In the last four years, my life has changed so much, mostly for the worse, but I’m trying to rebuild myself piece by piece.
Summing up 2011, I’m more inclined to say that this was a good year, financially-speaking. I decided to reward myself more than a few times and started to purchase a few luxury items as reward for the multiple jobs I do. I discovered new places, food, drinks, products, and activities that made 2011 an awesome year. Here are my top 15 discoveries of the year.
1. Podcasts – I started listening to podcasts because of Becky Nights, a podcast for all the beckys and beckys-at-heart. I laugh my heart away each time I hear the voices of Buern Rodriguez, Matt Gozun, Jake Galvez, and Divine Lee. I’m not a huge fan of Jake Galvez and Divine Lee but I like Divine Lee’s outlook in life. What I said was true when I called during the season 2 opener of Becky Nights – “POSITIVITY” will really help you change your disposition. So that’s one thing I discovered when I started listening to Becky Nights.
Another podcast that made my year was Monster Radio RX 93.1‘s The Morning Rush. I’ve been a Rusher since college but I seldom listen to them live because I always wake up late. One morning when I pulled an all-nighter to finish some money-making tasks, I decided to stream TMR on my laptop. I only listen to two radio stations: RX 93.1 and Love Radio 90.7 (but only when Nicole Hyala/Chris Tsuper and Papa Jack were on). Now that I’m addicted to RX 93.1’s TMR podcasts, I felt so stupid listening to Tambalan for the past few months. HAHAHAHA. I can’t believe I patronized this radio station! I mean, they’re funny and all, but comparing them to TMR (which shouldn’t be since they target different segments of the market), hands down, my loyalty is with RX. Chico’s corny jokes, Ginoboi’s exasperation with Chico’s corny jokes, and Delamama’s reprimands on both Chichi and Gigi’s dirty jokes never fail to make my morning great.
2. Milk Tea – I’m a sucker for anything sweet which is why I like Milk Tea. This is Milk Tea’s year though they’ve been around for quite some time now (ever tasted Chowking’s Nai Cha?). Because of the establishments Moonleaf, Chatime, Serenitea, and Happy Lemon, Milk Tea has become really big nowadays, well at least for me. Here are my favorite milk teas from different shops. You may also want to try Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee’s milk tea for Php80. It’s best served hot though, unlike these two.
3. Speaking of Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee, I discovered this place only during the later this year. A few days before my birthday, I met my college friends at Little Asia to do some catching up since we had a friend who went home from New Zealand for a month. We decided to cross the street and head to Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee for some dessert. I heard it was good and the food isn’t as pricey as your regular cafes so imagine my excitement when I saw their fridge full of mouth-watering desserts at very affordable prices. Since then, I said nothing but “Let’s go to KoCCo!” until finally Love took me there and after a few tries, she appreciated the place as well. Of course, since she’s not a big cake fan, what she loves best about KoCCo are their yummy omellettes. It’s also a better alternative to Starbucks, CBTL, and all other expensive cafes not only because of their food selection but also because of the homey ambiance and cozy environment.
4. Maybelline [LIP] Smooth Color and Care – I’m not a smoker; in fact, I can’t remember the last time I puffed a cig. People have a different opinion though, because of my not-so-red lips which is why I always need either a lip balm or lipstick, which Love never understands. I have a penchant for lip products because of this. Honestly, it’s okay with me to have nothing on my face except for lipstick and mascara. With Maybelline’s [LIP] Smooth Color and Care, I found the perfect lip gloss that isn’t hard to apply and looks as natural as someone with pink or red lips. I love this product because I don’t need a mirror to apply it and it moisturizes my lips instantly. It brings a natural gloss.
Another Maybelline product that I discovered this year is the Clear Smooth All-in-One Shine-Free Powder Foundation. It feels natural in my face and it isn’t as sticky since it’s shine-free which is just right for my oily face. I was really never into pressed powders because I think it’s too hot for my face and I can’t just use any facial products because I get zits easily. Though this product did not give me pimples, it cracks so fast I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I found some reviews and they all said the same thing. It can easily mess up your purse or pouch. I even had to put mine into a ziplock or wrap it with a tissue just so the crumbs won’t scatter on my bag. I thought it was just me because I’m a careless owner but when I bought a refill and it happened again, I knew I’d never buy it again. It’s too bad because I rarely appreciate facial products and I really liked this one but I’m never gonna buy one ever again.
