Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why I blog...

I've never really talked about how I got started in blogging and what keeps me going. So when my blogmate Annalyn Jusay emailed me a few weeks ago because she wanted to feature me in her Blog-O-Rama column over at the Manila Bulletin, I knew it was time to pause and reflect.

I've been blogging for over a year now and it still continues to bring me a lot of joy. My blogging has also evolved I guess in direct proportion to my growth as wife, mother, person, writer, blogger... I have also made and forged many friendships in the blogging community. It's amazing how God brings in new people into your life as you move along life's journey. I wish that more women would blog and discover the joys and "liberation" that it brings.

I love reading other people's blogs not so much as to find out what's going on in their lives (ok, that too) but to understand and appreciate their interior lives as well. Show me your blog and I'll show you who you are is so true. There is much you can glean from reading a person's thoughts and writings. I also derive inspiration and ideas from reading my friend's blogs. New worlds open up. New ideas born. Then of course, there is the sense of community - from other mother bloggers, Christian bloggers, probloggers and bloggers in general.

I'd really like to know more about how I can further enhance my blog. Currently I am techno-challenged and I would really love to alter the over-all look of my blog but that will have to come at another time... first, I have to get donw to the business of writing for a living. A blogger's day is never done :)

How about you? Do you blog? And why do you blog about the things you do?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Great Cheesecake at Chelsea

Chelsea Interiors

On Mother's Day last Sunday, after a sumptuous lunch at Portico's in Serendra, we decided to try out a new dessert place that my friend R had suggested to me the day before.

We simply crossed over from Portico's to Chelsea, one of the newest and hippest dining places in Serendra. I especially love Serendra because of all the great dining places one can find here. Though it wreaks havoc on my waistline :<>

Cookie Dough Cheesecake

H and I decided we would have a Cookie Dough Cheesecake to share while L said he wanted to try out the Chocnut Tiramisu. L is the family tiramisu gourmet so he always like to check out this dessert whenever he gets the opportunity. We ordered a couple of tall cool drinks to go with our already sweet selections. I opted for my usual pot of Peppermint tea.

Hands down I can tell you that both selections were to die for! The Cookie Dough Cheesecake reminded me of the huge and sinful selections at California Cheesecake Factory in Los Angeles. This local version is tops in my book! Soft, moist with a melts in your mouth goodness with just the right touch of sweetness.

Chocnut Tiramisu

L, who was busy drawing and mulling over the interiors was quite happy with his Chocnut Tiramisu. For peanut lovers, this Tiramisu has generous bits of chonut sprinkled over heaping layers of cream and a graham cracker-based filling. The kids really enjoyed it though it was a bit too sweet for me.

Chelsea has beautiful interiors and comfortable seating with natural light streaming into the restaurant from huge glass windows that give you a fulll view of what's going on outside. It sort of reminded me of a restaurant I visited as a young bride while honeymooning in London. But Chelsea is not just about desserts but about great food as well! I am eager to go back one of these days to try out their sandwiches and pastas and other entree's. They also have a nice selection of foodies, condiments and spices that you can't find in other places.

Chelsea's goodies

Expect to spend around 1200 to 1500 pesos for two persons if you opt to go for meals and desserts. If you're just there for desserts, which two people can actually share, and coffee or tea, expect to shell out from 500 to 700 for two people.

View the rest of my Chelsea photos here

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bolinao - Gateway to the Sun

bolinao lighthouse2Before the frenzy of election week broke out, our family decided to embark on a little adventure in search of quality, family time. We found ourselves driving (more like H driving all the waaaaaay) for six hours to a quiet part of Pangasinan - rich in heritage, pastoral scenes and the simple, unadulterated joys of being with loved ones (intermittent celphone signals, no computers, newspapers, only four TV channels...) and chatting the night away.

We holed ourselves up at a quaint and charming resort by the sea called Puerto Del Sol and for four days did nothing but swim, sleep, eat, go around the countryside and trade stories. We consistently watched the AXN hit tv series "Worlds Apart" and could not help note the parallelisms. Over-all, we had a really had a fantastic time and the children were introduced to a pastoral kind of life. If the drive weren't so long, I would return, in the blink of an eye. Oh the joys of being with family by the sea. Here are some pictures from that family adventure...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Philippine Elections 2007 Senate Topnotchers in QC


So the counting has begun.

