"I want to explore the world with two things in my hands: a camera in my left and his hand in my right." :)

Marked on the Calendar

The Day We “Time Traveled” in Manila

Traveling has always been a passion of mine (domestic, international, or even that just-a-few-blocks-away kind of travel). Traveling with my special someone — now, that just makes it all the more exciting! But since my boyfriend Paul and I aren’t allowed to go on overnight trips YET without any “chaperones” (haha, strict ang mga ate ko!),  we just make it a point to squeeze in traveling through our “day” dates. Luckily, we’re both history buffs and we both share an interest in getting to know the Philippines more — with Manila first on our minds. ;)

I’ve been living in Manila since day one but to be honest, there’s just so much more to know about its history. On the other hand, Paul‘s from Laguna so exploring Manila is also on top of his list. Having said that, it just became a priority for us to save and sign up for different Manila tours because let’s face it, going anywhere (even places you’ve been to before) makes it more interesting depending on your new-found discovery. And how do you “discover” something new when you’ve been to a place once, twice, thrice, and so on? My answer is through KNOWLEDGE and INFORMATION! And those knowledge and information? Well, their new-found “effect” on you will always depend on your tour guide! :D

And that’s exactly why Paul and I decided to avail of Manila for a Day (M4AD)‘s 3G time-traveling engagement, which basically covered God, Gold, and Glory in the Walled City — thanks to our tour guide Dustin Ancheta (who also happens to be a college course mate of mine).

(photo courtesy of Manila for a Day’s Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of Manila for a Day’s Facebook page)

Our M4AD experience has been our second Manila tour (our first was with a different tour guide and it was in the Malacañang area, but I wasn’t able to blog about that because I was on a blogging hiatus back then! hahaha!). Anyway, M4AD prefers to call what they offer as “time-traveling engagements” instead of just plain old tours. Why? Well it’s in the way their guide Dustin does his engagements! He even brings along with him a TIME TRAVEL KIT!

Manila for a Day (M4AD)’s Dustin Ancheta

So to kick off our virtual time-traveling engagement, here’s our first stop that day:

San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church

I’ve been to San Agustin Church several times before but to be honest, I was just as awed as Paul (it’s his first time in the church) during the entire tour. It was only that day that it sank in to me that we were inside a UNESCO World Heritage Site — equivalent to the Pyramids of Giza in Eqypt or the Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico! Like, really, WOW! #ProudPinoy here!

Having a tour guide who really knows what he’s doing (and saying!) does change the entire travel experience. It even has its perks, too!

San Agustin Church

One of which is having access to places that are not usually open to the public. Case in point, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi‘s resting place!

Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s resting place in San Agustin Church

As a Filipino, we’ve all been taught in history class that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. But since he already died in Cebu during the Battle of Mactan, he wasn’t really able to reach Manila. Hence when you say “founder of Manila,” the title really goes to Miguel (yes, feeling close lang! wahahahaha!). And before this tour, I wasn’t even aware that the actual Spaniard who discovered my hometown actually rests IN MY HOMETOWN nonetheless! So much for being a Manila Girl all my life! Oh well, at least now I know. :P

San Agustin Church

We also walked on the church grounds as Dustin educated us in the way society influenced art back in the day. I won’t explain it to you in detail anymore (you have to avail of the tour if you want to know! haha!) but in a nutshell, that experience in the room full of religious figures reminded us that life does imitate art (or vice versa), and there’s no one definition of beauty. It changes from one generation to another, and the cycle just goes on and on. So if chinitas and mestizas were the “in” thing then, it somehow changed in the middle of history, and returned again in the present, etc. Just like in the Renaissance period, voluptuous women were all the rage because they symbolized fertility — fast forward to today, everybody wants to have Victoria Secret model-inspired bodies because that’s what the media dictates, etc. You get my drift.

Most of all, that experience showed us how God and Gold mixed back in the day — quite literally! Just take the statue of Jesus as an example:

Those threads? Made. of. pure. GOLD!

Dustin also guided us in other areas inside the church and learned a ton of things along the way. But like I said, I don’t want to spoil things for you so better attend the actual tour yourself. :)

posing in the middle of Mexican-inspired architecture

ringing a (small) bell to compare and imagine what it’s like to have the original (larger) bell ring in these walls back then; viewing the church from the top

other random shots inside San Agustin Church

After the church, our next stop was…

Casa Manila

Casa Manila

Picture-taking isn’t really allowed inside Casa Manila so for this part, I’ll be borrowing photos from Travelibre. :)

Basically, the Casa Manila in Intramuros isn’t an authentic 19th-century house (it’s an actual replica of one) — but some of the things inside it are 100% legit. It was created by the Philippine government in the 1980s (headed by Imelda Marcos) to depict what it’s like to be RICH and POWERFUL in the time of Spanish-colonized Philippines.

Inside, we were required to walk on a long red carpet (they say it’s to make the museum easier to clean) and if you happen to step outside of it, a guard will definitely reprimand you for it! So consider this a heads-up! Haha!

Moving on, one of the first things we saw inside Casa Manila was the kwartos. According to the labels, they were actually just “dorm rooms,” so imagine what an actual room for a family member looks like! Dustin even told us that back then, visitors inside a house owned by the rich and powerful were “filtered” by floors.

We know that back then, people in the Philippines were divided according to status: the Peninsulares (Spaniards born in Spain), the Insulares (Spaniards born in Manila or anywhere else but not in Spain), the Mestizos (half Spanish, half-Chinese or half something else as long as there’s Spanish blood), the Indios (pure Filipinos), etc. (Trivia: Most of our national heroes like Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo were Mestizos).

So for example, if you’re part of the Insulares, you could go anywhere in the house. But if you’re part of the Indios, you’d be lucky you even made it past the entrance door! Get the picture? That’s how rampant racism was back in those days. :(

(photo courtesy of Travelibre)

Another interesting area in Casa Manila was the cucina (kitchen):

(photo courtesy of Travelibre)

As you can see from the photo, it was so 19th century! Dustin mentioned that during those days, a rich and powerful family had many servants and all those pots and pans were used to the max. One unique item there (unfortunately, no photo) was the vintage ice box. Since there were no refrigerators back then, only the rich could afford to import ice. But of course, you couldn’t just import ice without having the equipment to actually sustain it (the Philippines is a tropical country, so just imagine your bad ice investment if you just let it melt under the sun!). And that’s when it really hit us. There’s truly a big difference between the truly wealthy and those who are just trying to climb the social ladder — the rich can sustain their lifestyles; social climbers can’t. In relation to this is the next area, the dining room:

(photo courtesy of Travelibre)

As you can see, the dining area has a long table. If you watch Downton Abbey, well you’ve already got an idea how this works. However in the Philippine setting, only the master of the house had arm rests on the sides of his chair, and the rest were seated alternately (male, female, male, female, and so on). BUT if you’re a guest gentleman and you were seated in the middle with ladies surrounding you, might as well leave the feast because that’s a form of insult. If you’ve read Rizal‘s Noli Me Tangere, Dustin shared that there was one scene there wherein Crisostomo Ibarra was seated (on purpose) in the middle of the table and knowing that he was being insulted, he charged toward the master of the house, which was none other than Padre Damaso. Hihihi. #history

Going back to the dining area in Casa Manila, refer again to the above photo and you’ll notice those two curtain-like decorations hanging from the ceiling. What are they? Let’s just say that those were their manual version of the electric fan. And since they’re manual, a person (usually a young boy servant) actually had to run them. Our very informative tour guide even said that a guest shouldn’t see the servant or else, that would also be a form of insult! Kalurkey talaga! But now you realize what the lifestyle of the rich and powerful was like back then. But unlike those who can buy ice just because they want to try it but couldn’t really afford it again and again, the truly rich and powerful could (and still can) sustain their lavish lifestyles. Except nowadays, I believe that the luxurious ice has already been replaced by designer items! Hahaha! ;)

There were other interesting rooms in Casa Manila, but of course, I think it’s better if you just see them for yourself!

The Manila Collectible Company

And then our last stop during that time traveling engagement was The Manila Collectible Company (TMCC).

(photos courtesy of The Manila Collectible Company Facebook page)

Upon arriving at the place, we were served refreshments and snacks. And yes, those snacks were those you can see on the above photo! Haha! I must say, they were all very tasty, especially the con cremas and the coco jam (not in photo). I actually bought a bottle of the latter for myself! Wahahahaha! But yeah, TMCC is “a one-stop shop that offers the best of Philippine products, tours and events!”. So if you’re in the mood for all things Philippine culture, then this is definitely the place to go to!

And oh, this was also the place where Dustin answered our questions about the entire tour. That’s what I like about M4AD’s offering, they really try to give you the best of history through what they know. In fact if they don’t know it right then and there, they’ll still try to answer you via e-mail. Now that’s what I call dedication! :D

So that’s our M4AD experience. Thanks so much to Dustin for making time travel in Manila such a fun (and learning) experience!

As for Paul and I, the whole point is to explore Manila one area at a time (Malacañang area, check! One area of Intramuros, check!) — which is exactly why next on our Manila adventure is Carlos Celdran‘s Walk This Way! So watch for that! :)

Time travelers of the day (#TTOTD): Paul and Mika <3

Until then… see yah! :)


The Year That Was: 2013

Read one book per week, have a healthier lifestyle (ahem!), update my blog at least once a month…

These are just some of the things in my list and it goes on, and on, and on. Because you know, it’s that time of the year again to make New Year’s “resolutions.” Kahit ang totoo, hanggang mga first week of January lang naman natutupad! Hahaha!

This is just my third time to write a year-ender post and even though my blog has been inactive for the most part of the past year (2013), I still couldn’t let this go because for the past two years, my year-ender posts sort of became my “guide” for the year that followed.

In 2011, I wrote that I wanted to be AMAZED in 2012. Check!
2011 was also my “blogging” year.

In 2012, I kind of asked the universe to help me in my career in 2013. And guess what? Check again!
2012 was also my “travel” year.

In 2013, I found myself lying low in the blogging world but boy, was it one hell of a roller-coaster ride in real life! :P
I’d like to call 2013 my “career” and “friendship” year for the following reasons:

CAREER

I’m already sure that WRITING, in every sense of the word, is my passion. So when I landed a new full-time writing job at the start of the year, I was ecstatic! I was writing at least six articles per day for different food, lifestyle, and travel websites and I was living my “writing dream.” Unfortunately, that was short-lived because the company declared bankruptcy after a few weeks. And just like that, I was back in the hunt for the next writing job that could fulfill my so-called writing dream. But this time, I was also already cautious with the companies I was sending my resume to.

