Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Common Mistakes

For a country that's known for our English proficiency, I'm surprised how we tend to repeat certain grammatical and spelling lapses. Sometimes, I think it might just be a typographical error or an editorial lapse, but when I see it more than 10 times, that's another story.

Take this news article in one of our websites, for example.

I'm not sure if he wanted to say "wrecked" or "wreaked havoc", but as it is, it looks like the writer mixed up the words can came up with a hybrid. Even some of my students make this mistake, and I point it out immediately. Looks like no one pointed it out to this writer.

Another common mistake is the use of "Sneak Peek." Gosh! Yesterday, there was a Plains & Prints sign that invited people to check out the "Sneak Peak of their Fall 2009 collection." I wanted to get a pentel pen and correct it immediately. There's another billboard along EDSA that made the same mistake. IN A BILLBOARD FOR EVERYONE TO SEE! Someone call the copywriter, quick!

People should start to take a sneak peek at our lesson plans to prevent these things from wreaking havoc.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Post Ondoy blues and counting your blessings

Our faculty group in St. Scholastica's started contacting each other the minute the flood hit. Some of us were in school, others were at home, still some others were at home. But thanks to mobile technology and mass communication, we were able to keep in touch as if we were beside each other.

Now, 2 days after the flood, we once again shared each other's stories via email. Most of the stories were those of flooded houses, floating furniture and frantic calls. I had my own "surreal and first-of-its-kind" experience during this flood. Rose and I promised to write about it as soon as we had the opportunity, and this is the story I shared with the faculty.


Saturday started out like any ordinary day. It was raining since the night before, but when I got to Taft around 7am, the roads were normal. I asked Evelyn if there was any word of classes being suspended, and she said no and that things were pretty normal outside. My first class ended and at around 10:30am, I went to Mini-Stop to buy a drink, again, normal and clear outside.

At 11:30am, my class was interrupted by the news that classes are suspended by 12 noon. By the time my classes ended, the walkway to the faculty room was already filled with water. My things were still up on the 2nd floor, and thankfully the guy in charge of locking all the doors was able to get my bag and umbrella.

Upon arrival at Pergola, the place was already swarming with people who couldn't go out because Leon Guinto was already flooded. Pedicabs were offering to shuttle people to Taft for P50/person. Students were wading across the street to Mini Stop hoping the water would subside soon. Rose and I were waiting along with students, parents, staff and co-faculty, still hoping to go home.

By 1 pm, the water found its way from Leon Guinto into Pergola. People had to move farther and farther away as the water went higher and higher. The parking lot was already flooded and covered half of the tires. Water reached the information office and Amrhein gallery had puddles inside. Because of the rising water levels, creatures of every phylum and class were crawling out. Shrieks from students could be heard as centipedes started swimming about. A cockroach even found its way into my pants! It was already on my knee by the time I realized it was there. Thank goodness I'm not squeamish.

At around 1:30pm, the nuns started giving out crackers and candies, and a few minutes later, started serving lunch. This was when it hit us that we might be there longer than we would've wanted to. But like everyone in Pergola, we were still hoping that the water would subside and we'd get to go home.

Thankfully, Ellen was there and she gave us updates as they came. She was tirelessly coordinating with Sr. Tammy and bracing for what looked like a massive evacuation.

By 4 pm, our open field officially became an Olympic sized swimming pool. The canteen became an island and could only be reached through makeshift bridges(made of benches), and everyone had to be evacuated to the 2nd floor of the high building. At that point, Rose and I accepted the fact that we'd be spending the night in school.

We were all assigned rooms: two for female students, one for the male students, another one for the faculty and another for the staff. Some of the male faculty - including myself - were staying with the boys. They were gregarious, very noisy, and constantly hungry.

Night fell and it was still raining, the water was still rising, and everyone was talking about how a flood of this magnitude has never happened in SSC. While the "adults" were busy contacting family and trying to find a way to watch the news, the "kids" were happily walking around the corridors, meeting up with their friends and treating the entire thing as if it were a "retreat-meets- soiree."

