Buy One, Take One

My mom today SMS’d me to ask if I would be available to attend with her my uncle’s 94th birthday. If I was, she can pick me up at 6pm.

I asked if my husband is included. She said, given limited budgets, partners are not included. Even my brother will not be bringing his girlfriend who is usually stuck to his hip.

My answer was that I couldn’t really go unless my husband went.

You see, when we got married, everything somehow became a “Buy one, get one deal.” My husband suddenly became included mandatorily in all my dealings.

buy one get one

It wasn’t the case with my college barkada. Next week, she is going to Hong Kong for a day of shopping with her sister.

“A day of freedom for you, Joseph!” I exclaimed.

“More of a day with her other husband,” Joseph sadly answered as if he was the other husband and not the sister. “It’s not as if I wouldn’t want to go.”

Joseph has a lot of patience. He is willing to keep quiet and let his wife go out of town with the sister. But I think he would’ve wanted to join in, even at a limited capacity.

Same goes for my husband. He likes to do things together, and when I am invited and he is not, inexplicably, he gets a bit hurt. And he will make tampo with this person.

Somehow when he isn’t really included, later on, when the name of that friend pops up, he’s not as gung-Ho as he should be. He would somewhat discourage me and point out some flaws he saw about that person.

It’s different when he is actually included.

For example, because my college barkada was so open to him, he is as well open to them. Last week, we had dinner together and hubby was so excited to join us. It really comes to like attracts like — if you like me, I will also like you.

So I told my mom my regrets.

For one, I don’t want my husband to think my family doesn’t want to include him. That would be a grave misunderstanding.

Two, it would be nice to have husband involved. The more involved he is, the more I can get involved. Again, after marriage, it’s really a buy-one-get-one deal.

And lastly, after marriage, your priority shifts to your husband. It has to, for the sanity and safety of your marriage.

Once you place your mom, brother, friends or work above your husband, it’s already the beginning of a difficult road. Cracks begin to show and feelings will get hurt.

And since your wife or husband is the person you go home with every night, I think it’s logical to assume where your loyalties should lie. Anyway, you made your choice. You married the dude. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you.

Okay, more relaxation this Sunday! Hubby is asleep beside me and I’m off to prepare for today. Happy weekend everyone!

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Posted in Family, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Marriage, Personal opinion, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Can’t You Have It All?

Marriage is tough. The first week of my marriage, I felt stuck.

“This is for the rest of my life!!!” my mind screamed.

As a Christian and married to a twice married man, I knew that divorce for us was not an option. After fighting tooth, hand and nail for this relationship, failure is not an option. My pride couldn’t take the numerous “I told you so!” from families and friends!

It gets worse during your first fight. It makes you question as well if you’re ready for marriage, and if he is… And it can be scary just how uncaring both of you can seem to be.

That is why, it’s important to marry someone you really want.

Not because it’s “time” even though for women, I know that the ticking biological clock can be stressful.

Not because you’re forced to marry someone just because someone got “accidentally pregnant.” There are no accidents by the way. I wrote about that here.

Not because your parents or somebody else wants you too.

And not because you’ve been dating for a while and it’s what other people wants you too.

Don’t marry someone just because he’s a nice guy and you’re supposed to marry someone who can take good care of you. Don’t do it if the feelings aren’t really there.

Marriage is a risk. It’s a big leap forward. And damn it, if you’re going to take that chance, at least be man or woman enough to make that choice yourself.

The first days of marriage pushes this issue. You really have to marry your choice, and your choice alone. You really have to ask yourself, “Do I really really want this?”

Because hell, this is for the rest of your life.

Hence, the feeling of stuck issue. After the vows has been said and people are gone, it’s now just you and your partner. To be honest, you’re stuck with each other… For the rest of your life.

And honestly, despite our flaws, my husband makes it nice to be stuck with.

I’ve talked about how he made instant noodles and gave me a spoon. Simple joys but a reinforcement that my husband is not inconsiderate.

Yesterday, he made me coffee. Of course he didn’t have to and he didn’t know how to operate my Nespresso, but he tried and succeeded. And I was able to spend more time in the bathroom and also get my coffee. Sweet, ano?

My husband also helps fix things in the house. He did our laundry, put together our shoe rack and installed internet in our house. Now, that’s amazing for me. My own dad for example never lifts a finger in the house.

During our honeymoon, he tried as best as he can to bring my luggage.

Yes, my husband is very nice to me. He takes initiative and very sweet.

But him being nice isn’t enough. My ex, Trader, was nice but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why my feelings couldn’t exceed a certain level. With Trader, the anticipation wasn’t really there. I was bored.

Come hubby, so far, still not yet bored.

Despite an abundance of cute guys out there, I still find him cute. Sexy. “You look like one of the dudes in F4,” I teased him.

I think it all boils down to husband being my choice. I literally fought for him and believed in the relationship when others doubted.

If it succeeds, credit to us. If it fails, the blame falls on me too. I have nobody else to blame.

To have it all, you need to make your partner your choice. Otherwise, you would second guess him/her every step of the way.

I made my choice.

Have you made yours?

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Simple Joys of Marriage

There are sweet moments in marriage.

Case in point, last night, husband was hungry and wanted to eat his favorite instant noodles.

instant

As I waited with him in the dining room as his instant noodles was just starting to heat up, I mentioned to him that he only has a fork, wherein I need a spoon to eat.

I usually just eat it this way,” he said, motioning him bringing up the bowl up his mouth.

Yes hun, but I need the spoon to eat,” I teased. “Me being a lady and all.”

Hubby then went to get a spoon for me in the other room.

th

And then he let me had first dibs on his favorite noodles even though I know he wanted to eat it.

We ate the instant noodles together. Me first, then him next.

It’s these very simple moments that put a smile to my face. My husband has so far shown he is quite an understanding man. He is not always understanding but he mostly is.

And I make sure he knows it.

Just to share…

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Overheard in Santorini: what happens when an Indian woman walked into a shop…

An Indian girl goes in Santorini shop 1.

“How much is this bag here?” She asked. The bag is made out of simple linen and says “I love Santorini.”

“It is EUR 5, miss,” the shopkeeper said. “It’s on sale.”

“How about this one?” she asked pointing to a similar bag with a different design.

“That is EUR 8, miss.”

“Why can’t this be EUR 5 instead?” She asked.

“The EUR 5 bag is on special price,” the shopkeeper said. “The EUR 8 bag is our regular priced bag.”

“So why can’t you make this bag EUR 5 instead?” the tourist persisted. “They are both the same bags.”

“If I wanted to make that bag EUR 8 miss, I would’ve done that earlier,” the shopkeeper patiently replied.

The Indian tourist walked into the next shop. “How much is water?” She asked, pointing to the 1 liter bottle.

“1 EUR,” the shopkeeper answered.

“Can you make it 50 cents?” she tried to negotiate. “If so, I will buy…”

“If you want to get it at 50 cents, there is a grocery or marketplace that you can buy,” the impatient shopkeeper politely answered. “But here, it is EUR 1.”

The Indian female walked away.

No offense to Indians but I don’t think that Europe is a place where you can haggle and negotiate down the price. It’s not a marketplace especially in tourist areas.

Here, either you take it or leave it.

And if you think you can set the prices better, then maybe you can set up your own shop.

It’s a bit of a pity. We’ve met a lot of very educated, cultured and well-traveled Indians on our vacation. Talking to them, you cannot help but admire where they’ve come from and how far they’ve come along.

But there are also a few less well bred Indians who destroy the positive impressions we have, showing us that you really meet people from different walks of life. They don’t have very good hygiene, have unruly children and act very funny such as my above example.

Oh well, then again, I’m sure others are laughing at us too, albeit quietly. Just shows that when traveling, you do really get to meet different kinds of people. And it’s important to observe, learn and follow what is good, and not what is bad.

Have a good weekend!

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So what’s it like to be high on weed? (Warning: Has R-18 Content Below)

My husband and I finally tried the weed at the Green Place Amsterdam (not to be confused with The Green House) located at Kloveniersburgwal 4, Amsterdam.

We picked it particularly because it was voted as one of the Top 3 Coffeeshops in Amsterdam thanks to their Rollex OG Kush cannabis strain. Of course, if you’ve come to Amsterdam, you only wanted to try out the best. And a four out of five stars is good enough for us beginners. 🙂

The Green Place lay in an indescript location by the canal, right along the many canals of Amsterdam (we used a GPS to find it) but for those without technology, it’s there right by the New Market.

GreenPlace

From the outside, it looked just like your ordinary coffeeshop, but on the inside, it looked more like a friendly pub, complete with bar stools and tables with a lone bartender — or shall we say weedtender — on the back.

GreenPlace 2

There are no alcohols on sale.

It is illegal for a coffeeshop establishment in Amsterdam to sell both alcohol and weed/hash. The lines are short and there are many types of weed to be bought.

We weren’t able to take photos in the establishments (boo hoo!) but this is what a sample menu looks like. As you can see, it changes all the time as this version didn’t have the Rollex OG Kush which we ordered at EUR 15/1 gram.

The bartender was nice though. He didn’t laugh at the two clueless Asians coming in for a hit and he did lend us his lighter.

So what did we order?

As beginners, you are bound to make mistakes.

Hubby first bought two pre-rolled joints with tobacco and weed at an EUR 3 each. Given the half-half mixture, it wasn’t that potent and just left us wanting for more. We managed to then exchange the joint for a pre-rolled pure weed joint at EUR 6.

Marijuana joints are readied for sale in a medical marijuana center rolls in Denver

After two pre-rolled joints — one with tobacco and the other one with just pure weed, we thought to buy a space cake (EUR 6) just to amplify the effect since I remained as perky than ever.

The Space Cake looked more like a chocolate muffin. It wasn’t the most delicious cake I’ve tasted but oh well.

space cake

After splitting and downing the cake, we waited.

I still have no effect while hubby was starting to get sleepy. He proceeded to further disintegrate after that. I guess that’s what weed is for him — it makes him increasingly lethargic and sleepy.

As for me, I remained my normal self and even made friends with a lone female in the coffeeshop.

Andrea is Austrian who lives in Amsterdam. She is also a coffeeshop tender in another part of town and comes to the Green Place for some hot tea, good music and the only weed she smokes, White Widow, which she mixes with Marlboro Cigarettes.

We asked her why she had the same marijuana strain all the time. She said that she wants the relaxing effect to last longer, and given that she mixes the weed with tobacco, she can smoke 5 joints instead of the normal 2, spacing the effects out.

Finally, after thinking that the cannabis experiment was a dud, I then went for it and bought 1 gram of Rollex OG Kush. It only comes in clumps like this, and thankfully Andrea was able to expertly roll them up to cigarettes for us.

rolex-OG-Devils-Harvest-BlogMarca-229x300

She managed to squeak out two and a half (2.5) joints of pure Rollex OG Kush for us, and we proceeded to smoke one.

By this time, husband was already half asleep struggling to keep his eyes open. I energetically puffed away, only to feel some disappointment that after every puff, we had to light the joint again. Oh well.

In the end, we bought ourselves a coke (EUR 2), a pre-rolled cigarette with weed (EUR 3), a pre-rolled pure weed cigarette (EUR 6), a space brownie cake (EUR 6), and a gram of Rollex OG Kush (EUR 15).

We left after the Rollex OG Kush joint, giving the extras to our new found friend. Husband couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to go home and sleep.

Again, I for one didn’t feel much of an effect, and still dragged him to buy some Dutch ice cream nearby, and buy takeout dinner for us in case we got hungry.

The night was still early anyway, and it was only 7pm.

And then it hit me…

After walking for a good 30 minutes, it finally hit me on the walk back.

I don’t know if it’s the Rollex OG Kush that gave that effect, or the combined 2.5 joints that did it, but it did. And when it hit me, there was no way I could stop it.

So what is the effects of marijuana?

Time slowes down dramatically.

For both husband and I, time slowed down dramatically. When we were buying our dinner, husband felt that it took at least an hour to get our burger and doner roll (EUR 10), when in fact, it only took 15 minutes. He was pretty spaced out most of the time when we were walking.

When it finally hit me while walking back, it made walking back seem like forever. The road was not too long, but it felt as if we were already walking minutes when in fact it was mere seconds.

As soon as this happened, I immediately knew that given that we’re both high, we are in trouble if we don’t get home immediately. We then struggled to get into the nearby hotel cab and for some reason, was sober enough to give him directions to our bed and breakfast.

Thankfully, the taxi driver didn’t kidnap or hurt us, but proceeded to give us a good merry-go-around using a farther direction than usual, charging us 50% more than if we were sober. Fortunately, he did take us straight to our bed and breakfast’s door, sparing us the trouble of taking the tram and walking home, which would’ve taken forever.

Some things you just have to let go. It was one of the longest taxi rides of our lives though…

You also laugh uncontrollably at ridiculous times.

Things that aren’t so funny became funny.

For us, it was how the hell we can get home when we’re both high. We had a nice laugh at that in the streets.

We also worried if people would know we were high. They do — and we’re really at their mercy.

But found this funny as well.

What’s more, at this semi-lethargic state, you are truly in the mercy of others.

I think marijuana is unsafe if you are around people you don’t trust. Thankfully, Amsterdam is relatively safer than most cities and nobody took advantage of two high Asians walking around and try to rob or attack us.

But if they did, we would be completely at their mercy.

Being friends with a stranger like Andrea was slightly dangerous because knowing we were high, she could’ve sent goons to attack us. Good thing she didn’t and we are thankful for it.

We could never chase after the robbers (it would seem forever that we would reach them), and can only look at them while they take our money (as we did when the taxi driver took the longer route). I was suspicious and afraid we would go in the wrong house, or if we left our packages anywhere. There was really no point to struggle and just accept the fact that you are really at people’s mercy.

Finally, what’s it like to have sex while high?

Seeing that we’re finally married and in our honeymoon, it would make sense for us to take advantage of our high states and try to see what sex would be like while high.

If you think this is too much for you, please stop reading immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since you haven’t stopped reading immediately, let me now tell you how sex was for us.

Well for husband, given his almost vegetative state, he merely lay there.

He was cooperative though in such that he did get hard. Since time slows down, if you go down on a guy who is high, for him, it would seem like long minutes even though you’re only doing it only for a minute or two. So yay for the female giving the blow! The only caveat though is it would also seem as if you’re sucking him longer than usual, but heck, sometimes it’s okay to give than to receive.

His equipment would stand in attention though as they usually do when you give them some attention. So though husband couldn’t muster the energy to do missionary, but he did do a bit of spooning and allowed me to go on top and have fun that way.

Sex while high is a lot like being drunk and having sex. Except it’s a lot cleaner (no puking) and more mellow (everything just slows down considerably).

It just feels like you’re sloppily dancing and just following the motions as they come along.

Since it takes energies and effort to do anything, you just follow what your body is naturally wired to do and follow through the music. Come to think of it, we didn’t do it with music, but if you have some nice, soothing, mellow music (like Sade), the pleasure should be more amplified.

The kisses are sloppy but feels very very nice. I think we both kissed terribly as our tongue was all over each other, but for some reason, we still felt very connected and together.

Anyway, orgasms are slightly better than expected.

For me, they are slightly muted but pleasurable just the same.

I think I came four times.

Hubby just came once until he was wasted.

I think weed makes me extra horny so I still made myself come at least three more times. All while hubby is by my side. By that time, I don’t think he cared anymore than his sleep.

He was snoring in 30 minutes or less.

The whole experience from being hit to getting home, to having sex felt like hours, but in fact, only an hour has passed.

Thankfully we are both still alive with no crimes experienced.

Our host still thinks we are sweet and nice. At least, we didn’t trash their home or made fools of ourselves.

And we managed to wake up energized to make it to our flight this afternoon.

Overall, a productive trip in Amsterdam.

We did go for the windmills and the weed, and gawked at the girls, so we can really say we enjoyed the first leg of our trip, and hope we can come back again someday for more rowdy experiences!

 

Posted in Europe Trip, First Days of Marriage, First Experiences, Husband, Marriage | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Honeymoon First Day: Amsterdam — The Land of Weed, Whores and Windmills

Hubby and I specifically picked Amsterdam as our first stop on our extended 21-week honeymoon because of its three Ws: weed, whores, and windmills.

What can we say? Most Filipino-Chinese would pick the traditional London, Paris, Rome for their honeymoon destination but no not us. We are unconventional, naughty people, both hubby and I.

We arrived Amsterdam at an early 7:10 am and proceeded to buy myself a tall cup of Americano from Starbucks. Aside from its hefty EUR 2.80 price tag, the taste is exactly the same as Manila (as it should be). Lines are much longer here though, and service is a tad slower than their local Filipino counterparts.

Who cares though? We are on honeymoon and are not rushing for time.

We breeze through the immigration and customs of Amsterdam Schipol Airport quickly, and take the train to Centraal Station. For something so central, it’s not as crowded as that of Taipei’s and Hong Kong’s. In fact, it looks like we came in a train station in a provincial country — so different from what is to be expected from an international hub:Image

The whole thing cost us a mere EUR 9.00 and 20 minutes. Trams took us quickly to our B&B Garden House Hotel. It’s quite quaint and tired hubby took a 2-hour nap while I mooched over the fast Wi-Fi.

We then left and availed of the Free Walking Tours by Sandemann at 2:15 pm. Meeting Point was at the Monument and Dam Square, and you can’t miss the people holding big red umbrellas in the middle of the square.

Rob, our tour guide, is American with a background in music. He has been in Amsterdam over the last decade and speak fluent Dutch. That’s him in the black hat.

Image

Our group of 30 pax was just perfect, and Rob expertly led us through narrow streets, over bridges and canals.

Given my memory, what I remember a lot was that:

  • Amsterdam was named after the Amstel river. Amstel + Dam = Amsterdam. Get it?
  • The country is known for its conservative tolerance if there’s such a word. People here are discreet but have liberal views given their broad tolerance for the LGBT community, cannabis use and prostitution. Holland was the first country in the world to ever allow gay marriages.
  • While they are tolerant, the Dutch do have a lot of legal restrictions for weed and whores. Prostitutes have to be at least 21 years old to practice their trade, and have to be tested all the time. Weed cannot be technically “sold” but can be distributed through more legalistic terms. Dutch people are happy to turn their eyes away while all these things are taking place.
  • Dutch people are very good in trading. They are also very pragmatic and direct. Origin of the Dutch Indies Companies which revolutionized the concept of diversification, loaning, and stocks.
  • There used to be restriction in practicing Catholicism such that Catholics have to practice in secret. One such place is called the Church in the Attic.
  • Amsterdam was built one canal at a time. It’s made up of lots of pieces of reclaimed land.

Overall, the tour was wonderful. The guides work for tips and I cannot recommend their city walking tour highly enough. If you’re in Amsterdam, make sure you get into their tour which is twice a day at 11:15 am and 2:15 pm.

Afterwards, we joined the Canal Tour (EUR 15), which was more like a lazy boat ride for 1.25 hours. Nothing too spectacular except for the fact that many Dutch people live in house boats as land get increasingly scarce.

Image

Not my cup of tea but whatever rocks their boats.

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Afterwards, we rushed to join the Sandemann’s evening tour (EUR 12) to go around the red light district.

Hubby was already feeling sick and not up to the task. I think being on the plane for 12-14 hours took too much toll, and the only thing he wanted to do was sleep and rest.

That took the thunder away from the red light district, but this is indeed still our first day and there’s more other days to come.

So after an early rest at 9:30 pm, so concludes our first day of vacation in Amsterdam.

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So How Does It Feel to be Married?

June 14, 2014

We are two weeks into our marriage, and I’m writing this entry enroute to Amsterdam, our first stop on our extensive 3-week European honeymoon trip.

So how does it feel to be Mrs. XXXX?

For one, it’s obviously a change in status.

My rings

I call him My Husband now, and for those who are married, you can understand just how scary the initial days of doing this can be. People call me Mrs. XXXX now, instead of my usual Ms. <Unique Surname>.

Don’t hyphenate your surnames,” he said. “Just use Bonita XXXX going forward.”

I know my husband would love for me to change my passport to reflect this status change. But given the hecticness of our schedules given our honeymoon and the hassle of making these official changes, I instead concede my updating my Facebook name for now.

Two, it’s also a transfer of families — from the protection of my own family to his.

Girls, be careful who you get married to. It’s true — you not only marry the man. You also marry the family. So when getting married, consider your future in-laws.

From the day I got married, I can no longer run to my mother’s without risking my husband’s anger. “She would think I am not taking care of you enough,” he reasoned out. “If you are happy and content, you usually don’t need to run to your mother’s for help.” The day before my wedding was the last day I’ll probably sleep beside my mother.

It only sinks in after the ceremony.

And you immediately miss something what you know you can never have in your entire life.

I guess that’s why people are so distraught about breaking up. Not that they really love that person that much, but more of bidding that person farewell, forever.

Three, this of course means cutting off part of your family. The relationship changes. Instead of placing your own family on higher priority, you have to place your husband and his family on a higher priority than yours.

My mother-in-law shares that when her younger daughter got married, she transferred her care to the husband. “I trust that he will take care of her now. So I don’t worry.”

Leave and cleave,” my husband’s parents chide me. “Your mom needs to understand that you are in good hands. She doesn’t need to fuss as much anymore.”

My mom still calls me every day. She has a hard time leaving and cleaving. All throughout her married life, she’s always had someone by her side. When my dad was alive, it was my dad who kept her company all the time. In his death, it was either myself or my brother.

She calls me and asks how we are and reminds me of things I already know. I welcome these phone calls. I don’t think it’s a problem but my husband worries that my mom is having a hard time letting go. I think it’s safe to say it’s the both of us. Maybe he’s right, and I don’t deny it. But I think given how drastic the change is, it’s best to dip your feet into the pool instead of jumping in it immediately.

Let her be,” I consoled my husband. “It has nothing to do with you. Rather, I’m her only daughter and I’m one hell of a daughter. So if it makes her happy giving me a call, let her be.”

Fortunately, my husband lovingly understands and let us be.

It’s a nice thing to miss family members. Sometimes, you take them for granted.

Lastly, it means that I have a constant companion for life. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

It’s great in such that Mr. XXXX is always by my side. When I wake up. Get a bite to eat. Work. He goes off to his shop, but I see him later afterwards and we have dinner. Then we take a shower and relax by our TV.

It’s not that great when we are cross with each other.

That means you’re stuck with the person and have to resolve the issue together. It’s not like dating where you can dump each other and find somebody else. Marriage is for life, and you can see it as either being trapped, or being protected in the marriage in such that nobody leaves the other regardless of the reason.

And given that you’re stuck with each other, you make the best out of the relationship.

You realize you can’t do whatever you want and piss the other person anymore because damaging the relationship now would come back to you a gazillion times in the future. Hurting the other person meant hurting yourself if not now, then sometime tomorrow. So you grow the relationship. You do little things to improve it. You boost your partner up.

Because a happy partner means a happy life.

You know the adage, “Happy wife, happy life?”

Well it goes both ways.

When Mr. XXXX is happy, he makes me happy too.

So marriage do change people. Like for us, we do the same things as we did when we were dating, and yet, there are some differences.

And the differences is a good/bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Almost in Amsterdam for the first leg of our honeymoon.

Amsterdam: why Amsterdam?

Well, there’s the three Ws — Weed, whores and windmills. What’s not to like?

To more posts about being married. Sorry for the long hiatus, been really busy with wedding stuff. I’ll post wedding stuff when they’re available.

Love you all!

Posted in First Days of Marriage, Marriage, Relationships, Travels, Updates, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tinghun List

Praise the Lord that my future in-laws are so good. As per Chinese tradition, they are gifting me with a semi-traditional engagement party (tinghun). Whereas in many Filipino-Chinese families, tinghuns are no longer mandatory, they’re still definitely a nice to have.

For one, it shows the girl’s side just how much the boy’s side welcomes their future daughter-in-law into the family. For example, if the guy marries a girl the parents do not like, they would opt not to pay for the tinghun and go straight to the wedding instead!

Two, Tinghuns are an added expense to wedding preparations that are already quite expensive. While it does sound so simple, a tinghun party can be quite expensive for the boy’s side, as their contribution usually includes an expensive watch, a few sets of expensive jewelry and around 8-12 sets of clothes. Whereas the woman’s side also do contribute like the matching watch pair, the boy’s side usually pays for the food at the tinghun on top of the wedding preparations! 

Filipino-Chinese weddings in the Philippines are damn expensive lo!

These days however, sometimes, the girl’s side do foot half of the bill. This usually happens when the boy’s side has no money, or the girl’s side wants a grander party than what the boy’s side is willing to give. If the boy’s side wants to have face however, they would insist that they would like to handle all the expense. It would be very embarrassing indeed if the boy’s side cannot afford the tinghun. It signifies a bad start to the marriage because the boy’s family signifies that they are not that well-to-do and cannot offer the woman the lifestyle she has had in her own family.

We usually call such woman, “pai mia” or bad name. Muttered under the breaths of older relatives, pai mia means that the luck has turned for the woman, and upon marriage with the other family, she would have to give up all the luxuries and comforts that her parents gave her. Westerners may better understand it as “to downgrade one’s life because of X and Y.” 

That said, weddings and tinghuns in the Philippines are no piece of cake. Though organizing it may not be so difficult, paying for it usually does. And that’s where the conflict begins.

Personally I have never seen a wedding or tinghun where the couples doesn’t fight about the budget. The boy’s side always insist that the money allotted is more than enough, while the girl insists on having her dream wedding. After spending months and years looking at Pinterest and bridal magazines, the bride will usually have a lot of ideas on what she wants to happen come the time of her wedding. Of course, bespoke items do not come cheap, and when the other party needs to pay for it, conflict ensues! 🙂

When push comes to shove though, couples usually compromise. The woman usually has to follow the limitations given by the guy’s mother as she has to think about her future of being a daughter-in-law at the boy’s house. Harmony still needs to be kept, and it’s better to be friends with the future mother-in-law than to insist on having one’s own way. If push comes to shove and she would like to have more budget for the wedding, it never hurts to asks her more generous daddy to foot some of the bill himself. All it needs is a little bit of sweet talk and subtle manipulation. We’re not called Daddy’s Girls for nothing!

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Thankfully, I have less of this problem so far as my future in-laws are quite reasonable. I really love just how rational and understanding my future mother-in-law is, and whenever there is a potential conflict, we do sit down and talk about it. Even when it comes to my own issues, she gives amazing advise. It’s truly a blessing that they too do not want to cheapen their son’s wedding so as to save a few pennies.

As for the size, an engagement party is relatively small with only around 100 to 200 people attending. This is only for very close friends and family. The word only is admittedly relative. Mind you, a party of this size is already a wedding reception in most Filipino and Western standards!

As I’ve explained earlier, costs continue to escalate especially on the boy’s side if you count the gifts they offer to the girl’s family. Including the Rolex watches (purchased separately but exchanged on both sides) and at least four sets of jewelry — diamond, pearl, emerald/ruby, and another gem stone — all of which will be purchased from the boy side, costs do go up to millions of pesos.

A cheap Rolex will already set you back at least Php 350,000 (USD 7,740), while a nice jewelry set will cost around the same price. Count around 3 to 4 sets and the costs is enough to put the boy’s side in huge debt! A nice dress would cost around Php 8,000 to Php 20,000 each, so multiply that by 8 to 12 pieces, then you can easily see how costs add up!

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So how does one save on costs? 

Well, as I’ve said, you can come up with a smaller party. My best friend for example had a tinghun months ago and his list had around 22 tables! That’s around 220 people. My tinghun will invite around 140 guests. This is a decent number, neither big or small. But if the budget per table of 10 pax is around Php 20,000 (USD 450), that would already be a saving of Php 160,000 (USD 4,500)!

You can also buy cheaper gifts for the woman. My other friend was given a modest budget of Php 20,000 as her clothing allowance. Jewelry and watches come in many price ranges too, and you don’t have to buy a Rolex to perform an enjoyable tinghun.

In the end, tinghuns are a significant part of Filipino-Chinese tradition and is a party where the couple declares to their elders that they want to get married. Whereas many of the symbolism at the party signify fertility, good luck and respect for elders, the tinghun is also a way to show the boy’s family financial clout and to tell the girl’s family, “You have no fear leaving your daughter with us. Financially, she is in good hands and will never go hungry.”

In the end, I am happy in going through this journey.

It’s not here yet, and we’re still preparing for it (See list below for the items that need to be prepared on each side), but I am happy going through this adventure, discovering the hidden side of Chinese tradition only open to upcoming brides. 🙂

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For the Filipino-Chinese community, a tinghun can be a big deal. For me, it’s going to be a memorable event.

I’ve already ordered my 12 sets of clothing (bought cheaply though as I’m buying them online, and they’re coming here soon. Hopefully, everything goes smoothly.

Anyway, will keep you posted, and if there’s anything else you would like to ask me about tinghuns or Filipino-Chinese traditions, do let me know!

Posted in Boyfriend, Conflicts, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Philippines, Relationships, Updates, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

To my Dear Little Brother

March 18, 2014

Dear Little Brother,

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I thought it would be best to write you a letter. I write to you because I struggle with some indecision. Honestly, I am afraid to make a mistake, and I want to ensure that my wedding day would be a happy occasion for everyone. So, I don’t want to make a decision without getting your input first.

First, the issue is about who will walk me down the aisle. Personally, I would like you and mom to walk me down the aisle. This breaks tradition because usually, either the bride’s parents walk her down the aisle, and if one is deceased, the living elders. Having prayed about it for weeks now, I’ve come to the conclusion that given that there’s only the three of us left, I would like to give you this honor, as dad-alternate and my only brother. The walk is halfway the aisle as I will enter the hallway by myself (for better photographs), but the symbolism is clear and there, with you and mom right beside me hand in hand. I would like to ask if you are comfortable with this arrangement, and if you would like to accept this honor? It would be a great gesture to me if you will accept.

Two, I would like to ask you if you would want (your girlfriend) to be part of my entourage? She of course is already a guest, but I ask you this because normally, (my fiance’s) family do not allow anyone who is not yet a wife to be part of entourage. They think it’s a bit premature, and puts a lot of undue pressure on the couple. Friends are fine, but boyfriends or girlfriends can be a bit tricky. We have discussed this in detail however, and believe that it’s best to ask you directly for your opinion on this matter. Look into your heart. It’s about what you want. Is this important for you? Would you rather have her as entourage or as guest? As I love you and respect your decision, I would leave this decision up to you and act accordingly to what you want.

Please let me know your decision. Whatever you decide, I will follow accordingly. My only request is for you to let me know by March 21 (Friday) morning because I would like to finalize my invitation for Ahia William to make. Lead time is at least a month, and I need to finish all invitation before the end of April to give guests enough time to respond to our invitation.

That said, I want you to know that I love you and care for you. I still look fondly on the months when we were always together. I remember I was always the awkward third wheel, and yet, you never made me feel out of place. You were always so protective of me and it was always great fun discussing random business ideas and issues within the office. You even gave me my Valentine’s flowers when I had no Valentine’s and crying over the creep, (Trader). Those were fun times!  These days, I still hope for the nights where you, mom and I can go out once again once in a while for dinner as a family, without any of our significant others. When can we have those again? The family is still the three of us, and I will still be a (my surname) even as I accept another surname beside ours in 2.5 months time.

In my heart though, I do have faith that this rift between us is temporary. Call it folly, but hey, if the three of us love each other, I’m sure we’ll find a way to figure things out. One big first step is for me to learn to let go of what I expect you to do, and instead accept on what you want to do.

So here are the first two decisions I want you to make. Pray about it, and without any prodding from anyone else, let me know what you want by Friday. I will respect your decision and support it. Know that despite our conflicts (anyway, all family have conflicts), I am still your older sister and will love you no matter what. Also, I will strive to be more encouraging and supportive in the future. On hindsight, I think in the hopes of trying to help you at (his company) and trying to protect you from making the wrong life decisions, I have in turn behaved too harshly and critically on you. You my dear were also doing the same to me. This is unhealthy, and for my part, I am very sorry. We could’ve saved each other a lot of pain if we could have let go of our expectations and only trust each other to make the right decisions.

Oh well, we live and learn. Let me know lo!

Your beautiful and ever so lovely sister,

Bonita

Posted in Family, Family Drama, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Wedding Prep #4: The Perils and Joys of Finding the Right Wedding Dress Online AND Offline!

Since fiancee and I met online, I found it fitting to actually try to order my wedding dress online.

Unlike many brides who have their couturier design their gowns from scratch, I wanted to see the final look and feel of my dress beforehand. I didn’t want to be one of those brides who take the time to show the designer her pegs, and then come back for the first fitting to only disappointingly discover that it’s not the dress she wanted. By that time, it would be too embarrassing to back out.

So I scoured the internet for beautiful ready-to-wear wedding gowns, and there were tons of amazingly beautiful wedding dresses available.

I checked out Allure and Maggie Sottero. MissesDressy.com and other online shops were great one-stop shops for everything bridal. I even managed to look into Vera Wang White, her RTW line which was available at still reasonable prices of USD 1,000+/-. Online prices were still more reasonable compared to many couturiers here in Manila who can easily charge Php 60,000 (USD 1,350) to Php 150,000 (USD 3,380) for just a dress. Veluz for example even quoted prices of Php 120,000-150,000 for their beautiful RTW gowns! Prices of custom-made dresses of course were even more out of control at prices ranging up to Php 250,000-300,000!

After a few days of looking into wedding dresses, I finally settled on this Cinderella-like gown, Mori Lee # 5163:

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Why did I pick this design? For one, I wanted a gown that had a bateau-styled neckline and a semi-low back, a great mix of the sexy and the conservative. In addition, the dress also had a lot of lace crystal beadworks that upped the oomph factor. The style was still different from the lace and bead works most common in many Filipino-designed dresses, but it was elegant enough. The poofy skirt only increased the wow factor. “You’ll definitely look like Cinderella!” my fiancee exclaimed.

Since I was a size 4-6, I ordered the dress in size 6 via MissesDressey for USD 1,100 last December 2013, just on time for the holiday season. The dress arrived in February and it came in a humongous box as you can see below:

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Like seriously, the box was HUGE. We were even more surprised when we opened the box… the dress was huge too! We were surprised on how such a big dress even managed to fit the box.

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But the most important thing about the dress is the fit. Upon fitting, the dress was a bit disappointing.

Something was off.

For one, the skirt wasn’t made out of soft tulle as I’ve imagined but a harder organza. Personally, I liked soft materials and from the photo, the skirt looked really soft, so it was a bit of a surprise to see how hard the skirt was.

Secondly, the lace was not pulled very tight when the beads were sewn on, leaving some very unsightly lines especially in the central bust area. This was a frustration. It’s easy to alter a dress, but when it comes to beads sewn on lace, it’s a lot harder to repair. Maybe that’s why people order Vera Wangs: her dresses are simple but at least, they were carefully made. My Mori Lee was nice, but seemed a bit too hastily done.

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The last issue was the skirt. We knew it would be poofy, but my gosh, the skirt enveloped the room! It was really big with a long two feet train. There was also an extra petticoat layer which made it look too My Big Fat Greek Wedding-like.

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There was a very thin line between elegant and tackiness and the poofiness of the gown sort of crossed that line. I ordered my very lovely alterer/couturier friend, Bong de Ocampo, to remove the petticoats.

In the end, that’s what you get when you order online: no matter how beautiful the dress may be, there will still be a few surprises.

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In my experience however, I’m still blessed to have friends like Bong de Ocampo (Mob: +63-917 811 2664), who was good enough to come to my rescue and help me alter my dress. Omigosh, she’s really wonderful! Actually, if I can do it all over again, I would just have my wedding gown made by her.

Alas, I’ve only met her after I’ve ordered my dress, but you guys from Manila who want to have beautiful dresses made can still avail of her services. Ms. Bong is super duper nice and a jack-of-all-trades who can both design, make and alter clothes like magic. And her prices are still very reasonable, ranging from Php 30,000-45,000 per dress.

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Haha, I wish I met her earlier. Nevertheless, you learn something new every day. 🙂

Overall, the entire wedding preparation experience is fun and exciting, not only because I’m getting married in a few months but because of the great people I’ve met the last couple of months (like Bong!).

So there you go. I’ll try to post more photos of my wedding when it comes this June. Till then, watch out for more updates! Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Boyfriend, Filipino Men/Women, Friendship, Philippines, Shopping, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wedding Prep # 5 – How to Pick Wedding Favors for your Guests

Kate Aspen had a nice Spring Breeze Palm Tree Bottle Opener which I found at Pinterest/Etsy. Since I have a few overseas guests, and we’re always in the need for a nice bottle opener, hubbie to be and I felt it would be a nice wedding favor for our guests. So what we did was:

Step 1: Searched for Palm Tree Bottle Opener from Alibaba (http://www.alibaba.com/).
Step 2: Emailed suppliers and asked for quotations. For 500 pcs for example, each favor only cost us Php 50 (around USD 1.1) inclusive of shipping.
Step 3: Wire transfer the money to chosen supplier. Wait for goods to arrive. It should take a month. 

The goods are arriving by next month, well in time for the wedding this June. After it arrives, we’ll add a nice note in the back to personalize the gift. 🙂

Will keep you posted what happens, but more or less, US wedding favors make it in China din so we’re less worried about quality issues. It’s just a matter on how comfortable are you ordering online and from China suppliers. For us, at Php 50/pc. for a very nice bottle opener, we’re happy to take the risk.

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Favor: http://www.kateaspen.com/palm-tree-bottle-opener.html
Supplier Site: http://zejian.en.alibaba.com
Supplier: Yiwu Zejian Gifts & Crafts Manufactory
Contact: Esther (zjesther@gmail.com, Tel: +86 13819954070)

Posted in Updates | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

To Share: My One-Week Travel Itinerary of Amazing Taipei

Most people don’t give Taipei a lot of credit preferring mostly to spend their vacations in Hong Kong or Singapore. However, having stayed in these countries for prolonged periods, I still find Taipei to be the best travel destination in terms of food, sights, culture, people, and value for money.

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It’s only in Taipei where food is consistently delicious, be it when you’re forking out NTD 25 for a braised pork rice at the street market, or NTD 2,000 for the best Japanese sushi in town. Taiwanese people are cute and polite, and red carpet service is rolled out to you wherever you go, so long as you smile and persist. Though they have some difficulty to understand you as Taiwan is mainly a Mandarin speaking country, most will try to help as long as they are not busy.

