Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Look

You see that look? You only see that from children whose only refuge is a mother's embrace and sweet words. My son used to look at me that way. But he's all grown up now, living his own life. I'm not bitter. I'm just beginning to accept that my new role now is to stay at the background.

The photos above are my niece and my grandson. Yup! I am a certified grandmother... But Carla (Mom above) is a niece from a second cousin. So, technically, I am not their official grandmother. Hehehe! I'm just in denial.

The rest of my grandchildren's photos are in my Multiply site:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1, 2009

I don’t usually go to cemeteries during November 1 or 2. The closest relative I have whose buried here in Metro Manila is my Mom’s grandmother. We never even met her. Though we were able to visit her tomb at the Manila South Cemetery a couple of times, my siblings and I never accompanied our Mom during the first of November.

But since my 6-week hiatus has made me bored and depressed, I decided to join my Mom in visiting her grandmother’s tomb today. I saw the November 1 event as an opportunity for me to take photographs.

So, by 8am, we were on our way to the Manila South Cemetery in Makati City. Good thing it was just near where I work, so I know the fastest route getting there. We only stayed a few minutes at my great grandmother’s tomb. We barely stayed for an hour. But it’s enough for me to take photographs. He! He! He!

We went back home to eat an early lunch. By 11am, we boarded a G-Liner bus bound for Taytay. This time, we are going to visit ‘Ta Rosie and her husband, ‘To Rudy, at the Sto. Rosario Memorial Park. ‘Ta Rosie is Mom’s cousin who died last year.

Though it was my first time to commute to such a far-off place since my major operation, surprisingly, I never had any difficulty. But it was one hell of a tiring day for me. At least, I got to do what I’ve wanted to do for 6 weeks now. And honestly, I feel so alive! He! He! He!

Don’t worry, I didn’t just take photos. Promise, I said a prayer or two for them.

Complete set of photos are in Multiply site:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To My Fellow Freelancers

When I started as a freelance trainee Production Assistant for Unitel 13 years ago, my parents were very much against it, especially my mom. She has no qualms with whatever industry I was getting into, but she had issues with the term “freelance.” As a government employee in all her working years, she knew the importance of having a regular-paying job with benefits. But, of course, my love for production work got the better of me despite all her objections. To make the long story short, she forced me to continue contributing voluntarily to my SSS and my PhilHealth (MediCare during that time). Uh-huh, “forced” is the correct term. She even applied for my personal health card and even paid for the first few months just to get it started!
As a freelancer with so much work to do, it is always an effort (with a capital E!) to go to these different offices and follow-up on the paperwork and pay the contributions through the banks (even if it is just a block away). I am blessed to have a Mom who reminded me, via scolding (oh, yes!), to pay my contributions and make sure all my accounts are updated.
It was annoying, really. But of course, it was all for my advantage in the long run. I have benefited from all her bickering when I was hospitalized twice and my son, twice (nagpaparamihan ‘ata kaming mag-ina!).
My recent “trip” to the hospital and a mishap with my health card gave me quite a panic a few days ago. When we got the final billing from the hospital, I realized that I didn’t have enough cash with me to pay all the bills. I was limited from withdrawing the maximum amount of each of my ATM cards as we can’t make a large withdrawal from the bank because it was a holiday! I originally assumed that my health card plus my PhilHealth were enough to cover for everything. If ever there were additional payments, I’m sure it was something I can manage. It was a morning full of phone calls with my health card coordinator (because he failed to drop by at the hospital) and the hospital’s billing department. It turned out that I was right all along and it was the coordinator’s failure to coordinate properly why a miscommunication with the hospital’s billing department has occurred. To sum it all up, everything was settled accordingly and we only had to pay the 15K excess.
In that momentary state of panic, I realized that despite the fact that I “readied” myself financially before the operation, without my health card and PhilHealth, I could have swiped out most of my savings in a jiffy. (Pa’no na ang camera bag ko? Ang D700 ko? Ang matching traveling suitcases namin ni Mokong? Ang 12.1-inch na HP laptop ko? Hehehe!)
I’m not writing this to promote my health card (I didn’t even mention what health card it was that I used) or discuss the operation that I had. I’m just writing this because I know how much it would cost for us to get sick. “Us” would mean the freelance people from production who doesn’t know how to say “no” from work, available every 24/7, and often de-prioritizes eating, resting and sleeping to give way for more work to be done. (O, diba?! Tayong-tayo yun!) And I know for a fact that most of you haven’t even fixed your SSS numbers yet or your contributions, or your PhilHealth, or even applied for a health card. Maybe, it’s high time to consider doing it now. (Naks! Parang tag line lang sa print ad!)
Seriously, some of you are living by yourselves here in Metro Manila with families too far from you for comfort and help. Some of you are even bread-winners. And because I have worked with you and will still work with you, I, obviously, care.
So, first thing tomorrow, check your SSS and PhilHealth. And scout for a health card applicable for you (and your family). Promise, it would be for your own good.
The "Old"

