Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pokemon Halloween in Manila

Costume Parade

Costumes are always the best part of Halloween.

As a child in the 70s, Halloween wasn't really such a big deal. Trick or treat was something we just read about in books and Halloween parties were confined to the movies or television. Well, times have certainly changed and Manila has become very western in its practice of Halloween traditions.

Beginning with my daughter P who has in her closet every imaginable Disney princess costume that you can think of, Halloween has been a major family thing since 1995. Yesterday, our Halloween to-do was at the EDSA Shangri-la Mall where L had his major Halloween class party at Fish and Co.

The party was very well-organized by the dynamic parents of L's class - namely the ever funny S, C and her husband E who so generously donated the prizes, F and his wife A and V who set up the very well-organized and fun party that all the boys and girls in attendance loved. Congratulations to them for always pulling off a great class event!

Phantom and Pokemon Pokemon was the over-all theme and Pikachu himself was there to give the boys a grand time. Here's a picture of L sandwiched between two of his Pokemon friends. The boys willingly participated in all the games and of course were all very eager to win after they saw the great array of prizes to be had! Barbie dolls were won by practically all of the little girls in attendance. Super saya talaga ng mga bata!

L's costume was given to him by his godmother whom we lovingly call the Contessa from Malibu. He had originally wanted to come as a Dementor but all the Target stores had run out! Thus, his Ninang wisely picked out something very close to what L had set his eyes on. He came instead as a Phantom, complete with hooded cowl and all. Hand-carried by his ninang, on her visit to Manila last week, it won for him the "Scariest Costume" award! What a great surprise it was for L and the award (plus [prize) certainly made his day!

Phantom and mom
Here are some more photographs from our fun Halloween party. The thing I like most about Halloween is that we can all dress up (nope, I didn't wear a costume!) watch our kids have a blast, let loose and allow our inner child to come out and play. How was your Halloween week-end?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Manila's Best At-Home Pampering Treats

They say that you can tell a lot about a woman or a man just by looking at their hands, feet and teeth.

Growing up, I remember how my father, a stickler for grooming and style would say "You can tell a lot about a man by his shoes and his belt." I suppose the same holds for a woman's bag and shoes as well. However, I digress...

As I grow older, I notice that I have a fetish for the following things - immaculate hands and feet (think well trimmed nails and no chipped polish) ; for body scrubs and pearly white teeth. Daddy always had clean hands and feet. I knew all about Dr. Scholl's products even as a seven year old. His collection of colognes was quite vast and I remember how he used to spend a great of time in the bathroom just brushing his teeth every morning. No matter the time of day, he always smelled squeaky clean! The original metrosexual :)

The last few days I've been indulging myself by pampering these most abused parts of my body. Yesterday afternoon I indulged in a major scrub and had tha masseuse come over for reflexology. The benefits of massage are simply wonderful. Your mind calms down, your muscles get unknotted, you have an over-all sense of well-being. Best of all, when it's done in the confines of your home, you don't have to bother with dressing up, driving to the spa or tha mall, and getting your wallet derailed by other stuff that you see on the way to a massage.
I guess this is the reason why there's been a boom on home service massage companies over the last year or so. Life has become soooo stressful in Manila that a massage has become de riguer in order to preserve one's sanity. I've been calling on the girls from DIAL A MASSAGE (727-3954)for the last year and a half now and have been so happy with their services. They are highly skilled, courteous, well-mannered and mind their own business. Best of all, at 275 pesos an hour (of course you need to add a tip) it's really great value for money. Don't believe me? Give them a call this week-end and you'll see what I mean. For Quezon City you can call 723-9552 and for the Makati area call them at 723-7157.

scrub a dub dubShameless plug : This wonderful scrub a dub is made by another classmate, Rose Manzano. Very relaxing and does the trick to slough off dead skin. 294 pesos for two tubs at Watsons

Today, I decided to try out the services from TOETALLY NAILED (634-8512) a "nail service salon at your doorstep" which is based in the Valle Verde area. I booked for 10AM and a few minutes before the appointed time, Fe was at my doorstep. Now, this is not your usual manicurista who comes visiting at a set time every week. Fe came complete with their own foot spa tub and a host of other gadgets, creams, masks and scrubs. The works! Highly skilled, I dozed off in my armchair as she gave me a very thorough and invigorating foot scrub and woke up to a living room sweetly scented with peppermint. And don't pooh-pooh their nail enamel... no Bobbie or Caronia here girls. Only Essie, Orly and Sally Hansen. ANd the best part - the rates! At Toetally Nailed a manicure costs a "staggering" 150 bucks, and an hour long foot spa is priced at 250 pesos only. I was so happy with their services that I booked them again for tomorrow to do the roomie. Yes, he's part metrosexual too.

