Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

"That every man would have a friend,
That right would always win,
and love would never end.
This is my grown up Christmas list."

Nothing compares to being surrounded by family and loved ones during the Christmas season, and I'm glad that I'm home to experience this. Getting presents during the holidays is cool, but there's no present as wonderful as being with the people you love.

I'm fortunate to have that, and for that alone, this is definitely a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fun flight

My trip back to Manila tonight is probably one of the most fun flights I've had. And no, it's not because they had "Bring Me" or "Name that Tune" games in flight.

For the first time, I was on the same flight with a flight attendant friend of mine. Since I've met Tanya and her friends in HKG, I've never ridden on a same flight as any of them. But tonight, I saw Sally in the plane, and it was great because I haven't seen her in months. Even if she was assigned in Business Class and I was cattle, she took time out to stoop down to our level and catch up. Amazing how she's exactly the same Sally in flight and on the ground.

My seat mates were another reason why my flight was fun. Row 33 found me sitting beside a Filipina from Jakarta and a New Yorker who's going to Bacolod to get married. During the entire 120 minute flight, we kept on talking and talking and laughing and laughing about things both interesting and mundane.

The New Yorker wanted to know how he can impress the parents of his Filipina bride. We taught him to say "po" and "opo" as well as do the "Mano" when he meets them for the first time. We listened to his love story and did a bit of swooning. He's SO much in love! We also told him to try the Chicken Inasal and Napoleones in Bacolod.

The Filipina wanted to know if I was an actor because some people in the flight, along with Sally, knew me and acknowledged me. Plus, she thought I had an "artista" vibe whatever that is. Hahaha.

When the plane touched down, we felt bad because we were about to go our separate ways. But surprise, surprise, we later found out that we're all taking the same flight back to HKG in January. Thanks to that, we made a pact to see each other and share pictures from our holidays, and his wedding.

That should make the trip back a lot of fun as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Piece Offering

Caught Britney's 2nd music video from her Blackout album. The song "Piece of Me" is the one with a mention of "Philippines" - and not in a bad way. Makes me wonder if the song writer has Filipino blood in him/her or if s/he has an affinity with the Philippines.

Given her recent "meltdowns" and lackluster performances, Britney does really good in this video. It's more polished and has more of a concept compared to "Gimme More." Plus, she has a choreographed dance move with some back-up dancers that wasn't in her last vid.

This should've been her first single, first video and first performance in the VMAs.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

These Boots were made for washing

Once upon a time, Bangkok was my shopping mecca. I'd go there with a small carry on bag and come home with 3 bags full of goodies from MBK, Jim Thompson, Naraya, Suan Lum, Chatuchak, Greyhound and Jaspal. But lately, that Bangkok shopping magic seemed to be gone.

In my past few visits, I've never bought or brought anything home. Not that I don't go around and try shopping. Since we're usually billeted at the Emporium Suites, shopping is just next door. Strangely though, I end up not buying anything, except this one time when I bought a phone card. Harhar.

Then, yesterday happened. I had an urge to go to MBK and check my favorite jean haunt if they had anything new. Alas, they didn't. So I went to Siam Square to grab an A&W Rootbeer float. Yup, A&W is still alive in Bangkok, and I always make it a point to drop by each time. In front of the restaurant, I noticed a big Boots store. It's been a while since I've been inside Boots - the last time was when I bought that FCUK perfume that Derick wanted. Since I had half an hour to spare, I decided to enter the store.

And when I exited, I had all these:

Yup, I went Boots-crazy in that half an hour. They had so many interesting bath and body products in enticing scents. Among them were shower creams in cocoa, green tea and honey scents. There's a body lotion and shower gel with Mushroom and Ginger. Then there are gift packs containing sea-salt infused lotions, creams and bath gels.

I got so carried away and bought too much that the shop keeper gave me this recyclable bag and another free gift pack. Thank goodness I had to go back to the hotel or else I'd buy some more!

Now I've got this major stash of bath and body products, and I've got a lot more coming from Biboy when he arrives from the U.S.

One body care bonanza, coming up!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Turning Japanese

While I was at the elevator in the Emporium Suites, there were two ladies behind me who were speaking in Nihonggo. One of them suddenly tapped my shoulder and asked me a question. Thankfully, I was able to remember that key phrase in Nihonggo that I learned during my trip in Japan. I told them:

"Nihonggo dekinai." (Which I think means "I don't speak Nihonggo.")

The girl was wide eyed and started speaking in English. She said that she thought I was Japanese because of my features. Add to that, she said that I looked like one of the Princes - thanks to my moppy hair and moustache.

Ok, now I've got another nationality to add to my "Are you ______?" list.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Plane Sight

During one of the parties hosted by my friends from Cathay Pacific, I heard them talking about the redesigned 747s and that they're nicer, albeit more complicated. I've ridden 747s the past few years, but haven't seen these new planes. Luckily, I did today, although it was in cattle class.