The "New"

P.S. You may probably think that my hospitalization was easier for me because I am now an in-house LP. Nope. The health card I used was the same health card my Mom applied for 9 years ago. As for my PhilHealth, I have made an advance payment for one year since December 2008. Again, I was still a freelance then.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ride the Zorb!!!

When Mokong saw photos of the Zorb displayed at their booth, he said, "Mommy, gusto ko nito!" Thinking that this was just a spur of
the moment decision, I told him, "Bukas, sa birthday mo." But really, I just said that to end the conversation so we can move on strolling along the Boracay shores.

Before sleeping that night, we plot out what we will do the next day to celebrate Mokong's birthday. After all the plans have been made, he asked, "Eh 'yung malaking ball?" Quickly, I replied, "Gusto mo ba talaga nun?" He said, "Oo, Mommy."

So the next day, exactly on his birthday, we went straight to the Zorb booth at Station 2 near D'Mall and booked ourselves for the Hydro-Ride.

And the rest... Well, let the photos & the video tell you the story.

Complete set of photos are in Francis's Multiply site:

Honestly, between the two of us, I am the one happier. Not because I had a blast riding the Zorb with my son... But because I am so
very glad to have a son with an adventurous soul!

Happy birthday, Mokong! Wishing you more adventures to come. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Francis in Thailand (The 2nd Time Around)

Finally, I'm halfway done uploading photos in my son's Multiply site. Halfway 'coz I've only uploaded the Thailand leg of our 2009 Holy Week trip. 'Yung Laos, hopefully, next week na (sana!).

Here are a few of his photos in his second trip to Thailand (last year was in Bangkok and Phuket). The complete set are in his Multiply site. See the links below.

With a little girl from the Hmong tribe

Wat Phrathet Doi Suthep

More photos of the Chiang Mai leg at his Multiply site:

With the long-neck Karen Hilltribe
Golden Triangle
More photos of the Chiang Rai leg at his Multiply site:

Rimnunm Guesthouse

On a boat going to Huay Xai, Laos

More photos of the Chiang Khong leg at his Multiply site:

Photos were taken by me, Os and Roselle.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Thanks to Amy for asking me to join this photo shoot... Or else, wala na naman akong photo for my 30th Week of my 52 Weeks of Frozen Time project.

All photos taken last May 2, 2009 @ Rogue Studio in Makati City.

More photos at my Multiply site:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Souksan van peemi!!!

Oh, spare me!
Commercial break muna from all the travel photos I've been posting lately.
This time, I'm posting photos that I feel "captured the moment." Hehehe! These were all taken during the start of the Lao New Year while we were having snacks at a restaurant by the banks of the Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos (ay... travel photos pa rin pala 'to. hehehe!). Although we have our own version of water splashing during the San Juan Day celebration here in the Philippines, we were still fascinated watching these boys wait up on girls passing by and splash water at them. We stayed for more than an hour, constantly clicking on every passers-by, trying to capture their different expressions. Eating at the restaurant was such a distraction from this photo op. Hehehe!
Kebs! I'm not posting these for a critique... I just enjoyed taking their photos, as much as we enjoyed watching them.
Souksan van peemi!!!
... Happy new year in Lao :)

More splashin' photos at my Multiply site:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Touring Chiang Mai (The Usual Way)

Today, we decided to rent a vehicle to bring us around Chiang Mai, the capital of the Chiang Mai Province, and visit the usual tourist spots. (Yes, haven’t you noticed? We’ve already crept out from our “adventure traveling” style.) We met with Mr. Tee yesterday, through Pat of Same Same Guesthouse, and he was kind enough to give us pointers on where we should rather go and what places we can forego.
Although Mr. Tee’s transport is a mere pick-up truck converted into a, sort of, jeepney, it was still a treat having him as our driver. Not only does he speak good English, but he understands how thrifty we all are for this trip. He keeps on recommending us to where the best deals are, and usually get freebies from his friends and then gives them to us. Hehehe!

