Thursday, 29 July 2010

My Girls and Grown-up Thoughts

I’ve been sulking to the thoughts that belong grown-ups. Or I am acting like a grown-up? Whichever. You see, my little sisters are getting married, in the same year. This year. Sigh. Don’t know what this sigh is for. Yeah, I feel old. I feel uncool. I feel weird. I think parents would feel even worse. Ten years ago, I would qualify as a grumpy old ate. I terrorize them a lot. And now, seeing them getting married and treading dangerous waters, the overprotective me almost want to stop the wedding. Sigh again. Ahhh they’ve grown up, and so well, thank God.

It’s a perfect time to let God. I love you girls. I wish you know how very much I do.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Weddings are Fun, Violets are Blue ;)

Hmmm been to a wedding of a good friend way back in college, who continued to be so until i had my first job in DSWD, who became my protege at work (at some point, i admit, haha). I like weddings, i do admiringly look at photos of some acquaintances over fb community who posted their photos for public viewing. I feel kilig. haha. So okay im a little romantic. =) I like the part where the officiating minister would say, "you may now kiss the bride" - its like talking to the guy only. Oh yeah, i disagree the manner of proclamation - id rather want to hear, okay i pronounce you married, husband and wife, you may now kiss each other! or maybe, you may now seal my pronouncement with a kiss! or something sweet and romantic. not some chauvinistic phrase invented by some macho. but i like it when they are pronounced married. i like the kissing part. :D :D :D

no rantings in this blog please! haha. so there, my friend got married! not that she isnt at the right age to get married. she is 29, for goodness sake. but is there a so-called right (perfect) age to get married? dunno. i am no expert. but if i start from where she was some 10 years ago, id say, she would not be on the top list of the people i kind of expected to get married at this time. but i know God works in mysterious ways.

another thing i like about weddings, its the charade. im a fun person. i giggle a lot when someone takes the bouquet and again the kissing part. ^_^ i remember the movie 27 dresses. oh nooo im not like that person in the movie, but i admit im a kikay person. im vain (at some point!) and i love seeing people happy. it sends me waves of eternal satisfaction (what is that?).. haha, whatever that means. yeah true. and eversince i never joined the fun of charade after seeing countless weddings all my life. i just feel perfect at my seat seeing other people happy.

what i do not like about weddings - its the tension for the bride. my heart always feel for the bride that even simple pins would irk them. i can't take it. i do not like to watch them that way during the dressing up part. it breaks my heart all the time.

but in general, yeah weddings are fun. ^_^ Congratulations you both!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Lessons From Sudoku

My interest in Sudoku is not natural. It was forced. At first, when I was on board Mongolia-China train, I met a traveler. Her luggage is way too small – a laptop, few clothes (like 5 pieces!), trade paperbacks, lots of pens, lonely planet guidebook, and lots of Sudoku puzzles. She actually wanted to give me one Sudoku. I felt so stupid saying, I would love to have that, but I do not know how to answer that. And she said, oh… okay I’ll keep these because I only have very few booklets left. She is surely as embarrassed as I am. That was almost 3 years ago. Now fast forward to today.

I still could not understand Sudoku. Until my husband got hospitalized for enteric fever. I had nothing to do in the hospital so I bought Sudoku. We could not bring our laptops because we both sleep as if we’re both in coma – afraid some bad people might take our toys away in our sleep. Boooo. The option is Sudoku. There were cells I was able to fill in. And I was able to answer 1 puzzle. Then day after day I really tried. My tries do not simply come from an embarrassment almost 3 years ago, but because of fear of Alzheimer’s or dementia and because I could not easily sleep at night. Weird huh.

Sudoku, no matter how you try, could not be answered by zooming in it, I learned. It cannot be answered by just looking at one or 2 lines take away one block of cells. It does not work that way, no. Just like life you cannot appreciate it by zooming in – your difficulties, your missed opportunities, your missed chances, your undoings, your wrong decisions, and the things THAT ARE SIMPLY NOT THERE. You can not find solutions to a puzzle by focusing on the things that are absent.

Sudoku and life should actually be viewed afar. With life, you can not erase your answers, your decisions, your turns – very much unlike Sudoku. But just like the valley you cannot appreciate its beauty if you do not go to a mountain and see for yourself its terrain, its vegetations, its people. But Sudoku is a puzzle and life is not. It is only fair that answers in Sudoku cells can be erased, you could use pencil if you are not sure. But still Sudoku, like life have to be viewed from afar. You can appreciate life. You can answer the puzzle. =) To me it makes sense. I gasped when I discovered how to answer Sudoku.

