Monday, December 31, 2007

Blessed...

It was a good year. Blessed with so many things that is beyond hard work...beyond luck. I hope that 2008 brings more blessings not only to me but to everyone that touched my life and who I've touched in one way or another.

Happy New Year! Manigong Bagong Taon!

- from MOPWORLD

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Respite from all that partying...

Just like what I said, the longest holiday celebration only happens in the Philippines. Today is my respite from all those drinking, chatting and catching up, singing and well, dancing too!

It started with my high school reunion last December 8th. Meeting high school classmates after 25 years was a blast. Totally very tiring but so much fun. Since we had an open bar, I was happily trying what the bar had to offer most of the evening amidst the hard work of running the program.


Looking at this pic, I wonder when Vic (the guy who was hanging on me..) became really close...must be the alcohol. Hahaha! Well, this bunch of people continued on with the celebration a week later. On Dec. 14th, we all headed out to Tagaytay (http://www.tagaytay.com/) where a classmate has a beautiful home called "T" that has a great view of the lake and the smallest volcano in the world.

It must be the cool air and the fabulous place (http://www.chilline.com/tagaytay.html), but once again alcohol invaded my senses. Sitting on a deck chair, looking at the stars one cannot help but gulp down a whole pitcher of kick-ass margarita. Which led to dancing on top of a big rock beside the pool (nature's version of "the ledge").


There is also my sister Des who flew in from Dubai on Dec. 2nd. Any sibling of mine who flies in for a visit from their part of the world is already one big party. So Des stayed on until the 14th of December. Before she flew back, we had a great time drinking at The Bar of the Manila Peninsula. She wanted to feel the ambience of the site of the latest rebellion attempt! In the midst of chatting and catching up, I did not realize that I downed several of those mango daiquiris. Paging MJ: If you're reading this, this is one drink that you should try :-)


The rest of the photos are here: http://gigidm.multiply.com/photos/album/15/Tatsi_in_Manila_2007_-_The_Gimmicks

Though my other sister Teng already arrived from Denmark on Dec. 16th, another party kept me in alcohol and that's my company Christmas party last Dec. 19th. I had a great time emceeing the event and gulping down San Miguel Beer Lights until the wee hours of the next morning.



A couple of days later on the 22nd, Butch and I threw our very first party at our home. Though I was downing San Mig lights and red wine, I was so busy running around and entertaining guests that my head cleared up by mid-afternoon. I forgot to take photos though!! The few that I have are here: http://gigidm.multiply.com/photos/album/16/The_1st_Party_at_the_Purple_Birdcage

And the last so far was Christmas Eve. We (my sister Teng, brother-in-law Ramon and husband Butch) were lounging about at the house watching my husband cook dinner with Fundador and Coke cocktails and enjoyed it so much we missed Mass! I also realized that this was the first Christmas I remember that I wasn't wearing purple.


It ain't over yet...the partying...but the respite of just vegging out - sleeping the whole day was a welcome break to recharge and to be thankful.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'Tis the Season...

'Tis the season. The season where I cannot write about anything. The season that alcohol consumes most of my free time. When parties abound. Where gifts are the norm.

'Tis the longest holiday season celebration in the world - the Philippine Christmas season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS wherever you are in the world!

Maligayang Pasko from Manila and MOPWorld.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

They Come and Go, They Come and Go-o-o-o!


After one sister left and a week of indulging in margaritas, daiquiris and san miguel beer light (my poor liver! hahaha!), another sister flew in and has started the onslaught of time with family once again.
The Fuentes family from Copenhagen, Denmark will be here until the 4th of January so most likely I won't be seen in the virtual world that much.
Of course, I'd tell the tale one of these days. I need to catch up on sleep...the yapping just won't stop. :-D

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Medical Tourist is Keeping Me Busy


She came in the middle of the night..sibling # 5 of Kamp Braza. The "red" girl of the family. Hard to miss her in Manila's chaotic airport. She has this bright red luggage set.

The minute she rode my car, I've been basically sleepless since. But I was so happy to see her again. It's been a year and the last we saw each other wasn't the best of times.

She used to be "Des" short for Maria Lourdes but now her business card says she's just Maria. In Dubai where she is now based, her first name is used while in the Philippines, traditionally the second name is used to distinguish the many "Marias" of this country. Oh well!

This time the medical tourist in the family is home for eye laser surgery. Last time she was here, she had arm liposuction. According to her she will have dental surgery next time she comes home to visit. Oh well!

So now, she said she can see clearly..goodbye to her contact lenses and eyeglasses. She's off to socialize after a couple of days of being our home patient. Oh well!

But I can't wait to spend time with her this weekend. She's an exasperating character but she's happy and I'm proud of her. Thank God she is still "Tatsi" to her nephews and nieces. We can all call her that until the next name evolves.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Budding Chef's First Overseas Trip

It was Butch's first overseas trip so I was excited to see Hongkong (http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/index.jsp) again with fresh eyes and in the eyes of my budding chef.

It was already getting colder when we arrived. Loved the autumn chill! It made walking for miles and miles bearable. Despite the shock of seeing Chungking Mansion...we adapted to our surroundings and promptly went on to do what we wanted to do - see places we were not able to see back in 2004 and see friends we have not seen for a long time.