5. Revlon’s Powder Blush in Softspoken Pink is the perfect pink shade for me. It never gave me zits and it looks naturally pink, unless of course you put too much. It matches perfectly with the RevlonColorburst Lipstick in Carnation that I bought with it. I realized that red isn’t a good shade for my lips since they’re relatively thin so I settled on investing in pink and old rose type of shades instead. They are more natural-looking and I don’t look like someone who’s trying hard to look so made up.
6. I used Nivea’s Sparkling White cream for day and night just because I wanted to be a little more mature and arte-arte. I wanted to use night creams to have more glow and possibly lessen the oiliness of my skin. This is the same reason why I bought other Nivea products such as the Deep Pore Control Foam and Toner since I believe it’s best that you use the same line of products to achieve the best results. So far, it hasn’t disappointed me. I also didn’t have zits from using Nivea skin products which is one reason why this brand has my loyalty. Heck, I even bought the Nivea My Silhouette Cream even though I’m sure it won’t work for me. It doesn’t hurt to try right? The prices range frmo Php150-200 for each product so buying all these four normally costs around Php800.
7. Posh Nails – I’ve always been curious how these upsale nail salons differ from your local manicuristas and affordable salons. I figured that since I always have mani-ped sessions, I should not spend too much on them so I just go to Freshaire or Let’s Face It if I’m feeling a little sosyal for my bi-weekly treatments. I only visited Posh Nails because I was going to be my best friend’s Maid of Honor so I wanted to look really nice for her wedding. A good friend of ours also told me that the more upscale nail salons are very particular and detail-oriented when cleaning nails and applying nail polish. They also use expensive brands like OPI, Orly, Misa, and China Glaze which have so many shades of pink. Since my first Posh Nails treatment, I never went back to my usual salons. I also started investing in Sally Hansen nail products and I found out myself why these are great products. Once your polish chips, you can just re-apply on that specific area and it blends easily so you don’t have to redo the entire nail. Amazing, right?
If you’ll notice, I mostly invested in kikay products this year. I didn’t buy any gadgets, save for a new laptop because I wanted to play Sims 3 on a gaming notebook. Other than that, I think I spent most of my money on food, travel, and arte-arte stuff. Part two of my post will focus more on the intangible things.
For many years now, I’ve always made a list of the movies I will be looking forward to watch for the upcoming year. This year, it’s no exception. Here’s what I’ll be waiting for come 2012. Judge me if you like, but many of these films I watch because of tradition alone. Not that I’m trying to defend myself. LOL.
1. Men in Black:III starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Emma Thompson, and Josh Brolin. In theaters May 25, 2012.
2. G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation starring Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Adrienne Palicki, and Bruce Willis. Rachel Nichols is not here anymore and so are more of the cast from the first installment. BOO. In theaters June 29, 2012.
3. Underworld: Awakening starring Kate Beckinsale. After 5 years of waiting, she’s finally here! Don’t get me wrong. I liked Rhona Mitra on the third installment (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans in 2009) but no one can ever play a better vampire than Kate Beckinsale. I never thought she’d come back to do another installment. CAN’T WAIT! In theaters Jan. 20, 2012.
4. The Avengers starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel Jackson, and Jeremy Renner. Okay, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk too. Why can’t they just cast a more permanent Hulk this time? Oh, and Cobie Smulders (Robin of How I Met Your Mother) is also in this film. In theaters May 4, 2012.
5. Resident Evil 5: Retribution starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Ided Fehr, and Kevin Durand. Jill Valentine is back! YEAH! In theaters Sept. 14, 2012. Sorry, I can’t find the official trailer for this film. In the meantime, enjoy this.
6. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, and Noomi Rapace, the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In theaters January 2012 (Delayed screening due to MMFF).
7. Ice Age: Continental Drift starring Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, and John Leguizamo. In theaters July 13, 2012.
8. The Dark Knight Rises starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Gary Oldman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In theaters July 20, 2012.
9. The Expendables 2 starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Scott Adkins, and Randy Couture. For all you Mickey Rourke fans, he won’t be returning in the sequel. In theaters August 17, 2012. No official trailer but Clevver Movies shares details on the casting of this installment.
10. Step Up 4 starring Kathryn McCormick, Chadd Smith, and a whole bunch of unknowns. Adam Sevani, aka Moose, and Alyson Stoner, aka Camille, is not sure to come back yet. Admit it. You don’t watch it for the story, either. In theaters July 27, 2012. Here’s a sneak peek of what dance moves to expect for the fourth installment of Step Up.