According the the guards, there were around 800 people in SSC that time. Aside from the college unit, there were students and teachers from the HS unit, some night school students, and some kids who were there for the entrance exam. Even after "lights out", the school was still buzzing with activity.

I woke up at 4am and saw that the rain finally stopped, and the water inside SSC already subsided. Leon Guinto was still knee-deep in water, though.

The sun rose at around 6am and everyone saw the school grounds were finally dry. When I opened the window to look at this sight, I thought to myself: "So, this must've been how Noah felt when he saw dry land." It was a feeling of relief, happiness - and of course - thankfulness that the entire episode was over.

While hearing about the devastation that Ondoy created in Marikina and Pasig, it made me realize how we were blessed by being in the situation we found ourselves in. We had a secure shelter, we were dry, and we were being fed regularly. We were given a dry (albeit hard) and airconditioned space to sleep in, and supplies to get us through the night.

Another "blessing" that night was Ellen herself. Apparently, she wasn't scheduled to go to SSC that Saturday, but decided to drop by. Rose and I were saying that she was "sent" to SSC because there was a mission waiting for her there. She really made the "evacuation" process very efficient and orderly - along with all the nuns and staff who tirelessly cooked and arranged everything for us.

In the morning, Ellen asked me if I know the story of Sts. Scholastica and Benedict, and my reply was I didn't. Apparently, St. Benedict was scheduled to leave and St. Scholastica was convincing him to stay, but to no avail. So St. Scholastica prayed and asked for a way for St. Benedict to say. The rains came and kept St. Benedict from leaving and he was able to spend more time with his sister.

This was probably St. Scholastica' s way of taking care of us. If I stubbornly pushed through with my plan to try and go home - I would've probably spent the night in the middle of the street: trapped, drenched and hungry. But because it rained hard, and I stayed, I was in a better situation.

As everything starts to "sink in" (pun intended), I'm thankful to hear that all of us are safe. We each have our own stories to tell, and the fact that we're here telling our stories is already a huge blessing from above.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Haunt-ing

Some visits to "The Haunt" are more productive than others. And this week's visit proved to be very, very productive. Not just quantity-wise, but quality-wise as well.

A key find was this felted-wool blazer that - even on the hanger - looked unbelievably chic.

The actual color is more gray flannel than the greenish tint that registered on camera. It's got spectacular texture, a soft silk lining in contrasting colors, and it has beautiful brass buttons and an epaulet. It's the military look gone hyper-stylish. Paired with a white tank and jeans, this will look stellar.

And on the subject of jeans, I got a new - and big - stash of Sass and Bide!

The George and Dragon style was the same pair I bought a few months ago. But since the Ates swear by the fabulous fit, another pair would be in order. The Frayed Misfit style had a stovepipe leg which will make any pair of legs look kilometric. And who doesn't want mile-high legs.

Their boot cut jeans look great as well. Normally, I would hate boot cut jeans (and that deserves its own entry), but this one is done extremely well.

There was another pair - high waisted with some detailed tucks around the pocket line - which also caught my eye. This is the type of jeans you wear with a basic white shirt, a statement necklace, and a big watch.

Visits like these make me glad that "The Haunt" calls me whenever their new stuff come in. Getting first dibs on hauntingly nice stuff like these is wonderful.

Let's Dance!

We started the morning on a high note by looking at this scene from that upcoming flick "500 days of summer." It's a rom-com that stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt (who strangely looks like he hasn't aged since "10 things I hate about you.) In this scene, Joseph channels his inner Bollywood and engages in an impromptu dance.

I'm loving this scene. The music, the choreography, the innocence - it all works together perfectly.

And after this scene, we began talking about what our favorite dance scenes from movies are. I had to think about it for a few minutes, and these immediately made it to my list:

1. Cameron Diaz in "Charlie's Angels."

I'm torn between this scene and the "Baby's got back" portion, but since I'm a swing fan, this dance number prevailed.

2. Reese Witherspoon in "Legally Blonde."

"The Bend and Snap." Enough said.

3. Anne Hathaway in "Ella Enchanted."

When I was still living in HKG, I'd watch this movie over and over again, and I could never get over how cool this scene was. Anne should get a musical.

