Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let the countdown begin...

In a few hours, we bid goodbye to 2011 and say hello to 2012.

And one favorite "New Year" song that the world sings is "Auld Lang Syne." So, let me usher in the new year by playing one of my favorite versions of the song - Mairi Campbell's version. It's better known as the "Sex and the City" version.

Here's to the new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sa Simbahan din ang tuloy...

As their invitation aptly said, December 30 found us in Cebu to attend the wedding that everyone has been waiting for. After more than 2 decades of togetherness, Lu-Ann and Mads are now officially husband and wife.

It was a day anticipated by all of their friends from different circles. That's why you could feel the excitement and joy all around the Capitol Parish in Cebu. Everyone was waiting for Lu-Ann to finally walk down the aisle, and into Mads' arms. And they weren't disappointed. Lu-Ann was simply resplendent in her terno. (More on that next time.)

While it's customary that the bride is blooming on her wedding day, in this case, the groom was equally blooming. All the San Miguel folks agree that Mads was the picture of a "glowing groom." And it can only come from the happiness of finally being married to the woman he loves.

I'm glad to be a part of the organization of this wedding. It was truly a creative collaboration between so many talented people. From the artists who drew the invitation and souvenir cards, to the poets who lent their prose to the couple on their special day. We also made sure that the little details of the wedding reflected the couple's passion - bird watching. We named each table after an endemic Filipino bird, and there were name cards which carried the same theme. Their souvenir was a wind chime with birds, and it fit in perfectly with the theme.

The wedding program was so heartfelt - family members and friends from their different circles gave heartwarming and insightful speeches about Lu-Ann and Mads. And eventhough most of the people in the room didn't know each other, by the end of the reception, we were all like one big, happy family.

One big, happy family who all had one thing in mind:

"Sa hinaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan pa din ang tuloy."

(Thanks to Elsie for the photos. I was too busy to take photos of my own.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Same friends, different city.

As Kin mentioned, it's the first time that the current and ex-CAO group got together in another city.

In this instance, it was for the wedding of Lu-Ann and Mads in Cebu. We stuffed ourselves silly at Don Henrico's the night before the wedding. We had to be up by 5:30am, so we needed the energy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BeaTurds Forever!

Their love story was one that we witnessed right from the very beginning.

It was way back in 2006, and I first met Bea when I went to Japan to visit Mark. It was during the welcome party of the Senpais to the Kohais when I met her, along with the other 2 "Charlie's Angels" of IUJ - Hazel and Christine. At that time, Bea was a single girl who was just starting to adjust to her new life in Japan.

The next time I came back to visit, Bea was seeing her dorm mate at SD3. I got to meet him in one of the parties, and I found out his name was Turda, and he was from Kyrgyzstan. During my next visit, they were already a couple, and they were inseparable.

By 2008, Mark and most of my Pinoy friends left Japan to go back to Manila, but Bea and Turda stayed in Japan. I remember how we were all staying at Shinjuku Washington Hotel during those few days leading back to our departure from Japan.

And yesterday, 3 years after we last saw Bea and Turda, we saw them again. Now, they're in Antipolo, decked out in their bridal best, tying the knot and sealing their love story with the vow to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in richer and in poorer, from that day until forever.

Congratulations, BeaTurds! You're such a beautiful couple and we're looking forward to the little Beas and Turdas soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just like college kids

It was already past midnight and everyone had their fair share of Tanduay Ice, Bacardi Limon, "mamahaling wine", and even the non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice. Needless to say, almost everyone - especially Tintin - was buzzed and tipsy. There were a lot of senseless conversation and college-level "asaran" around the table.

And of course, there was the laughter. The laughter that was brought about by the most mundane of things. From Richard Reynoso to Boob Massages. From our Comm 199 teacher's "toothy incident", to Grace's "Paul fiascos." It was laughter that was so full, rich and hard, it brought a lot of people to tears. Myself included.

We used to do this in college. At Tia Maria's after class. At Lezyl's house. During overnight get togethers. And during random moments when we just felt like it.

And now, more than a decade after college, we're at it again.