Taipei transportation is also top-notch, way better than Hong Kong and Singapore in my honest opinion, with extremely clean, air-conditioned subways that can get you around most places in the city via the help of an Easycard. Looking for a bathroom while traveling? No problem, every subway station in Taipei has one — and they’re clean too!

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If subways don’t work, taxis make traveling around Taipei extremely convenient, and drivers are much more polite than those in Hong Kong. Just ensure that you have Chinese translations of the names of your destination written on paper.

Lastly, Taipei is one of the best cities to party, with various clubs offering events from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Most of my friends from Hong Kong used to fly to Taipei on Friday evenings, de-stress, and fly back to work again come Sundays. Entrance fees are relatively cheap, with free drinks usually included, and the music is good, the girls hot, and the vibe electric.

Do spend a few days in Taipei, a bustling metropolis with interesting things to do and places to see whether you are there for a quick 1-day stopover, or if you have a week to spend. A suggested itinerary is included in this package.

  • Day 1 – Taipei: Arrive at Taipei – Eat beef noodles lunch @ Hsimenting – 228 Memorial Park – Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Sun Yat Sen Park – Eslite Bookstore – Taipei 101, Dinner at Mitsui Japanese restaurant – Party at Barcode, Room 18 and Luxy Taipei
  • Day 2: Stroll around Sogo area – Lunch at Ding Tai Fung (Xinyi) – Dong Qu Fen Yen for Dessert – Longshan Temple, Dinner at Huaxi Street or “Snake Alley”
  • Day 3: Dihua Street – Danshui’s Fisherman’s Wharf (Sunset) and Gong Ming Street – Dinner at Villa 32 – Beitou for hot springs and overnight
  • Day 4: Peitou for Hotsprings, Lunch at Tasty Steak – National Palace Museum by 2:45pm, Shilin Night Market for dinner, snacks and shopping
  • Day 5: Daytrip to Yehliu (No. 167-1 Gang Dong Road, Yehliu Village, Wanli Township) and Jiufen Mining Village
  • Day 6-7: Hualian, Taroko Gorge National Park – Taiwanese Dinner

Flights

Flights from Manila to Taipei

  • Philippine Airlines 896: 7:30 am –> 9:40 am (Daily EXCEPT Sunday) **
  • China Airlines: 10:45 am –> 12:55 pm (Daily)
  • Philippine Airlines 894: 12:35 pm –> 2:55 pm (Friday)
  • EVA Air 272: 12:50 pm –> 3:00 pm (Daily)

Flights from Taipei to Manila, 2 hours:

  • China Airlines: 7:35 am –> 9:35 am (Daily)
  • EVA Airways 271: 9:30 am –> 11:50 am (Daily)
  • Philippine Airlines 897: 10:40 am –> 12:55 pm (M, T, Th)
  • China Airlines: 1:45 pm –> 3:55 pm (Daily) **
  • Philippine Airlines 895: 3:50 pm –> 6:20 pm (Friday)
  • Philippine Airlines 899: 5:30 pm –> 7:50 pm (Wednesday)
  • Philippine Airlines 899: 6:35 pm –> 8:55 pm (Sat) **

Day 1 – Taipei: Arrive at Taipei – Eat beef noodles lunch @ Hsimenting – 228 Memorial Park – Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Sun Yat Sen Park – Eslite Bookstore – Taipei 101, Dinner at Mitsui Japanese restaurant – Party at Barcode, Room 18 and Luxy Taipei

Upon leaving customs, turn left and look for the airport bus terminals. Take the city bus (NTD90 approx) to “Taipei Main Station (台北車站).” Bus company should be called “Toward You.” Get down at the Taipei Main Station stop, and the hotel is close to the Mitsukoshi Department Store.

Recommend to check in first at the City Inn Hotel (No.7, Huaining St., Jhongjheng District, Taipei 100, Tel: +886-2-2314 8008). It’s located two streets down the Mitsukoshi Department Store. Below it is the is the Family Mart Convenient Store.

Before grabbing a bite to eat, check out NOVA Computer Center.Entrance is just beside the hotel. Other side of entrance is the street across Mitsukoshi Department Store. This used to be the tallest building in Taiwan before Taipei 101. PC prices here are the cheapest in Taiwan. Formal address below:

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NOVA資訊廣場站前店
台北市中正區黎明里 館前路2
Tel: +886-2-2381-4833 

Then, after checking out goods, take the MRT right in front of the Mitsukoshi Department Store to Hsimending (西) MTR Station, Exit C2. Turn to right upon exit, and go straight till you see a Sony Style store on your left. Turn right on that corner (you know it’s correct when you see a Family Mart Convenient Store) on your left side. The beef noodle chain is right beside the Family Mart Convenient Store. Order the 紅燒牛肉麵 and some appetizers. Should come with a nice set.

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Restaurant Address: 10 峨眉街, Wanhua  District, 台灣. Order their beef noodles. Cheap and yummy.

Tour around Hsimending (西門町). It’s similar to “Harajuku” in Japan. The local bookstores carry mostly Japanese oriented magazines, books, CD albums, etc. These are where the “young” people all roll…

228 Peace Park (Optional):

Take the MRT to red line, Taiwan University Hospital Station (臺大醫院捷運站) to reach the park.

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Originally called Taipei Park, the 228 Peace Park (二二八和平公園) is one of Taipei’s most interesting historic sites. Just a few minutes walk from the Main Station and Bus Station, the 228 Peace Park houses the neoclassical National Taiwan Museum, which used to house a radio station operated under the Japanese and Kuomintang rule. The park contains a number of memorials to victims of the 228 Incident of 1947. In the evenings, it’s a popular place where gay men go cruising at night.

CKS Memorial Hall:

You can walk or take the MRT for one stop to CKS Memorial Hall. Personally, I would just prefer to walk.

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Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall showcases two buildings facing each other — the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall — right inside the gated Liberty Square. The CKS Hall lies at the center and situates a large Chiang Kai-Shek statue. Inside the hall, you can see much of what Chiang Kai-Shek’s life was like. From his bulletproof Cadillac to the clothing he wore, and the chair he sat on. A wall clock has needles set to 11:50pm, the time of his death.

Check out the bullet holes of Chiang’s car at the left rear part, and count the number of steps from the ground to the second floor. There are 89 steps to be exact, equivalent to President’s Chiang age. He lived for 89 years. The back of the bronze says, “Ethics, Democracy, Science.” This is the essence of the Three People’s Principles — To practice nationalism by ethics, by democracy, and by science.

Must do: Wait for guards to change. It happens on the hour from 10am to 4pm. Wednesdays are from 10am to 6pm. The army, navy and air force takes turns to be the guards every four months. How do you know who is which? The army wears the green uniform, the navy wears the black uniform in summer and white in winter, while the air force wears blue.

Take MRT from CKS Memorial Hall to Sun-Yat Sen Memorial Park MRT.

The National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park

A memorial dedicated to the Father of the Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, this Memorial Hall was completed on 1972. The total building area covers 29,464 square meters (7.3 acres) with an open space of 115,000 square meters. It contains displays of Sun’s life and he revolution he led, and is currently a multi-purpose social, educational, and cultural center for the public.

Walk to Taipei 101. Drop by Taipei Eslite Bookstore, the largest retail bookstore in Taiwan.

Taipei 101

Taiwan’s largest skyscraper, Taipei 101, enjoyed the title of the world’s tallest building from 2004 up until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed in 2010. It remains as the world’s largest and tallest green building, standing at 1,667 feet and consisting of 101 aboveground floors, five underground floors, and houses a mix of offices, a multi-level shopping complex, food court and restaurants.

Most impressive than the total building height is its structural integrity. Taipei 101 is designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoon-level winds thanks to a massive damper sphere, the largest in the world. The building’s exterior is meant to resemble bamboo, a symbol of longevity.

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Ride the world’s fastest elevator to the eighty-ninth floor of the observatory. Take a self-guided audio tour in the indoor observatory before climbing to the outer deck to take in the bird’s eye view of Taipei.

Hours: 9:00am-10:00pm, daily. Last ticket entry: 9:15 pm.
Admission: NTD 450 for adults

Dinner: Mitsui Taipei (三井日本料理)

Serving Japanese food made from the highest quality ingredients, today, Mitsui operates at ten locations and offers a hierarchy of omakase selections. The basic Yue Yin set comprising of 7-8 courses is already at NTD 1,800 but is worth every penny. The only difference is in the types of dishes and quality of ingredients. The sushi is handpicked by the chef, and is flown every morning from Japan to keep the freshness.

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Mitsui Cuisine, B1, No. 108, Sec. 1, Dun-hua South Road, Taipei City (Tel: +886-2-2741 3394, http://www.mitsuitaipei.com.tw/en/home.html). Reservation required.

Alternative: Cuisine M, No. 1, Songzhi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City (Tel: +886-2-2345 1101, About NTD 1,500-2,000/pax or NTD 1,800/pax for a 6-course dinner set, MRT: Taipei City Hall)

Partying in Taipei

Head to Barcode first, then to Room 18, Neo 19 Building, NTD 700 with 2 free drinks. Then, check out Spark, which can be found at the Taipei 101 basement. It’s not huge but gets the job done if your task is to dance, drink and sweat. (No. 45, Shifu Road, MRT: Taipei City Hall Station, NTD 600 for entry)

Luxy Club, No. 201, Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 4, Taipei (NTD 300 for entry with 2 drinks, Closest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua Station, http://luxy-taipei.com)

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The biggest, baddest club in Taipei is Luxy. With multiple floors going from all-out pop extravaganza to four-on-the-floor electronics to some more experimental stuff going upstairs, Luxy brings out the best DJ and is the most famous club in Taipei.

Best times to party: Wednesdays (Ladies Night), Fridays, Saturdays

Day 2 – Taipei: Stroll around Sogo area – Lunch at Ding Tai Fung (Xinyi) – Dong Qu Fen Yen for Dessert – Longshan Temple, Dinner at Huaxi Street or “Snake Alley”

Take the Chungxiao Fuxing MRT station and walk to Din Dai Fung. If you are early for lunch, you can walk around the area and check out the Pacific Sogo Department Store (Exit 2) or the surrounding boutique stores. Best to come in at 11am for lunch at Din Tai Fung to avoid the lunch crowd. Ding Tai Fung does not accept phone reservations so you have no choice but to line up.

Lunch: Din Tai Fung:

When you think of xiao long bao, there is no other restaurant that comes to mind other than Din Tai Fung. The restaurant originated in Taiwan and is the country’s pride despite offering Shanghai staples like the xiao long bao. Make sure to give this place a visit when in Taipei.

Their Xinyi Road location is right at the heart of Taipei City, a 10-15 walk from the Chungxiao Fushing MRT station. This location has long line-ups but the queue moves quick and they allow you to order while waiting.

Start off the meal with a bamboo steamer full of xiao long bao, each with the characteristics of a good xiao long bao: a super thin skin, succulent non-pasty meat, and the skin that holds the meat sauce that doesn’t tear easily. Eat this with a chopsticks and your soup spoon after dipping it lightly in the vinegar and sliced ginger sauce.

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Must order: Xiao long bao, steamed vegetable and pork dumplings, red oil wonton, chicken soup, hot sour soup, fried rice with shrimps and eggs

Alternative: Din Dai Fung, No . 194 Xinyi Road Sec. 2, +886-2-2321 8928 (Opening hours: 10am-9pm)

Dessert: Chungxiao Dunhua

Walk to Dong Qu Fen Yuen near Chungxiao Dunhua.

Dong Qu Fen Yuen
No. 38, 216 Alley, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei (Tel: +886-2-2777 2057)

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Closest landmarks would be the Ming Yao Shopping Center and is close to Ding Tai Feng. The shop will be packed and you can choose all your favorite ingredients. Choose from the tofu, red bean and grass jelly sweet soup, fill up with crushed ice and select up to 3 toppings for only NTD 25. Toppings include yams, green beans, red beans, soft peanut, passion fruit, strawberry jam, gingko, pumpkin balls, almonds and pearls. The QQ balls glistens with the ice and is sweet, soft and very chewy.

Closest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua

Tofu Dessert
No. 26, Lane 131, Yanji Street, Daan District, Taipei (Tel: +886-2-8771 8901)

Try their strawberry tofu with little tapioca balls, soft bean curd, strawberries and milk. Other selections include black sesame tofu, red bean tofu and mango tofu

Longshan Temple

To get there: take the Longshan Temple MRT station.

Longshan Temple is Taipei’s oldest, most popular temple, dating back to the 18th century, when it was first established by settlers from mainland China. In the meantime, it’s expanded and contracted in times of war and peace, very much integrated into city life, while offering an oasis of reflection and contemplation within its heart. Visitors are usually moved by the amazingly ornate carvings and other decorative elements in display. The ceremonial gateways, elegant pagoda roofs, and heady incense burners associated with traditional Chinese temples are found here. Also typically Chinese is the mix of faiths: Longshan is associated with Buddhism, Taoism and other local gods.

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Longshan Temple is found in central Taipei and is served by its own MRT station. It’s open until 10am so you can consider an evening visit when the temple is at its atmospheric, perhaps before or after dinner at the nearby Huaxi Street Market. Admission: Free.

Dinner: Huaxi Street or “Snake Alley”

Huaxi Night Market announces itself with a ceremonial gateway with charming Chinese lanterns providing decoration and more powerful lights illuminating the area to near-daylight levels.

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Most visitors are drawn to Huaxi Street by the stalls collectively known as “Snake Alley.” Vendors attract far more onlookers than those willing to test the potency and vigor that comes from eating snake soup and other serpent derivatives. For the less adventurous, there is a huge range of dining options in the surrounding streets encompassing noodles, oyster omelets, chicken skewers, cuttlefish soup, traditional custard pastries, and local delicacies include stinky tofu.

Day 3 – Taipei: Dihua Street – Danshui’s Fisherman’s Wharf (Sunset) and Gong Ming Street – Dinner at Villa 32 – Beitou for hot springs and overnight

Dihua Street

Dihua Street is Taiwan’s most preserved, most historically significant old street lasting generations. It’s the best place to check out Chinese fabric stores, traditional Chinese medicines and is the largest dried goods market outside of China. A walk down the full length of Dihua Street’s three sections is a good 20 minutes. Along the northern section, there are a number of old historic stores. In the central section is a collection of dried good stores of any and every kind you could imagine, including a variety of products from Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. The southern section is a dried goods market with a long history. The dried goods available here are all fresh and of top quality.

To get here: A 5-minute walk from Nanjing West Road. Closest MRT is Shuanglian MRT Stop (Red Line).

Danshui: Fisherman’s Wharf and GongMing Street

Upon arrival at Danshui, head to Fisherman’s Wharf by taking the R26 bus from Danshui MRT station. Go to the Lover’s Bridge, an infamous bridge born on Valentine’s Day and is the reason for its inspired name. Watching the sunset off this bridge is one of the most breathtaking moments.

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Then, head back to Danshui’s GongMing Street, a street full of unique Taiwanese eats to enjoy some local food. A mere 5-minute walk from the Danshui Main Station, try the following eats:

  • Ice cream shop that sells 6 different flavors — all at arm’s length: vanilla/chocolate, green tea/mango, taro/strawberry. Taste-wise, it doesn’t have the same creamy consistency and is more of a sorbet. But it sure is refreshing. Price: NTD 10
  • Freshly grilled squid with bonito flakes and onion garnish. The squid is usually moist and the texture is neither pasty nor chewy. The taste is a little sweet. Price: NTD 60
  • Ah-Gei (NTD: 30): Fried tofu stuffed with cellophane noodle and sealed with fish paste. It’s steamed and topped with special ketchup sauce.
  • Souvenirs include iron eggs, almond tae and nougat (Flavors: Green tea, almond, chocolate). The iron eggs are stewed in a variety of spices and air dried, giving them a chewy consistency.

Beitou Hot Springs District

The Beitou district is the most mountainous in Taipei, and its geothermal warming has created a series of natural hot springs, one of the largest concentrations in the world. Beitou Hot Spings was originally developed as a public bathhouse during the Japanese occupation beginning in 1895. For decades, the area was one of the country’s largest red light districts before a major cleanup by the government in the 80s and 90s.

Today, there are luxury hot springs resorts in place of brothels in what has become a family-friendly area of Taipei. The Beitou Public Bathhouse, the largest during the Japanese era, is now the Beitou Hot Springs and Museum, where visitors can read up on the history of the hot springs before soaking in the healing sulfuric waters. Since the baths of Beitou Hot Springs Park are public, men and women share the same pools and wear swimsuits, and women must have their hair tied up.

Dinner: Villa 32

Villa 32 only has one Italian restaurant, providing classical and fine Italian delicacies. Chef Jimmy selects the best local and worldwide ingredients to present aromatic food and delicacies. Set menus and a la carte menus are available.

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Villa 32 is located at n°32, Zhong Shan Road, a five minute walk from Xin Beitou MRT Station. Near Beitou Park, Spring Museum and Hot Spring Valley, Villa 32 is the nearest backyard garden of the city you can reach

If you have special dining requirements, they can provide customized menus. Call for reservations.

  • Set menus for lunch start from NTD 980 + 10%
  • Set menus for dinner start from NTD 2,200 + 10%

Villa 32
For reservations, call: +886-2-6611 8888
Website: http://www.villa32.com/frameset-en.htm

Check-in Overnight: Aquabella Hotel

Suggested accommodation:  Hotel – Aquabella Hotel

63 WenQuan Road, Beitou, Taipei
Tel: +886-2-2891 1118
http://www.aquabella.hotel.com.tw
Closest MRT: Xin Peitou MRT
General direction: It’s less than a 10-minute walk up a road behind Sweetme. It’s in front of KFC. Stay overnight and includes a tasty sesame dumpling dessert, with free complimentary breakfast. Check-in at 5:30pm.

Day 4 – Taipei: Peitou for Hotsprings, Lunch at Tasty Steak – National Palace Museum by 2:45pm, Shilin Night Market for dinner, snacks and shopping

Complimentary breakfast at the Aquabella Hotel. Checkout at noon.

Lunch:  Tasty Steak

Tasty Steak Restaurant, Set Menu: NTD 550/pax for 8 courses

  • Taipei Chongqing South S. Branch, 2/F, No. 129, Sec. 1, Chongqing South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei (Tel: +886-2-2370 8292)
  • Taipei Nanjing East Road, 2/F, No. 11, Sec. 2, Nanjing East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei
  • Taipei Fuxing S. Branch, 3/F, No. 152, Sec. 1, Fuxing South Road, Daan District, Taipei
  • Taipei Guangfu South Road, No. 94, Sec. 2, Keelung Road, Xinyi District, Taipei
  • Tianmu Zhongzheng Branch, B1/F, No. 188, Sec. 2, Zhongcheng Road, Shilin District, Taipei City (Tel: +886-2-2876 6591)
  • Beitou Zhonghe Branch, 2/F, No. 366, Zhonghe Street, Beitou District, Taipei (Tel: +886-2-2896 2109)

National Palace Museum

The Museum has a permanent collection of more than 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. The collection encompasses over 8,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by China’s ancient emperors.

The National Palace Museum and the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing share the same roots. They split in two as a result of the Chinese Civil War. Its most famous items are the Jadeite Cabbage, and the Meat-shaped Stone. The Jadeite Cabbage with Insects is a piece of jadeite carved into the shape of a Chinese cabbage head, and with a locust and katydid camouflaged in the leaves.

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It’s best to join the English guided tours that is available twice daily, at 10am or 3pm to fully enjoy the relics. Each guided tour is open for 15 online reservation applications, and should be completed 3 days prior to the visit. You need your passport number, contact number, and email address. For those successfully registered, visit the audio reception desk on the first floor at least 15 minutes before the start of the guided tour.

To get to the museum, take the MRT to Shilin Station, and take bus R30 (Red 30), 255, 304, 815, Minibus 18 or Minibus 19 to the plaza in front of the National Palace Museum. The National Palace Museum is open daily from 0830-1830 all year around. Tickets: NTD 160/pax. Allot 2-4 hours for tour.

Shilin Night Market

Take the bus back to the Shilin Night Market.

The Shilin Night Market is one of the most well-organized, most popular night markets in Taipei. One section covers the streets surrounding the traditional Yangming Theatre and stretching to the Chicheng Temple on Danan Road. The other sector is a centralized food court serving a wide variety of snacks that attract large crowds.

Must haves at the Shilin Night Market:

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  • Hot Star Fried Chicken, NTD 55
  • Giant sausages, NTD 60
  • Frog eggs drink
  • Fried oyster omelets
  • Cold Layers milk dessert, Stall No. 250
  • Chili Wantons, Stall No. 1, NTD 45
  • Lou Rou Fan (Stewed meat in rice)
  • Teppanyaki, ~NTD 100
  • Cheap steak, NTD 120
  • Pan-fried bun (生煎包), NTD 50. Like the fluffiness of cake and the crunchiness of potato chips? The pan-fried bun gives you the best of both worlds. The buns are made with spongy white Chinese bread that is pan-fried on the bottom. Break one open to reveal the moist porky filling. A Shanghainese staple, the Taiwanese version differs in two ways: it’s slightly bigger in size and it hits the pan upside-down. Hsu Ji (許記), Shida Night Market, Taan District, Taipei City; +886 9 3085 9646
  • La mian, NTD 50
  • Oyster misua, NTD 30, at Shilin Market Food Street arch
  • Toilet restaurant

To MRT to get there: Jiantan MRT Station, NOT the Shilin Night Market Station

Day 5 – Northern Taiwan: Daytrip to Yehliu (No. 167-1 Gang Dong Road, Yehliu Village, Wanli Township) and Jiufen Mining Village

Yehliu

Off the coast just north of Keelung sits one of Taiwan’s most fascinating geological parks, the Yehliu Coast. Over thousands of years, wind and rain eroded away parts of the softer top layer of rock to reveal interesting patterns. Some look like honeycombs, others like potholes, a shoe and even a queen’s head. The exposed sandstone landscape is littered with fossils, old relics of a past era. The mushroom and candle-shaped rocks are among the more alien-looking formations. It’s a perfect trip to combine with a visit to the Keelung seaport and Yehliu’s Baoan Temple.

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To get there: Take a bus from the Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A (near Taipei Main Station) to Yehliu (NTD 96-102, cash or Easycard). It’s the “Jin Shan Youth Activity Centre” route, bus number 1815 and is operated by Kuo-Kuang. The first bus departs at 0540 hours (weekdays) and 0615 (weekends). Bus frequency: 15-20 minutes. Travel time: around 1 hour 20 minutes. Be sure to request the bus driver to alert you when the bus reaches Yehliu.

From there, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Yehliu Geopark after passing a quaint fishing port town. There isn’t a lot of variety for snacks on food stall at the park so if you’re hungry, grab some fresh seafood along the row of restaurants outside the park. Better yet, bring some bread and snacks with you so you don’t get hungry on this trip.

Entrance to the Geopark is NTD 50 for adults and NTD 25 for children shorter than 115 cm. They are open from 8:00am – 5:00 pm daily, or 6:00pm from May to September.  The Yehliu Ocean World is just next door, but we usually just skip this attraction and focus on the Geopark.

Allot yourself 3 hours to leisurely visit the park. After paying the entrance, catch the short English film at the visitor center introducing the park. Follow the path to observe rocks and amazing views and allot yourself 3 hours to go around. Please wear a light jacket. The park is divided to 3 areas: there are mushroom rocks, ginger rocks, candle rocks and even a queen’s head.

yehliu 2

The Queen’s Head resembles the head of an Egyptian Queen from the narrow delicate neck ot the imposing head dress. It’s been said that the Queen’s Head will break due to natural wear and tear within 50 years.

On the other side of the park, notice the statue of Lin Tien Jen, a man who sacrificed his life by jumping in the water to save some drowning children. After saving the children, he couldn’t pull himself back in. He left behind a wife and kids and a the statue was built dedicated to this unsung herl.

You can take a separate day for Jiufen and after the park, visit Keelung City by taking a bus from this stop outside the convenience store. Travel time: 30 minutes. Eat at the Keelung Miaokou food street and night market. It’s just a 10-minute walk from Keelung Railway Station where you can get back to Taipei. Alight train at Keelung Railway Station and board a trip to Songshan Railway Station (for Wufenpu and Raohe Night Market) or Taipei Main Station. Alternately, take a Kuo Kuang bus back to Taipei Main Station.

Jiufen

If you want to take a separate day trip. From Jiufen to Taipei: From Taipei, take the Jiufen bus # 1062 (Bus company: Keelung bus) from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station Exit 1. Make a U-turn as you come out of the station so the Sogo mall (big red letters) will now be on your right hand side and the elevated railway line will be in front of you. Walk a minute and take the first left, then after a few meters, you will see the 1062 bus stop. Cost is NTD 102 so bring exact change or easycard. Travel time: 1 hour.

From Yehliu to Jiufen, walk back to Yehliu stop and cross the road. Take the Keelung Bus #790, 862 or 1262 to Keelung City. Fare: NTD 43 and travel time: 40-50 minutes. Then, transfer to Bus #788 or 1013 to Jiufen. The bus stand for Keelung bus from Keelung Railway Station to Jiufen is located at one of the staggered bus stands to the right if you are exiting Keelung Railway Station. Board Keelung bus with destination “Jinguashih”. Fare: NTD 40 to Jiufen and travel time around 40 minutes. The Gold Ecological Museum is a short walk from Jinguashih bus terminal. Alight at Jiufen at the 7-11 at the right of Jiufen entrance.

Jiufen is situated in the hills overlooking a small harbor on Taiwan’s northeast coast. Once a prosperous town famous for its gold mining industry, Jiufen was abandoned by the 1970s and nearly forgotten, and is now a mecca for artists and writers, as well as the inspiration for films like A City of Sadness and Spirited Away. Jiufen so much inspired Hayao Miyazaki, the director of the 2002 Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away, that he used the town’s scenery as a backdrop to the Japanese film.

jiufen 1

Follow through the narrow cobbled streets past stone walls and tea houses that provide a picture of the town during the Japanese occupation. The Jiufen Old Street offers plentiful food stalls throughout the entire town. Walk down the long, narrow street that brims with traditional crafts and delicious snacks such as sweet taro balls, rice cakes and grilled squid. In the Jiufen residential area, try to find the restored Shengping Theatre House, the first movie theater in northern Taiwan, originally built for mineworkers’ after-hours entertainment. Admire authentic details such as the ticket office, seats and stage, as well as vintage movie posters and defunct equipment.

Drink tea at the Jiufen Tea House (No. 142, Jishan Street, Tel: +886-2-2496 9056). The tea house was once the meeting place for many great Taiwanese writers and artists when it first opened. When you enter from the narrow crowded street, you will come into a spacious and calm interior. The host will lead you to a quiet table on the lower levels, or you can sit outside on the back terrace in good weather. Choose your favorite tea and tea snacks from the menu and sit for as long as you like.

jiufen 2

To get back, walk back to the bus stop just near the convenience stores near the entrance to the town. Fee: NTD 90. You can get off at MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes.

Day 6-7: Hualian, Taroko Gorge National Park – Dinner in one of Taipei’s nicest restaurants

Some of Asia’s most spectacular scenery awaits at Taroko Gorge National Park, Taiwan’s foremost tourist draw. Marble rock faces plummenting into chasms, teeming rainforests, crystal waterfalls, and pine covered alpine reaches, offer breaktaking panoramas wherever you look.

Among the park’s unforgettable sights are the looming Chinghshui Cliff on the Pacific coast, the twisting vistas of the Tunnel of Nine Turns, and the dramatic hanging bridges of Swallow Grotto. Few buildings make the most of the topography, particularly the Eternal Springs Shrine, which hugs a lush green hillside next to its namesake springs.

Take the high speed Express train from Taipei to Hualien. It only takes 2 hours 15 minutes. Book online: http://www.railway.gov.tw/en. While on the train, have a lookout for vendors selling Taiwanese (便當)) or Taiwanese lunch boxes.

biandang

A lot of Taiwanese have a love-hate relationship with Taiwanese biandang (bento), the takeaway lunchbox that packs rice with a main dish (usually a type of meat) and small, often unappealing side dishes such as fried and preserved vegetables. It’s a convenient, quick, cheap (around NTD 100) and generally decent way to eat. Biandang isn’t one of the most delicious foods in Taiwan, but it’s a staple for countless working parents and busy urbanites. Bento with chicken cutlet is a good biandang choice.

As it’s not possible to walk to the main points in the park, best to book a local tour agency in Hualian (Approx fee: NTD 1,000/pax) to get around (Tel: +886-972 501 921)

Tour itinerary: Pickup from Hualian train station at 8:15 am → “Clear Water Cliff” →Taroko National Park →Eternal Life Temple situated atop a waterfall → Swallow Grotto Trail → Lunch at Buluoge Visitor Center → Hulian Train Station by 4:00pm. This tour requires you to take the newest train in Taipei from the Tze Chang line at 6:10am.

taroko

Other local drivers:
– Mr. Zheng (+886-989 777 576 or +886-989 055682)
– Mr. Lu Lai-Fu (+886-928 569 081) and ask him to bring you for Zha Dan. It’s open after 1pm and will close shop when out of dough. Wait 20-30 minutes.

Suggested Accommodations: Leader Village Taroko (No. 231-1 Fushih Village, Sioulin Town, Hualien 972), Grandview Chief Suite for 2 nights. You can book a one-day private tour for two from the hotel at NTD 1,400 per person.

Great food, location, culture and service at excellent aboriginal-styled villas with free 1.5-hour aboriginal shows every night. The rooms are lovely, simple, in faux-rustic style. Simple but delicious food is served with kings of local special products like wild barbecued pork, mushroom, and sweet potato.

Farewell Dinner: AoBa Taiwanese or Shinyeh Restaurant or Flavors

Aoba (No. 116, Anhe Road, Sec. 1, Tel: +886-2-2700 0009) or (Minsheng East Road, Sec. 3, Songshan District, Taipei, Tel: +886-2-2547 1111)

Making the most of Taiwan’s culinary traditions but presenting them in an environment of quiet luxury is what AoBa is all about. Menu ranges from set menus priced at NTD 800 per head or NTD 2,800 for four. Seafood set at NTD 3,800 for four.

Must try: Soup Noodles (NTD 80),Taiwanese style spring rolls (NTD 70), Shrimp with egg yolk (NTD 380).

Shinyeh (2/F, No. 112, Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4, Daan District, Taipei, Tel: +886-2-2752 9299, shinyeh.com.tw)

What started as a tiny back-alley mom-and-pop joint in 1977 has blossomed into one of Taipei’s most reknowned restaurants. Although its gone progressively upscale over the years, the menu is still about home-style Taiwanese classics.

shinyeh

Closest MRT: Chungxiao Fuxing Road. Open daily 11am-3pm, 5pm-10:30 pm. / Must order: Fried oysters, three cups chicken.

Three-cup chicken is cooked in a cup of rice wine, a cup of oil and a cup of soy sauce. To this Taiwanese culinary triumvirate is added fresh basil, chilies and garlic for an irresistible combination.

Flavors (No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4, (02) 2709 6525, flavors.com.tw)

TripAdvisor hails it as the top 5 restaurants in Taipei. Swedish food in Taipei? I guess so! Flavors has moved to a bigger location and is apparently still delicious. Try out their Swedish set menu and definitely order the apple cake. It’s moist, crumbly, sweet, flaky- just SO good.

flavors

The English and Chinese menu is pretty huge and can be a bit overwhelming. If you choose a main dish, it comes as a set with the soup of the day, bread, salad, apple cake and coffee. There are also a few multi-course set menus to choose from- “Taste of Sweden” (NT$1700) with aquavit (a flavored spirit) and snapas (small shots of snaps), or Chef Ola’s “Summer Gourmet Menu” which included 3 appetizers and 2 desserts (NT$1100).

Bistro Le Pont 樂朋小館

Your goose is cooked at Bistro Le Pont (樂朋小館)). The restaurant is an extension of Le Pont (橋邊)), a Kaohsiung-based restaurant that specializes in dishes and condiments made from goose meat and goose fat. The space off Yongkang Street (永康街)) captures the spirit of a French bistro, with large picture windows and low lighting. The menu even lists prices in New Taiwan dollars and euros. Bistro Le Pont’s food, however, is made with mostly locally produced ingredients and features a fusion of French, Taiwanese and Chinese flavors.

bistro le pont

Bistro Le Pont’s signature dishes are its plates of goose meat, viande d’oie au sel maison (NT$250) and viande d’oie fume maison (NT$280). The latter is smoked and has a heavier taste. Both dishes feature juicy, slightly oily, slices of poultry. An alternative is the confit d’oie maison (NT$450), made from leg of goose and very robust and complex in flavor. People prefer these to the two previously mentioned goose dishes.

Bistro Le Pont
176 Chaozhou St, Taipei City (台北市潮州街176號), Tel: +886-2-2396 5677 (Near Yongkang Street)
Open: 11:30am to 10:00pm
Average meal:: NT$350 to NT$500

Day 8 – Taipei: NOVA – Heading Home to Manila

Head to NOVA where you can find every laptop, phone, printer, cord, cable, accessory and every attachment known to the tech-dependent man. NOVA Electronics Center (2 Guanqian Street, Taipei Main Station MRT, Opening hours: 11am-10pm, Weekends start at 10:30am).

Lunch: Yong Kang Beef Noodle

We started our Taiwan journey with beef noodles and will also end our trip with this famous dish. The Yong Kang Beef Noodle Soup shop has been around forever, or since 1963, as the sign proudly declares. The beef tendon noodle is only a reasonable NTD 180 a bowl, and its broth is made out of beef and soyabean-based stock. Very tasty indeed.

yongkang

Yong Kang Beef Noodle
No. 17號, Lane 31, Section 2, Jīnshān South Rd, Daan District, Taipei City (Tel: +886-‎2 2351 1051)
Hours: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-8pm
Closest MRT: Dongmen MRT Exit 4
Must try: Beef tendon noodle soup , little spicy, and “fen zheng pai gu” (yam and pork ribs)

Other Notable Restaurants in Taipei (Taken word for word from: A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei)

Best Hot Pot – ORANGE SHABU SHABU 

If there was gourmet shabu shabu, Orange Shabu Shabu would be it. Offering luxe meats and seafood like prime rib beef or emperor crab for the customized copper hotpots, Orange also offers sashimi and cooked seafood dishes in a romantic ambiance.
No. 135, Da An Road, Sec 1, B1, (02) 2776-1658;
29, RenAi Rd, Sec 4, 2 FL, (02) 2771-0181; orangeshabu.com.tw

Ding Wang Spicy Hotpot
No. 89, Guangfu N. Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: 02 2742-1199

Best Steak – RUTH CHRIS

American chain Ruth Chris Steakhouse’s broiled steaks are topped with butter and apparently that’s how the readers like it.
No. 135 Min Sheng East Road, Sec. 3, 2 FL, (02) 2545-8888; http://www.ruthchris.com

Best Buffet – THE KITCHEN TABLE

The Kitchen Table is with no doubt the best buffet restaurant in Taipei! The food they offer is diverse, the ingredients-fresh, the service-impeccable! I tried both the Chinese and Western food they have and both were incredible! In addition, the restaurant makes its own ice-cream which is fantastic! The decor is unusual, fresh and inviting and makes you feel you are at home, having a world-class chef just for yourself. Taipei has so many restaurants, but the Kitchen Table is a real gem!

10 Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 5,Xinyi District, Taipei 110, Taiwan
Tel: 02-77038888, www.­wtaipei.­com/­thekitchentable

Best Pizza- ALLEYCATS

Locally founded Alleycats wins votes with its stone oven baked pizzas and fresh toppings and multiple locations. One of my favorites is the “Napoletana” with fresh tomatoes, goat cheese, anchovies, olives and spinach.
No. 6, Li Shui Street, B1, (02) 2321-8948
No. 285, Song Ren Rd, (02) 8780-5421;
Da An- No. 2, Lane 248, Zhong Xiao E Road, Sec 4, (02) 2731-5225;
Tien Mu- No. 31, Lane 35, Zhongshan N. Rd Sec. 6 , (02) 2835-6491;
Nei Hu- No. 67-1 Cheng Gong Road, Section, 5, (02)2630-6278;
Xi Men- No. 49, Alley 10, Cheng Du, 2FL, (02) 2370-8858;
www.alleycatspizza.com

Best American/Western- MACARONI GRILL

You can find huge American sized salads, pastas, pizzas and desserts at Macaroni Grill, and though it’s a little more than what we’d pay in the states, there’s nowhere else in town you’d get table side opera.
at Neo 19, 30 Sung Shou Road, (02) 2722-4567

Best French- CHEZ JIMMY

You can’t get more decadent than the foie gras and steak at Chez Jimmy. Apparently there used to be locations in Tien Mu or on Fuxing N Road (or so says Yahoo Travel and other websites) but after a call to the restaurant, they confirmed only 2 locations right now.
No. 128 Xin Yi Road, Sec 5 (02) 8788-3336
No. 180, Zhong Cheng, Sec. 2 (02) 2874-7185

Best Italian- TUTTO BELLO

Another place I hadn’t heard of until now and am looking forward to trying. Upscale Italian that might surprise you in Taipei.
No. 15, Lane 25, Shuang Cheng St, (02) 2592-3355
tuttobello.com.tw 

Best Japanese Restaurant- SUMIE NOUVELLE CUISINE at SAN WANT HOTEL

I always get the multi-course set menu and my friends new to the restaurant always are dazzled by Sumie’s plating and presentation of every dish. Don’t let the upscale modern interior scare you away from some of the freshest sashimi in Taipei.
No. 172, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, 4 FL, (02) 2781 6909, www.sanwant.com 

Best Uniquely Taiwanese Restaurant- SHIN YEH

When even the locals line up for this Taiwanese restaurant, then you know that it’s good. Shin Yeh offers Taiwanese classics in a sit down, family friendly setting.
No. 112 Zhong Xiao E Road, Sec 4, 2FL, (02) 2752-9299
No. 34-1, ShuangCheng St, (02) 2596-3255
No. 12, NanJing West Road, 8F, (02) 2523-6757
Shinyeh 101 at No. 45, Shifu Road, 85 FL (02) 8101-0185
shinyeh.com.tw 

Best Romantic Restaurant- VILLA 32

Complete your romantic evening with some hot springs or a couples massage, or just wine and dine your honey at ultra-luxe Villa 32’s Euro restaurant, tucked in Beitou, about an hour outside of the city.
No 32, Zhongshan Rd, Beitou, Taipei, (02) 6611-8888, villa32.com 

Best Unexpected Find in Taipei- FLAVORS

Swedish food in Taipei? I guess so! Flavors has moved to a bigger location and apparently still delicious. Can’t wait to try it.
No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4, (02) 2709 6525, flavors.com.tw

Best Super Cheap Eats (Meal NT$100 or Under)-
 SABABA

Sababa is one of those restaurants that I’m surprised is in Taipei, but am very glad is successful. Part of the reason is its fast and fresh pita sandwiches and hummus platas- all great prices, especially for a “foreign” specialty food. Must try the Plata Sababa- hummus with roasted eggplant topped with a falafel.
No. 8, Alley 54, Ln 118, Heping E Rd Sec 2, (02) 2738-7769;
No. 17, Lane 283, LuoSiFu (Roosevelt) Rd, Sec 3, (02) 2363-8009;
No. 3, Lane 12, Yong Kang St, (02) 2327 9159;
Breeze at Taipei Main Station,
www.sababapita.com

Best Breakfast/ Brunch- THE DINER

The first time I ate at the Diner, I couldn’t decide what to eat- but in a good way. Offering a wide selection of Western brunch/breakfast options all day, it’s definitely the place to go if you’re missing tasty pancakes, eggs benedicts, omelettes or even a breakfast burrito. Just be prepared to wait for a table and don’t forget to try the dessert menu.
No. 145 Ruian St, Taipei, (02) 2700-1680;
No. 6, Ln 103, Dunhua S Rd Sec 2, (02) 2754-1680,
www.thediner.com.tw

Best Late-Night Bites- CONGEE on FUXING

While voters didn’t vote specifically for No Name, I included its address and review so you could get a gist for the general area. Offering Taipei’s version of comfort food until the wee hours of the morning, a row of restaurants offer up congee and all the sides you’d want on Fuxing South Road.
No. 130, Fu Xing S. Road, Sec 2, (02) 2784-6735

Favorite Night Market- SHIDA NIGHT MARKET 師大路夜市

Beating out the previous long time winner Shihlin, the new favorite Shida Night Market is a winding collection of lanes and alleys of shops and street eats including traditional favorites like baos and fried chicken and new offerings like Yofroyo and slider burgers. It’s one night market that I’ve been meaning to explore and write about. Try the following dishes:

Must try: Hsu Pan-Fried Dumplings and Lantern Hot Stew.