It’s the Christmas season once again and I have a lot of things I want to buy myself. If only I can afford them…
1. Blackberry Torch 9850/9860 – locally available for Php 21,000 from DB Gadgets‘ online store.
It’s a very handsome phone, seriously. I’ve been looking for a full touch screen phone for quite sometime now (I’m not exactly a big fan of the iPhone) and this is the first phone that caught my attention (and it’s a Blackberry, yey!). I’ve been loyal to the brand since I got my first Blackberry phone which is over a year-and-a-half old already. Featuring a 3.7-inch touchscreen, the latest OS from Blackberry, the Blackberry 7, and voice-activated universal search, I think this is the best phone for me. I can easily watch videos and maximize the Blackberry Internet Service with this phone.
2. The Apple iPad or the Blackberry Playbook?
Remember about me not being a huge fan of Apple products? Well, that just might change if I decide on buying the iPad 2. I only like the iPad 2 because of the apps, particularly Extreme Tong-its. In fact, I am addicted to it. Unfortunately, scrolling through the iPad 2 makes me dizzy, even with my eyeglasses on. The Blackberry Playbook, on the other hand, is equipped with Flash which means that I can play with my online games like The Sims Social. It’s smaller and more sleek-looking than the iPad 2 and of course, it’s by RIM. There’s a huge price difference though, so that might be the deciding factor should I buy a tablet. It’s just that I’m not sure I would be needing this just yet because I’m always at home. Well, in the next few months if I do go on excavations, this just might be helpful.
3. The Marc Jacobs 669 Tote Bag in Beige – $380
Unfortunately, I can’t find it on the Marc Jacobs‘ website anymore. I don’t know if its manufactured today. Not that I can ever buy this for myself though.
4. La Germania Table Oven SL 120 10W – Php 11, 048.00 at Abenson’s
But I’ll probably just end up buying this.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Mmmm…
OS: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
Display: 10.1″ 1280×800 (WXGA) TFT
Processor: 1GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 processor
Camera: 8.0 MP Camera with LED Flash and 2.0 MP Front Camera
Video: 1080p FullHD Video @ 30fps Playback, 1080p FullHD Video @ 24fps Recording
Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, OGG, MIDI, AMR-NB/WB
connectivity: Bluetooth, USB 2.0, Wifi
BOY, I CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON YOU.
It’s been a few days now but I’m pretty sure that many of the guests during the Canlas-Salazar wedding still can’t get over the event – and one of those guests is me. I gave a toast to the bride, who is my best friend in the whole wide world, but I wasn’t able to read what I originally wrote because I was so embarrassed with the paper I wrote it in. Good thing I knew it by heart (I’ve been thinking of what to say for months now) but I also knew that there were a few hits and misses because I also blanked out while delivering my toast. I didn’t want to cry so I promised to make my speech light. See, I already cried the last time we really talked about her wedding, even if it was just via SMS (and Love can attest to this as she was there to witness it but that’s an entirely different story). Hindi kasi uso ang drama sa aming dalawa and we seldom talk about serious things when we are together so I wanted to make my toast as light (and maybe a little funny) as possible.
I didn’t give Tracy a gift but I told her that I will give her a copy of what I originally wanted to say. Here’s the first draft of what I gave her:
Chie is one of my oldest friends. I’ve literally known her half my life – 13 years to be exact. From being merely seatmates, who would’ve thought we’d go this far? I wasn’t blessed with any sister so I consider her as my sister from another mother. Pili ka na lang Chie kung si Tita Irene or is Madir. They’re not much different anyway, kaya siguro magkasundo rin tayo. Hehe.
It’s rare in life that you’ll find a friend na magkatinginan lang kayo, magtatawanan na kayo. Or makarinig lang kayo ng kanta, you’ll both break out dancing. With Chie and I, it’s like that. So Chie, you’re very lucky to have me as a friend.
I have a lot of fond memories with Chie. It just gets crazier with time. It’s hard to pick the best but one of our best memories would be the yearly celebration of her birthday. Lagi kasing maraming pagkain. There was one time that she left us freezing on their rooftop, which we call Tagaytay because it’s just freezing cold up there, dahil nakatulog na siya sa sofa nila sa sobrang pagod. Buti na lang, as always, masarap ang pagkain namin paggising.
When she asked me to be her Maid of Honor, sabi ko talaga sa sarili ko, “Gosh, moment ko na rin to,” kasi nga I see her as an extension of myself and vice versa. So sabi ko talaga, dapat maganda and sexy rin ako today kasi feeling ko magrereflect kung anuman ang itsura at kilos ko this day sa kanya. I’m just not sure if na-achieve ko. Anyway, yesterday, I realized that today isn’t just my moment, it’s our moment sa tropa dahil ikaw ang unang ikakasal.