Their new entertainment system is totally cool. It's much like Tivo when you can pause one program while watching another. You can fast forward to certain scenes or rewind one. (I did it while watching "Ugly Betty" because I keep on forgetting the name of the guy from accounting who Betty likes.) For the audio channel, I can actually create my own playlist from more than 500 songs. That brings "customized entertainment" to a totally different level.

They've also redesigned the seats to make it a bit - emphasis on "the bit" - more comfortable. Ergonomically, they're better designed. Plus, when you recline the seat, it moves forward instead of the backrest moving back. This gets major plus points from me since I hate it when the person in front of me reclines his or her seat.

Thank goodness I rode this new plane today. It made me ignore the fact that our flight was 2 hours delayed and we've been sitting in a plane on the tarmac the same amount of time that our flight is supposed to take us to Bangkok.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Going Knots

After more than 6 months of planning, Ivy finally tied the knot yesterday. It was a wonderful affair filled with laughter, elegance, family, friends, great food, and of course - love.

The entire event unfolded the way we envisioned it to be, and our visual signature - the knot - was very much present and well utilized during the entire event.

From the save the date card, it was mirrored on their invite. The paper stock they used for it was an elegant matte silver, and it made the colors of the knot really pop out. The envelope was very unique, and I remember Ivy telling me that this was the portion of the invite that they really kept their eye on.

A few days before the event, I decided to custom design their table numbers. Well, they're not really table numbers but "table countries." Each table was named after a place that was meaningful to both Ivy and LJ - places like Yokohama, San Diego, and my personal favorite, Barcelona. Naming the tables instead of numbering them was a nice touch.

The knot also made its way to the wine bottles. The couple had wine labels custom made, and it was a touch that I particularly liked. After all, marriage - like wine - is supposed to grow better with age.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Take a chance

This is another first for me.

For the first time, I was a chance passenger on the CX flight to Manila. Initially, my flight was scheduled for tomorrow morning, but I figured that it would be too much of a hassle to arrive at 10am then rush to Subic for a 3pm wedding. So, I asked the travel agent to put me on the wait list for tonight's flight even though she told me that it was fully booked.

Aside from that, I also had a plan B. I bought a one-way ticket to Manila via Cebu Pacific for a very good price. I figured, if I don't get the CX flight, I might as well get the 5J flight. And if I do get the CX flight, all I'll just waste the ticket and pay for the no-show fee to boot. It's worth some money, but then again, attending Ivy's wedding is priceless.

So now I'm waiting for the CX flight to board.

I just heard that the 5J flight is delayed. Instead of leaving at 9:55, they're leaving at 10:45. Good thing I'm on this flight.


Oh, there's a special edition Paul & Joe designed can from Perrier here at the lounge. They look like these:

I liked the gold one. So that's what I drank.

Cool water. Cool packaging.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Very, very visited

Thanks to Lezyl who posted the pictures on her multiply site, I have proof that D' Frendz were actually here last weekend! This was on Saturday when we raided as much shopping areas as we possibly could in one afternoon - sacrificing the planned Macau day trip. (To the chagrin of Tintin, of course.)

If October was the most "outgoing" of months, (I was out of the country 5 times in 1 month), then November was the most "incoming" one (with three sets of visitors in 4 weeks.) It was fun playing host to my family and friends who decided to take advantage of the long weekends to do some retail therapy here. For 3 consecutive weekends, I went to my favorite shopping haunts and everyone hoarded stuff ranging from shirts, jackets, toys, electronics, and even a green, plastic foot stool!

As Ginger told me, I must've have felt like a manager running a hostel the past month. Thankfully, my guests were all homebodies and I suspect they left the place cleaner than when they arrived. Hahaha. But despite the hectic schedules and the "rushing-around-HK-for-16-hours-a-day-shtick," having visitors for the entire month was an extremely fun experience.

Extremely new, too.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Just as I was making provisions for Plan B, the supplier finally delivered.

Ah yes, the perils of Language barriers.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tying the knot

Planning a wedding is an amazing thing. You begin 6 to 8 months before and have this mindset that you've got a lot of time to do everything. Then suddenly, it's a few days before the wedding, everything is in place, and everyone is just giddily waiting for the day itself so that the entire plan will just fall into place.

It's been more than 6 months since Ivy and I started talking about her wedding while we were in Urasa. We started with a clean slate and started bouncing off ideas and possible themes. We whittled everything down, and eventually chose a nautical theme. After all, they're getting married at Subic Bay and both she and her husband love the sea.

We eventually took a knot and made it the central icon in the entire celebration. It started here on the save the date card:

Then we used it on the invites, cake, table numbers, and other printed materials. I think it's a clever and fun way of announcing the wedding, and I'm glad that the couple agree.

Now, it's 5 days before the wedding and I'm excited to see everything fall into place.

Organizing weddings are so much fun!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

D' Fastest

The visit of D' Frendz this weekend is probably D' fastest visit of a group on record. (And Alfie will be hearing about this for a few more times.)