It was always a wonder to me that a place that is barely a couple of hours away from the Philippines could be so different in climate, culture and overall texture. I had fun re-acquainting myself with Tsim Sha Tsui. Just roaming around the area near our place was already a lesson in sight and smell. We were already anticipating the coming days.

Whereas before we had a tour bus bring us to our classy hotel at Harbour Plaza Metropolis (http://www.harbour-plaza.com/en/index.aspx), now Butch enjoyed his first sight of Hongkong via the A21 bus. No difference since the buses were very comfortable double deckers. And did I say our bus' upholstery was purple? Such fun! I also loved the sofa of the Adidas store. Thank God the budding chef was also quick with the camera because we later found out it was prohibited to take photos inside the shop. :-D

So Hongkong was purple galore in autumn and I definitely took advantage! More about how I took advantage of purpleness tomorrow.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

After a Wonderful Autumn Hongkong...My First Taste of Curfew Since Martial Law


Coming home to a buzzing airport was an experience in itself. Imagine this - you come home from a good trip, line up at immigration tired and wanting to go home since its almost 1:00am then you receive a small piece of paper saying that "due to the incident that happened in Makati today, a curfew has been imposed from 12 midnight to 5am. Please be ready with your passport in case of inspection". What the!!!!

It was the first time since I was a small child that I experienced curfew albeit short. Nevertheless, the sight of Manila's most congested avenue EDSA was a sight to behold with just a couple of vehicles plying it.
Apparently, while we (my husband Butch and travel partner Ochie) were busy visiting Avenue of the Stars in Hongkong, a Senator decided to walk out of his rebellion hearing, marched to a poor unsuspecting 5-star hotel, called the Filipino people to arms to oust the President of the Philippines which naturally prompted the military to ram their tanks into the hotel's lobby thereby causing mayhem and inconvenience to the hotel's guests and anxiety to the country's population.

My friends who I met for drinks later in the evening said that if I've seen it on TV, I would most likely borrow the British adjective "bloody damn fools" for the comedy of errors that it became. So they said thank your lucky stars you weren't here and tell us about your vacation!

So for the next few days I will most probably do tell everyone how interesting my recent trip to Hongkong was. Sounds better rather than spouting bloody damn fools every two seconds right? Jacky Chan should give these guys a few kicks in the butt.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

These Shoes are love....and off to another adventure!

Ochie and I bought these shoes in the Ximending area in Taipei. There are many shoe shops there that carry locally made shoes at very, very reasonable prices, in short, cheap. Obviously from the looks of it, you would know which one is mine and which one is hers. I actually love Ochie's Burberry kinda print pair but my size is still a challenge in modern day Taipei. *pulls hair*

The price of the shoes? 390 NT$ each which is approx. 500 Php. A steal!!

These pair of shoes are off travelling again. It's been 3 years since I've been to HK so I am excited to see it again and most especially to see it with my budding chef hubby and my ever travel partner. I hope I can find more size 9 flat shoes over there.

I'll be back to tell the tale....Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Calling Everyone from San Beda Alabang

formerly Benedictine Abbey School and St. Benedict College.... It's GRAND ALUMNI HOMECOMING TIME!!!!

The Jubilarian batch is very excited (that's us!) to host this party. We've lined up great entertainment for all alumni. Raffle prizes are also up for grabs.

video

An Early Christmas Present...


Frannie, my batchmate who is my partner in organizing our high school homecoming gave me an early Christmas present. It actually became an exchange gift because I just had to get her a neck accessory because I thought that it suited her flamboyant personality.

Presenting my new purple bag...thank you, maraming salamat, xie xie ni, arigato gozaimashita Frannie Babe!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Local Celebrity Sightings @ Dogeaters


Reverting back to my normal fangirl mode, inside Carlos P. Romulo theater last Saturday were a bunch of local celebrities in the audience. Sighted were good-looking actors TJ Trinidad and Rafael Rosel. The Eigenmans were in almost full force from Rosemarie Gil, Eddie Mesa, Mark Gil and Ryan Eigenmann.

I laugh reallly loud but that evening, Ms. Leah Salonga was laughing louder than me! She was across the aisle from us sitting with the play's director Bobby Garcia.

During the break, we also spotted Boy Abunda who was sitting at the last row in the orchestra section. Bembol Roco was also in attendance as well as Vangie Labalan, a well reputed voice talent and theater actress as well. Denise Laurel was with the Eigenmanns.

One thing I realized is that though there was this desire to ask for photos, the atmosphere was very intimate that NO ONE was taking photos with the celebrities! And I wasn't that desperate. Now if those were Takuya Kimura or any of the F4 boys....the story will be very, very different.

The only photo that I have the desire to have is with batchmate and friend Jon Santos who by the way performed so well as "Perlita", the gay owner of Studio 54 in the play. After all, I am his # 1 Fan...hahaha!

