Street but Sweet


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Here comes...the groom!

Soyangco-Macaraeg (September 23, 2006)

Irv--ah, what can I say? He's a great catch. A very intelligent, sensible person. Guwaping. (Yihee, Richard Gere-/Dawson-/Tom Cruise-lookalike. Haha.) H sees him as the kind of guy who would make a great business partner. He's never been anything less than nice to me. And I was touched that I was invited.:)

I loved the theme of his and Mac's wedding (because I love the beach, for one, and we've kinda been toying around with a beach theme ourselves. Or is it just me? Haha)--they sat on a daybed, the tables were named after beaches, and the souvenirs were banigs (a great idea--classic practical Irv). I was really happy I got to spend time with Jo and Jenny O, and their driver/photographer Pangan (haha). We talked about being "mean girls," reminisced about the past, and did a lot of catching up. Since the reception was held at Westin, we got to see some people who were taking the bar exam, including Kaye Cruz. And I got to see Irv's family again after so long. It was really nice seeing his mom again.

I'm still in the process of stealing pictures from other people (haha). The few that my (er, H's) cam was able to take before the batt ran out:

From top: Pwede, pwede--Jenny O and Pangan; me and Joey; mean girls (haha); with the, uh,
blushing groom on the daybed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

One big fight!

I have yet to figure out a way to post that awesome clip, but I just have to say--that was the best damn game I've ever watched live! Salamat, Norman at Macky! And, as Rene would say, who let the Doug out?!

But it ain't over yet.

No clue what this post is about? Click here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Uno, dos, tres

Got this from a couple of co-workers...

3 People Who Make Me Laugh:
Uno: H
Dos: Rene
Tres: Ramona (true friend!)

3 Things I Love:
Uno: chocolate
Dos: the beach
Tres: undies :)

3 Things I Hate:
Uno: inconsiderate people
Dos: being sedentary
Tres: arugula!

3 Things On My Desk (at home):
Uno: a few jewelry boxes
Dos: an old Heno de Pravia powder holder (it was my lola's; it's falling apart)
Tres: a picture of H on the beach

3 Things I Am Doing Right Now:
Uno: waiting for a layout
Dos: listening to the staff talk and sing
Tres: chatting (salamat, ebuddy!)

3 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
Uno: marry H
Dos: go back to Italy
Tres: watch an NBA game live

3 Things I Can Do:
Uno: dance (mostly street since I didn't have proper training)
Dos: a straddle
Tres: make my friends curva (hahaha)

3 Ways to Describe My Personality:
Uno: normal (cheers to the mundane!;D)
Dos: passionate
Tres: loyal

3 Things People Might Not Know About Me:
Uno: I'm fascinated by ruins.
Dos: I'm the morena one in my family.
Tres: I used to be in a choir.

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To:
Uno: your gut
Dos: your heart
Tres: your conscience

3 Things I Don't Think You Should Listen To Ever:
Uno: Boy Abunda (may galit! haha)
Dos: naysayers
Tres: this person...I shall not name names...

3 of My Absolute Favorite Foods:
Uno: adobo
Dos: buffalo wings
Tres: chocolate chocolate chocolate

3 Things I'd Like to Learn:
How to...
Uno: cook (working on it)
Dos: speak Italian
Tres: salsa

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly:
Uno: iced tea (Taters lite is a fave)
Dos: Dole pineapple-orange juice
Tres: milk

3 Shows I Watched When I Was A Child:
Uno: Perfect Strangers
Dos: She-Ra
Tres: Yagit (hahaha)

3 People I Tag to Do This Crap

Anyone else who's a loser at work...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Singapore lah! Part 3: The audition

Things have been happening faster than I can post, which is probably a good thing--means I've been keeping myself busy, and it sure beats sitting around wondering if there's more to life than, well, sitting around. This is the second night in a row that I'm actually free on a weeknight after weeks and weeks--I'm enjoying one of my favorite shows (dork that I am, it's Jeopardy!) and eating a kick-ass piece of banana cream pie (courtesy of the girl who supplies them to Mocha Blends). I'm actually supposed to be at the gym, but was just so tired after a day of shoots and pullouts, and being sick (sniffle), that I decided to just go home and veg. I'd forgotten how good I was at doing nothing.