I just said that I’m already sure that WRITING, in every sense of the word, is my passion. However, I wasn’t really sure what KIND of writing I was talking about. Not until an opening for a great company made its way to me (thanks to a job site) in the second quarter of the year and I figured, why not? Sure, it wasn’t the kind of creative/lifestyle writing I was used to, but it’s a job that still involved the WRITTEN WORD. So yes, I ventured into TECHNICAL WRITING. :)

Up to now, I’m a “creative” writer at heart but looking back to my decision to put more importance on the actual company I was applying for instead of the actual job, I’m glad to say that I’ve no regrets! Almost a year into technical writing, I won’t deny that I’m still struggling but you know what? I still consider this as my BEST CAREER MOVE by far! I already love the industry we’re in even before I applied, and I’m glad that I still get to learn NEW THINGS every. single. day! More importantly, I love the work environment — the company knows how to value both its business and employees. And speaking of the latter, my colleagues are the best people to work with — they know how to get the work done without sacrificing the fun, and I’m thankful for the new friendships I’ve formed in the workplace! :D

Career

Career

So creative writing and technical writing both at the same time? I say, why not?! After all, they still both deal with words, words, words and for a WORDSMITH like me, that’s more than enough! ♥

FRIENDSHIP

Aside from the new friendships I’ve formed in the workplace, reconnecting with my high school friends was one of my 2013 highlights. ;)

Friendship

Friendship

I haven’t bonded with them for quite some time after our high school graduation (which was in 2005!), so I’m just really happy that I got to do so again in 2013… and beyond, of course! In fact, we’re already planning a getaway this coming 2014! So thanks, girls, for our adventures this past year! Really, really, really looking forward to our next ones!!!  ♥

And to wrap this up, of course my 2013 wouldn’t be complete without the love of my life (hehehe, sorry na kung mushy!):

Thanks, hon, for all that we’ve experienced and shared in 2013! I look forward to what’s in store for us this coming new year. I love you!!! :*

Basically, that was 2013 for me. It might look simple and worry-free, but I’m telling you that that wasn’t really the case. Besides, why focus on negativity when you can have a much better outlook in life when focused on positivity, right? Good vibes, all the way!!!

And that’s exactly what I want the universe to grant me this 2014: GOOD VIBES… and to read one book per week, have a healthier lifestyle (ahem!), update my blog at least once a month… you know the drill. Wahahahaha!

Anyway, I wish you all GOOD THINGS this coming new year!
HAPPY 2014!!!

#PeaceOut


A Malatean Day

It has been awhile since the last time I “documented” my bonding sessions with friends, so thank God for my Saturday last April 27 because it was definitely one for the books — or this blog for that matter! Haha!

It all started at lunch time when I attended the graduation party of my high school friend Talitha and her sister Jenina. From being our valedictorian in high school to now graduating from med school, Talitha is someone we’re really proud of! :)

Of course what made the celebration even more exciting was the attendance of our other high school friends and one of our favorite teachers — all while filling ourselves with sumptuous Chinese food from Hong Kong Chef Restaurant! Yuuum!

Look at these "MD" cakes! :D

Look at these “MD” cakes! :D

with our favorite Physics teacher in high school, Sir Hermano (who we call Daddy!)

with our favorite Physics teacher in high school, Sir Hermano (who we call Daddy!)

Batch 2005 FTW! Hahaha!

Batch 2005 FTW! Hahaha!

After that, Abby, Chona, Dexter, and I had a “spontaneous” trip to The Podium and it was such a milestone for me because…

a) it was my first time to drive along EDSA without any of my sisters! I’ve been driving since 2008, but I’ve always dreaded driving along EDSA. Whenever I had to do so, I made sure that I was always with one of my sisters… kaya big deal talaga ‘to, friends! BIG DEAL talaga, ‘to! But I’m glad that I was able to share it with yoouuu! HA HA HA :P

b) it was my first time to go to The Podium! Like seriously! I’m NOT an “Ortigas” person, you know?! And since it was my first time, I really didn’t know how to go there… so imaginin niyo nalang ang kaba ko while driving along EDSA! Thank God we arrived there safely! Heehee.

Once there, we also saw our other high school classmates Jez and Reg.

Reg, Dex, Abby, yours truly, and Chona (Jez, we have to take our picture next time! Haha!)

Reg, Dex, Abby, yours truly, and Chona (Jez, we have to take our picture next time! Haha!)

We stayed there for at least four hours — or at least I did because Paul finally arrived and we were off to another place…

…my Idol Tinah‘s new “home!” ;)

The very "sweet" WELCOME! ♥

The very “sweet” WELCOME! ♥

we call each other "idol" for a reason... it's a long story! hahaha!

we call each other “idol” for a reason… it’s a long story! hahaha!

Tinah‘s also my high school schoolmate but she’s one batch higher than me. We reconnected a few years ago… which all started because of our “interest” in running.  Speaking of which… Although it’s not yet obvious right now, I’m planning to train for a run this coming May — and hopefully get back in shape, too! Wahahahaha!

Seriously though, I’m training for this:

Disclaimer: I do not own this photo.

I’m doing this because Malate Catholic Church has always been very dear to me — and not just because Malate Catholic School (or MCS, where I spent my elementary and yes, HIGH SCHOOL days!) is a parochial school of the aforementioned church. I’ve been a MALATEAN all my life in every sense of the word. I studied at MCS, lived and continues to live in Malate, and it’ll always be part of my personal history.

On the other hand, Malate Catholic Church IS part of our history. It was built in the 1500s (during the Spanish period), survived World Wars, but most of all, it was, is, and will always be a place where Catholics can go to and talk to Him.

So yes, whether or not you’re a Malatean, I’m inviting you all to join the Run for Restoration on May 26, 2013! For more details, click HERE. :D

♥♥♥

Anyway, you can see that if there was a “theme” for this day, it’d be HIGH SCHOOL! My entire Saturday was filled with nostalgia, laughter, food, and of course, FRIENDSSS. Eight years may have passed since we all left our beloved Alma Mater and went on to our own separate journeys, but I’m glad that we still get to do this NOW. Wherever life takes us — Pasay, Ortigas, Japan, or Canada (literal pala daw!) — one thing remains: there was, is, and will always be a school by the church of Malate… that in return produced the “Malateans” we are today. :)


Staycation Destinations

The heat we’ve been experiencing these days is truly undeniable and suddenly, all we can think about is it’s already summer! Like seriously, has it really been three months since the last time I heard “Jingle Bells” and marveled at colorful, twinkling lights? Oh well. Time flies sooo fast, indeed. And apparently, this post is three months overdue too! Hahaha!

It’s a good thing though that whether it’s Christmas, summer, or just about any holiday you can think of, these hotels in the metro definitely define what a “staycation” ought to be. ;)

FAIRMONT MAKATI

My family and I spent Christmas 2012 at Fairmont Makati — the newest addition to the number of properties the hotel chain owns around the world, located in the middle of the country’s business and shopping district: Makati (duh!). =))

Of course the Fairmont brand is already known for its world-class customer service but aside from that, the hotel also boasts of its “Pillow Menu” wherein guests can opt to request for additional pillows that are made of different materials, as well as give different sleep benefits — free of charge. I think that’s a signature of the hotel chain because the “Pillow Menu” was also one of the things I enjoyed when we stayed at Fairmont Singapore a few years back.

Anyway, the other things I loved about Fairmont Makati were their Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Gold Lounge, and of course, Cafe Macaron! I swear, I’m a French Macaron addict and only three brands have passed my “taste” so far: TWG, Chez Karine, and Cafe Macaron. So trust me when I say that the ones served at Fairmont Makati’s Cafe Macaron are a must-try! Wahahahaha! :D

fairmont 1

fairmont 2

fairmont 3

French Macarons at Cafe Macaron!!!

French Macarons at Cafe Macaron!!!

LIKE and SHARE Fairmont Makati’s Facebook page HERE.

RAFFLES MAKATI

And then just a tumbling away from Fairmont (you know what I mean!) is Raffles Makati. :) Actually, this is both a residential area and a luxury hotel. Most of the floors are allotted to the former (so those are off-limits unless you know someone who owns a unit), and just a few floors for the latter. But of course, the hotel experience Raffles Makati gives also makes you feel like a unit owner — even their suites (yes, there are no “rooms”) are designed as if you’re staying in your own personal space… even for just a couple of days!

raffles 1

LIKE and SHARE Raffles Makati’s Facebook page HERE.

SEDA BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY (BGC)

If our Christmas was spent in Makati, our New Year 2013 was celebrated at Bonifacio Global City — at Seda Hotel to be exact!

Before you even wonder why name a hotel “Seda,” well it’s actually the Filipino equivalent of “silk.” And according to the management, silk is “a lustrous yet strong fabric that perfectly represents our commitment to providing a seamless accommodation experience.” At least now you know! :P

Located in the middle of Bonifacio High Street, Market! Market!, and Serendra (just imagine what a perfect location this is!), the BGC branch is only one of the Seda Hotels located all over the country; the others are in Cagayan de Oro (Centrio), Davao (Abreeza), and Laguna (Nuvali) — although this one’s still under construction.

seda 1

seda 2

LIKE and SHARE Seda Hotels’ Facebook page HERE.

♥♥♥

So the next time you plan to take a staycation, remember these three words: Fairmont. Raffles. Seda.

Now off you go and may you all have a blast this summer (or any staycation-worthy event for that matter!).

xoxo,
Mika


The Amazing 2012*

*superheroes bit by eight-legged creatures not included! :P

It’s that time of the year again — a time for year-ender posts (at least for bloggers!). It was exactly a year ago (December 29, 2011) when I posted my first year-ender on this blog, and I just realized that the universe heard my plea. When I said that I wanted to be “amazed” this year (inspired by the movie New Year’s Eve), I think I got more than what I asked for! ;)

Last year, I wrote this:

“This coming year, I also dare ALL OF US to be AMAZED!!! I don’t know… be amazed by EATING. TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS. PRAYING. TRAVELING. LOVING. WRITING. Actually, ANYTHING. As long as you get to have your own interpretation of the word “AMAZING,” do it! Just. be. amazed!”

Eating, taking photographs (hello, Instagram!), and praying are already givens. They’re practically part of my everyday life, so I’d like to focus on the remaining three: traveling, loving, and writing.

Let’s start with TRAVELING.

During the first half of the year, the travel bug was at work in my life because that was the time I decided to TRAVEL just because I could! Hahaha! I don’t know what happened, but I just suddenly found myself traveling to Brunei in January, Bohol and Cebu in April, Vietnam and Cambodia in May, and Hong Kong (for the nth time!) in June.

I have a feeling that it’ll be a long time before I can do THIS again, so I’m grateful that I was given the chance to do so in 2012. :)

photo

Aside from my own travels, I also launched my 2012 blog project (yehesss, “launch” talaga!) wherein I featured “people like you and me — who just happen to have ‘wanderlust’ as their middle names” every month. To know what I’m talking about, CLICK HERE. Haha! So to my featured travelers this 2012 — Minnie, Danica, Pia, my sisters, Cara, Joanna, Carol, Anthony, Arlene, Gian, Rema, Madel, Bianca, George and Angelo — I want to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! for sharing your travel stories and making my blog project a success! It was as if we also went to the places you’ve been to through your words and pictures. I love and thank you all!!! :D

This 2013, I’ll still feature travelers but it won’t be a monthly thing anymore. However, I still hope that you’ll read and enjoy them as much as you did when I was still doing it every month. Heehee.

Let’s move on to WRITING.

