Street but Sweet


Thursday, January 25, 2007

For all Potheads

Hehe. Ahluvet! The vid's been posted for quite some time now, but I just saw it now.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Another pet peeve: I just realized I don't like it when people look over my shoulder, or sit beside me and watch while I type. It's OK if I'm doing something mindless, like transcribing, but it kind of grates on my nerves when I'm trying to write an article and I feel this presence hovering behind me. Ugh.

It hurts, it hurts you know

My body's still recovering from a grueling Saturday--got up at 5:30 am (the earliest I'd been up in a really long time) to attend a gymnastics session at 6:00. Yes, gymnastics! It was my first time ever, and I went with CADsters who were already doing standing back tucks. Crap. I also met someone who's currently a college senior, and when I told him when I graduated, he started saying something which seemed to be leading up to, "That was a long...time ago..." Haha. Man, I felt old.

So the most I could do before were cartwheels and, on a good day when I'm feeling a bit brave, roundoffs. But on Saturday, I was made to do handstands--during warmup!--front handsprings, and back handsprings! For front handsprings, the beginners (myself included) had to run up an inclined springboard and just wing it. Our pseudo-coach, former Philippine team gymnast Anj, told me that I had to let go of my fear. My tendency was to tuck my shoulders in and bend my arms, which made me land on my back. (Btw, the mattress is one of the greatest inventions of all time.)

I liked that Anj talked us through and would tell us what we were doing wrong. "I don't think I would make a good coach because I talk too much," she said. "But it's a science!"

Anyhoo, I think I was overthinking it, concerned too much about the gallop and all, that I ended up doing the cha-cha everytime it was my turn (you know, running forward, hesitating, then walking back for another attempt). Plus, I kept thinking about all the possible ways I could get hurt. You have to be fearless when you attempt these things.

When Coach John--this big hulk of a man--got there, he made us do back handsprings, with him spotting (or in the beginners' case, carrying) us, of course! I felt like I sucked the most, especially at the start, but I started to get the hang of it, and I totally trusted this dude, who seemed like he could carry me with his pinky. Chinie said that my form was good, so I guess I'm not a hopeless case!

It was loads of fun--I thought it would be a low-intensity workout, but I was already sweating bullets halfway through warmups. And I can't wait to go back! (I say that now that I'm not standing in front of that pesky springboard.)

Three hours later, we headed to dance practice, where we tapped into our inner divas to do Kelis's Bossy--I swear, only choreorapher Joyce looks good doing it. I was mesmerized when she would freestyle, wishing I could move like that. I was still lost trying to figure out Nico's All Star-esque choreo, but had fun with Glen's somewhat restrained moves. ("Patong lang," as he called it. It's something I have to work on, because I'm normally about tremendous energy and big movements.) Throughout the weekend, I kept repeating the moves to his, "I got this icebox where my heart used to be..." and our driver, Elps, must've found it strange when I was moving my arms in the car. Then again, he must be used to it after all these years.

Took a delicious nap when I got home, then swung by CubaoX before heading to ultimate! By this time, my back, my neck, my legs...pretty much everything had started to hurt. But it was a good kind of hurt. I missed that. Even with all the cardio I've been doing at the gym, I rarely get the kind of pain I used to get back in college. But I felt it last Saturday, and am still feeling it today. And, I must say, it makes me feel alive!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

CubaoX is alive! Well, part of it anyway...

Sooo apparently I was misinformed.

Last year, my co-workers saw the plans for the Cubao condo development and by the looks of it, CubaoX was going to have to make way. Added to that were the text messages I got from CubaoX establishments that today's sale was a "goodbye to CubaoX" event.

However, I was at X this afternoon and spoke with the Grand Thrift Shop dude who said that it's "a misconception" that they will be affected by the condo development. (Wonder if he's seen those plans...) True, a number of spots have already been vacated, plus a few more--Chunky Far Flung, Future Prospects, Bespoke, and one more store--are closing for sure and others are considering doing the same, but the reasons behind it are expired contracts and/or "the new management."

The good news is that some establishments are staying on--including Bellini's! So hurray for that!

