Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hongkong Experience

JJ and I availed PAL’s Great Getaway (50% off on Mabuhay Miles requirement for certain routes) promo last December 2-5. Our destination? Hongkong J

It was my first time to visit the country but JJ’s been there once when he was 8 or 9. We initially thought of getting a land tour package but since a number of JJ’s officemates have been there in the last few months, we decided to do away with the package and plan the tour ourselves. And we were glad we did J

After booking the flights, the next step was to look for place to stay. We were initially scouting for three-star hotels and we were almost sold in spending US$80 a night for the room. Good thing Prec and Christie recommended the hostel they stayed in, Dragon Hostel. We immediately checked the website and hearing good things from the two girls, we inquired for room availability via email. Sadly, they were booked for the dates we mentioned. We continued our search and found another hostel, Dragon Inn Ah Shan Hostel, in the same building as Dragon Hostel. Luckily, they have a room available for us. We booked it by paying the downpayment online. The room was small (just enough space for a double bed and a bathroom but for US$ 30/ night, it was a great deal) but really clean. The room is air-conditioned, they have hot and cold shower in the bathroom and there is a ref in the hall where you can store food. If you’re planning to tour HK the whole day and just sleep and shower in your room, then this is the best deal.

JJ and I had our itinerary planned before leaving. We already searched the net on how to go around HK, where to dine, where to shop, how to get to the hotspots. We also bought HK dollars here in Manila for convenience but we were glad we had that task done here as the rates are better. (Check out Czarina’s money changer in Glorietta 1, second floor). For extra money, we just brought a little cash in US$ and credit cards. Since JJ and I are bent on going around via public transportation, we also asked JJ’s officemates about the Octopus card. We also found information about the card online. The Octopus card is a card that is used in the MTR, buses, some stores and restaurants.

We took the first flight out of Manila for us to go around HK on Day 1. Sayang kasi yung araw if we will arrive in the afternoon. Upon arriving, we immediately purchased on-loan Octopus cards from the information booth at the airport (Cost is HK$ 150 where $100 is usable and the $50 serves as a deposit. The deposit will be given back to you less $7 handling fee upon returning the card). We used the card to pay for the bus fare from the Airport to our hostel in Mongkok area.

Day 1. We went to the shopping areas in Mongkok. We visited the electronic goodies shops, some outlet stores. We also went inside toy shops to check out Transformers stuff for my hubby’s collection. Cameras are much cheaper in the area. We were also able to buy perfumes (again at a cheaper price) at Sasa, a shop selling make-ups and other beauty and grooming products. We also went to the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) area. We went to Ocean Terminal to check out the Toys R Us store in the mall. The view of Central HK from the Ocean Terminal is really nice. After dinner, we went to the Cultural Center to watch the Symphony of Lights show.

Day2. Ocean Park day J First thing we did upon arriving at the place was to check out the schedule of the shows so we can plan our day around it. The shows were okay though I find the dolphin show at Subic’s Ocean Adventure better than the one at the Ocean Park. My husband and I had fun with the rides (though I was surprised to realize that I was braver than him when it comes to trying out the scary-looking ones J). The only sad thing about traveling as a couple and opting not to bring a tripod is the lack of opportunities to have pictures together. We were always asking for other people to take our pictures and luckily, everyone we asked readily agreedJ (but then again, a lightweight tripod is one more thing to buy before our next trip). Ocean Park closes at 6PM so we were able to squeeze in a tour at the Victoria Peak after. We had dinner at the Peak and took pictures. It was cold up there L but the trip was well worth it. One tip for Ocean Park (and Disneyland for this matter): though the brochure says that food/drinks are not allowed, they don’t really stop you from bringing it in. JJ and I didn’t even bring water because we thought that they were strictly enforcing the said rule (ala-Splash Island) but they were not naman pala. It will be wise to bring in water and some snack items like cookies or chips if you want to save money J For breakfast, JJ and I bought bread from bakeries inside the MTR stations. Then we usually buy drinks and snack items from 7-11 (na mejo nagkalat dun. As in parang every street meron).