I admire others who are so good at answering puzzles. And I am proud of myself being able to appreciate something that I am not really interested in at first. It means to me that things can be done, even if you do not like it, even if it does not interest you at first. It tells me that interest can be forced, can be directed, can be formed.

Thank you Lord for lessons from Sudoku.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Matter of Perspective

Actually, I saw this write up last 2-3 years ago. I was laughing when i saw this.. So i copied it and saved in my computer.  I saw myself reading this note. I thought about many weird things about Mongolian Food and Names and i even wrote some of them to memory. And here I am, living in a country with food and names that people from other countries also consider weird. Paunhanay lang gyud diay ni. :-) So whoever Matthew Sutherland is, thanks for this note, i am reposting this one, if you don't mind. =)

Matter of Taste

by Matthew Sutherland

I have now been in this country for over six years, and consider myself in most respects well assimilated. However, there is one key step on the road to full assimilation, which I have yet to take, and that's to eat BALUT.

The day any of you sees me eating balut, please call immigration and ask them to issue me a Filipino passport. Because at that point there will be no turning back.

BALUT, for those still blissfully ignorant non-Pinoys out there, is a fertilized duck egg.

It is commonly sold with salt in a piece of newspaper, much like English fish and chips, by street vendors usually after dark, presumably so you can't see how gross it is.

It's meant to be an aphrodisiac, although I can't imagine anything more likely to dispel sexual desire than crunching on a partially formed baby duck swimming in noxious fluid. The embryo in the egg comes in varying stages of development, but basically it is not considered macho to eat one without fully discernible feathers, beak, and claws. Some say these crunchy bits are the best. Others prefer just to drink the so-called 'soup', the vile, pungent liquid that surrounds the aforementioned feathery fetus...excuse me; I have to go and throw up now. I'll be back in a minute.

Food dominates the life of the Filipino. People here just love to eat. They eat at least eight times a day. These eight official meals are called, in order: breakfast, snacks, lunch, merienda, merienda cena, dinner, bedtime snacks and no one-saw-me-take- that-cookie- from-the- fridge-so- it-doesn' t-count.

The short gaps in between these mealtimes are spent eating Sky Flakes from the open packet that sits on every desktop. You're never far from food in the Philippines. If you doubt this, next time you're driving home from work, try this game. See how long you can drive without seeing food and I don't mean a distant restaurant, or a picture of food. I mean a man on the sidewalk frying fish balls, or a man walking through the traffic selling nuts or candy. I bet it's less than one minute.

Here are some other things I've noticed about food in the Philippines:

Firstly, a meal is not a meal without rice - even breakfast. In the UK, I could go a whole year without eating rice. Second, it's impossible to drink without eating. A bottle of San Miguel just isn't the same without gambas or beef tapa. Third, no one ventures more than two paces from their house without baon (food in small container) and a container of something cold to drink. You might as well ask a Filipino to leave home without his pants on. And lastly, where I come from, you eat with a knife and fork. Here, you eat with a spoon and fork. You try eating rice swimming in fish sauce with a knife.

One really nice thing about Filipino food culture is that people always ask you to SHARE their food. In my office, if you catch anyone attacking their baon, they will always go, "Sir! KAIN TAYO!" ("Let's eat!"). This confused me, until I realized that they didn't actually expect me to sit down and start munching on their boneless bangus. In fact, the polite response is something like, "No thanks, I just ate."

But the principle is sound - if you have food on your plate, you are expected to share it, however hungry you are, with those who may be even hungrier. I think that's great!

In fact, this is frequently even taken one step further. Many Filipinos use "Have you eaten yet?" ("KUMAIN KA NA?") as a general greeting, irrespective of time of day or location.

Some foreigners think Filipino food is fairly dull compared to other Asian cuisines. Actually lots of it is very good: Spicy dishes like Bicol Express (strange, a dish named after a train); anything cooked with coconut milk; anything KINILAW; and anything ADOBO. And it's hard to beat the sheer wanton, cholesterolic frenzy of a good old-fashioned LECHON de leche (roast pig) feast. Dig a pit, light a fire, add 50 pounds of animal fat on a stick, and cook until crisp. Mmm, mmm... you can actually feel your arteries constricting with each successive mouthful.