Note to self: I should get myself more of that purple knitted blouse on this coming Hongkong trip. I found that in a mall somewhere in Jordan, Kowloon side.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

DOGEATERS, A Play About the Philippines


Last night my husband and I watched DOGEATERS (http://www.amazon.com/Dogeaters-Contemporary-American-Fiction-Hagedorn/dp/014014904X), a play about the Philippines written by celebrated Filipino-American writer Jessica Hagedorn at the Carlos P. Romulo theater in RCBC Plaza. I figured it was time to take a break from the fun but occasionally shallow world of fandom.

Dogeaters has had several showings in the US over the past 10 years but never in the subject country- the Philippines! So Atlantis Productions finally brought the play to Philippine shores and it opened for a limited run last November 16th.

I expected it to be a heavy drama since the book's background is the tumultuous time of the Marcoses leading to the 1985 Edsa Revolution. What I did not expect though is that oftentimes I would be dying of laughter.
Why laugh so hard when the play's subject matter is very serious? Several things but first and foremost is the story-telling of an era that I can so relate to - the 80's, 1982 to be exact.

I graduated from high school in 1982 and the background of the dramatic sketches brought me back to the past big time. The fashion, the music, the products that I remember using/consuming and the technology of the times or lack of. The play's director Bobby Garcia, would lead us to a depth of emotion with the tragic stories of characters like Daisy Avila, Senator Avila's daughter who fell in love with a member of the New People's Army, considered insurgents by the Philippine government. Also of Joey, the often drugged DJ/manwhore who witnessed the assasination of Sen. Avila and Trining, the girl from the province who saw her lover slain for being a suspected but unsuspecting assasin.

Whenever, we are all about to cry or wallow in depression, the era made us all remember life back then and the play would make us all laugh. Laugh at how we remember the days of Studio 54 (the replica of New York's..), the people watching at the Jeepney Bar in Intercon (which by the way is still there but not as illustrious as it was in the 80's) and how the movies including the "bomba" movies would serve as our only form of entertainment.

I remembered myself, my family and how we coped with life back then. And though our life was not as tragic and megalomaniac as the characters in the play, we were all survivors of an era when the country was awakened from its stupor. That we were all part of the montage that was the political turmoil. It made me remember why I love this country and why I am still here despite all the rage of migrating and going overseas.

The Filipinos are not just "dogeaters" to the western world, we are a people that are maturing in our belief, battling through the confusion that was brought to us by our colonizers and so-called friends from the west. We are a forgiving nation sometimes to a fault. And we are passionate about love - kahit na mali ang mahal natin.


Catch Dogeaters. It will run until December 1. You can buy tickets online at Ticketworld (https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/onlineticketworld/default.asp).

Friday, November 16, 2007

SOP Purple on me..


Everyday, these items are what you will find inside my bag. Essentials you might say...

That wallet is my sister's gift to me last Christmas. It was really hard to find a nice purple wallet with lots of space for my junk. I dread the day that this wallet will be replaced but its proving to be tough as nails.

I love that purple CK shades. Again, it took me a while to find it but a traffic jam would bring me and my husband to stop at Megamall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sm_Supermalls) one day for something to eat and lo and behold it's sitting inside the display shelf when we passed by.

The Parker ballpen (http://www.parkerpens.com/en/?lang=en) was a gift from my sister-in-law with an engraving of my name. One of the coolest since its purple and even the ink is a rare purple.

And lastly, my Timex watch (http://www.timex.com/gp/node/n/237130011?ie=UTF8&timexBrand=core) has been with me for years. Can't remember when but I've gone to many travels with it, swam in several beaches and pools with it and played sports with it. It's my weekend watch that fits anything that I wear which is usually jeans and something purple blouse..hehe I still cannot forget that I had to wait 6 months (!) for a replacement strap. Now I am beating myself because I should have gotten 2 sets.

Well like I said, these are essentials to a purple person like me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Life Goes On...Back to my Taipei Video Blogs

This video sounded better than the first ones I've uploaded. The adage that one does get better as long as you keep at it seem to be true for me. Hahaha!

It's a clip of our hotel in Ximending and the empty streets of the area in the quiet of the morning. I love both day and night of Ximending. In the morning, you get to see other details you usually don't see like facades of stores and displays while at night you get to see the people and the items on sale.

Right next to our hotel is a shop that sells clothes ranging from NT$ 100 (that's right, Php 140 pesos only..) up to NT$ 390. Suddenly I was thankful that I was my size because had I been smaller I would have owed Ochie a ton of money and would be paying up until my retirement! :-D


video

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just Taking a Moment to Condemn Terrorism

Like I said, terrorism is closer to home.

At 8:15pm Tuesday, a bomb exploded at the House of Representatives killing one member of Congress and many more seriously injured. The rest of the story is at www.inquirer.net

The House of Representatives (Batasang Pambansa) is about 20 mins from where I live. Though my drive home along Mindanao Ave. was very peaceful, at the other side of the avenue things were apparently chaotic.

..............Lord, we pray for peace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Celebrate Someone's Birthday and he's not a member of my family...


Every year, for the past 4 years, my girlfriends and I celebrate the birthday of someone who is not a member of my family but who figures prominently in my daily life...

He is called Captain by his minions of wenches all in love with the him - his voice, his acting ability, his dancing skills, his cooking, his laughter and his sexy body.