Day 3. Disneyland. Though the rides are much tamer than Ocean Park’s, I had a grander time here. Do not miss these shows: Festival of the Lion King and The Golden Mickeys. We also enjoyed the Space Mountain ride, the Stitch Encounter and Autopia. Sadly, we lost like a hundred shots taken from this day of our trip. The camera’s memory card just gave up on me. Good thing we were able to save the remaining pictures in our PC before the memory card completely conked out. (At least we have a reason to come back :0 ).

Day 4. Causeway Bay. Our flight was scheduled at 6PM but we have to check out by 11AM. We checked out by 9AM and just left our stuff at the hostel’s office. (The hostel staff are really nice though we usually use sign language to understand each other :D ). After breakfast, we went to Causeway Bay and discovered that there are more places to shop there J We had lunch in the area (we were looking for a dimsum place as we are yet to eat siu mai and siu bao but no such luck, one more reason to go back :D) and then went back to Kowloon Island via ferry. After getting our stuff from the hostel, we sadly took the bus again to the airport. Hay, vacation over na J

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Past Three Weeks

Several things happened in the past three weeks. November 1 - the whole family (with my two nephews in tow) went to Pampanga. Visiting my grandparents' graves in the cemetery has been a tradition in my family since I was a few years old. It is also a time when my dad and uncles catch up as it usually is a reunion of some sort. Pic on the right taken on our way to Pampanga. Hay, ang guguwapo ng mga pamangkin ko :-)
My dad celebrated his 50th birthday last November 3. It was a fun fun day because a lot of our relatives celebrated with us. We had to set up tables outside the house (we can't really fit 10 tables in our humble abode) and kudos to Queensland Catering for the yummy food and great service. To my daddypops, happy happy birthday and many, many more to come!
My dear friend Vangie's baby boy, Hari James, had his dedication last November 4, 2007. Trip down the memory lane again as memorable scenes from high school kept popping on my mind. To my inaanak, Hari, I wish you good health always :-) I hope you grow up to be a good kid like me and your mom :D
And of course, I just had to have a picture with the proud momma :-)
Me and JJ: 10 months of marriage and a few (?) pounds later......

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chie's Birthday Weekend

Just turned 27 last Friday (weird because I feel no different when I was just 18!). My birthday started with a 5AM call from my husband JJ (who was on the 10PM-6AM shift), an early breakfast at a hotel in Dumaguete and an 8:15AM flight to Manila. My day ended with an exam in Calculus (this exam ruined my day but that will be another story). I didn't really get to celebrate my birthday on the 26th but I knew this was going to happen due to my scheduled midterms (6-9PM, so tell me, what else could I have lined up for the day after the exam?). Even so, I was elated with the number of people who remembered my birthday this year. I was really touched that even friends from abroad (yes, chi donato, that is you :-) ) and friends I haven't seen for quite some time sent me birthday greetings. Nakakatuwa :-) It just made me feel special. My Mom (even if I wasn't there in our house in Muntinlupa) prepared noodles (for long life) and cake for my special day. My in-laws also made pancit and chicken at home, which JJ and I feasted on when I got home from La Salle.

It was also my Lola Ima's birthday who would have been 81 years old if she were alive (I specially miss her on my birthdays as we usually celebrate together). Oh well, at least she's with my Gramps now.

On the 27th, JJ and I prepared my bday lunch. We had Penne in Marinara Sauce, Mojo Potatoes, Vegetable Salad, Roasted Chicken, Pork Belly and Black Gulaman. I got the Marinara sauce and the mojo potatoes recipes online. Everyone was telling us that the sauce tasted like Sbarro's red sauce (JJ's really good in adding spices and making the stuff I cook taste much, much better) :-) We bought the roasted chicken and the pork belly from Shopwise (Yummy! and beats having to roast the chicken yourself). We had dinner at my parent's house with the same food that we prepared for lunch.