My husband H and I did the rounds of the various precincts close to where we live just to see how the counting was going on and ok, to validate how many of our own bets were assured of slots. As of midnite we each have 9 bets sure to win :) That's a pretty good batting average if I may say so. I went for 8 from GO, 2 Independents and 2 from Team Unity. I got five out of six bets in the running tally of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Let me share with you how the voting at the four precincts went. We went to visit the White Plains barangay hall at around 8:30PM and the topnotchers there as of 8:30 P.M. May 14 were -- Arroyo, Aquino, Escudero, Pangilinan and Villar. It wasn't surprising to see Noynoy place number two in the tally because his uncle Paul lives there and I'm sure he really campaigned for his nephew. It was saddening though to see Tito Sotto perform in such a lackluster way in his own bailiwick. The Sotto's have called White Plains home for the last 30 years or so. It's a good thing his daughter Lala was faring well in her bid as Councilor.

At around 9:00 P.M. we were at the Blue Ridge B barangay hall where the counting was almost completed - there are only 6 precincts in this small village.

Teachers begin the count at Blue Ridge

Over here, quite similar to the WP voters, sentiments were almost identical and the top winners were Escudero, Aquino, Pangilinan, Arroyo and Villar
How many votes for my senator? Let me count the ways...

From Blue Ridge, we hopped over to Libis Elementary school to get a feel of how the D and E market voted. H and I thought we would see a totally different set of names but apparently, irregardless of social class, some candidates remained steady and consistent with the addition of a few names - Escudero was still number one, followed by Lacson and Legarda, Cayetano, Aquino and Honasan.

libis1Libis Elem Teachers Counting Votes

It is also interesting to note that in all the three precincts we had visited thus far, the mayoralty race in Quezon City was an absolute no-brainer - even at this point in the game, it is very much safe to say that Sonny Belmonte and Herbert Bautista are still the run-away winners. To no surpise. Belmonte's presence was evident in all the precincts we went - the ubiquitous yellow shuttle bearing his name, and take a look at this school building he put up for Libis Elementary which was the third polling area we went to this evening...

The school that SB built

Our public teachers are also such a dedicated lot, weary from all the counting, they still managed to smile and plod on with such determination and dedication.

Masusing nagbibilang ang guro ng balota

Guarding the ballot box over dinner

And thank God that it was peaceful at least in this part of Quezon City. Although over at Miriam College Grade School which was the last polling center we visited there were some complaints aired to us by Jake Tolosa of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) regarding disenfranchised votes.

IMG_9159 (1)
Counting votes at Miriam College

The Miriam voting center has 47 precincts and a population of 6400 voters coming from the Loyola Heights area. Tolosa said that earlier in the day there were so many missing names, family members were separated into various prencincts instead of one, the COMELEC according to him, was not able to come up with a comprehensive and proper list of voters. Even the president of Ateneo De Manila University could not find his name on the voters list!

Sister casts her vote

The presence of the PPCRV was very visible over this voting center - volunteers, posters, watchers were all over the place - guarding the sanctity of the ballot.
Guard that vote!

And even if it was 11PM the whole community seemed to be out in full force - young and old alike - painstakingly counting each vote and making sure that no cheating would take place.

Counting the votes under a flashlight

Residents and volunteers tally the results

The topnotchers at this large polling center, as of 11PM were - Escudero, Aquino, Villar, Pangilinan and Arroyo. So far, and based on the Inquirer's latest tally, these five candidates seem to be taking the clear lead, at least in Metro Manila. Of course those numbers can easily chabge once we get the rest of Luzon, change even further when the votes from the Visayas region are in, and heaven forbid, come up with a totally different set of names when the Mindanao votes are counted! Wala naman na sanang dayaan!

Over-all, at least in our small part of the Philippines, people seem to have voted wisely and really given though to picking their candidates this time around. My fearless forecast (basta walang daya!) is that the top five slots will all go to Team Unity and in the final count it will be seven for GO, three for Team Unity and two independents. Of course I could be wrong, kaya nga fearless forecast, it's still anybody's game but barring any "Hello Garci's" this time around, the voting trend should show the current government that the people have wisened up and are tired of empty promises. This election poster prepared by a Christian Businessmen's group and the PPCRV says it all --


Here's praying for truth and honesty to prevail in the coming days!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Becoming Mom

Mom& P I suppose the task of childhood when your mother is a famous actress becomes much easier when it is lived away from the glare of the klieg lights. I am amazed at the way the younger ones do it nowadays. However, shielding me from the trappings of showbiz was my mother’s choice when I was growing up in 70s.

My mother and I do not look alike, at all. I am often introduced as “the daughter of …” and a joke I like to play with people I meet for the first time is that I let the introductory statement hang and say “Wait, don’t tell them, let them guess.” I often give them three chances to guess who my mommy is and 90% of the time they are unable to name mommy unless I shower them with very obvious clues. Mommy always gets a kick every time I tell her who my latest “mom” is.

