste in attaching the pictures.  She asked the same question to anybody she happened to make eye to eye contact with, “Ano ang requirements?!” (PRIVATE JOKE FOR MGs: I asked myself  lots  of times this afternoon when I was with her, “MRS. L_G_SPI, is that you?! the voice down to her brown hair were spookingly like her and of course the you know what..hahaha)

CHARACTER NO.3:  MISS BAD TRIP. She was behind me, silently observing Lola Stress Ball.  When Lola Stress Ball made eye to eye contact with her and asked her the question “ano requirements?”, she screamingly told her, “Tingnan mo kaya likod ng form mo, andyan o, basahin mo, baaasaaaahiiiiin moooo!”. We were all shocked.  I was waiting for them to pull each other’s hair. I was so disappointed when it did not happen..hehehe…I later found out that she was duped by a fixer outside DFA. He asked her for three hundred pesos for the picture and the application from.  She saw red when I told her, well because she asked me, that I downloaded mine from the internet for free and I paid 150 pesos only for the pictures.  She was ready to kill that time and she almost killed Lola Stress Ball.  (DI KO NAMAN ALAM, EDI SANA SINABI KO NA LANG SECRET?!hehehe)

CHARACTERS NO. 4: POWERPUFF GIRLS. These three girls are all set to follow their dreams that’s they were eagerly lining up outside DFA for days now like this afternoon.  They were waiting to be blessed with the much coveted philippine passport.  This is the third time they went back there. Patience and perseverance at its finest definitely.  Bubbles is chasing her dream of becoming a domestic helper in Singapore, Buttercup plans to be a waiter in Dubai and as for Blossoms she is trying her luck in Japan together with her band.  They told me the same thing when I commented that it’s a good thing they don’t get tired coming back there at DFA (they are twice rejected for lack of supporting documents/proof of identity).  All of them answered me with “Para te sa pamilya ko to.”  Talk about filial love at its greatest.  They were all so excited and full of optimism. That is why when I got so impatient in line a couple of times, I restrained myself from having a tantrum fit because seeing them made me think that my discomforts were so little compared to what they’ve been through just to get there.  My husband told when we got home, “Be, ang saya natin kanina nun magkasama tayo, di kasi naginit ulo mo!” If he only knew the self-control I was exerting that time.:)

Well, that’s about it.  There are a lot more characters there, I’m sure, but I didn’t have the chance to meet all of them.  I would love to meet some more but I had enough for the day I guess.  The world is full of amusing people, you just have to go out of your way and meet them.  Our parents always say when we were little kids, don’t talk to strangers.  But you’re not a kid anymore.  Sometimes you just have to smile in welcome to the stranger beside you and you will be surprised to see a different world from their eyes.  For all you know, these strangers might make your day the way Lola Stress Ball, Miss Lone Shark, Miss Badtrip and the Powepuff Girls did to mine.

Some DFA tips: 1.  Better have your picture taken there at the 2 minutes photo shop.  Although nothing spectacular happened to my face like what Miss Lone Shark kept promising, their photos don’t get rejected at all.  It’ll save you another trip back to DFA.  Plus, they have a wide array of blazers to choose from if you’re not in your collared shirt, with a wide array of smells though–from patis to pawis kinda smell (ew!)–never mind that, focus on your goal instead–not to have your photos rejected  2. Bring also your original and photocopied local civil registry birth certificate.  My assesor asked for a photocopy of  my birth certificate from the local civil registry aside from the original NSO certified  3.  Bring a fan with you, it’s hot in the auditorium where the encoding takes place but its more efficient now meaning fast unlike before 4. In the reviewing of documents, choose the line where the assesor is an old lady.  They are more respectful and accomodating unlike the younger ones who are rude and haughty (you will think–UH, IMMIGRATION LINE BA’TO, AM I AN ILLEGAL ALIEN?!).  This pimpled lady acted high and mighty thankfully not to me but to my husband when in fact she was the one who was wrong.  I guess they don’t like their job at all 5. Better show your driver’s license, PRC, SSS and company IDs.  If you don’t have any 3 of these, they will require you to get an NBI clearance which I think is horror of horrors.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to get that or else I’ll have again another exciting trip to another government institution.  If that happens, I won’t be writing about a comedy, it will most likely be an action or suspense drama! Thank God I wouldn’t have to go into that:)

My Special Date with My Husband

I do go out on dates with my husband but often times it is usually a group date or a cosy twosome.  It’s been a long time since I went out on a real date with him alone.  Well of course when we were just dating, we do that often.  By date I mean, being together just the two of us, talking non-stop about anything and everything, holding hands, teasing around, looking at each other’s eyes, sharing secrets, reminiscing, simply having fun and enjoying each other’s company.  It did not happen in a fancy restaurant or in one of our favorite bars.  We did not even dress up for it.  But I can truly say that it was the best date ever.

My husband is great in creating the mood, of setting the tone for an upcoming date.  All the way home yesterday, he can’t stop sharing his plans for this grand date.  I must admit, he got me excited also.  After he picked up my mom from work and the customary dinner with my daughter and mom, we dressed up for our date.  Me in my favorite comfy shirt, pajama bottom and puffy slippers, and he in his favorite tattered white shirt and boxer shorts.  Like I said the date did not happen in some fancy place.  We had it in the lanai of our house.  He was ready not with a full course dinner but with bags of chips.  We did not drink first class wine but bottles of beer.  We did not have a string quartet to serenade us but music coming out from our ipod hooked to our good old speakers.  For the first time after a long time, we were alone…talking, laughing, teasing, holding hands, singing together and stealing kisses.  We’ve never talked as openly as we did that moment and  we never shared thoughts with each other as much as we did last night.   Of course in every date there’s bound to be intruders but instead of spoiling the moment for us our little intruder added a dash of fun to it.  We were visited a couple of times by this little giggling photographer who keeps taking photos of this special moment.  At some point during the evening also I saw little pair of eyes peeking out from the room window, she was snooping and she was smiling widely in our direction.  It was great. I never wished to be some place else last night and I never wished for that date to be any different.  It was for me, just perfect.

Married life demands so much.  There’s always a lot of things happening and a lot of things taking your time. It is a constant balancing act of making sure the circus is running smoothly.  Often times in a day, my husband will just catch me for quick kiss, peck in the cheek, surprise hug or nuzzle in the neck and a whispered I love you. For him and for me those things are enough to pull us out of the chaotic married life for a moment and bring us back to our own little world.  Those things  make up for the dates we planned that did not happen because of  this little girl and old lady we just can’t leave behind. That is why I never love my husband as much as I did last night because he planned our special date that way.  Because he knew that if we had it in a fancy restaurant or in one of our favorite bar, I would never have enjoyed the food, the music and everything for I would always think of the two special persons we would have left behind.  He is that sweet and thoughtful. The night as expected ended in a special way, but of course I would not go into details anymore, it is just too private. hihihi(“,)

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