Friday, January 19, 2007

X marks the spot

I hate goodbyes—whether I’m saying it to a person, a favorite show ending its series run, or a beach that I visited even for just a few days. So it pains me to have to bid farewell to CubaoX—sure I’ve only been there a couple of times, but this place is pretty special. Once you step inside, you get the feeling that you’ve been let in on a juicy secret. The air is ripe with nostalgia, and the spot is so comfortably old school that you half expect a young Guy and Pip to round the corner. It reminded me of the days when I'd visit my grandparents in Cubao before finally moving there--smelling durian (one of my lolo's favorites) for the first time, watching John & Marsha while I sat on my lola's nightgown-turned-swing, seeing my brothers brandishing ting-tings while chasing butterflies. CubaoX was the time portal to the Cubao I held in my memory.

I must admit that I haven’t browsed through every single establishment on the premises, but it’s a testament to CubaoX’s character when even just a sampling of its offerings has got me feeling wistful. There’s Pablo, THE place to go to for items by Manila’s uber-talented graphic-design set; Future Prospects, with inspiring exhibits you can view while sipping a beer; Blacksoup Project, which hosted the funky Lomo Love exhibit; the Grand Thrift Shop and Vintage Pop, both chock-full o’ retro treasures; the first-ever (so I’ve heard) branch of Janylin, the stiletto-lovers’ local mecca; and, of course, Bellini’s, which made me believe in love at first bite.

(From top) The Grand Thift Shop, circa 2005. Pablo, one of my favorite spots--the lamps are so chic! Reading the Bellini's menu one late afternoon. The first floor of Future Prospects.

Surely, not everyone appreciates its artsy, oddball appeal—but those who do will likewise lament its death. But hold the tears—CubaoX lovers will have one last chance to soak in its unique charm, and those who have yet to discover it have the perfect chance to do so as CubaoX holds an art fair/yard sale before bidding adieu. So show up for the “funeral” tomorrow, January 20, from 4-9 p.m., pay your respects—and take a little of CubaoX home with you.

Photos by At Maculangan

Thursday, January 18, 2007

So I'm a sucker for these things

...and I obviously don't have much to do. Well, that's a lie. There are a few things that need to be done, but then there's also this beautiful thing called "later."


What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
-- Go aborad by myself! Take a trip with Hamil, as in just the two of us.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for this year?
— No resolutions last year. This year, I've resolved to get my fourth-year body back. Kind of. I think I can, I think I can...

Did anyone close to you give birth?
— Yes! My sister-in-law to our darling Diego! And a good friend who had a super cute baby boy with a shock of hair on his head! Haha.

Did anyone close to you die?
— An uncle, but I can't say we were close...I mean, he was a close relative, but we didn't have a close relationship.

What countries did you visit?
— Singapore.

What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
— A small waist! Haha.

What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
— August 29-31. The 5 Takes audition was an awesome experience.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
— Making it to the 5 Takes semi-finals. Sort of figuring out what I want to do with my life.

What was your biggest failure?
— That I wasn't disciplined enough in terms of food and my workouts. Tsk tsk. That I didn't practice cooking enough! Sigh.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
— Hmm, I pulled something in my leg and it hasn't quite gone back to normal, so it's painful to try and do splits now.:( I got hit on the head with a falling branch during a shoot in Silang. And it was so cold that I ended up getting chills and a fever afterwards!

What was the best thing you bought?
— Jeans which fit my booty just right. Haha.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
— Rene's. He demonstrated that he was an amazing friend.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
— Let's not name names here. Haha. It's hard when you see a friend make strange choices...

Where did most of your money go?
— Cooking class, trips, gifts, bills! Little expenses here and there that just add up.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
— Trip to Bohol, Singapore. Cooking class.

What song will always remind you of 2006?
City of Blinding Lights. It made me realize that I could die after watching a U2 concert. Haha.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? ==> Hmmm...I can't tell. Earlier this year, I think I was sadder.
ii. thinner or fatter? ==> About the same.
iii. richer or poorer? ==> Richer! (Just a tad.) But soon to be poorer when I spring for another trip...

What do you wish you’d done more of?
— Exercise self-control!

What do you wish you’d done less of?
— I was going to say "sleep," but I looooved every minute of it!

Did you fall in love in 2006?
— And the cheesy-but-true answer is, "Fell even deeper." Haha.

How many one-night stands?
— You're askin' the wrong girl! Haha.

