Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kris Aquino Confirms Third Pregnancy

In a May 15, 2007 online article on the Philippine Entertainment Portal, Kris Aquino says -- "Kasi na-realize ko nung sinabi ng mga doctors na never na ako pwedeng magkaka-baby, so sabi ko okay na..."

Today, on ABS-CBN News Online, it's just been confirmed that Kris is pregnant with her third child! Wow, never say never. I must say though that it's pretty daring for Kris to have a baby at this point in time. Baby James is hardly a year old yet -- hu turns one on April 19 -- and her doctors had already warned her about the dangers of having another child. In fact, during her last pregnancy, she had to undergo a second operation to remove a life-threatening blod clot in her lung causing her to bleed internally. The report on that last year, is on this PEP site. On her last pregnancy, Kris had a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which resulted in her having Pulmonary Embolism. This is the reason why doctors had to do a second surgery on her. Pregnancy increases the risk of DVT developing because of the body's natural tendency to prevent excessive bleeding during childbirth.

Kris is now 37 and really, because of her history, will definitely be placed under the high-risk pregnancy category. She must have really want another baby so much in spite of the dangers and the pronouncements she made less than a year ago. Then again, on the other hand, maybe she was not expecting to get pregnant. It happens. I never expected my ectopic pregnancy to happen two years ago.

Every child is a gift and every pregnancy is a special journey where there are lessons learned. Let's just pray that this pregnancy of hers is not as complicated as her last one.

Monday, March 10, 2008

First Daycare-Breastfeeding Center in a Private School in Manila

The Miriam College Daycare & Breastfeeding Center is the first of it's kind in the country. Located inside the grounds of the Miriam College campus in Quezon City, it is the first private girl's school in the country to have a daycare cum breastfeeding center inside its grounds.

The project is a batch gift of the Maryknoll High School class of 1982 in partnership with Migi's Corner Foundation in cooperation with the Superferry. Below is the text of my message delivered today, March 10, 2008.

As a young girl here in the grade school, there was a little blue picture book that we were made to read every school year for our Christian Living classes. In it were photographs of different grade school students shot in different areas of the campus doing various school activities. Throughout its pages was the verse from Ecclesiastes 3: 1- 15 more popularly known as the A Time for Everything piece. Its first verse goes -- There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven"

Working on this project has been both a source of great joy and sadness. Because this is a happy occasion I will choose to focus on the great joy that I found in collaborating with some of the best minds in my batch, the Maryknoll High School Class of 1982.

I believe it is no coincidence that I happen to be a member of this class. Like many other things and circumstances in my life, I’ve always believed that God has a reason of putting you at specific points in time with specific persons -- to mold you perhaps, to strengthen you, to learn lessons from each other, to give back. Today’s blessed event is an example of that, let me explain…

Architect Boots Belmonte, whom I like to call the captain of this project and I were batch mates in high school and knew each other fleetingly. Through this project I got to know her up close and personal and was awed by her immense talent, dedication and perseverance to see this project through. The daycare would not have been made possible without Boots’ unstinting devotion and generosity of talent and spirit.

Atty. Mylene Yumul- Espina, another batch mate of ours, put in many hours to iron out the kinks and legalities of the MOA for this project that will finally be signed today. During meetings, Mylene would never fail to dazzle us with her brilliance, her wit and humor.

Loudette Halili and Katrina Gumaru, were instrumental in ironing out the financials for this project. Their being sticklers for details impressed me most and it was a skill that was much-needed for a project such as this.

Jayjay Pulido, our self-confessed OC batchmate, has always been there with her suggestions and eagle-eye for the seemingly small but important details.

Milen Galang, who put together a heart-warming and touching video on the daycare project. Her gifts and talent for communication is very much appreciated.

Jorja Santos, whose company JJMAC helped put the entire daycare together.

Maricris Nicandro’s passion and breastfeeding advocacy will certainly be a huge help these coming months as we create programs that will highlight the importance and benefits of breastfeeding to the young mothers who work and study here at Miriam.

My childhood friends, Carissa Singson, Larcy Morales and Ginny Guzman who have been my friends for the last 30 plus years. I want to thank you for sticking by me, for all the support that you have given to this project – emotional, spiritual, financial. For that I am truly grateful and blessed.

I also want to thank the MMCAA for their support of this project, thanks to Atty. Mari Fabian for putting up with all our changes in the MOA.

Thanks too to Miriam College , especially to Mrs. Cynthia Morales for being such a great help and support from start to finish. Natapos din ma’am and today we turn this over to your care. Thank you for the landscaping, the white picket fence and the food that you have served us on countless occasions including today.

To the MCHS ’82 core team headed by Mary Rose Ramoso and every member of my batch who gave unselfishly – through your time, talent, wisdom or finances, so that the project may be completed, today is a second homecoming for you too. Through this project, you leave a part of yourselves in the school that helped mold you into the woman that you are today.

I would also like to give special thanks to the Aboitiz Transport Group, specifically the Superferry, for their generosity in donating the 40-ft container van that now houses our daycare.