This is the part where I talk about my “chosen career” (as opposed to the “default” one). @_@

2012 has been a roller coaster ride for me career-wise. In May, I decided to leave my first full-time job after working there for two years and nine months. Three months after that, I landed my next job wherein I was finally able to pursue my passion for writing. But I believe that God has a better plan for me, so that “next job” lasted for only three months. I’m still thankful, though, that I was given that “experience” because I did learn a thing or two from it. In fact, I’d like to share with you my favorite “assignment” during my short stint there: FOOD REVIEWS!!!

(excerpts from “Family-friendly Restaurants”
found inside BC Magazine Philippines’ November 2012 issue)

Mom & Tina's, Comida China de Manila, and Aria Cucina Italiana

Mom & Tina’s, Comida China de Manila, and Aria Cucina Italiana

my favorite work “assignment”: Jamba Juice

This 2013, I still hope to pursue this “chosen career” of mine, BUT I’m hoping that I’ll also have the luck to be given the chance to pursue my “default” one. Take a hint, my dream job! (Universe, are you listening again? Hehehe.)

And to end this post, let’s talk about LOVING.

I don’t know how to start this without being cheesy and mushy. Alam naaa!

Okay, this is a continuation of what I wrote on my year-ender post last 2011:

PAUL, huh? ♥

PAUL, huh? ♥

I wrote THAT in December 2011. And even though I didn’t really meet Zac Efron in person this year, I still got to have my very own Paul — who I met nine months after telling the world that I wanted to be amazed!

(pagbigyan na ang cheesiness at mushiness! Wahahahaha!)

I love you, hon!!! ♥

Mika and Paul :)

Mika and Paul :)

So yeah. Universe, excellent job! Consider me MORE THAN amazed!

I, thank you. ♥♥♥

This coming new year, I hope that I’ll continue to be GRATEFUL and AMAZED.

I wish the same things for ALL OF YOU.

Happy 2013, my dear friends!!!

xoxo,
Mikhaela Georgette


BLUE and REDssssss

The celebration happened a week ago, but the actual birthday happens this week! ;)  Having said that, I just want to say HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend/featured traveler/fellow blogger CAROL!!!

Happy Birthday, C! ♥

But aside from that, one of the things that made that day blog-worthy was how we all looked like with our blue-and-red ensemble! =))

See?  How can you not “document” a day like that?  Hahaha!

And oh!  If you’re wondering WHERE this took place, it was at Diamond Hotel’s Corniche restaurant:

“…Corniche offers an exceptional breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet spread and an extensive all-day a la carte menu.  The buffet selection is composed of Asian, Western, Japanese, salad, and dessert stations, all meticulously prepared by culinary experts.  Featuring signature cakes and pastries for dining and take-out orders is a cake shop at the Corniche entrance.”

dessert > Mika!

That’s pretty much it.  I just had to make this quick and simple. :)  So again…

Happy Birthday, Carol!
May you enjoy your day (even though I know you have exams in law school!)

We love you.
I love you.

I still wish we had videoke, though. Haha, PEACE!!!

xoxo, M.


Still COOKin’ in 2012!

“I’m sorry if it took us awhile to go back.”  He said during that night.  Or something like that.

Well, apology accepted!  After all, we’ve waited three years to see him again!  (By “we,” I’m referring to me, my Ate Fai, and the rest of his loyal followers since his Idol days!)

So who exactly am I talking about?  Why, David Cook, of course! :D

The guy sure owns several guitars, which he used during his concert! ;)

It’s true, it did take him awhile to come back to Manila because when he first played for his Filipino fans, I still haven’t found my first full-time job, my sister just got married, and he shared the stage with his runner-up, David Archuleta!  In fact, I documented that epic concert in my previous blog, which you can check out by clicking HERE.

Whether it’s 2009 or 2012…

…my sister and I are definitely COOKistas! Haha!

Indeed, a lot of things have happened since 2009.  And now that we’re in 2012, these happened: I just resigned from my first full-time job, my niece is about to turn three years old soon, and David Cook (DC) finally decided to have a concert of his own!  But one thing remains: my undying love for his angelic-yet-powerful rock voice!

And speaking of his “angelic-yet-powerful rock voice,” have you gotten yourself a copy of his latest album This Loud Morning?

Well if you still haven’t, I suggest you go get one as soon as you can and turn to tracks like “Right Here, With You, “Fade Into Me, and “4 Letter Word.  Why?  Wala lang, those are my favorite tracks kasi!  Eh nagbabakasakali lang na pareho tayo ng taste in music!  Wahahahaha!

But seriously, DC‘s voice never fails to put a smile on my face!  If only I could describe his voice by using an adjective that is used to describe looks, “gwapo” would be the appropriate one!  Oh wait!  I did describe his voice like that once, twice, or thrice.  Whenever I listen to his songs, bigla nalang ako mapapasabi ng ang gwapo talaga ng boses niya!”  Hahaha!

I guess you just really can’t deny “talent” when you “hear” one! ♥

Always a David Cook fan, Mika :)


Of Beautiful Weddings, Family Reunions, and Sunset Limitations

The last time (also my first time) I was in Bohol was just last April.  I was with two of my college friends, we got left by our original flight to Cebu, our flight from Manila to Tagbilaran was delayed for two hours, and to top it all off, our luggage went to Cebu instead of Bohol — so go figure.  In fact, I wrote a very looong blog entry about it.  Hahaha!

And then last Friday, I was supposed to go to Bohol again for my cousin Brian‘s wedding…  I booked a flight with another cousin, Charlene, with her husband Ryan.

Thanks again, Ate Cha and Kuya Ry!!! :D

So we arrived at the airport before lunch since our flight WAS SUPPOSED TO BE at 2PM.  But then again, it got delayed for two hours…  and then it eventually got cancelled.  CANCELLED!!!  To think that my first trip to Bohol was already jinxed!  How malas could I be? :(

The Sunset Limitation Experience

The reason why our flight got cancelled was because of LIMITED SUNSET.  Tagbilaran’s runway isn’t equipped with lights and whatnot needed for a plane to land — hence, it’s not fit for night arrivals!  Okay, understood.  But as to why our flight got delayed in the first place, that still remains a mystery!  Kaloka diba?!

Luckily, our airline that time was Philippine Airlines (PAL).  So to turn our kamalasan into something good, our cancelled flight was exchanged for a new flight the following day — with a free overnight stay and buffet dinner at Diamond Hotel to boot!  Malas ba?  Well, hindi pala!!!  Wahahahaha!

It was then that Ate Cha, Kuya Ry, and I met the bride’s friends: Minnie and her husband Dao, and of course my roomie that night, Ate She! :)

my shared hotel room with Ate She

And since most of us are part of the bridal entourage (Ate She was in fact the Matron of Honor!), just imagine if we all didn’t make it to Bohol in time!  Whew.

making the most of our buffet dinner at Diamond Hotel – courtesy of PAL! ;)

Magrereklamo pa ba kami?  Even the transfers to the hotel and back to the airport were shouldered by the airline.  So really, THANKS PAL!!! :D

Meet My Relatives

Of course, with weddings come family reunions!  ‘Nuff said. :D :D :D

at the beach reception ♥

The Sanvictores Family

(photobooth photos courtesy of Artline)

with my young cousin from Sacramento, California – Katrina :)

The Sanvictoreses

with the California Girl again! Heehee. ;)

Miss Bridesmaid and The Newlyweds

This wedding was actually my fourth time to be a bridesmaid.  The first time was waaay back in high school (I think!) and I don’t even have a picture of that!  But after that, I made sure to document every dress I wore — just in case I collect 27 Dresses and be my very own Katherine Heigl!  Chos!

“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!” (Patay tayo diyan! HA HA HA)

Anyway, back to the real reason why I was in Bohol in the first place!  Of course, CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEWLYWEDS!!!

Michelle and Brian ♥♥♥ (photo courtesy of Artline)

I wish I took more photos!  But I was so caught up with all the happenings, so I’ll just rely on my relatives’ pictures when they finally upload them!  Haha!  But overall, I say Bri and Mich‘s wedding was a blast!  And that whole sky lantern thing at the end?  Totally epic!  As Katrina put it, “It’s just like the movie Tangled!”

Again, Bri and Mich…  Congratulations!

(photo courtesy of Artline)

May you live happily ever after! ♥


Sojourning in Cambodia

Four months ago, my sisters found out that there’s already a direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap via Cebu Pacific.  Prior to that, we already booked a trip to Vietnam…  but since I didn’t know that I’ll already be free from my work come May, I passed up the opportunity to go with them to Siem Reap since I have had limited leaves!  Ahem!

But I did resign this month, and now I have TIIIME!  *tumbling here*  So days before my sisters’ flight to Siem Reap, I decided to go with them.  Bad news?  It cost me a couple of bucks since there were no promo fares anymore!  Boo!  But good news?  I was finally going to Siem Reap, baby!  As simple as that. :P

So I just got back from Siem Reap, Cambodia…  but where to start?

Okay, let’s start with Siem Reap’s airport. :)  For seasoned travelers, I bet you know the so-called “Banana Pancake Trail,” which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.  You can travel these three countries by bus, but since I’m not a big fan of looong bus rides, my best option is to ride planes — now that, I’m a big fan of!  Hahaha!  Anyway, Siem Reap’s airport was quite surprising (in a good way) considering that it’s a province.  It actually reminded me of a resort, and I can only wish that our local/provincial airports can be like it!

Next, let’s talk about our Cambodian “home” for several days: Sojourn Boutique Villas. :)  One of the things I noticed when I first stepped on Sojourn was its eco-friendly ambience, reminiscent of one of my favorite local resorts in the Philippines — El Nido Resorts.

Anyway, upon arrival, we were greeted by their friendly and warm staff.  Plus, welcome food and drinks were served!  Panalo!!!

with Sojourn’s friendly and warm staff

It’s actually owned by an Australian couple, and “with only ten private villa rooms, Sojourn offers journeys of an entirely different nature.”  I also loved their “Book Bundle” concept wherein you can exchange your books for theirs.  Unique AND useful, indeed! ;)

And one of the good things about Sojourn is that it’s like a one-stop place for everything you need for your trip — including tours (click here)!  So yes, we availed of their Angkor Trekker – Private One Day Guided Tour, and our “tour” day pretty much looked like THIS:

Sunrise at Angkor Wat…

We were actually quite “unlucky” because it’s already the rainy season…

(kung saan ako’y biglang nakakita ng mukhang Prince William!  HA HA HA)

Grabe ang ngiti ko oh! =))

Hello there, guy with the green shirt! Kaya lang may kasamang blondie eh… Hayayayay.

Well, sabi ko naman mukhang Prince William…  “mukhang” being the operative word!  Wahahahaha!

breakfast…

my favorite was the Asian rice topped with a sunny-side up egg = yumm-eh!!!

the temples…

Wat Athvea

Angkor Wat

Angkor Thom
(Bayon Temple)

Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm was where Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) kicked some butt in the movie “Tomb Raider.” :D

The so-called “Lara Croft Tree”

After touring the temples, we went back to Sojourn to have aromatherapy massages at their in-house spa called Origins Spa.  By nighttime, we went back to the town center to eat a buffet dinner and watch a traditional apsara dance at Koulen II Restaurant.