They arrived Thursday night and that heralded the whirlwind of events that transpired the past 2 days. First day was spent in Ikea, Granville, Temple Street (where we had a yummy dinner), Fa Yuen Street and Tung Choi street. That day ended late - by 12:30 am, we were still at McDonald's surveying their loot. Saturday was spent at Central where we rummaged through H&M, Li Yuen Street Markets, Bossini, Giordano, Esprit and back to Granville. It was capped off with a great Salmon and Marinara dinner at Fat Angelo's.

And before I knew it, it was Sunday already and the girls have packed and were ready to go back to Manila. A few hours ago, Grace sent a message that they were back in Manila.

All I could think of was: "Were they even here?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Now this is advertising...

I've seen a couple of ads for film festivals the past year but this particular one wasn't one of them. In fact, today was the first time I saw this ad. (Well, I'm in Manila 3 days in a month and I rarely see commercials anyway.) All I can say is that this is an excellent piece of work. It kept me glued to the screen every second, and when the high point was revealed, my reaction was: "Wow! This is brilliant!" Of course it was followed by a big smile.

It's no wonder this won the Gold Trophy for film in the recent Ad Congress in Subic.

Watching commercials like this makes me miss working in Manila. Our work there is remarkably better - both in TV and Print. The outdoor and ambient advertising in HK is excellent, though. They know how to play with their outdoor media, and they really have a lot of fun experimenting with it.

When I attended their annual creative awards shindig a few weeks ago, my observation was that their winners might not even make ad of the month in the Creative Guild awards. And seeing this TVC from Manila further solidifies that.

Gosh. I want to go back to making ads like these.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


If I'm to believe Adam Sandler's movie, there's a secret door in some Home Depot store that leads to Christopher Walken selling a Universal Remote control that can fast forward your life.

I wonder where that store is.

I want that remote.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Starting them young

The moment Miguel saw this jacket hanging at one of the outlet stores two nights ago, he was already eyeing it and asking about it. We dissuaded him from buying it since we were going to a lot more shopping places in the course of the next 3 days. And shop we did: H&M, Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Granville, and every place in between. But as it turns out, he still had his eye on the jacket.

So today, he persuaded Ate Lissa to check the jacket out. And as it turns out, it was an H&M jacket that's 80% less than the store price. Amazing! Not only did he get a jacket that's one of a kind, he also got it for an unbeatable price. At such a young age, it looks like Miguel has the eye of a bargain hunter.

Now there's a kid that's got talent. Shopping talent, that is.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wrap Star

For the past 7 years or so, I've been wrapping my Christmas gifts thematically. As such, deciding how to wrap the presents take as much time as deciding what to give whom. Last year's theme was "Christmas Riches" and "White Christmas." My friends thought "White Christmas" was more "White Wedding." Harhar.

Among the lot, the two best received themes were: 1. "A Chinese Christmas" when gifts were wrapped in Chinese newspaper and tied with a red ribbon and a red card with an oriental motif, and " 2. Now and Zen" where I adapted an almost Japanese minimalism, silver wrapper and a black ribbon. The latter had to be adapted to some of my Chinese friends, though. Since black is a no-no, I used silver ribbons on some gifts.

This year, I've been going from one paper shop to another in search for the perfect holiday wrapping - and theme. Going to my usual haunts: Papyrus, Marks & Sparks, Ikea and Toys R Us, brought forth a lot of inspiration. And after distilling all the information in my head, and studying the feasibility and possibilities, the theme has been decided.

The theme for this year's Christmas wrapping: "Glam Christmas!"

I started with a deep purple wrapper with a rich pattern. The moment I saw the wrapper at Ikea, it reminded me of glamorous fabrics that are usually turned into dresses by designers who are very much into print. (DVF comes to mind first, I don't know why.)

Then, I've added deep purple and burgundy ribbons. These are the usual fashion colors for the holiday season (Natalie Portman was wearing a burgundy dress on the December issue of InStyle) But in keeping with the color scheme of the wrapper, purple was the dominant hue.

Finally, to cap off the "glam" concept, I added a silver key ring as accent. This particular one has silver snowflakes with a bit of bling. It has that quiet glamour that works with the first two elements. Unfortunately, they only had a limited number of these key rings, so they'll only be used in a limited number of presents. (Limited Edition wrapping, anyone?)

I've finished wrapping my first two gifts, and am very happy with the results. Can't wait to give these away.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Abacus and A baby

Javier must have Chinese blood in him. He was so fascinated with the abacus this morning and spent a good 30 minutes just "computing."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Face the Packs

Another trip to the supermarket, another discovery to get hooked on.

I've read about these 100 Calorie Packs from Nabisco for more than a year now. The print ads for these usually appear on InStyle and Marie Claire. (High fashion and low calorie naturally belong together. Harhar.) But I've never seen them sold in Hong Kong, and I haven't been to the U.S. in more than a year, so I simply dismissed these things.