(This is the "buzzed" group pic taken by Vince. Audrey and Becca were already sound asleep by this time. And it looks like Alfie and Lezyl had their best "tipsy faces" on. There were a lot more pre-Tanduay Ice pics, but I have to charge my camera's batteries. And Vince has to upload his share of photos, too.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

For the (Kila)win!

In a few days, I'll be flying to Cebu to organize and attend Lu-Ann's wedding. And as early as now, I'm thinking of the Kilawing Talong at Neo-Neo restaurant near SM City Cebu.

Now I know what's first on the agenda when I get there on Wednesday. It'll be food!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

And a Merry Christmas to all!

This is one of our favorite Christmas songs to sing way back in high school when I was still with the choir. I like the melody, and the message that goes with it:

"Sing a song of gladness and cheer, for the time of Christmas is here.
Look around you and see, what a world of wonder this world can be."

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

There's always a last minute scamper

No matter how early I start my Christmas shopping duties (this year, I started last September), I always find myself scampering from mall to mall for gifts on Christmas eve. Just like last year.

Today, I ended up going to 4 malls just to complete my Christmas shopping duties. And just like in years past, I spent the last hours of Christmas eve wrapping gifts and sneaking them under the Christmas tree.

By 10pm, I've completed my list, my wrapping duties, and the gifts are under the tree with 2 hours to spare. This is getting to be a habit! Harhar.

Here's to the Christmas rush?

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Accidental Wedding Planner part 2

When I arrived at Our Lady of Lourdes Church at around 9am, I was expecting that Ana's wedding would be the first wedding of the day. The reason I chose to arrive early was to set-up the flowers in advance so that everything would be ready by the time the guests arrive.

But I was wrong. It turned out that there's a 9:30am wedding.

What intrigued me was the fact that there was no set up yet. There were no flowers on the aisle. No coordinator mulling about. Not even guests nor entourage looking folk. So, I began to wonder, is there really a 9:30 am wedding?

By 9:10, people started coming in. And by the looks of it, the first wedding for the day was a haphazard, disorganized affair. The following observations cemented my hunch:

1. The bride had to commute to church. I actually saw her alight from a jeepney in her wedding gown. And she was seated in front of the jeep.
2. The couple both wore rented clothes. The bride's gown and the groom's suit were both 2 sizes bigger.
3. The entourage didn't have matching clothes. The colors, cuts and styles were different from each other.
4. No one knew what they were doing.

How did I deduce number 4? Simple. The representative from the church arrived and asked basic questions that no one could answer. Questions like: Sino ang ninong at ninang? Nasaan ang mga abay? Meron ba kayong coordinator?

At around 9:20, people were still scurrying about like headless chicken. At that point, the wedding coordinator in me kicked in. I approached the church representative and introduced myself as the coordinator of the next wedding and asked if they needed help. When she said "yes," I asked the groom-to-be if it was ok to help them out. He also said "yes."

In a matter of minutes, I was corralling everyone in the church. "Yung mga ninong at ninang, dito po sa kanan. Entourage, dito po sa kaliwa. Best man, dito ka sa harap." It took me about 5 minutes to get everyone in line. And in the process of lining them up, I learned that they had no invitation, there were no secondary sponsors, and basically, they all just showed up, not knowing what to do. And yes, I had to do it for them.

By some miracle, I was able to get them marching at 9:30am, just in time for their wedding. And there was some semblance of organization by the time I got them moving. The church representative thanked me after they all reached the altar, and she said with a laugh: "Sana hindi sila ganyan kagulo pag mag-asawa na sila."

Yes, I hope so, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Accidental Wedding Planner part 1

It all started one afternoon at Shangri-La Mall. I was off to meet up with Lu-Ann when I ran into Mina, a former student of mine.

After the usual niceties, Mina started to talk about Josche - another former student - and how she's getting married this December. The wedding planner in me kicked in, and I told Mina to tell Josche that if she needed any help in sourcing materials or suppliers, let me know.