Right after that, we went to a night market — where a bunch of sellers called me “lady” to get my attention and eventually buy their products!  Haha, feelingera! =))  But seriously, feel na feel ko ang pagiging “lady” dun!  Bukod sa puro may “royal” ang pangalan ng mga hotel,  ‘sang katutak na sapphires ang binebenta dun!  And as the Duchess of Cambridge‘s royal loyal follower, my eyes easily spotted lots of replicas of her engagement ring! @_@  Kung nalaman ko lang ng mas maaga na sa Cambodia lang pala makakabili nun, edi sana nakamura ako ng mga $20!  Harharhar.

Now you know where to buy a replica of THE royal ring!

Ooh, two more things to remember when in Siem Reap:

-the US Dollar ($) is widely used, so you don’t really have to think twice about foreign exchange; and
-the tuk-tuk is their sosyal version of our padyak!

riding a tuk-tuk!

Last but not the least, let’s go back to Origins Spa.  The day after our tour was our “relax day” because that was the time my sister decided to have another spa treatment!  The best news?  My sister “sponsored” my own spa treatment!  Heehee.  Kaya thanks talaga sa ate ko!  I love her to bits!!! ♥

Anyway, each treatment at Origins Spa includes a complimentary drink and footwash.  As for the main part, my sisters and I each had the Sojourn Signature Spa Package:

“The ultimate in pampering and the perfect way to complete your Sojourn experience.  We start with your choice of body scrub and wrap to cleanse and treat your skin.  While basking in your body wrap, enjoy a Kaffir Lime hair and scalp treatment.  After your body wrap, enjoy a refreshing drink and light spa treat in your garden oasis.
This is followed by a one-hour aromatherpy massage”

Define “bakasyon.” :D :D :D

(shortly followed by merienda at the poolside!)

feasting on Khmer cuisine!!!

Overall, I can say that this Cambodian vacation I just had is one of my best vacations ever!  Kasi hindi lang puro sightseeing, may kasama ding “relaxing” part (a.k.a. spa treatments).  SERIOUSLY.

So babalik pa ba ako sa Siem Reap?  Aba naman, SIEM… pre!  And I hope that you get to experience a Cambodian vacation like this, too!  Kaya ano na...  tara? ;)


Gotta Love A Travel-Themed Debut ♥

First of all, I’d like to greet the debutante, Rossell, a HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! :)

Ingenious theme; gorgeous debutante ♥♥♥

Anyway, the last debut I attended was more than three years ago…  and that was the debut of Rossell‘s Achie Minnie.  In fact, I also blogged about it on CandyMag.com!  You can check it out here. ;)  Time flies sooo fast that I can’t even fit into the dress I wore for Minnie‘s cotillion!  Wahahahaha!

2008 and 2012 (don’t even mention the 30 lbs. I gained! HA HA HA)

Going back to Rossell‘s debut, it was truly a night to remember!  And based on this post’s title, you can already tell what its theme was: TRAVEL! ♥♥♥

Actually, Rossell‘s Achie Minnie was my very first featured traveler when I started my 2012 blog project — click here! :D  So no surprise there at all because their family truly loves traveling.

From the invitation…

The Lady’s “passport” to Rossell’s travel-themed debut ♥

the stage…

Eiffel Tower, anyone?

down to the cake!

Talk about EDIBLE LUGGAGE!!!

Everything was truly lovelovelove.

Plus, I was able to catch up and DANCE (haha!) with friends I haven’t seen in a looong time!  Perfect night, indeed!

Special mention goes to my seatmates during that night: Stephanie, Bianca, and John!  Heehee. :P

And of course, thanks to my friend Carol for my dress that night!!!

Thanks, C! ♥♥♥

And that’s it!  Once again, I’d like to greet Rossell a HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!  Thanks for inviting me!  From The Lady to another lady, may all your wishes come true and I wish you all the best in your studies and future career — Doktora Rossell diba?  Hehe.  Stay gorgeous and sweet.  Love you!

Ate Mika xx


How To Be Miss Saigon*

*without starring in a musical! =))

(Feeling) Miss Saigon

Go to Vietnam.
Duh.  You really didn’t think that this is about ze musical, did you?  Well if you did, sorry to disappoint you!  We’re kinda going for the literal meaning of words here…  Besides, I don’t think anyone can replace the Lea Salonga!  NEVER!!!  *fangirl mode insert here*

Ms. Lea Salonga in “Miss Saigon” ;)

Anyway, one of the first things you’ll notice when you go to Vietnam is their public transportation — motorbikes/scooters!

Kung sa ‘Pinas, mga jeep ang hari ng lansangan, pwes sa Vietnam, ITO!!!

Travel with your fellow misses.
Traveling with family is always special.  Traveling with friends is another kind of special.  But when you travel with both your family and friends…  what more could you ask for? :)

Yep!  I traveled with two of my sisters and three of my college friends!  In good company, indeed!!! :D

Be the best tourist that you can be (i.e. tour the place for at least EIGHT HOURS!).
Thank the heavens we went to Ho Chi Minh (formerly called Saigon).  Why?  Well obviously, if we went to Hanoi (the capital of Vietnam, btw!), I might as well use “Ms. Hanoi” in my title!  Haha!  Anyway, tama na nga ang pilosopohan.  Time for some major sightseeing!!!

We availed of Buffalo Tours‘ Full Day Ho Chi Minh City Tour:

“A holiday in Vietnam is not complete without a tour of Ho Chi Minh City.  Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the city is still frequently referred to, is Vietnam’s largest city.  It is a fast-paced metropolis full of contrasts, with street vendors selling fruit and vegetables next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques.  Amazingly, the city’s history dates back only 300 years.  For quality Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon tours, Buffalo Tours has you covered.”

The Reunification Palace

“This is one of the most important buildings in the city.  Here on April 30th 1975 the ‘American War’ officially ended when tank number 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was, at the time the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.”

Binh Tay Market

“The name ‘Cho Lon’ can be roughly translated as ‘Big market.’  Although the whole district lives up to its name, a visit to this market really drives the point home.  Selling everything from hats to dried squid, you are sure to enjoy a walk through the maze of stalls in this bustling market.”

Chinatown

What’s in a NAME? Hahaha!

Lacquer factory/showroom

In this factory, I finally found the perfect artwork to put in my room!  Spell happiness!!!

Dong Khoi Street, the Opera House, and the Peoples’ Committee Building

“Built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene, the 800 seat Opera House was used as the home of the Lower House Assembly of South Vietnam after 1956.  It was not until 1975 that it was again used for performances.  The structure was restored in 1995.  The Opera House is located on the historical Dong Khoi Street which is home to many boutiques and fine restaurants.  Just around the corner are the iconic Rex hotel and the beautiful Peoples’ Committee Building.”

The War Remnants Museum

“Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war.  Some of the black and white photography in the ‘Requiem’ exhibit is particularly touching, dedicated to both foreign and Vietnamese journalists and photographers who perished during the conflict.  The courtyard outside contains the spoils of war, namely rusting jets, tanks, and cannons captured from the American military machine.”

The Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office

“Built between 1877 and 1883, this is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture.  Remarkably, every stone used in its creation was shipped from France to Vietnam.  Her two forty metre towers, topped with iron spires, still dominate the city’s skyline.  The Old Post Office is another example of French colonial architecture and is also the country’s largest post office.”

Eat the Vietnamese way.
Va-va-Vietnam!  Ang sarap-sarap ng pagkain!  Ang mura-mura paaa!  I swear,  EVERYTHING you eat in Vietnam is guaranteed to make you satisfied!  Gastronomic with a capital G!  And don’t even get me started with ze famous Vietnamese Coffee!!! @_@

 From my hotel breakfast…

nilalakong tinapay…

our city tour lunch…

ready for our Vietnamese lunch!!!

PHO!  PHO!!  PHO!!!

 down to their Vietnamese coffee!

Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4!

ANG SARAAAP TALAGAAA!

Arm yourself with your MATH SKILLS.
Who wants to be a MILLIONAIRE?  Well, your wish can be granted in Vietnam!  The đồng (or VND) actually has A LOT of denominations…  with mind-blowing figures!  And since math hates me as much as I hate it, I kind of got dizzy whenever I had to pay for some things that caught my eye!  Hahaha!

just look at all those ZEROOOES…

But don’t get excited too much!  According to Wikipedia, “the đồng currently ranks as the second least valuable currency in terms of exchange rate.”  When we were in Vietnam, US$100 was around 2,840,000+ đồng.  “Around” being the operative word.

Still, ang astig lang ng usapan minsan ‘pag tinanong ka kung magkano ang nabili mo tapos ang sagot mo,  “Mga 1 million LANG!”  Kalurkey much!!!

Fall in love with an American soldier.
THIS… I still have YET to try!  Now if this really happened, you could finally call me The Lucky One!  *cough*Zac Efron*cough*  ‘Wag lang sanang blue eyes nga, tapos cross-eyed naman!  Wahahahaha!  Naging choosy pa eh noh?!

And that’s how you can be MISS SAIGON (The Lady‘s version): Go to Vietnam.  Travel with your fellow misses.  Be the best tourist that you can be.  Eat the Vietnamese way.  Arm yourself with your math skills.  (See if you can) fall in love with an American soldier.

To my travel mates, did I miss anything?
If so, then sound off in the comments section below!  Peace out! :P


When in Bohol and Cebu… KEEP CALM, CARRY ON, MAKE LEMONADE, and HAVE F.E.A.R!

Intrigued by the title?  Well, my latest domestic trip pretty much revolved around those Words Of Wisdom…

…but before I tell you all about THAT trip, have you watched the parody movie A Tale of Two Cities and Three Friends?  It’s actually a local indie film released early this year, and its synopsis is quite relevant to this post.

So if you still haven’t watched it, the synopsis is about three friends who went to two cities (DUH — what a stupid introductory sentence!  Haha!).

Anyway, they arrived at the airport ON TIME, underwent the usual airport protocol, found seats near their boarding gate…  sat still there until it was already near their boarding time.  When they realized that it was already past their boarding time and they still haven’t heard anything from the airport announcements, they assumed that their flight must’ve been delayed.  And so they waited…  and waited…  until it was too much.  It was really odd to have a delayed flight just like that, so one of them decided to finally ask an airport staff.  That’s when they found out that their plane had already taken off and they were left behind at the airport! x_x

Of course it was a total bummer, but one missed flight wouldn’t stop them from pushing through with their trip.  They immediately went to the ticketing office inside the airport, booked the next flight (even though that meant spending half of their pocket money!), and attempted to get their luggage BUT they were told that those could just be redirected to their next flight.  And they believed it.

When they finally boarded the next flight, it turned out to be 2 hours delayed! Yes, TWO FREAKIN’ HOURS!  Upon landing on their first destination…  surprise, surprise!  Their luggage was missing!  Turns out that the airline failed to “redirect” their luggage to their destination, and the three friends were forced to spend one whole day without any of their clothes!  Of course they decided to buy toiletries at the nearest store, and considered THAT action as their “first lemonade.”  But c’mon, mamon!  Take a bath, but wear the same clothes for more than 24 hours?  Survivor Philippines ba ito?!