Until I found them at Park and Shop.

Now I'm hooked! The Chips Ahoy ones are the bomb! They're actually better than the regular chocolate chip cookies. They're uber thin and this makes the flavor of the chocolate chip burst out some more. Plus, they're crispier and the texture is better. The fact that they're only 100 calories a pack is inconsequential to me. Heck, even if they're 1000 calories, as long as it tastes this good, I'll take a pack. Or 6 even.

I've almost finished one box. Time to buy another before they run out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Face the Music

While checking out new CDs at HMV today, I was surprised at the number of new releases this month. There's Carrie Underwood's new CD, as well as the new record of the Mutya Buena-less Sugababes. Annie Lennox has a new CD, and the Eagles has one, too (after 28 years, according to the poster). Then there's the Spice Girl's new CD which is a complilation of their old songs plus the new single "Headlines."

Among the hundreds of CDs that were spread out, two immediately caught my attention. First was Natalie Imbruglia's collection of singles from 1997-2007. I've liked her ever since she broke into the international music scene with "Torn." But my favorite Natalie song is still "Wrong Impression."

This is such as happy song and the beat never fails to lift my spirits. The MTV follows that light and happy vibe, and she's simply gorgeous in this one.

I was also able to listen to Craig Davis' new CD and he's got a smashing first single. Called "Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)", it channels David Bowie's "Let's Dance."

These two songs just played and replayed in my mind that I just had to watch and listen to them again. And I thought of putting it here so that it'll be easy to access it the next time the urge to listen to it arises.

Let's Dance!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

You said it, girl!

As Wena and I were walking down Nathan Road this afternoon, she said:

"Ang lungkot pala dito pag mag-isa ka, ano?"

And as Danilo would often say:

"Truer words have never been spoken."

Oh, I crossed 5 more people off my Christmas list!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Starting Early

I'm a notorious last minute Christmas shopper. This might come as a surprise to a lot of people because they think that I shop most of the time anyway. But Christmas shopping is a totally different discipline - each gift should be given a lot of thought and bespoke to the recepient.

There were times when I'd be rushing off to a mall on the 24th of December, yes, the 24th of December, just to look for a gift for my parents. Then at 11pm on Christmas eve, I'd be in my room still wrapping gifts while everyone is downstairs eating. That's how last minute I can get.

This year, I'm trying to change that. My target is to finish Christmas shopping at least a week before Christmas day (good luck to me) so I can just focus on enjoying the festivities. And driven by that goal, I've spend the last 2 days dropping by shops near the flat to look for gifts. And the past 2 days were successful because I was able to buy around 40 gifts!

Yup, I've shopped for Christmas loot early this year, and it looks like I've covered at least half of my list. Sasa was my favorite place the past few days because they've got loads of cool gifts that are useful as they are pretty. Was also able to get a couple of shirts from Lane Crawford and some other apparel at Maple.

Looks like my gift buying target is attainable after all. I just hope I can do the same when it comes to wrapping.


Oh, it's Noah's birthday today! Happy Birthday Noah!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Life in School

When I was in Manila last Saturday, Prichy invited me to attend the first departmental meeting of the Mass Comm faculty in St. Scholastica's. She reminded me that it was going to be chaired by our blockmate - and as Prichy always reminds everyone, my erstwhile college "love team mate" - Wowie. Since I haven't been to SSC in more than a year, I decided to go. (Didn't tell her, though. It was a surprise.)

So by 11am, I casually walked in the TV studio and surprised everyone as planned. It was so good to see my partners in scholastic crime again. Aside from Prichy and Wowie, the old reliables were there. Rose, our intrepid KBP chairperson; Atty. Chally, one of our legal eagles; John, our big brother/father figure; Carla, former student and now teacher; and Liz, writer/producer extraordinaire. There were new faces in the group, too: Pam, John, Kuya Lito and Ron. Seeing all of them was like coming home to a family I haven't seen in a while.

Apart from advertising, teaching is one of the things I'm passionate about. When I was still "Professor Lester" at SSC, I'd always teach the early morning (read: 7:30am) classes. Despite the ultra-early schedule, I'd still make it a point to arrive in school at around 7am, to the chagrin of students because I'm always on time.

Interacting with both my co-professors and students made me feel so alive. Exchanging ideas with them - be it creative or academic - rejuvenated me and enriched me both intellectually and emotionally. There was so much positive and productive energy, and that was energy I'd bring back to work on Monday. As I'd always tell Prichy, I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. And seeing my former students make their mark in Advertising reminds me why I love teaching.

One of the reasons why I took time to accept the post in HK was the fact that I'd have to give up teaching. And after missing more than two years of being in front of a class exchanging ideas, missing more than two years of meeting the "Saturday Group" in SSC, missing more than two years of reading a mountain of scripts and poring through ideas thrown at me by my students, a bit of my life felt missing as well. Life became a bit less lively, and less enriching.

