Wednesday, December 26, 2007

pasko sa pinas

i'm still overwhelmed. i never realized how much i missed pinoy christmas until i experienced it one more time.

the noise. god, i missed the noise. the sound of children carolling, using empty plastic bottles as drums. one group stood in front of our gate and sang (and danced! may choreography pa) boom tarat tarat. who knew that this freaking song had a christmas version? i never would have thought, not in this lifetime, that boom tarat tarat would be sung as a christmas carol. no frikking way. only in the philippines.

the food. it was overflowing. pancit of all kinds - sotanghon, canton, bihon, name it; pasta - carbonara and spag, i wanted to make pesto but i didn't have time. hahaha. sure; salads of all kinds din - fruit, macaroni, buko, buko pandan; barbecue; sandwiches, cakes, coke light. hahaha. yun ang finale, coke light. to wash away the gluttony. and the calories. sure.

the people. my family, my nieces, relatives, neighbors. i don't have much friends left here but it was fun nonetheless. i gave my nieces my gifts - the starbucks 2008 planner for the middle and the card with all 24 stickers for the eldest to claim. plus cash pa. hope they're happy. hehehe.

the sights. christmas decors all around, from the malls to homes to cars to public places. i wish i could go to pampanga and witness the parol festival. maybe next time.

i'm happy i asked my boss if i can extend my stay here for the christmas. i am thankful he said yes.

this christmas, my spirit awakened. i thought i have lost christmas forever. i couldn't be any more wrong.


Friday, December 21, 2007

holiday greetings from manila

yes, i am back in manila.

i stayed in LA for only 96 hours, afterwhich i hopped back on a PAL plane en route to Manila. since i arrived, it has been doses of toxicity. hahaha. and i am loving it.

so i arrived again friday morning around 6ish in the morning. i got a txt msg (SMS) from BB's EA saying that we have a meeting around 730. hahaha. no time to even unpack my bags. so off to the meeting. and another one, and another one.

saturday, stuff. sunday morning, off to nasugbu, batangas at the canyon cove for our manila office's christmas party, and i must say that it is the longest christmas party ever. as in. we left manila around 8 am, brunch at the resort, some games, then before you know it, it's party time. called it a night a little past 12. breakfast the following day, snacks, lunch then off to manila. the 30-hour christmas party.

my return flight to LA was supposed to be on the 24th. yeah, bisperas ng pasko. it leaves at 10 pm, so around 2 hours into the flight, maligayang pasko na! then we land in LA at 630 pm, same day. 6 hours to go and noche buena na.

unfortunately, i didn't see myself knocking on friends and relatives door for christmas so i asked BB if i can just spend christmas here. and he said yes. thank you BB!

so i am spending christmas here. new year, i'm not too sure yet. it was left hanging. maybe, maybe not. ganun kahanging.

i have not told my folks that i am back. my brother knows though. i'll just surprise them on the 24th.

we're off to tagaytay tomorrow at around 4 for an early breakfast meeting with brother mike velarde. don't ask me why. i am wondering myself. tomorrow's a saturday by the way.

traffic's been terrible the past few days. i didn't realize i actually missed manila's christmas rush. not.

not when i wait for a cab for about an hour. not when these damn can drivers tell me (a) ser, out of the way po kayo (hello? i'm the passenger and i'm the one paying. out of the way ako?) (b) ay malayo (hello uli. so? i'm paying for the whole trip. is makati-abs really that malayo? come on (c) gagarahe na ako eh (at 630 in the evening? well, this one's possible but then again (d) may susunduin ako eh (magsundo ka na lang kaya for life (e) dagdagan mo na lang ng 50 (na ah, i'm paying twice. no way jose) (f) ma traffic dun (is there any other place in metro manila that has no traffic?



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

back in LA


arrived late saturday after our flight from manila was delayed for a couple of hours. the moment we all got settled in, the announcement from the plane's PA system blared, "Thank you for your patience. We apologize for the delay. We had mechanical problems."

yes, it was that blunt. that upfront. and it was not the nicest thing to hear when you're inside a plane. 'you mean it had mechanical problems? what sort of mechanical problems? did it have something to do with the wheels? the machine?'. that was just plain paranoia for me.

had a good flight, though.

the following day was our christmas party. had to drop by target to buy my $30 gift for the gift-grabbing. hahaha. my bad streak on these things continue. git a good one i liked at first but someone grabbed it (hate you michael!) and the next one i opened i didn't like as much (sorry, malou!). it was a cork screw set. i'm not really a wine drinker so i can't use it as much. oh well. recycle ko na lang. hahaha. joke.

just like last year, we trooped to urth cafe after the party for some tea and three-layer cheesecake. yum. i had a honey latte medium and it kept me awake till 4ish in the morning.

we had a planning conference scheduled at 9 so i was pretty much screwed.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

typhoon, earthquake & a coup attempt: all in a week's work

the past week (and the preceding one as well) has been very hectic, very toxic, and quite frankly, unbelievably busy.

since i arrived, i've covered a number of conferences: the 2nd international medical tourism conference; the 20th philippine advertising congress; the 6th asian network of major cities meeting; the first inter-parliamentary global meeting on hiv/aids; the launching of a unicef book on women and children displaced by armed conflict in the philippines, and a slew of others. whew.

also during the same period, i weathered a couple of typhoons, one super typhoon (which, thank god, made lihis. hahaha. anong english ng lihis?), an earthquake (i was at sofitel covering an event, the mayor of kuala lumpur was delivering a speech when the earth shook. i later learned that sofitel is on reclaimed land, that's why we really felt the quake. i immediately looked out (hello manila bay!) to see if a tsunami was on its way.

then last week, my friend antonio decided that he was tired of languishing in his jail. kinda. so he walked out of the makati court, asked people to join them and took over manila pen. wow. posh! couldn't he have chosen a lesser one? say city garden or best western? no. it had to be manila peninsula.

i tried to go, since i was just a few blocks away (we had a meeting, first on dela rosa, then by paseo de roxas) but the police has barricaded ayala and makati avenues.

one of our reporters made it early there, so she was able to get some nice shots while the whole she bang was going on. on the police's third attempt to ask the civilians, including the media men, to get the f*ck out of the place, she left, along with a handful of reporters and apparently, faeldon as well.

that was one of the reasons puno cited as he justified the "processing" and "arrest" of the reporters, they were asked to leave and they didn't, ergo, they were unwitting collaborators. my soon-to-be-lawyer friend that that is not possible. well.

the freaking peso is down, down, down. 41! we're back to the late 90s rate. shoot. my colleague who earns in dollars mockingly asked me to go back since every single time i go back to manila for the past three years or so, the peso would just drop. i'm beginning to believe him. when i arrived two weeks ago, it was at 43 something. last week, i had some dollars exchanged at 42.20. yesterday, it closed at 41 something. not happy.

not happy at all...