Okay, their luggage arrived just before lunch THE NEXT DAY.  From then on, they “traveled” happily ever after…

Aaand you caught me!  What indie film synopsis was I blabbering about?  Indie film?!  More like hindi film — dahil hindi talaga yun film!  Hahaha!  That “synopsis” you just read was exactly what happened during my trip to TWO CITIES in Bohol and Cebu, with my two friends Carol and Maxine. :P

THE Three Friends! Hahaha!

That’s right.  Those things happened to us!!!  And when faced with those kinds of scenarios, we turned to “words” for help — our Words Of Wisdom.  Having said that, let me enlighten you more with the aforementioned WOW.

Mika: “KEEP CALM…”

Since we were able to score round-trip tickets to Cebu-Manila and vice versa at very reasonable prices, our original travel plan was take a plane to Cebu, ride a ferryboat to Bohol and stay there for 3D/2N, and then go back to Cebu for an overnight stay.

But when we found out that we were left by our plane (1/8 of the blame goes to the airport; the rest is on us!  Haha!), there was nothing left to do but to KEEP CALM.  And how did we do that?  We decided to just buy the next direct flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol.  Of course that time, there was no promo.  So we had no choice but pay the original price — which kind of defeated the purpose of buying our “promo” fares because when we added the total price of ALL our tickets, it seemed like we paid the original price from the very beginning.  Right.

Mika: “…AND CARRY ON!”

When we finally had our NEW boarding passes, we tried to get our luggage but the airport staff reassured us that they could just change the sequence number, blah, blah, blah.  Edi syempre we had no choice but leave everything to the travel gods…

And then when we were already on our plane bound for Bohol, our flight was delayed for TWO HOURS!  I repeat, TWO HOURS!!!  Okay, CARRY ON.

Carol: “WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, MAKE LEMONADE!”

Upon arriving at Tagbilaran, my friends and I were even joking that our luggage must’ve went straight to Cebu…

…turns out, hindi pala joke yun!   Grrr!

Nasa Cebu nga ang mga luggage namin!  This time, hindi na namin aakuin ang pagkakamali!  Ibang usapan na ‘pag sinabi sa inyong “ililipat” ang sequence number whatever, tapos hindi naman pala magagawa!

Kumulo talaga ang mga dugo namin!  Lalo na siguro ako at nasabi ng mga kaibigan ko na hindi na daw talaga mapinta ang mukha ko!  And to make things more lemon-y, our Tagbilaran flight was the last flight for the day!  P***** ***** **n!  Oops, sorr-eh.  PEACE.

So anyway, since our airline doesn’t have Cebu-Tagbilaran flights, our luggage had to go back to Manila, and then from there, fly to Tagbilaran — THE FOLLOWING DAY!  Since we were so hopeless, we just decided to buy toiletries at the nearest drugstore AND try to survive for the day…

tadah!  Instant SWEET LEMONADE, made from 100% BITTER AND SOUR LEMONS!  Wahahahaha!

Extra squeeze: When traveling, ALWAYS include your first articles of clothing in your carry-on bags!  No exception!!!  —Credit goes to my friend Carol.  Heehee.

We stayed at Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao, Bohol and I must say, I felt like I went to a detox retreat or something because everything was organic!  Not that I’m complaining, thank you very much! :D

organic food!!!

Plus, their ice cream was to die for!  My favorite flavors are malunggay and tsokolate (made from cocoa tablets!)  YUM!!!

Maxine: “HAVE F.E.A.R. (Face Everything And Recover)”

Now, we’re on the “tour” proper.  When our luggage arrived just before lunch the following day, we were finally able to kick-start our “travel plans” — the PLAN B version! ;)

Bohol

My friend Maxine was able to find a Van for Hire, with Kuya Rommel as our driver:

If you happen to be in Bohol, I recommend that you give Kuya Rommel a call at 0906-7462885.

Having said that, we went to the following places:

THE BLOOD COMPACT SHRINE

BACLAYON CHURCH

BUTTERFLY GARDEN

MAN-MADE FOREST/TARSIER

CHOCOLATE HILLS

ALONA BEACH

Cebu

From Bohol, we rode a ferry called SuperCat to get to Cebu.  The entire trip took almost 2 hours, but it was smooth sailing so no biggie! :)

aboard the SuperCat…

Aside from checking into our hotel, which was Cebu R Hotel, the first thing we did upon arriving in the Queen City of the South was — guess what — go malling at Ayala Center Cebu!!!  But can you blame us?  We’re all self-proclaimed mall rats anyway! =))

We actually watched the movie Battleship there and then in the evening, we went to Marriott Hotel Cebu to have our buffet dinner!  Thanks, Max!  SIMPLY DELISH!!!

just look at that LECHON! crruuunch.

buffet dinner = lamon forevah! harharhar.

But wait, there’s mooore!  After dinner, we went back to Ayala Center (isang tumbling lang siya from Marriott, btw!) to meet our friend Biboy.  We all found it so funny to meet in Cebu after NOT seeing each other for yeeaaars!  Talagang sa Cebu pa nagkita-kita eh noh?  Iba talaga ang mga college friends ko!!! :D

Biboy, we missed you!!!

The following day — our last day in Cebu — we attended Holy Mass at BASILICA MINORE DEL SANTO NIÑO, visited MAGELLAN’S CROSS, and ate lunch at CASA VERDE (which serves different kinds of steaks at very affordable prices! Awesomesauce.)

And that’s how we FACED EVERYTHING — by simply enjoying our trip!  I think even the clouds on our flight back to Manila would agree…

heaven?

Now the next thing to RECOVER from is figure out a way to be NOT broke!  Haha!  I swear, my friends and I were so surprised to realize that we spent A LOT on this trip…  halos triple nung nagastos ko sa Brunei, which was my latest international trip.  Must have something to do with using the same currency and not thinking about conversion, etc?  Oh well, perang papel.

And that’s it!  Whew, right???  But just think about it…  if all those things from the start of our trip hadn’t happened, then this blog entry would’ve been entitled “Bohol and Cebu” or “My Bohol and Cebu Trip.”

Honestly, that would’ve been plain BORING!  And who needs boredom when you can have fun, right?

Exactly!  MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES it is!!! ;)

Now, now. I wouldn’t trade “having MORE fun” for anything! Would you?


A Floating Bookstore, A Dose of Carbon Dioxide, And A Whole Lot of Fun!!!

Weird title?  Heehee.  But yeah.  Even though this is already considered a “late” post, let me tell you first about my Manila adventure with my two friends Mark and Maica, one fine (spontaneous) day…

(photo courtesy of my friend Mark)

Last week, we went to the heart of Manila with the hope of having a one-of-a-kind bookstore experience: the MV Logos Hope.  As self-proclaimed bookworms, the three of us traveled all the way from Makati just to have our hands on very rare, but cheap finds! :D  But lo and behold, it seemed that we lacked in the “research” department because when we finally arrived at the gate, we were told that the ship’s closed on Mondays!  On MONDAYS!!!  And we went there on a Monday.  Fuuudge. :|

Since we didn’t want to “waste” one whole trip (not to mention “excitement”), we decided to go to the Manila Ocean Park instead.

And that’s when ALL THE FUN started!!!

MANILA OCEAN PARK

It was already my second time to go there and honestly, I didn’t even think that I’d be back when I went there the first time!  Oh well.  I guess this spontaneous “excursion” was another proof that it doesn’t matter WHERE you are…  what matters is WHO you’re with!  Ahem!

Plus, it was nice to see Maica HAPPY after finally seeing penguins in the flesh!  Trust me, you don’t know how much she loves ‘em!!! ;)

Maica and her beloved penguins!!!

As for me, I kind of “penguined” out when it was my turn to feed them…  that’s why I could only get as close to a penguin like THIS:

penguin hugs, anyone? HA HA HA

Good thing there was also another attraction to SMILE about inside the Trails to Antarctica part of the Park: SNOW VILLAGE!!!

Traveling to Antarctica is a dream of mine too, ya know? :P

Ready for some snow...

...and MORE "FAKE" SNOW!

After that, we decided to try a five-minute 4D movie (thanks to my insistence!) located at the mall outside the Park.

But wait, there’s more…

Once at the lobby, I suddenly saw a familiar “sight” — Mr. Carlos Celdran of Walk This Way fame!


ME: Carlos Celdran!

CARLOS CELDRAN: Hi, how are you?

ME: *smiling like an idiot* =))

I swear, I’ve been planning to go to one of Mr. Celdran‘s Manila tours since time immemorial, that’s why seeing him in person even before availing of his tour spelled only one word: STARSTRUCK!  Hahaha!

I plan to FINALLY avail of his tour THIS YEAR and of course by that time, I promise to have my picture taken with him already.  Don’t worry…  knowing me, you’ll read all about THAT on THIS beloved blog of miiine!  *more hahahas*

Lastly (for that Monday), I realized that with happiness comes PANIC MODE!  On the way home while on the jeep, I witnessed my very first “snatch” encounter!  I don’t want to rehash the details anymore, but I was ThisClose to being the victim!  I’m just really relieved that it wasn’t me, but still sad for THAT lady… :(  Overall, it was truly one OMG moment for me!

Nakakalokang OMG MOMENT talaga that it made me avoid public transportation for a week!!!  I’m starting to get back to my usual “commuting ways,” but Mayor Lim, do something about THIS for the sake of my fellow Manileños, Taft Avenue, and the City of Manila in general!  Please and thank you.

Moving on…

The following day (Tuesday), we finally stepped foot on the MV Logos Hope (we’re so full of HOPE, no?) with our other friends Angela and Jen. :D :D :D

...some of the places the MV Logos Hope has been to. "Some" being the operative word!

Inside the MV Logos Hope were BOOKS (duh), a cafe, and hundreds of volunteers!  Actually, volunteering for the ship is NOW part of my bucket list!  So when it gets back to our shores, I’ll definitely apply!  Hehehe.

...couldn't really decide what to buy, so may the heavens help our credit card! =))

a cafe inside a ship - reminds me of our cruise trip! Not bad. Not bad AT ALL. :)

And there you have it!  After all that’s been said and done, I realized that no amount of carbon dioxide (sad but true) can stop me from exploring the streets of my beloved Manila!

As posted inside the MV Logos Hope,

"Life is a journey. We're all going somewhere, but where are we going?"

My answer?  Might as well go somewhere you’ll always keep coming back to (THAT song was right after all)…

…and for me, that’ll always be my hometown: MANILA. ♥


The Great Megamall Adventure :))

I love malls.  However, I only go to those located in Makati (Ayala Malls and Power Plant), Manila (Robinsons Place), and Pasay (MOA).  Other than those malls are considered out of my “territory” if I may say.  So when Kanebo Philippines invited me again to another event in Megamall, I was so looking forward to a so-called “adventure!”  Oo, isang malaking adventure na para sa’kin ang magpunta sa Megamall!  Hahaha!