While we were having lunch and Wowie began talking about the Advertising minor, I felt a surge of new life in my system. Suddenly, I felt rejuvenated, and soon after, I was emphatically talking about making Advertising one of the key selling points in St. Scholastica's. I was beginning to ask about large format printers and how the department should have one. I was beginning to talk about radio commercial production and how it can be a new subject.

Just 2 hours in that faculty meeting brought a surge of familiar energy that I've been longing for. I felt that the life that was missing the past 2 years suddenly came back. And that felt good, really, really good.

As I exited Pergola and made my way through my usual route of Pablo Ocampo then Taft, the decision became even clearer in my head.

It's time to get back to my life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Day Ahead

Caught this MTV on youtube and was instantly reminded of how much I loved this song a couple of years back.

Paula Abdul

Eagles calling
And he's calling your name
Tides are turning bringing winds of change
Why do I feel this way
The promise of a new day

The promise
The promise of a new day
As thru time
The earth moves
Under my feet
One step closer
To make love complete
What has the final say
The promise of a new day

And so time over time
What will change the world
No one knows
So the only promise
Is a day to live, to give
And share with one another

See the wisdom
From mistakes in our past
Hear the younger
Generation ask
Why do I feel this way
The promise of a new day


And so time over time
What will change the world
No one knows
So the only promise
Is a day to live, to give
And share with one another


Yup, the promise of a new day is up ahead. Finally!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Model Family

Last week, Maricar asked me if my sister - Ate Bullet - would be willing to model for San Miguel's in-house publication. Then it later progressed from my sister to my sister and her husband, then to their kids. They wanted two kids (which my sister has) but one of them had to be a toddler (something my sister doesn't have.)

But my other sister - Ate Lissa - has one. My unbeliveably and unexplicably cute nephew Javier is in the toddler age, and this made him the perfect candidate. And Maricar concurred. So what happened was a "hybrid family" of sorts, with Ate Bullet, her husband Raymond, her youngest son Kurt, and Ate Lissa's youngest son - Javier. And this is how the new family looked like on film.

(A lot of people say that Javier looks like me. Now that's cute. Harhar.)

It's funny because now that I'm thinking of it, almost everyone in the family has appeared as a model in some shape or form. Kuya Marv has come out in some print stuff, and I even got his set card once when we were casting for a "Dad." Ate Lissa and Miguel appeared in a McDonald's ad a few years back. Ate Bullet has been featured in Women's Magazine (or was it Mod? I forget.) Though I can't recall at the moment, I'm sure Biboy has also appeared in some. And because of my advertising background, I've appeared in ads, both as a main talent and as a body part. (Hand talent, back talent, etc. Hahaha.)

Now how's that for a model family.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The days leading to and even after my birthday made me realize once again how gifted I am. From the phone call from Japan to the calls from Manila. From the texts from the US, Vietnam and Manila to the emails from across the US and Europe. These little things reinforce that factoid that I'm gifted with so many wonderful people who are so generous in giving their love and friendship.

The gifts came in all shapes and sizes: 5 line messages, 50 minute conversations, and that one thing that I love and never fails to put a smile on my face -- surprises!

First surprise came in the form of a big envelope from Japan. It was dropped off the house just as I was about to leave, and this caused me to act like an excited kid inside the MTR. Slowly, I began opening the gift and discovering what good things were inside. The first thing I opened was a gift of words: a letter that got me smiling from TST to Fortress Hill.

As I arrived at the office, I started bringing out the gifts one by one. There were 4 different items: the first two were a box of Pocky Crush and 3 boxes of Dars chocolates - sweets from Japan that I always indulge in whenever I'm there.

The 3rd gift was this really cool hoodie:

It was a two layer hoodie that had a trucker vibe to it. The red plaid hoodie is inserted into another brown hoodie, and the effect is layering without the bulk - and this is tres perfect for autumn. So perfect that I ended up using it the very next day. (And I used it on my trip to Manila last weekend, and my trip back to HK this morning - yup, that's how much I love it.) Plus, the brand of the jacket is equally cool! It's so revolutionary.

The last gift was a collared tee with a western motif and funky buttons. Also in brown, it looks perfect with medium wash, boot cut jeans. I wanted to take a photo of it, but I was wearing it the very moment these photos were taken. Maybe I'll take another photo of it once it comes back from the washers.

Now that's what I call Presents Perfect.

Just when I thought the gift giving has finished, another package came 2 days after. This one came in a funky corrugated box of a Japanese product (the box was in Japanese characters, so I have no idea what was in there originally.) When I opened the box, this familiar package was the first thing I saw.

It's a box of High Raisin cookies from Hazel. Mark gave me the same box of cookies and I really liked it. Now that I have a bigger box, I'll probably share some of these yummy things. Well, I'll probably share one.

And beside the big box was a small package wrapped in red paper. After opening the pack and unraveling the bubble wrap, this beautiful red thing appeared.