Chie, I know that this is your day and I’m happy that you got your dream wedding. I know that we never actually talked about this stuff but I can really see that you’re happy. Thank you for keeping me grounded. If you all don’t know, she is one of the reasons why I’m on the right path. She’ll always be, like, “Lala!” everytime I tell her of my kalokohan. So deep down inside, underneath all this craziness of hers, she really has a good heart.
To the two of you, congratulations. I feel like such a bad friend kasi d ako masyadong third wheel sa inyo, as is normal sa atin, but I know that you’re happy. Sabi ko naman sayo when you shared the news that Ron proposed, I felt it nung birthday mo last year. O diba, sisters from another mother talaga tayo? To Ron, I know that we actually didn’t have the time to bond talaga but I hope that this is the start. I also know that I don’t have to say this because I know you’re doing it na but I think it’s my job as the maid of honor to do so I’ll say it anyway, please take care of our Tracy.
Again, congratulations Tracy and Ron. Please don’t turn into those couples who become boring after getting married. I’m happy that you guys found each other. You’re a team now. Thank you for making us believe that true love exists and that it can last forever.
More or less, my toast went something like that. I know that my moment is over but again, hindi pa rin ako makamove on sa fact that my best friend is already married. One thing that’s made me proud is that she did it at the right way – she did not marry out of convenience or necessity. She married out of love and that is something rare at her age, okay, our age.
So here’s an extension of my message to the bride:
Chie,I know that in the past year or so, we never really got to hang out as much as used to with our busy schedules and all but I want you to know that I’m just, as I remember saying during the toast, a province or two away. Ngayon pa lang ako naiiyak but I’d like to think of it as not losing my best friend, but rather gaining another one in Ron. Thank you for being a part of my life, for keeping me grounded, and for always, always, knocking some sense into my head. Hindi mo lang alam but your opinion really matters. With all my craziness, you never left my side. We’ve had our ups and downs, mostly ups dahil nga hindi uso sa atin ang drama, but the challenges that our friendship made along the way only defined who we are to each other. Thank you for accepting who I really am, kahit na alam kong hindi madali sayo nung una. Alam kong may 2 days tayong d nag-usap nun when I told you that I’ve turned to the other side. Looking back, that was really funny. Hahaha.
But anyway, I’m very proud of what you’ve become and what you’ve accomplished. Thank you sa family mo who always treats us with the best hospitality Coloong can give but most of all, thank you for the friendship. I will miss hanging out with you but don’t think that just because you’re married ay titigil na rin ang pagcrash namin sa bahay mo. Medyo malayo lang nga ngayon dahil sa Pampanga ka na, pero pag gusto, may paraan – lalo na kung may pagkaing dadatnan (o diba, it rhymes?).
To Ron, thank you for being the man who made Tracy’s dreams come true – for giving her what she really deserves. Aside from Love, she is one of the few and most loyal and faithful partners I know. I am looking forward to knowing you more and I hope that we will get to hang out in the future – you, Tracy, me, and the rest of the Tropa.
In behalf of Tropang Plan B, congratulations and we love you both. 🙂
This is an overdue post that was done three months ago.
Okay, so this week I found out I had blood sugar levels that are higher than the reference values. What does this mean for me? It means I need to lose some weight – go on a low carb diet and burn some fats. While the values may not be alarming, weight loss is important for me because diabetes runs in my family. My paternal grandfather has it. I think my aunt has it. Diabetes also skips a generation so my parents, aunties, and uncles are very cautious with my generation. I detected grave concern in my father’s voice when he told me to start watching what I eat because this is a very serious matter.
The reason, actually, why I requested for an FBS and CBC lab test is because I’ve been feeling ear pains and neck pains recently, which always happens when I’m sleepy or had just gotten out of bed. Additionally, I had dizzy spells. A dear friend of mine, a certain Elena Legaspi, told me that deafness and something else, I can’t exactly remember the other symptom, are symptoms of a high blood sugar. There. Today, my mom and I went to the EENT (Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor and guess what he said – I have Temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Forgive my source but Wikipedia states the following symptoms:
- Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
- Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
- Dull, aching pain in the face
- Earache (particularly in the morning)
- Headache (particularly in the morning)
- Hearing loss
- Migraine (particularly in the morning)
- Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
- Neck and shoulder pain
Those in bold are exactly what I’m feeling each time I get up – at night. I honestly thought that the dizziness and neck pains are caused by my high blood sugar levels, or maybe I was having high blood too. Gaaahh.
So, now that I’m suffering from TMJ disorder and high blood sugar levels, I have no choice but to go on a diet. One month with no rice, no sweets. HUH.