And as for teeth. Well, I am blessed to be classmates with Dr. Noemi Reyes (727-3677) over at Greenhills Dental who has the lightest of hands that I always fall asleep in her dental chair. That is how good she is! So, I've got the dental hygeine part down pat. Thank God for dentist-classmates. My next project is to try out a teeth whitening procedure that I've been curious about for the longest time.

I wasn't this particular about these body parts before. You know what they say about the "warranty" being gone after the age of 40... I do not know if it is age but the things we women go through to take good care of ourselves. And this is not vanity folks, I mean we're dealing with the basics here. .I'm not talking Vicki Belo, La Mer or La Prairie... Indulge once in a while and take good care of the basic stuff. Life is short and it doesn't take a fortune to stay happy and clean. When people see your hands and feet and when you smile - what do you think goes on in their heads?

P.S. I had all the time in the world to indulge this week because I was stuck at home nursing a viral infection. Which to me was a signal, to take better care of myself again. And mini-pampering always does the trick!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blast From The Past

33s and 45s
Originally uploaded by cathyguballa.
Those of you, who like me grew up in the 70s and early 80s, listen up...

I'm indisposed again this week and so I've been spending a great deal of time nowadays indulging in my two favorite past times - reading and blogging. I got a happy surprise in my mailbox yesterday morning. NM of Nostalgia Manila wrote to trade links with me. Apparently, he's a midlifer too because he found Midlife Mysteries much to his liking.

Before I agreed to do so, I checked out his blog first. Whoa! What a fun site! I got stuck there for the next hour browsing through an awesome collection of entries that sent me back to my childhood! I felt like Michael J. Fox in "Back To The Future" for the next hour or so. NM writes in a really funny way and his topics will certainly tickle the hearts of anyone who grew up in the 70s and was an adolescent in the 80s. After reading his blog, I immediately called our yaya over at showbiz mom's house and asked her to dig up some of my dad's old records.

Sergio Mendes and Tom Jones were the usual fare that would blast out of my dad's Pioneer stereo. Dad was a big music fan and he passed the passion on to me. I remember how sometime in the early 70s, when I was around 8 years old, he bought me a small 45 record player from Farmer's in Cubao (wala pang mall noon...) that was a bright fire engine red in color. I would play my 45's over and over again until I would get all the lyrics to my favorite songs memorized. I knew all the Carpenter's songs by heart by the time I was 9 years old. I think I was really born an old soul.

We would buy (more like, hoard) records and books from Uni-Mart every week-end and listen to them as soon as we would get home. My parents would always be able to tell if I was in a foul mood because I would play sad music at a very loud volume and sulk and cry in one corner of the sala. I was the original soap opera princess before Flordeluna came along.

Nowadays, psychologists say that if you really want to know what is in your children's hearts, you need to listen to their music. And so I try. They seem to have so much more angst nowadays, but on the other hand, they also have so much more artistry and fun too. And thank God there are a lot of revivals and so we get a lot, "You know that song?!?" from our 15 year old at home. Though it isn't exactly flattering to be called "retro", the flipside is, you get to be "cool" in your children's eyes.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Birthday Week

Showbiz Mom and child
Originally uploaded by cathyguballa.
I turned 42 exactly a week ago and it was day spent in the love of family and colleagues at work. It was a working birthday for me as I motored to work very early at 6:15 AM. In the afternoon, my angels and other colleagues from our unit had a fun merienda in the confines of our office feasting on the usual Pinoy birthday party fare - pansit, barbecue, lumpiang shanghai, ice cream and pichi pichi. E, one of my angels at work also celebrated her birthday belatedly so we had a fun double celebration :)

Leaving work at 4PM, I then got ready for a small gathering of family at home. Showbiz mom and brother, together with showbiz grandchild number 4 (mine are numbers 1, 2 and 3) came to help celebrate the evening. There is nothing like spending time quietly with family to mark a very special day. This year's birthday was really meaningful to me and my family because it marked a second lease on life. Check out our pictures in this family album

Friday evening was spend in the company of old and dear friends. View our fun photos here while Saturday evening was for a dinner date with roomie at Le Souffle at the Rockwell Club savoring my favorite comfort salad of greens, goose liver (super sinful! but heck, it's just once a year...), scallops and shiitake mushrooms. comfort salad

Because of my recent illness, it had been quite a while since roomie and I had gone on a "date" so this was a welcome treat - a belated birthday dinner of sorts. Yes, in spite of all the downtimes I have had this year because of one health problem after another, there is so very much to be thankful for. The times of stillness have lead me to know HIM more and to places in my heart that I would never have discovered if I had not had that time of quiet and reflection. I thank God for all those moments and for the privilege of seeing HIS hand upon me through every circumstance of my life.

Here's to 42 And thank you to each special person who made this year a truly memorable one - here's to friendship and to turning 42!