His harem of wenches do not care that he is an unreachable star...someone who is difficult to see, feel and touch. I myself has only seen him in the flesh once, in my mecca of fandom - Japan.

To compensate for this lack, I collect whatever he has be it his album with his group SMAP or his movie or drama or photobooks. I am again looking forward to seeing him next year, where you might ask, I really don't know. But see him I will!!

Many people would think that this is a crazy past time and a waste of energy and money. But rather than gamble, being a fan of Kimura Takuya has given me not only happiness but more friends in many parts of the world.
Happy Birthday Takuya!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November 11 is not just my brother Denver's birthday...


It is now also the death anniversary of our father, Paterno who passed away last year.

Paping, we miss you. The past year has been one of the greatest and I wish that you and Maming are with us. Please continue to be our guardian angels as we go on with the challenges of "living".



More Taiwan Video Blog: Ximending and Rose Music Store

video

Remember the video about our first Taipei food? Well here is the sequel of that video. Right after eating, we decided to walk around Ximending and check out the place especially Rose Music Store where we will be buying Vic Chou cds the next day. That is why we are primarily here anyway - to be in time for Zaizai's album launching and promotion events.

Ximending at night during the early evening is full of life. It is filled with young people hanging out, shopping or having dinner. You can see for yourself that the weather is already unpredictable...I will find out later that it CAN be cold! Brrrr...

video

Now here is something unique...Taipei's hit charts look mainly at purchases from this store, the Rose Music Store. I was so used to seeing HMVs, Tower Records or other music stores in other countries except here. So this is usually a first stop for any fangirl attending events such as album launches or autograph signing.

More video blogs later...I am starting to like this video bloggin' thing. Be forwarned my friends! hahahaha!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Air of Christmas

Christmas is in the air and it has come to the purple birdcage. Busy at work as usual, my ever enthusiastic husband has decided it's time to put Christmas decors on. We Filipinos celebrate the longest Christmas as they say. Many of us rummage through last year's decor and put them up as soon as All Saint's Day has passed.


So when i arrived home, I was happy to see but almost could not recognize...our alcove!

I had those purple ribbons and balls for ages but just now realized that I need to buy more purple hangings for my Christmas alcove.

While I was taking photos of the alcove, I notice that I have updated my entertainment mecca with new tokens and souvenirs of love. Hahaha!


To keep Takuya Kimura and Hideaki Takizawa company up there, Masha has come to stay for good as well Zhou You Min. But no hard feelings. I love it that all of them daisuki boys are represented.

Hmmmmm....I want more of those purple ribbons...nothing but the prettiest for my pretty boys.


Friday, November 9, 2007

BUDS, HE'S A GUY!


And he is not gay! Hahahahaha!!!

A long-haired pony-tailed guy mistook another long-haired sometimes in pony-tail guy for A GIRL!! And when I told my highschool batchmate that he is a guy, I could not forget the expression on Buddy's face when he said "so is he gay?".

Kuya Badong, you've forced me to go into a monologue about Takuya Kimura, artist par excellence. Since you claim to read my blog regularly (thank you mwah!), I would like to tell you a bit more about him. And this is from memory..so be impressed! :-)

Kimura Takuya (japanese way of saying names is last name first then given name) was born Nov. 13, 1972 in Tokyo, Japan. He entered showbusiness not because he wanted to but because an aunt submitted his name to an agency called Johnny's which he was accepted as one of their "artist in training" boys.

He eventually was assigned to join a group which they called SMAP which stands for Sports, Music Assemble People. I know, our English teacher would cringe at the grammar but that is what the acronym really stands for. SMAP debuted in 1991. In Japan, a group has debuted once they have a legitimate single or album released. After the single "Can't Stop Loving", there was no turning back for Takuya and SMAP.

The rest as they say is history - 18 albums, 37 singles, a variety show called SmapXSmap running for 12 years, a radio show called What's Up Smap hosted solo by Takuya running for 11 years, hit movies and concert tours yearly in a span of 15 years!

Takuya is one of the most visible artists in the Japan. He has many product endorsements that you would see his face literally plastered all over Tokyo from the buildings, drink vendo machine, to the train station. He is a fashion icon that when he grows his hair, may Japanese guys would too. And when he cuts it short, they would too.

Many Takuya fans would rather not speak about this but Takuya is married with two little girls named Kokomi and Mitsuki. He married his boyhood idol Shizuka Kudo who was once a very popular member of an all-girl singing group Onyako Club.

Though many are wishing that he be single again, I would rather be his mistress forever. Hahaha!

That's about it Kuya Buddy. I hope you are a bit enlightened. And entertained. I hope you can take pictures of him because he is really a very pretty guy.

The rest of his story is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takuya_Kimura

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

FLASHBACK! My US Purple Loot


When my girlfriend Ochie was assigned to the US last year, what became our past time was online shopping. Since we missed each other, we would chat and shop while chatting almost everyday. God knows how many hours we spent at The Purple Store (http://www.thepurplestore.com/) planning and scheming what to buy and when to buy. We also spent some time at Grandma Purple (http://www.grandmapurple.com/).