Now where was I? Woke up earlier than I would have wanted to on my second day in Singapore--there was one question I skipped the night before and had to scribble in a hurried answer before breakfast. Showered and threw on my favorite sundress and flipflops--chose this outfit over jeans because, strangely, I felt like I would be more comfortable in them. (Some might remember that I didn't really wear jeans 'til my junior year in college--I was a dress/skirt/slacks gal. I guess I wanted to be different. Everyone at that time was wearing jeans with striped shirts.) Went down to the registration area with Wendy, where we had to submit our completed questionnaires and were given our time slots. I was scheduled for 9:00am. Had a bit of time for breakfast.

The Pinays fawning over Remi and his color-changing eyes

At the buffet table, I heard a guy behind me go, "Hey, don't I know you?" and this time it wasn't a pick-up line--he really did know me! It was Robbie, a guy I met a few years back. He was in Singapore on some hosting gig for Nickelodeon. Small world! He hung out with us over breakfast, and it was probably the longest conversation we ever had since we met! (Also met his director, Lino Cayetano.) I guess being in an unfamiliar place kinda makes you cling to familiar faces... friends living abroad have mentioned how they're suddenly chummy with people they barely said hello to back home. Hehe.

With Robbie

After breakfast, went back to my room to freshen up. Wendy clued me in on a couple of the questions the judges could potentially ask (she had talked to someone who had had his or her audition already). The Pinoys waited in one room before being ferried to the chairs lined up outside the room of doom--the closed-door audition venue.

In line outside the dreaded audition room

While we were in line, Paulo took some pictures of us--one appeared in the papers; it shows me with both hands covering my mouth in mock anxiety. We were supposed to get five minutes each--imagine, five minutes for something that had the potential to change your life! No pressure. Haha. Making it this far was enough, plus I heard that the travel journalists were gonna be sent to the US so it wasn't that exciting to me anymore (I've already been there). I did start to get a bit nervous, but it was more about the prospect of embarrassing myself by saying something totally idiotic than it was about not making it. I just didn't want to have any regrets.

One of the Pinoys was in there for about two minutes, which told me that the judges already knew what they were looking for. The closer I got to the room, moving one chair down, the more nervous I got. Then it was my turn. I had to say something to the camera before going in. I don't even remember what I said, but it was probably something like "Here we go!" (Zach sang "Weeeee are the champions...." in front of the camera, all the way to the hot seat). When I stepped inside, they had me sit in a chair in the middle of the room; the seven judges were sitting behind a long table across me, probably about two meters away, and there were a number of cameras pointed right at me. The judges were a lot nicer than I thought they would be (no Simon Cowells here) and asked me things like:
  • "What was the most exciting thing that happened to you while traveling?" - My mind went blank for a few seconds, and that's when I realized that I haven't had a lot of exciting travel experiences. Memorable, yes; exciting, no. I just told them about surfing, but in retrospect, I think I should've just said that I have yet to experience it.
  • "Which country wouldn't you want to go to? And you can't say 'none'--that's cheating!" - I said, "Maybe some place where there's a war going on--bungy-jumping is one thing, but being shot at is another!" To which they said, "So you want to go bungy-jumping?" Sure, why not? Afterwards, I realized I did have an answer: Geneva, Switzerland. It's pretty and everything, but I think this answer would have stood out (lots of people apparently said Iraq)--I remember we couldn't flush the toilet or take a shower after 9:00pm, or the neighbors would call the police on us for making too much noise! We had to turn down the volume of the TV by that time--so much so that the hum of the dryer was louder than the audio! We literally had to cock our ears towards the TV just to hear it.
  • "Why do you think people consider you a leader?" and this totally surprised me because it meant they read my answers to their endless questionnaire (something about how other people see me)--why oh why did I answer that thing while I was barely lucid? I remember them laughing a bit at what I said, either because it was funny or totally pathetic. Haha. Again, it was only after that I thought about what I should have written instead of that leader bit.