Thank you also to my friends, three talented artists – Fen, Vena and Raf for their beautiful mural of Migi at play. This is the 11th they have done for Migi’s Corner. Again, it is no coincidence that if my son were alive today he would be 14 years old and this daycare is the 14th project that the foundation has helped set up. The project is extra meaningful because it was built in the year when Migi marks his 10th year in heaven. Even the message, in the mural, one that I had written about two weeks ago in my Inquirer column – of how God is good all the time, is not at all accidental.

So like I said at the beginning of this message, God has a purpose for everything, and HIS timing is ever perfect, it never misses. Let me end this with rest of the passage from Ecclesiastes…

A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

It wasn’t by accident that I was born to be a member of the high school batch of 1982, as every other member who has given unselfishly of her talent to this project is. I know in my heart too that it wasn’t by accident that I happen to be Migi’s mom. Through synergy, our individual talents and collective life experiences over the last 25 years since we left Maryknoll has now served a higher purpose – in this case, to provide a haven of comfort for children and breastfeeding mothers. We thank the Lord for our Maryknoll education, and for all the gifts He has bestowed on us individually as women and collectively as batch. Everything has its rhyme and reason and today is just another proof of that. Thank you very much. To God be all the glory.

Cathy S. Babao Guballa
March 10, 2008

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Meet Ken Lee, Singing Sensation!

Mariah Carey, eat your heart out!

Now comes, the newest singing sensation -- Ken Lee aka Valentina, the most popular singer in Bulgaria!
If you think American Idol is fab, wait 'til you see this lady belt it out with such heart and soul :)

Ang punchline, nasa huli. Laughter is great therapy.
Feel free to pass and link back to me :)
Have a great week everyone!

CAV, Newest, Hippest Wining and Dining Place in Manila

CAV, the newest wine bar and restaurant located on Bonifacio High Street takes its inspiration from "cave" which is French for cellar. Owned by Markus Gfeller of "Grassi's" fame, CAV promises an evening of great food and wine served in the most interesting manner.

I first heard of this place from my friend Griffith Go who is part of the team that brought the wine MACHINE into the country and set it up at CAV. My students at the world-class ENDERUN college were also raving about this new dining hot spot in Manila. When the kids from Enderun rave about you, you must really be good.

So H and I decided to have his birthday dinner over there a few nights ago and we were very happy with what we found. The interiors were posh and elegant but not intimidating. The food, coming from the genius that is Markus Gfeller did not disappoint. The place though goes by a PRIX FIXE menu which means that diners must choose from a three or four course meal, nothing less. Average price therefore, minus the wines would be at 1,000 to 1,500 per person at a minumum.

I started off with the Heart of Organic Baby Romaine with Jamon Crisps, Caper Berried and Truffle Aioili. It was sheer delight as I slowly bit into the succulent greens and crunchy bits of young jamon. H got a young Arugula salad with watermelon tomato confit and parmesan crisp. He was equally delighted with his selection as he munched on the start of what seemed to look like a fabulous birthday meal.

We then followed this up with a Salmon Pastrami with pistou and sweet corn emulsion for me and a Potage Parmentier with Greygoose vodka and lumpfish caviar for him. For the main course, I had a Grilled Tuna steak with Tapenade spread, Arugula mash and herbal tomato broth. He opted for the Crispy Skinned Salmon Darne with Mediterranean Saffron Pimiento Nage. I wasn't too joyful over my tuna steak but that could just be me because I prefer tuna cooked in a different way or taken raw like sashimi. There were other entrees to choose from like lamb, pork or beef but since I was already stuffed from having a feast at Las Paellas the night before, I opted to take something lighter.

The main attraction at CAV though, for me, personally, is the wine-vending machine for lack of anything better to call it. It's quite amazing really and a novelty for us Manila diners. You get, what is called a table card, put it into the machine, and voila, it dispenses the wine in the perfect temperature, straight into your glass! There are 24 varieties to choose from, usually 16 red and 8 white. You can opt to get a tasting portion which is approximately 25 ml, half a glass at 75 ml and a full glass which is around 125 ml. The prices are displayed immediately when you make your choice, so there are no surprises.

I must tell you that the wine selection is pretty impressive! These guys know their job and do it well. I tried out a Shiraz that my students had told me about called "The Dark Side of the Moon" and it was terrific. However, since I'm really a white wine woman, I chose a Chardonnay from the Beringer winery which was excellent.

If you're looking for something different to try on a date night, or just want to try something new, CAV is the place to go. Do make reservations though as the place is packed almost every night of the week. The guest list there looks like the pages of "Town & Country" or "The Philippine Tatler" but there are also a lot of regular folks like myself who are just plain curious foodies or wine enthusiasts.

Right next door to CAV is the newly built The Spa with snazzy, sleek interiors and whose treatment range is fantastic way to end the night after a great meal with wine. That however, will be reserved for a different blog entry, sometime soon.