Also had the chance to see my nephew Miguel again. He sure have grown a lot since I last saw him about two weeks ago. He has chubby cheeks now and he loves to talk :-) Pic below was taken while Miggy was napping. Maybe we'll have our little one when I celebrate my 28th bday next year. Maybe, hopefully :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The New Formula 1 World Champion

All eyes were on the Brazilian Grand Prix last Sunday (my eyes were glued to the tube too, I ignored the fact that it was starting at 12 Midnight RP time and that I had work the next day. But come on, some things are worth staying up late for). It is the last race of the Formula 1 Season with this last race setting the stage for the final battle for the Driver’s Championship – but wait, it gets better. Three (3) drivers will battle it out for 71 laps. Lewis Hamilton, the rookie sensation leading the points; his teammate, Double World Champion Fernando Alonso is 4 points adrift and the last contender, Kimi Raikkonen who’s been a runner-up three times (twice to Schumi and once to Alonso) is 7 points below Lewis.

Pre-race, it was a little disheartening for a Kimi-fan like me. In Formula 1, 7 points is really something short of a miracle. In this setting, for Kimi to win the World Championship, he has to win the race – Hamilton should place no higher than 6th place and Alonso should place no higher than 3rd. Or, Kimi can place second – Hamilton shouldn’t score higher than a point and Alonso should place no higher than 5th. Impossible right? Think again.

If anything, the last race proved that one cannot really predict what’s gonna happen with 22 cars in the starting grid. Kimi started 3rd with Lewis and Massa up ahead. Before the first lap ended, Kimi was on second with Lewis down to 7th place. Lewis and Fernando were kinda slugging it out since the last half of the season and it was no surprise that they went wheel to wheel on the first corner. Lewis ran wide and that move cost him several places down the line. Seven laps later, the camera focused on a sloooowww Lewis (initially thought of as a gearbox problem but post-race interviews stated that Lewis admitted to pushing the start-sequence button). 40 seconds later he was delegated to 18th place. In their defence, Mclaren did everything they could to help Lewis win the Championship. But things did not work for them at this race.

Alonso, on the other hand, admitted to just not having the pace to match the prancing horse’s cars when the Ferrari’s started to push. He was a distant third at the end of the race.

Now, just how did Kimi win the race with Massa, in an equal car, leading? Partly, they worked as a team as can be seen from the beautiful synchronized start that they had which pushed Lewis to third place and moved Raikkonen up to second in the first lap. The rest is just Kimi’s sheer pace. After the first pit stop, Massa still came out ahead of Kimi. But on the second stint, Kimi stayed on for two laps after Massa pitted and clocked in a series of fast laps. With this, he came out less than two seconds ahead of Massa to take the race lead. And the rest is history. After the Brazilian GP victory, Kimi was crowned as the World Champion as Lewis was classified 7th place, one lap down.

Looking back at the season, this result seems so unlikely coming from Japan given that he trails Lewis by 17 points with just two races remaining. In the last 3 races, he scored 26 points compared to Lewis’ 12 points. I guess one shouldn’t really give up until all is said and done.

The races are over for the 2007 season but the drama is yet to end for this controversial season. Post-race, BMW and Williams (they finished 4th, 5th and 6th) were found to have irregularities in their fuel’s temperatures. The FIA held on to the race classification as they concluded that there is insufficient evidence to punish the two teams. Mclaren, seeing this as a chance to win Hamilton the title, filed an appeal. The FIA is yet to announce when the decision on Mclaren’s appeal will be announced.

Whatever happens, I still think that Kimi deserves the title having won the most number of races in the season. I just find it ironic that Kimi went to Ferrari because of Mclaren’s unreliability and that same unreliability probably handed him the World Title.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Back to School

Another new adventure. Yes, you read it right. I am a student again. My poor husband! Wala pa one year na married, may pinapaaral na agad
J Honestly, after we got married I thought grad studies is something that I will not be able to pursue. One surprising thing is that my husband even encouraged me to do it. Basta enroll na lang daw ako because it will be more difficult for me to pursue this when we have babies na. So, that is what I did.

I am now enrolled at DLSU, taking up Financial Engineering. Under the diploma program muna ako then I plan to either continue to MS or apply for MBA naman. (Ask me again what my plans are in a few months J).

I have two critique papers to submit every week so I have to minimize my weekend activities ( Miss ko na mag-swimming!!! Waaaahhhh L) Last week, I spent 4 hours writing a two-pager critique! Talk about lack of practice. It’s been a while since I last wrote a critique rin kasi. Next week naman I’d be the reporter and super hirap hanapin nung paper for my report. Hay, o well. Part of being a student again I guess.