So, OK, there were a few things I would've answered differently, but over all, I think I did better than I thought I would. It didn't turn into the traumatic experience I envisioned it to be. So really, no regrets! Yay! Oh, the last part of the audition was the food test. They presented me with a bag of partly peeled fruit and told me to eat it and describe it. "What is it?" I asked. "Try it then tell us about it," they replied. So I inspected the remaining skin--very scaly (would've made a gorgeous belt. Haha)--before peeling it off, then pinched off a piece of the rubbery white fruit. A little brown ball fell on the floor and I picked it up. I bit into the white fruit--outside it was a bit chewy, but inside it was rather grainy, kind of like an apple (later on, Indonesian Vivi told me it was snake fruit, and the taste was a mix of apples and pears. And since I don't eat pears, I didn't know that!). After describing it, I held the brown ball up to my mouth and asked, "Should I eat this too?" and everyone, somewhat panicky, said "NO!" Apparently it was the seed. Hahaha. Oops.

So I came out of there alive and with my head held high, a far cry from the images in my head of me crawling out of there in tears. There was another on-cam interview outside the room, and again, I don't remember what I said! I was just glad it was over, and I was looking forward to an afternoon of exploring.

From top: Team Philippines, Team Taiwan, Team Hong Kong, Team Singapore, Team Indonesia, and Team Australia. And since I don't have a pic of Team Malaysia, here's one with Juliana (who says I look like Kristine Hermosa. Haha. Yihee me. Yes, she watches Pangako Sa 'Yo in Malaysia!), and one of Richard with a bunch of people waiting for audition results.


I think they were looking for particular characters, and maybe I should've molded myself into one (my Repertory training didn't kick in at that time, damnit). I could've either played up the mundane factor because perhaps they were looking for someone who had a lot to gain from the experience, plus not everyone in the group could be crazy. Or I could have pulled a Jessica Simpson and upped the ditz factor--but then, that would be sellling myself short (and women's libbers everywhere would have my head). Ahh, the coulda-woulda-shouldas. I just went in there as myself, and that's the best any of us can ever do. It really just wasn't meant for me, and I am totally at peace with that.:)

Friday, September 15, 2006

*Sniffle sniffle*

I've been meaning to post about the actual audition, and I do have a draft and all, but just haven't been able to upload photos. The internet at home doesn't seem to be cooperating so I gotta upload 'em from H's or at work (tee-hee).

This past week has been all about work, and getting a cold and a cough and losing my voice. (This is so not sexy.) I intended to go to the gym this morning, but H made me promise last night that I was going to rest instead (maybe because all I did was lie down, rest, and constantly ask him to be a dear and get me a glass of water...and to put me out of my misery). He says I'm addicted to working out. This from the guy who lets me watch him benchpress 200. (I love you, blah! Haha.)

So anyway, I'll probably publish that waiting draft by Sunday. And hopefully by then I won't have a pack of tissues as my constant companion.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Singapore lah! Part 2: Cocktails

Getting back to my hotel room, I found a note on my bed from my roomie, Wendy. In it, she called me "Marie" (she later explained that that's what the person at the front desk told her, and obviously it came from my real name), but I thought the gesture was so sweet. Took a quick shower and put my face on--and I was actually ready in ten minutes flat! Rushed down to the registration venue and as soon as the elevator doors opened...pandemonium! People of all these different nationalities just excitedly meeting and greeting. I registered and was given a five-page questionnaire (which, in reality, was nine pages!) filled with such questions as "What was the trickiest situation you've been in while traveling? How did you handle it?" Was supposed to answer it by the next morning, when we would have our closed-door audition.

With "Mr. Bombay" Marc from Singapore (he does Ali G impressions) and David from Australia (a sweetheart!)

Singapore's Carol, Jacqueline. Elisabeth, and Z

Ish with Aussie model Timothy and Singapore's Simone (who was apparently a Sunsilk commercial model here)

Yung-Shin and Bevis from Taiwan

Z (our tour guide--more on that in a succeeding post), Indonesia's Vivi (she and I were probably the quietest ones there), Taiwan's Bevis (he totally cracks me up), funny guy Simon from Australia, and...someone's arm