So when Ochie came home after 8 months in Minnesota, one of her balikbayan boxes is mostly MY PURPLE STUFF! I was in purple heaven when I spread them on my bed and took pictures.

I loved my purple camouflage shorts but the hubby snatched it for himself. That nice purple pullover sweater is yet to be worn...I am looking forward to wearing it to my Hongkong trip end of this month. The purple sports bra is one of my favorite things. It has seen many badminton and volleyball games. The rolling backpack has travelled to Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and soon Hongkong. Ochie gifted me with that cardigan sweater. And of course, my Ipod video dressed in purple IFrogz which I adore and carry with me always.

I want to do this again..horde purple stuff but Ochie is now back in Manila and there's no one crazy enough to do this with me. In the meantime, I'm browsing through the stores and bookmark!


Gomenasai Takuya...I'm a Technosaurus!


I wanted to make a video project for Takuya's 35th birthday. But I am a technosaurus when it comes to ripping video clips from dvds.


My definition of a technosaurus is someone who has dinosaur age skills in multi-media applications such as ripping, cutting and splitting and editing video. Are you one of us? :-D Raise your hands people!

I am so upset that I cannot give due homage to my unreachable star. Again, for those who are not from this planet, this man IS JAPAN'S MEGASUPERSTAR. And he is my Man of La Mancha. The one I crazily love. I may be a fan of F4 but Takuya is my heart for the past 3 years. My impossible dream!

I did see him in Japan in 2005 but he was up on stage and I was only one of the 80,000 people in the dome. I want a moment with the guy but he does not go out of Japan much. He does not "do" autograph signings. He does not hold fan meetings. In short, it is very, very, hard to see him.

I am in awe of Takuya's multitude of talent - acting, singing, dancing, playing the guitar, natural athlete, cooking, etc. He has a lot of imperfections - average height, uneven teeth but sexy, sexy as hell. Oops!

Since I cannot make a video of him yet, I'll just show you people this video of him singing with his group SMAP one of their hit songs Lion Heart.



video

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Taipei in Videos - Street Food

I did not have my own camera on this trip. I know, unforgiveable! But my camera did not get out of the hospital in time for the trip. So my intent was really to filch from the girls. But I also realized that my mobile phone has a video function. So for the very first time, I did a video log of what I saw of Taipei.

The first thing that we did after checking in at our hotel was eat. There are street food available just a few steps from our hotel. This is very amateurish but meet the girls and our not so inviting food. Our palate just wasn't used to the "chinese" taste. We all loved the fried rice but the pork...mmmmm...no comment.

Without further ado, meet the my travel partners and our first taste of Taiwan food.


video

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Before Any Fangirling Happens....Shopping!!!

I never thought that Taipei would be a shopping haven. And since the exchange rate with the peso is about NT$ 1.4 to Php 1, the itch to whip out my phone calculator whenever I shop overseas did not happen.

The Ximending (http://www.sinotour.com/scenic/102612.html) area alone holds many treasures for shoppers. I could not control myself when I bought all these cds! Too bad I don't know the name of the cd shop (but its in the 2nd floor of the shops fronting the main road) but everything that I asked for they have - SMAP, Kokia and Masaharu Fukuyama. I even got the Original Sound Track of Princess Hours, one of my favorite korean drama.



Aside from cds from Japan and Korea, another happy discovery is that Taiwan is a mecca for purple lovers like me. Sweaters, bags and shoes are all available in purple. And the prices! If only I have smaller feet (I am probably the only geisha incarnate that has size 9 feet! Hahaha!) I would have come home broke. There are a lot of stores that sell cute flat shoes for NT$ 190 or around Php 250 pesos. The more expensive ones are at NT$ 390 or Php 550 - yeah right! I could not even get shoes that cheap in the Jatujak market in Bangkok.

Presenting the hoodie sweater and flat shoes that I got. Wore them on my trip to Yilan, Vic Chou's hometown. Aren't they adorable?

Sweater = NT$ 390 (Php 550)

Flat shoes = NT$ 190 (Php 250)

Ochie bought me a couple of underwear and my happiest buy of all is this bag from Baleno (http://store.pchome.com.tw/baleno/). Just in time since the bag I use everyday already died on me. Not sure if I will still see this same bag in Hongkong this month end so I grabbed it.


So shopping done, me and the girls went about what we originally came here for - sightseeing of Meteor Garden locations, Album launching events of Vic "Zaizai" Chou and of course, the F4 Party Part 2!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Remembering the Parental Units on All Soul's Day


The kids nowadays call them parental units. To me, they are simply my Maming and Paping - parents in heaven.

All Soul's Day is one of the most important holidays in the Philippines. Filipinos flock to the cemeteries to remember the departed members of their families. Many even go as far as their hometowns where ancestors are buried.

Since my Maming's passing away in 2000, my family has started this tradition of going to the cemetery either before or after the official day of November 1st. This year we went on November 3rd. Despite it being the 3rd day of a 4 day-long holiday, there were still tons of people at the Manila Memorial Park.

I was so sure that my Maming and Paping were happy to see what's left of their Kamp in the Philippines. They would be also be proud that prayers were led by their 7 going 8 grandson Spade.