Lantern Hot Stew. Basically the stall has a large variety of different stuff to eat, all braised in a tasty broth then plopped onto a place for your enjoyment. On offer are about a dozen types of fishballs, meatballs, noodles and vegetables.

Favorite Afternoon Tea- SMITH & HSU

Winner second year in a row. As someone who thought scones were always rock hard and dry, the warm-out-of-the-oven buttery scones from Smith & Hsu were a revelation. You can’t go wrong with a bit of clotted cream, lemon curd or jam on top, and the inviting space to chat with a friend for afternoon tea. For serious tea drinkers, there are over 50 teas to select from, as they give each table a tray of bottled tea leaves to browse and there is a shop area to buy teas and tea sets.
No.33, Section 5, ZhongXiao E. Road, (02) 2747-4857;
No.103, Section 3, Minsheng E. Road, (02) 2546-6088;
Tianmu Sogo, No.177, Zhongshan N. Road, Sec. 6, (02) 2838-1828;
No. 8, ZhongXiao E. Road, Sec. 5, 6FL, (02) 8786-2877;
No. 21, Nanjing E. Road, Sec. 1, (02) 2457-6842;
smithandhsu.com

Rose House, a Victorian-themed tea house on Li Shui Lane. Has Little Prince Afternoon Tea Set (NTD 399), featuring cheese cake, rose lychee jelly, rose macaron, roll cake, scone, creme brulee, quiche, bacon burger and petite sandwich (No. 1, Lane 3, Lishui Street, +886-2- 2394 8202, 11am-10pm)

Best French- SAVEURS 歐洲風味餐坊

Saveurs shows that you don’t have to empty your wallet to have an amazing French meal. Tucked in the lanes off of ZhongXiao, it’s one of those restaurants you’d pass by and never notice, but it’s worth looking for. Advance reservations strongly recommended for lunch.
No. 14, Lane 219, Fuxing S. Rd, Sec 1, (02) 2751-0185

Posted in Food, Fun activities in Taiwan, Interests, Restaurant reviews, Shopping, Taipei life, Taiwanese women, Top picks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

I’m Not Perfect — Are You?

When I was in Hong Kong, most guys never really bent on bended knee to ask a girl to marry him. It happened, sure, but not like here in the Philippines where a guy dates a girl a few months and then decides he wants to be with her for the rest of their lives.

Instead, guys would be surrounded by perceived choices. Perceived being the operative word. They would look around at all the lovely ladies around them and tell themselves, “Why should I settle down when there’s a gazillion beautiful women out there?”

I know a guy who struggles with this decision indecision.

He’s a good friend of mine. American, lived in Taiwan for a few years, then moved to Hong Kong. Very cool guy. I remember we used to have house parties at his flat near Carnegie’s Taipei. I think his house was one of the most logistically desirable in Taipei.

If you’re hungry, go to Carnegie’s. Want a good time? Go to Carnegie’s.

He’s already in his mid-40s, an eternal bachelor, always dating yet never really finding someone to settle down. Though he’s a great guy, I think he struggles with always finding out what is wrong with somebody he’s dating. And he thinks maybe, he can get someone better.

So next!

Look, everyone has issues. My fiance has issues, I have issues, everyone has issues. Nobody is perfect.

As my relatives keep on asking me, “Are you sure Bonita that he’s already the right guy for you?”

In my mind, I wonder if I’m the right girl FOR HIM.

Case in point, unlike other demure girls, I snore.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it’s embarrassing to admit but it’s true. I snore. And according to my evil brother, I snore quite loudly too. Not as bad as exhausted men, but it sure is louder to a woman who DIDN’T snore.

And it’s not something I can change. I’m unconscious, so what can I do?

Secondly, I talk. A LOT.

I used to tell my ex just how lucky he was to have an interesting woman like me. Someone who had witty insights and can hold you in conversation for hours.

His answer?

Your friends aren’t with you all the time. I am. Sometimes, I just want you to keep quiet.”

Of course he said it nicer than that, but that’s the gist of it.

Even with fiance, I find myself never really shutting up. Yakkity-yak-yak. I ask hypothetical questions that are awarded with punches if the answer my fiance gives is wrong. I ask him questions like, “Would you ever cheat on me?” or “Will you get tired of me if I get fat?”

Thinking about it now, I think my incessantly hypothetical questions stem from the unwritten, undeclared fact (till now) that like many women, I am also insecure. I wonder if men would really find me that interesting to stick with me for the rest of our lives. And if I was found to have breast cancer or in an accident that ends me up in a wheelchair, will he really be there for me?

Fortunately, fiance still humors me by answering my questions over and over. Even if they’re the same questions, only asked on different days and moments.

And lastly, I can be quite stubborn.

Yes, I know the Bible tells us that women should be submissive, bowing to the needs of their husbands. That for a relationship to work, the woman must give way too.

Having been raised by a domineering father who taught me to be obstinate and stubborn, I fight hard not to be seen as a pushover. If I think I am right, then I fight for it. I won’t really back down. This is a problem when I don’t agree with my mate.

The list goes on and on.

As other people choose to see the positives, I choose the see the negatives. Like the shortlist of personal faults I’ve highlighted above, I snore, I talk non-stop, and I’m stubborn and obstinate.

Nobody is perfect.

I’m not perfect.

So instead of focusing on how much I deserve a 10 because I’m a 10, I’d like to pop my own bubble and say, I’m human. I try my best to be good, but I make mistakes too.

And it’s in realizing just how flawed we are can we open ourselves to a real relationship by someone who is equally flawed… but someone whose flaws you can still accept, even if it’s for the rest of your lives.

Focus on the Negatives, Not the Positives.

Instead of deluding ourselves with happily ever after — and no, it doesn’t exist — I’d rather face the reality that shit WILL hit the fan. And hopefully, you are with someone who sticks with you in the long-haul and won’t leave you no matter how bad it gets.

Because like you, he would also look at himself and say, “I’m great, but I’m not THAT great. And this girl is the best I can ever get.”

And we are…

A month ago, I had lunch with a girl friend who told me that she and her boyfriend were retailing fireworks in time for Christmas. They bought fireworks from wholesale suppliers, rented a small space at Timog, and is selling fireworks in retail. She is tall, pretty, smart, hardworking and dependable.

On the flipside, she is also someone with is a bit bossy, has strong opinions, challenges her boyfriend once in a while, and gives him the ugly truth when he’s in the ground.

But her boyfriend proposed to her after only half a year of dating.

Why?

Because despite all her so-called negatives, the boyfriend smartly realized that finding a girl like her who’s willing to sell fireworks in retail on the street is HARD, and if you can find someone who can do that with you, you’d have a girl you don’t want to lose forever.

There are always two sides to the coin.

You can have confidence and yet be seen as arrogant.

Clever and yet be seen as too smart-ass.

Efficient and yet be seen as cold-blooded and heartless.

Sweet and yet be seen as a pushover.

Opinionated and yet be seen as stubborn.

It’s a hard balance.

And most of the time, we fail at balancing it.

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So focus on both the negatives and the positives. And stop putting oneself on the pedestal. You ain’t all that. I ain’t all that. And admitting it is the first step to finding a real relationship that would also accept your negatives AND your positives.

Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Boyfriend, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Hong Kong Life, Life lessons, Men, Personal opinion, Philippines, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wedding Prep #2: Secure a Venue for the Wedding

Wedding preparation is harder than I thought. Having organized a gazillion events back in university, at work and after work in at least four countries, I thought organizing a wedding should be a piece of cake.

Why the hell would people book their suppliers a year in advance?” I thought. “It’s just a wedding. A one-day event. Why stress out about it?”

After almost two months of wedding planning, I’ve come to realize that weddings are hard not because of the suppliers themselves. Weddings are hard because of the high expectations of everyone — the bride, the groom, the family of the bride and the family of the groom. If you’d like to add best friends of bride/groom to the mix, then all hell breaks loose.

Personally in my case, the hiccup came from my side of the family.

Since my fiance’s family will be footing most of the bill as per Filipino-Chinese tradition, my family can be very careful of making their opinions known. “They’re paying for it,” my mom would say. “Ayaw kong makialam (I don’t want us to meddle).”

Which can be an issue when making decisions.

The issue arises because despite statements of wanting to meddle, moms do have opinions and they do feel slighted when their opinions are not asked or followed.

Take for example, securing a venue for our wedding.

The groom’s side of the family only had a few requests:

  1. To have the wedding this year, preferably in June. Because that’s the time my Shanghai-based fiance’s sister and her husband are both here in Manila.
  2. The wedding should be in the afternoon/evening as they don’t like waking up early.
  3. They don’t want to have a hotel wedding since it’s already been done over and over, and they do want something special/different.
  4. They would like a plated sit-down dinner, catered by Chef Jessie, one of their favorite restaurants.

Total attendees should be 500 — 250 for each side. Since this is the third wedding for the groom’s family, they are wary from inviting acquaintances from eras before, and plan only to invite close friends and relatives. Since I prefer an intimate Western dinner, their ideas mesh with mine, so I have no problems with fulfilling their reasonable requests.

The problem is my mom who initially chose to stay out from the planning process.

When it came to booking a venue, we had limited options. For one, we are booking a bit too late in the game, half a year away, so most venues are already full. Two, not a lot of non-hotel venues that is not named Gloria Maris and Century Park Seafood Restaurant (both of which are Chinese restaurants) can comfortably hold 500 guests.

So in the end, we only have two choices.

1) Fernbrook Garden (Address: Portofino South, Daang Reyna, Las Pinas, Metro Manila / www.fernbrookgardens.com) or

2) Blue Leaf Filipinas (Address: Belle Avenue, Aseana City, Paranaque / http://www.theblueleaf.com.ph/)

Fernbrook Gardens is in Alabang, a 20-minute drive away from Alabang Town Center. For those who are not from the Philippines, for the normal Filipino, Alabang can be a bit far. “At least 30-40 minutes drive from Makati (the business center), and expensive tollways all throughout.” Toll ranges around Php 150++ one-way.

Despite the distance, Fernbrook is beautiful as you can see in the day and night photos:

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Nice, eh?

There’s a nice fountain by the lobby and the reception area is beautiful, full of greenery and small waterfalls.

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I kid you NOT. The photos is as beautiful as reality. There is also a quiet little man-made river and a gondola for picture taking opportunities. For sure, guests would gape and awe at the venue. It’s really that nice.

If you are interested in booking Fernbrook Gardens, you can contact the friendly Ms. King Flores (Tel: +63-917 862 4357, or landlines: 217 9968, 710 8545 or 710 8608). Her email is at king.fernbrook@gmail.com.

Blue Leaf Filipinas on the other hand, lies in the reclaimed land in Manila Bay. Just a stone throw away from the newly-opened Solaire Resorts, Blue Leaf is as chic and modern as Fernbrook is as whimsical, and at the time of viewing last December, was still undergoing some last-minute finishing.
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The halls were pretty big though. The three halls could handle a thousand guests. We were happy to just book Sinulog and Pahiyas Halls which can cover 800 people.
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A stone’s throw away from the newly-opened Solaire Resorts, Blue Leaf is as chic and modern as Fernbrook is as whimsical, and at the time So given our tight schedule, we were lucky to have these two equally beautiful halls still available on our dates. But we had to make a choice, FAST.
Since my groom’ family was happy with either, I proceeded to ask my mom which venue she’d like.
Bahala na sila mag-decide,” she said. Translation: It’s up to them to decide. “But don’t you think that Alabang (where Fernbrook is situated) is a bit too far?”
“Hmmm, not really. If my guests really want to come, they’ll still go over there even if it’s in Singapore or Hong Kong,” I answered. “But since Pam (my fiance’s sister) was married in Fernbrook, they would prefer Fernbrook Gardens.”
Uncle Ellison, do you think that Alabang is far?” she then asked my uncle who came to visit us that day.
It’s a bit far…” my Uncle replied. “But if that’s what they want, we’ll still go…”
My mom proceeded to ask my auntie and our real estate broker the same question that day. Their answers were pretty consistent: It’s perceived to be far, but if needed be, they’ll make the trip.
My mom then changed tactics saying, “It would really be frustrating if my friends would call me up to complain about the distance. It would make a happy day to be very frustrating.”
Mom, I’m sure they would grumble but not directly. If ever, they would do it in a joking manner and shouldn’t be taken seriously,” I said in defense.
Mom: “Yes, but it would be bad…”
Mom,” I somewhat rudely interrupted (my bad). “Are you trying to say that you would prefer Blue Leaf rather than Fernbrook?”
Nooo, I didn’t say that,” she said defensively. “What I just said is, it’s up for them to decide.”
Okay, if it’s up for them to decide,” I explained. “We would go for Fernbrook. Because they’ve done a wedding at Fernbrook and they like it there. They don’t care about the distance. Are you SURE you are okay with what they decide?”
Well, Fernbrook is beautiful,” she then replied. “It’s very very nice. But so what if it’s nice if it’s far?”“So if I get it right,”I clarified, “What you are saying is you like Blue Leaf?”
Nooo, I didn’t say that,” she again answered. “What I did say is I’m okay with both Fernbrook and Blue Leaf.”
I wanted to throw my hands up in despair. Waaah, that’s a lot of passive-aggressiveness going around. 😦
Aiya mom, let me make a decision for both of us already,” I firmly stated. “Let’s just do Blue Leaf.”
But but I’m okay with…” my mom started to insist.
No mom, I insist,” I replied. “Choosing Fernbrook would relentlessly drive me up the wall. I cannot really stand choosing one, then having our side resent and not fully accepting the decision. It’s clear to me that everyone wants Blue Leaf so let’s just go with Blue Leaf.”
Not wanting to be the bad guy, mom insisted again she’s fine with both venues.
No it’s fine,” I insisted. “I already texted Auntie. We have decided on Blue Leaf.”
And then there was nary a talk about Fernbrook and Blue Leaf already. Auntie was fine with our decision and paid for the deposit a few days later.
Waaaah, if deciding on a venue was enough to drive me up the wall, how much more are the rest? As you can see, there’s a lot of indirect passive-aggressiveness that came about and Lord help me in keeping my sanity as we decide on the other details.
Regardless, we’ve finally chosen a venue. It’s an achievement, and onward to the other wedding details such as the dress, the photographer and videographer, the stylist, among others.
Have a good week ahead!
Posted in Boyfriend, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Philippines, Updates, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wedding Prep: Step #1 — Secure a Date for the Wedding

Wedding preparation is not as easy as everyone thinks as I’ve already listed down here. A lot of people focus on the happy day itself without realizing all the pain and drama that comes beforehand.

The first step of wedding preparation however is to first secure a date

It’s harder than it looks, my friends.

Most families in the Philippines take a whopping ONE YEAR to plan their wedding because of the date. 

And while I still think that it doesn’t take a monkey to plan a wedding (especially since in previous years, I have planned larger 2,000-people conferences overseas for a quarter of the allotted time), there are still several factors to consider.

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For example, there’s not a lot of days available when you can get married.

Let’s do the math.

First, there are 365 days or 52 weeks in a year.

Of course, if you are any normal couple, you would honestly prefer getting married in a weekend because it’s the times when most of your guests will find it convenient to go to. There’s also less traffic in the Philippines on a weekend so you’d want everyone to be on time. That leaves your wedding date to fall on a Friday, Saturday or a Sunday when most of your guests are available. Overall, that’s just around 156 days left.

Now the Philippines only has two seasons — rainy and sunny.

March to May is our summer season while forget June to September where it incessantly rains and typhoons, literally putting a damper to your wedding. You’ve seen how bad typhoons in the Philippines can be. It kinda sucks if you’re in an archipelago encircled everywhere by bodies of water. Photos of massive destruction can be found here.

So after removing June till September, the only remaining perfect months to get married are from November till May.

That’s just only a smaller 6-month window. So half of 156 days, or 78 days left. 

Out of the 78 days that are left, you’d then want to pick a date that doesn’t fall on a long holiday.

You see, like normal human beings, Filipinos pack their bags and families and take extra days off on long holidays. Of course, after working very hard, they’d like to take an easy vacation somewhere. Especially with the great offers from CashCashPinoy (See more travel deals here), traveling has now become a commodity and everyone’s flying off somewhere especially on long weekends.

So you’d want to shy away from Holy Week, or Christmas long weekends. Both weekends before and after that. Assume that’s around 18 days more or less, leaving you with only 60 days to choose from.

What’s more, in a season where people get married ALL THE TIME, you have to pick a date where nobody you know is getting married. It’s really rude to pick a date when you know a friend is getting married in. That’s like sabotaging their wedding because guests are forced to pick which weddings they’d go to.

Of course you don’t want that. 

That’s why after securing a date, tell EVERYONE so nobody will steal your date anymore.

And to top it off, there’s actually only a limited number of acceptable perfect church and reception venues most Filipino-Chinese families look for. Filipino-Chinese is all about “face” and a child’s wedding is a perfectly acceptable venue to show off without being too obvious about it. 

Specifically, if you are Filipino-Chinese, you’d have to worry about additional issues such as finding:

1.   The correct “date” — Especially for the Fil-Chi community, one must consult with a feng shui master for the right date and time to get married. This is to increase your luck of a successful marriage, and the feng shui master takes you and your partner’s birthdates and times to compute your compatibility.

A friend of mine for example had to get married at 28 years old, and before 8 o’clock in the weekend, or suffer a lifetime or regret. So by 2am, the entire entourage were already doing their makeup. It was terrible.

This unfortunately is called “kua-dit” (to look at day) in Fookien, and must be followed especially if your grandparents are still alive. Only they can insist on this draconian practice and still get away with it.

2.   The perfect venue — As I’ve explained earlier, for the richer Fil-Chis, your children’s wedding is a chance for you to show off. That’s why while ours at 500 people may seem big, others would go above 1,000 guests for a mere 1-day wedding.

A word of warning to the novice, there’s not a lot of venues that can accommodate 800-1,000 guests and seat them comfortably in an air-conditioned room. I’ve been calling wedding venues and while 300-400 pax is reasonable, anything over 450 pax is gigantic for many places. Unfortunately, having guests number 300 people is “too small” for many families. It hints that the family is poor so as not been able to invite that many guests.

So more guests there is. And understandably, there’s only a few places that can accommodate that many people.

It’s a joke amongst us young people. If you get married, you’d have to do it at the the Big 2 for their wedding:

     a) Shangri-La EDSA, or

     b) Shangri-La Makati.

Why?

Because they’re the most expensive hotel, charging more per table and hence show your family more face, and yes, they can handle 1,000 guests. Hahaha!

Unfortunately, the novelty wears off after the first wedding you’ve attended a few hundred weddings at Shangri-La. It came to a point that you’d already correctly guess what type of dishes they’ll serve at a Shangri-La wedding before they even serve it!

If you want to save on costs or want a more Chinese wedding, there’s always Century Park Seafood Restaurant, or Gloria Maris Greenhills. With a lot of little kiddies wanting to get married, you’d have to understand why everyone would have to stand in line to get the wedding venue they want!

3.     The nicest Catholic church — If you’re Catholic, you’d want to have that nice church wedding where you slowly walk down the aisle and the choir sings a solemn song. The problem is, there’s not a lot of old-charmed churches to get married in the Philippines in whose dates had not been taken by someone else. Often times, there’s even a wedding going on per 2 hours on a weekend in a popular church! 

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 I’m not Catholic but this is a list of Christian churches people in the Philippines get married in. Not a lot as you can see.

4.   It’s a date both your parent/s and future in-laws would like — Everyone has the right time of getting married. For example, with my fiancee’s family, they’d hope that the date is right after my fiancee’s sister gives birth (she’s pregnant now), and the time when their son-in-law is in the country (he travels around). For my mom, the date should be a year after my dad’s passing. 

Regardless, pinpointing a date that suits both parties can be difficult especially if one side is indecisive. This time, it’s my side so my mom has yet to sit down with the future in-laws to decide on a date (Big sigh).

So in conclusion, it’s not easy finding a wedding date for a couple wanting to get married here in the Philippines. 

I for one have already been engaged for 3 weeks and nary a talk of wedding dates had already been made.

Still, we have to make a choice soon. My fiancee wants a non-hotel wedding and after making a few calls, there are only 2 venues left open on the dates we’re targeting to get married in.

Oh well!

Anyway, I’m praying for a smooth wedding prep.

I for one don’t want to arrange my wedding FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. In my heart, I know you don’t need to take a whole freaking year to arrange everything!

It’s enough to make even the most rational of people go bananas. 

Thankfully, from our initial talks, it seems that my future Christian in-laws are quite easy on the preparation. Their only requests is that we have a Christian ceremony, and the wedding should not be early in the morning (following feng shui). And since fiancee doesn’t want a conventional hotel wedding, that frees up several options. 

Happy weekend everyone!

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Wedding Prep is NOT a Fairy Tale

Most women dreamt about their wedding since they were young.

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They’ve leafed through wedding magazines, pinned their favorite colors and motifs on Pinterest, and started random conversations with, “If I got married…”

No, not me.

Actually, the first time I’ve even dared buy my first wedding magazine – for research of course – was a week after fiancée proposed.

I was admittedly embarrassed and fiancée was gleeful. “You know, it’s okay to be excited about your own wedding,” he said. “As long of course you don’t turn into bridezilla.”

Then he paused and requested, “Please don’t turn into bridezilla.”

Wedding preparations not really all the happy fairy tale people dream about. As an events organizer, I know arranging a one-day event is a breeze.

“Just be decisive,” my friend from the US advised.

Unfortunately, a one day wedding where you hope you’d only have once (unless you’ve already separated and divorced” becomes complicated once other parties start coming into the midst. It’s also doubly complicated since it’s the groom’s family that is footing the bill and I don’t want to spend unnecessarily.

“Your mommy sounds unenthusiastic,” my future mother-in-law observed. “Maybe it’s because of the issues between you and your brother?”

“Oh no auntie, it’s just that she’s been busy,” I explained.

And she was — she just returned from a weeklong vacation from Ilo-Ilo and Cebu for a friend’s wedding.

Still, it’s a dark cloud that hangs on everyone’s head when everyone is happy you’re getting married except your brother. He doesn’t really like the fiancée as much, though I think it’s mostly because of unfortunate misunderstanding and circumstance.

Regardless, it’s a wedding and nobody wants to be a bad guy and rain on anyone’s parade.

So the good news is, people in the office is happy about our engagement. Finally, they’ve allowed to let their hair down a bit.

Two, we already have the invited number pegged at 500-550 people. This is a medium-sized wedding. A richer family would probably have double that number.

Three, fiancée had been mighty supportive and tries hard not to laugh at me while I navigate around the wedding preparation mess. He has been so far helpful and has helped me direct some details such as:

  • Color motif would be white, light sunny yellow and gold accents
  • My bridesmaids would be my two beautiful cousins and some best friends from overseas. My brothers girlfriend will NOT be part of the entourage.
  • The venue would not be a hotel. We prefer it slightly whimsical and unique. Fiancée wants the Christian ceremony at the venue itself followed by a cocktail and sit-down dinner.
  • Dinner would be plated and not buffet-style. Our caterer would be Chef Jessie, who also catered my future sister-in-law’s wedding
  • We will have an engagement party. As to where and when, I’ll keep you posted

Anyway it’s been early days so we shall see. Till I have more details, I’ll let you all know.

Pls pray for a smooth wedding preparation! Happy happy joy joy!

Posted in Family, Family Drama, Relationships, Updates, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“How do you know if he’s the One for you?”

When people ask me if I am sure about my boyfriend-now-fiancee, and why I said yes to his proposal despite the turmoil that’s happening internally within my family, my best answer is this.

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This pair of hot pink/gray rubber shoes is by Adidas, and I remember buying this in a sports surplus building in Singapore.

When we arrived at the surplus building full of sports shoes and sports apparel/gear, I knew I was going to buy a pair. My old New Balance were of the thin air-ism kind, and I wanted something stronger and more for running.

As you would know, when it comes to shopping, I can be indecisive. I can try multiple styles all at once, but will start filtering between the styles I liked. This pair was one of the styles I liked. And whereas I tried different pairs, I kept on coming back to this style.

My brother then urged me to buy a different pair of shoes. I think it was a darker shade of gray. He said it looked good on me, and it’s uso (fashionable). 

I tried this pair, and the pair that my brother recommended. Both my brother and my mom said I should buy the other one.

In the end, I stubbornly chose this pair. And paid for it at the cashier.

Months later, I am happy with my purchase. I use it every other day, Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I accompany my mom to the gym. 

Finding the One for you is much like shoe buying. 

There are too many opinions out there.

Everyone has an opinion.

It’s free anyway.

So if you ask people whether or not this person is really for you, some will say yes, while others will say no. If you open your ears to what they say, you can never really make a choice. Too many opinions can only be confusing.

Instead of being confused, I followed my own gut. I asked myself three questions:

  1. Does he make me happy?
  2. Can I see a future with this man? Is the future he paint something I myself want as well?
  3. Does he have the fear of God in his heart, and has the openness to know what is right or wrong?

The answer to all three is a solid, “Yes!”

That’s why when fiancee asked, I gave my affirmative.

Not because my parents or my brother totally love him, but rather because, in the deepness of my heart, I have faith that I am making the right decision. I knew if I followed my parent/brother’s advise, I wouldn’t really be 100% happy with the choice.

In the end, it had to be MY choice. 

Because only when we make our own choices can we hold ourselves accountable. Whatever happens to us (boyfriend and I), I have nobody to blame or pat my back to but myself. Nobody forced me to make such decision. I made the decision. I lie on the bed I made.

So how did I know he’s the One for me?

Because he’s my choice.

Happy weekend!

 

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Boyfriend Proposed…

…last weekend.

It was during awarding, at the largest and most prestigious car show in the Philippines. My company’s car won third place, while his won second.

After receiving our prizes, he gave a short speech about how I was his inspiration and source of many good ideas, on how it’s been a pretty fast one year since we both got together.

Then, he dropped on his knees and asked, “Will you marry me?”

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Everyone was shell shocked, especially my mother who was in front of the audience. Yes, the entire proposal was in front of a few hundred spectators cum strangers. It was truly a public spectacle.

After a pregnant 15-second pause, I said, “Yes…!”

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Everyone, especially my entire family was shocked. They didn’t see that coming at all. My brother felt as if a bullet train hit his chest. I think he was more flustered than I was.

For me, I suspected that my boyfriend – now my fiancee – was up to something. For one, he made a big deal of attending the awarding ceremony, something he’s never really done before. If he could miss it, he would.

Two, the organizer even texted me that all participants are requested to attend the awarding. Usually, she’s too busy to do that.

And lastly, boyfriend’s hands were clammy that late afternoon. I think he was really nervous. As we went down the stairs from the awarding booth, I think he was even tearing up.

So there it is, the culmination of our one-year of togetherness. Today is our one year anniversary, and it seems that time, flew by so fast. So many things had happened — my MBA graduation, my dad’s death, the numerous power plays and fights amongst siblings, a few dramatic episodes from my boyfriend’s side, yadda yadda yadda.

When we first started this journey, Boyfriend did say, “Let’s date for a year and see how we handle it. At least, it gives us the chance to see how we are in different areas.”

And so we did. There were a few tough moments peppered with a lot of happy ones. There were good times and bad. I told him, “Gee, I’ve never had a year this bad…”

And yet we held on, still going strong after 12 months.

Honestly, I don’t really know where to start. I wasn’t really your typical child who planned her very own wedding. Everyone in my family is predisposed to staying single. And now, I’m getting married.

Yes, we’ll see how it goes, and I’ll be more than happy to share more of the ebbs and flows of wedding planning with you!

Have a good one!

Posted in Boyfriend, Relationships, Updates, Wedding saga | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

World War IV

My brother and I aren’t doing well.

We just came off from a testy episode where my brother already cursed me to the noon, with the exception of “SOB” since that would mean cursing his/our own mother.

As you can imagine, we are not yet in speaking terms.

I really don’t understand him. Over the last few weeks and months, he had been very paranoid, overly sensitive and quick to anger. Despite no concrete actions to prove his paranoia, my little brother thinks that my Boyfriend is out to get his business since they’re both in the same industry (although they do sell widely different products),

In the end, it was actually my brother who tried to import the same products as my Boyfriend is selling, and launching it to the local end-market.

This is kind of sad — he has crossed a business ethics line, choosing out of all the products out there, to compete head-on with my Boyfriend with a product that Boyfriend himself has launched in the Philippines. He did this almost 10 months after my Boyfriend launched his.

It’s always sad when siblings argue and fight. More so because when you were little, things used to be so untouched and innocent. Now, there’s a lot of hurt and cracks. Sometimes, I don’t even know how to solve it anymore.

What’s worse, I think my brother has it all wrong.

For one, Boyfriend is not out to get him. He thinks that my brother’s business model is widely different from his, and he despises the hassle of collecting from dealers. It’s also not very ethical, and I would break up with my Boyfriend if I ever found out he was doing something as despicable as this.

Two, despite all the pain he has put me through, I still do love my brother. There’s only the two of us, and I hate fighting. I think that despite harsh words, we can still kiss and make up.

And lastly, a lot of his fears are from his misunderstanding. My brother is just a very indirect, indecisive person whereas I am the complete opposite. If he thinks I don’t care, it’s more likely that I didn’t really understand the weight of it all.

Hope we can solve this issue. I don’t want any more heart aches.

Posted in Boyfriend, Conflicts, Family, Family Drama, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Whoops, I’m Accidentally Pregnant”

A friend of mine got his girlfriend pregnant. According to her, it was a “Whoops!” moment.

Yes, need to save up because the baby’s on the way,” he sheepishly said.

They have already been dating for 7 years.

The last time I talked to him a few months ago, he was enjoying the bachelor life. After taking over his brother’s business, he has managed to successfully step out his brother’s shadow. Many of his work are now winning awards, and he’s now starting to make a name for himself.

I don’t want to get married yet,” he said. “So many things yet to do.”

Oh well, it’s a bit too late now.

Here in the Philippines, you usually marry the girl if you get her pregnant. A lot of marriages start out that way. Not the best reason to get hitched, but that’s the way love goes.

Whereas it is shameful to actually impregnate your girlfriend, it’s even more shameful if you don’t do right with her and marry her.

Oh well, it’s about time anyway,” some people justified. “They have been dating for 7 years now. Matagal-tagal na din.” 

OR

She’s nice naman e, and has been there for him since the beginning,” others would say. “Maybe it’s a sign from God. A blessing in disguise.”

My personal opinion?

NOBODY GETS PREGNANT BY ACCIDENT.

I have two theories. If you get pregnant, either:

  1. The girl is stupid who was born in the 1900s and don’t know anything about birth control, or
  2. It was intentional, and that makes her evil because she wants to trap the guy in a marriage. It’s not uncommon. In Taiwan, I know of some women who would intentionally take a pin and poke holes in the condom.

Look, if you do it, you know that there’s always a risk of pregnancy. If you don’t want to get pregnant, pick your poison: condoms, pills, the morning after pill, or abstinence. There’s a gazillion ways to prevent pregnancy IF you don’t want a kid.

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If you don’t want to use pills or any sort of birth control because you’re a Christian/Catholic, then how about abstinence? You really don’t have to do it, or put yourself in a position to be tempted.

And what about being a Christian?

It’s bad enough that you’re doing it because the Bible had always been clear about its views in pre-marital sex. But to make it worse, you get caught doing it, and your baby is the direct result of that.

All through your life, people will look and say, “Oh, nabuntis siya kaya sila nagpakasal.” (They got married because she got pregnant).

And who would want that?

Marriage is all about choices. You choose to marry the person because of so-and-so reason. Marriage because of pregnancy is the worst reason to get married.

I stand firm in my conviction.

There are no accidental pregnancies.

Only the wise women (who want to trap a non-committal guy into a marriage) or careless ones (who are complete idiots).

Do you agree or disagree?

Posted in Boyfriend, Life lessons, Personal opinion, Philippines, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Brother Has Crossed the Line and Became Unethical

Irrefutable fact: My boyfriend has brought in a new category of products to the Philippines. Before he brought it in, that product was non-existent.

On a grand gesture, he offered my brother to be his official distributor last January, but my brother refused. Maybe it was disinterest or maybe he thought it wouldn’t chose, but my brother ignored his proposal and didn’t get back to Boyfriend.

Since then, Boyfriend has found his own dealers and distributors. The product, after marketing it at this year’s Manila International Autoshow, TransSport Show, and the upcoming Manila Autosalon, was a big hit. It was even awarded the Best Innovative Product for TransSport Show 2012.

10 months later, I just discovered my brother has imported 50 cans of the same product under a different name, and offering different colors. By all sense and purposes, everything else is the same product — The application, the use, and the market.

My brother tried to sell it at a small car show in Taytay, and via Facebook. He has demo-ed to his people at least a week before of the product features, and wants them to sell to his dealers.

I knew that my brother didn’t like my Boyfriend but why did he do that? Of all the accessories he could have done, he tried to copy Boyfriend’s idea (when Boyfriend was the one who introduced the product to him), and when he saw the market is ripe, tried to compete with Boyfriend?

I haven’t imported (a container) yet. That was just to try,” he said defensively.

Yes, but those cans didn’t just fly to the tables like that,” I countered.

He has no defense. At 28, my brother has become a shrewd businessman who puts money above family. Even though Boyfriend has done nothing but help him, my brother has tried time and time again to create fights like this.

It’s a hard truth to take — that my adorable brother is no longer as adorable.

From a business setting, it’s scary.

It means that he’s the type of person who will be your friend and partner, and if he sees that your product is good and profitable, will import the same under his own name without any consideration to who you are. He is willing to say, “Fuck this relationship,” if it meant more business.

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Who can trust that type of businessman? If you have no business ethics, then what else do you have?

From a family scenario, it’s doubly scary.

My brother did this despite knowing that he will create unnecessary fights with me. We are all doing good already, and yet, he has chosen to throw the first stone and intentionally imported a product to compete with an existing product. Of all of his products, this is his baby.

He has also spoken rudely to my mother saying, “Don’t pressure me. I haven’t imported (a container) yet. And if you push me, I will.”

He is also willing to sacrifice his relationship with his only sister by doing so. At present, how can I be friendly to him when he has intentionally tried to backstab me? Mostly because he sneakily imported the products to try and sell.

My brother has cried, and is confused. He feels bad about this, but refuses to admit that what he did.

That’s the scariest type of person.

The person who is closed minded and refuses to see reason, who doesn’t want to see other’s people’s view and admit he is wrong. The person who knows what he did is wrong and still continues to do so.

And has no qualms cutting ties with his sister.

I don’t know. Understandably, I am very upset. And may be not thinking clearly. But I think this is more due to the admittance that my brother has been a jerk, and while other people can be, knowing that my one and only little brother is one is a hard pill to swallow.

Posted in Boyfriend, Business, Conflicts, Family, Ramblings, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m Different

I worry about things most women do not worry about.

For one, I worry about money and income, and how to become financially independent. When I think about salary, I think about how your compensation is worth the time and effort spent into an activity. I think about how long I can stay doing that particular job and if long-term wise, it is of any use for me. Hefty salaries don’t really impress me that much, but how the job would work in my long-term goals do, and I am willing to work for cheap(er) if the job can teach me something, or can be a stepping stone for something long-term.

When I look at a property, I think about association dues, yields and how much rent or selling price per sqm. I look at who their previous tenant was, and how much rental can the surrounding areas be. I wonder how lucky or unlocky that property can be, and how you can make more money out of the property — even if I’m as poor as a mouse and don’t have any resources to develop one.

When I look at the person, I look at their eyes, to see how fast their eyes dart around, and how smart their answers can be especially when I throw them question after question in rapid-fire sequence. I observe how well traveled they are, and if they think the world is bigger than what we usually encounter after we wake up, eat then go to work. I like to work and chat with smart people. If your English is kind of poor, and if you’re left with uhms and ahs, that’s not a good sign and I quickly get bored.

When I go to the restaurant, I look at the ambiance, quality of food and service. But at the same time, I cannot help but wonder how much their rent is, on how much their overhead can be and whether the restaurant can make money, and how.