Anyway, the first stop for the day, according to Mr. Tee, should be the farthest, the Doi Pui Villages of the Hmong Tribe. Yippeee!!! I quickly changed my lens to 50mm and told Os to prepare the reflector we brought. This is it! My first on-the-field use of my 50mm with the Hmong tribe and I simply can’t wait.

From the parking lot, we had to trek for several minutes to get to the Hmong Tribe. The trek wasn’t strenuous as the paths were lined up with vendors selling souvenir items. As usual, we stopped, looked and rummaged through the stuff in front of us, making Mr. Tee come back for us for several times, probably thinking we were lost.
_Finally, we arrived at the Hmong Tribe and we were greeted by children all dressed-up in their traditional Hmong costumes. We were a bit worried, though, that these children will ask us for tips after taking their photos, but Mr. Tee said, we’re not required to give any. However, when we photographed a group of children, or should we say, when we had an impromptu pictorial with a group of children, it took us roughly 30 minutes to get all the angles we wanted. We really did plan to give them a tip as we enjoyed taking their photos. I’d like to believe they enjoyed having us take their photos as well as they keep taking turns in holding the reflector for us. But, Mr. Tee beat us into paying them. We tried to pay Mr. Tee back, but he won’t accept it anymore. He must have pitied us, probably thinking that we’re really, really poor with all the bargaining he witnessed from us. Hehehe! Or, he’s simply a very kind man, which we witnessed later on by the number of foreigners who greeted him out on the streets of Chiang Mai. He does have a lot of foreigner friends.

Our next stop was the Bhubhing Palace. This is the royal winter residence of the Royal Family. (Ha?! May winter sa Thailand???? Hehehe!) It also serves as a guesthouse for state visitors from abroad, which became a disadvantage when we were there. The guesthouse was closed from the public, but the rest of the palace grounds were open. The estate has a flower garden, a rose garden, a fern garden, a butterfly, a bird sanctuary and a water reservoir. For some, these may all be such great sites, but really, we’re not too interested with these. I, personally, felt that the 50-baht entrance fee we paid was a waste. There’s nothing much to see and we had to walk through the entire estate under the scorching heat of the sun. (As usual, we opted to walk than renting a cart for 300-baht that can only accommodate 4 people! Mahal!)

Next, we went to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a Buddhist temple with 309 steps to get to the pagodas. There’s a tram, though, but we climbed the entire 309 steps, pausing most of the time to pose. Now, that takes away the strain from the leg muscles.

There’s a 30-baht entrance fee at the temple, but if you ask me, we could have easily gotten away. Pero wag naman sana tayong dishonest kay Lord, diba? Or in this case, kay Buddha. Bad yun!

We spent quite a few minutes walking through the temples and pagodas, taking photos and taking time out to rest. It was hot and humid, so a mere step requires too much of an effort.

Sure, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is such an interesting temple and it is a must for tourist and travelers to see. But we’ve seen one too many temples last year, it was tiring to see so many temples and pagodas in one lifetime. Hehehe!

After touring the entire place, we asked Mr. Tee if we could pass by a Catholic Church. It was Palm Sunday and since we’ve already seen a lot of Buddhist temples, it’s high time we visit our own church.

He brought us to the Sacred Heart Cathedral. It was closed though. But Mr. Tee, being the over-attentive tourist guide / driver that he is, looked for the caretaker and asked if they could have the church opened so we can go inside. Bibo talaga si Mr. Tee! Not only was the church doors opened for us, but the parish priest also came out to greet us.

Our tour ended here. We asked Mr. Tee to bring us back to the Cha Da’s Guesthouse. Years ago, we would have toured other places as long as there’s still daylight. Today, we finished the entire tour by 3pm and we’re all so beat already. We spent the rest of the afternoon in our rooms either resting or sleeping. Matatanda na kasi!!!

More photos at my Multiply site:
Hmong -
Bhubhing Palace -
Wat Phrathet Doi Suthep -


Hmong is a tribal village in Doi Pui, Chiang Mai, Thailand that we visited last April 6, 2009. Took photos of the children dressed in their traditional Hmong clothes...
Didn't I say I don't like taking portraits?

More photos at my Multiply site:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

14th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Went there with my son, Francis, and Holy Week friends, Os, Roselle and Ces. Truly a great Valentine's date!

More photos @ my Multiply site:

Feb. 14 Evening Photos

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Home on a Sunday

Finally, after 3 weeks of working during weekends, I finally got one weekend free!!! Yipeee! Well, technically, not a weekend, just one Sunday. But it's better than nothing...

And though I'll be fixing a storyboard later for a feasibility meeting tomorrow morning, again, it's better than nothing...