Paterno (+) and Erlinda Dimaano (+), you will always, always be remembered.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Taipei 101: Tallest in the world with the Fastest Elevator!


One of the non-negotiable places that I wanted to see in Taipei is the current world's tallest building - Taipei 101. I told the girls that I am not leaving Taiwan without seeing it. So before we did any fangirl activities, we had a short debate whether to go during the day or night. I guess the pictures tell which opinion won.

From Taipei Main Station, the building is about 10 mins away on foot. I must admit that at first sight, the Petronas Tower in Malaysia looked more impressive especially with the lights on. But this building stands above the rest in Taipei that when you go around the city, it serves as a beacon and guide to all.

The experience I had at the 86th floor viewing area was one of the most awesome I have ever had. There is a free audio tour that guides you where to look and tells you what you are looking at. Not for the acrophobic (fear of heights), the sight of Taipei in lights was surprisingly beautiful.

To get to the 86th floor, one must take a 30 second elevator ride from the 6th floor of the building. 80 floors in 30 seconds!!! And that is courtesy of what the Taiwanese claim as the fastest elevator in the world. Going down is a bit slow - yeah 37 seconds! But if they go any faster my eardrums would probably blow up into pieces so thank God for that extra 7 seconds of slowness. Hahaha!


Visitors must not miss the souvenir shop. Though the T-shirts are a bit pricey at NT$ 650 (approx. Php 910), they are of good quality and design. Plus, for some reason you won't find much t-shirts in the night markets and Ximending area. Puzzling...

And the coolest thing for me is that they have a mailing station right there where you buy a postcard and a stamp for about NT$ 6, write on your card and drop in a mailbox. There are even stamp pads that you can use that says "family", "friend", etc. So Ochie and I decided to exchange postcards and mail each other from 101.

I walked away, looking back and saying in the words of my nephew Spade - awesome, awesome!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Wish to see you, Taiwan!

So off I went to Taiwan...6 days and 5 nights. As a first time visitor, I wondered how I would like Taiwan. Pre-exposed to this country because of the dramas and music videos that I watched over the last few years, I wanted to know if I will like the country in the flesh as they say.

During the 2-hour flight, I listened to Vic Chou's album Remember I Love You (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remember,_I_Love_You) to familiarize my ears to the sound of the Mandarin language again. It has been a while since I listened to Mandarin songs (more about why later..) and the short flight is just about right for one album.

On arrival at the Taoyuan International Airport, I thought it looked like Fukuoka's airport. Very simple. Not as breathtaking as Suvarnabhumi in my humble opinion. What will make the airport unforgettable to a fangirl tourist like me is this:

Naturally, everyone on the Cebu Pacific flight who is a fan of F4 stopped and took pictures to the amusement or snickers of non-believers. To heck with getting out of immigration - photo op muna!

While I was lining up to get my passport stamped, I suddenly felt an old excitement which I had not had in quite a while...anticipation of seeing not only Taiwan but the 4 boys who greeted me and the places where they were seen, walked and filmed.

The only cog in the wheel of this nice welcome was the sight of about 50 Filipino workers being literally horded out of the airport by this nasty Filipino-Chinese coordinator who shouts and gives horrible sounding instructions in Tagalog. I felt offended by his harsh instruction of a very simple thing such as taking their jackets off (I wonder why this was such a big thing for him?). I can only wish them good luck and say a quick prayer for their success.

......taking deep breathes......

The girls and I rode the airport shuttle that took us to Cosmos hotel where one can take a short cab ride to the Ximending area where we stayed. Now, Ximending..that's another story.

Note: This purple blogger will never compare her own country's pauper looking NAIA airport. Ever. Period.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fandom Tourism

I was sitting at my desk eating a late lunch when the phrase hit me. Tomorrow I'll be flying to Taipei with 8 other girls of all ages, shapes and sizes to go on a kind of trip that I now call Fandom Tourism. Finally, a word to describe this crazy thing that I do!!!

For the past 4 years, I could not put a name to this hobby that I have gotten into - that of travelling to a destination not only because of the sights but also because of the events that feature my favorite asian artist.

In May 2004, I went to Hongkong to mainly attend the F4 Pepsi Event at the Hongkong Convention Center. For those who does not live in this side of the planet, F4 is a group of Taiwanese guys who gained popularity all over Asia via a drama called Meteor Garden. The group is composed of Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Ken Chu and Vanness Wu. If you're asking for more check out (http://onlyf4.proboards48.com/).

So with 17 other girls from the Philippines, we waited for F4 to arrive at the airport coming from various engagements in China. We chased after F4's van on their way to rehearsals. Imagine me running around the streets of Hongkong!!! I experienced all modes of transport from subways and taxis, to double deckers buses to the wooden ferry boat and the tram just because of the itinerary fandom brings.