I worry about my livelihood and what business I can do in the future. It bothers me a lot that I don’t have a business I can call my own yet, and I worry that if I don’t build one soon, I would be left behind. Sure, it’s a me issue and nobody’s pressuring me to make more money (because I don’t), but still, I hope I can build one soon so I won’t worry too much.

I worry about whether a guy thinks I’m attractive and whether he feels I am interesting or not. I get a bit worried about crossing the line, and ensure I don’t give guys false hopes.

I worry about aging and looking good. And I worry about looking like an old aunt if ever I have children, if even I have any.

What do I not worry about?

I don’t worry about the trivial things.

Or dream about my wedding day. While I do know I hate the bridal march and want Pachebel Canon, I am resigned to my fate of actually being single for the rest of my life if that is what God wills it. I know I hate Chinese and prefer to have a sit-down dinner instead of a buffet, but that’s about planning I’ve done so far vs. other women who’s been dreaming about their wedding day since they could talk.

I don’t worry about not having close friends. I am okay with meeting my good friends once in a while, chatting and catching up with them, but I don’t mind if the next time they see me, or I see them is 6 months later. For me, friendships are forever and people are busy, and if they don’t return your call immediately, that’s fine. It’s not the end of the world.

I don’t really worry about being liked by everyone. I can say I am a bit of a polarizing spirit and that’s okay with me. As long as I am true to myself and I hurt no one, then it’s all good.

Fortunately and God willing I don’t really worry about my relationship with Boyfriend even though this year had been full of ups and downs. I’ve always believed that a woman should be with someone who treats her well and makes her happy. He does in both aspects, so yeah, on we go!

So in summary…

I am different, and I thank God for that. I am uniquely made — full of quirks and all. I know I am not perfect and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes but if I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t regret anything.

I’m different and so are you! Let us all celebrate our differences together!

Posted in Boyfriend, Filipino Men/Women, Friendship, Ramblings, Updates | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Yoogane – Cheesy Korean Goodness!

It’s a bit of a pity regarding Yoogane, the Korean cook-yourself restaurant at Il Terrazo Mall in Tomas Morato.

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For one, compared to its more crowded Banapple counterpart at the second floor, Yoogane was not full.

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This is a pity considering that the restaurant was both spacious and cheerful. The tables were large and each four-person table had a large cooking area. I especially loved how they decorated their brick walls with colorful cartoon-ish stickers. They made me feel more youthful and adventurous.

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Ambiance wise, the place screamed casual dining, and their prices of around Php 200-400 reflect that. This is a place where you would take your boyfriend/girlfriend of a few months or your family, not your first date.

AS FOR THE FOOD… WHAT DO WE THINK OF IT?

First up, the appetizers.

How can you say anything bad about free appetizers?!

Teasing aside, I liked it a lot. For a party of three, we were given six (6) appetizers to share — bean sprouts, the sweet dilis, boiled small potatoes, white pickles, traditional kimchi, and cabbage with salad dressing — with free refills! Now, that’s a great deal.

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We loved everything.

Boyfriend LOVED the dilis and bean sprouts, which were fresh and sweet as if they were newly bought from the market. Mom finished the simple cabbage salad, while I devoured the kimchi and the boiled small potatoes. The small boiled potatoes were my favorite: they were just of the right crunchiness and was dipped in sweet sauce. We couldn’t help but ask for refills (Sorry, Yoogane!).

Meanwhile, we ordered only two dishes to share — the Yoogane’s Chicken Galbi Fried Rice (Php 245 + Php 80 mozzarella cheese) and the Beef Bulgogi (Php 260). We also ordered a pitcher of Iced Tea (Php 100) which was served cold in a silver container.

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I think the Galbi Fried Rice was based on Dak Galbi, a South Korean dish cooked by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in Korean chili pepper paste, sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and tteok (rice cake) together on a hot plate. (Source: Wikipedia). Just add rice and waaaalaaaah! You have our dish.

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Don’t be too fooled by the reddish color though. This dish is actually not that hot, in fact, I wish they could have added more Korean hot sauce to add more flavor and zest to it.

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Nonetheless, it was pretty delicious. Maybe it was the novelty of eating fried rice with cheese on it, or the fact that the marinated chicken was soft and tender, but our fried rice was something different, and I would recommend anyone who visits Yoogane to order it!

Again, let me warn you to not expect an orgasmic blow-your-mind type of fried rice (the rice will taste just exactly how you’ll imagine it… with cheese added), but the fact that the server comes to cook it in front of you as you wait is still an experience by itself, and should be one of the reasons why you should come and eat at Yoogane.

What’s more, though it needed a bit more taste (maybe some more salt and cracked pepper), the fried rice was still a great complement to our Beef Bulgogi (Php 260.00), which was just-the-right-amount-of-flavorful. It was soft, sweet Pinang-ulam na namin yung Bulgogi. 🙂

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We finished our meal within 10 minutes. They even gave us each a small Yakult bottle to finish the meal.

Overall, I would strongly suggest for everyone to give Yoogane a try. It won’t be your favorite restaurant, but it’s a place that’s good to visit at least once or twice given how novel some of its dishes were, how convenient the place is (walk-ins welcome!), and how reasonably priced its dishes were.

Service was relatively okay, though we have to wave our hands a bit for service.

Regardless, at only less than Php 700 for all three of us, who can complain? And I’m sure we will be back at least one more time for more cheesy goodness!

Yoogane
G/F IL Terrazzo Mall, 305 Tomas Morato Ave. cor Sct. Madriñan St., Laging Handa, Quezon City, Tomas Morato
Tel: 966 2348
Like their Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/YooganePhilippines
Follow them on Twitter – https://twitter.com/yooganephil
Cost of Meal: Php 250/pax

Posted in Restaurant reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Night We Got Pulled Over By Cops for Lewd Behavior

Boyfriend and I went to the Top Gear Philippines party last night at Prive in Fort Bonifacio. Everything who’s a who’s who in the car industry was there.

After the party, Boyfriend took me home.

And of course, after an awesome party, what do couples usually do?

Answer, they park the car in a dark spot somewhere, and start wildly making out. Clothes will be flying off, hands will go to where it shouldn’t go, and yes, you will be in a compromising position.

Which we in some ways did.

We parked the car in a dark spot close to where I lived.

Turned off the engine.

Proceeded to pull back our seats for a more comfortable position.

For comfort sake, I propped my feet up the dashboard, still with my white heels on.

We both got comfortable…

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And then we started talking.

We talked about the party, on who were there, and our friends.

We talked about his shop, and our upcoming trip.

We talked about a prospective business together.

I think we talked for about twenty minutes, when the cops suddenly pulled over. Out came three nicely looking cops with flashlights.

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In the Philippines, if you get caught with your pants down, you will be charged with indecent exposure. According to Wikipedia, Indecent Exposure is “the deliberate exposure in public or in view of the general public by a person of a portion or portions of his or her body, in circumstances where the exposure is contrary to local moral or other standards of appropriate behavior.”

More information about this crime here.

Fortunately, because of our purity agreement, Boyfriend and I were caught fully clothed, merely talking, with my legs propped up the dashboard. You cannot imagine our relief for being caught with our pants and skirts on.

It’s okay officer, we were just talking,” we said as we waved them over.

Closer came the three officers, each with their flashlights.

Put up your shirt,” one officer said as he flashed his light to the direction of Boyfriend’s pants.

Boyfriend puts up his shirt.

He still has his belt on.

Problem abated with smiles.

The officers tell us to just move our car since our neighbor has already reported us.

Boyfriend takes me home, kisses me goodbye and I go in.

I think these are one of the days when God’s grace truly shines. When we signed the purity agreement last August, Boyfriend and I embarked in a difficult journey to keep ourselves pure until the day of our honeymoon, if ever we reach that point.

So far, it hasn’t been easy. Anyway, people have needs right? And nobody believes us that we can keep pure, the same way that nobody believes we can stop drinking alcohol. Hence, the large intake of super sweet iced tea at last night’s party.

And yet, despite a few hiccups, in God’s grace, we have managed it.

And in nights like these when there’s three police guys flash their lights at you trying to catch you with your underwear off, it’s great when you’re actually just talking. It’s not uncommon for people getting caught for lewd behavior trying to bribe the police with at least Php 1,000 each, or having their parents called to the police station as your heads hang in shame.

Oh well, it’s great we don’t have to be in that situation, praise God!

Anyway, hope that you are all doing well. Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Boyfriend, Filipino Men/Women, Men, Philippines, Ramblings, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fights Happen When You Don’t Listen

Yesterday, Boyfriend and I had an argument. 

Basically, the context was that two of my friends got engaged after only two months of dating. I pointed out to Boyfriend that I was jealous that my friends’ respective boyfriends were so sure of their feelings for the women that they could not help but pop the question.

Of course, given that marriage is for the rest of your life, it was amazing that these guys would want to be that committed after knowing the women after a mere two months of dating. Hence, it was either these guys were:

  1. Super crazy that they’d take that big of a risk, or
  2. Very desperate that they tend to cling on these women and snapping them up before anybody does, or 
  3. These women are so perfect and wonderful that these guys think that “Yes, these women are the one!” almost immediately after dating exclusively.

Since these men seemed sane and secure about themselves, I hypothesized that maybe it was because these women were so great (and they were!), that these men snapped them up before they even had the chance to think.

Boyfriend took this the wrong way. 

He felt that I was cornering him and unfairly comparing him to these men, especially since we’ve been dating for almost a year.

It is impossible to turn back time!” he said. Back when we were dating for only two to three months, it really didn’t seem it was the right time to propose. To top it off, my dad was in and out of the hospital then, and passed away very soon after. 

Actually, what I was just looking for was some reassurance — Reassurance that he loves me (he does), that I am valued (I am), and that he was serious (he is).

Instead of attacking him for what he did not do, me telling him those stories was me telling him that I as well was a woman, and that women do compare, and yes I was being unreasonably insecure, but yes, I do have these moments at times, and yes, he would have to just take me in his arms and reassure me.

Why? 

Because yes, women do have these bouts of insecurity. And yes, I still do hold that when we become insecure, men must comfort. Or risk facing the wrath of an insecure woman which happened yesterday because Boyfriend became instantly defensive and refused to listen to what I really needed!

I think in many arguments, people have a tendency to react very quickly and defend themselves. 

Enough with the defense mechanism, people!

What could’ve easily allayed my insecurities was a simple, “Honey, what do you mean by that?” followed by a simple smile and comforting hug. 

Women do yak yak yak on. And we always believe in our minds, we have a point.

It’s a losing battle to argue with us. We can always out-speak, out-nag, and out-reason you. We would not be arguing otherwise if we felt we had a losing case. 

So instead of arguing, try to understand us first. 

STOP. LISTEN. UNDERSTAND.

In the end, after an hour or two of argument, we finally came to a consensus.

  • No, I was not attacking him. Though yes, I was being unfair.
  • That yes, it was not right for me to compare myself to other women when I am clear that I was valued and loved.
  • But I was not incorrect for asking for some reassurance and some love. It was my right as a girlfriend.
  • And I was not incorrect to be hurt when I did not get this reassurance. If my fears were properly allayed, there wouldn’t really be an issue would it?
  • So in the future, Boyfriend just has to listen to what point I am driving. Usually, I do have a point, and yes, there are some specific things I am asking for. 
  • I do have to be super clear though and try to explain. Which I did after some time.
  • And yes, that when you fight, you need to remember to resolve it and bring it back to love, which we did.

Wah, relationships can be tiring.

Yet it can be totally rewarding as well. 

Hope everyone’s having a great week ahead!

 

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ThaiPan: Elegant yet homey Thai dining in Tomas Morato

I’ve been wanting to visit Thaipan ever since I’ve seen the yummy-looking food pictures our Christian cellgroup leader posted when he celebrated his anniversary dinner there. Good thing, my post-birthday celebration provided an excuse!

The place was relatively easy to find. From E. Rodriguez Avenue, just turn right to Tomas Morato, and then right again on the corner of Starbucks and California Berry in front of BPI Bank. The restaurant is right beside Bagoong Club with parking just by the street side.

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WHAT DO WE THINK OF THE AMBIANCE?

We love the ambiance!

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The place looked a lot more spacious through the smart use of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and the interior was clean, elegant and classy. It didn’t look very Thai, but it was still welcoming and is a great place to hold casual dinners, romantic dates, or corporate events. There are a few private rooms available for a small consumable fee, well worth the extra privacy.

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There are two floors available, and we ate at the second level. As you can see, the decor was light and breezy, and we felt at home immediately.

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WHAT DO WE THINK OF THE FOOD?

For appetizers, we ordered the Mieng Kham (Php 170.00 for 6 pcs.), a traditional Thai appetizer of fresh spices and roasted grated coconut served on betel leaves with palm sugar sauce. It was kinda cool.

The taste was refreshing as if the betel leaves were just plucked out before serving. The palm sugar sauce tasted more like sweet tamarind which was nice, and there was enough coarse textures thanks to the grated coconut and maybe even nuts to give it that special crunch. The leaves rolled up were perfect. They weren’t soggy, and they were more than enough for the two of us. It’s an appetizer that’s something different from the norm, and it’s a great way to start your meal.

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Meanwhile, for our mains, we ordered the Item Poo Nim Phad Prig Thai Dam (Php 395.00) or soft shell crab with black pepper sauce and the Phanaeng Neur Yang (Php 375.00), or U.S. Beef tenderloin in fragrant phanaeng curry.

Now, the soft shell crab entree was a WINNER. You should definitely order this if you’re in Thaipan! 🙂

The crab meat was both tender and tasty at the same time. There was a bit of chili (we asked for a mild spicy dish), but there was also an extra level of sweetness that gives you that extra kick. It’s not one of those blah black pepper sauces you’ll eat at most Asian restaurants. We especially loved it that they added in a bit of red pepper and onion (we love onion!) as a complement. It’s eaten best with fragrant white rice (Php 50.00/cup), and boyfriend and I had more than our usual share.

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Meanwhile, the beef curry dish was great, but not really that remarkable. After an amazing Mieng Kham and Soft Shell Crab servings, the beef curry was a bit of a letdown.

The meat was medium thick and a bit tough. US beef tenderloin is supposed to be a lot more tender. The eggplant was nice but a bit soggy. They were also sliced too thinly. And the curry sauce, it was of a nice consistency — definitely way better than Basil’s version, but it’s still nothing to crow loudly about.

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In the end, I wish the sauce was a little bit creamier and richer. It already was, but it’s still nothing compared to other good casual Thai restaurants out there.

TO SUMMARIZE…

Thaipan is a terrific venue for lunch/dinner, to meet up with friends or with colleagues and clients. The interior impresses, and the food is consistently delicious. I guess, given my more scathing review of the curry, it’s just that everything else works so my expectation for all dishes were higher too, and the beef curry just didn’t match up with the other dishes.

The only let down was perhaps the service.

IT SUCKS.

Though the waiters were nicely dressed in white shirts and black pants, most of them could not be seen. The restaurant doesn’t have a button to call on service, and we had to resort to constantly waving our hands to try to get our waiters’ attention when it was time to order, to refill our water glasses, and to ask for more rice. It was so unbecoming of us given the restaurant’s ambiance but that’s how bad the service was. It was either we wait to be served and go hungry, or be uncouth and be fed. We chose the latter.

Despite the service, we will definitely come back to Thai Pan over and over. It’s just that type of restaurant. Anyway, service can be improved, and the food’s yummy-ness outweighed all other negative impressions. We’d also love to try the other dishes. Overall, a great place for a great date.

Thaipan
120, Scout Dr. Lazcano Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City
Tel: (02) 352-4926

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Happy birthday to ME!

It’s that time of the year again where I celebrate yet another birthday. Honestly, I feel I’m growing old way too fast and find myself trying to hold on desperately to my youth. I mean, where the heck did my 20s gone? They seem to zip by so fast! 🙂

Regardless, it’s been a fruitful and interesting year for me, more so because there were so many changes that happened. For example, the biggest ones were:

  1. Getting a boyfriend in November 2012. 1 year and a month after Trader and I broke up (4 months of which I cried myself regularly), Boyfriend and I got together. It was November 21st when finally, I admitted I had feelings for him as well. So far, it’s been a wild adventure with many ups and few downs, but Boyfriend has become such a big part of my life that I start wondering how life would be quite empty without him. Our love story is best told by Boyfriend here. 🙂
  2. Dad passing away in February 2013. Dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in September, and passed away less than 6 months later. It was so very fast. Being in the hospital, sleeping beside him and holding his hand, and then him passing away! Though we all tried to be practical about it, I still very much miss him.
  3. Spending more time with mom on 2013. With my dad gone, we’ve been spending a lot of time with mommy. Back when dad was alive, mom was always with dad. Day in and day out, they built their lives and family together, only separating in death. Today, I spend lots of time with my mom, exercising and doing yoga 4x a week, watching movies and having dinner together. It’s been such a joy!

There were a few pains and disappointments that happened. For one, my brother disapproved of my choice of boyfriends and somehow made life and work more difficult for me as documented here.

There were also a few challenges that tested our relationship, but we’re still going strong and happy so guess God was looking out for us.

And lastly, I had a few successes at work. From a company nobody knew, at the very least, people are already seeking our company actively. It’s great. Unfortunately, given the difficulties with working with brother, am taking a step back and working with mom instead. Not a bad move indeed.

Anyway, enough with the summaries. As per tradition, here are the Q&As:

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1) What have you done when you were 32 that you’ve never done before?

– Go to Zhangjiajie (March 2013) and saw the Avatar mountains come alive.

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Went to Guangzhou in the hopes of finding a new business. Came back empty-handed but full of respect for the enterprising Mainland Chinese who come up with EVERYTHING.

– We also participated in two car shows, both of which I’ve actively organized. There was the Manila International Auto Show in World Trade Center last May, and the Transport Show at SMX last June. Both booths and events had proven to be quite popular, and our Baby Beetle was a head-turner, winning second place in its category.

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– Dated one guy and had a relatively smooth and enjoyable relationship. We spent everyday together, and even underwent pre-marital, pre-engagement counseling. Now, that was a first!

– Tried out yoga with my mom. Now we go twice a week!

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2) Did anyone close to you give birth?

– Hmmmm… not really, though a lot of my friends and classmates are already in their 2nd kid!

3) Did anyone close to you die?

– My dad. I still miss him.

4) What countries did you visit?

– Xiamen with my dad where we spent our last Christmas/New Year’s together. Boy I have so many regrets from that trip. I didn’t know that dad wouldn’t be with us by February. I miss him a lot.

– Zhangjiajie in March,Guangzhou a few months after.

– Singapore in August for a short trip to renew our relationship. It was a nice 5 days with just my mom and my brother.

5) What would you like to have when you’re 33 that you lacked when you were 32?

– A lot more luck I guess. I think that my year of 32, I lost a lot of people. My dad, who I still miss, and in a way, my brother, whom I didn’t really understand much of. I think my dad’s death really impacted us all, and we didn’t really know how to handle the hole my domineering and demanding dad left after he passed away. It changed the family dynamic losing someone with that big of a presence and personality in our lives.

I’d like to have the good relationship with my brother back.

6) What date this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

– November 21, 2012: when Boyfriend and I formally got together.

– February 2, 2013: when dad passed away. He was buried in February 9.

7) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

– Participating in two of the Philippine largest car shows, and coming up with booths that substantially increased our company profile, and customer awareness of our products! Our car even won second place in its category, and we organized our part of the show a mere 4 months prior. Haha, and I don’t even drive! 🙂

– Oh, and I finished my MBA degree. The graduation was last November 2012! I still miss HK and my friends there.

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8 ) What was your biggest failure?

– That I couldn’t retain a good relationship with my brother while working together with him. It pains me a lot to this day. We used to be super close. I hope we can solve this issue especially since I’ve already moved away from working very closely with him in his company, and is now helping my mom.

– That I didn’t know how short a time my dad had, and I could have savored my time together with him a little bit more.

9) Did you suffer illness or injury?

– Not really, maybe just a lot of back ache due to stress.

10) What was the best thing you bought?

– After months of deliberation, I finally bought myself a Black, Medium Chanel 2.55 in caviar and with gold hardware, justifying it was an MBA graduation gift (yeah right). Up till today, it’s still one of my prized possessions, and I’ve made good use of it during cocktail and evening parties.

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– Oh and a Nespresso machine. Got it cheaper from HK and I’ve never looked back. Nespresso offers consistent, flavorful coffee that does NOT disappoint. It’s definitely a lifesaver given the limited availability of good coffee that packs a punch.

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11) Whose behavior merited celebration?

– Boyfriend: for being able to spend time with me daily, and not getting sick of me yet.

– My mom: for staying strong despite the many ups and downs this year.

12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

– My brother: there are still many things that he did that I don’t understand. I feel at times he is a bit torn, and he doesn’t really understand why he does what he did. I wish he can be a lot more open, a lot more forgiving, and a lot happier.

– His girlfriend: for still not getting to work on time. Oh well, but she is improving!

13) Where did most of your money go?

– Starbucks coffee: that’s my happy place. When I’m away from my Nespresso, Starbucks sufficed.

– Shopping: I still love to buy dresses, shoes and bags. Hey, I’m a girl!

14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

– My boyfriend and the future! What sort of business can I come up with in the future?!

15) What song will always remind you of this year?

– Psy, “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman”

– David Guetta, “Titanium”

– Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”

16) Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier with my boyfriend and mom. Sadder everywhere else.

ii. thinner or fatter? Oh gosh, fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? A LOT poorer. The Philippines salary is a joke.

17) What do you wish you’d done more of?

– Spent more time with dad when he was alive.

– I wonder if there was anything I could do at work that would’ve made my relationship with my brother better.

18) What do you wish you’d done less of?

– Fought with my brother over useless things. In the end, I still value my relationship with my brother instead of anything else.

19) How will you be spending Christmas?

– Hopefully abroad. Haha!

20) Did you fall in love between October 2012 to October 2013?

– Yes! :D

21) How many one-night stands?

– Uhhh none, I was in a committed monogamous relationship.

22) What was your favorite TV program?

– I really liked Suits and The Bitch in Apartment 23. Didn’t really have that much time to watch TV although Boyfriend and I are currently watching American Horror Story: Asylum. Creepy max.

23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

– Yes, let’s keep it at that.

24) What was the best book you read?

– I liked Games of Thrones though haven’t finished all five. I also liked Tim Gunn’s book, ” Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work

25) What was your greatest musical discovery?

– Piano Guys, we watched them when they came to the Philippines. Here’s their take on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.

– Revisited Daft Punk. Their “Get Lucky” was amaze-balls.

– Pentatonix, they were discovered in a talent show. Here’s their take on “Radioactive.”

– KurtHugoSchneider, their take on Adele’s “Skyfall” tore into my heart.

26) What did you want and got?

– The Chanel 2.55 bag. Haha! Then again, that was my choice anyway.

– A loving relationship

27) What was your favorite film of this year?

– “Pacific Rim” I loved the imagination and effort that went into this film. Although it starred a bunch of nobodies, Pacific Rim broke movie making barriers in my own opinion.

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28) How did you celebrate your birthday?

– On the 15th, I went out with two of my best friends from high school. We had dinner at SM North EDSA, and then had coffee at Starbucks.

– On the 16th, my family took me to Sakura in Makati where we had the best beef teppanyaki!

– On the 17th, boyfriend took me to Enchanted Kingdom. The Lord was good as it didn’t rain! We afterwards spent the evening eating Subway, and watching American Horror Story.

29) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

– A good relationship with my brother.

30) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

– Still the same, lots of skirts and dresses, interspersed with pants and shorts. Because of my dad’s passing, I removed all bright colors and anything that was yellow, orange, red, or pink. Most of the stuff I wore were white, black or blue.

31) What kept you sane?

– My boyfriend and my mom.

35) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

– Miley Cyrus, it’s great how she’s managed to be the most talked about polarizing celebrity in just a few months. She did what most people only talked about but never dared doing.

36) What political issue stirred you the most?

– The gross stupidity of the US’ Tea Party. What the hell were they thinking putting the global financial markets on hostage by threatening NOT to raise the debt ceiling?!

37) Who did you miss?

– My dad, hands down.

38) Who was the best new person you met?

– My Auntie Baby, whom we rediscovered. She offered her place for us to do our gym and yoga.

39) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned between October 2012 to October 2013:

– That wealth is unimportant if it’s at the risk of losing your good relationship with loved ones.

– Don’t sweat the small stuff and be too greedy about money. Think big picture, please.

– That all problems can be handled calmly through a soft voice and lots of explanation. Sometimes, we have a tendency to balloon things up and not hearing the other side. We could basically solve a lot of problems by listening first and talking later.

– That you have to be detail-oriented. You can get away with carelessness at times, but not all the time.

– You really have to trust God in His ultimate wisdom. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

40) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

None really.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

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Do You Still Find the Opposite Sex Attractive While in a Loving Relationship?

I’m a Libra, with my birthday coming up next week.

Among the zodiac, Libras are known to be fun, playful and slightly flirtatious. We like to pretty ourselves a lot, and if unaware, you can always catch us checking ourselves out in the mirror.

I know, we are quite the narcissists.

Personally, I think I have so far taken good care of myself. I look around 5 years younger my actual age, still maintain a svelte figure thanks to limited rice and twice weekly gym and yoga regimen. I still do enjoy it when guys do check me out. I don’t think it’s a threat, and instead see it as a form of flattery.

I’ve always been this way.

When I was in Taipei, I’d wear my nicest outfits and dance the night away atop the bar at Carnegie’s. I loved going to Plush and Room 18, both the go-to places to be in then. If men talked to me, I would of course reply. No point to act rude or snobbish to someone who’s gathered up their courage to talk to you.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am fiercely loyal. 

I’d like to think my love of attention bears from a healthy sense of security and confidence. If you look good, why not flaunt it? If you don’t look that great, well, do something about it.

However, that doesn’t mean I cheat or sleep around, despite some offers here and there.

And whereas I may find the opposite sex attractive while in and out of a loving relationship, I do not veer away if I am in a loving relationship. As they say, I can always look, appreciate but don’t touch.

I remember when I was still dating ex-trader, I’ve only been tempted ONCE.

My MBA friends and I were in a chartered boat for a weekend get-away. We went out for some snorkeling, ate and had fun at the boat, took tons of pictures.

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A classmate of mine brought his cousin, an out-of-town doctor who was in Hong Kong just for the holidays. He was somewhat tall, Asian, and in my opinion, quite handsome.

From the moment he saw me, he zeroed on to me. Everywhere I was, he was there.

Even if I was talking to other people, he would be right there by the side listening in. When we went snorkeling, he was always by my side. Obviously, it was clear that he was interested in me. And of course, I found that attention flattering.

What I didn’t mention though was that our sexual tension was quite thick. As if at any moment, if you had nary a care in the world, you could consider making out with him right then and there.

When we got back to the dorm, I bid my adieus, went back to my room, and pretty much stayed there. I lay on my bed, called up Trader and said my goodbyes, and tried to control myself (aka behaved) until the next day.

I felt a rush of relief when I heard Trader’s voice, as if he was the one to wake me up from my drunken stupor. A part of me regretted the opportunity cost of not taking advantage of the yummy situation, but an even significant part of me said this was not right. That this was not fair to my boyfriend, and following the golden rule, I wouldn’t want the same to happen to me as well if the roles were reverse.

Karma can and will always be a bitch.

The doctor cousin was already gone in the morning.

As I look back in the experience, I cannot help but wonder what it would’ve been like to at least make out with cousin doctor. Curiosity killed the cat, but this is the truth.

However, I’m glad I didn’t – I stayed true to my relationship despite the temptation I faced.

There will always be people you may feel undeniably attracted to. Maybe it’s how they look, they move or they dress, you are invariably drawn to them. That’s chemistry.

But when faced with a choice, you can either embrace that temptation or run away from it.

The choice comes down very simply: How much do you love your mate? 

My early gauge on what to do is: If you got caught, can you bear to lose him/her?

If you don’t mind losing him/her, then go ahead. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy.

But if you love him, you wouldn’t want to hurt him or lose him. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Personally, I wouldn’t want to sabotage my relationship just to sate my curiosity. It’s not fair to my partner, and I love him to death.

So there we go. Yes, it’s okay to find an opposite sex interesting while in a relationship. We are human after all. However, you still have a choice on whether to partake of that temptation or not.

I choose NOT to.

How about you?

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What I think about the US Not Wanting to Raise the Debt Ceiling…

What I think about the US Not Wanting to Raise the Debt Ceiling...

Idiots.

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When Parental Guidance Become Toxic

When two people get together, they create themselves a bubble.

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They come up with their own cheesy languages and nicknames. They tell themselves inside jokes only they can understand. And they interact as if there’s nobody else in the room. They live as if there’s only two people in the world, just him and her.

Unfortunately, after a while, harsh realities start coming in especially as the relationship gets serious.

Instead of just the two of you, you’ll have to let close family and friends in as you introduce each other to your circles, hoping and praying to God that they’ll all like each other and get along.

Social and familial obligations like showing up for relatives’ special occasions come to play. How can you say no to an uncle’s invitation for a friendly dinner at his house in Novaliches just because you think it’s far?

What’s more, what happens when a family member like your mother or your brother asks for a favor? Once done, the favor is still look at distaste by no fault of the boyfriend?

For example, my company wants to buy some car accessories right off eBay.

Since we are not used to purchasing things online and sending them over the Philippines, I’ve asked my boyfriend to help us do so. When the goods arrived, my brother said that our staff member told him that the wrong goods were ordered.

But how can the wrong goods be ordered if it was actually our staff member who gave us the exact links himself? If he made a mistake and ordered the wrong thing, don’t shoot the messenger.

In addition, you hope that everyone gets along, but fact of the matter is, unless you’re completely fake and can put on a different face to everyone you come across with, you’ll be bound NOT to like some people and if you’re honest about it, that sentiment would be transparent in your face.

My mom for example seems to be in a change-my-boyfriend mode these days. If there’s a little mistake that boyfriend has done, she calls me out on this. It’s come to the point that I have to filter out her comments so I can share with boyfriend what’s the things he really needs to change, and the things that he doesn’t need to change and will only be done for my mom’s benefit.

I think that in a relationship, it’s good to get some outside views to a relationship so you can have an impartial view. However, at the end of the day, you’ll need to decide what is most important to you — how other people view your relationship, or how you actually feel in the relationship.

For now, I choose my relationship.

Boyfriend makes me happy in so many different ways, and if I show him the support he needs, I think other people will also feel the same. If I pick him, who else can counter that?

It’s just a matter of confidence. The show of confidence itself is enough.

And once the show of confidence is there, it empowers both your mate to change for the better for you to his own accord, and for you to grow in love.

Have a great week ahead!

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I am NOT Passive Aggressive

I’m the opposite of passive aggressive.

By definition according to Urban Dictionary, Passive Aggressiveness is “a defense mechanism that allows people who aren’t comfortable of being openly aggressive to still get what they want under the guise of still trying to please others. They want their way, but they also want everyone to still like them.”

Personally, I define is when a person is upset with something because something didn’t happen his/her way but refuses to be direct about it. Instead, his/her anger and resentment manifests in a different manner later on.

For example, Nancy is irritated because John didn’t kiss her goodbye. Maybe he was in a hurry or maybe he forgot, but point being, he didn’t do it.
So instead of telling him directly that his inaction bothers her, she would instead keep quiet and let her resentment show off later. Maybe when he’s talking to her, she’ll give him the silent treatment, or she will act irritable. Regardless, her negative feelings will show indirectly some other way.
Urban Dictionary shares the following script:

Jane: It’s time to go, we really should get going now.Passive Aggressive Ann: Oh…okay. I just…well okay, I GUESS we can leave now.

Jane: Ann, do you want to stay? Is that what you’re trying to get at?

Passive Aggressive Ann: Huh? Oh no, we can leave if YOU want. I just didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do yet, but no no, we can go I guess. 

Jane: God dammit Ann! Fine, we’ll stay, are you happy?

Passive Aggressive Ann: Oh okay! Yeah! That sounds great too! 

As you can say, Ann got what she wanted without uncomfortably asking for it. Unfortunately people get increasingly frustrated with passive aggressiveness. It festers and grows until one day, it simply blows up.

Personally, I’m a more direct person.

Just yesterday, I told boyfriend that I’m experiencing PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and found myself to be extra emotional, slightly more irritable and very very sensitive.

Uhhhh, you told me that PMS is a myth right?” he asked.

Yes, but I’m TELLING you, I’m having a higher level of estrogen than usual,” I told him. “Hence, I AM at the moment very sensitive. So you have to treat me more gently and more loving than usual in the next few days, or I’ll bite your head off.”

Anyway, just warning you,” I added. “At least you know.”

And it was quite true.

On top of all the issues we’re juggling right now, we had one of our arguments once again this morning.

My mom told me earlier that Boyfriend said something insensitive last night, which I’ve communicated to boyfriend today. Of course, given that I’m telling him something he didn’t want to hear, he proceeded to shoot the messenger.

Why are you angry at me for?” I said. “I only tell you these things because I care about you. If I didn’t, I won’t care.”

I then told him that I felt that these days we were drifting apart, and if he doesn’t remedy it soon, it will only get worse.

Look, everything else, am sure it’ll blow away either through time, or by solution.” I said. “But with us, if we don’t fix us now, it’ll only get worse until it explodes.”

Unlike other couples, I’ve always believed in getting down to the root of the problem and finding a solution to something fast. If you let issues fester without any quick resolution, the issue will reach a point of no-return. When problems happen, try to snip it in the bud as fast as you can.

I think we need to get back to love. Get back to us,” I replied. “Because I’m not feeling much love coming from you lately.”

So how do you expect us to do that?” he asked. That’s a valid statement given that generics usually don’t work. One must be specific to make changes.

I want you to be sweeter to me,” I said. “Touch me more, speak to me more gently. You’re starting to treat me like your employee, and I don’t like that. I’m your girlfriend and I want to be treated accordingly.”

The problem of us has only been a few days old.

But its ugly head has been popping every now and then. I am not very happy with Boyfriend these days, and his defensive, negative and insensitive (to my feelings) nature the last few times has not been helpful.

Given this, I’d like to nip this behavior in the butt. “It’s my responsibility to tell you there’s a problem,” I told him. “How you want to react, and what you’re going to do about it is yours.”

I’ve already said my piece.

It’s now up to him to see whether I’m worth the changes or not.

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Who would have known I’d learn something from Tim Gunn?

I’m sure you know who Tim Gunn is. He’s one of Project Runway’s mentors and co-hosts beside Heidi Klum, and was one of the faculty of the Parsons School of Design from 1982 to 2007, chairing its fashion design department at some point. He later joined Liz Claiborne as Chief Creative Officer.

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Surprisingly, I came about his book, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work. The book for some reason cost only a mere Php 95.00, so I thought what the hell. Why not?

Boyfriend and I were veering towards fashion anyway, so thought it may be good to get another fashion man’s perspective.

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Imagine my surprise when I found the book to be actually less about fashion, and more about social graces!

I was of course expecting to find out which fabrics can be paired with which accessories, or some ditsy fashion to-do lists most fashion authors spew out. Hence, I was quite surprised of the book’s contents where Tim speaks most about his less-prestigious upbringing, his journey of hard work to get where he is, and how he conducts his life on a day to day basis!

Since my impression of him at Project Runway was as a well-dressed snot who seemed a bit too much of a know-it-all (he is a mentor after all), I was quite surprised to find out that he’s super down-to-earth (or so he says), and how he believes NICENESS is one of the keys to success!

A lot of people credit hard work, intelligence, talent, or a lucky break for their success. Not a lot of people acknowledge that being nice is also a factor. In fact, people insist that as you climb up the pecking order, one has to stifle our niceness so as not to be seen as weak, or being taken advantage of.

However, Gunn — and I 1000% agree with him on this — sees it the other way.

I believe that treating other people well is a lost art,” he shares as he cites other fashion bigwigs coming off as complete asses. “I am a stickler for good manners… In the workplace, at the dinner table, and walking down the street–we are confronted with choices on how to treat people nearly every waking moment. Over time these choices define who we are and whether we have a lot of friends and allies or none.”  

His point is simple yet hits the bulls-eye: Sure, you can be an ass if you want as you compete up the ladder. But at the end of the day, you will need help, and it’s better to make friends than to make enemies. If you’re being an ass, people WILL drag you down and pray you will fail.

So what for?

Niceness doesn’t cost a dime, and it’s really good manners to say, “Please,” “I’m sorry,” and “Thank you.”

The upside of being nice are tremendous. For example, I’ve been given a few breaks, a few freebies when getting my coffee, and some extra wonderful service just because I remembered my manners.

Likewise, on the few times I’m being a bitch, I found myself waiting longer than I should and getting more irritated by the minute. Sure, you can be awful to the waiter but he may spit on your food. Or you can risk being a bitch with the check-in counter and they will charge you with every extra pound of baggage you can have.

Yes, people whom you don’t look at and treat awfully can make your life hell in their own little way. To which I scoff, “What for?”

Tim Gunn summarizes this well: “I will always be there in the wings saying, ‘You need to be good to people. You need to take your work seriously. You need to have integrity. You need to work with what you’ve got.” 

As we become richer and busier, we become ruder and ruder.

When I was making tons of money in Hong Kong, I found myself being extra bitchy just because I knew I out earned most people. Whereas people saved up for a Chanel bag, I could buy one every month and still have enough to pay for my expenses!

In fact, one of the key reasons I came back was that as I was making more money,

I found myself losing my soul more. I became unhappier and more frustrated.

It was hard to keep a relationship with me.

Now that I’m back and on the other side, I see what Tim Gunn means, and I respect him more for echoing sentiments that should be shouted at the top of every building.

Tell me how you treat other people you don’t need, and let me tell you how you are.

When people are nice to you but treat servers like crap, beware. You might be next.

So I’m glad I’ve read his book.

If you have Php 100, please, do yourself a favor and grab yourself a copy. There’s tons of tidbits worth even more than Php 1,000, and am sure that if you take his advice to heed, you will indeed find yourself go far.

Have a great weekend!

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Neither Here Nor There – What Happens in a Relationship Limbo?

It’s amazing just how much women settle in order to find and keep love.

Last night, I met a 28-year old woman who works in real estate. She was complaining about her dire love life.

I like this guy, but he is just so non-committal!” she complained. “He always like things convenient for him. Given the fact that he has a girlfriend and I still hang out with him, you’d imagine that he’d make things a lot easier for you, and not just for him!”

My ears perked up.

It’s like someone saying, “I eat a lot lot lot and I wonder I am fat!!!” The logic simply was so clear to me.