It was a special edition red iPod nano! Totally, way, super, uber cool! Mark and I were in Ginza when they launched this product and we spent half an hour just roaming around the apple store looking at this. Everybody knows that red is one of my favorite colors that's why this iPod is perfect. Just perfect. Now I can listen to "Going out of my head" over and over in private. Hahaha. But I won't use it while i'm crossing the street - Mark's orders. Harhar.

Aside from the gifts, the thought behind these gifts are what I cherish more. Reading and re-reading the letters that came with it made these more special by a hundred fold. And that is what really, really makes me feel so gifted.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Music of the moment

I think Donna Summer nailed it with this one.

There's the answer.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Call of the Wild

Tomorrow is the launched of the anticipated capsule collection of Roberto Cavalli for H&M. People have been anticipating this since the first billboard was put up on their flagship store.

I'm expecting that HK streets will be awash with animal prints and risque blouses the next few months. After all, that's what Cavalli is known for.

Hmmmm... I'm sure that tomorrow is going to be a jungle at all H&M outlets.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy New Year!

J: So Lester, how old are you now?
ME: Look at me and tell me what you think.
J: Hmmmm... 27!
ME: Joe!!!
J: Ok, sorry. 25.

That was one of the many highlights of my birthday today. Hahaha.

Actually, it was full of highlights and firsts since the clock struck 12 midnight. From Mark's birthday phonecall (the first birthday well-wisher, even if he had to be awake at 1am Japan time to do so), Claire's birthday card (the first one to arrive, followed by Mom's), Biboy's text (my first text greeter, albeit a bit early), to the gift I got from the post office this morning, again from Mark. (That deserves a separate entry, though.)

The rest of the day, my phone was ringing non-stop. Calls and texts from family and friends kept my phone a-buzz all day. It's was wonderful reading and re-reading each message and recalling each conversation. It really reminded me of how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Fiesta introduced us to the concept of saying "Happy New Year" instead of "Happy Birthday." Her rationale was that a birthday is another new year in a person's life, and should be called as such. Needless to say, Fiesta's greeting to me was:

"Happy, Happy New Year. Hope this is year is better than last year."

Speaking of new things, today is a new experience because it's my first time to celebrate my birthday out of the country. Last year, I spent half of my birthday in Manila and half in Hong Kong, and this year, it was HK full on. It's a bit strange to not be with my family and loved ones today, but they made their presence felt so strongly that it felt like they were just here.

So what did I do on my birthday? My colleagues treated me to lunch at a dimsum place and that birthday lunch left us wobbling like penguins. Then in the afternoon, we had our usual Verve Cliquot and cake celebration at the office. Between that and dinner with friends, there was a lot of work - which is a bit odd after being used to the concept of "birthday leaves" in Manila.

As I look back on the "old year" I continue to realize how blessed I am. He has blessed me with so much and He inspires me to share that blessing with people around me. If I list down all the ways He has blessed me, and all the people He has blessed me with and how these people are blessings to me, I might end up writing a blog entry until 2013. That's how much I am thankful for.

And as I look forward to the "new year", I just realized that it might be the perfect time to do something new again. After all, it's been a while since there was a new and exciting change in my life. I've got things running in my mind as early as today, and after I filter and visualize these things the next few days, then I'll know what the "next new big thing" in my life should be.

It's a new year! And I'm excited to start it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

(M)acting up again!

And now for today's GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! inducing moment.

I was in the middle of composing an email when my Mac just stopped and a strange whirring sound started. After a few minutes of waiting for it to respond to the motion on the trackpad, it was clear that my computer was down.

Tried restarting it once, twice, and thrice, but the hard disk wouldn't mount.

Yes, it looks like my office Mac zonked out on me again. And as usual, all my files are brought along with it. Now I'm at Pacific Coffee using the free internet terminal since that email needs to be sent out today.

Gosh! How about all the work I've been doing the past weekend? I hope Tommy can have this fixed overnight. (Since it's the 2nd time it happened in - hmmmm - less than 2 months.

Grrrrr indeed.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sweet Treat

This afternoon, Melvin and I decided to drop by Elements to get to know the mall a bit more. He was looking for a watch for Shash, and I was planning to buy a hoodie at H&M. After a quick stop at H&M and finding out that they didn't have a kids section, we looked around for a Victorinox shop, and we found one in a jiffy.

While Melvin was choosing a watch, I decided to meander around the area and found this enticing dark wood shop with chocolates on the display window. It was a shop called Deschamps.

Being a chocoholic, I immediately went inside the shop. Drawn by the elegant brown interiors coupled with gold leaf motifs inside.

Lo and behold, the shop offered more than just chocolates. Just like Sonja's in Serendra, they also had scrumptuous and mean looking cupcakes.

I bought 4 cupcakes, (which costs about P130 each) and chose them for their visual impact. The two cupcakes were SO impactful, I ended up eating them even before we left the mall. (Mark says my emotional quotient isn't so high. Harhar.) The ones that didn't reach the pictorial were peppermint and orange.