4. Amy Adams in "Enchanted."

I have yet to meet a person who didn't like this movie. And this big dance number.

Of course, this list doesn't include all those campy dance numbers that pop out in Philippine movies. (Donna Cruz, anyone?) That's a topic that definitely deserves a separate post.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The next best thing to shopping...

Since H&M hasn't opened in Manila yet, (where, oh, where is it? I thought they'd open November this year?) and they don't have on-line shopping, the H&M site in HKG is offering HM-philes an interesting alternative.

The H&M fashion studio.

It lets you choose clothes, mix and match the looks, and compute how much it costs. That way, you'll know how much to bring when you actually go to the store and shop.

When I was living in HKG, this would by my uniform during the winter months.

Meanwhile, the creative girls would probably dress up in something like this:

(Wait a minute, I think I did see Nikki wearing something like this...)

And here's a look that's as relevant in MNL as it is in HKG. Cool, classic, and thanks to the hoisery, unusually chic.

Aaargh! Now I'm beginning to miss H&M.

Must... schedule... a... visit....
Must... schedule... a... visit....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pant... Pant...

Last night, I dreamt of pants. But not just any pair of pants, but really bad-a** biker jeans. Pretty much like this:

But the wash and texture was more like this.

I hope I get over this dream soon. Or else I'd probably spend the next few weeks trying to find the pants that appeared in my dream.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monique's a winner!

Toni Collette won an Emmy! And she received her award wearing a Monique Lhuillier! How fitting for these two amazing women to share the stage together.

The gown she chose had Monique written all over it. The workmanship and details, the fresh color - it was subtlety and flash rolled into one. If it were made with white fabric, it could be a tres chic wedding gown.

But then again, this is a Monique, so it's not far fetched that a wedding gown version of this will hit the runways soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh there you are...

As I was poring through one of my favorite on-line shop, I saw that they still have one of my fabulous finds in HKG.

The Proenza Schouler dress is still in their roster of items, and I was shocked to see the price. Even at 70% off, the price was still noticeably higher that what I paid for it. Maybe it's because they were charging pounds and my frame of refrence was HKG dollars.

The more I looked at it on the site, the more gratified I feel. That quick trip to HKG was definitely worth this dress.

Now I'm wondering when I should go back and look for more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

He gave us the time of our lives

Hollywood has another reason to mourn.

Patrick Swayze lost his battle with cancer and passed away yesterday. After Farrah and Michael, another 80s icon is gone, and it really feels like an era is ending.

But like Farrah and Michael who left us with something tangible to remember them by, Patrick Swayze will always be in our minds as Sam in "Ghost", Vida Boheme in "To Wong Foo, with Love, Julie Newmar", and of course, his iconic dance number with Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing."

With something like this to remind us of him, then Patrick will be remembered for a long, long time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Feeling Privileged

I've been sleeping late the past few Sundays. It's because of my new guilty pleasure.

Watching re-runs of "Privileged" on ETC.

The first time I read about this show was when they featured it on InStyle. There were good reviews about it, but I didn't get the urge to watch out for it. But a few Sundays ago, I caught an episode before going to bed, and got hooked. Needless to say, I didn't get to sleep early that night. Or the succeeding Sundays thereafter.

The show feels like "Mean Girls" meets "The Nanny" meets "Facts of Life" meets "Take the Lead." Like all CW shows, the writing of this show is crisp, witty and funny. Casting is great, and the girl who plays Rose is adorable. It's got the same vibe as Gossip Girl, without the "sleeping around" factor.

As much as I wish it would also be as successful as Gossip Girl, it wasn't. It only lasted 1 season, and it's not coming back on air anytime soon. And this simply means one thing: I have to find a boxed set of it soon. I wouldn't mind watching it over and over and over again after it goes off air.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New news that's old news

The past few days, I've been following - with much interest - the story of Caster Semenya. She's a South African runner who they think is a he. They say it's her muscular built and overall masculine demeanor. Which is prominent in this photo.

To counter this claim, they even did a "make over" session with Caster dolled up to look like a girl. After make up and styling, she now looks like Serena Williams. Harhar.