We moved to one of the hotel bars for cocktails where I got to meet even more people. I must say, the name tag is one of the greatest inventions of all time! Haha. I am terrible with names so the tags were extremely helpful! I think I pretty much remember everyone's names--all 35 of them! A lot of us were from media/entertainment (there were newscasters, actresses, TV hosts, DJs...). So, yeah, we found out that the 36 present (there were actually 41 semi-finalists but only 36 were able to make it) were selected from 4,500 people! Coolness! I was and am pretty happy to have made it that far; I consider it one of my achievements, especially since I didn't exactly have an amazing video. It was just me talking the whole time, while most everyone else had all these gimmicks (roomie Wendy, a window-washer--how cool is that?--showed us her "office," high up in the air; Octavia sang an operatic bit to her cat; Zach went on a tour of Quiapo--and apparently his prayer to the Black Nazarene worked!; Melanie tried to squeeze into a suitcase...). Mildly embarrassing how people were talking to one another going, "Oh I loved your video!" and I was just quietly listening. Haha. Aside from the fact that mine was pretty ordinary (but honest and, well, me. I think that was what must've gotten their attention), I wasn't really able to watch a lot of videos. Hirap ng dial-up. Haha. Grabe, laos.

Happy people

From Singapore: Hosea, Z, and Janice

Carol, Octavia, and Z

Channel V's first VJ Melanie Casul, Vivi, Roanna, and Amy

Separated at birth? Malaysia's Juliana and our very own Melanie

Lovely ladies: me (hehe) with Z, Indonesia's Lena, Vivi, and Simone

I think I probably met everyone after an hour--everyone except my roommate! Wendy came in a little late, saying she spent the early part of the evening answering the questionnaire. (I later found out that this was a brilliant idea, because I was just so out of it after cocktails--even after chugging on nothing but cranberry juice, my drink of choice--that I had a hard time focusing.)

With my roommate Wendy, finally!

The judges made an appearance, and cocktails became phase 1 of the audition. A lot of people were really eager to meet the judges, but I was pretty much avoiding them! I swear, I was probably the shyest person there (which people here find hard to believe. Really, everyone else was just so outgoing and crazy, in a good way of course). I did meet a few, but I'm pretty bad with small talk so I didn't talk to them for long. I heard judge Lisa telling some of the semi-finalists that they were looking for someone "larger than life." Uh-oh. So not me. I looked like a shrinking violet next to these folks! But apparently, shy doesn't quite cut it on TV.

Jaime with judge Lisa (Elisabeth and Mel in the background)

At the end of cocktails, I trudged back to my room. Was so tired. Had to wake up at 3:30 that morning after all, and spent a good part of the day just walking around under the Singapore sun. But there was that blasted questionnaire. Strangely, I didn't feel anxious about the next morning's audition. I wasn't putting any pressure on myself. I think it was mostly because getting a free trip and meeting such awesome people was reward enough.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Singapore lah! Part 1: Lost in Singapore

I've been postponing writing about the whole Singapore experience because, really, where do I start? There was the closed-door audition, getting lost in Singapore, discovering such fascinating places, meeting 35 people from all over the Asia Pacific, going clubbing (something I don't even do in Manila)... There's just so much to write about, it's overwhelming. So I've decided to just break it down by time. This post is about the first day (just til sundown. Cocktails post to follow).

So this was my first trip out of the country by myself. I've been abroad before, but it's always been with my mom. I wasn't even going with anyone I knew, no friends, no H. Got to the airport at about 5am and in line at the check-in counter, met Francesca, one of the other semi-finalists. She lived in Australia for a bit so over the course of our Sg stay, she could switch to Aussie mode when she was speaking with the Australians. (On the phone, her boyfriend would be like, "Who are you?" Haha.) As the morning wore on, I met all the others from the Philippines--Zach (the only boy), Ish, Jade, and Roanna. Melanie was flying to Singapore from Vietnam, where she's currently based.

Team Philippines: (standing) Jade and Manong Zach, (seated) Francesca, me, Roanna, and Ish

With us was Paulo, a journalist from a local paper. He was covering the event, and apparently we'll be coming out in the papers this week or something. (I'm dreading it--I don't even remember what I said during the interview!) I later found out that he was my boss's old boss, and that I really had to tell my boss what I was up to when I got back. Hey, I didn't lie--she just didn't ask! I would've told her why I was going on leave if she had asked. I just didn't want her to panic over nothing. I had an I'll-cross-that-bridge-when-I-get-there approach to this whole experience.

We met up with the Taiwanese semi-finalists before heading to the hotel. On the way, I got a glimpse of Singapore and was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting it to be clean, and I had an image of it being sterile and gray. Sure, the streets were immaculate, but I must admit it was... charming, something I never thought I could use to describe Singapore. Most streets were lined with trees and little landscaped gardens, and there were these quaint shophouses (traditionally, the first floor would hold the store and the second would hold the owner's residence) along some roads.