SM Megamall

Image via Wikipedia

Of course, no adventure’s complete without sharing it with someone!  So I asked one of my best girlfriends, Val, to go share this “adventure” with me. :)

Thanks, Val! ♥

♥♥♥

The first stop of the “adventure” was the BEAUTY part = the Kanebo event.  Having said that, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks (again) to my friend Noriko Hanajima of Summit Media and Yannie Valencia of Kanebo Philippines. :D

Thanks, Kanebo Philippines!!!

Anyway, Kanebo Philippines held a mall animation featuring their Kate line — which is already my favorite makeup line!  SWEAR!!!

photo courtesy of Kanebo Philippines

Plus, Val and I were able to get free makeovers courtesy of Kanebo PhilippinesSuzzanne Tan and more freebies!!!

Use Kanebo’s Kate line to “raise the impact of your eyes, face, and lips.” ;)

Aside from the Kate line, one of my favorite Kanebo products is their Freshel White C Mineral BB Cream.  I first used it two days ago, and I instantly fell in love with it!

I use the one in Natural Beige (but there’s also the Medium Beige shade) and for those BB cream junkies, this is definitely a MUST-TRY product!!!  Today, I’m glad I was finally able to own one whole tube (after receiving a free sample from the previous Kanebo event I attended!  Heehee.)

Moving on…

The second part of the “adventure” was the FOOD AND DRINKS part = Bubble Tea and Happy Lemon.  Since I don’t get to go to Megamall that often, I wanted to try “something” that can be found there, but not in the malls I frequent.

Okay, there’s a Happy Lemon branch at Power Plant but still, this was just my second time to try it.  AND my first try wasn’t even “happy!”  For some time, I wasn’t a fan of Happy Lemon because I got disappointed when I first tried their Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese.  I thought it was too overrated and tasted just like any ordinary iced chocolate.  But today, that changed when I finally tried their Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese!!!

Bubble Tea x Happy Lemon

 Oh well, to each his own.  But yeah, consider me a fan already.  HA HA HA

And the third part of our “adventure” was seeing our (former) officemates and lovebirds KC (with her family) and Leo at Megamall!  Stay in love, you guyysss. ♥

Good luck…

…and may we ALL finally find our “careers.” =))

Looking forward to my next MALL adventure,
Mikaaa :P

Your resident Kanebo girl! ;)


Family Night

February 18, 2012.  My family and I attended a thanksgiving dinner for our grandparents’ joint death anniversary.

We love you Lolo Joe and Lola Vic! Rest assured, you’ll forever be in our hearts!!! ♥

It started with a Mass…  then dinner…  and of course, ENTERTAINMENT courtesy of The Executives Band! :D

My Tito Hector and cousin Julius Sanvictores are actually part of the aforementioned band, as well as one of my favorite bloggers, Cara Manglapus — who also happens to be the only girl member-slash-vocalist of the said group.

The Executives Band

The Executives Band’s Cara Manglapus

That night, I was also lucky enough to have finally met her.  (Thanks to my cousin Julius for introducing us!  Haha!)

another “fangirl moment” for me! =))

Check out Cara‘s blog HERE.

And of course, who can forget our much needed “cousin bonding!”  One just tied the knot, the other WILL also tie the knot within the year, and then another one just got engaged too!  Sooo, hindi naman ako masyado na-prepressure ng mga pinsan ko noh?!  Oh well.  HA HA HA

Anyway, meet my beautiful and handsome cousins!  And along the way, guess who’s who! :P

Couples’ Corner ♥♥♥

After our thanksgiving dinner, we made the most of our “bonding time” by deciding to go to a spa across the street.  Spontaneous Moment #1.

at Babaylan Spa

Babaylan Spa‘s second branch is located at Scout Tuazon, Quezon City.  You can avail of their full-body massage for only Php450.  But if you prefer a quicker way to relax, you can opt for a foot massage (Php300) or foot spa (Php350).  Aside from the fact that it’s open from 9-2am (yes, 2AM!!!), I love Babaylan Spa for its location.  Let’s just say that its location is where I had most of my childhood memories, and THAT place will forever hold a special place in my heart JUST BECAUSE. :)

And if that wasn’t enough, we all decided to drink MILK TEA in the wee hours of the night (read: 2am)!  We went to four different milk tea places along Tomas Morato but unfortunately, the first three milk tea places we went to were already closed.  Luckily, we found SerendipiTea!!!

(photo courtesy of My SerendipiTea)

My SerendipiTea = milk tea fix at 2am!

Visit My SerendipiTea‘s Facebook page here.

And that was our Spontaneous Moment #2. ;)  Ah, one of the good things about spending time with my cousins: SPONTANEITY.  We may not have the chance to meet as often as we want to but when we do, it’s something I always look forward to!  So there.  See you next time!  (And I do hope it’s SOON, too!!!)

The Lady is now out!
:D :D :D


Watch Mamma Mia, Go to Baguio

Sooo, I had another EPIC weekend.  And knowing me, I just have to blog about it — again!  But hey, this is a PERSONAL blog after all.  So what did you expect?  Haha!

Anyway, let’s start with ba-ba-ba-BAGUIO!!! :D

My family and I went to Baguio for the weekend since my brother-in-law was already there anyway for a golf tournament.  We stayed at one of The Manor‘s family suites in Camp John Hay, and that’s where all the epic-ness started!

If you’ve been to The Manor (or Baguio in general), I think you’ll agree that the weather isn’t the same in Manila.  And when I say “not the same,” I mean it in a positive way!  I don’t know about you, but I’m actually a “cold person” — meaning, I looove anything cold, including the cold weather!  But if you want to interpret my being a “cold person” in a different way, that’s NOT my business anymore!  Go ahead, feel free to do so.

Hahaha! Of course, I kid! :P

Moving on, here are some more shots of The Manor:

view from our room

Aside from savoring the awesome cold weather (I heard that it was 10 °C when we were in Baguio), I just practically took advantage of the fact that I could be a “bum” in my own right for at least a day.  So some of the things I did while in The Manor Baguio were watching DVDs (Bridesmaids and Chances Are — which by the way stars a very young Robert Downey, Jr.  So spell H-O-T!), eating, shopping at the outlet stores, eating, having a massage at the spa, and yes, EATING!  EATING!!  EATING!!!

two of my newest discoveries! HARHARHAR

Hay, kaya nakakarir ko ang pag-shoshorts sa Baguio eh…  eh pa’no, marami kasing baong “fats” ang legs ko!  (Read: mga pata!)  Wahahahaha!

jump shots! :P

Well, ganun talaga!  Gotta love my cuuurves, people!  And yes, gotta take advantage of the cold weather I’m so deprived of while in Manila!  Kaya shorts all the way talaga!!!  HA HA HA

But seriously, if you’re planning to GO TO BAGUIO, stay at The Manor.  It’s ALL good!!!  I actually give it a rating of: FIVE HEARTS (♥♥♥♥♥)

And then… there’s MAMMA MIA!

The Lady’s outfit wouldn’t be complete without her favorite accessory – anything UNION JACK! Hehehe.

Speaking of the U.K., did you know that MAMMA MIA! The Musical is actually an original British production???  Ooh, plus!  plus!  points there!!! ;)

Anywhooo, I watched it last Friday at CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) with my sisters and MY, MY, it was totally a very, very, lovely show!  Of course my ticket was the cheapest (tumataginting na Php772.50 lang naman), but who cares?  Nilibre lang naman ako eh…  magrereklamo pa ba ako?! =))

view from my seat… not THAT bad! Haha!

my “cheap,” but totally worth it ticket!

Besides… all those “accents,” all those witty lines, and all those wonderful ABBA songs?  Totally WORTH IT!!!  I actually plan on watching it again if I have the time… this time, with a more “expensive” ticket for a better view, and yes, a better “musical” experience!  Rawr!

But yeah, you and I have to hurry because the show runs until February 19, 2012 only.  We can cross our fingers and hope that it gets extended, but why depend on wishful thinking when you already have the power in your hands NOW?  At meganon talaga?!

Sabi nga ng ate ko,

Kung gusto niyo sumaya, manood kayo ng MAMMA MIA!

Oha, rhyming lang si a-TEH!  But it’s true.  If you want to be happy, head to CCP and WATCH MAMMA MIA! now!!!  I promise, it’s a rating of FIVE HEARTS and mooore (♥♥♥♥♥+++++)!

For more information on how you can buy tickets, click here.

♪ “…’cause somewhere in the crowd there’s YOU!” ♫

 Enjoooy! :)


Me, My Friends, and Brunei

WHO GOES TO BRUNEI?!

That was the question most people asked me and my two friends Carol and Marta when we suddenly decided to book a trip to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. ;)

The Lady in Brunei Darussalam ;)

Julia Roberts? =)) Nah, JALAN ROBERTS (or Roberts Road!)

Brunei is the seventh country I’ve been to and I’m glad I was finally able to cross it off my bucket list!  (Click here for a complete list of the countries I want to travel to.  Haha!)

Anyway, my trip to my seventh country was also a trip with a lot of “firsts”:

- obviously, it was my first time there (and I think last?  Chos!)

- it was my first abroad trip with my friends (I didn’t consider my Hong Kong trip with my other college friends back in 2007 because there was a “school” business involved)

- it was the first ever trip I paid for using my own hard-earned moolah (from airfare, hotel, and even pocket mahneeyyy!)  Just like what my friend Dyan said,

“The best things in life are supposedly free but there’s a sense of fulfillment and pride in saving up enough money to treat myself to a well-deserved vacation.”

Yes, ako na ang natututong tumayo sa sarili kong mga paa!  But still, I wouldn’t mind having “sponsors,” you know?  Hahaha!…  what else?

- Oh, it was also my first time to feel tired for NOT doing anything!!!  To know why, I’ll prefer it if you just ask me in person! =))

Honestly, I don’t even know how to start this blog entry…  Let’s just say that if SERENITY (and I’m sooo NOT talking about the milk tea place!) is what you’re after, then Brunei’s the place for you!  But if you’re into “busy” cities (just like most capitals), then Brunei’s a whole different story!  Gets?

Okay, good.  Having said that, I’ll just let my pictures do all the talking.  After all, the following places are pretty much the only tourist-y ones you can go to in Brunei.

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Royal Regalia Building

Istana Nurul Iman (Royal Palace)

Jame Asr’ Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

The Empire
Hotel & Country Club

Carol, Marta, and Mika at The Empire

No, I’m not saying that you should pass up the opportunity to go to “The Green Heart of Borneo.”  Experience din yun noh!  What I’m saying is Brunei isn’t your “usual” bakasyunan.  It can be a little boring at times, but c’mon mamon,  it’s also dubbed “A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures” — in short, ‘wag talaga kayong mag-expect!  Wahahahaha! :P

Kidding aside, enough about ME and BRUNEI for the title of this entry speaks for itself.  This trip wasn’t just about Me and Brunei, there were also My Friends!  And as cliche as this may sound, it’s true.  It doesn’t matter where you are…  what matters is the people you’re with!  Oha, meganon talaga Carol at Marta!!!  Looking forward to our next trip!  (At oo, may sequel na agad ang Brunei trip namin — SOON!  Hehehe.)

Now, going back to the first question…  Who goes to Brunei?  Err…  I don’t really have a definite answer to that.  After all, TO EACH HIS OWN.