My friend and I asked her gently whether she is happy with her situation.

No, of course not! But you know I’m accepting. He already has a girlfriend. I just like his company,” she said defensively.

I then shared with her that men and men. If given the chance, they’ll take whatever they can get. If you offer sex on the first date, there is no normal man who will say no unless they are already in a committed relationship and you are not as ugly. If you allow yourself to be a convenience, then they will actually take you up on your offer. And you’ll find yourself going to him, instead of him going to you.

That’s the irony of men and women —- whilst you think you are making them love you more by giving more than you should, the opposite happens. Men respect women with healthy boundaries, and if you don’t know how to say “No” to things disagreeable to you, you’ll find yourself saying “Yes” a lot to things that make you feel like shit.

When I met Boyfriend, it was just like that.

After emailing and exchanging SMS messages for a month, we finally met up for dinner. He picked me up from my office, and he took and paid for our dinner.

After dinner, he tried to cop a feel, putting his arms around my waist. Yes, ladies and gentleman, my boyfriend is NOT the gentleman at the first date. Later on, he admitted that somehow it was a test, and that if I gave in, he would’ve taken it as far as I would have allowed it.

Aiya, that jerk! 🙂

But I wiggled myself out of this mess. I moved away and refused to let him kiss me. Gently of course — and I was also not a bitch about it.

End of the day, this lady does not give ANY unless in a committed relationship. I have standards after all, and refuse to give a guy anything just because he was nice company and took me out to a nice dinner.

And guess what?

He understood.

And he asked me out for a second date — to which I agreed to. And yes, he was a lot more well behaved on the second, third, and other succeeding dates.

Why?

Because he knows I’m not a girl who will loosely give in. He understood it perfectly — after the first date, he knew I was “relationship material,” and someone he can bring home to show off to his mommy. I was not just any Jane, Elizabeth and Holly out there in the streets.

I HAVE STANDARDS.

And if he cannot reach up to my standards, then ba-bye! With a smile and no hard feelings of course. 🙂

Which brings back to my friend – she just keeps on giving in!

Even if the guy’s attached, she still hangs out in his condominium!

Don’t you think that your girlfriend will figure it out if you keep on inviting girls to your condo?” she asked him before.

No, she doesn’t really come here,” he answered.

And that was that. No other questions, as if she was accepting of her fate — a convenience to a non-committal, jerk-of-an-attached man, who lets herself be used whenever needed.

And she complains why he doesn’t take her seriously. Big sigh.

Ladies and gentlemen, please listen to signals. Whereas words can lie, actions do not. If the actions do not match the words, listen to what the actions are saying.

Who are we fooling anyways? Especially when we sometimes say these things to desperately hold onto a dysfunctional relationship:

Don’t worry! I can take care of myself!”

“I am still in total control!”

“I know what I’m doing!”

How can he love me back if I cut him off?!”

Who are we fooling?

And the funny thing is, our heart cannot really be fooled? Despite all your insistence that having a relationship/friendship in a limbo does not keep you from looking for new people, we all know that once your heart has been captured by someone, it’s so hard to find someone to replace it.

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You try to but it’s just not the same. You date other people, but they’re not the guy you actually want. In the end, the relationship you should go for self-sabotages because your heart is with someone who doesn’t commit or care for you enough to actually be with you.

Hard truth.

And that’s why my friend’s sadly in the limbo. She doesn’t like it, she is frustrated but what can she do? She likes the guy.

And as friends, all we can do is show support until the time she once again stumbles, crying and in pain, only to get back up again for another round of self-torture.

When is enough, enough?

Posted in Boyfriend, Filipino Men/Women, Life lessons, Personal opinion, Philippines, Relationships | 2 Comments

We Took Mommy Scuba Diving

My mom celebrated her 67th birthday last week. In all her 40 years married to my dad, she never really got to celebrate her freedom apart from what my dad wanted.

Which was why we were ecstatic when she showed interest in trying out scuba diving. Sure, it’s a bit of a dangerous sport especially for seniors, but hey, you only live once.

We picked Halo Dive Resort (http://halodiveresort.com) in Anilao Batangas (Brgy. Ligaya Anilao Batangas, Mob: 0917-502 3483) for our same day excursion. Just in case you’re curious, the fee was Php 2,650 for a package of 4 people to share in one room with two queen-sized beds. This already includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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DSC_3676  DSC_3677

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Since we were only going there for a day, our total damage was a resort entry fee of Php 2,000 per head, and an uber expensive, not-so-worth-it lunch of Php 900 per head!

Oh well, you win some and lose some. Must not cry over spilled milk, especially if it’s mom’s birthday.

In the end, we chose to take the one-day Discovery Diving class with Allan and his son AJ Umali (Mob: +63-917 811 9651). You can ask AJ their fees, but I found them to be quite reasonable especially since it already included the scuba gears, the orientation, and the boat.

During the orientation, Allan shared with us what SCUBA meant. Apparently, it meant Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Oh diba? Am sure you didn’t know that. I sure as well didn’t! 🙂

For beginners, you start with three important things: 1) the hand signals to communicate danger, OK, up or down, 2) how to breathe underwater, and 3) how to equalize under water (e.g., how to relieve pressure from your ears when under water). He also taught us how to get rid of water from the mask.

To breathe underwater, you’d simply have to breathe deeply in and out through your mouth. Think yoga, but breathe in and out as deep as you can. It’s quite comfortable, I promise.

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Equalizing was a lot more difficult. You either had to swallow constantly, hold your nose and blow out, or move your jaws from side to side.

It seems simple by nature, but actually it’s harder than you think. When you’re underwater, it’s difficult to remember to neutralize the pressure. Here by the way is Allan teaching my mom and uncle hand signals.

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After a one-hour introduction, we headed straight to the boat. The greatest thing about Anilao, Batangas is its multitude of diving sites all around as you can see in the map below:

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The worst thing about Anilao, Batangas is how rocky it can be. As you can see, though the waters seem serene, when the waves get stronger as they did later that afternoon, it gets quite dangerous as the waves toss and turn you around the water.

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The boat ride took around 30 minutes and we settled nearby the shore, just in a different area. Despite the close vicinity to the shore, there was still 8 meters worth of water between the boat and the bottom of the ocean, enough for us to thoroughly enjoy the different corals and fishies underneath.

Personally, scuba diving for me was interesting. I’ve done it once before in Taiwan, and I cannot help but notice just how comfortable it is to dive in Manila because you always have the resort and boat staff carry everything for you!

It’s also quite an experience to go down the deep sea and trying to appreciate nature in silence, with just your gear breathing bubbles in and out. It can be relaxing for some people.

In the end, each of us enjoyed around 20 minutes underwater. I had to swallow multiple times to equalize under water, and there were times that my ears felt they would pop, but I was okay.

My mom on the other hand had to do more adjustments. She found it harder to equalize and didn’t stay deep in the water too long.

Overall, it was a good experience though. Something everyone should try at least once in their lives. For me, I think it won’t be the last time I would try it, but I am also not jumping at the next time to try again.

Why?

For one, scuba diving is a bit of a hassle to go to. Batangas was 2 hours drive away from Manila, and it took the whole day. As soon as I got home at 11pm, I was already asleep in bed.

Two, it’s quite pricey. The lessons are in the thousands, and if you want to buy your own gear, can easily set you back Php 30,000-100,000 depending on the brand.

And lastly, it’s still a dangerous sport. There is good reason why you always need a partner when diving and why people warn you not to get on an airplane 24 hours after you dive. Apparently doing so causes your ears to bleed, and can cause nausea, paralysis or even death.

So go ahead! Dive. It’s fun! At least it’s worth a try.

C’est la vie all!

Posted in Family, Philippines, Travels | Leave a comment

I’ve been in a bad mood these days…

The thing I hate the most about the Philippines is the lack of freedom and voice that I’ve enjoyed versus when I was living abroad. Overseas, I wore exactly and stayed out as late as I wanted, but here in the Philippines, I have tons of caring friends and relative tell me what they want me to do.

To top it off, by coming back here, I was letting go of my high salary back in Hong Kong. And more money means more financial freedom. 

For example, this morning, my mom asked me to change my outfit, citing that my skirt was too short. A valid point true, but hell, how old am I anyway? I don’t like to be babied!

I am also feeling the itch at work. Coming to work everyday does not keep me fulfilled, and I don’t like working for a family member because I’m pressured by my mom to help.

The only saving grace is boyfriend, who keeps me laughing every so often. Then again, relationships are all about ups and downs and our relationship experienced a minor hiccup last week after an accident.

Anyway, my mind has been a blur these days. Restless and discontent.

I hope I get out of my rut soon. 

 

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Lies that Keep you Single

A friend of mine shared the following article: “3 Lies That You Tell Yourself to Keep Yourself Single.” These are the following:

  1. I will never find a man who’ll love me.
  2. I’m not worthy of a great love.
  3. I will die alone.

What the author, Virginia Clark, is recommending that instead of looking at things in a negative way, you can opt to and by the way, this is directly taken from the article itself:

  • There is someone out there for everyone. I see proof of this as I look at the many different kinds of couples all around me. I choose to believe that if I exist, so does he.
  • If I am longing to find my partner he must be longing to find me right now as well.
  • No one is perfect and that includes me and the man who’ll love me.
  • They’re many imperfect people in wonderful relationships, and I’m no different.
  • I know I’m worthy of a great love because if I wasn’t I wouldn’t have the strong desire to be in one.
  • This is my fear talking and has nothing to do with my life now.
  • I’m just being overly dramatic and scaring myself.
  • No one knows the future or how their life will end.
  • I refuse to hurt myself with this hurtful thought any longer.
  • I choose to live in the present and enjoy my life.

For some reason, her message has not dwelled on me very well. Reason being, the message still remains the call of a woman who is still aging and is worried about her bodyclock and wants a woman in her life to feel complete. It assumes in a way that since other imperfect people have found relationships, then you could too.

But what if you actually don’t find a man? What if you don’t find the love that multitude of self-help/romance books promise you?

In general, the world has more males than there are females, or at least it seems like it. This chart shows the sex ratio by country for total population. The ones that are Blue, represents more women, red more men than the world average of 1.01 males/female. Obviously, China is pretty blue, but the rest of the world are reddish to deep red.

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But aside from the demographics, we’re talking about the quality of males vs. females as well.

Women are now getting higher degrees, and are starting to earn from a nominal value, at par to or more than males as ever before. Whereas it used to be a rarity for females to lead companies, more and more women like Marisa Meyer, Meg Whitman, and Ursula Burns show that women can also hold their own in the boardroom.

Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, gives us a lot of statistics that highlight the challenges of being female in a male-dominated society/workplace. However, whereas the book does encourage women to lean in and to lean out and be more involved, and not take being female as a liability, it also does cite various statistics that reasons why women do not grab more opportunities as they should have, given their competencies.

Regardless of the statistics and demographics, one thing is clear, despite the freedom, independence, competence, over-education, and higher earning power, there are a lot of single women out there all crying that their lives are incomplete without a significant other!

I will be happiER if I get a boyfriend,” my friend tells me.

I want to get married and have children before my biological clock runs out,” says another.

Where’s my Prince Charming?” wonders one. “Am I not worth it?”

Well, let’s face reality here fellow ladies.

Maybe there is really no prince charming out there. They’re not called fairy tales for a reason, right?

Chances are, the prince charming you are looking for comes in a form of a guy whom you out earn, is not that cute and probably a bit on a plump side, has a stable job, and does drives you crazy once in a while.

Definitely, not the tall, dark, handsome, ridiculously rich and worships-the-ground-you-walked-on guy that you wished for.

Most likely, despite many efforts, you may actually end up alone.

Not because of lack of attention to guy hunting, there are of course, still tons of women in their 40s and 50s, who are out on a prowl in clubs. But rather because we think too much of ourselves.

I’m worth it.”

If a guy loves me, he should change for me.”

If I see the guy who’s for me, I would know.”

Well, to be honest, if you really think about it, you — or we — are not all that. Evan Marc Katz writes about it perfectly in his article, “Should I date a 7 or hold out for a 10?“, if the guy was a 10, who is he going to most likely going to want to date? That’s right, another 10.

There’s a reason why men do not like to date strong, successful women.

They do by the way.

They just don’t like to date strong, successful women who stubbornly insist to have their way all the time, and who refuses to compromise even though their demands are becoming increasingly unreasonable!

Think about it. 🙂

Remember, the challenge is different: it’s one challenge to actually get a boyfriend, the other is to keep it.

A relationship takes sacrifice and hard work, and if both of you refuse to compromise, the relationship won’t work out. Even if you’re lovey dovey today, how you handle conflicts and life challenges matter to ensure a long-term relationship.

I’ve met a lot of pretty amazing ladies who just can’t keep a man.

Why?

They’re amazing as colleagues. They’re terrific as girlfriends. But heck, they sure suck as girlfriends.

On the flipside, they may be terrific as girlfriends, but if you simply let guys walk all over you, they’ll sooner than later lose respect for you, and that pretty much spells a death wish for your relationship.

So where does that leave us?

What do us women have to do to finally find love in our lives?

Well, will answer it in a succeeding blog post. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

 

Posted in Boyfriend, Life lessons, Personal opinion, Ramblings, Relationships | Leave a comment

Rush to See “Rush”

I LOVED the movie, “Rush.”

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Starring Chris Hemsworth in a role that didn’t have a mythical hammer in it, and Daniel Bruhl, who transforms himself into an arrogant yet meticulous German F1 World Champion, Rush brings us back to the 1970s and highlights the not-so-trivial rivalry between English playboy James Hunt and Austrian machine, Nikki Lauda. Made with a relatively cheap budget of USD 38 million, a pinch versus other blockbusters with budgets roaring up to the 100s of millions, Rush was such a thrill from start to finish.

RUSH

An F1 race, with all its fun, fare and glory is an expensive business. In an article that writes about the economics of Formula 1 racing here, owners of F1 teams spend billions to support the sport. You’d have to be very rich to even own a team, and it’s not unlikely that team owners come from industries outside of racing (e.g., aviation, beverages, chemicals, etc.). As they say, owning and supporting an F1 team is like throwing water into a bucket with a large hole on the bottom. It just keeps on draining away your hard-earned money.

By how much exactly?

According to FormulaMoney as cited in this article, team owners’ total bill damage can rack up to USD 1.61 billion! That’s a whole LOT of money!

But is it worth it?

It kinda is — the 20 races of Formula One are watched by more than 500 million television viewers per year. Formula One per se is only ran by around 300 people, but given its legacy spanning over 40 years, Formula One does not own its own circuits but is sponsored by a multitude of teams, each of which spend over USD 100 million per season just to compete its races globally. On-car team sponsorship for example ran up to USD 840 million according to Formula Money.

Regardless, Boyfriend and I rushed to watch this movie because of the following reasons:

  1. First, it would be curious to see a historical snapshot on how F1 drivers were in the 1970s.
  2. Two, it’s directed by Ron Howard, director of the Da Vinci Code, A Beautiful Mind, Cocoon, Apollo 13, and other spectacular movies.
  3. And lastly, hey, it’s F1! Need we say more?

I came away pretty impressed.

Hemsworth and Bruhl put together spectacular convincing performances (though Olivia Wilde was just there).

I was left cheering for the Austrian asshole Nikki Lauda who was a know-it-all in and out the F1 track, but arguably deserved to be there. Lauda really placed all stops to ensure he competed and won the F1 championship. No screw or detail was left untouched and his methodical discipline should be a model for us all.

Meanwhile Hemsworth, with his bad boy long hair, was also excellent was James Hunt. I couldn’t help but wonder however how many women he’s slept with in his life, how much drugs he’s snorted off his nose, and how much alcohol he’s drank. Hunt was just an anomaly who was an excellent driver and had tons to prove.

Here is the real Hunt and Lauda, both of whom were spectacularly depicted in the movie.

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Anyway, movie nights are always a pleasure. It’s even more of a pleasure if you’re there with someone you love.

I cannot help but keep on poking Boyfriend to not be an asshole playboy like Hunt, and not to forget common social graces like Lauda. Actually, to be honest, if I have a son, I would love to name him Nikki in lieu of Nikki Lauda’s story.

Anyway, it’s Friday. Hope all is well with you. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

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Purity Ring and MORE

Last weekend, Boyfriend, with all the solemness he could muster, gave me a purity ring.

As you all know, Boyfriend and I have been attending Christian pre-engagement, pre-marital counseling. As part of our curriculum, we were asked to preserve our bodies till the day of our honeymoons if in case we do get married.

Given that we agreed (and how can we not?), we were asked to sign a purity agreement that read like this:

Purity Covenant

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 — For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Biblical Standard

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 — Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

In obedience to God’s command, I promise to protect your sexual purity from this day until our honeymoon.
Because I respect and honor you, I commit to building up the inner person of your heart rather than violating you.
I pledge to show my love for you in ways that allow both of us to maintain a clear conscience before God and each other.

This is my promise of purity.

 

Signed: ______________________________             Signed: ______________________________

 

Date: ________________________________             Date: ________________________________

 

Witnessed/affirmed by: ____________________________________________________________

 

Date: ___________________________________       

Both our mothers signed the paper, and we framed it. Boyfriend keeps it with him to remind him not to partake of porn or dare to constantly think of lustful thoughts.

Boyfriend’s mother who is in jewelry made me a purity ring that I now wear.

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Yes, everyone keeps on asking me whether I got engaged over the weekend. Even my own mother was afraid that I’ve already made a permanent commitment.

We merely laughed it off saying that though it’s a real diamond, the ring merely symbolizes our purity covenant, and maybe a promise of things to come.

The ring is too small the be an engagement ring!” I teased Boyfriend.

He smiles saying that he’ll try to make it bigger the next time around.

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A week after wearing the purity ring, I’ve noticed several things.

For one, I’ve noticed that my boyfriend who usually holds my hand while watching TV or a movie, love love playing with it. Even without knowing it, he’ll twirl it a little bit and if sidelined, will turn it up the right way.

It’s kinda sweet, in a way. 🙂

Two, I’ve noticed that I get less attention from cute guys nowadays!

Even without giving the ring any attention, I noticed that whereas cute guys would chat me up at the gym, they keep a bit of a distance now. Oh my, this ring has turned into a man repellent!

Guess there’s still such a thing as a gentleman’s agreement.

And lastly, it kinda puts a new depth into my relationship with Boyfriend.

Specifically, it’s not about the physical now.

I still hold the thought that a relationship can last for a loooong time if there are sex involved. When you have nothing better else to do or talk about, have sex. When you disagree and fight, then have sex.

Sex has been a quick solution to all negative relationship issues. It’s a big band-aid that allows both men and women stay in a relationship longer than they need to.

With anything physical out of the picture, Boyfriend and I have to force ourselves to keep everything PG-13. Instead of pecking out, we’ll just chastely peck each other on the cheek. In the dinner table, we have to come up with more interesting conversation pieces that removes any sexual innuendo out of the picture as to not risk tempting the both of us.

It also makes us a lot hotter for each other. 😉

Hahaha, boy, can we not wait for our wedding day, IF EVER.

When all things fail, at least, we have our wedding night to look forward to.

And yes, we both believe it’s worth the wait.

Posted in Boyfriend, Relationships, Updates | 1 Comment

Fake it till you make it — NOT!

I can’t really fake what I feel. Despite what other people say, my emotions can clearly be seen in my face.

If I’m happy, I cannot help but laugh out loud.

If I’m sad, I cannot help but be bothered.

And if I’m angry, I cannot help but lash out to the next person I see, as grumpy as I can be. Once angered, I start my tirade of trying to understand why such thing happened and how it couldn’t happen again.

These days, I am not very happy with my brother. He has been biased against Boyfriend causing dark clothes to loom over our family. This is made especially worse by the fact that they work in the same industry, and yet my brother chooses to do his business separately despite incurring larger costs and effort.

Oh well – it could have been a lot better.

Do you know about the times when you try and try to get another person’s favor, and the other person chooses to ignore it? How many times do you try before you give up?

It’s how my Boyfriend feels about little brother. Despite efforts, my brother chooses to ignore him, so much that we’ve come to a happy status quo of not pansinan (to not pay attention to each other).

Which of course, creates tension.

And I am unhappy with the tension which I deem to be unnecessary. And of course, my emotions are very clear in my face, to the point that I have resorted to nonchalance. What’s the point of getting upset anyway for some thing you cannot control?

But negative emotions is never a good thing, and I pray and hope we can solve this issue very quickly.

Because as what the Bible said in Proverbs 18:19: “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.”

I really don’t want the relationship between the two guys I love the most to be like a fortified city — closed off with no solution in sight. I know they are both good people, so I really hope they can work it out for my sake.

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Yes, Looks DO Matter! 5 Ways to Look Better!

Let’s admit it. Physical attractiveness matters. In fact, it would be a complete lie if a person tells you that appearances means nothing, and even if you let yourself go, you can still make your partner’s blood boil really hard.

Thought Catalogue said it perfectly in their article: “Eight Common Lies your Partner Tells You”:

3. That appearances mean nothing.

We all know that appearances don’t equal love. We get it. But we are lying if we say that we don’t sometimes succumb to the battle with our ego and find ourselves preoccupied with someone’s appearance. It doesn’t matter, it shouldn’t matter, but in so many ways, it tells you a lot about a person: how they respect their body and how they express themselves physically lets you know who they are at some level.

This is not just a matter of being “fat” or “thin” or “hot” or “not.” It’s more than that, and people are lying if they say it never factors into a relationship: it’s usually what we’re attracted to first. It’s the basis of a healthy sex life.

It doesn’t mean you have to conform to standards of beauty: society’s or your partner’s, because love makes all of that irrelevant– but in that truth lies the reason appearances aren’t to be entirely dismissed.

Love does not make us disregard our penchants to take physicality into consideration, it makes us look at someone as though they are everything we’ve ever wanted physically: but what’s important is that that mindset stems from loving something much deeper, and not the other way around.

Yes, appearances matter. I hope you would agree. True, it makes us more superficial beings, but at least, we are honest about it.

True, you can also go by your brains. People will always respect you for your competence.

You can always go by your shining personality as well. If you are one of the most interesting people in the room, people are bound to surround you likes bees to honey.

But don’t blame me if that ditzy girl on the corner always get the cutest boy in the room, and you keep getting friend-zoned. Such is life.

Seriously, if you do not take care of yourself, then who would? You may be the most intelligent, most interesting person in the room, but if you don’t take good care of your physical self, and you have hang-ups on how you look, then you won’t be confident, and people can smell insecurity a mile away.

Look, I’m not asking anyone to go for plastic surgery. I’m not.

But what I’m asking you to do is to be your best physical self. 

It’s that simple. If you’re happy with your weight, then so be it. If you’re happy with your quirky fashion, then great. But regardless on what you do, make sure you’re happy with what you have too. And if you’re unhappy about it, then do something about it.

How?

Well, I thought I’d share a few tips on what I think would make a person (more for women than for men) more physically attractive to the opposite sex. This list was made out of many conversations with guy friends and especially boyfriend. Here we go:

1) Wear Natural Makeup.

I’m in the camp that supports natural makeup or makeup that looks natural. Makeup really makes a difference as you can see below:Image

When I was in Taiwan, I had a lot of Japanese friends. Now, Japanese women are not the most attractive of races. A lot of them are not super tall, their teeth are slightly crooked in a cute way (because many of them don’t do braces at a young age), and their skin, like many women are uneven.

But one thing I learned from the Japanese: there is no excuse for laziness. Japanese magazines are pored from cover to cover just to find the best ways to dress and makeup oneself. While they recognize that their faces may have certain limitations, they never merely accept it, and instead work at trying to make themselves look better.

In fact, I have not met any Japanese woman yet who has gone out of her house fresh-faced and clean. For them, makeup is about respect. You want to show your best self to the world. And if you dare show your face to the world without makeup, in a way, it’s like telling the world, you’re too lazy to make yourself look better for their behalf.

Admittedly, my face without makeup looks really washed out. Even though I’m blessed with decent skin thanks to my late dad, I admittedly have dark circles under my eyes, my facial skin have a few uneven spots, and my cheek look lifeless and pale.

This washed out look is great if you’re exercising and you don’t have to impress anyone. Bah, take you as you are nga. But of course, this is bad if you’re trying to impress a new client by bringing out your best self.

Now, my mom used to say, “Wear makeup only during special occasions so you can still shock and awe people.” Her point is, if you wear makeup all the time, it’s a lot more difficult to impress.

I disagree. I think that makeup application can only take at most 5 minutes. Personally, my makeup regiment is as follows:

  1. Wash face (10 seconds)
  2. Put some facial toner (5 seconds)
  3. Tap on the Estee Lauder Pore Minimizer, one of the greatest inventions ever made for cosmetics (5 seconds)
  4. Apply BB cream/concealer to hide dark circles under eyes (5 seconds)
  5. Apply eyebrow powder for definition (10 seconds).
  6. Then apply eyeshadow with your fingers (30 seconds). I always like neutral colors so even though I make mistakes, they’re not too obvious.
  7. Mascara (15 seconds)
  8. Do a quick blush (15 seconds). I pick the Loreal True Match Blush 01 (Pink Marshmallow).

And that’s pretty much it. We’re already good to go!

2) Clean your fingernails. 

Now, I’m not a firm believer that you need to have a regular manicure or pedicure. In fact, I don’t even have the time to lounge around in a nail spa for 1 to 2 hours just having my hands taken care of. The last time I was at the spa, I slept out of exhaustion while the pedicurist did my nails.

I simply don’t have time.

Evenings are spent with the family or with the boyfriend. And even after a great manicure, the colors get chipped and I’d have to remove them, or do it again. Manicures don’t last 3 days with me especially after all that tapping via the laptop.

However, there is no excuse for clean cut nails.

If they’re getting too long, get a manicure. Otherwise, clip and clean them. Don’t leave them to accumulate dirt. It’s just basic hygiene.

3) Wear shoes when going out. Not flip-flops unless you’re going to the beach.

There’s always a place for everything. I’m all for tsinelas when you’re at home, or in the beach. It would be really stupid to wear heels while you’re walking in the sand. But for goodness sakes, wear shoes — flats, heels, stilettos, wedges, anything! — when you’re out in the mall, in school, or at work.

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Do you know why I encourage women to wear shoes instead of flip-flops while out?

It’s not just that they look too casual and improper. Actually, it’s also because it changes the whole demeanor of the person wearing it.

Clothes make a man, and so do shoes. When I’m in high heels, I cannot help but sashay down the street. When I’m in wedges, I stride confidently in big bold footsteps. When I’m in flip-flops, I feel like I’m in the beach, dragging my feet along the floor as if I was walking in sand.

Like seriously, observe yourself how you walk while wearing different types of footwear. When I wear heels, I feel like a model. When I wear flip-flops, I feel like an elephant. True story.

What’s more high-heeled shoes also elongate your frame. If you’re short, it makes you taller. If you’re taller, it makes you look even taller. No matter what, they make you look good, full stop. They go along with skirts, heels and jeans. How can you ever lose when you wear heels? 🙂

And for goodness sakes, if ever you’re forced to wear flip-flops, please please please have a pedicure. 😦

4) Don’t wear dumpy clothes. In other words, wear things that you’re comfortable in AND flatters your frame.

Look, I don’t get it. My weight challenged friends love wearing clothes that are two sizes too big for them.

It’s too hide my fats,” they would joke. “I don’t want to see them hanging out.”

The problem is, dowdy clothes make you look older. They may hide your fats but they also make you look bigger. Not flattering indeed.

There are many ways to wear flattering clothes even if you are overweight. Here are a few articles: 3 Ways to Dress Well When You’re Overweight, 5 Things Fat People Shouldn’t Wear, and How to Dress Well as an Overweight Man.

Research on the right fashions, and go for outfits that flatter your shape. This not only goes for fat people, but for thin people as well.

Personally, I look good in dresses with an A-line cut, with the waist cinched by a dark belt. I only wear dark jeans with a slight flare in the end. I usually go for single-colored tanktops and multi-colored cardigans. These are what works for me, and I don’t change my fashion too much.

Find out what works for you, and then go for it.

And lastly, 5) Be in shape. You owe it to your health, and promise, you’ll feel a lot better!

Do you know what I hate?

People who keep on complaining how bad they look, and how heavy they weigh, and how they don’t do anything about it.

Look, nobody is forcing you to eat. Nobody has a gun to your head. It’s very simple: What you eat has to go somewhere. Now if you have great metabolism, then wonderful. Gorge yourself with pizzas and cake all you want and not gain a pound. Great.

But for many of us, what we eat always have to end up somewhere. We hope it can go to the breast or butt, but most likely, it stays stubbornly stuck in the hips. It’s just the way it Is.

So instead of moaning about your weight, do something about it. There’s only two ways: 1) Eat less, or 2) Move more.

Weight loss is simple. Cut back on the carbs and halve your rice or bread intake. Say no to sweet afternoon drinks. Don’t add sugar anymore to your coffee. Decline the offer of free doughnuts or snacks. No more midnight snacks for you.

Or go to the gym. Walk to work. Run. Take up wall climbing or badminton.

Pick your poison. None is pleasant, but it sure would be more effective than eating a lot, staying in bed, and getting fat.

And believe me, when you’re more conscious about your weight and do something about it, you’ll look better.

You’ll find that clothes that used to not fit now do. And you’d also find it’s a lot easier to buy clothes that flatter your figure. Remember, the heavier you are, the harder it is to buy clothes that look good.

Don’t blame me, it’s just the way it is.

So get thinner. Don’t starve yourself to death, but if you’re not happy about your weight, do something about it today.

Hope this helps! Have a great week!

Posted in Boyfriend, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Life lessons, Lists, Ramblings | 2 Comments

They’re Engaged!!!

My Bible Group Leader just got engaged after less than 2 months of dating. It was announced just today via Facebook of all things, and so far, the status update is now at 200 congratulations and counting! 🙂

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I always wonder what it is that people feel for them to actually take that leap from simply being together as boyfriend and girlfriend, to actually planning a life together as husband and wife.

Especially my family where almost all of us are commitment phobics. Even after three years for example, my little brother is wondering whether his girlfriend is really the Right Person for Him for the Rest of His Life.

Yes, that’s the rest of your life, yo….

As Boyfriend and I shyly celebrate our ninth month anniversary, we are also thrown the question, “How serious are we? Are we the One for each other? How will you know?”

Boyfriend berates me, “If you keep on asking if he is the right one for you, then maybe he’s not the right one for you. These things, you just know.”

I like the fact that he is so secure of us. It makes me feel loved and protected. It allows me more freedom to fall in love with him more.

It’s just me — I’ve just been a born a realistic optimist. Whom by the way they say is the happiest group of people there is.

From a relationship standpoint, it just means that though I am blissfully in love with Boyfriend, a part of me cannot help but be cautious for the fall down if any.

I guess that’s just one thing I learned after Trader — to not expect too much because even though everything seems to be perfume and roses, things may still come crashing down in the end. And who doesn’t want to get hurt? Yes, breakups are a bitch. They scar you for life. 

Regardless, I’m at a happy state. Though no relationship is perfect, I am happy in this relationship. Boyfriend and I talk a lot, and there are never really any dull moments (except when I am sleepy and take a nap).

Even then, Boyfriend cannot help but evilly mock me as you can see in the photos he’s taken while I’m blissfully sleeping (and yes, I sleep like a log):

sleep 2  sleep

Yes, these were taken at two different times… 😦

And yes, I admit it, those photos are of me. 😦

Oh well, you can’t say that Boyfriend doesn’t have a weird sense of humor. HAHAHAHAHA!

Have a great week ahead!

 

Posted in Boyfriend, Reflections, Relationships | Leave a comment

Don’t Look for Love. Look for the Right Person to Fall in Love With.

The average age for a Filipino to get married is 22.6 years old. For men, it’s at a higher 25.8 years. For people in richer, urban areas, expect this number to be higher, say 26 to 28 years old for both genders.

This, in my honest opinion, is early.

To put it in perspective, the average age of a first marriage for our Asian counterparts toys around 30 years old (e.g., Hong Kong at 30, Japan at 29.7, Singapore at 29.3 and Taiwan at 30.3 years old).

When I was living in these countries, I noticed that none of my friends were in such a rush to get married. In fact, I personally have never received any pressure to walk down the aisle! During our 20s, we were happy, wild and free, quite content in enjoying our amazing singleness, building up our careers and traveling the world.

Marriage?!

Hmph.

That bulk of responsibility would just ruin our style.

How can we travel extensively when we already have children? How can we go on extended business trips if our husband is there waiting at home? And how the hell can we find the best one for us if we already have a steady boyfriend?!

No, there was nary the pressure to settle down. In fact, we scoffed at anyone who was stupid enough to marry in their early to mid 20s. While we were conquering the world, they had to spend a lot of time with their hubbies and in-laws. They stopped taking care of themselves and looked like aunties even before reaching the Big 3-0.

Oh, how different it is from the Philippines.

My cousin cries about “expiring” because she has just broken up with her boyfriend at 30, and is worried that she cannot find a husband because she’s too old already.

I looked at her. If she was expiring, then what do you call me? Dead?! 😦

My brother’s girlfriend is concerned that my brother wouldn’t marry her. She works with us because it would help prove to my brother that she’s not just a pretty accessory and can work too. Whenever any of her friends get engaged, she cannot help but say, “Guess what? So and so are engaged already…” as if to hint on her deepest desires.

You aren’t successful (as a woman) if you didn’t find yourself a husband,” is a popular saying here in the Philippines. As if the only measure of success is being married…

In fact, in our Bible study group, being single is so scary that it’s become a constant prayer request! Not that there’s anything wrong about it, but I oftentimes feel that for women especially, finding love is so big that our hearts can never really feel satisfied unless we have actually found someone to love us back.

As they say, “What is the world if there’s no one to appreciate it with you?” 

True — but what they do neglect to say as well is that the world is still a beautiful place with or without a man! Sure, it’ll be nicer if you have someone else with you, but if God deems you to be single, then at least be fabulous about it!

What’s more, in your haste to get settled, what if you married wrong?

Oh sh*t, right?

In all my conversations, I always ask people, “How do you know this is already the Right Person to be with? for the rest of your life?”

Despite varying answers, one constant warning from the Wise Ones remains: “Be careful who you marry. It’s not one of the, if not the most important decision in your life. How your life will be is directly impacted by whom you marry.”

I would have to agree.

It is always better to just remain single, serve the Lord or whichever endeavor you chose, than to be unhappy in your marriage and regretting the choice you’ve made. 

Because hey, divorce is really not an option. You make your bed, you lie on it. If you make the wrong decision, then prepare for the consequences for the rest of your life, sorry.

Escaping from your marriage via an annulment or affair will only exacerbate the problem especially if you have children. People will get hurt. Stigmas remain. All because you made a wrong decision some time back. All because in the midst of wanting to be married, you jumped into something that’s hard to get yourself out off.

I think we all need to take a step back when we choose who to marry. Especially for Filipinos who are all in a rush to get married, please, think about it carefully first. Marriage is not like a car that you can sell off after you’re tired of it. Marriage is for a lifetime…!

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Ideally, you would want to build a life together, keep each other company and grow old together. Here for example are 10 good reasons why I would want to get married:

  1. A sense of permanence amidst life’s constant changes. Every year, there are always new people to meet, new experiences to have. Marriage brings a sense of permanence, of having someone beside you as you grow old together.
  2. That said, it follows that you’ll have someone to take care of you when you are old. Like how mommy took care of daddy!
  3. It sure will be lonely when you’re old and unmarried. Companionship especially once your children fly the coop is a big bonus. Didn’t God say it’s not good for man to be alone, which is why God created Eve for Adam?
  4. Seriously though, you marry the person whom you find is worthy to be that one person who will stand beside you as you go through life. This person is someone whom you can build a life, family and a business empire with.
  5. It’s a public declaration that this person is your other half. It’s the ultimate public gesture of my love for this person. You can have many lovers and boyfriends, but technically, you can only have one husband.
  6. Marriage to this person forces family and friends to recognize that this person is important in their life. And it’s someone that they have to accept because he’s not really going anywhere. So this person is more integrated in your life more than just a regular boyfriend.
  7. Legally speaking, marriage means legitimacy and legal right for yourself and your future children.
  8. No curfew! You can live together! And yes, you can travel and do overnights with your husband. You cannot do that with your boyfriend. Mom will kill me. Society also frowns on it.
  9. It also makes life a little more interesting since now you have someone else to talk and share it with. May automatic kakampi ka na (someone to take your side). Makes traveling a bit more enjoyable too since there’s someone else who can take your photo!
  10. I don’t want to worry about my personal life too much. It’s hard when you’re always worrying about love. If my personal life is in order, I’ll have the time and space to succeed in other ways (e.g., career).

I daresay, don’t look for love. Look for the right person to fall in love with.

As Evan Marc Katz had said: “Find the man who treats you best, the man who makes your life easiest, the man that allows you to comfortably be yourself, flaws and all  – without fear that he’s going to leave you – THAT MAN is the best fit for you.”

Chose to stay and appreciate (your partner’s) remarkable traits. In exchange, what he found was a peace and happiness that transcends anything he has ever known.

You can also feel the same.

Good luck in your journey to find the right love. 🙂

Posted in Boyfriend, Personal opinion, Philippines, Relationships, Taipei life | Leave a comment

Taming of Tongue

I love my boyfriend. He is one of the most hard working, sweetest, and most competent guys I know. Since being with him for 9 months now, I haven’t really seen him try to fool or cheat anyone. He conducts his business in a fair manner, and I have the utmost respect for him.

The only thing I believe he has to work on is taming his tongue.

Boyfriend believes in telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It’s one of the best things about him, and yet, many a times, I feel that if you do not tame your tongue, you are just digging your own grave. Instead of placating people, you instigate them. And it’s hard to work when people take things personally.

The Bible has a few verses about taming the tongue, as follows:

  • JAMES 1:26, ESV: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
  • PROVERBS 21:23 ESV: “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
  • PROVERBS 15:1, ESV: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

I myself am also struggling with this. Especially when I’m mad, my mouth is like a big machine gun that cannot help but shoot unnecessary comments deemed to hurt and to put people down. It’s really hard to stop.

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And yet, when one thing is bad, one has to correct. I have to correct this, and Boyfriend has to correct it.

Now, let’s pray that I have the wisdom to convey this in a clear, concise manner. Am sure I will fail, but if you see something that really needs to be improved on, then you should really love that person enough to tell them even if it’s hard.