We got to the Gallery Hotel on Robertson Quay. Even the locals were unfamiliar with this part of town. It's really hard to get a cab from here! (More on that in a later post). But it's a pretty nice hotel; it's got Philippe Starck fittings and a kick-ass pool (on the fifth floor; it's surrounded by glass, so from the street you could see people swimming in it), which, unfortunately, I didn't get to try.

(From top) It took us a while to find the room numbers; my room; the desk at the room with the bright pink chair; the bathroom (Wendy: "We don't get much privacy in here, do we?").

Mom's friend, Tita Carol, and her husband, Tito Fel, picked me up and we headed to the Waterfront Hotel for a buffet lunch. Then they dropped me off at Orchard Road.

A backgrounder on Orchard Road: In the 19th century, it was lined with nutmeg and pepper plantations. Today it is the main shopping district in Singapore, with loads of malls, high-end boutiques, and gigantic TV screens on building facades. Pics show me with Tita Carol and some scenes from Orchard Road (including Lucky Plaza, where the Pinyos hang out on Sundays, and a bar with a San Miguel Beer menu board!).

I ran into the Pinays, but since most of them had gone to Sg before, they weren't up for the whole exploring bit. So I figured out what I wanted to see, bought me a train ticket, and mapped out my train routes. I got lost a couple of times but luckily, people here speak English and are actually pretty friendly (although residents would disagree).

My first stop was Raffles Hotel (named after Sir Stamford Raffles), one of the world's most hyped hotels. It's an architectural landmark that has been classified as part of the country's cultural heritage. I just snapped a few pictures, but decided not to go in. I kinda figured they would throw me out, being in my grungy cargo pants and flipflops. Haha. Plus I didn't exactly look fresh after walking under the afternoon sun.
Raffles started out as a bungalow with 10 rooms in 1887; the main building was opened in 1899, and the hotel soon became equated with Oriental luxury. It was here that the famous Singapore Sling was invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. (If you want to try out this drink where it all began, it's gonna cost you S$18.)

My next stop: the Merlion. It's long been a symbol of Singapore (kinda like the Statue of Liberty for New York, the lion head for Baguio), a statue with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It stands, spewing out a jet of water, at the opening of the Singapore River. It was designed by Fraser Brunner for the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964. Of course I got lost on my way there, walking in the opposite direction (damn map). It was about this time that I realized something about myself: I don't like traveling alone. Seeking out alone time is one thing, but being in an unfamiliar place and having no one to share it with is another. Maybe I was just a little frustrated because I didn't have much time, but it would have been nice to have a friend walking along with me--getting lost might have been more fun. Just when I started to feel a little down, I met this really nice Korean girl who pointed the way to the Merlion, waited for me across the street to make sure I found it, and offered to take my picture! There is hope yet for humanity.
The token turista shot

Because I got lost, I didn't have a lot of time left to explore before I had to head back to the hotel to get ready for cocktails. But I really wanted to see Little India. I figured I could just take a quick look around. I gave myself 15 minutes, but when I got there, I was just totally entranced! Mads's dad is right--I think I'm part bumbay! The colors and the character and the smells--I loved 'em all! I swept through Tekka Centre Market before heading over to Little India Arcade. Sure, it's a bit touristy, but I just loved the rows of shops selling glittered bangles (great for pasalubong, and I meant to go back, but, sadly, didn't have the time), beaded notebooks and pens, traditional Indian clothes. I ended up extending my stay, cutting it real close. Too bad I missed Mustafa (or something like that), this 24-hour mall that the locals told me about. Little India is just a place I would love to go back to--never mind that I nearly got run over by a speeding motorcycle.

From top: Tekka Centre Market; Little India Arcade; bags for sale; a display window; bangles galore; Indian shophouses (my other pic was slightly blurred--was still shaken after the motorbike incident!)

Took the train to Clark Quay, which I figured was the station nearest my hotel. Had a really difficult time flagging down a taxi. The good thing about taxis here is that they give you exact change! As far as I know, they don't expect tips. By the time I got to the hotel, I had 10 minutes to freshen up from an afternoon of exploring before meeting all the other 5 Takes semi-finalists.