Anyways, that’s it for now. Hubby’s birthday is next week. Wonder what to get him? Any suggestion?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Feast Number One Hundred Fifty Six

Describe your laundry routine. Do you have a certain day when you do it all, or do you just wash whatever you need for the next day?

We do our laundry during the weekends but we only do the "small" stuff :-)

In your opinion, what age will you be when you’ll consider yourself to truly be old?

Probably, when I have a couple of grandchildren I cannot carry anymore :-)

What is one of your goals? Is it short-term, long-term, or both?

Hubby and I are still working on our "life-map", so to speak. Moving to another country for better opportunities is an option but not in the near future (think 3-5 years). Short-term, I will be enrolling next term to take up Financial Engg. (good luck to me!)

Main Course
Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately.

Alonso and Hamilton's number 1 driver row, the email about how a paradigm is supposedly created, Aboitiz Power stocks...

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how happy are you today?

10! :-D


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chie's Visual DNA

My Visual DNA" quality="best" bgcolor="#000000" width="340" height="240" name="widget" align="middle" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage=""
flashvars="i1=" >" style="color:rgb(255,255,255)">Read my VisualDNA" style="color:rgb(255,255,255) ">Get your own VisualDNA™

Thursday, June 21, 2007

JJ's Lakbayan Grade

My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Chie's Lakbayan Grade

My Lakbayan grade is C+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

I found out about Lakbayan from Monna. Galing galing talaga ni fellow Inhinyero 2006 staff Eugene :-)

My grade is just C+! Looking at my map, it is evident that I would have to visit more places in the Visayas and Mindanao area. Davao anyone?

Friday, June 1, 2007

My Parent's 27th Wedding Anniv

Happy 27th wedding anniversary Popsy and Momsy :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shrek 3

Hubby and I watched the latest Shrek movie. I was looking forward to this third installment, given how hard I laughed when I saw the first two movies.

An hour and more-so later, as hubby and I were walking out of the movie theatre, I cannot help but feel a little bit disappointed. As JJ's cousin Jill would have put it, it was a rip-off! Maybe I just expected too much or maybe the film wasn't really that good. I dunno. I told JJ what I thought about the movie and he said that he wasn't really expecting much from it. Sigh.

Sure there were funny scenes but there were times when I felt sooo bored I sure would have dozed off if it weren't for the food we brought with us. This didn't happen in the first two movies. I just have this heavy feeling as I was so excited to see this movie that I was literally running out of the office after 5pm yesterday (feeling 7 years old again :-D). Then to feel that way after watching it.

As we were walking towards the escalator, we passed by the ticket booth and my eyes lit up. They were selling tickets for Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End already!!! JJ and I rushed to the nearest window only to be disappointed yet again. We thought they were already selling tickets for the week's showing. They were selling tickets for the opening day Wednesday lang pala. Dang!. But then at least, there is another movie to look forward to. Hopefully, Johnny and Orlando won't disappoint :-)

I read several reviews (from and most were saying the same thing. I think one review summed up what I felt perfectly " Shrek 3 is a funny visit with the familiar characters that made you laugh but you do not leave hoping for a fourth."

Friday, May 18, 2007

Married at last

It’s been 4 months and 20 days since JJ and I tied the knot. Whenever I think about it, I am always surprised that we’re married for less than five months pa lang. Para kasing ang dami nang nangyari. :-)

A lot of people have been asking me for wedding kuwento. Specially my relatives abroad who weren’t able to attend the wedding. So, after a few months, here goes. Hope I can still remember everything clearly.

Our Wedding (from the bride’s POV)

Day before the big day
JJ and I, together with Eunice and Chissa, went to the Manila Hotel where we will be dressing up for the big day. The hotel stay was a gift from our Ninang Vicky. She met us at the hotel and made sure that we had the best rooms available.

We had two rooms, one for JJ and one for me. We checked out our respective rooms, hung up the clothes and checked if we were able to bring everything that we need for the big day.