But this I can leave you, my dear readers.  You’ve heard of the newest tourism campaign of the Philippines, right?  Well, THIS is proof of how true that slogan is! ;)

Call me biased or whatnot, I don’t care!  But yes!  It truly is…  no doubt…

MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!!!

college friends!!!

The Lady is now OUT!

;) ;) ;)


The Year Ender :)

Aahhh…  Another year has passed us by!  And since this is my year-ender blog post, please allow me to take a few moments to reflect on the year that was: 2011.  And how do I propose to do that?  By listing SOME OF THE THINGS I WASTED AND MADE THE MOST OUT OF IN 2011. ;)

Wasted:

1. Money – I think half of which was spent on MILK TEA!!!  So this coming 2012, I’m sooo going on a milk tea fast — NOT!  Hahaha!  Adik lang! @_@

Another proof?  Two words: Juju Cleanse.

It STARTED with this...

...then PROGRESSED to "these."

Don’t get me wrong…  A LOT of people have said good things about this cleanse, and why shouldn’t they?  After all, it’s REEAAALLLLYYYYY good for the body.  But if only I had known that I’d be feeling sick and close to puking while I was on my third bottle, I never would’ve spent Php2,500 for six “juicified” veggies that I was required to finish ALL IN ONE DAY!  FAIL!!!  But then again, that’s just me.  To each his own, people!  I repeat, TO. EACH. HIS. OWN. :)

BUT when I finally held bottle #3, I just couldn't END it with much bliss. :|

2. The first five months of my *new* gym membership – reference on #1: milk tea = heaps and heaps of CALORIES!!!  And BOOM!  Just like that, another “health project” went down the drain…  Gaaah~  (I sooo hope this changes for the better in 2012!  Paaak!)

3. Time spent on social-networking sites – Facebook, Twitter, you name it! — but not WordPress — hmm…  no, definitely NOT WordPress!  Haha!  But you know, BALANCE is always the key — and I just think I went a little “out of balance” when it comes to my social-networking activities in 2011. :|

Made The Most Out Of:

1. B-L-O-G-G-I-N-G.  I’ve already mentioned SEVERAL times that I call 2011 my “blogging year.”  Yay WordPress!  And did I reach my goal to have 10,000 hits before the year ends?  CHECK!!!  But seriously, you’re already reading it…  do I really have to say more?

Oh yeah, I do have one more thing to say: I, THANK YOU! :P

2. Driving skills – Makati?  Check!  MOA?  Ay nakooo, kahit yata nakapikit keri ko!  Chos!  Pero syempre, CHECK!  Nagtahan-Sta. Mesa-Tomas Morato?  Check!  Taft Avenue?  Check!  EDSA?  Check!  Check!!  Check!!!  Next year, SLEX naman!  Wahahahaha!  (Disclaimer: I said “driving,” NOT “parking.”  There’s a BIG difference, yah know?)

3. “Family and Friends” time – First, my niece turned ONE and had the awesome-est kiddie party evah!!!  And then she also traveled for the FIRST TIME. :D  Second, most of my weekends were JAM-PACKED.  And third?  Milk tea date here, movie date there, just any kind of “date” (actually) everywhere.  Yun nga lang, puro FRIENDLY dates ah.  Waleeyyy man lang “romantic date” kahit isa!  Tsk, tsk, tsk. :P

Ah basta, I LOVE YAH MI FAMILIA Y MI AMIGOS!!!  Mwah.

4. Graduate school – I’m already done with ALL of my coursework!  Yay meee!  Next step: comprehensive exam PLUS thesis!  Yiiikes me! :(

And there you have it.  But wait…  please keep on reading…

Before you decide to move on to that more important site (whatever that is) you have to set your eyes on, I have ONLY ONE request for you: please don’t finish reading this blog entry without watching the following video.  PLEASE WATCH IT.  I promise your nine minutes and 56 seconds will truly be WORTH IT. :)

(Thanks to my Idol Patty [Laurel] for “introducing” this video to me.)

This coming year, let’s make it a point to be more GRATEFUL.  Everyday.

But that’s not all…

I think each of us can also learn a thing or two from (the movie) New Year’s Eve‘s Ingrid:

BE AMAZED!!!

This coming year, I also dare ALL OF US to be AMAZED!!!  I don’t know…  be amazed by EATING.  TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS.  PRAYING.  TRAVELING.  LOVING.  WRITING.  Actually, ANYTHING.  As long as you get to have your own interpretation of the word “AMAZING,” do it!  Just. be. amazed! :D

Then again, if I got to have my very own “Paul” (a.k.a. Zac Efron)…

…I think I’d be amazed enough!  But GOOD LUCK with that!  Hahaha!

Now, how’s that for New-Year’s-resolutions-gone-short-and-vague?  — ano daaaw?  =))

HAPPY 2012 TO Y’ALL!!!
Remember, BE GRATEFUL and BE AMAZED. ♥

2011, signing off…

P.S: To spice things up a little bit, I decided to work on a “special project” for THIS blog come 2012!  So, watch for that!!!  Clue: if you love adventure, culture, food, and lots and lots of photos, then I can’t wait for YOU to read all about it (or them)!  Who knows?  That can be the start of your “be amazed” resolution!  Teehee – heehee with a capital “T” — isa pang clue ‘yan! ;)


Indeed, It Was A Happy Christmas 2011!!! :D

“Happy Christmas” was what I used to greet my family and friends during THIS very festive Season!  Yes, I replaced “merry” with “happy” because you know, that’s how the British say it!  Eh alam niyo naman ako, I’m in love with EVERYTHING U.K. kaya syempre, masyado kong kinakarir ang pagkaka-FEELING BRITISH ko!  Wahahahaha! ;)

This year’s Christmas was quite different for me and my family.  Let’s just say that we kind of had “new” traditions — starting with our venue.  Instead of spending Christmas at home and my Lola Vic‘s (who passed away last February.  May she rest in peace!) house in Quezon City, we spent Christmas Eve at my sister and her family’s condo unit.  Aaand we finally had Noche Buena!  Yep, it was our first time to celebrate it (we usually go for New Year’s Media Noche), and it was FUN!  FUN!!  FUN!!! :D

Sabi ko, parang pang-Starbucks ad lang! Haha!

We started our Christmas Eve by visiting our parents. :)

My niece and her Starbucks cup...

...as a complement to her Serenitea JUMBO cup! CUUUTE.

Our Christmas Eve entertainment was my niece's favorite: Mickey Mouse!

...and other Christmas-themed animations! Loves it!

If you notice, you'll see that we all wore Mickey Mouse shirts!!! ♥

wacky shot - DAW! =))

My niece made sure to write her name on the window for Santa to see! Spell adorable.

ta-daaah!

BEFORE Noche Buena...

...AFTER Noche Buena! BUSOG! Thank you, Lord.

And then of course, there was "gift time." Look what I gave my sister and niece: matching shirtdresses! Mwah.

But wait, there’s ONE MORE…

After months of searching, look what I finally got (for myself — haha!)  this Christmas:

Originally priced at £18, it was reduced to £13.50 because of Marks & Spencer's 25% off jewellery promotion. (In the Philippines, I got it for only Php2,150 with 15% discount. Yay!!!)

M&S' Platinum Plated Royal Ring

This is the closest replica (with good quality) I've seen by far!

It’s a bit pricey for something fancy (uyyy, rhyming!) — and when I say “fancy,” alam niyo yung mga nabibili sa tabi-tabi tapos may label na “fancy”?  Fancy earrings.  Fancy necklace.  Fancy watch.  Fancy jewelry — na japeyk!  Chos!  Anyway, I guess it’s priced as it is because it’s Marks & Spencer AND it’s Platinum Plated.  And based on my “research,” Platinum Plating “is also used in the jewelry industry because its luster is much purer compared to silver or gold, which enhances the brilliance of gemstones, such as diamonds and rubies.  Platinum plating does not discolor or oxidize, and it is hypoallergenic, which means that it does not react with the human skin like gold and other metals can.”  Oha, A+ for EFFORT!  Hahaha!  But anyway, like I said, I’ve been looking for THIS — FOR MONTHSSS — so I still consider this purchase worth it!  Besides, “at £13.50, rather than the £250,000 Catherine‘s ring is reported to be valued at, we’d call that a bit of a bargain.”  Heehee.

A perfect (personal) gift for Kate Middleton‘s self-proclaimed NUMBER ONE FAN — moi.  Ayiieee, yun naaa!

But of course, aside from the celebrations and presents, we still didn’t forget the real reason behind the Season: Jesus‘ birthday! :)  My family and I attended Mass, and I’d like to take this opportunity to say once again:

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!!  We love you.

Indeed, it was a Happy Christmas!  Next stop: a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :D :D :D

Until then…  xoxo.


A Time to $pend

Ecclesiastes 3 already said it, there’s A TIME FOR EVERYTHING.  To paraphrase it (and make it even more redundant):

to everything, there is a season. :)

And the Christmas Season?  I say THIS Season is a time to SPEND a lot of cha-ching, cha-ching and  some ba-bling, ba-bling!  Ain’t that right, Jessie J?  Hahaha!

Since last Thursday (December 15th — aha!), I’ve been spending a lot of time at malls.  I know, I’m such a slacker when it comes to buying Christmas gifts that I wait for my 13th month pay before I even start crossing out names from my “Christmas presents checklist.”  Ayun naaa!

Anyway, I’m glad to say that I’m ALMOST done with it.  See?  “Almost” being the operative word.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  But still, progress IS progress, people!  You can’t complain about that — especially if you’re one of the people I’ll be giving those presents to!  HA HA HA ;)

But why am I rambling to the world again about my Christmas shopping spree?  Simple — because it hit me.  It hit me that I was able to spend THAT amount of money in just A FEW DAYS, which I tried earning for a few months — heck, even waited for A YEAR!!!  It hit me that the amount I spent in a few days can actually sustain several families for a month (maybe).  And thinking of that made me sad.  And it’s making me crazy.  RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT I’M TYPING THIS!!! @_@

But wait.  It also hit me that I spent “blood, sweat, and tears” not just for MYSELF, but for other people as well.  Especially MY FAMILY.  And I guess that qualifies as something that made me happy.  Actually, “MAKES” me happy.  Present tense.  Bow.

Of course you can say that spending money isn’t really necessary when it comes to giving Christmas “gifts.”  True.  But you see, that would’ve applied to me before — waaay back when I was still a student…  waaay back when I was still unemployed…  and waaay back when the only “gifts” I ever gave my family were “I love you’s” and DIY stuff.  Heehee.  That’s why I made a promise to myself that once I start earning my own money, I’ll always give “something” to my family.  Of course there are still the “I love you’s.”  Hindi na tinatanong yun.  But you know, let’s not be hypocrites here.  Who doesn’t want receiving actual “material” gifts from time time, right?  Don’t get me wrong.  My family’s NOT pressuring me to give them “something material.”  NOT AT ALL.  It’s not them, it’s ME!  Hahaha!  But seriously, I hope you’re getting my point here.  It’s all about giving back.  Period.