What was your favorite TV program?
Entourage! (Can't wait for the rest of season 3!) Veronica Mars, House (I think I have a little crush on him. Haha. He really cracks me up!), Lost

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
— Nope.

What was the best book you read?
One Hundred Years of Solitude, hands down.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
— Imogen Heap, probably.

What did you want and get?
— An iPod!

What was your favorite film of the year?
— Is it sad that I can't think of one right now? Nacho Libre? Hahaha.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
— Went to mass, had breakfast with mumsy, went to work, had lunch with my former co-workers (who went to my office all the way from Makati!), treated my current co-workers, then spent the evening with my girls and my man. Ate and ate and ate. Just turned 27.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
— If I had lost a couple of inches around my waist. Haha. If I had finished that book that I've been meaning to finish! If I had saved more money. If I had read more books.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
— Slowly turning into preppy! Haha. It's the Capricorn in me. Plus I consciously tried to move away from trends and more towards the classics. But in this office, I still look like trapo!

What kept you sane?
— Being with H. Running. Dancing.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
— Ari Gold, Lloyd, and Johnny Drama. Haha. Loooved their characters. James Blake (have yet to catch him in the Australian Open!).

What political issue stirred you the most?
— Zzzzzz...

Who did you miss?
— Honestly, my brother.

Who was the best new person you met?
— Ahh, that's a tough one. There's Team Philippines, Dave from Australia, Justin from Hong Kong, Vivi and Lena from Indonesia, Bevis from Taiwan...

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006:
— God gives you what you ask for!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"They heard I was good, they wanna see if it's true..." Bwahahaha. "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere..." I'm bad at these relate-your-life-with-a-song questions!

Family affair

Tita Au, my mom's only sister and one of my most favorite people, celebrated her 70th birthday with a big bash--complete with an insane amount of food (there was quite a bit of pasta left over), relatives that looked vaguely familiar, and lots and lots of dancing!

Kuya Roji, Ate Bing, and their five kids flew in from Bangkok, and Ate Monette and her five kids were in town from Baguio. And then you have all the other kids based here (and when I say "kids," I mean my cousins' kids--my nephews and nieces, or as someone said before, my "cousins twice removed"--ranging in age from 3 to 18, more than half of whom are taller than me) for a grand total of 17...that's minus the two who couldn't make it from Chicago. They're a fun, rowdy group, and are amazingly down-to-earth considering most of them go to international schools! It warms my heart to see that they're a tight-knit bunch, and a part of me wishes to be 10 years younger so that I could be take part in all the madness. Haha. (A side note though--age didn't stop Iggy and me from taking a few of them to Antipolo a few days before the big event. We played Gotcha against Iggy's of whom shot me in the head at point-blank range even when I was already a "dead woman walking"!)

So anyway, I didn't expect to have that much fun at the party. I had been in a melancholy mood, for various reasons, on the days leading up to it. But it was nice that I got to hang out a bit with the kids, and we reminisced about my debut when all of them were these tiny things in frilly little dresses. Little cards were scattered over the tables, with factoids about Tita Au and her family. I found out, for one, that Ate Udes was born in Switzerland. The family truly is international--the two eldest were born in Jerusalem, if I'm not mistaken, a couple conceived in Laos and born here, and another was born in Pakistan. One was baptized in Bethlehem, and another at the River Jordan. How cool is that? Makes me want to work at UN myself. Haha.

Of course there was the standard AVP, where I got to hear super adorable Claire singing "Happy birthday" to her lola, all the way from Chicago. And there was that hilarious bit with my cousins lip-synching to a Josh Groban song. Messages of love were interspersed with pictures and videos of the family in all these places around the world. What rich experiences this family must have had together, and what wonderful memories they must hold!

Dance fever

After the senti moments came the highly entertaining ones. First up was a pair who demo'd a sexy ballroom dance number for my ballroom-lovin' tita. (It was so sexy that my 16-year-old nephews suddenly took an interest in's weird thinking that they're not that innocent anymore! Haha.) Then a surprise for my tita--the men/boys in the family had been practicing one dance each, and took turns leading (or trying to lead) her. My brother did the samba, and I must give him props for pulling it off despite having learned it right before the party. Notable ones were Migo doing his trademark hiphop moves and Kuya Dave shakin' his booty! And of course, Gedo's two left feet! He's an amazing athlete, but I swear he has no sense of rhythm, and we love him for it! (I had memories of a six-year-old Gedo in a cute little suit at my debut. He was one of my roses, and he was looking at his feet the whole time, trying to figure out where they should go.)