Posted in Boyfriend, Reflections | Leave a comment

Holiday Today…

And am here at Boyfriend’s shop working.

ImageYes, I could be out shopping. Having lunch with friends. Or just sleeping late.

And yet, I find myself hanging out by myself at his shop.

That my friends, is what you call moral support. 🙂

It’s quite normal here in the Philippines. Many Filipino-Chinese here have their own business. And unlike other people, women are expected to help their significant others in their respective business.

For example, my mom helped my dad set up a trading business in the late 1970s. My boyfriend’s parents set up a jewelry business together from scratch. 

It’s true what they say — you often follow your parents footsteps. 

Personally, I would love to help. I think that’s why we are bred competent and educated. Women are supposed to contribute to society, starting from their spouses, to their families and lastly, to their communities. 

Our main purpose is not to just look good, but to also be good as well. 

And later, once work is over, then you reconnect once again and spend time with the family.

Ah, such is life. 

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

One of the Best Things about Being Filipino…

You guys all know just how badly I complain about the Philippines.

People can be lazy and inefficient.

Parts of the country are dusty and dirty.

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There’s tons of corruption as evidenced by a lot of vote-buying action during election time.

When it rains, it really pours and floods. Infrastructure is bad that medium amounts of rain create temporary swimming pools in a subdivision. This week’s rain successfully flooded 60% of Metro Manila. Here’s a few reasons why.

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And the locals try to fleece foreigners as much as they can. Who’s never boarded an airport taxi only to find themselves overcharged?

However, in the midst of my bitching about my own country, I don’t want to discount the fact that I am still proud to be a Filipino. 

To cite an example, just today, while driving to the office, our driver wasn’t able to see an uncovered street hole, and we drove right into it.

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The front-wheel fit perfectly and was stuck. 

KABOOOG!

My mom and I groaned. We were stuck! 

In a mere seconds that we came down the car, a taxi driver parked his car on the side, the driver from the car behind us, and a passerby came closer.

They quickly observed the damage.

Drive your car in reverse,” the taxi driver ordered our driver.

Our driver did this while the three pulled up the car from the hole.

After saving us, they went back to the car, and they went on their merry way with a thousand thanks from us.

Sure, we were holding up the traffic, and hence, it was to their best interest to help, but mind you, they didn’t really need to help.

And yet they did.

And this is what foreigners don’t really understand about the Philippines.

Despite all the bad things happening in the Philippines, Filipinos still have that unspoken camaraderie of helping each other out, regardless of any immediate benefit to them.

It’s what we call Bayanihan. In English, this word is defined as Communal Work. Wikipedia defines it as “a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective.”

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No matter where you are, and what dilemma you are in, more often than not, when in the Philippines or when dealing with Filipinos overseas, total strangers are more than willing to give you a helping hand without anything in return. 

This is quite different from many other cultures. Does anyone still remember of the news of a 2-year old kid being ran over by a car but is ignored by bystanders? I DO!

And that is one thing about being Filipino. 

How many times have I been upgraded when I meet an airport check-in attendant who is Filipino? Or given special concessions in a five-star hotel because the receptionist is Pinoy? Or given some freebies in a supermarket in Hawaii because the cashier is Filipino?

Meeting a fellow Filipino abroad is always a joy.

They are always very happy to see you, and you cannot return the feeling.

And that’s one of the best things about being Filipino.

No matter what you do, or where you are, meet a fellow Filipino, and more often than not, they will be willing to lend you a helping hand. As if you’re part of a special club.

And maybe it is a special club, being Pinoy. 🙂

Have a great weekend ahead!

 

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Some Things Never Change

It’s been raining really hard in the Philippines the last couple of days.

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So much so that despite the August 19 and 21 Holidays (Quezon City Day, and Ninoy Aquino Anniversary), we were able to enjoy a vacation up until our work resuming yesterday, Thursday.

Sigh, the Philippines never learn.

Every year, June to August is known as the rainy months. 

And every year, despite knowing this fact, it still floods. It floods in a way that Pinoys are already used to it. My best friend I remember even had to swim to school, and she’s already in university.

It still floods in UST (University of Sto. Tomas) up till this day.

Some things indeed never change. 

Happy weekend, everyone!

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Dark Clouds Hanging Over Our Heads

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It’s been no secret within the family that my little brother doesn’t like le Boyfriend. 

For one, they are two different people.

My brother is one of the most polite, indirect people I know. Ask him to decide between A or B, and he cannot help but list down the benefits and pitfalls with both, while leaving you scratching your head as to which option he would prefer.

Boyfriend on the other hand is brutally honest. If it’s good, he’ll say it. If it’s ugly, he will too. I honestly believe that boyfriend’s directness goes against my brother’s very nature. 

Both as well have a lot of pride.

Which is a problem if they’re in the same industry.

My brother for example wants his employees to kowtow to him. Even with me, he wants me to submit a very comprehensive proposal for his approval. He doesn’t want you to submit it to him on email. He wants you to email the proposal to him, print him a copy and place it on his desk, set an appointment with him, launch on a presentation as to why your proposal is great, and then to give him time to mull it over before he comes up with a decision.

This is all well and good — until you realize that our company is around 10 people strong, and seriously, there’s really no need for that much red-tape.

Boyfriend on the other hand, is very hands-on. He hates discussing things to death because he realizes that time is of the essence, and there’s no point over-analyzing things when times a ticking. Hence, he would discuss it a bit and see if he can act on it. If it works, great. If not, there’s still time to shift gears and do Plan B.

Consequently, Brother is the dark cloud over our heads. 

Since my mom is the universal peace-keeper in the family, it also puts her in a difficult position. At one side, she likes my boyfriend and finds him both amusing and endearing at the same time. On the other, her loyalty is to her son, who is becoming quite unreasonable.

For example, case in point, our company was going to do an office outing this weekend because it’s my brother’s birthday.

My little brother two weeks prior made it clear that he is uncomfortable with my boyfriend joining the weekend vacation. And that we have to respect his decision. 

I was okay with it: there is no point to really push a guy to do anything he doesn’t want. I told my boyfriend of the weekend plans, and he was quite nonchalant about it and made other work-related plans.

However, since my boyfriend is a constant presence in our office (since he does pick me up every day and helps me in marketing), of course, other people have asked if my boyfriend was joining us this weekend. 

No, he’s not going,” is my only answer, not really willing to give the real reason as to why he is not invited.

Last night however, little brother has a change of heart. He asked my uncle to ask me to invite Boyfriend for the overnight weekend. 

See? Your little brother’s already making an effort to invite Boyfriend,” my mom said.

Well, the invitation is appreciated of course. But I don’t know just how sincere an invitation is if it was given the very last minute,” I explained. Though it’s not confirmed, I think it bothered my brother on how it looked when he has invited everyone, but has visibly neglected to invite my boyfriend to go.

It’s a very very last minute invitation,” my boyfriend said. “If I was thinking any differently, I’d think he purposely made it last minute to reduce my chance of going.”

I am sure he was simply conflicted with the decision,” I said. “End all and be all, you are formally invited. Just wanted to make sure you know.”

Yes I know,” he acknowledged. “But why do I have a feeling he’s just doing this to save face?”

Face is a very Chinese term. Read more about it here

In relation to this particular situation, to save face meant that though the gesture was deceptively sincere, in actuality, my brother didn’t really want my boyfriend to be there. If he did, he would have sent the invitation way earlier, and followed up. He would have also invited my boyfriend himself instead of channeling the invitation to via my uncle, my mom and myself. If we’re really being honest about it, my brother didn’t really want him there.

But in order for other people not to say anything bad, or to gossip about their state of relationship, he invited the boyfriend. But it was still an empty gesture.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I love my brother with all my heart, and it pains me as to how two of the guys I love the most are not really in the best of terms.  

Anyway, no worries. Just a dark cloud over my head la which am sharing with you guys.

Not to be too worried though, boyfriend is relatively unfazed. And given that he’ll soon to be family, these things have a way of working themselves out.

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

Kick-Ass 2

kickass

 

Heed the call to only watch Kick-Ass 2 if you’re over 16 years old. It’s full of profanity, swear words, blood, gore and violence.

What do you expect in a movie where the antagonist calls himself, “Motherfucker?” One key character even calls herself “Night Bitch.”

At the end of the day though, it’s all about you and how mature you are.

Personally, I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it because I took it merely for its entertainment value, and not because it tells me that violence is good. I watched it with slight amusement because I saw it as a sequel, and I loved how bad-ass Chloe Grace Moretz’ character was.

If you are easily shocked or offended, DON’T WATCH IT.

But if you’re up for a night of good fun, why not? 🙂

Posted in Dates, Movie reviews | Leave a comment

Too Fast, Too Soon?

A friend of mine shared that her and her boyfriend broke up a few weeks ago. They’ve been dating for more than half a year. Understandably, she was devastated.

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I think hers is a case of giving up too much, too soon.

That’s what’s funny in a relationship. There is still that double standard. If a guy chases after a guy, that’s okay. The guy anyway has to be the one to dictate the pace of a relationship.

However, if the woman gives the pressure, then the guy accuses them of being “clingy,” “needy” and “demanding.” Words that make me retch because it makes it sound that the woman herself is the desperate one.

I’ve already shared with you previously that people have told me before that my own relationship with boyfriend is going too fast, too soon.

I even wrote a blog post about it here. By the time we’ve been dating three months, people were already pressuring us to get married. So much so that we’ve started pre-engagement, pre-marital counseling!

It’s amazing that he has yet to run far, far away.

I know I would if I was him. Then again, our family’s usually the more commitment phobic ones in a relationship. 🙂

One thing about my boyfriend is that he’s weird about three things.

  1. Number one, he wants to spend everyday together. So much so that if we don’t spend it everyday together, somehow we get into stupid arguments.
  2. He wants me to be there when he’s out with his friends. Unlike some guys, there is no segmentation to work, girlfriend or friends. Whether or not he is going to a business meeting or having fun with the boys, he wants me to join him.
  3. And lastly, he doesn’t shy away from the baby, marriage, commitment talk. Heck, we are in pre-engagement, pre-marital counseling, remember?

Whereas my friends tell me just how lucky I am to find someone like him who isn’t afraid of commitment, I think it’s more of a symptom of the state on where the guy is in vs. me being lucky with my boyfriend.

Not that I don’t recognize just how lucky we are to be with each other. We are, don’t get me wrong.

But truth be told, if I came at an earlier date when he was in his 20s, when he wasn’t still done sowing his wild oats, when his shop has yet to attain a stable level, and when he still haven’t matured, I doubt the relationship would have gone as smooth as it is now.

Truth be told, I think I am just at the right place, and at the right time, with maybe, just maybe, the right guy. 🙂

If a guy is not yet ready, no matter what you do, you cannot really push a guy for more commitment. The more you push, the more he will back away. Because no one — guy or girl — want to be demanded a commitment of. They want to enter it in their own free will.

So if I met him earlier, I think he would be more cavalier about things. He wouldn’t push me more aggressively for more commitment. And he may think that there are more fishes in the sea, so if I cannot stand his crap and leave him, then sayonara b*tch.

Now in his mid-30s, he’s a lot more stable. More into commitment. And when a guy is more into commitment, it also spills over to his actions.

For example, he wants me more involved in his life. He wants me to share his happiness and fears. He wants me to be with him as he goes to the world in search of adventure.

He realizes I guess that some women are not easily replaceable. That you can find yourself another girl in a heart beat, but probably not in the package that I provide.

He probably also realizes that he wants children, and wants to do it the legal way. Not something out of the wedlock. And since wedding preparations and baby productions do take months, it’s best to ensure that the timeline is strictly followed. You can’t really enjoy children if you’re too old.

In summary, what am I rambling about?

What I am trying to say is, if a guy is shying away from you when you’re pushing for commitment, then probably you just have an incompatibility on what you want in a relationship. Maybe you are more into it than he is.

It doesn’t make you or him wrong. It doesn’t make you an aggressive, desperate woman. It does mean however that you are ready for a commitment earlier than he is.

It also means that if he cannot step up very quickly to the type of relationship you want, and may even deserve, then by all means, he may not actually be the right guy for you. 🙂

If that is the case, it’s best to go to each of your merry way. Him looking for some casual hookup somewhere out there, and you staying single until you find the right guy who’s worth your time, and is dying to spend more time with you.

I’ve never been a believer that love has to be forced. In Filipino, we say the word, “pilit.” 

Love, or commitment, cannot really be forced. Either you want to, or not. Either he wants to or not. If both of you wants to then great, but if love is a one-way thing, then the relationship won’t last that long anyway. And it’s better to say your goodbyes before you get more hurt and waste more time.

Bonita, you’re much stronger than me,” she moaned. “You can handle it.”

Maybe. But I think age has taught me not to force the issue. Experience has merely taught me to be more selfish in a relationship. If you are constantly unhappy with the relationship because he doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated, then maybe it’s not the right relationship to be in the first place.

Again, I don’t believe in chasing after a guy.

End all and be all, I am still a traditionalist. Despite being a very capable independent woman, my pride still indicates that it’s the guy who needs to make the move, to do the pursuing. It’s only through this that I know that he really wants to be with me, instead of me just forcing him to be there.

Hahaha, yes, I like it to make it slightly hard for the guy. And I sure am not apologetic for it.

Because yes, I know I am worth it, and if he makes me happy, I too will make him one of the happiest guys ever.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Boyfriend, Personal opinion, Reflections, Relationships | 2 Comments

The Chicken or the Egg

Many things in this world argue whether the chicken or the egg came first.

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I personally find it to be one of the useless arguments there is, but hey, some one has to give in first. And usually the argument only ends when one person compromises and agrees to the other side.

Case in point, we had a meeting with an international map provider who wants to be more active in the Philippine market.

I showed them what their competitors had, and bar none, their competitors had a more user-friendly interface with beautiful colors and split screen functionality. This company however had a basic model which can be sourced free from the internet via pirated licensing.

Look you have to improve your products,” I told them. “At present, your competitors are killing you because they have these so and so added features.”

Yes, I can make the changes but bottom line is, how many units will you order?” the company’s South American Head of APAC Development asked me.

Well, that depends on the price right?” I answered. “But it also depends on how superior the product you can give me will be, and whether or not it’s competitive enough when compared side by side to your other competitors.”

But how can you expect me to prioritize development if you cannot give us a concrete order?” he asked.

In the same way that I cannot give you a concrete order if I don’t see a superior finished product,” I answered. “Of course I know that your company is credible and good, but unless I see and touch the finished product in my hands, I will not be able to see if it’s good or not.”

Trust me, we can make it good.” he said.

Yes, I trust you can make it good. Regardless, unless I actually touch and feel the product and determine it’s good, I might get stuck in a product development cycle where I’ve already committed the order, and have no choice but to accept any subpar product that may come out!”

But how can we start developing without an order?!” he said frustratingly.

Because if you don’t start developing and don’t keep up with your competitors, you won’t be able to penetrate the Philippine after-market!” I answered.

Look my friend, it’s all about competitiveness. Unfortunately, companies like you have to constantly develop to keep up with your competitors. Don’t do it at our expense and charge us the sunk costs. It’s sink or swim here.

Look, you have asked us to make changes,” the guy opined. “How can I make the customized changes you want if you don’t give us an order?”

Well, the issue is, your current model needs to change to keep its competitiveness up. Other GPS providers already have split screens and 3D rendering. Yours is still the basic model.” I still patiently explained. “If you don’t change, which you need to be just to keep up on market standard, then you won’t sell.”

But other companies like Hyundai and Honda like our maps,” he insisted.

Aaaargh, in my mind, I wanted to tell him, “If other companies like Hyundai and Honda like your maps, then what are you doing here talking to us?!” But I was nice and answered instead, “Well, you’re talking about OEM. We are talking about after market. Meaning, people only buy as an upgrade.” 

The guy changed track. He then proceeded that his company has worked with a lot of emerging economies like Indonesia, Thailand and Brazil, and they worked great. Other products can charge less because these are illegal pirated products. To last in the business, your products have to be licensed.

I sighed. “The Philippines is a different animal. Though it’s tempting to lump it all with other emerging countries, having worked here for almost two years, I know there are still big differences. For example, Filipinos don’t really care too much about license if you charge them a high price for it. Sure, they’ll love a licensed product, but few will really pay Php 3,000 to Php 5,000 for a licensed product that they can get cracked free from the internet.”

But that’s illegal!” he insisted.

It’s illegal, yes. But you’re fighting a losing battle if you think Pinoys will stop buying illegal products,” I said. “Instead of fighting it, join it. Lower down your prices. Do what Pioneer does — offer products that are cheaper than its foreign counterparts and slightly more expensive than the pirated ones. Given the marginal added cost to the quality Pioneer provides, then people will go for a real Pioneer head unit.”

It’s only when you lower your prices, people use it and your product becomes more and more popular then you can actually increase your prices for some premium privileges.” I explained. “But you have to first get your products into your customer’s cars first.”

 “So how much quantity will you order?” the South American Head of APAC Development once again pressed us.

Well, it depends on the price, right?” I answered. “If the price is too high, we will not order any. If the price is right, then we will order more. If we have exclusivity and the price is low, we can buy more from you and resell these licenses to our competitors. And hence, can bring up the volume.”

But how can I give you the price if you cannot guarantee the quantity?” the S. American dude pressed us. “I need to give the proposal to my boss but I need the quantity!”

That is true,” I answered. “But again, I cannot give you a quantity unless you agree on the price. If the price is Php 3,000 per license as you have written in your letter, then no thanks. We cannot sell that product. Especially when it’s around 30-40% of my cost!”

But the GPS map is important!” he said.

True, but not important enough that a person buys a head unit because of the map,” I said. “If they wanted a complete license map, then they can easily go to Garmin and buy a separated unit.”

As expected, the foreigner kept on going around in circles, insisting that Filipinos look for quality and are happy to pay for it. Meanwhile, I am telling him that while there are more Filipinos who look for quality and have the money to pay for it, for most people, accessories are an add on and they are actually not willing to pay for something legal when they can easily get it on the internet for free.

We were going around in circles. Chicken and egg arguments once again.

Sigh — to do business in the Philippines and to persuade foreigners that the Philippines is different from the rest.

And given that we’ve been in this business since 2006 and have talked to most of your clients, then it’s good to actually have an open mind and hear what we have to say.

We are not arguing with you by the way. Instead, we are just telling things as it is, as we have heard it.

Sorry for being the bearer of bad news.

Anyway, mid-week now. Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Business, Personal opinion, Philippines | 1 Comment

HKUST MBA Finance Club Questions & Answers

1) What are the most important advice you can give to the next year club committee? 
 
Pick the right leaders. If you pick the outgoing candidate who’s all talk but no action, the club will suffer. That’s what happened the year after me when the leader used the position to get himself a finance job, but was useless in the club per se (members words not mine). 
 
Start planning the events early on. Delegate, then follow through. Before you know it, you already have more than a handful of projects. Find out who is reliable and get these people to work for the club. Then again, this is advice any leader/project manager would know. No need for me to keep on repeating.
 
2) What are the things you believe would help club and the fellow students most? 
 
Do activities that help people get a job.
 
For example, how to financial model. Applications for internship are usually on September before you even start on any finance subjects. Interviews by the Christmas season. If you are unprepared for these interviews, you will not get the internship. No bank will wait till you finish your finance courses early next year before they hire you.
 
Remember, banks will hire you for your competence. Because you can do the job. Not because you are president of the finance club and used to be an engineer before.
 
3) If you look back, what are the things you wish you have done differently for the MBA Finance Club? 
 
Attached are the projects we all did during my year. I wouldn’t do things differently. I think we had a pretty good run given the limited time and resources we had. 
 
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Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

Dumpy, Dumpy?

Three years into her relationship, the girlfriend simply started to let go.

She would wear flip-flops to the office.

Started relaxing on that diet and gained weight here and there.

Got fat.

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Wore dumpy clothes because tight clothes were uncomfortable, and they didn’t fit no more.

Stopped wearing make-up because she didn’t have time.

And then declared, “If he loves me for me, then he should accept me in all that I am. Fats and all.”

The boyfriend hinted on going to the gym. Called her fat to her face as if it was a joke. And she quips back, jokingly.

But it’s hard to quip back when what was said is true. If you are thin, nobody calls you fat. If you are fat, it would be a total lie if somebody said you were thin.

And yet, she doesn’t care.

Because love is all about acceptance with who you are. Because if he loves you, he will love you, fats and all. To do otherwise may mean you are a superficial man who’s just like anyone else.

As a fellow woman, I think the girlfriend is just plain LAZY.

And UNDISCIPLINED.

It’s in every one’s responsibility to look good. Not just for somebody else but most importantly, for ourselves.

It is in our self-interest to be and stay healthy.

That means, controlling your diet and saying no to one more cup of milk tea with tapioca pearls. That also means making an effort and either cutting your food intake or going to the gym. Pick your poison.

To guilt-trip somebody in loving you just because they are not superficial is to mask your extreme laziness and lack of discipline in taking care of your outward and inward appearance.

And yes, call me superficial but I do believe that the more you take care of yourself, the more confidence you get, and the happier you become. It’s just the way it is.

Likewise, the more you cannot control yourself or your diet, the fatter you get, the dumpier you look, and yes, the more insecure you become, which makes you become a more miserable person to be with.

And honestly, who wants to be with someone who’s fat, knows it, and does nothing about it? It’s endemic of a person who doesn’t strive to be much in life, is happy to just sit, relax and be lazy, and THEN complains that she’s gaining weight.

Enough.

If you want to lose weight, do something about it.

If you hate your job, then quit.

If you want to start a business, then go.

What’s stopping you anyway?

To complain and to sulk over something you can control is pure stupidity. It’s not as if somebody’s putting a gun to your head and feeding you sweets.

Look, I have nothing against fat people. Some of the most beautiful people I know are fat. But if you choose to be fat, then savor it. Enjoy it. Be happy with it. Accept it. And don’t sulk and complain about it.

To do so is pure stupidity.

Agree or disagree?

Have a happy Monday!

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, Ramblings, Relationships | 2 Comments

The Sharkini

The things people do or come up with.

Just today, I encountered the Sharkini, a USD 100 swimsuit that looks like a shark bit through your dullish gray one-piece, and can be custom-fitted based on your measurements.

Anyway, I think USD100 is a LOT of money for a swimsuit. But look at it first.

It looks like this.

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Yes, I will wait here till you finish laughing. I also had the giggles myself.

Just a funny end to the day. Boo-yah!

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Reprint: Love is a Decision, not a Feeling

Are you with the right partner?

During a seminar, a woman asked, “How do I know if I am with the right person?”

The author then noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her so she said, “It depends. Is that your partner?”

In all seriousness, she answered “How do you know? Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it’s weighing on your mind.”

Here’s the answer:

Every relationship has a cycle… In the beginning; you fall in love with your partner. You anticipate their calls, want their touch, and like their idiosyncrasies. Falling in love wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to DO anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love.

People in love sometimes say, “I was swept of my feet.” Picture the expression. It implies that you were just standing there, doing nothing, and then something happened TO YOU.

Falling in love is a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few months or years of being together, the euphoria of love fades. It’s a natural cycle of EVERY relationship.

Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they call at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens) and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship, you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

At this point, you and/or your partner might start asking, “Am I with the right person?” And as you reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when relationships breakdown.

The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person, it’s learning to love the person you found.

People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes.

Infidelity is the most common. But sometimes people turn to work, a hobby, friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your relationship. It lies within it.

I’m not saying that you couldn’t fall in love with someone else. You could. And TEMPORARILY you’d feel better. But you’d be in the same situation a few years later.

Because (listen carefully to this):

The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person, it’s learning to love the person you found.

SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. You have to work on it day in and day out. It takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it demands WISDOM. You have to know WHAT TO DO to make it work. Make no mistake about it.

Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your partner). Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. If you know how to apply these laws, the results are predictable.

Love is therefore a decision. Not just a feeling.

Remember this always: God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay and who you refuse to let go.

Source: http://theproblemwithdating.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/love-is-a-decision-not-a-feeling/

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Happy monthsary!

On my last relationship, the first few months was bumpy.

Without any reason at all, I was constantly frustrated and picked a fight the night before one of us would fly to each other. Consequently, our dates weren’t usually off to a good start.

I can partly blame these episodes to me being a spoiled self-entitled brat.  But I think that when you’re in the wrong relationship, it’s just a little bit harder to be together.

Since you are less compatible, your ideas don’t mesh. You don’t understand why he would ever say or do such a thing, and try as you may understand him, there’s still a limit as to how far love can bring you before the relationship self-implodes.

Or, for example, you love him but <<insert a non-negotiable here>>.

That non-negotiable could be anything. It can be as serious as a difference in religion or race, or one’s mindset in having children. Or as feeble of an excuse as his manners. Usually, these non-negotiables are things that the person we love cannot change. A short man cannot be tall. A dumb woman cannot be expected to get a masteral degree.

But it bothers us just the same.

It’s these what bothers us a little when we first get together that destroys us in the end.

Regardless with current boyfriend, eight months went by quite fast.

Despite the many ups and downs going on with my life, he has so far been a constant. This is surprising since I’ve experienced the unexpected death of my father, the tumultuous aftermath and a sort-off falling out with my brother. We also had to do a car show together, which went relatively smoothly given the circumstance.

Here’s to us, boyfie. Happy monthsary!

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I Don’t Want to Get Involved

When I get involved, I give my 1500%. I pour my heart and soul into my every project, and wish its every success. And make it a point the project reaches its destination.

When I am involved, I am unafraid to get my hands dirty. I don’t mind carrying heavy boxes as much as my knees can take it, and sweat as needed. There are no divas in the room. Just workers. And we do everything to make it work.

When I am involved, it’s not just my body. It’s also my mind, heart and spirit. I cannot seem to separate them. I just can’t.

So when I get involved, I also want you to get involved. I really hate it when I work, and I see you lounging around as if life is passing you by. I don’t like it when I am so into something, and you’re not.

That is why, I don’t want to get involved.

I hate seeing you being left behind. I don’t like it when I work and you wait. I cannot help but start disrespecting you and my resentment builds up.

I can be your greatest friend or your worst critic. If I see something about you I don’t like, I can be very vocal.

That’s why I don’t want to get involved. When I get involved, I see your weaknesses. I see your laziness and I see what you lack.

I don’t want to see that. I only want to see what is good and pure. I’d rather be ignorant and uninvolved than to admit that you’re not as good as you say you are. That you’re just all bluff and bullshit.

That is why I don’t want to get involved.

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And I sure won’t say sorry for it.

Posted in Personal opinion, Work | Leave a comment

Semi-business Guangzhou Trip

It’s a semi-business, semi-shopping mission with my mom and my aunt.
 
That’s what entrepreneurial Filipino-Chinese do. The easiest way to make money is to source it cheaper in China and then resell back in the Philippines.
 
Which is a problem — China is no longer as cheap.
 
Whereas beef noodles by the roadside used to cost RMB 2 per bowl, we were hard-pressed to find a meal less than RMB 10 this time around. Even breakfast at Cafe de Coral was no longer inexpensive.
 
cafe
 
RMB 13.5 for a bowl of congee with fish and century eggs! It’s highway robbery,” my auntie exclaimed.
 
We went to the accessory, aquarium and electronics wholesale shop. We bought a few things to ship home in the hopes of reselling them at a profit.
 
But here’s what we forget:
 
1) While our suppliers get cash, we are instead hoping for cash in return for the products we do ship in… If we do actually get to sell them.
 
Remember, it’s not cash yet till they are sold. I’d rather have money on my hand instead of dreams.
 
2) It’s not that cheaper to source from China even if you get them from wholesale market. Hey, if you’re buying them from the city, there’s already two to four middle men who already get a cut.
 
Take a look at a mini aquarium we bought for a few hundred RMB. Nice isn’t it? We could easily sell it in Manila for a tidy profit. Yay.
 
“We can buy it at RMB 200, which is around Php 1,500 and resell it at Php 3,800. Not bad!” I excitedly exclaimed.
 
That thought stayed in my head until we went back to our hotel room and look at Sulit.com.
 
It’s like eBay of the Philippines, but there’s no bidding. Basically, people simply post product availability and you can inquire directly with the suppliers, whose contact numbers are posted on the website.
 
Sulit
 
Aquariums at Sulit.com cost around Php 350-2,000 for the entire set, the structure, light, sand, oxygen and all. Along with shipping costs and goodness knows, the effort, how else can you make a profit?!
 
Boo. You simply aren’t rewarded enough for the risk and effort. Period.
 
And 3) Everyone has the same idea.
 
China sourcing and reselling can be pretty competitive. If you can do it, others can do it too.
 
Imagine you’re the guinea pig who paves the way for others to copy, provided that you’re successful enough. If by the first month, you’re successful, you’ll find copycats sprouting left and right by the second month.
 
Reselling has a small barrier of entry that almost anyone with an airline ticket can fly to Guangzhou and do the same thing as you do. Gone are the days when China is the new frontier. Now, go to the Canton fair and you’ll see all your kababayan from home.
 
So money isn’t that easy to make.
 
Business isn’t that easy to make.
 
So why are we still here? Why do we still make the trip?
 
For ideas, really.
 
Business is all about good ideas and there’s no better place to get good ideas than in a more entrepreneurial China.
 
So how about you? Will you still make the trip?
Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Updates: Church Outreach on a Rainy Day

Boyfie and I went out for a church outreach project in Paco, Manila yesterday. It was to give some food and spread the Word of God to 110 street children residing by the squatter area in the railways.

It was raining hard the evening prior till the morning of. When Boyfriend picked me up at 6:00am, we were still unsure if the project would push through or not.

Fortunately, we still made a call to go through it rain or shine, and off we go! Good thing as well because the barangay captain gathered all the children and they were all waiting for us when we got there.

It was even more fortunate that the sun began to shine soon after. Talk about God’s wonderful miracles!

Here are all the 80 children properly seated when we arrived — their numbers increased to 110 as the day went on. They also became more talkative and skittish too.

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We first fed them goto (chicken porridge) and then taught them a simple Christian song. There were also games and a puppet show telling the miracle of Jesus and the Five Loaves and Two Fish.

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Afterwards, we gave each child a backpack filled with school supplies, a plastic full of rice grains, and some treats. They were all noisy and makulit. But they lined up to get their give-aways.

Overall, we were darn exhausted. We woke up at 6:00 am and the outreach lasted up till 3pm. We haven’t even had lunch yet.

Regardless, it was such a fulfilling project, and hopefully, Boyfriend and I can do this more again.

Posted in Philippines, Updates | Leave a comment

A Leap of Faith

Life is but a constant leap of faith. If you’re not really closing your eyes and making a few leaps once in a while, you probably ain’t living your life to the full. –-Bonita

The last two days had been a wee bit emotional for me.

There was a moment when I started to doubt, if Boyfriend and I are really meant to be together. And whether we have the galls to make it last.

For one, a close relative told me that he has not yet seen Boyfriend’s show of love for me. And he wasn’t that sure of Boyfriend’s sincerity.

Which prompted Boyfriend and I to talk.

Ladies, if you have an issue with your significant other, it’s always best to discuss it with them directly and not with anyone else lest you may one day be in good terms with the boyfriend, but find your confidantes at odds with your SO.

Boyfriend wrote me the following email this morning, allaying my fears and concerns.

As for the whole “seeing that I love you and will take care and protect you” I offer the following evidences that I do.
1. Fetching you almost everyday, yes we may joke about “freedom” and hall pass” (wise bird said all jokes a re half meant) but I know and you know that we would much rather be together than apart.
2. Taking your mom for dinner. Yes I have never complained and I don’t see it as a burden. I like your mom and she is adorable. The fact that she smiles and laughs when were together shows that she is not faking it or enduring it because of your sake.
3. When you ask me for help in your work stuff. Practically speaking, what benefit do I derive from helping you? Latest example is the (product that we’re researching at the moment). Realistically, who is your brother going to ask that can give an answer as straight and as blunt as I can? I do not do this to gain favor, yours or his or your mom’s.
4. Within your first month with Trader, you fought a lot. Have we ever done that? I can honestly tell myself and everyone that this is the most trouble free relationship I have ever had.
5. Legs and smartness aside, I also CHOOSE to be with you because of a lot of other things. Small things that particularly tickle me such as when you trow your head back and laugh out loud (wherein your mom shusssessss you “BONITA!) or when you purse your lips and whole face and say EWWWWWWWW. Or when you try to be cute and look at meet wide doe eyed (fail BTW because your still singkit). All these small things have made me endeared toward you
6. Knowing me as you do, do you really think that I would stay in a relationship where in we AGREE NOT TO DO ANYTHING???? Yes it’s all God’s great plan for us, but I don’t have to enjoy it or agree with it all the time.
7. And finally, I know and you know that I do love, care, treasure you and dream about us being together. If it takes other people longer to see it, then so be it. Never said it was going to be smooth sailing.

 

Yes, love does take a certain leap of faith.

There are good days and bad days. But love isn’t all about happy endings.

With Boyfriend, I’m glad that I am.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Boyfriend, Family, Relationships | Leave a comment

Taxi Theory in the Philippines

Everyone who’s a fan of Sex and the City knows about the encompassing Taxi Theory.

As stated by the great romantic cynic, Miranda Hobbes, “Men are like cabs. When they’re ready to get married, they turn their light on. The next woman they pick up, BOOM! they marry.”

taxi

I wonder if this is true?

In the Philippines, it seems that this is almost always true.

Here, men always have their lights on. Compared to their overseas counterparts, men here take relationships and marriage a lot more seriously.

How serious?

Well, let me tell you. People here for example just don’t date you because they like you at first glance.

In fact, it takes them a lot of time and effort to get to know you, often by texting and calling, before they even ask you out on a date.

In fact, men here are like lions, circling their prey and trying to get to know the woman without first making their intentions known. They’d like to observe you in group environments, seeing how you interact and react in different scenarios, judging on whether they want to get to know you better before even making a move.

They’re ‘torpe'” a friend once told me, alluding to the fact that men here have no balls. They don’t approach you because they’re afraid of rejection.

I’d like to think that they’re more “segurista.” It means “to be risk averse” or “to be sure of something before making a concrete decision.

If they are not sure of a woman, they don’t make a move, choosing instead to remain friendly and non-commital. It’s not bad to be friendly anyway. You’re not leading anyone on. And you can still observe other women to see if they are better matches for you.

In general, guys here would generally get to know you better first before asking you out.

Sure, they would text and call you, but they’re only being friendly. It’s only when they up their ante and text and call you more often that they’re making ligaw (courting you).

And it’s only when they believe you’re a potential life partner would they ask to date you exclusively.

I guess that’s why marriage is an issue many guys here do not shy away from when they start dating you, especially when you reach of age (e.g., mid 20s and up).

With Trader, we’ve talked about love and marriage around two weeks when we first started dating exclusively. With Boyfriend, marriage and kids are topics that pop up ever so often. And it’s not uncommon. They’re not running to the hills just yet just because these topics are discussed.

In fact, I do have a 36-year old girlfriend who is entertaining a suitor right now, and they’ve already talked about marriage. Mind you, they haven’t really started dating exclusively just yet. She said that the guy had already told her that if they started dating exclusively, they should start thinking about marriage already.

I was befuddled.

Didn’t he run away when you talked about marriage too soon? You’re not even together yet?” I asked.

True, but marriage is already an inevitability, no?” she answered. “Diyan din naman pupunta yan e.” (That’s where it’s going to end up anyway).

I think Philippines take romance and marriage a lot more seriously. It’s as if the taxis always have their lights turned on.

My boyfriend has told me that for many people, they think that their life is somewhat incomplete without someone beside them. “My ama (grandma) still worries about me because I’m unmarried,” he huffed. “She’s happy to rest in peace once we get married.”

Then we should get married as late as possible then!” I joked. I do actually adore his 93-year old grandma and I don’t want us to be blamed for her earlier passing.

This is weird for my counterparts abroad.

In Taiwan and Hong Kong where I lived, people normally started settling down in their 30s. Marriage in your 20s meant settling down too soon and not really living life to its fullest. “How about traveling without boundaries?! Sowing your wild oats before settling down?! Living the life you chose without any dead weight?!” they would ask.

It’s funny — here in the Philippines, people are already married off in their 20s. Those who remain unmarried in their 30s are “expiring.

At least you don’t look your age,” teased Boyfriend. “You only look 26.”

Uhuhhhhhhhh….” I pouted.

Looking back however, I do believe that marriage is a serious decision and should be entered in with eyes wide open. Many a times, we want to get married far too much that we take whatever we can get.

I’m glad I didn’t get married too soon.

If I did, I would have ended up with the wrong guy. Boy, that would have been a sure-fire disaster.

I’m glad I was able to travel more. My mom was right that once you get back to the Philippines, you probably won’t have the financial resources and time to travel as much.

I’m very happy that I managed to work abroad and get some invaluable experience. Money can never buy that.

And I think that as a guy has his taxi light opened, so can a woman.

For example, when I was 26, I was still starting my career and was working tons of overtime. I enjoyed this thoroughly. A guy with serious intentions would’ve dampered my momentum and I would have found him clingy.

At 28, I was on top of the world. My bank account was bursting (or at least for the standard of a normal 28-year old), I was traveling 2 to 3 times a week, and I was confident to the point of arrogance.

I was also a brat, and insisted on getting my way all the time because I deserved it. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a relationship takes two to tango and if you stubbornly insist your own way all the time, the others would tire of always accommodating your needs.

I only wanted to get married on my terms and didn’t really like children as they would hamper my career.

Later on, I was taking up my MBA in Hong Kong and London. In 2011, I think I’ve moved six times in three countries. It would be hard to maintain a relationship then.

When I moved back to the Philippines, I was like a baby slowly being introduced to the world and solid food. I really didn’t know anyone, and if I did, they were mere acquaintances after being away for almost a decade. I also didn’t know what the Philippines was like and spent the last few months getting used to the Philippine weather, dust, corruption and inefficiency.

Yes, my taxi light was still off.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that anyone who ended up with me would also be dragged into my sorry hyper mess of a life, and we would have fought against odds to make it work, more so because I wasn’t helping and insisted on being a stubborn brat.

And then there is today.

Talking about marriage and children feels more like breathing. It comes naturally, and it doesn’t scare me as it did before. I am less of a brat (thank goodness) and in a loving relationship with someone I admire and respect.

Now, I don’t know if Boyfriend is already the right guy for me. Lots of things can still happen in the weeks and months that follows. Shit happens.