Used to waking up at 6am, I turned the TV on (gazhhh, i so missed it) and pulled out the DVDs i bought a month ago pa for a one-long day of DVD marathon.

My first film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

SIGH... Such a beautiful movie with such great lines. I had to stop, pause and play back several scenes! Hehehe! And here are my favorites:

"We're meant to lose the people we love, how else do we know how important they are to us."

"You can be mad as a mad dog with the way things went, you can swear and curse fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go."

"For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. "

This is gonna be a great Sunday...

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Just came home from the Smart Prada Taekwondo Championships @ Don Bosco Makati. As much as I wanted to give a blow-by-blow account of the day's happenings, I'll refrain from doing so. I'm on my way now to the office for a 12 midnight pull-out to Nasugbu, Batangas for a TVC shoot tomorrow and on Tuesday. But since I'm such a proud momma at this very moment, I'll just share with you one tiny, little bit of good news:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Caylabne Bay Resort

Shot these photos during a location check at Caylabne Bay Resort last January 23, 2009 for Project "Sizzle." Buti na lang, di na-approve. Or else, it would take a while before I could post these photos here. Hehehe! Obvious ba?! We had fun while we worked. :)

More photos in my Multiply site:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When Do You Stop Helping?

By nature, I'd like to be left alone and let me figure out things and go through situations on my own -- my time and my terms. This has been a common complaint from good friends who knew (and sometimes, never knew at all) that I have gone through diffucult times. More often than not, they'll hear about this incident long after I've passed through them and survived.
On the other hand, I like helping out friends in whatever way I can. Sometimes, I even have to go out of my way just to make sure that I am there when needed. Everything for them without expecting anything back.
But then, when you've helped so much, so much more than what you can actually give, would it be okay to stop helping? When you've drained too much energy and there's nothing left for your own sake, would it be okay to say you've helped enough? Is it right to draw a line when you help a friend in need?
In my case, he's not even a friend...
And when I am inflicted with a moment of selfishness, I am reminded of the help I had when I was the one in need... There was none.
So, why then should I help now?

I have given my fair share of help. But obviously, it's not enough.

Why should I continue helping?

Because whether I admit to the truth or not, he is a part of my life. Because with whatever I have gone through in the past, I have survied them and I am honestly okay now. Because compared to the two of us, I ended up the better person.

But is being better also means we do not stop helping?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ooops, Sorry...

I never should have felt superbly stupid last Sunday. There was a valid reason why things didn't turn out the way I expected them to be.

My questions now are:

Why is it so hard for people to simply say what they have in mind? Why is it so difficult to say exactly what they're feeling? Are there no words to describe it perfectly? Can't a simple but definite black and white answer do? Gray answers make the situation complicated and worse, you know.

Sorry for last Sunday. You could have just blurted out the truth. Period.

Now, I really feel superbly stupid to the highest level for sending the text message I sent.

Ooops, sorry.

Monday, January 12, 2009

You Learn

Feeling superbly stupid from the text message I sent to the one that pisses me off for so many days now, I spent the entire day working with music playing through my laptop. In times like this, I usually try to correlate songs with what I'm feeling. Hmmm... Walang bagay.

Until I got to this old Alanis Morisette song. While silently singing to its lyrics (huh? pano yun?), I realized, this song fits me today. I quickly searched for the lyrics online... And there you go! Bagay nga...

You live, you learn
You love, you learn
You cry, you learn
You lose, you learn
You bleed, you learn
You scream, you learn

You grieve, you learn
You choke, you learn
You laugh, you learn
You choose, you learn
You pray, you learn
You ask, you learn
You live, you learn

But then, alam mo na naman 'to noon pa, diba, Barok? So, get your act together and F-O-C-U-S!!! You don't need parasites in your life that drain your strength and enthusiam. You know you're better than this now.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

You are Bold and Fearless

Just how much of these things are true. Hmmm... Found this in Facebook and thought of posting it here. (You may also check out:

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are a very lucky person. Things just always seem to go your way.And because you're so lucky, you don't really have a lot of worries. You just hope for the best in life.You're sometimes a little guilty of being greedy. Spread your luck around a little to people who need it.

You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row.You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace.People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

You are deeply philosophical and thoughtful. You tend to analyze every aspect of your life. You are intuitive, brilliant, and quite introverted. You value your time alone.Often times, you are grumpy with other people. You don't appreciate them trying to interfere in your affairs.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not a Good Way to Start the Year

This is not a good way to start the year... Hmp!

Sometimes, no matter how high our spirits are, someone will really try to make us feel bad. Worse, unworthy.