In the afternoon, our chaperones Eunice and Chissa went out with their sweethearts, leaving me, JJ and his PS2 :-) We wanted to go out too as we were getting bored at the hotel, but the two looked at us as if we’re a bunch of locos out of the mental hospital. “Don’t you guys listen? Hindi kayo puede lumabas the day before your wedding!”. Argh. Ayt. Ayt. After several hours of playing and checking our list, we ordered food from McDo. After the meal, JJ continued working on our confetti. He’s using star- and sun-shaped punchers to make our confetti. Even though they are quite difficult (not to mention, painful) to do, JJ punched and punched the afternoon away. Every few minutes he’d look up to me and say “Hay, all in the name of love…”. Hehe :-) Which never failed to make me smile. I, on the other hand, got busy preparing last payments to our suppliers and again, checking what’s left in our to-do list.
By late afternoon, we were practising our vows and making sure that we memorized it. As Malate Church puts it, it will look much better if we’ll be looking at each other while saying our vows rather than at the misalette. In the midst of our practice, the two “chaperones” came in bringing us food for dinner. After dinner and a few laughs with the two girls (who were continuing the confetti-punching), we decided to practice our first dance. We initially chose “The First Time I Loved Forever” from the Beauty and the Beast TV series. After the first few notes, we realized we made a big mistake in choosing this song. For one, it is soooo slow that it was difficult for us to dance to it. Right there and then, we decided to change our first dance song to something more upbeat. “Panalangin” by Moonstar88 seemed like the best choice at the moment. Within minutes, I was on the phone with our coordinator and our string ensemble to inform them of the change.

Around 10:30 PM, we decided to call it a night. I got a lot of well-wishing SMS from friends who were surprised that I was still awake at that time. If they only knew :-) After JJ and Eunice went in the other room to sleep, I conned my sister into doing my eyebrows. I intentionally waited for my husband-to-be to leave before having my sister pluck my eyebrows. Knowing my hubby, he’d just tell me to leave ‘em brows alone. I , of course, cannot sit well with it, given the fact that it will be the best day of my life and I’d have my pics taken with ungroomed brows? Nuh-uh. No way. So, she plucked and plucked for an hour until I was satisfied :-)

After all that, I was off to dreamland.

Our alarm was set at 630AM. I woke up thinking, “Wow! Today is the day. Sana wag umulan”. The first thing I did was to look outside to see if the sun is out. Hay. It was not. As predicted by the weather bureau, it will be cloudy that day. And a cloudy day it was. I was just really hoping that it will not rain given our garden reception. My sister told me not to think about it as there is nothing that one can do about it and that it shouldn’t ruin my day.

We called JJ and Eunice for us to go down for breakfast na. The buffet was really a feast. So many choices. JJ told me to eat a really heavy breakfast as our wedding is at 230PM and we won’t be having a proper lunch with the preparations under way at lunch time. I really ate like a queen! :-)

After breakfast, we went up to our rooms na. When JJ said goodbye, I cannot help but think that the next time I’ll be seeing his face, it will be at the church na.

And the wedding day officially began with my flowers arriving at 730AM. Muntik na masira ang araw ko when I saw that my ento flowers were pink and not the yellow roses that me and our florist agreed upon. When I asked them about this, I almost had a heart attack when they replied “Maam, madali po kasi malanta yung yellow roses kaya itong pink na lang.” WHATTTT???? And why didn’t you tell me this when we ordered the flowers from you???? I fortunately got hold of my temper and just paid them. I vowed that I will not let anything ruin this day for me. So, I checked the flowers again and noticed that they were indeed nice. In fairness, my bouquet of red gala roses was really super pretty :-) so vibrant and fresh. So, sige. Let go of the flower issue na.

Around 8AM, my HMUA Mama Rudy sent me an SMS reminding me to massage ice all over my face and that they were on their way na. I also got an SMS from our P/V team saying that they were also on their way na.

9AM. I am already having my hair and make-up done. P/V team are dressing up the body form. My coordinators came in at 10 AM. Looking back, everything seemed like a blur from this point.
I remember pictorials here and there, one of my coordinators giving me food, another coordinator reprimanding me for checking my SMS messages even after I was told to let my sister handle my cellphone and just inform me if some issues really need my attention. I remember looking at the bridal gown on the body form and telling myself “Hindi nasunod ang gusto ko ah.” And just shrugging the gown issue off.