But I think that maybe, to the right guy and the right circumstance, my taxi light is finally turning on. Slowly, gradually, and taking its time.

Let’s hope for the best. And as Boyfriend said yesterday, “And the best has yet to come.”

Have a great week everyone!

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How do you know if you’re meant to be?

Why did you pursue me?” I asked Boyfriend as we spent our seven month-sary yesterday.

I asked. And you kept on saying ‘Yes,” he answered. “And the rest, as they say, is history.”

I wonder if a lot of romances start and fizzle because the woman expects too much to soon. There’s too much “shoulds” in the beginning, which results to a lot of “could’ve” and “would’ve” in the end.

In the Philippines, there is the term called “ligaw.” It means to pursue someone with the intention of romancing that person. It’s bragging rights when a man pursues you for a long, long, long time. 

Huh? You only allowed him to pursue you for three months before you agreed to be his girlfriend?!” they would exclaim once they found out just how long Boyfriend pursued me. “Dapat pinahirapan mo pa!” (You should’ve made him work harder!). 

I shrugged.

Coming from abroad, I was used to guys pursuing me by asking me out on a date  immediately after meeting.

Unlike the Philippines, there were no stewing over period, where the guy sweats and tries super hard to vie your attention amidst my crowd of suitors.

By the third date, you knew whether to continue on the relationship based on whether there was  chemistry or not — quite different from here where you get to know a guy for a year, calling and texting each other, and you still don’t know whether you like him for a boyfriend!

It’s not the most romantic scenario, but hey, it works. 

It’s also very efficient, and you don’t waste a lot of each other’s time. If there is any incompatibility, NEXT!

So technically speaking, in Filipino terms, I really didn’t give Boyfriend too much of a hard time. Instead, I did the mirroring method. He asked, and if he asked nicely and if I feel he’s a harmless chap, I said yes. If he didn’t ask, then I didn’t make a move. In a way, I mirrored his actions, only being interested if he was.

And it’s been smooth sailing since then. In fact, it came as a surprise that we’ve reached the seventh month mark given our special circumstance.

Since November when we started dating exclusively, our families (his or mine) has experienced a terminal illness, months long hospitalization, the death of my father, the wobbly dynamics between myself and my family post the death of our family’s patriarch, conflicts within the business, and a car show, which I’ve supervised and organized.

If you really think about it, there are TONS of reasons to fight, disagree and breakup. Instead, surprisingly, there had been multiple cases of understanding and compromise.

What made it different was that our compromise didn’t really feel like compromise.

For example, Boyfriend naturally understood that we would have to take care of my mommy. He never complained of my mom coming with us as a third wheel and even joked that it was great that we can avail of my mom’s senior citizen discount when going to restaurants.

Boyfriend also helped us out with the car show. Despite my multiple showings on inner bitchiness when what I want don’t get done, he remained steadfast as ever. Never really losing his cool, and always a phone call away when we needed anything.

I don’t know if this meant that we are meant to be. That of course is what pre-engagement and premarital counseling and prayers are for. 

However, this is one of my smoothest relationships yet. 

With BF 1, I wanted to break up from Week 1 after he asked me to go home alone and refused to carry my things. My house at that time was only a few blocks away from his, and he didn’t want to send me home. 

With BF 2, it was terrific. Also as smooth and we had a nice six months. But I should’ve taken his constant guilt of dating someone 18 years younger than him a lot more seriously. He cared what other people thought about too, so that was a big tell-tale sign.

With BF 3, well, he was simply unavailable. We broke some of the taboos so we had to keep our relationship low-key. That was just uncomfortable. 

With Trader, something just wasn’t right. Maybe I should have taken his insistence that I shouldn’t wear makeup or heels anymore, or that he wants me to quit my job and raise a family with him as dead giveaways that we really are not compatible to each other. Could have saved me 2.5 years, and I could have dated more men in Hong Kong and London. Oh well.

But with Boyfriend, despite many potential landmines, we’re still chugging along. Enjoying each other’s company. 

We have had conflicts before, but for some reason, they fizzled as fast as they came. We’re both naturally talkative people so maybe that helped.

Anyway, time for me to attend a wedding. Hope all is well. Happy weekend!

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

The Philippine Hypocrisy — Or is it just the Philippines?

One of last week’s bigger news is a popular comic strip artist resigning from his daily after a successful 25-year run at the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), one of the widest read dailies in the Philippines. Since 1988, “Pugad Baboy” was enjoyed by millions of Filipinos but a Pugad Baboy strip printed last June 4, 2013 placed an end to this.

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St. Scholastica’s College (St. Scho) sent an angry, livid statement protesting to one of Pol Medina Jr.’s (the comic artist) strips where one of the characters was taking to a lesbian named MeiMei. On the above strip, Meimei asked on why Christians were so angry about having homosexuals in society but kept quiet on lesbian relationships inside exclusive all-girls Catholic schools in the Philippines. Tiny then agreed saying that it’s hard to find a pretty girl in St. Scho without a girlfriend. You can find a summary of the entire episode here.

Pol Medina Jr.’s resignation came after the Philippine Daily Inquirer suspended his comic strip from running three days after. Here was the official announcement:

“The Pugad Baboy comic strip will not appear in Comic Relief Section starting Friday, June 7. Pending investigation by the Reader’s Advocate on the controversial June 4 comic strip, the Inquirer is pulling out Pugad Baboy by P.M.Jr. The controversial June 4 Pugad Baboy comic strip was removed from the comics section of inquirer.net on June 5 (10PM).”

And herein lies the hypocrisy and the PDI’s attempt to wash its hands clean.

For one, nobody placed a gun to their head to run that strip.

Before a comic strip is run, the daily’s editors would have to review and approve to prevent scandals from erupting. I don’t think that any writer or comic artist is allowed such liberal freedom to run whichever they please without the go signal of at least the section’s editor.

According to the paper, the comic strip was submitted last April 2013 but was rejected. But due to a “mix-up,” the strip was picked up for publication.

This is just bullshit.

Yes, it was indeed a mistake to run that strip, but a writer can submit whichever he wants for the editor to review. The writer, given free press and all, should not be condoned for doing so.

Controversially hilarious or not, Medina was just doing his job — to present satirical pieces that semi-accurately reflects the Philippine society in the hopes of bringing joy and comic relief to the hearts and minds of the people.

It is the paper’s sole mistake to have run it, regardless of how profoundly apologetic they can be. Placing the blame almost entirely on the writer is careless stupidity, and shows how hard they’re trying to wash themselves off the blame.

Two, a paper is supposed to be independent.

It’s the paper’s job is to reveal and revel the truth, and to report things as they see it. They should NOT allow themselves to be swayed by ultra-sensitive groups who indignantly protest what is in fact, true.  

To be honest, can anyone honestly say that there are no cases of homosexuality in St. Scho and other all-exclusive Catholic schools? Like seriously?

Whereas it may indeed unfair to brand a school as having all homosexual students, I don’t think St. Scho or other similar schools can deny that there are no lesbians in their school.

Medina was just highlighting a stereotype that exists and whispered by society — that in an all-girls school here in the Philippines, lesbianism DOES happen. There are some females who do date each other. It is discouraged, but the likelihood of one exploring his/her homo- or bi-sexuality is higher in an exclusive boy or girl’s school than in a coed educational institution.

I went to a co-ed school — you would be seriously ostracized if you were gay or lesbian. Guys would beat you up. Girls would stay away from you. Unlike in an exclusive school where you will indeed be more likely to be approached and propositioned by some to “try” homosexuality out.

And it doesn’t mean that homosexuality is bad. Some may even think that it’s this spirit of openness which gives people the confidence to actually not be afraid to reveal who they truly are.

And lastly, where is your sense of humor?

Guys, it’s a comic strip, relax.

It’s supposed to be funny. If it wasn’t that strip wouldn’t last 25 years.

And if the strip talks about you, be a good sport and laugh with it. Not raise up your hands in protest and make a ruckus.

There’s a saying here in the Philippines, “Bato bato sa langit, ang natamaan, ‘wag magagalit!”

Literally in English, it means, “If you get hit by rocks falling from the sky, don’t get mad.”

In actuality, it means that if you hear something being said and is done against you personally, please don’t get mad if in fact what is being cited against you is true.

And here is the sickness of the Filipino people: We try our best to be holier than though, but us ourselves falling in the trap of not acting holy in the midst of being holier than though.

Yes, read that statement again. It can be quite confusing.

In other words, when it is other people, we laugh and make fun of them at their expense. But when it comes to our own weaknesses, our own faults, when other people point it to us, we become so emotionally defensive protesting to the world.

It’s the same as my future sister-in-law becoming angry once we tell her that she is once again late for work. She gets irritated when we tell her that when in fact, if she wasn’t late, nobody would tell her off.

It’s the same as a man who sues a newspaper for actually reporting something that he himself has actually done.

Or the husband who gets mad at the wife for inquiring on his whereabouts because she called him at work and he wasn’t there, when in fact he was actually with his hot mistress at a local motel.

It’s the same hypocrisy as a person who demands the best service to an event which is free.

And it’s the same as someone who tells other people to behave and act like good Christians, but when push comes to shove, he himself swears and acts un-Christianly himself.

Guys, one shouldn’t maintain a double standard. Rules should apply to everyone, not to everyone but us.

If one makes a joke on our expense, reflect on the joke and ask yourself if this is indeed true. Jokes anyway are usually half meant, and the jokes would’ve been made or appreciated if there is no truth to it. And if there was some truth to it, try to see if you can stop and solve the problem.

Hence, for St. Scho, instead of protesting and bullying a comic strip artist, why not reflect about their own student body and see if this claim is in fact true.

If it is true and it bothers you, do something about it.

If it is false, then the rumor/joke would remain unappreciated and die a natural death. No stereotype would remain if it was completely untrue.

False hypocrisy?

Is this just a Philippine or global phenomenon? You let me know.

Happy independence day!

Posted in Personal opinion, Philippines, Politics, Rants, Reflections | Leave a comment

What would you do if you do not like the girl your brother is dating?

They’ve actually dated for three years and I know her for almost two.

Don’t get me wrong. She is a nice person and her family is the greatest. Her dad is an accomplished president of a non-profit organization, her sister-in-law is an acute businesswoman who is one of the food suppliers to a large hotel chain here in Manila. And I hold them both with the highest respect.

But it irks me that my potential sister-in-law is someone who doesn’t take work seriously.

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For one, she is always late.

Despite our urging, she cannot seem to come to work on time. You see, she helps out in the family business, but for some reason, she is always late. She comes in at around 10:30am or 1:00 pm, or sometimes, don’t come to work at all.

It came to a point that people from the office ask us whether she’s really part of the company because she is working only half a day! I think it is bad when people feel you have the right to be late because you are your boss’ girlfriend.

Gee… what’s going to happen once they are married?

Two, when she actually goes to work, she’s playing games right where everyone can see!

Be it playing Candy Crush via her cellphone, or playing games on her PC, my potential sister-in-law cannot seem to stop playing games or fiddling on the Internet, browsing Facebook or YouTube during working hours.

Most of the time, whenever I pass by her desk to go to the bathroom, she is NOT working. Instead, she’s surfing the Internet. It irks me that we are all so busy in the office, and her not doing anything at plain sight.

And when she starts doing something, all she does is ask my brother what she needs to do and how. Like when she wanted to buy a ceiling fan and was calling a store. She asked him where the ceiling fan will be installed!

Not only is her playing games during office hours a bad example to other people (She sits between two of our secretaries who sees everything), but it’s a bad precedent to others that it’s okay not to work if you’re the boss’ girlfriend!

Lastly, she has yet to really contribute anything concrete despite working here for months.

I really dislike people who always find excuses to their incompetencies. It’s as if they cannot own up to their faults. Hence, if they always think that it’s somebody else’s problem, then they cannot improve.

Even if you assign her a task, she will delegate it to someone else. If you give her a responsibility, it doesn’t get done to the point that you’ll end up doing it.

Like the time we assigned her to design and make a uniform for our employees during the car show.

One week before the show, I asked her about the uniform.

Oh we don’t have a uniform yet,” she said.

Why not?” I asked.

There’s no one who is willing to do it because time is too short,” she answered. “They need at least two weeks to do it.”

Note that we have assigned this assignment to her at least a month before. But they dilly-dallied on the uniform design to the point that it’s one week before and she still hadn’t found anyone who can do it.

Well, there’s no material too,” she added. “We cannot find leatherette anywhere.”

Uuuuh, why not get it from the upholstery shops?” I asked. “They usually have leatherette there.”

Uh, so who’s going to go to the upholstery shop?” she asked.

I just stared at her. Well, who do you think should get it, Einstein?

Uuuuuh, so what will my staff wear?” I asked.

She just looked at me blankly as if at a loss.

Aaaaaaaaaaargh.

Anyway, in the end, my mom stepped in and saved the day. We actually sourced the material, found a sewer who agreed to do everything, and got the uniforms on time.

No help from the person in charge.

Which bothers me a lot.

Would you marry someone who cannot do anything? Can you respect someone enough to be the mother of your children if they are just nice but cannot really make things happen? How important is the quality that din-e-tsue-tai-ji (you can actually make things happen)?

When you date someone, you date them because they are nice, pretty and someone you get along with.

However, when you marry, are work ethics, discipline and the ability to actually make things happen, matter?

My potential sister-in-law so far may be nice and sweet, but so far, she has not shown evidence that she can be constantly on time, that she can be disciplined in her life, and she has the ability to accomplish something for herself.

And she is already 26 years old.

Even at this mid-20s, she has yet to show any of her personal achievement aside from being someone’s daughter and Chinese.

I try my best to keep quiet since it is my brother’s business but I find it difficult to. I honestly think that work ethics and discipline are important when finding a mate. But if I say something, I will be the bad guy, held responsible for stopping something that could have been beautiful.

No, this is something that my brother has to see and decide for himself. Till then, I will keep quiet.

How about you?

What do you think of my situation and how will you handle it?

Posted in Family, Rants | 6 Comments

I am glad I didn’t marry earlier

This wonderful article, Do Not Marry Before Age 30, pretty much sums up how I feel about marriage.

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Sure, you might blame me for copping out, telling me that I could only feel this way because I wasn’t lucky enough to find true love and get married in my 20s. Others however may feel that my joy is premature since at my early 30s, I still am not yet married despite already being blissfully happy with someone.

But it’s true. In hindsight, I’m SO SO glad I didn’t get married to Michan, Mark, a couple of Michaels, Trader, and all the guys I’ve previously dated.

For one, there was a reason that I’m no longer with them. And despite my overanalysis, these reasoning still stands.

For Michan for example, he just wasn’t ready to be an adult yet. He was always jumping from one endeavor to the other. Never really settling down in anything.

When I met him, he was an unemployed high school graduate whose work experienced was to be a waiter in a large hotel. He later on became a ramen chef, and the last I heard, was doing acupuncture in Japan. In his mid-30s, I’m not really sure he’s completely satisfied with what he’s doing and is still looking for the next big thing.

Mark on the other hand was 18 years older than me.

He was very nice and was similar to me in so many ways. Out of all my ex-relationships, Mark was the only guy I wished I could’ve married when I was then 26 years old.

Then again, it still didn’t change that we had an 18 year gap. And that 18 year gap would’ve taken a toll on our relationship when we reached our old age. Imagine having to take care of your almost senior-aged husband when you’re still in your prime 40s.

He is now happily married to someone else closer to his own age and I am happy for him.

Michael moreover was unavailable. Sexy as hell, or at least, I thought so, but yeah. He was unavailable. So let’s just leave it at that.

Trader on the other hand, couldn’t really make me laugh. I’d have to admit, I was a bit bored in this relationship. I somehow stayed because he was a nice guy but I don’t think I thoroughly enjoyed the experienced.

There were some good days however. Trader was super duper smart and he moved me to get deeper into finance. Weekends were spent watching movies and reading finance books together. He also liked to travel which I appreciated.

Still, it didn’t really change the fact that Trader was also low energy and we were two completely different people. In the end, there was a third-party from his side and so far, he was the only guy who betrayed me, betrayed me.

I’ve forgiven Trader already, but boy, did I dodge a bullet from that one. Phew!

I think I’m at the age where people are concerned whether I would really get married or not. Do you remember just how worried people were when I said I started dating Boyfriend? They wanted to ensure that he was totally serious about me despite early days.

Who can blame them?

While in Hong Kong and Taiwan, people didn’t start getting married until they reached their late 20s or early 30s, here in the Philippines, if you weren’t yet married at that time, there was something seriously wrong with you.

That is because the average age for a first marriage in the Philippines is 25.8 years old. And that’s for men. For women, people were married (most likely because of an unexpected pregnancy) by the age of 20.

By the age of 29 years old, over 3/4 of the population had been married!

So at the age of 24, that’s when everyone starts getting married. You’ll see most of your friends, classmates and colleagues throwing bachelor/ette parties, engagements and getting hitched. You cannot imagine just how tired of going to weddings one can be in her mid- to late-20s. Everyone was just getting married.

Once you reach your 30s, people start to wonder. Why is this woman unmarried yet? What is wrong with her? And what about her biological clock?

As for me, I remained blissfully unaffected.

And who can blame me since I lived overseas for almost a decade.

While my friends were getting hitched, having babies, and some have their marriages getting annuled, I was traveling around the world, dating a lot of eligible and not so eligible men, and having the time of my life.

While people were planning their weddings, I was planning my trips to Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Iceland, United Kingdom, Spain, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Italy.

While people were monogamously dating their boyfriends since college, I was hopping from one guy to the other, trying to get to know them and most importantly, trying to get to know me and what I liked.

Sure, most were jerks, but hey, I did collect some pretty cool dating stories from my past and realized what were the things that were important to me. At least I know now not only what I wanted, but what I didn’t want.

I remembered kissing a super cute smoker before. Yuck! It tasted like you were licking an ashtray.

I went out with a guy who was married before. Never going there again. It wasn’t the moral issue that I couldn’t stand – for some reason, I didn’t empathize with the wife. But it was more about me being possessive and not wanting to be with someone who couldn’t be completely mine.

I went out with a boss. Couldn’t really deal being his servant and secretary. Despite his high post, he was quite useless with everything else.

I remembered going out with a blonde surfer dude. He really cared for me, but it was hard to have a relationship with someone who lived continents away and only wanted to surf in Hawaii.

I also learned a lot about myself.

For one, I realized just how much of a bitch I can be to guys and just how unrealistic my standards were for them. Relationships are all about give and take, and I could never understand how anyone could’ve tolerated the selfish me me me (Trader did for 2.5 years).

Two, I realized just how important values and commonalities are. That relationships are beyond just the two of you, and more about how you would want your future to be. The fact that I dated Trader who wanted me to stay at home and have his babies made me realize that I wasn’t cut out for complete domesticity even if a guy was offering me the world at my feet.

Three, I realized that it’s great not to settle. That the right one is just out there if you continue keeping the faith and get yourself out there. You cannot imagine just how many experiences I was willing to try just for a good story. People are still surprised on how gung-ho I can be on blind dates and speed dating. I did meet my Boyfriend online via eharmony.com. It just shows the possibilities are endless if you are open to it.

So in the end, it’s true.

I am glad I didn’t marry earlier.

I am glad that I gave myself the time and opportunity to spread my wings and discover much about myself.

I am glad that I remained unattached and unmarried until I met my current Boyfriend, with whom I am so happy with (let’s not be premature – we don’t know where this is going yet).

I am glad I kept the faith and kept on pushing myself out there despite the disappointed.

And I hope you are happy you didn’t get married earlier as well. Kudos to those who are happily married with children, but hey, being single wasn’t too bad either.

Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Boyfriend, Personal opinion, Philippines, Reflections, Relationships | 1 Comment

Mommy Time – 2x a Week!

Context: Ever since my dad passed away last February, my brother and I had been happy to invite and take my mom out for dinner, for movies, and elsewhere. This helps her avoid depression since my parents have always been together, day in and day out, up until my dad’s death. They have been married for 40 years.

Earlier this week, my brother’s girlfriend told my mom that they (her and my brother) have decided that they have set aside Mondays and Tuesdays for mommy time. So every Monday and Tuesday, they will spend it with mommy. Unfortunately, that also meant that the rest of the week, they can do whatever they please.

I sent brother the below email. Do you agree/disagree? And do you think I’m reading too much on their statement? Happy weekend!

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Dear Brother,
 
To be honest, I was shocked when (Girlfriend’s name) said the other day that both of you have decided to set aside your Mondays and Tuesdays for mommy. I’m sure it wasn’t your intention but what came out when we heard was that, out of the 7 days in a week, you and your girlfriend are “happy” to devote 2 days to mommy.
 
So what happened to the other five days? Does this mean that you are a son to her for the two days, but for the rest of the five, it’s up to her to keep busy? So love now is only 30% of the week? Does this mean that if mommy needs you in a day outside your Monday and Tuesday, we’ll have to take care of her because you and (Girlfriend’s name) will be busy elsewhere? What’s worse, what came out was that mommy should be happy that both you and (Girlfriend’s name) are making time for her out of your busy schedule, when it should actually be the other way around. Whoever made or thought of this rule of allocating whichever day you want to mommy without even consulting her didn’t think it about it too much…
 
Anyway, I would like to give you the benefit of a doubt that the plan just wasn’t thought out well, and you have no intention to start allocating time for mom. Personally, it’s always a pleasure to bring mom around. She is good company, and oftentimes, give timely and good advice. So whenever we can can, (Boyfriend) and I like taking her out for dinner and movie so long as there are no pending events like car club stuff or business meetings. We usually work in the evenings kasi e. I’ve always appreciated (Boyfriend) for being so game and welcoming for mom – he never complains and instead understands – kasi yun naman talaga ang dapat. I hope that (Girlfriend’s name) should be the same as well, otherwise, papaano na when you get married? Our family would even be more intertwined then. 🙂
 
Besides, with mom in our lives, helping us out at our company, mediating between us, etc. etc. etc, no amount of thanks or taking her out can ever justify the love that she has showered to us both. Spending time with her is a great start. On a more practical note, especially with mom’s age, eye condition, I hate her to drive around by herself. It’s just not safe.
 
Anyway, I’d leave this to you na lang. If you decide otherwise, that’s ok. But hope you can be open minded enough to at least read, pray and ponder on this advice. It’s not easy for me to write this, but I don’t want naman for me to keep on thinking how can my own brother allow such a thing, and I didn’t say anything about it.
 
Love love,
Bonita
Posted in Boyfriend, Family, Philippines, Rants, Relationships | Leave a comment

Marriage Counseling before Engagement?

We went to the Mega 10 Most Beautiful People event at Haze last Thursday.

Mega 2

The place was relatively empty till around 9:30pm, but started filling in up until the start of the formalities at around 11:30pm.

It’s funny. The event itself, or at least the program, lasted for 20 minutes I think. The Editor in Chief Sari Yap gave a brief speech, the 10 Most Beautiful Women were introduced, and one of them sang two songs.

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And there was that, the event was already over.

A little bit bitin if you ask me. But then again, who needs an excuse to party? 🙂

I was there with Boyfriend offering my support. His text later on: “Success without being able to share it with someone that you love is meaningless. I am so happy that it’s you, Bonita.”

Awwwww….

Anyway, we are undergoing couples counseling together. Do you know that in the Philippines, couples are required to undergo six (6) hours of couples counseling before getting married.

And the answer is, NO, he hasn’t proposed. But my relatives and family are very concerned that I know exactly what I’m getting into, and have realistic expectations before marriage.

So, couples counseling it is.

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I am just very lucky that he doesn’t really think it’s weird that I’ve suggested it, and is gamingly participating as well. Most guys would just think it’s hooey.

Personally, I am neutral to positive about it. For one, it’s nice to know. What hurt is it to actually go to counseling and get to know the other person better? At the very least, you guys can discuss the potential issues you may face as a couple and come to the relationship with a more open eye and mind.

Secondly, it’s fun. Our faciliators are trusted pastors in a church, and it’s kinda nice that you are not just accountable to each other, but to a third party. They try their best not to be judgemental and don’t dictate to you what is right and what is wrong.

And lastly, it creates self-awareness, not just of the other, but to yourself.

During our counseling session, our faciliator warned us that we both had strong personalities so it’s important that we are aware of each of our strengths and weaknesses. I couldn’t agree more. If both of us wouldn’t give in, then what will happen to us?

Admittedly though, it’s actually a bit embarrassing.

Who would go to marital counseling even before engagement?! 🙂

In a way, it’s presumptous to think that you will even get married to this person even before he proposes. What will happen then if something else happens and we broke up?

In addition, it pushes the guy to make a deeper commitment to you.

For example, the first question asked to Boyfriend when we had our first session last Tuesday was, “Where do you think this relationship is going?”

“Excuse me?” Boyfriend asked.

How serious are your intention towards Bonita?” the facilator repeated the question.

Hahaha, let someone who has no serious intentions towards you try to answer that!

Regardless, the experience has slowly brought us closer. We do have one more thing to discuss about, and we are starting to think of each other as a potential life partner, which is good.

Anyway, it’s in early days. We have just had our first session last Tuesday. Five more sessions to go!

Posted in Boyfriend, Parties, Philippines | 3 Comments

Is Dating Dead if You are Fat?

I met a Filipino-Chinese woman yesterday who co-owned a macaroon bakery with her sister. She had pale beautiful skin, a kind face, and long hair. 

She was also, by her own admission, overweight.

My auntie said I am not ‘kaisiao-able'” she matter-a-factly told me. Kaishiao is a very common term heard by many unmarried in the Philippines. It means that a concerned acquaintance or family member introduces you to another unmarried single of the opposite sex in the hopes of making a love connection.

WHAT?!” I exclaimed, surprised how a relative could be that mean.

Yes, she said that given I have no family business, and that I am short and fat, I am un-kaishiao-able.”

I was surprised on how calm she said these words. And how much she believed what her relatives have said.

Yes, they think that I need to have a boyfriend. Once I have a boyfriend, or at least experienced having a boyfriend, then they wouldn’t bug me about it anymore.”

My friend is 28 years old and part of the NBK (Never-Been-Kissed) Club. Apparently, in the Philippines, this is quite common and not good. If your daughter never had a boyfriend in her late 20s, parents usually worry.

And here I am thinking that it’s awesome that you don’t have to have your heart broken several times. Dating is dangerous and oftentimes, hurtful. I think I’ve already had my heart broken a few times. I woe any parent who wishes that for their own daughter.

Personally, I think dating requires you spending a lot of time with that person,” I started. “Hence, if you make that person your boyfriend, then make sure that you really enjoy his time. That he’s actually worth it.”

My family is actually anti-relationship and anti-marriage. Not that they don’t believe in it because they do, but they do not think that one should get into a relationship or worse, a marriage, if the person is NOT the right one for you.

Better be single and happy than be stuck with an abusive partner whom you will eventually resent or loathe.

You can say that because you are tall and thin,” she woefully said.

I wondered then about the fate of all fat people in the world. Given their physiques, are they doomed for single-dom? And if ever, are they stuck as well with equally fat partners?

 Image

The thing is, having lived abroad, I’ve met a lot of people who are fat, and yet are happy in love.

My friend AF for example is female and holds a decent position at HSBC. Even in her 20s, you know she’s going to be HUGE. But that never really was a factor for her.

You can always see AF out about with her friends, going out and having fun. When I met her in Taipei, we went to a costume party together, and she came out as Sexy Alice (in Wonderland).

Being with her was just an experience — you were literally blown away by her energy. Even I couldn’t really compete with her. 🙂

I think this is the problem — fat people tend to believe all the negative things people say about them.

Negative things like, you’re unattractive. People will not love you because you are fat. Who will date you? You’re only going to get bigger…

I think believing negativity especially when it targets you and your self-esteem is dangerous. When you yourself do not think you are special, then who else will?

So if you ask me, dating is harder if you are fat, NOT because you are physically unattractive, but because being fat makes you a more depressed person who don’t love or believe in yourself.

And who wants to be with someone who is a downer? 🙂

In the end, I don’t think that dating is dead if you are fat. There are still a lot of women who are thin and yet are single.

But dating is dead IF you believe you are fat and unattractive, no matter which weight you are in.

Makes sense? 🙂

Happy weekend!

Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

How Voting Happens in the Philippines

Today is the day Filipinos exercise their civic duty and vote.

If you are aged 18 and above, you are allowed to vote for half of the senate seat (12 out of 24), and part of your local government (e.g., mayor, councilors, etc.). The entire list are here.

My mom and I woke up early to go to our local precinct to vote. Since I’ve been away for almost a decade, sadly, I wasn’t registered, but I was happy to accompany my mom and act as her body guard. Voters by the way had to be registered by October 2012, or would be ineligible to vote.

Our precinct is in a local university, right beside the squatter area. Here is the street leading up to the backend entrance of the school.

Election 0

By the entrance, you can verify your correct precinct and information. Voting precincts open at 7:00am, and close at 7:00pm. Citizens are asked to bring their identity cards to verify their registration online.

Election 1

Thank God for this volunteers who made the process even smoother!

Since my mom is a senior citizen, we thankfully didn’t have to fall in line, and was lead straight to the voting area. Woe are those who had to suffer the long lines.

In the Philippines, the voting area is usually a covered basketball court. Here you can see it’s just made by makeshift wooden separates, with the voters asked to sit in wooden chairs and given simple folders to “cover” up their votes.

election 3

Watchers can sit by the side, away from the voters. But it’s not really that big of a problem to both watch and take photos. I got away with it, haha!

In the special voting area where you are given a ballot, a marker, and secrecy folder. Similar to taking a computerized standardized test, you are asked to shade the oval beside the candidate’s name you are voting for.

No erasures are allowed, so it’s advisable that you already have a list of candidates before entering the poll. You can under-vote but not over-vote, or your ballot will be invalidated.

Afterwards, the ballot is fed to a machine and the election officer will mark your finger with indelible ink. Here is my mommy’s finger.

election 2

It’s supposed to only wash off after a few days.

Thankfully, since the entire process is computerized, there is less cheating during the elections. In the olden days, votes are counted manually and the counters are paid to add a few 0s to the total count.

These days, since voting is computerized, cheating occurs beforehand.

Vote-buying still remains to be popular, and widespread. My auntie for example, has been approached and has been offered to sell her votes. If she and her household can vote for a specific list of candidates which would be given earlier, each of them would receive Php 500 (approx. USD 12).

That’s still not that high,” my auntie said. “Some of my helpers were asked by their elders to go back to the province to vote with the promise payment of Php 5,000.00) each!”

That’s almost USD 112! You can buy a lot of things with USD 112…

A photo of a sample ballot and the bribe is attached. As you can see, it already contains the list of voters you have to go for.

vote-buying-ver-02-20130512-rappler

It saddens me that democracy has led us to this. Since Filipino over 18 years old is allowed to vote, it is sad to see this process abused.

My vote doesn’t count” one voter may say in defense of vote-selling. “If I sold my vote, one person shouldn’t make too big a difference.”

That is true, my friend. But one vote totals to a lot of votes collectively. If you sell your vote, then how much more will the others sell theirs?

In other words, you are selling your right to vote for a measly Php 500. To put it in perspective, Php 500 is 1.5x the average daily wage rate. This is the cost of one vote in the Philippines. And yes, vote buying is still sadly rampant.

Despite all this farce, it still doesn’t matter. While we cannot completely stop cheating, at the very least, we can do our best to prevent or minimize it.

For one, we can always try to keep abreast with what’s going on, and get ourselves informed of our candidates’ credentials and their respective agendas. While it may be a losing battle, at least, we are doing our part.

Two, let us discourage vote buying amongst our own households. Tell our household help to keep their dignity by making their own choices, and not sell out to others.

Three, do not vote for those candidates who are buying votes. And do our best to inform others who these corrupt officials are!

Today is the day of the elections. Vote wisely everyone!

Posted in Personal opinion, Philippines, Politics | 1 Comment

Am I Happy I Went Back?

A few weeks ago, I was visited by some friends from Hong Kong.

It was my mentor back when I was working in a British bank, and he brought some of his high-flying friends. They were looking to invest in some Philippine property because it was “hot” at the moment.

At that time, I was unable to entertain them too much because I was busy with a car show. So, I only met them for drinks at Solaire, the newest-opened casino in Manila.

Our conversation revolved around the finance industry, making money, the Philippine economy, politics and why real estate and stock market prices in the Philippines were so inflated — all in less than two hours.

It made me miss the intellectual stimulation I used to enjoy back in Hong Kong. 😦

One of them was also quite cute. He actually used to be one of my old clients back when I was working for a Swiss bank, but I’ve only met him that day. Him and my mentor are very good friends.

It reminded me of all the eligible bachelors that are in Hong Kong, and how I wasn’t able to partake of any of them since I was loyally attached to Trader for the entire duration of my Hong Kong stay. I am reminded of what could have been, if only I didn’t come home to Manila to help out with the family business.

If I may remind you, coming back home to Manila after nine years abroad was MY choice.

Contrary to popular opinion, I wasn’t dragged back home kicking and screaming. My parents, lovely people as they are, gave me the freedom to actually grow away from their tutelage, and even encouraged me to earn tons of dollars abroad.

Secretly, they were quite proud of my uber-high income and my achievements, and bragged about them whenever I would come and visit. In addition, it was a bit of a relief to them that they never really had to worry about me any more since I was doing well overseas.

But after my break-up with Trader, I was hit by a sudden epiphany.

After nine years of living overseas, I simply woke up and decided that I want to go back and live in the Philippines. This came as a surprise even to me since never once in my entire nine years abroad had I ever had such a thought.

Which was why, I always tell people when asked why I went back, that I was called back home by God. I don’t know why, or how, but for some reason, everything was pretty smooth despite initial resistance from mom and dad to let me go home. “Sayang naman (What a waste),” they said. “You were doing so well abroad and you just finished your MBA.”

Well, I can be stubborn too, and just like that, I packed up all my bags and returned back to the Philippines. First, flying back from London to Hong Kong before shipping everything and my sorry ass back home.

I remember when I arrived, I was surprised by the whoosh of hot air that greeted me at the airport. It was January 21, 2012 and I was warmly dressed after having stayed in London and Hong Kong.

Boy, have I forgotten just how hot it can be back in Manila!

Everything was a culture shock for me. I hope people wouldn’t take this the wrong way but I found the system here inefficient, corrupt and slow. On my second day back home, I was immediately exposed to the corruption in the government system. Public servants were not so subtlely asking for outright bribes!

It was a welcoming sight — and yes, I am being sarcastic here.

At first, the change was tough.

Since I haven’t lived in Manila for almost a decade, I was almost a foreigner in my own country. I didn’t know my way around at all, and didn’t know how to drive.

I also didn’t have a job for the first few months, and the lack of income (thank God for savings!) took awhile to get used to.

Thankfully, I was supported by my parents, and my little brother embraced me with open arms. He gave me a job at his own company, which sells car accessories wholesale, and even allowed me to be the third wheel during dates with his girlfriend.

I remember nights when I would go and watch movies with the both of them, his girlfriend a bit irate that there wasn’t a lot of privacy, but couldn’t do too much about it. I have a lot to thank my little brother for — he made my transition back home a lot smoother.

It was hard though.

Well, for one, I had to contend how to be single again. It hurt a bit in the beginning because I have never really faced a relationship ending because of a third party, and because I didn’t see it coming. It also hurt that Trader and the girl he exchanged me for started dating very quickly.

I went out on several blind dates, and even tried a speed dating event, which was fun. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to find love. It would really open your eyes.

But nobody really caught my interest.

And yet, I never really lost hope. 🙂

Unlike other women who became bitter about their singlehood, I embraced it. I learned more about myself again, and I’ve always believed that God was in charge and He has a purpose for me to be back in Manila.

Six months after I arrived, I met Boyfriend online. Here is our love story.

It was totally unexpected for us both, and such a great surprise. At that time, I only signed up since a lot of the eHarmony articles were very well written. He signed up because he watched a show trumpeting the advantages of using a more scientific eHarmony.

Boyfriend has been single around three years when I met him. He was open for a relationship but wasn’t actively looking. For some reason, everything was smooth sailing between us, and we found out how compatible we were, and how much fun it was to be with each other.

On the eighth month of being in Manila in September, my dad was diagnosed with fourth stage cancer. It was liver cancer, and it was malignant. It was 6 cm x 7cm big, and was located somewhat in the center of his liver.

At that time, dad was already in his wheelchair, and he used to pick me up from the office with mom driving at 4pm, and we would go to Rockwell together to watch the latest movies. As a Makati resident and a senior citizen, him and mom could watch movies in Makati for free, and they readily availed of such enjoyment.

It was a shock to the family.

dad dad

A month after he was diagnosed with liver cancer, we underwent aggressive treatment to try to save his life. We chose Selective Internal Radiotherapy Treatment (SIRT) because it was a targeted treatment that focused merely on the affected area. It was expensive and risky, but we wanted dad to get well.

We were heart broken and surprised. My dad, of all people, should not pass away! He was invincible! He was always there! When he was in a room, his energies was just so strong that no one could ever ignore him.

But left us he did, and the last few months was spent comforting my mother, who has always been at my dad’s side ever since they got married 40 years ago, and adjusting to the many changes of a father-less family.

We also had to deal with the legalities and details of separating the estate, which is another difficult issue as well.

One year and a few days after I arrived, I buried my father at the Heritage Park Cemetaries. And despite my sorrow, I wonder whether this was the reason why I went back.

To spend the last year of my father’s life with him, accompanying him and pushing his wheelchair all around Rockwell.

To provide my mom with comfort and company as she copes with the death of the person closest to her heart. To help her gain back her life and independence after living in my daddy’s shadow all these years.

To help my brother with his business and help it grow. To provide him with wise counsel when needed when it came to his personal and professional life. To be closer to him especially as my dad is no longer around.

To employ more Filipinos and support their families. Part and parcel of being self-employed and being a boss.

To learn more about the Philippines and how things work here as I prepare for a future living here in Manila.

And lastly, to meet my Boyfriend and get into a relationship with him. To help him with his own business as he supports mine. To make each other happy as we figure out if we’re actually the one for each other.

Yes, there are many things I miss about being abroad.

I miss the money of course, and the travels. Back then, I used to travel to two new places a year, a luxury I can no longer maintain now that I am in a lower-income sphere where I do not get paid as much.

I also miss the diversity of very interesting men in Hong Kong who are super-duper smart and are well informed about the world.

I miss the Asian Wall Street Journal which I get and read for free back when I was working in an international bank.