I also share one key Pinoy trait --- a sweet tooth. I am thus the only foreigner I know who does not complain about sweet bread, sweet burgers, sweet spaghetti, sweet banana ketchup, and so on. I am a man who likes to put jam on his pizza. Try it!

It's the weird food you want to avoid. In addition to duck fetus in the half-shell, items to avoid in the Philippines include pig's blood soup (DINUGUAN); bull's testicle soup, the strangely-named "SOUP NUMBER FIVE" (I dread to think what numbers one through four are); and the ubiquitous, stinky shrimp paste, BAGOONG, and it's equally stinky sister, PATIS. Filipinos are so addicted to these latter items that they will even risk arrest or deportation trying to smuggle them into countries like Australia and the USA, which wisely ban the importation of items you can smell from more than 100 paces.

Then there's the small matter of the purple ice cream. I have never been able to get my brain around eating purple food; the ubiquitous UBE leaves me cold. And lastly on the subject of weird food, beware: that KALDERETANG KAMBING (goat) could well be KALDERETANG ASO (dog)...

The Filipino, of course, has a well-developed sense of food. Here's a typical Pinoy food joke: "I'm on a seafood diet. “What's a seafood diet?" "When I see food, I eat it!"

Filipinos also eat strange bits of animals --- the feet, the head, the guts, etc., usually barbecued on a stick. These have been given witty names, like "ADIDAS" (chicken's feet); "KURBATA" (either just chicken's neck, or "neck and thigh" as in "neck-tie"); "WALKMAN" (pigs ears); "PAL"(chicken wings); "HELMET" (chicken head); "IUD" (chicken intestines), and BETAMAX" (video-cassette- like blocks of animal blood). Yum, yum. Bon appetit.

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches"-- (Proverbs 22:1)

When I arrived in the Philippines from the UK six years ago, one of the first cultural differences to strike me was names. The subject has provided a continuing source of amazement and amusement ever since. The first unusual thing, from an English perspective, is that everyone here has a nickname. In the staid and boring United Kingdom, we have nicknames in kindergarten, but when we move into adulthood we tend, I am glad to say, to lose them.

The second thing that struck me is that Philippine names for both girls and boys tend to be what we in the UK would regard as overbearingly cutesy for anyone over about five. Fifty-five-year- olds colleague put it. Where I come from, a boy with a nickname like Boy Blue or Honey Boy would be beaten to death at school by pre-adolescent bullies, and never make it to adulthood. So, probably, would girls with names like Babes, Lovely, Precious, Peachy or Apples. Yuk, ech ech. Here, however, no one bats an eyelid. Then I noticed how many people have what I have come to call "door-bell names".

These are nicknames that sound like -well, doorbells. There are millions of them. Bing, Bong, Ding, and Dong are some of the more common. They can be, and frequently are, used in even more door-bell-like combinations such as Bing-Bong, Ding-Dong, Ting-Ting, and so on. Even our newly appointed chief of police has a doorbell name Ping. None of these doorbell names exist where I come from, and hence sound unusually amusing to my untutored foreign ear.

Someone once told me that one of the Bings, when asked why he was called Bing, replied, "because my brother is called Bong". Faultless logic. Dong, of course, is a particularly funny one for me, as where I come from "dong" is a slang word for well; perhaps "talong" is the best Tagalog equivalent.

Repeating names was another novelty to me, having never before encountered people with names like Len-Len, Let-Let, Mai-Mai, or Ning-Ning.

The secretary I inherited on my arrival had an unusual one: Leck-Leck. Such names are then frequently further refined by using the "squared" symbol, as in Len2 or Mai2. This had me very confused for a while. Then there is the trend for parents to stick to a theme when naming their children. This can be as simple as making them all begin with the same letter, as in Jun, Jimmy, Janice, and Joy.

More imaginative parents shoot for more sophisticated forms of assonance or rhyme, as in Biboy, Boboy, Buboy, Baboy (notice the names get worse the more kids there are-best to be born early or you could end up being a Baboy).

Even better, parents can create whole families of, say, desserts (Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, Honey Pie) or flowers (Rose, Daffodil, Tulip). The main advantage of such combinations is that they look great painted across your trunk if you're a cab driver.