So it took me a few months to finally finish my post on my experience as a first-time Mt. Kinabalu climber. This is a tribute to my ever-supporting partner-in-crime, I mean, partner-in-life, because upon descending Mt. Kinabalu, she was the one who was more determined to finish this life-threatening challenge.
As I mentioned before, the descent took 7 hours. We left Laban Rata late; in fact, James Lee had to shoo us away just so we could reach the base in time for dinner (or earlier, at least). Before leaving, however, we prepared for our descent by me eating a lot of breakfast (I mean a really huge breakfast I sampled all dishes) and Love wrapping her oh-so-weak knees with Omega painkillers and a bandage. We also purchased wooden sticks, 2 for each of us, to help us balance during the descent. We vowed to take this sticks home to Manila. Luckily for us, we did. Yey! James Lee, the ranger, made sure we were prepared enough and bade us goodbye.
Since it was relatively early (though late to some experienced climbers) and a lot of climbers were hiking the trail with us, we were more than eager and motivated to descend those steep steps of Mt. Kinabalu. The trail had gotten so steep that you wouldn’t be able to see the next step from where you were standing at. However, we still managed to stop and take more pictures than the previous night had allowed us – at first. With the fog, the cool weather, the great scenery, the hikers we met who were climbing and descending the trail – we predicted it was gonna be a better day.
There were a few personalities worth mentioning though because they made the descent even more fun. One was an old man who could pass as our father who had two (or was it three) lads accompanying him. We thought, “Hey, we can descend faster than him, I bet!” But we got so relaxed the first few stops we were surprised we missed him on the next stopovers! Now where did that old man go? Did he finally succumb to his weakness and had to be brought down using a stretcher? That I did not want to think of. I’d like to think he was just a faster hiker than us.
Next off: Two gentlemen – one experienced, one who was not. These two dudes were so funny cause they asked if we still needed our wooden sticks. The experienced hiker wanted to buy our sticks for his friend who was so flushed from their hike they had to stop and rest before even reaching the next shelter. Haha. He immediately defended himself by saying he was more of an office guy. We only said one thing – “Yeah, so are we.”
Finally, there was a group of 7-8 (maybe 10) year-olds who were climbing the trail as part of their expedition. I had to look at Love out of sheer surprise and astonishment as to how these kids could even muster enough strength to do the hike. They must have started early, like 8am early, for them to be at this point in their climb. One kid looked like that ubercute chubby kid from “Up” and when Love saw him, his face was so red, he rested his chin on his stick, and suddenly said, “I’m so tired.” Now, isn’t that just adorable?
These climbers were definitely more disciplined as we were. As soon as we left Laban Rata, people were already arriving at that very same place. And all of them were astounded with our 13-hour climb from the previous night. Yup, we are record breakers indeed.
As with the previous climb, the first 3kms were relatively easy. My knees started to gave in after passing the 3km mark. By giving in, I mean that every step down felt like my patella was going to protrude from my skin. I had to go down really, really slowly for fear of seeing my bones pushing out of my body. Now it was Love’s turn to lead the way and encourage me to finish the trail. She constantly checked if I was okay – looking back and waiting for me if she thought she veered too far away from me since I had to stop and rest in small intervals. I also had sores in my hands due to holding my wooden sticks so tight for support.
Of course, our not-so-useless mountain guide ought to be mentioned still. Fortunately for us, James Lee, the ranger, instructed him to wait for us and check on us if he starts to descend faster than a speeding bullet that we could no longer catch up with him. He also carried most of our heavy luggage, with additional costs, of course. As we were slow climbers, we were also slow descending hikers. We had to let fellow hikers pass us by since we don’t want to ruin their momentum. There really is a certain adrenaline rush when you have a big group hiking with you and that made us descend with the same speed, even for a short moment. Then it was back to slowing down due to the insufferable pain of my knees.
We knew we were close when we saw the falls. It meant we were less than 500m to Timpohon Gate and I tried my very best, of course with words of encouragement from Love, to walk and thankfully, the trail became easier. Not much of the steep steps anymore as with the previous ones. And there it was – like an apparition from heaven – the deadly steps that led to Timpohon Gate. By that time, it was already 6pm and yes, we were the last ones to arrive – AGAIN. Before climbing the steps to Timpohon Gate, I rested for what seemed like forever because I never thought I could walk another step again. Then it started drizzling. To my surprise, Love was already at the gate. She really was determined to finish this hike. So I had no choice. I climbed. Every step begging for this hike to end. And it did. We were going to see our families after all.