I miss the freedom of buying whatever I want whenever I want it.

I miss the freedom of not having curfew and staying out whenever I can.

But do I regret coming back?

No, not a single bit. 🙂

Yes, there are pitter-patters of regret that steal inside my heart now and then. And I am glad to have the knowledge that IF I wanted to, I can always move back to Hong Kong and find a life back there again.

But as I look around at my colleagues, my brother, my mom, and especially my boyfriend, I can confidently say, I do not regret coming back.

And I am happy, just the way I am, where I am now.

It’s funny how life is. Two years ago, I never expected that I would come back. At that time, I was finishing up my master’s degree at HKUST and is faced with tons of professional opportunities. I was dating somebody else as well and it seemed that my future was with him.

Today, I am in a different place. Different, yet happier.

My favorite verse in the Bible is in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to help you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Yes, life brought me to a different direction, but I am glad I made that leap.

I am glad that I went back. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Boyfriend, Family, Favorite Posts, Men, Mom's advice | 4 Comments

Times Flies When You’re Having Fun

I’ve been quite busy the last couple of weeks. Basically, a lot of it is spending time with Boyfriend, but more often than not, we spend most of the time together working.

You see, we’re both in the car after-market industry.

He’s in the fine-tuning performance business, and his job is to make cars go faster. When asked about what he does, he usually tells people, “Have you ever watched ‘The Fast and The Furious? Well, that’s what I do… make cars go fast.”

Image

As for me, I’m in the car accessories business. We sell head units, alarms, wipers, and boring stuff you put in the car to make it look good. So in a way, we share a common language — cars and a love for work.

Like right now, as I update you with what’s going on with my life, Boyfriend is photoshopping my company brochure. It’s a lazy Sunday sure, but at least, no one can ever say that he’s lazy. Haha, especially when it’s helping me with my stuff.

A lot of people ask us already when we’re settling down. And whether it is serious.

Here’s what I always tell them, “I really don’t know where it is going, but look, I really do love being with him and he makes me happy so let’s see where it goes.”

As they say, it’s difficult to really predict the future. For example, I originally thought that Trader and I would get married. We were dating long enough anyway. Fortunately, God has other plans for me.

So here we are, working. And having fun.

I hope that your weekend is well too.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Why are Filipinos Poor?

My Thoughts on the Minimum Wage Law of the Philippines

I’m sorry, ma’m,” my sales agent texted me, “But I can’t get to work today.”

What do you mean can’t get to work?” I asked.

Oh, I don’t have transport money to get to work,” he texted back. “So I can’t come in today.”

My response: “……”

I pay my sales staff the minimum wage + reimburse their transport allowance + a commission for all their sales collected. This is the same as anybody who works in a fast food chain, plus

The daily minimum wage in the Philippines is Php 446.00 (or USD 11.00) per day. This is for the agricultural sector for eight hours worth of work. Agricultural sectors earn less than this.

Click here for the complete chart.

Gape at the fact that the daily wage is a mere cost of a meal in McDonalds in the US, but the normal Filipino can subsist with this allowance.

For example, in our company, our working days are from Monday till Saturday, so six days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm. There is a one-hour lunch break from 12:00pm till 1:00pm, and a 15 minute break in the afternoon. Breaks are sacred here in the Philippines that you can never make anyone work in between these times.

So given the six-days-a-workweek schedule, there is an average of 26 days in a month, or Php 11,600.00 monthly salary (or USD 285.00). From this money, you spend:

  • Php 2,500 (or USD61) for housing – be it renting from a relative (common!) or from a landlord. It’s usually a small room with shared bathroom.
  • Php 120 (USD 3) for daily food, or Php 3,800 a month for food for yourself.
  • Php 50 (USD1.20) per day for transport, or Php 1,500 a month.
  • Php 500 for call and text load on your cellphone.

So overall, that is already Php 8,300.00 (USD 204) in monthly expense give or take.

Or Php 3,300 (USD 80) left for savings and miscellaneous expense. This is assuming you are single and living alone. If you have a family and mouths to feed, the financial burden is even greater.

That is why people here borrow too much. My employees call it “cash advance” but it’s plain old borrowing. If they have no money to borrow, they will go to a 5/6 shop, which is even worse — you borrow a “5” and you pay for a “6” or a whooping 20% interest at the maturity period!

And before you complain about the lowness of the payscale, imagine how it was before the minimum wage law has been given! There are still a lot of small companies that pay its people half of this by the way — or specifically, Php 250-300 (USD 6-9) per day.

No wonder the rate of graft and corruption in the Philippines is high — people aren’t really getting paid a lot of money.

So yes, not having enough money for prepaid load or transport can be quite common in the Philippines. There has been numerous instances where my people couldn’t even report or call me just because they don’t have enough money.

And yet, the lack of money is still not an excuse.

If my sales agent does not get to work, he will NOT be paid. If he takes enough absences, we kick him out. In the end of the day, we are still running a business, and we are paying him fairly and treating our employees quite well.

Hence, the lack of money to get to work may be a valid reason BUT it is not an excuse.

The next day, I explain to my employee my logic.

Put it this way, if he gets to work, he will get paid. Absences are a no-no, and are unpaid (of course). Given his role, if he makes a lot of sales, he will get a commission.

So the more work he does, the more sales he will get. The more sales he will get, the more he will get paid in payday.

And my role as his boss is to just pay him fairly whatever is his due. This is way better than other employers who no longer pay their people the right minimum wage, and are delayed for a few weeks before they release the paychecks.

Yes, it is tough, but the alternative is even tougher. Being unemployed sucks.

Also, having no money in the Philippines is like cutting your hands and feet.

You cannot do anything, and you have to beg for money. And nobody wants to be obligated and be in debt with someone else. It is not uncommon to have people borrow around up to 6 months to a year of their salary. 😦

Don’t worry, I used to be shocked too on how much people subsist. But in the end, it’s all about competencies and background too.

70-80% population are paid small, but those who are well educated are paid even better. For example, a 21-year old graduate from my university (which is Top 3 here) earns at least Php 30,000 (or USD 730) a month. That is 2.5x the minimum wage.

And this is just an inexperienced 21 year old. What more once he/she gets more experience?

So complain all you want. Welcome to the Philippines. This is reality.

And before you rant and rave on the cruelties of Manila, think about it this way, there is still the other side of the story. In other words, take a look as well on the side of the employer. The boss is not as bad as you think.

But that is the topic of another story.

Have a great weekend everyone!

**Thanks to Masonywu for suggesting this topic. Feel free to suggest more topics as well.**

Posted in Philippines, Work | 5 Comments

Any Suggestions?

The problem with having a blissful love life is that you cannot really find anything to bitch about. Which makes for a more boring blog.

It’s been days since I’ve looked at a blank screen, and yet, nothing popped up.

Even accidentally bumping into Trader last Saturday, I felt… nothing. So nothing to write as well. 😦

So any suggestions? What do you want me to write about? Comment below! 🙂

Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

Reprint: Which Male Archetype Are You?

1. The Needy Guy

He is overly emotional and shares all his feelings with  her right away. The Needy Guy also doubts himself and needs constant reassurance  about his relationship, work and friendships.

Why he is so  unappealing:
Confidence and independence are very sexy traits in a man — insecurity and dependence are not. Most women look for a strong partner they can  lean on. So if you are always leaning on her — especially in the early stages  of a relationship — she might doubt your ability to do this. And since women  tend to come into relationships with all sorts of insecurities, she won’t want  to deal with yours as well as her own.

What to do if you’re that guy:
Timing is everything, so you just need to keep your feelings in check  at the beginning of the relationship. Try to hold off on sharing all your  feelings or divulging your insecurities.  Once you are far enough along in the relationship, you can share as much as you  want. By that point, she’ll appreciate knowing what’s on your mind.

2. The Predictable Guy

Women don’t like the Predictable Guy because they know exactly how he’ll react to everything. He follows formulas  and never wants to do anything differently. For example, he’d never surprise a woman by spontaneously taking her out for the night.

Why he is so  unappealing: Women look for a certain amount of unpredictability in a man — they want a free spirit. This is why some women seem to be drawn to the  notorious “bad boy.” It’s not that they are drawn to his badness exactly, but  rather to his unpredictability.

What to do if you’re that  guy: You don’t have to be “bad” or a completely free spirit to win her over. But try to mix things up — particularly at the beginning of a relationship. Call her and tell her you  want to go to the countryside for the day, or for an impromptu meal. After she  gets to know you, she won’t mind as much if you slip back into your routine a  bit. But don’t forget to continue to surprise her once in a while — doing so  will keep the relationship fresh.

3. The Arrogant Guy

He has a huge ego and he’s condescending. He is also  rude — not necessarily to her, but to anyone he perceives as beneath him. And  that’s just as bad as being rude directly to her.

Why he is so unappealing: A woman often looks at how a man treats other people to assess  his personality. So even though you might be nice to her on a date, she’ll be  paying attention to how you act with other people too.

What to do if  you’re that guy:
No woman wants to be talked down to, so I shouldn’t have to  tell you to shed the ego when you are dealing with her directly. But in order to  really impress her, you need to treat everyone around you with a certain amount  of respect — because she’ll be watching.

4. The Boorish  Guy The Boorish Guy doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s checking  out other women while in her presence; he flirts with the waitress and he  even goes as far as to brag about his past conquests. Overall, he lacks respect  for women.

Why he is so unappealing: Not only is this type of  behavior infuriating, it can also be bad for a woman’s self-esteem. If you act  like this when you are first getting to know a woman, you won’t stand a  chance.

What to do if you’re that guy:
If you can’t curb this kind  of behavior permanently, then you at least have to keep it in check when making  a first impression. Keep your flirting and wandering eyes at bay — and maybe  eventually it’ll become a habit. Because, truthfully, if you introduce this kind  of behavior into a relationship at any point, she won’t be pleased.

5. The Cheap Guy

He invites a woman to dinner and then subtly suggests  they go Dutch. He never splurges to buy her flowers and he always opts for the  cheapest wine. He makes her feel like they’re on a tight budget from the very  first date.

Why he is so unappealing: Your first few dates should  always be carefree; the words “saving” and “budget” shouldn’t come up. If she  spends the first date picturing a lifetime of penny-pinching with you, you’re out of  luck.

What to do if you’re that guy:
Loosen up the purse strings a  little when you’re courting a woman. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a  good impression, but you do need to make her feel like she’s special. Flowers  are a nice touch once in a while.

6. The Arguer

This type of guy turns every conversation into an argument. When he takes a woman out, he makes her feel like she’s in debate  class rather than on a date. And in doing so, he makes her feel defensive and  self-conscious.

Why he is so unappealing: A date should be a pleasant experience, but if she’s on the defensive the whole time, she will not be enjoying herself. Remember this: Constant arguing and debating is a stress — and you certainly don’t want her to associate you with a stressful  experience.

What to do if you’re that guy: Most importantly, relax. If you are this type of guy, you probably revert to debating because you  are nervous or unsure of what to say. So before the date, brainstorm conversation  topics and questions you can ask her. That way, you won’t be as likely to  revert to arguing during lulls in the conversation.

7. The Self-Righteous Guy

This guy is very judgmental of others. He  probably doesn’t drink or smoke, and he doesn’t hesitate to tell others to  follow suit. From the very first date, he’ll preach to a woman, telling her she  shouldn’t drink wine or get dessert.

Why he is so unappealing: No  one wants to be judged, especially on a date. She’ll just find it annoying and rude.

What to do if you’re that guy: You can preach a little once  you are actually in a relationship. But until that point, her drinking, smoking and dessert-eating habits are none of your business.

8. The Misogynist

This guy makes no secret of his bitterness toward  women. On a date, he can’t help but exude negativity toward his companion and  the entire female gender by making rude and insulting comments.

Why he  is so unappealing: This is the only type of behavior on this list that is,  in fact, a total deal-breaker. And it’s not surprising. What woman do you know  that would like to be in a relationship with a man like this?

What to  do if you’re that guy:
You need to reconsider your attitude if you are this  type of guy. This type of behavior is not only rude and nasty, it is often the  last straw in breaking up a relationship.

9. Mr. Nice Romantic Guy

He’ll show up with flowers, leave cards around your apartment and quote Keats on a whim. Think old-fashioned courtship where  you’re being wooed instead of sitting by the phone wondering if he’ll  call.

Celebrity counterparts: Cary Grant, Johnny Depp as Don Juan DeMarco

What he’ll teach you: This affectionate man will show you  a softer side of our male counterparts (what a relief to have someone fawn over  you for a change!), all the while raising your expectations of how you wish to  be treated. After realizing that there are guys out there who understand the  importance of a random note or kiss in the moonlight, you’ll be less likely to stay with someone who degrades or ignores you in the future.

The  catch: Most of the time, these guys are in love with the idea of love. This  means they will come on strong but lose momentum in the long haul as the reality  of a relationship sets in (i.e. disagreements, uneventful days), but that  doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date him and enjoy the experience. Just keep a level  head while he floats around you.

10. Mr. Big Shot

He dresses sharp, talks slick and has the perfectly  coiffed looks of a man straight out of a lad mag. One look at him in his  tailored suit and you’re toast — which is exactly why he wears it.

Celebrity counterparts: Chris Noth as Mr. Big, any Bond

What he’ll teach you: From sending your nether regions to  Brazil (Mr. Big Shot doesn’t do granny panties) to the proper way to age a  Cabernet, you’re in for a crash course in the finer way of life. Dinners will be  four-star and the conversation will be witty. You’ll walk away from this  relationship more sophisticated and well aware of your own inner  vixen. The catch: As the 007 of romance, he’s  going in for the kill. He knows exactly what he’s doing and the effect it’s  having on you — and every other girl around him. The odds of this guy slipping  out of his suit and into a comfy relationship are low, but that doesn’t mean you  shouldn’t enjoy the smooth ride around the town while it lasts.

11. Mr. Sexy Older Guy

He’s old enough to have settled into his skin and  has been involved with enough women to know that you require much more than  dinner and a few martinis to get into the mood. Best of all, he never makes you  late for dinner because he’s playing Xbox.

Celebrity counterparts:  Sean Connery, Antonio Banderas

What he’ll teach you:
He has a lifetime of experience to share (in and out of the bedroom), which will likely  keep you on your toes (and curling them, too!). Plus, he’ll show you how to see  life in a different way. No matter how long it lasts or how it ends, you’ll walk  away worldlier — and will never settle for a measly five minutes of foreplay again.

The catch: Despite what Demi and Ashton might say, age is  more than a number. If you are just starting to get comfortable in your skin and  he’s shed his several times, there is a good chance you’ll have issues with  long-term compatibility. Sure, he’s hot now, but how will you feel in 10 years?  Give one another a thrill, then move onto someone you both can relate to.

12. Mr. Man’s Man

He carries your bags, will defend your honor and would  rather swallow glass than shave his chest or take hot wax to his  eyebrows.

Celebrity counterparts: Frank Sinatra, Russell Crowe

What he’ll teach you: This rough rogue will have you  relishing in your femininity like no other. Why? There is something about raw  masculinity that brings out the damsel in all of us. Dating this bruiser will  show you how fun it can be when he shows you who the man is (think Rhett Butler  when he scooped Scarlett up those stairs). Dating him will do one of two things:  make you squeal with delight or appreciate your ability and right to wear the  pants sometimes. Regardless, be sure to play Scarlett at least once — trust  us.

The catch:
You’re dying to be wined and dined, but he’s  already made plans to meet you down at the pub. This is the guy who gets  inspired by Braveheart and cries only “out of frustration.” He’s also  prone to affairs… with his favorite sports teams. Oh, and forget about asking  him to hold your purse while you do anything — he wouldn’t dare.

13. Mr. Fun Social Guy

Whether he’s out with friends or meeting the  family for brunch, one thing’s for certain: He’s going to be the life of the  party.

Celebrity counterparts: Will Farrell, Vince Vaughn

What he’ll teach you:
There is something very attractive about a man who’s always ready to have a good time. You’ll laugh a lot and learn  how to go with the flow and let things slide. These types are often quite  spontaneous, which means you should be ready for anything from a quickie to a quick  dash to Vegas.

The catch: Most people are social because they like  the company of others, but Fun Social Guys are social because they love to be  the center of attention — and they love the excitement of something new. This  poses an issue for long-term loves because: A) Who wants to be an audience  member 24/7, and B) Let’s face it: Relationships can get dull at times — what  will he do then? Enjoy the roller-coaster ride, but don’t be afraid to walk away  to more stable ground.

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Love makes ordinary things become extraordinary

“Love makes ordinary things become extraordinary”

— Bonita after spending 15 hours straight with Boyfriend last weekend. We did all the mundane stuff.

Went to church.

Had chicken and pasta/potatoes lunch.

He napped. I watched Pitch Perfect and The Secret Affair.

Went to Podium. Had Cinnabon.

Ate at Army Navy.

Watched Man with Iron Fist. Stupid movie.

Went home.

Ahh, bliss.

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Is Relationship Hard Work?

Are relationships really hard work?

I’ve read an article from Thought Catalog that reacts to Ben Afflect’s thank you speech to wifey, Jennifer Gardner, citing that marriage has been hard work and yet how glorious is it to work hard beside your wife. His words were:

Ben Affleck

His words were:

“I want to thank my wife … for working on our marriage for 10  Christmases. It’s good … it IS work, but it’s the best kind of work  … and there’s no one I’d rather work with.”

People reacted negatively to it.

Whaaat?!” they exclaimed. “Marriage is hard work? To Jen, one of the sweetest celebrities around?! You must be kidding”

I have to commend Ben for being so honest despite the minor backlash. It’s not easy to have the courage to say truth as it is, and expect popularity. Sometimes, you have to give these brave souls some credit — they have the guts to actually call a spade, a spade. Even though it doesn’t make them Mr. or Mrs. Popular.

It makes me reflect on my own relationships. On whether they were truly hard work or not.

My last relationship for example should’ve been smooth as a baby’s bottom. My last ex-boyfriend was Mr. Nice to Everyone, and was in many ways a Good Boy.

And yet, it wasn’t that smooth.

I remembered pondering at the start of our relationship why the hell we kept on arguing about little things (e.g., saying goodbye on long distance Skype calls) when his personality didn’t really deserve it. He was not argumentative and basically did many of the things I’ve requested.

Regardless of such scenario, I found myself being more irritated at him, at him being himself.

And I felt bad, because I couldn’t understand why.

I would pout and sulk, and act immature when I didn’t get my way. In fact, I am not that proud to be a girlfriend at that time. I was often times a child, and I couldn’t understand how strong and independent I can be with others, while with him, I was like a child, often insisting on getting my own way.

Given his personality, it could’ve been a smooth relationship.

But it wasn’t.

In fact, we argued a lot. Even if it was a long distance relationship and we often saw each other once a month, we would often fight the day before he flew to Hong Kong, and the day after he arrived back in Singapore. I scratched my head as to why.

Of course, it also didn’t help that I was somewhat bored in the relationship, and tried to instigate him just to get a reaction. Even though I was a child, he would not berate me. He would not tell me off. So in a way, I was spoiled and I got worse.

Anyway, it was a relationship that was supposed to be smooth, but wasn’t.

It also didn’t help that his parents hated me and didn’t want me as his girlfriend. And my dad didn’t like him either. They thought he was hiding something (which later proved to be true).

Fast forward to now, I am dating a guy who people would almost always have a reaction to.

He was like a talking time bomb.

Often times, he would cite certain truths out loud, which would invite negative reactions from more sensitive and insecure souls. Whereas Ex Boyfriend was Mr. Nice, boyfriend is Mr. Direct and Super Straight Forward.

He is a happy person, and oftentimes acted and looked younger than his actual age. My mom would often tell him to wear pants instead of shorts because it was more formal and becoming. I personally do not mind his attire, but I would admit he looks extra handsome in a button down shirt and jeans held together with a belt. 🙂

Anyway, a lot of people admit that they could not take him. He is a walking big personality, and many times, misunderstood. Or at least, I think so.

But regardless of the many criticisms I’ve heard from concerned brothers and sisters, it befundles me on why the heck am I not bothered? Instead of reacting and thinking negatively about it, why do I accept his faults as virtues?

Of course, part of it is because I strong believe that innately he is a great preson and does not do anyone any harm. What’s more is that my past experiences lead me to actually view straightforwardness as a virtue, especially since in my last relationship, my Ex was never really that honest.

I wonder today whether I am just in love, and blind. And whether all the naysayers are saying are true.

Then again, I shake my head.

Que sera sera.

C’est La Vie.

Let’s leaves fall as they may.

I think that in a relationship, once you overthink and overanalyze it, it already loses its zest. If you worry too much about the dooms of tomorrow, you can never truly enjoy it.

And of course, I refuse to fall into that trap.

All I know is that, 1) It is smooth sailing for us despite several challenges that has been thrown our way, 2) We can talk and I enjoy his company, and 3) He makes me happy.

I think the happiness part cannot really be discounted. And fortunately, at this moment, he feels the same way.

In the end, I think there will always be people who talk. The most important thing is whether or not you think you are happy with whom you are with.

And if you are happy, well, work becomes a pleasure.

So Affleck was indeed right.

How about you? Do you think your relationship is work that is a burden or a pleasure? 🙂

Posted in Boyfriend, Favorite Posts | 3 Comments

Update: Three Months and Everyone’s Pressuring Us to Get Married!

Boyfriend and I had been blissfully dating for the last three months. At this point in time, he is now automatically invited to family events and dinners, and vice versa.

The funny thing though, everyone around us — my mom, my brother, his parents, and my Bible study groupies — had been asking us the same question.

Is he the One for you na? When are you getting married?”

How serious is he already?”

Now that you guys are in your 30s, you have to start thinking seriously about marriage. Tick tock tick tock…”

This beffundles me. When I was in Taiwan and Hong Kong, being unmarried was just a phase in life, not a disease. Here in the Philippines, people become ultra curious when you tell them that you’re dating someone and want to know more about it.

They’re all very kepo,” boyfriend says. “Why can’t they just be happy for us?” Kepo by the way is Fukien for wanting to know more.

What strikes me funny is that they’re more worried about my biological clock than I am! Sure, I would love to have kids before 35, but honestly, we’ve only been dating for 3 months. Isn’t that too early to think about getting married?

It’s come to a point that we’re forced to talk about marriage on an almost daily basis.

You should start getting pre-marital counseling,” my mom suggested.

Huh? He hasn’t even proposed yet!” I replied. “Why should we sign up for pre-marital counseling now?!”

The good thing is, boyfriend is unaffected and takes this all in stride. At least, he’s not running away from responsibility like a screaming hyena and finds the situation as funny as I am.

Just yesterday for example, I went to our Bible study group and they asked us of our status. I told them I was happily dating him (Note to self: Dating is NOT the right word. We are happily boyfriend and girlfriend).

They were of course concerned on how serious are we, and whether it is truly God’s will or not. “Pray about it,” my Bible group leader said. “See if it’s God’s Will.”

They lent me the following book to read, which I found to be hilarious:

Image

Yes, you read it right. It’s the book, “Being Single is Better than Being Married to an Unsuitable Partner,” by William Girao.

I told boyfriend about it.

We’re not inviting them to the wedding!!!” he joked. “Aren’t there any books that encourages you to grow as a couple?!”

I just laughed.

Yes, it’s been a happy time so far. Despite hiccups, we’re still growing strong as a couple, and it is surprising that time flies.

Let’s see how long this happy period lasts. 🙂

Posted in Boyfriend, Family, Relationships, Updates | 3 Comments

I Feel Like Such a Failure

Because I cannot handle the grassroots employees of our family business.

Personally, I take responsibility. My training ever since was to work with the upper echleons of society (e.g., Presidents, COOs, Finance Heads) that I am unable to work well with people who live below the poverty line.

It’s not that I am mean to them because I am not. Ask my other loyal employees. But I feel that I get impatient when talking to people who doesn’t seem to understand.

I cannot be totally empathetic when it comes to their complaints of woes. Personally it’s because I believe that there’s really no problem as long as people can work. If you have an issue with money, then work well and harder. If you’re really an asset, your boss will naturally increase your salary.

My Hong Kong and Taiwanese mindset do not serve me well here. I tend to be too impatient, too harsh, too rude.

People here don’t mind serving you till death as long as you hold them with velvet gloves. I cannot really be that superficial. If you are a good employee, I will treat you well. But if you are not performing, then I’m sorry but I will be harsh.

It’s not easy. I feel like a failure.

I feel disappointed that I am not outperforming. And I’ve let several of my family members down.

I hope that I find my niche soon. 😦

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V-Day Trumps ALL!

My boyfriend and I decided to shy away from the usual Valentine’s Day festivities, and celebrate this special day yesterday instead.

So yesterday, he picked me up at 4:00pm, and took me for a luxurious 1-hour massage at the Discovery Suite’s spa in Ortigas.

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It was quite nice. We were the only customers at that time since it was only in the late afternoon, and we had a grand time just enjoying each other’s company. Spas truly have a way of relaxing us. 🙂

Afterwards, we had a nice steak dinner served by 22 Prime.

That was one thing I really appreciated about him: He was never really cheap about good food or delicious wine. Though it cost him a pretty penny, my boyfriend didn’t mind given the occasion and the company.

Image

Lastly, his Valentine’s Day gift to me:

Image

I found his gift to be very thoughtful. Was thinking of upgrading but decided to wait first until iPhone 6 came out and I could afford the iPhone 5.

Anyway, it was really nice. Notwithstanding the iPhone 5, I really felt well loved, pampered and happy. 🙂

Have a great week ahead!

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Talking of the Future

I joined my boyfriend’s family last night for dinner at the Marriott Hotel buffet.

This is nice — When your boyfriend’s parents like having you around, as you are blessed to be in their company.

“This is how an ideal relationship should be,” said my boyfriend during one of our family dinners. “I have never had this before.”

Coming from another relationship where the parents of the guy I was dating thought I was one of Satan’s daughters, this was new for me too. In a way, this was how it should be.

His parents asked us what our plans were. Specifically, they asked him, and I was just inconveniently around.

I looked at him expectantly.

In the end, the woman just has to say “yes” or “no,” and it’s the guy’s job to lead the relationship. He has to answer this question, whether he likes it or not.

Well, she’s the best girl I’ve ever dated who said ‘yes’ to me,” he said slightly carefully. “There may be a lot of women out there who are better than her, but she is the bestest for me.”

Of course, he said it in a myriad of other ways but the gist was there. And for now, I share his sentiment.

Yes, there will always be people who are more handsome, more intelligent, more charming and richer than he is. In the end, there will ALWAYS be someone better. I would be a fool to think that maybe there won’t be anyone else.

But, are they better fits for me than he?

I don’t know. 🙂

I love the way he doesn’t want to change me. “You’re almost perfect,” he said. “Almost because no one is ever completely perfect.”

I love that he loves me just the way I am. It is liberating. I am free to be myself and this makes me happy. All my life, everyone dictates me how I should talk, act and dress. Finally, there is someone who likes me just the way I am.

He too — not everyone can take him. He is too arrogant, too loud, too childlike to be popular with everyone. One has to adjust to him because he’s such a big personality.

And yet, maybe because I am in love with him at the moment, I like him the way he is.

So what happens when you bring two misfits together?

Magic happens. 🙂

After dinner, we talk of the future. It feels natural to do so. I guess in a way, it is the inevitable. As they say, “diyan din pupunta yan e” (that’s the conclusive ending anyway).

Yeah, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I’ll keep you posted if there’s any developments but for now, let us blissfully just date.

Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Boyfriend, Family, Relationships | 2 Comments

You’re Perfect… Now Change

I met a really cute guy yesterday. Let’s call him IR.

IR is in many ways a geek. He likes drafting, cosplaying and making his own anime figurines. IR is smart, as he graduated from the top university in the Philippines.

Confident, buffed (he really likes to exercise), and standing at 5″7′, IR is in many ways, a GREAT catch. Hell, even my boyfriend thinks so. In fact, my boyfriend introduced me to him.

Like many good-looking men however, IR wants it all.

He wants a 10 in terms of body, face, personality and brains.

Unfortunately, God is fair. He never really gives someone everything, and even then, these fortunate people die early, or are cursed with miserable relatives.

So when IR meets a woman, either they’re shallow, super pretty but not so interesting.

Or smart, interesting, but there’s no spark.

Given his confidence on who he is as a person, IR wants the perfect lady for him.

In a way, I agree.

You only marry once so it’s important you marry the best woman/man there is. And if you meet someone who’s perfect except (insert quality here), then you’d damn well grab this person and try to change this person into your ideal.

0812perfection

Unfortunately, this is NOT a lasting proposition.

Like I’ve said before, people cannot really change too much, unless a dramatic thing happened to them. Like for me, it took a breakup to bring me down to the floor.

Change has to be internal. From within. You can neither force it or will it.

Take for example, my brother’s girlfriend. She is a non-practicing Catholic. So every Sunday morning, we wake her up and invite her to go to church with us. My family is born-again Christians.

You can practically hear her drag her feet. In the beginning, she used to not be able to wake up for church, leaving us to go without her. Now, she’s a lot better but I have yet to hear her ask us to go to church that weekend.

In other words, she is making this change for my brother, and for the survival of their relationship since religion is something important for us. And yet, how sincere is this change, I do not know.

A sincere change by the way is when the change still keeps even though the reason for the change is no longer there. So you know she is sincere if (and it’s a big IF) they breakup and she still goes to church.

Well, I wouldn’t count on it.

Anyway, IR tries to keep on changing the women he dates. He wants them to be Christians and to be everything he wants. Which leaves him frustrated and angry. In the end, it doesn’t really work out because the women feel that they are disappointing him. When in fact, it’s not really their fault.

People do NOT change too much unless they really want to themselves.

I asked my boyfriend what he wanted changed about me.

Maybe it’s because we’re still relatively new (a happy 3 months old), but he told me that I’m perfect as I am, and there’s not a lot of things he wants to change about me, except maybe when he drives, and I become a backseat driver. That’s just irritating for him.

I am thrown back to my past relationship where I am perfect, and yet asked to change.

Change to being more domestic. More of a housewife.

Change to being more polite. Less tactless. Less direct.

Change to being less pushy. Less aggressive.

No, you’re perfect as it is,” my boyfriend said as he kissed the top of my forehead. Of course, no one is perfect, but hey, at least close to perfection is good. 🙂

His friend asked me if there are still things I’d like to change about him.

I thought hard but quickly replied, “Hmmm… even if I want him to change, I don’t think I can really change him to someone he is radically not. And if I want him to actually change something, I think he would agree that it really needs changing.”

I don’t think I can make my boyfriend more polite. Less direct. Less arrogant. More docile. More superficial and knows about social graces.

No, my boyfriend is a bit too polite for most people. A lot rougher around the edges than other men.

But I knew that from the beginning, anot?

Despite his “imperfections,” nothing can really beat him being a great and generous person. Who works hard and is good at what he does. Someone who can lead and I can follow. And someone who makes me happy in a daily basis just because.

So yes, maybe I can change him.

But maybe changing him will transform him to someone I don’t even know.

Nope, that would be unfair.

Instead, the best way to accept him as he is, as he is accepting on who I am.

Because yes, he is IMperfect.

But for me, he is imperfectly perfect.

Have a great weekend ahead!

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Changing for Love?

My Taiwanese sister, who is a lot like me, is in an unhappy relationship. This is what she said:

His family is traditional.”

“He wants me to be his ‘house’ wife, to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for him. He gives me money to go to the market in the morning, and then expects am at home all day.”

He is very controlling, and stifles my freedom.”

I honestly think he is a good man. It’s just that they are not a good match.

Ever since I’ve known her, Taiwanese Sister has always been a social butterfly. Pretty, extroverted and very sociable, she loves to hop from one party to the next. She’s never had a shortage of suitors as most guys would find her interesting, it’s not easy for her to find a guy who can really accept her for who she is.

It’s similar to what my mom advised me when I first got back to Manila.

Bonita, you need to hasa your sungay (refine your devil’s horns).

Bonita, you have to be more demure. More womanly. Quieter.”

Bonita, you cannot be too strong-willed. You need to learn how to be submissive to get a guy.”

These sentiments were echoed not just by mom, but also my siblings. They believed that strong-personalitied me cannot find anyone. That guys would want more typical girls who sat still, and was nice.

My last ex-boyfriend, like my Taiwanese sister’s boyfriend, wanted me to be a housewife. He wanted me to change so much that he was even willing to give me a monthly stipend of USD 1,500 just to remain at home and take care of his kids.

In the end, they want me to change.

change-greensign

They wanted to change the qualities that initially attracted them in the first place, and make you into their ideal woman.

My mom said I needed to change a little bit especially in the beginning to get guys’ interest. She felt that my strong personality would turn off men.

In the end, I realized that though change is good and inevitable, if change doesn’t come truly from within, it’s merely a superficial change.

If I pretend to be domestic and love being a housewife, sure, it would not be difficult to get married. The problem would be staying married.

And even if the guy married me, he is merely marrying an illusion, an ideal who is not really me. And if he is not marrying me for who I am, woe is us who wake up one day discovering that we’ve only married a dream. The reality we still have to face after the hard awakening.

I think that it’s important to differentiate good change and bad change.

Yes, there is a BIG difference between change that needs to be done regardless, and change that you ideally want people to become.

Change that needs to be done (aka good change) are changes like:

  • Being less bitchy.
  • Being more on time.
  • Being nicer.
  • Being more appreciative about life.
  • Being friendlier.
  • Being more generous.

The above are just examples of changes, that no matter what gender or age, we have to aspire for. It is always good to be nicer, less meaner, and more hardworking. And if you are not there yet, then it’s good to start becoming a better person.

Meanwhile, there are preferable changes. These are changes that would be nice to have, but don’t make someone better for you.

Take for example being more mahinhin (docile and shy).

Whereas some guys prefer girls who are mahinhin, being mahinhin doesn’t make a girl a better person. You can be shy and docile and still be an inner bitch.

Or a guy who prefers a more career minded woman. There is no difference between a career minded woman vs. a more domesticated woman. It’s just about preference.

So at the end of the day, wisdom is in differentiating between change that is necessary and change that is nice to have.

And I refuse to change myself on a quality that is just nice to have.

Fortunately, I met someone who loves me for who I am, strong personality and all. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Posted in Boyfriend, Dates, Life lessons, Relationships | 4 Comments

The ABC of Success

A wise man once told me, there’s the ABC of Success:

A for Ability: To be a success, you have to be able. Competent. Good at what you do, whatever that can be. You can be the best blogger in the world and get paid gazillions. Look at Xiaxue.  You can also be good at golf. Look at Tiger Woods.

B for Bravery: Get out of your comfort zone. Take a risk. Do something. Worlds are conquered and made by people who have the courage to stick your neck out. Not from hiding under your mommy’s skirt. 

C for Chance: Success is 98% hard work, 2% luckiness. But that luckiness does wonder. A person can be so hard working but if luck doesn’t smile on that person, that person will still end up at a pauper’s house. Someone has to give you a chance. Life becomes so much easier when someone gives you a chance. 

Right now, we already have the ability. Everything we’ve done so far is to study hard and be where we already are. All we need is chance and bravery.

Don’t you agree?

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To Conclude the Trader Story…

At the risk of sounding defensive, I feel that I have to clear a few things up with you guys regarding my last relationship.

While trying to remain the better person and keeping my mouth shut and my fingers at bay, I have inadvertently made people believe that the breakup was just your average breakup, and the relationship disintegrated via the usual reasons (e.g., LDR for a long time, conflicting schedules, etc.).

Consequently, I’ve made it sound as if Trader was the innocent party, whom I’ve repeatedly attacked via my blog. Sadly, it has made me sound tons bitter, and had turned off a few of you loyal readers (I’m sad to hear that).

Again not my intention. 🙂

Anyway, as I embark on a new journey, I felt I needed to clear things up with you guys on what actually happened.

I am not asking for your pity. I know breakups usually usually have some fault from both sides, and I pesonally had mine. And I will never be shy to admit them.

To be honest, not only am I aware of them, but had been working constantly on making myself better… and plainly just be a better person.

But maybe this is one last page of the Trader story, so we can close that book once and for all. And in a way, also inform you readers what actually happened those last few months. 🙂

To summarize, our relationship was long-distance and lasted for 2.5 years. We tried our best and our bank account got depleted only to have him break up with me via Skype citing the usual reasons (e.g., not working out, stress at work, etc.).

When he did that, I was in London, and relatively alone.

It was a week just after my birthday.

In a foreign country that requires you to change your watch to a different timezone.

And he did it at 3am my time when I had an 8-hour class I couldn’t miss that same day.

To say I was shell-shocked was an understatement.

Yes, people break up all the time. But it never meant it wasn’t tough. Breakups are tough. Period.

Not only did I have to put myself back on track in a country where I almost had no friends, but I had to endure that class without breaking down trying to keep myself held together.

I broke down and cried that evening. And a few days after that.

Later on, I found out through someone else that he actually met someone while I was in Hong Kong/London, and was flirting with her while we were together. To common friends, I later discovered that he was pursuing and even dated her while he was still seeing me.

While we were still together.

To top it off, I learned this via several sources. One of which was my brother who actually spotted him in a restaurant kissing and hugging another woman who was not me. He knew that I wouldn’t believe him so as a wedding photographer, he even took photos and videos and sent them to me.

This is the same woman whom he is now engaged to (Side note: Congrats to them both. Wish them all the best).

It wasn’t the breakup that hurt me, inasmuch as being fooled.

I felt like a tool for trusting him, and for thinking he was such a great boyfriend, when in fact, he was already seeing someone behind my back, and plotting our breakup. When other common friends actually knew what was going on, and never really told me.

I felt cuckolded.

For someone who has never cheated, or have cheated on a boyfriend, this was a complete surprise, especially as he has always shown himself to be the best of all boyfriends, and had tried his best to be seen as “nice” by other people.

It took me a few months to get over the hurt, and I think the experience has left me a little bit jaded.

That’s what being cheated on feels like. You feel that people are going to cheat on you because it’s happened to you once before. It’s not a great feeling, and it leaves you more suspicious and less trustful. It makes you guard your heart a lot more.

But time is a great healer. And so are family and friends.

Today, I am doing fine. Great actually.

The scars that was left behind from my last relationship has healed a long time ago, and I don’t think about Trader at all, except for the times when I feel how lucky I am for actually not having this relationship work out.

Most importantly, how can you be with a cheater? Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship, and I find it amazing that he can do something like