And then the kids performed their dance number to Gwen Stefani's Wind It Up. I love that song, and man, I would've killed it if I had been part of it. Haha. It was a trip seeing Hashana moving to one side while everyone moved to the other. Haha.

Afterwards, it was time for everyone to dance, with music courtesy of Nonoy Lopez and his band. There was a fair number of DIs on hand, and pretty much everyone was game. I loved it when my nephews would dance with their moms, and it was cute that my mom found a paso doble partner in Andrew. My titas kept pushing DIs towards me, and since my family is under the impression that I could dance, they gave me the more, uh, challenging DIs. One smelled of cigarettes, another had sweaty palms, and one had a fake smile perpetually plastered onto his face--he was very good though! (My favorite remains to be our "family DI," Mark! He tried carrying me and remarked, "Ay, parang bumigat!" Hahaha. Well, I did still have my holiday weight on! Haha.) Oh, my poor, aching feet in my non-dance heels.

(From top) Tito Nanding and Tita Cecile flew in from Vegas. I love this pic--Gedo looks like he knows what he's doing! (Haha.) Ate Monette and her kids, and Francene and Hashana.

A couple of hours later, once the dancing had ended, all the DIs were going nuts over Kevin, Tita Au's oldest male apo, based in Bangkok. Both "male" and female DIs were having their pics taken with him, some even taking solo shots. (Nag-pose naman siya! Hahaha.) We snickered and he muttered, "It's not funny!" and I just had to say, "No, Kev, it actually is." The funniest exchange:

"Male" DI: Kevin, how old are you?
Kevin: (visibly uncomfortable) Uh, 16.
DI: Ah, really? I'm 30...


Wow, I didn't think I had this much to write about. But I just realized it's one of those nights that reminded me why my family rocks.

Harley acted like it was the end of the world when he discovered what I did. "Why'd you put the bunny ears?!?!" he moaned. What an evil tita I am! (P.S. Note Tito Nanding's tummy in the background! Haha.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy birthday to me!

I stole this photo from Carlo's Multiply site (thanks, Carlo! Hehe). It was taken during our barkada dinner, held on the night of my birthday since it was the only time all of us were free (unfortunately, Lorie couldn't make it at the last minute because of a nasty bee...). And they surprised me with a heavenly chocolate cake! If you can't tell how old I am, the candles say "21."

Just kidding. I am 27. Hear me roar!

Singapore lah! Part 5: The rest of my stay


Apparently, people were having dinner at Harvest in Boat Quay, so Mel, Vivi, and I waited patiently for a cab (even chasing a few down the road), to no avail. Then suddenly, this dude comes out of the hotel and asks us where we were headed. Then he offered us a lift! "I can't let these lovely ladies go around chasing cabs," he said. If this had happened in the Philippines, I probably would've freaked out, but we figured Singapore was probably one of the safest places in the world. Plus I had never ridden a Mini Cooper before, so here was my chance! Hahaha. The dude said he was waiting for a friend, and he had nothing to do anyway. So yay! We hopped into his tight little ride, and found out that his name was James and that he actually worked for Mini Cooper. He gave us his card, and I even got a little Mini Cooper notebook (which has been totally useful, by the way! I bring it everywhere with me!).

Harvest was a seafood restaurant located right along the water, and we had all these connecting tables outside. Quite a few of the semi-finalists/finalists and most of the winners (Team Taiwan was missing) were there. We got to chat a bit with Justin (HK) and David (Australia), two more of my favorites--they were just really nice guys. I know we didn't have enough time to get to know them, but sometimes you can just tell when people are...kind. It's in their eyes.

(From top) Boat Quay at night; Justin (center) with finalists Zach, Jaime, Lena, and Tim (Bevis was MIA); with Mel and super nice guys Dave and Justin; with Lena, who's such a sweetheart!

I also had a little chat with Lena. She was sitting quietly there, and it seemed like something was wrong, so I went up and talked to her. I actually didn't think that my words had any effect. Haha. So it really surprised me when she posted a message for me a couple of months later in the 5 Takes forum, saying she'll never forget what I said to her! Aww, I love Lena.