However, the differences end there and now that I’m in my 40s, I slowly realize that no matter how much I tried to avoid becoming my mother during my younger, angst-ridden years, I am slowly becoming her. I can see my mother grinning as she reads this.

Our mothers role-model for us the women we eventually become. Their behavior and mothering styles during our growing up years really set the kind of pattern that determines the way that we, ourselves mother more or less to a certain degree. Unless you had a terribly dysfunctional childhood, you often become the same type of nurturer that you remember your mother to be. Your values, the manner by which you dress, relate to others, cope with life’s challenges – the small and big things that remind you of mom truly become a part of you later on.

My good friend and college batch mate Alya Honasan says that her mom, Alice Ballesteros Honasan role-modeled for her how one should bear life’s trials with grace and dignity. “I used to wallow in my problems, but seeing my mom get up and cook after just learning of her son’s death has made me aspire for such strength.” Honasan who is also known for her wit, says that she and her mother are the best of friends and share the same wry sense of humor.

Swimming champion Akiko Thompson says that she and her mom Hiroko share many of the same quirks and mannerisms. “For starters I eat like a rabbit all the time now, close my eyes when I am in deep thought or listening, literally giving my ear when conversing, not wanting to shampoo my hair everyday and putting weird stuff like smelly aloe vera on my face. I’ll be shocked if I start cutting my dog’s hair soon!” Truly, we become our mother’s daughters sooner or later in life.

Nina Lim Yuson who set up Museo Pambata with her mother the well-loved and highly-respected Estefania Aldaba Lim says that her late mother was a liberated and progressive woman who was not afraid to question a lot of things. “I was a very shy child but learned to break through because I saw that from my mom. We are also both hardworking and persevering.” Interestingly, Lim-Yuson was also widowed in her 40s just like her mother before her and she said that at this lowest point in her life, it was the memory of how her own mother carried on after losing her dad that helped her pull through as well.

My TOWNS sister, forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun had the most devoted of mothers. Fortun recalls how mom, Amelia Luisa del Rosario Fortun was a hands-on mom who would deliver (via tricycle and PUJ) hot beef sinigang, rice, ice and patis with kalamansi for my lunch at St Mary’s College in Grade 3, and dinner when I was on duty at UERM. She was the one who kept vigil as I took the entrance exam at UP
Elem School in Grade 5 and she dutifully fetched me everyday till high school in UPIS. And just like mom, Fortun says that she is “one who abhors kalat and is obsessive-compulsive about keeping things in order like me.”

One of good friends growing up was Leah Roa, eldest daughter of actress Boots Anson Roa. Leah and I went to the same exclusive girl’s school and were classmates from first grade all the way until 4th year high school. Like me, Tita Boots, who was like the Sharon Cuneta of the 70s, made sure that her children lead very private lives away from the cameras. Today Leah makes a home in Virginia and works at one of the top universities there. To this day, she gets asked by Filipinos in the
U.S. if she is Boots Anson-Roa’s daughter or her younger sister. Leah says that perhaps it is because of the striking resemblance. “Some even say I sound like her. More importantly though, I see and hear a lot of mom in me when I interact with others, especially with my kids. I end up thinking to myself, “Did I just say what my mom used to say?” Dad often teases mom by saying to her “ten words or less”. Now my kids and husband have to remind me of that as well!”

Of my own mother I have a trunk full of memories. For many years, mom put aside her acting career in favor of raising my brother and me. She only did television shows when I was in my elementary years and would drive me to and from school each and every day all the way until high school and on some days in college. One memory that stands out from those years is how during a storm, when the entire Katipunan Avenue was terribly flooded and impassable, my mother, with and my then 7 year old brother, waded through knee-deep waters to pick me up from school. It is a childhood memory that my brother and I treasure to this very day.

Mom who needs to run (or walk) several miles each week to keep fit, indulged in the sport when she hit her 40s, makes me believe that fitness is possible at any age so it is something that I am trying to emulate and live myself now that I am in 40s. As for quirks, as far back as I can remember, mom has carried a long-standing love affair with virgin coconut oil long before it was in vogue. As a child I could not stand the smell but now that I am much older I find myself turning into a VCO junkie as well. Mom’s glowing skin and jet-black hair are proof that it really does work!

How about you? In what ways have you turned into your mother?Happy mother’s day to my mom and my mother-in-law Dr. Naida Guballa. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me all these years. I am truly blessed to have you both in my life.