So to my “Christmas presents fund”?  Is it a BIG AMOUNT?  Yes, at least for me.  But is it still a BIG DEAL?  Not so anymore.  I guess sometimes, you just really have to look on the BRIGHTER SIDE of things!  Besides, pera lang yun. Napapalitan, napapaghirapan (waaah!)  But putting a smile on someone’s face and making them feel that you actually took the time to think and exert some effort to give them the awesome-est Christmas present you could ever imagine?  That’s PRICELESS, man!  Heck, that’s even HAPPINESS!!! :D

So remember, spending MONEY won’t make you happy…

BUT

…but spending TIME — especially FOR and WITH those you love — will.

So this Christmas, make it a point to not just spend money, (seriously, don’t overthink it), but also “spend” a lot of TIME, EFFORT, and most importantly, LOVE for everyone you meet — especially for those who are very dear to you (i.e. your family).

(Moral of the lesson: Thy 13th month pay is ONLY meant for buying gifts, presents, and whatnot.  So if you think that you can save some of it, well…  THINK AGAIN.  Mwahahahahaha!)

Happy Christmas everyone!!!

Hugs and kisses from your resident Lady,
Mikhaela Georgette xoxo

P.S: This video might just make you feel better (and give you “inspiration” along the way!)

Presenting…  Jessie J featuring B.o.B. :P

…………(¯`O´¯)
…………*./ | \ .*
…………..*♫*.
………, • ‘*♥* ‘ • ,
……. ‘*• ♫♫♫•*’
….. ‘ *, • ‘♫ ‘ • ,* ‘
….’ * • ♫*♥*♫• * ‘
… * , • Merry’ • , * ‘
.* ‘ •♫♫*♥*♫♫ • ‘ * ‘
…’ ‘ • Christmas . • ‘ ‘ ‘
‘ ‘ • ♫♫♫*♥*♫♫♫• * ‘ ‘
…………..x♥x
…………….♥


Jingle Bell ROCK!!!

In this blog entry, I’d like to take a “short” (and quick!) trip down memory lane.

Destination: just this (past) weekend! ;)

First stop:
“Blogoversary”

First of all, I’d like to greet my blog a HAPPY SECOND YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! :D  I actually started this blog on December 11, 2009 ON IMPULSE that’s why I wasn’t THAT consistent at first (you can check out my blog history on my sidebar if you want proof!  Haha!)  But anyway, I decided to publicize it THIS YEAR, and I got hooked — line, sinker, and all that jazz!  I kind of declare 2011 as my “blogging year.”  Having said that, cheers to mooore years of “consistent” blogging!  Yay me!

Next stop:
Jingle Bell “ROCK!”
(Hence the title.) 

And then there’s our company Christmas party!  Last Saturday, my company held our annual Christmas Party at Hard Rock Cafe, Glorietta and my golly!  Many “unexpected” things happened…

Hard Rock Cafe logo

Image via Wikipedia

…starting with the pre-party!  Let’s just say that in between getting stuck in traffic for two hours (!) and walking the not-so-short distance from the parking lot to the venue wearing my four-inch heels (!!!), “something happened” at the parking lot.  I’m just glad I was with one of my close friends, Val (she’s the “only” witness AND I, thaaank herrr!)

I’m also happy that I was able to park my car PROPERLY!  Whew!  Whew!!  WHEW!!!  Hahaha!

The Lady and her car. Chos!

Now, let’s go to the actual party!!!  Like I said, Val and I were late for two hours (thanks a lot to the Zobel traffic!), but when we arrived, people were eating already.  Hahaha, nice timing!  Prizes were given.  People were nominated.  Games were played.  Wait, what — people were nominated?  NOMINATED FOR WHAT?  Well, there were two: “Best Dressed” and “Star of The Night.”

I, for one, got nominated for the former.  At isa lang ang masasabi ko: SAAN NANGGALING YUN?!

Wahahahaha!

NakaKALURKEYT MIDDLETON!!!  Kasi naman, this is what I call THE “KULTO” LOOK!  Black na black — parang pang-Halloween lang!  Pero kasi, BLACK AND METALLIC ang theme namin eh!  KALURKEY talaga!!! =))

Good thing I have a co-nominee from my department, Marj (who’s also my current seatmate!)

With you Marj by my side, it wasn’t THAT kalurkey anymore!  Meganon?!  Joke lang.  I sound like some freakin’ conyotic-speaking kolehiyala.  Define ANNOYING.  Hahaha, PEACE! :P

Overall, it was one heck of a Christmas party!  I seriously had fun!  Ika nga, it doesn’t really matter “where,” BUT with “who” you’re with!  And with my awesome office friends?  Oh it’s always gonna be a GREAT TIME with GREAT PEOPLE!  Yebah!!!

Introducing, the AWESOME PEOPLE OF CDP:

with Angela and Val

Val and Ms. H

with my “milk tea” buddy, Mark

with CJ

with sexy Kimmy

with Gian (a special shoutout to our IDOL PATTY Laurel!!!)

hahaha.

with KC (a.k.a. Ms. Lucky! She always wins stuff!!!)

with the beautiful Mao

with Maica, Mark, and Val

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  Which brings us to…

The last stop:
 Nyoy Volante and The Rhythmic Circle

Nyoy Volante and his band :)

The after-party was all about a violin, singing (President and CEO included!  Haha!), a violin, jamming, and did I say A VIOLIN— ist?!  HA HA HA

Let’s just say that a few minutes after they started playing (and after our boss started singing!), all eyes were also on the person on Nyoy‘s right — including mine:

Need I say more? ♥

 Siya naaa!  Siya na talaga ang HEARTTHROB!  Talented pa!!! ♥♥♥

Lagot-lagot ako nito kay Reed!!! Pa’no ba ‘to, panibagong blog entry na naman ba?  Haha!

‘Nuff said.

;) :D :P


♪ Have Yourself A Yummy Marriott Christmas! ♫

One word: BUFFET!!! ♥

My friend Maxine invited me and our other friend, Carol, to finally “taste” for ourselves what Marriott Cafe has to offer!  Yuuum! :D

“Bright, bold and upbeat, this modern all-day dining restaurant captivates food lovers with its engaging open-theatre kitchens.  Indulge from the vast sumptuous buffet of local and international favorites or order from equally irresistible a la carte menu.”

Macarons, anyone?

As you can see, nakaKALURKEYT MIDDLETON!  I didn’t even know where to start…  and HOW TO END!  Wahahahaha!  Kalurkey talaga! :P

And to make it even crazier (in a good way, of course!), we were able to meet the executive chef, Chef Mike Brammer:

Thanks Chef for the champagne! :)

But I think the highlight of my night was the PALAWAN HONEY WALNUT ICE CREAM!!!  And yes, this is me screaming for THAT ice cream!!!  It was TO. DIE. FOR!!!  Aaahhhh! ;)

You seriously can’t CAN’T try THIS ice cream when you eat at Marriott Cafe! ♥

And the best part is?  The Cafe makes it all from scratch!  Simply delish!!!

Having said that, I just want to say THANK YOU once again to my friend Maxine for this wonderful dinner!  All I can say is, GOOD FOOD.  FRIENDLY STAFF.  And yes, THE PALAWAN HONEY WALNUT ICE CREAM!!!

But seriously, if you’re looking for some place to dine in during this Holiday Season, I suggest you try Marriott Cafe.  Definitely TWO-THUMBS UP! :D

Have yourself a merry little Christmas! See ya!!!

Marriott Cafe is located at Marriott Hotel, Resorts World Manila.
For more information, you can check out Marriott Hotel’s official website.


My Christmas Photo Blog

SIGH.  Don’t you just love Christmas?  Well, I DO!  That’s why I decided to make this random photo-heavy post for a not-so-random Season!  Just a warning though, the following are (raw) pictures of Christmases past!  So yeah, photography skills NOT YET included!  Hahaha!

Whether at home or outside…  from Santas here, Christmas Lights and Trees there…  the Christmas Spirit sure is everywhere!!!

And then of course, you have the different celebrations!  From the routine and simple ones, up to the grand family reunions, not even the Grinch can steal MY Christmas from meee!  So what exactly do I do during the Yuletide Season?  Well, I…

listen to the Philippine Opera Company (POC)...

(This is a simple compilation video that I made!  Sorry for the mediocre editing skills, but I did take all the videos myself so I hope you enjoy watching them!  And of course, I hope that you feel the Christmas Spirit as I did!)

enjoy Greenbelt's holiday ambience...

also give (rather than receive)...

just look at the smiles on their faces = PRICELESS!

have my "Christmas moment" with my parents...

sing my heart out in the house where no one can stop me...

drink "coffee" with my cousins on a chilly December night...

attend my friend's debut...

with the debutante, my friend Minnie :)

eat a Christmas-themed chocolate...

watch a live (Darren) CRISSmas concert...

receive a "something useful" gift on Christmas Eve...

But most of all…

spend Christmas with the most important people in my life: MY FAMILY!

Having said that, meet my lovely cousins and sisters, and of course, my oh-so-adorable niece!!!

♥♥♥

Now, for my wish list?  I actually have only one:

Can you blame me?  Wahahahaha!  Just kidding.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! ♥


“Wilt thou wed me?”

WEDDINGS.  They’re expensive, stressful, time-consuming…

This is actually my sister when she walked down the aisle... ♥

…but most importantly, they bring TWO PEOPLE together — two people who are so full of LOVE they actually give Romeo and Juliet a run for their money…  two people who are selfless enough to spend and share their lives with one another for as long as they live.

As Alice Cullen put it, “Weddings, they bring everyone together!”

♥♥♥

But even before we get to the “formal” I DOs, one I DO must be uttered first — which brings us to THE PROPOSAL!

And as wrong timing as this post may seem (since it’s DECEMBER, not JUNE!), I’d like to share with you the video that started this whole “wedding” idea:

Aahhh, FLASH MOBS.  From the moment I’ve seen them in Friends with Benefits, I instantly fell in love with the entire concept!  And yes, hopeless romantic guys sure thought well for using a flash mob to execute one of the most nerve-wracking questions they’ll ever ask in their life:

“Wilt thou wed me?”
or if you prefer the modern translation,
“WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

Although it’s been said many times, many ways (oha!  I can still make this post sound Christmas-y!  Hahaha!), one thing remains: that when THAT one question is properly answered, it opens a whole new world to the people involved!  It’s not just the kilig factor anymore…  It’s more of the fact that two people will finally turn a new chapter in their lives, and embark on a journey…  a journey which most likely leads to HAPPILY EVER AFTER!  Enough. said. ;)

Just so you know, I recently got married, too…

If you don't DREAM BIG, what's the use in dreaming? Mwahahahahaha! ♥

…IN MY DREAMS, that is! :P

with my cousin and fellow bridesmaid, Nadine ♥

Oh well.  Always a bridesmaid, but not really looking forward to being the bride (at least NOT YET!),

Mikhaela Georgette Chiong-Jobs =))

P.S: I’d like to share with you another video here.  Wala lang.  If you watch it, you’ll notice the location.  Sabi na dapat tumira na’ko sa CALIFORNIA ehlalo na sa Palo Alto!!!  Heehee.

♥♥♥