The ones that made it were the cookies and cream cupcake.

And my favorite, the Dark Cherry cupcake. (Save the best for last, that's what I always say.)

The cupcakes aren't as sweet as the ones that Sonja's sells. I think it's a cultural thing, Chinese folks aren't into super sweet things, unlike us Filipinos. The peppermint cupcake at Sonja's is diabetes inducing, while the one at Deschamps has the right balance of coolness and sweetness.

I promised myself that I'd eat the Dark Cherry cupcake tomorrow.

Better go to bed now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And I think...

I've been listening to Nora Aunor's rendition of "I'm going out of my head" for the nth time today. It's actually been looped in my head and I've been humming and silently singing the song while i'm walking down the street.

"And I think I'm going out of my head... yes I think I'm going out of my head... over youuuuuu... over youuuuuuu...."

Gosh, my fascination for the song is starting to get scary.

Oh well, it's Halloween today anyway.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Early for a blackout

As scheduled, Britney Spears' new album hit the stores today. Without the usual fanfare that HMV is known for, "Blackout" hit the shelves to the delight of the pop princess' followers. And yes, that includes me. I've never been ashamed of my fascination with Britney, and since her 2nd album, "Oops I did it again," I've always gotten a copy of her CDs. (Originals, and not the bootlegged ones. She's totally worth the money. Harhar.)

And like "Oops I did it again," "Britney," "In the Zone," and "My Prerogative," I bought "Blackout" as early as today.

The critics are right about this album. It rocks! The tracks are all techno-infused dance tracks that make your dance muscles move involuntarily. "Gimme More" - a song that I've been hooked on for a month now - opens the selection, and the tracks just get better and better. This would make a great party staple if you ask me.

And yes, there is a special mention of our dear country in one of her songs. The 2nd track, "Piece of Me" talks about how the media obsesses on her, following her every move and chronicling her every fall from grace. In the first stanza of the song, she croons:

"Don't matter if I step in the scene,
Or sneak away to the Philippines,
they'll still take pictures of my derriere."

Nothing derogatory there, eh.

The songs are really cool, and she's still uber hot! And as it turns out, I'm not the only one waiting for the CD to be released. There was a good number of people - kids and adults alike - holding a CD by the time I got to the counter. Yup, she still has that magic despite her being tabloid fodder and despite that uninspired performance at VMA.

Now if only she could stage a concert here in Hong Kong, then everything would be perfect.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sounds great!

Inspired by my constant visits to tambaycafe.com and Je's playlist at Multiply, I went to Music One yesterday to look for old OPM CDs. Listening to them via streaming was nice, but having a personal copy of cool, old songs is much, much better. So, with "Lupa" playing in my head, I hied off to Greenbelt 3 to start my quest. And it didn't turn out as easy as I thought it would.

First, the CDs aren't arranged well. After being used to HMV's almost anal arrangement, M1's was chaotic. Looking for a place to start was a bit difficult. Second, I didn't know how to start searching. Should I search based on the era? Or the artist? Or the genre? With these questions in mind, I started poring through the bins and after an hour, I found the "OPM Selection" category and found 4 glittering gems!

The first CD has a selection that's exactly the same as the one on Je's site. It's a compilation of Hard to Find hits from the 60s and 70s.

Gosh! This is a camp classic! Imagine, it has Nora Aunor singing "Going out of my Head" and Tirso Cruz III singing "Rock the Boat." Plus there's Dondon Nakar singing "Love will keep us together" and I just realized that he sounds like a little girl. Harhar. Listening to this is like experiencing an acid trip.

Then I got 2 MetroPop CDs. Having a memorable (albeit weird) brush with the MetroPop experience, I thought it would be nice to get a copy. This was the era when the contest came up with brilliant, brilliant songs. The lyrics, the arrangement - perfect! Among the famous songs that came out of MetroPop are APO's "Ewan", Rico J. Puno's "Lupa", "Umagang Kay Ganda" by Ray-Ann Fuentes and Tillie Moreno, and the iconic "Isang Mundo, Isang Awit" by Leah Navarro and "Ako ang Nagwagi, Ako ang Nasawi" by Dulce.

Listening to these songs make me wonder why they don't make music like this anymore.

Finally, I got a CD entitled "Best of 80s OPM" which has the early hits of Martin Nievera, Ric Segreto, Jam Morales and Regine Velazquez. But the biggest reason why I got the CD was this:

Chona Cruz! Blast from the past!

Hearing her sing: "I'm feeling zzekzee tooonight... (zzekzee), I'm feeling gooood, I'm feeling very quite alright" made all the hardwork worth it.

Really, really, really worth it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dayuhan sa sariling bayan

My family and friends all know that I've got a soft spot for weird looking jeans. Whether it's an odd detail, or a far-out wash, or rips that go from top to bottom - these little things attract me to a pair and the stranger they look, the more likely i'll end up buying them. This has led a stylist-friend of mine to say that my taste in jeans isn't very Pinoy.