So the drama

Later on, Tim convinced us all to go to Rochester, where some of the other people (including a certain chick he wanted to see, I'm guessing...) were. We had no idea where this was, so we all hailed cabs. I think we had two vans full of people. We got the middle of nowhere, had to walk, and boarded another cab. We finally found Rochester, which looked like a swanky little village. Apparently, the bar we were going to was in a house--the scene of a brewing cat fight between two semi-finalists. Haha. Amazing how two people can learn that they detest each other in less than two days! The Aussies came into the room wearing cowboy hats they found elsewhere in the house to somehow diffuse the tension. Haha.

(Top) An accidental artsy shot in the van. (Bottom) Ride 'em cowboy: the Aussies plus Mr. Bombay, Marc.

We decided it would be best to separate the two chicks, so some of us made our way outdoors, where there was a gazebo. I really liked it here--it was in the middle of a garden and had lots of comfortable seats. There wasn't any loud music, just conversation and drinks, the kind of place my barkada would like. Here, I got to try an authentic Singapore Sling! Woohoo! As we all know, I don't really drink, but I figured I couldn't leave Singapore without trying it! I also got to try some chili ice cream. Seriously. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get my tastebuds on some Hainanese chicken rice. Boo.

Another accidental artsy shot, this time with roomie Wendy at the gazebo.

I finally got to talk with Simon and Daniel (both from Sydney), probably the last two people I hadn't met--and Daniel cringed and shook his head while I told him about balut. Haha. No idea how the conversation ended up there! (It was probably Singapore Sling-induced...)

We be clubbin'

Vivi, Mel, and I (and I don't remember who else!) left the gazebo of happy Aussies and went back to the hotel. We found out that the others were going to Momo, a nearby club, and decided to go. Twas our last night together after all. We were hanging out at Mel's room with Zach when who should walk in but Bevis--in his short shorts! And man, were his legs white! Haha. We tried to convince him to go to Momo with us, to which he replied, "I don't go clubbing!" in his cutie Taiwanese accent. We finally got him to say yes.

We met up with Sky (one of the almost cat-fighters. Haha), who told us what all the fuss was about. All six of us proceeded to Momo on foot...or at least we tried to proceed to Momo on foot. We were lost. They actually stopped a middle-aged Indian man to ask for directions, because obviously a middle-aged Indain man would know where a trendy club is. Haha. (He was so off, pointing us in the opposite direction!) The whole time, saucy Sky (quite the fireball) was tutoring Bevis in the fine art of cussing. Haha. Let's keep this entry G-rated, so let's leave it at that. Twas hilarious though.

We ran into a group of teenagers, and Sky charmed (or bullied, depending on how you look at it) them into giving us a ride to Momo. Wow, my second free ride with a stranger in one night! The head of the pack, this ma-porma dude who probably thought he was the sh*t (again, G-rated), asked us to choose which car we wanted to ride--the "family car," the "ordinary Honda" (or whatever), or the best damn car in the world (he pointed to his car). Zach, Vivi, and I piled into Mr. Cool Dude's car. I was fully expecting his sound system to be blaring some serious hiphop. But no--instead, we were greeted by the opening strains of J. Lo and Marc Anthony's No Me Ames! I kid you not.

We got to Momo and there the others were, tearing it up on the dance floor. I would've danced up a storm myself if 1) my feet didn't hurt from all the walking, and 2) H were there! Hehe. I did manage to get a two-step in though. Hehe. It was a great way to end my stay.

Janice and Zach show off their moves--I love this photo!

Back to reality

The next morning, we woke up bright and early, as Team Philippines and Team Australia were sharing a ride going to the airport. We said our goodbyes, had our last pictures together taken, and boarded our separate planes.

We're leaving on a jet plane: (from top) With Simon, on our way to airport; with Remi and Chesie--I was actually in heels (really!); Dave had to stoop so that we'd fit in the frame.

The experience was barely three days long, but it was enough to last me a lifetime. In such a short span of time, I met people from all over, all with different personalities and different backgrounds, all with a story to tell, each one interesting. I was immersed in several cultures, not just as I hung out with the semi-finalists, but also as I explored Singapore on my own--the country, I was pleasantly surprised to find, isn't the bland, sterile place I thought it would be, but a charming mix of nations and influences--with a good number of people willing to give you a free ride! I learned that things I do on a whim, even when I don't expect them to lead to anything, can flourish into such a rich experience.