The international press is picking up this story as if it were a breakthrough news item. But the thing is, this happened in the Philippines a few years back.

Who can forget Nancy Navalta.

They also made her over, tried to make her look more of a girl and less of a thug. But I don't think the result was as good as Caster's. Now, Nancy is out of the spotlight, and if rumors are true, she's coaching a track and field team in some provincial school.

It's funny how the country usually pioneers in oddities like this.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Surplus Surprise

My usual route home takes me through SM Makati, and that gives me the opportunity to peruse all the wonderful and inexpensive treats the store offers. Today, as I passed through the Chowking area, I noticed that Surplus Shop set up a satellite store there. Apparently, the 2nd floor store is being renovated, which explains why they were "squatting" there.

It's been a while since Surplus Shop last surprised me. During my last few visits, their selection has become a bit drab and predictable. This is SO unlike their heyday when fabulous finds were overflowing. Going inside a Surplus Shop store nowadays is a rare event.

As I walked through the merchandise (which was in full view so I couldn't ignore them) there were a couple of items that were out of the ordinary. There were some skirts, vests and t-shirts that were unusually good. Upon closer scrutiny, the skirt was Old Navy (which I assume will be part of their Spring/Summer 2010 collection), twill and denim vests from Uniqlo (Yes! Uniqlo!), and t-shirts from H&M. (Yes! H&M!)

As exemplified by the number of exclamation points, this quick visit was a pleasant surprise. Looks like Surplus Shop is getting its fashion mojo back. And as much as I wanted to peruse some more, I was trying to avoid the MRT rush and melee, so I had to say goodbye to the goodies.

Well, not really goodbye, but "see you tomorrow."

Sunday, September 06, 2009


This is freakin' awesome!

(video from youtube: uploaded by chascoley)

Alanis Morissette covered by Britney Spears in the 2nd leg of her concert. Coolness!

I wish I can watch her concert in Australia! I wish... I wish... I wish...

Friday, September 04, 2009


It was a scene straight out of a bad, campy Pinoy film. But the bad and campy thing about it was, it happened in real life. Just a few feet away from me.

On my way to Citibank, I usually pass through The Enterprise Center. As I was crossing Dela Rosa, there were two women walking beside me, and by the looks of it, one was a boss and one was her assistant. Or by the way she's treated, more of an "alalay."

The boss - smoking a cigarette like contravidas usually do - was barking orders at her assistant. She rambled about calling this person, arranging another meeting with another person, etc. Her alalay dutifully nodded her head as she scampered to cross the street.

When we got to The Enterprise, there was a big sign that said smoking was prohibited in the premises. This was when things got really bizarre!

The boss - in full contravida fashion - hands her half-smoked cigarette to the assistant and barked:

"O, ayan. Ubusin mo yan. Papasok na ako."

Gosh! She made Miranda Priestly look like a saint. I just hope the assistant is being paid well for the pain she has to go through.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tissue Issue

Whenever I come home and empty my pockets, I noticed that there's usually a few pieces of tissue or napkin from the restaurant where I ate. And since dining out is part of my everyday routine, there's a pile of tissue on top of my table, from fastfood joints like Tokyo Tokyo to Pizza Hut Bistro, kiosks like Dunkin Donuts and Waffle Time, and even convenience stores like 7-11 and Mini-stop.

It's a habit I developed a while back. Before I leave the place where I ate, I'd get the tissue that's left on the tray so it won't go to waste. After all, those usually come in handy after a sardine-packed MRT ride or a walk from Paseo to the Ayala MRT station. Strangely, though, I never get to use the tissue collected, and that explains the ever growing pile at home.

Whenever I look at the pile, my first reaction would be: "Mental note: stop collecting tissue." But that's difficult to do whenever you see pieces of tissue and think of the trees that had to be cut down to make them. It really drives home the point: never, ever waste anything. So many people waste paper so unabashedly, it's simply disturbing.

Then again, that's another issue.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It's time!

Today is September 1. And in the Philippines, it can only mean one thing!

It's the official start of the Christmas season. Woohoo! The most wonderful time of the year starts now.