Today, I was wearing one of those strange jeans - a pair that my friends christened "The Kangaroo Jean" because it has a pouch looking thing in front and at the back. It's a pair that always gets a double take whenever I wear it. Sometimes, it even gets some strange remark or side comment - it'll either be about what I'm wearing, or it can be about me.

Like what happened today.

While walking along Greenbelt, I heard a pair of girls behind me talking. Their conversation went like this:

GIRL 1: Ang daming dayuhan sa atin ngayon, no?
GIRL 2: Oo nga, nakakatuwa nga silang panoorin. Iba kasi hitsura nila, tsaka yung damit nila.
GIRL 1: Gaya niyang nasa harap mo, astig ang pantalon, no?
GIRL 2: Alam mo naman ang mga Koreano, kakaiba manamit...

Hmmmm... now I'm a Korean. That's new. Harhar. Well at least I know that my stylist friend is right about my taste in clothes being dayuhan.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Back and Forth and Forth and Back

If my apartment hasn't been cleaned thoroughly the past month, it's because I haven't been there in a bit. The month of October has now broken the "most trips to Manila I've had in a month" record. It's my 4th trip this month, and it's bizaare how I find myself at the airport so often.

So far, this has been my schedule the past 3 weeks:

Flew in to Manila on a Friday and flew back to HK on Tuesday.
Flew back to Manila on Thursday and flew back to HK on Monday.
Flew back to Manila on Wednesday and flying back to HK on Sunday.

Was planning to fly back again this weekend, and it's a trip I've been planning for quite sometime now. That would mean another round of back and forth and forth and backs, though.

Maybe i'll pay attention to the apartment first this weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And the best publication title goes to...

When I first saw this, I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading it correctly. And yes, I did. This is a real title of a real publication.

I found this magazine when Mark and I had dinner at Friday's in Shibuya about a month back. Among the plethora of free publications on the waiting area, this easily stood out among the clutter. After all, the title alone is enough to make you stop, squish your eyes to see if you're reading it correctly, then pick it up if only for the amusement factor.

Creatively, the title is spot on, after all, it is a publication for foreign women living in Japan. The articles talk about being a woman living in Japan as well. Ergo, the title is a play of words. "Being abroad" pertains to living in a foreign country, then if you separate the A from broad, the title now pertains to being a woman. Clever, eh.

Then again, being called "a broad" isn't the most flattering thing. If I remember all the American movies I've seen, being called a "broad" is almost derogatory. It probably goes with the other B words like bimbo and beee-yotch. This makes me wonder if the subscribers and readers are cool with being referred to using that term. Hmmm... I wonder.

When I showed it to my colleagues, they were telling me that it feels like it came straight out one of those "Inggrish" sites. Of course, my reaction was: "This doesn't deserve to be there. This is way, way, WAY above that." This deserves to be right beside my favorite brands and titles such as: "Victor Woodworks", "Anita Bakery", "Where Angels Fear to Thread and Needle Shop", and of course, "Mercy Buko Pie."

Now those are titles really worth remembering.

LU-ANN!!! Why can't we come up with publication titles like this. Harhar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That's Tough

For the 3rd straight day, I'm wearing my very loose, Tough acid-washed jeans. (It's SO loose, it was falling off when I wore it last Friday. Good thing I was able to find a ribbon in Elsie's cabinet and turned that into a makeshift belt.) I really, really love these jeans. The cut is straight and roomy, and the hem falls perfectly on the base of my shoes. The pockets are odd shaped yet spacious. The wash is very light but keeps the blue-ness of the denim. Plus, there are a lot of interesting cuts on the back. These jeans are just SOOO Tough.

It's one of the 4 pairs I bought last week when I had dinner at Tanya's place in Tung Chung. While waiting for her to pick me up, I meandered into the bauhaus store and pored through the neatly arranged racks. Among the lot, these were the ones that really popped out.

The thing I like about Tough jeans is that it's peppered with details that make it interesting. This is over and above the kind of denim they use which is already eye catching on its own. Aside from cutting their jeans differently, which makes them fall better on the body, they also hide some details that add so much texture and makes it look... uhm... Tough. Hahaha.

Like chains that are attached to denim.

Or Chinese silk juxtaposed with big, brass zippers.

Or twill integrated into the jean design. Along with a patch of suede on the inner thigh. This particular jean is another favorite of mine because the back has all these criss-crossed stitches that pull everything together. Making it one of those pairs that I have that look as nice from the back as it is from the front.

Eversince I discovered Tough Jeans in the 90s, I've fallen in love with the brand. Recently, I found out that they opened two stores in Manila - which is excellent news. But because it's already imported when it gets there, the price is a bit more expensive. (Social Sin, anyone?)

But what's a few more bucks if you're going to get Tough after.