I may not have made it onto the show, but learning all that I did, and meeting all these fantastic people, and getting a free trip to boot sure is a consolation prize I could definitely live with!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Singapore lah! Part 4: Once upon a time in Chinatown

(Alternatively entitled "Tama na ang ningas cogon." Hahaha.)

Gadzooks! Has it been over four months since I got back? Time flies when you're totally stressed. Haha. I actually looked at the pics of my last post and already I feel like I've aged since then. Or perhaps the pics just show me with longer, browner, shinier hair, and thinner, tanner arms (yes, payback for all my holiday binging, and yes, I am back to my ghostly white self--it's been ages since my last beach trip).

I finally got around to writing about the rest of the trip because I was afraid that (horrors!) I was starting to forget. I mean, the entire experience is something I'll never forget, but the details started to escape me. And I don't want that to happen. I'm a stickler for details.

So there we were, having lunch after the auditions, and this was when Juliana (Malaysia) told me that I looked like Kristine Hermosa. Bwahaha. So yes, Pangako Sa 'Yo is a big thing in their country! So is Christian Bautista! Other people I looked like, or so I was told, was someone from Taiwan, and roomie Wendy's Latin American friend. (Side kwento: I remember being spoken to in Spanish while I was in the US. And when I didn't reply, the dude was like, "What happened to your Spanish?" And I was like, "Dude, I never had it." Haha.) Singapore's Simone, meanwhile, asked me, "So, you're mestiza?" Again, yihee me. Haha. They couldn't quite place where I was from. (Sigh. Me and my generic face!)

After lunch, the judges came in to announce the finalists. There were 12 in all, and I can't remember who they all were! I just remember the five winners of course, plus Jade (syempre, Pinay yata 'yan!). Five of us non-finalists decided to spend the rest of the afternoon together. The two lovely locals, Carol and Z, decided to take us to Chinatown. But first, we were stuck in Vivi (Indonesia) and Mel's hotel room as the rain poured outside. So we had a little judging session of our own while the finalists had to go through the last round of auditions. We came up with our own list of 5 Takes hosts out of the 12 finalists. We noticed that they came in pairs--meaning, we could pit one person "against" another because they seemed to have similar personalities (e.g., party girl, cutie, etc.). We came up with our own lists and had a debate going before we had our final list. Haha. Later that day, we found out that we got 3 out of 5 right.

(Top) With eight of the finalists and the four other "judges" (haha). (Bottom) With (from left) Z, Carol, Vivi, and Mel.

A taste of Chinatown

So the rain stopped and off we went. And it turns out, we could actually walk to Chinatown! According to my (well, my bro's) trust little Lonely Planet: Best of Singapore, Chinatown is Singapore's cultural heart, providing a "glimpse of the old ways, and how the Chinese immigrants who shaped and built Singapore used to live."

We kept stopping at little food booths, and Carol and Z kept buying us stuff to try--peanut pancakes, peanut candies, even peanut soup (notice a pattern?). We also learned about Carol's past--she was actually an actress before, so a couple of people recognized her while we were out. She, unfortunately, was stuck in a "damned if you don't, damned if you do" situation; she explained that, if she had been chosen, people would say it's unfair because she had experience to back her up, but if she didn't make it, they'd say, "See, she didn't make it before, so what made her think she'd make it now?" People can be nasty.

Food trippin' in Chinatown: (clockwise from top left) Peanut-pancakes-in-the-making; candy, candy, candy; peanut soup (we got other flavors like almond and they had these soft, puto-like things with filling); more candy (these stuck to our teeth).

I learned that Z knows more about India than she does about her own country. Haha. She absolutely loves India and has traveled through a good bit of it. It was a blast hanging out with Mel (the first Channel V VJ! Haha), and I especially liked that I could switch to Filipino and still be understood! And I super loved Vivi. I think among all the people I met, she was the one I could relate with the most because she was rather quiet, like me. (Really, I was quiet!) But it amazed me how she could switch to this mode where she could easily converse with other people. (I am so not like that.) She's a newscaster after all--even regaling us with a sample newscast in Bahasa! Galing!