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A year after in August 2005, a friend and I went on a journey to the Land of the Rising Sun - Japan. No we, were not there for the cherry blossoms (it was the height of summer!) or for the sights of Fukuoka, Japan. We were there to watch the concerts of SMAP. A pop group composed of Masahiro Nakai, Kimura Takuya, Katori Shingo, Inagaki Goro and Kusanagi Tsuyoshi. After F4, I became crazy about SMAP who as a group has released many albums and singles and individually acts in movies and dramas. Again for those of you who do not know anything besides American entertainment, here is a preview of who SMAP is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hHo0BHxlio

And so we walked, and walked and walked some more. From our hotel to the subway station, from the subway to the Yahoo Fukuoka Dome and back. I can still remember screaming in the streets of Fukuoka how I miss my car!

And so tomorrow is another Fandom Tourism kind of trip. I will probably see Taipei 101 as it is the tallest building in the world for the moment. But I am so very sure that I would walk many kilometres, sweat and stalk the cd stores of Ximending. I will tell the tale when I come back.

Monday, October 22, 2007

BENEFETE - Jon Santos Live and In Person(s)


Jon Santos, stand-up comedian par excellence said that comedy is the sum of tragedy plus time.

On the date of the bombing at Glorietta Mall in Makati City, Philippines, high school class of '82 held a fundraising show starring one of our best products Jon Santos. With a hope of raising money for our homecoming and our charity, the batch bravely faced the thought that no one would watch our October 19 show because of the bombing. Who would want to laugh at a time like this?

However, as they say, the show must go one and with a 3/4 full house, Jon set to entertain his audience and promptly made all of us forget our worries for a couple of hours.

I found his Armida Siguion-Makareyna character absolutely hilarious. His parody of comparing the olden days of kundiman (which the real Armida Siguion-Reyna has popularized) and the modern sound of rock brought the house down especially when he sang the rock song lyrics to the medley of popular kundimans. Jon brought tears in my eyes when he pretended to teach one of the audience kundiman and segued smoothly to the mandarin theme song of Meteor Garden Ni Yao De Ai. He knew I am an avid fan of the drama's stars F4.

Jon's other popular character, Ate Vi also showed up. And tons of political characters from former presidents Erap, Cory and Fidel to Imelda Marcos presented in the funny guise of running for the barangay elections.



Overall everyone had a total "blast" as in I went to the mall and had a blast kind. Jon only joked about the bombing during the Saturday show. It gave all of us an insight to the intelligent kind of humor this person has..of his sensitivity. My 14-year old niece Ysabela summed up nicely what Jon personify as a comedian - that humor need not be "bastos" or slapstick and green.

For that Jon should be proud of his craft. For us his classmates in highschool, this event generated a new brand of respect for a certain Mr. Santos, who claimed not the richest in class nor the most successful in their careers but the most flawless. Absolutely right, flawless humor.

p.s.
Lest I forget, musical entertainment was provided by Kinki Hooters and The Dawn, who gave a good cover of one of my favorite songs of all time, U2's With or Without You. It was nostalgia baby when they sang Envelope Ideas during the Saturday show.

Credits: To professional photographer Buddy Manaois of Batch '82 (badong@rocketmail.com)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Terrorism: Closer to Home

Friday was an ordinary working day were people working in Makati usually eat lunch out in Glorietta mall...just to break the monotony of eating on their desks or food from the jollijeeps (those meals on wheels plying Makati City streets).

Who would have thought that about 10 people (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=95697) will die and so many more injured? The blast was a tragedy. And though this country of ours has already experienced a number of tragic events, what made this different is that now, I know one of the casualties.

For the families of these people who were probably just enjoying a day or lunch hour at the mall, it is difficult to accept that danger lurks in such a usually enjoyable place. This is not the first time that a bombing has happened in this part of the city but knowing one casualty who you used to work with and who you saw last month at the badminton court, makes it seem more real..more heartbreaking...more outrageous.

For many of us who are still around it makes us more diligent and observant about our surroundings. Events such as this makes us more thankful that the Lord is kind to spare us. And finally, this incident makes bonds of friendship tighter, bonds of being in a corporate team more cohesive, family ties are renewed and re-cemented.

Rest in Peace Onin and may you become one of the angels that help pray for this nation's survival.

Friday, October 19, 2007

OPM Break: OJ Mariano Best of Me

My husband and I took a little break from everyday life to watch the concert of OJ Mariano (http://www.starrecords.ph/album.asp?id=99&page=9) entitled Best of Me at Ratsky's Bar along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. It was the first time I listened to a local artist live in a long time. Produced by Bright Lights Entertainment, owned by my good friend Dennis Arce, OJ's guest was Kyla, monickered as the R&B Princess.

OJ's opening song was George Michael's I Gotta Have Faith. Though the song is upbeat, for some reason, the energy of OJ was low. He did not have an instant connection with the audience at first but as he sang one song after another, he finally warmed up to the audience.

OJ has a good voice perfectly suited for songs by Luther Vandross, Peebo Bryson or Eric Benet. However, in some songs, he seemed to be scared to hit the high notes (or was it a lack of musical direction?). His rendition of Luther Vandross' Dancing with my Father moved me to tears...ask my husband who was surprised when he saw me sniffling and reaching for my tissues. I was loving his rendition of Through the Fire when he suddenly decided to change costume and has his back-up keyboardist sing the rest of the song.