My favorite part of the preparations is the pictorials with my parents and sister. My brothers were still on their way to the hotel so they missed this part. It was very special for me because I am just so thankful that my parents are there to share that wonderful day with me. My mom’s been diagnosed with moderate cerebellar atrophy and she hasn’t been able to walk by herself for 2 years now. And seeing her there, all smiles, just made me so thankful to God. My mom and sister rode with me in the bridal car to the church. On the way there, my mind was just flying, wala akong naiisip. I was even surprised when the car turned and voila!, we are in the Malate Church parking lot already.
The first person I saw at the parking lot was my husband-to-be talking animatedly to our best friend, Pao. I cannot help but think “Pogi pogi naman ng mapapangasawa ko.” A thought, which I found out later on, is common to almost all brides. I just sat there and saw friends and relatives on their way to the church.

A few minutes before the bridal car was set to move in front of Malate Church’s doors, I felt that I have to go the bathroom. Haha. I never really thought that I’d be going to the restroom on my wedding gown. Imagine the looks I got when I went inside Malate Church’s office and headed straight to the restrooms with my mananahi and a coordinator. I have two people assisting me. Haha :-) I also remember handing my bouquet to my dad saying that I have to go to the restroom and him saying “Ngayon?”. And I was like “Opo, now na.”. He was just shaking his head and smiling. Probably thinking, “Itong anak ko talaga, restroom ng restroom kapag excited. Hanggang sa kasal ba naman niya…”.

After that, I was brought in front of Malate Church’s doors. I cannot really explain how I felt while waiting for the coordinator to tell me it’s my turn to walk down the aisle. I was excited, but I was not nervous, I am thankful that after months of planning it is finally going to happen, I am happy… and then I was told to step out of the car.

As I was waiting for the doors to open, I was suddenly nervous. What if I trip? Etc. etc. And then the door opened and I saw everyone looking at me…. I know I should have felt more nervous given all that attention. Surprisingly, those smiling faces banished my fears. As I walked down the aisle, smiling from one special person to the next, I felt like I was walking in clouds. I even had to remind myself to listen to the song I specifically requested our string ensemble to study for my march (Feels like home by Chantal Kreviazuk). And then my hand was inside my dad’s and I can finally see JJ. I was so dazed that I forgot to kiss my parents before my dad gave my hand to JJ. I just realized this after the wedding na.

The wedding ceremony proceeded with me making one big boo boo. It was my turn to place JJ’s ring and I remember having a hard time with it. It seemed as if the ring doesn’t fit! And then I realized I was holding the wrong hand! Haha :D The smile on our videographer’s face says it all. It is a good thing no one but him noticed. After our first kiss as husband and wife, the pictorials began again. The pictorial with our entire entourage was really funny. There was a flower girl who had her back to the photographer, there was our coin bearer silently crying ( I was told that they had brunch so the poor kid was probably hungry), my bible bearer nephew who refused to stand still and our ring bearer who was MIA.

The pictorial after the church ceremony was really fun. We had our pictures taken by the Bay. It was embarrassing at times but I just thought, “Minsan lang mangyayari ito.” So, I might as well enjoy doing it :-)

I cannot really say much about our reception as time flew for me during that time. It felt like I was seeing things happen the first time when we first saw the wedding video. I don’t remember how the food tasted, I just remembered the laughs I shared with JJ while listening to the nice speeches and words of wisdom our parents shared. I also remember thinking at one point during our first dance “ Wow, we are married.”

And then the next thing I know, we’re inside the car driving back to Manila Hotel and JJ was saying “Hay, tapos na ang pagiging bida natin.” And we thought, ang bilis bilis! Months and months of preparations and ang bilis bilis matapos! Haha :-) Kasal na tayo! It was indeed a giddy feeling. Unbelievable. Married at last.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

First Time!

I've always loved to read my friends' blogs to know what's up with them and I figured, why not create my own?

This is my first post! Tons have happened in my life in the past 6 months (getting hitched last December tops the list!) and hopefully the next "BIG" events in my life will be documented here.