That's another thing I'd never seen before coming to Manila -- taxis with the driver's kids' names on the trunk.

Another whole eye-opening field for the foreign visitor is the phenomenon of the "composite" name. This includes names like Jejomar (for Jesus, Joseph and Mary), and the remarkable Luzviminda (for Luzon , Visayas and Mindanao , believe it or not). That's a bit like me being called something like "Engscowani" (for England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland ). Between you and me, I'm glad I'm not. And how could I forget to mention the fabulous concept of the randomly inserted letter 'h'. Quite what this device is supposed to achieve, I have not yet figured out, but I think it is designed to give a touch of class to an Otherwise only averagely weird name. It results in creations like Jhun, Lhenn, Ghemma, and Jhimmy. Or how about Jhun-Jhun (Jhun2)?

How boring to come from a country like the UK full of people with names like John Smith. How wonderful to come from a country where imagination and exoticism rule the world of names.

Even the towns here have weird names; my favorite is the unbelievably named town of Sexmoan (ironically close to Olongapo and Angeles). Where else in the world could that really be true?

Where else in the world could the head of the Church really be called Cardinal Sin? Where else but the Philippines!

Note: Philippines has a senator named Joker, and it is his legal name.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


 yeah, i.'ve been super dooper high the past few days. especially today. i spent whole day shopping..errrm window shopping. haha. i mean, whole day is whole day. i was at the store by 9am. went out at 6pm. not bad to call a day huh =)

i got me new paperbacks [kristine series again, guilty!], new stapler, new pencil eraser (gi mating ni grace ag ako), a new esprit (!!!) blouse and thats it - i did my grocery, headed home. that is like 9 hours lang naman. i did some shoes and flip flops shopping - i found a cute grendha jelly peep toe flats, its red like my new notebook! and otto wedges are on 20% off. how come!?!? i love otto wedges. i use them to office everyday, very comfy and i just love the leather feel. and 20% off! i can't believe it. i actually literally summoned all the powers to restrain me from getting one. so i went to household sections and bought 4 maroon curtains. we need dark curtains in the bedroom - ah i dont like the sun on saturdays. and on weekdays, i dont need the morning sun, there's always the alarm clock. but four! we only need three of them. im so careless. =(

went home, arranged the groceries, opened and E-how and looked for new designs on beaded jewelries. thanks to snipping tool, i could save copyrighted works! its not that i will distribute their pictures, i just need to look at it again when i do the beading work. next saturday, i have a date with my beading toolbox. i just love it, little things brings me to cloud nine. i feel loved, i can do what i like, i can wake up late --- ah, thank you LORD. =) so very much.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Gotcha! Acer Ferrari One Note

Hooowellll, be carefull with what you wish for, you might get it! ^_^ Yes i did. Haha. I got Acer Ferrari One 200 notebook. Yes its a notebook but looks like a netbook. I love the specs, i love everything about it from the color to its size to keyboard. But make no mistake about it, i love my other Acer Laptop. Nothing compares that keyboard so swift when you type, like i can blog all my life. =)

I super love this lil buddy of mine. Its cool, its small, its powerful, it is ferrari. =) Let me introduce my little notebook: (i copied its specs from somewwhere online):

Here are the specs:

1.2 Ghz AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor L310 (1Mb L2 Cache)
AMD M780G Chipset
ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics with up to 2047Mb of HyperMemory
Video Memory
(256+128Mb of dedicated system memory, up to 1663Mb of shared system memory)
11.6in. HD 1366 x 768 (WXGA) pixel resolution, high-brightness (200-nit) TFT LCD
MicroSoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Acer Video Conference featuring integrated Acer Crystal Eye webcam --
supporting enhanced Acer PrimaLite™ technology
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)
UMTS/HSPA at 850/1900/2100 MHz and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), upgradeable to 7.2 Mb/s HSDPA and 5.7 Mb/s HSUPA, supporting receiver diversity and equalizing at 2100 MHz
Gigabit Ethernet, Wake-on-LAN ready
ATI XGP™ connector,
Multi-in-1 card reader,
Three USB 2.0 ports,
External display (VGA) port,
Headphone/speaker/line-out jack with S/PDIF support,
Microphone-in jack,
Ethernet (RJ-45) port,
DC-in jack for AC adapter
6-cell battery Lithium-Ion