The best parts of the show were his medley of Boyz 2 Men songs and the duet with Kyla, who sang 2 songs prior to the duet. It was a beautiful duet that I finally remembered I had video features in my phone camera. Unfortunately, I forgot to set the video time to longer than 20 seconds so please bear with the shortness of the following clips.


video

video

Congratulations OJ! Congratulations Dennis!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An 80's Artifact


Look at what I found in my shoe cabinet! It's an old pair of espadrilles circa 1980's. I, of course, kept it because it's purple and in those days this color on anything is hard to come by (I did say that earlier right?).
I also realized that espadrille is a french word..and after all these years, the product is made mostly in Bangladesh. Huge credit to wiki for these tidbits of information. I was just so happy to see it and wear it once more. The quality of the pair is still intact. I thought the rope sole would give way once my not so light body weight mass steps on it but lo and behold! It stayed exactly as I found it.
Now I have to remember to wear it at home. Big danger if I wear it outside and then it rains! And I wonder, does anyone except for citizens of Catalonia and spanish europe still wear this? It was a huge hit in the Philippines back in the 80's. We would even buy several pairs of different colors and brag about our latest buy during no uniform fridays in high school. You could say that it was the "havaianas" of the 80's in its popularity.
Great timing! It's almost my high school class reunion...

Monday, October 15, 2007

DOOMED TO EXTINCTION


Photo albums, in my opinion are doomed for extinction. Far and few can be seen at the bookstores these days. The advent of digital cameras, computers and other forms of storage like the Ipod have made the albums less and less needed. It is now more expensive to make prints and more often inconvenient despite the advertisments of one hour developing. The plug and download functions of my digicam is just too fast.

I love my purple albums and will one day make a project of printing a few of my pictures especially the travel ones. Just as a conversation piece...and I'd like to be able to use that nice album I picked up at Jatujak Weekend Market ( http://www.jatujakguide.com/main/about_jj_eng.htm) on a recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand. In the vastness of Jatujak, I stumbled on this nicely crafted handmade paper album just before I expired of thirst and exhaustion. Its shades of purple and the elephant decor is just too hard to resist. I got the big one and bought a smaller version for my fellow purple-crazy friend Ochie.

There are actually tons of purple stuff that can be found in Thailand but that's another story...I am now on the lookout for a purely purple album similar to the sizes of my old ones and I will tell you all once I am successful with my mission. :-D

The View Before I Go To Sleep

Every time I lie down on our bed, the view that I see before I fall asleep would be my purple cabinet. I just love the purpleness of it. The rest of my bedroom is painted white except this portion. The top most cabinet houses my luggage. The cabinet on top of the TV is my bag haven. For a woman, I have a pretty small closet. I even share this with my husband. So every year, I am forced to sort through my stuff and let go of items that I have not used and/or don't need. For someone who lives in a birdcage (what I call my one bedroom flat), it has become a necessary evil for an original pack rat like me. But here's a secret, hiding under our bed are boxes of stuff that won't fit anywhere yet in the birdcage.

One day that TV is going to be plasma. *Runs off to add to wish list*

Sunday, October 14, 2007

All Flip-Flopped


As soon as the weekend rolls around, me 'ol feet is usually just in flip-flops. Ever since I was introduced to Havaianas (http://www.havaianas.com/), I found myself collecting flip-flops most especially those with purple themes and designs. Since I wear a size 40, it was hard at the beginning to buy my size in Manila. I bought one in Japan and one in
Singapore on previous trips.

Lately though, the Havaianas shops now carry my size and most importantly carry inventory of purple themed flops. Aside from Havaianas, I also possess a couple of Sandalias Dupe and Reef.

Since the Philippines is a year round tropical country, flip-flops to me is the best casual footwear because of its versatility. I can wear my nicely designed flops out on dinner with my husband and friends or to the supermarket. Sunny days are flip-flop days but is also a godsend on rainy, wet days. When I travel to other asian countries flops serve me well during those long sightseeing walks.
There are a couple of flops that I am wanting. But not until I get tired of my flavor of the month Reef (shown photo with my purple manicured toe nails of course).
How about you folks? What's your foot fetish? More of my purple foot fetishes in future posts.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

My One Color World

Word warrior...that's what the Tickle test of intelligence said about me. Naturally, I believed it fool that I am. So I've decided to test this talent and blog about me. And the only thing that I can think of to start with is my obsession with one color (well a set of shades if I'd like to nitpick..hehe) and that is PURPLE.

I don't know how or when it started but I loved the color ever since I was in grade school. My Maming (that's how we call our mom) used to have a headache looking for purple stuff for me because in the old days purple colored stuff was rare. So both of us would always have a victorious feeling whenever we find one.

So I will definitely talk about what I have collected since then and how I live a purple-colored life. I would probably talk about my other obsessions like Japanese entertainment and my obsession for anything japanese at the moment as well as my other silly and crazy pursuits, the latest one of which is collecting flip flops that are well, purple in color and/or design. Or my loot from trips...and the trips itself. Like this one from a recent trip to Singapore.

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So to my potential readers (no harm in dreaming, right?), I hope you have fun here, write me comments and keep coming back okay?