I marked today as my last day of "patiently" waiting to talk with this someone who's making me feel bad right now. Yes, despite the fact that he makes me feel bad, I felt it was important to talk with him face-to-face and set things straight. It would make me feel better to put things out in the open, discuss all issues, and end as good friends. Yes, as good friends.

This is one of my life's lessons that I give value to. When something is wrong, or someone has done me wrong, I would rather set things straight immediately. No procrastinations. The agony of prolonging it makes the situation worse actually.

But what if that person prefers to cool it off first and spends time on their own to figure things out? ARGGGHHHH!!! I hate that... I hate it so much...

And as much as I wanted to say "ok, i understand," I simply can't accept it. And based on past experiences, this will get worse. And already, I'm consuming all of my powers to keep myself cool and refrain from making things worse.

I hate what this does to me right now. It's making my supposedly positive outlook in 2009 start off in a bad light. Nakakainis.

I shouldn't be around people like this.

I really don't need this.

After almost a decade of being like this, I have finally started being okay. ARGGGHHHH.... I don't need this right now.

Looking forward to a busy schedule at work to keep my mind off this.

I really don't need this now.

And I really don't need him right now.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolution

A couple of nights ago, I browsed through my blogs and realized that for the past year (as if that was ages ago), I made myself a "realistic" new year's resolution. Yup, realistic. No grand changes, no elaborate wishes, etc. Plain and simple resolutions that I thought then would be manageable.

Here's what I wrote last January 2, 2008:

1. Update my blogsites every so often, at least, once a month

Done! I've been religiously updating my Multiply and Blogspot sites this year despite my hectic schedule. Of course, there were more entries made while I was in hybernation (from work). And more photos were uploaded than write-ups in my journals. Well, at least, it's updated!

2. Go out and have fun with my son, at least, once a month. (If schedule doesn't permit this, hmmm.... once in two months?)

Well, this didn't happen much... But I'd like to believe that I was able to spend a considerable amount of time given the schedule I had the past year. They may only be a few dates, but I hoped they made a mark in my son's mind.

Let's see... I'll try to enumerate them on a monthly basis:

January - Busy
February - Busy
March - With the Holy Week trip, my son and I were able to go, tour and experience 4 different Asian countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore.
April - Since there weren't too much work during this month, I was able to spend more time with my son as I brought him to school for his swimming and taekwondo summer classes.
May - Took time out from my shoot and attended my son's Taekwondo promotion test at the Ateneo de Manila University. It's like a culminating activity of some sort that all Taekwondo students go through so they can be promoted into a higher belt. Of course, my son became a yellow-belter.
June - Hectic! Hectic! Hectic! So, whenever I can, I bring my son along at work so I can spend more time with him. Well, technically, he plays his Game Boy as I do my work. At least, we get to eat lunch together!
July - Went out malling with him. Also brought him to the Manila Ocean Park.
August - Guilty as hell for going to Sagada without tagging him along... Still, I got to spend time with him when he joined his first ever taekwondo tournament. Although he lost, we, together with the rest of my family, spent the day at the mall and in Tagaytay.
September - We were in Hong Kong and Macau for his 7th birthday!!!
October - Spent more time with my son by bringing him along in my photo shoots. He served as my "assistant," clicking the remote control whenever I take night photos.
November - Busy
December - Kawawa naman, he had to sleep through Christmas Eve instead of opening his gifts at home. He spent the night with me at the hospital during Christmas Eve. He left after lunch on Christmas Day so he could open his gifts at home... which I never got to see.
SIGH... I feel so guilty!

3. Lose 30 to 40 pounds within a year (Now, this is the understatement of the year... Tingnan nga natin...)
Hahaha! I lost about 10 to 15 pounds alone in the 5 days I got sick last week cause I couldn't eat anything. Parang ayoko naman yatang magpa-payat ng ganon. Hehehe! Don't worry, whatever I lost back then, I got them all back in one day once I went back to my normal eating habits! HAYYYYY.... Wag na, take this out in any new year's resolution. This is unrealistic. Hehehe!

So, am I making a list of resolutions for 2009?


Not that I can't keep up with my own list... But who needs a new year's resolution when you can simply change your ways at any day of the year. It doesn't have to be a new year... It could be on the middle of the year, for pete's sake! If I really need to change, I should change today. Right now. Not 365 days later.

I guess, my 2008 has been so blessed that I feel there's no need to make any drastic changes. Maybe, maintain what worked well? Oh, except for spending more time with my son. Yeah, I should definitely do more of this.