(Top) Curiously, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore is found in Chinatown! It's called the Sri Mariamman Temple, and is dedicated to the healing goddess known for her rain-bringing powers and reputation for curing disease and sickness. (Second photo) Mel does Chinatown. (Third) The rejects looking for work! (Bottom) The peanut soup stall, part of a row of food stalls in Chinatown.

By late afternoon, the Singaporeans had to get going. They were supposed to meet up with us that night, but were unable to--and it sucks that we weren't able to get their contact info! So anyway, Mel, Vivi, and I explored Chinatown a bit more, buying pasalubongs and stuff before flagging down a cab (the rain was pouring again) and heading back to the hotel. There, we found out that 5 Takes had found its TJs: Lena from Indonesia (one of my favorites!), Tim from Australia, Jaime from Singapore, Bevis from Taiwan, and Zach from the Philippines!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The year in review

I was trying to figure out what my top 5 events/experiences of 2006 were, and so far, most of them involved travel! There's going to Bohol with H, going to Bora and Cebu for work, and going to Singapore for 5 Takes--although the 5 Takes experience as a whole was definitely one of the major highlights, possibly at the top of the list. (Which reminds me, I still haven't finished writing about it!)

Of course I'm incredibly thankful for everything I got to experience last year, but I decided to instead write about the things that I've learned, or have begun to learn.

The most recent lesson: Instead of wallowing in loneliness (which I've been prone to lately, even when I'm surrounded by lots of people), I have to be able to find comfort in solitude. What brought this about merits an entire blog entry, albeit a private one. Suffice it to say that it's a lesson I'm trying to take to heart.

The night before I turned 27, I was feeling down about the whole late 20s thing. As Tatamaps said, "You'll be checking a different box." But on my birthday, I was fortunate enough to have had a little talk with Cosmo ed Ianne, who asked me how old I was. When I told her, she replied fondly, "That was a good age. Not because I got married, but it was just a good year." By 27, she explained, you begin to become more accepting of who you are (she slapped her thigh and said, "Eh, nanjan na 'yan eh!"), and you're less stressed over little things. It honestly made me feel so much better, and it gave me something to look forward to.

She also mentioned something about being able to determine who should be in your life. This was something I started to implement in my own life about two years ago. I just reached the point when I stopped trying to please everyone, and started understanding that there really are certain people whose very presence in my life can be toxic. I've learned to cut people out of my life--I don't do it a lot, mind you, but it's something that I've deemed necessary in extreme cases. Selfish as it may be, it's about keeping my sanity intact, and about taking my efforts at forging a friendship that isn't meant to be and redirecting that effort into more worthwhile pursuits. Some people don't understand it. (They probably come from the school of try-and-try-until-you-die. Really, sometimes it's just not worth it.) But I think I have the kind of peace of mind that I wouldn't be able to get if I carried on with these corrosive relationships.

I've learned that "blood is thicker than water" isn't necessarily true. Certainly, my family will always be there to support me and love me unconditionally. But friends, in the truest sense of the word, ahh--they are their own brand of special. They will be there for me and I will be there for them, not simply because of some genetic connection, but because we want to and because we choose to. (Freedom of choice totally rocks!)

I've learned, rather, was reminded that God is great. He does give me what I ask for, but all in the right time--sometimes years later. Two instances come to mind: When I was a kid, I longed to be in a commercial, but after a while realized that I wasn't telegenic enough for it. Haha. Years later, it actually came true. (Instead of some soap commercial though, it was for food. How very apt. Haha.) And because I was older and--dare I say it?--wiser, it didn't appeal to my vanity so much as it did to my thirst for and openness to new experiences. It's something I can check off my list, and an experience that I really did enjoy.

Instance no. 2: Years ago, I really really wanted to work for a travel show on Discovery Channel. This was when I was hooked on a show called Travelers. But I thought that this was nothing more than a pipe dream. Realistically, what were the chances that someone from a developing country would land a hosting gig on an international travel show? But God works in sneaky ways, and last year, this fantasy nearly came true. I never imagined it was even possible. Ang galing lang.

So yeah, you get what you pray for. It might not be right away, it might not be in the way you thought your prayers would be answered, but trust Him. He knows what He's doing.

Have a fabulous year, everyone!