Then, from behind Mina, a pretty, petite girl popped up. She introduced herself and said:

"Hi, I'm Ana. Ako, ikakasal din ako sa December. Puwede din bang magpatulong sa cake?"

Of course, I said yes. I directed her to the Dexter's website and told her to choose a design that she liked. And that's where it started.

From talking about cake designs, our conversations expanded to color schemes, and eventually, we started to conceptualize a central theme for her wedding. Her parameters were simple:

1. It was a day wedding in Tagaytay
2. She wanted a red and green color scheme

At first, I thought that red + green + December = Christmas themed wedding. But that would be too obvious. So, we decided to keep the color scheme, but give it a twist. A country twist, in particular. And we decided on using country iconographies to match the colors. And we ended up with this:

Green = Granny Smith Apples
Red = Roses

And that was the springboard for the entire theme. And we first brought the theme to life on the invite.

Yesterday, the big day finally came and I was in Tagaytay bright and early to deliver the cake and supervise the florist at the church. Their wedding ceremony was held at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish - a parish that is special to me because I was a Lourdesian and we'd have our retreats in this place way back in high school. But according to the sacristan, the retreat house is now a reception hall, and Lourdes has a new retreat house in Batangas.

The church is currently being spruced up for Christmas, and it's a good thing that most of the painting work was already done. They need to replace some of the stained glass windows, though.

Our Lady of Lourdes is a big church, so the arrangements should also be big in scale. We chose Greek-inspired pedestals and urns, then filled them with assorted white flowers. To add height to the entire arrangement, we added calla lilies and sword leaves. This is one of my favorite arrangements - especially for big churches.

While we were setting up, I could already hear some of the guests gasping at the size of the arrangments. One guest even remarked: "Ang engrande naman ng mga bulaklak sa kasal na ito."

We kept the color scheme in white since Our Lady of Lourdes has a lot of dark wood. Plus, the simple and elegant color scheme matched Ana's simple and elegant wedding gown.

While the wedding ceremony was underway, I quickly ducked out of the church and went to Discovery Country Suites to finish assembling the cake and arranging the flowers. Again, we kept the cake white, and placed a lot of colorful floral arrangements all throughout the cake. This play of white and color made for a very interesting cake.

Since red and green is quite stark, we decided to add some complementary colors to the arrangements. For the couple's table, we added touches of pink and yellow. Stargazers always add a bold statement to a floral arrangement.

For the guest tables, we added pink carnations to the predominantly red rose and green mum arrangements. It made the arrangement elegant, but still light and breezy.

And as a final touch, we gave out Granny Smith Apples as souvenirs. This ties in the Granny Smith Apple and Red Rose theme.

Overall, I was very happy with the results of the wedding. It was one of those cozy, personal and chic celebrations. And what made me even happier was the message that I received from the bride this morning:

"Hi Lester, Good Morning. Thank you soooo much for everything. =) What would I do without you? =) I'm so glad that I met you. You're a great help to us. Once again, on behalf of my husband, Thank you so much. =)"

(This message is verbatim. All my friends know that I DO NOT do smiley faces. Hahaha.)

The funny thing was, the wasn't the only accidental wedding planning I did yesterday. But the other one deserves its own post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Super Mom

Raising kids is tough enough. So, if you've been raising 4 gregarious boys single-handedly, that's quite a feat. And if you're continuing to raise 4 boys who are God-fearing, Filipino values laden, well-mannered and academically excellent, it just goes to show how super a mother you are.

Happy Birthday, Ate Lissa. (aka Super Mom.)

Your kids are lucky to have you as a Mom and we're all blessed to have you as our Sister.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


After the 80s invasion in the Philippines, a group from the 90s is about to invade the Philippine concert scene by March next year.

Yes, who can forget Hanson. They were the 90s equivalent of Justin Bieber and the JoBros, and I remember all the girls shrieking whenever they heard the song of this high pitched trio.

Question is, now that they're 13 to 15 years older, can they still "Mmmm... bop?" And in their signature high pitched voice?

Honestly, I want to watch this concert. If only to hear them sing this song all over again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Of on-line journalism

Last Friday, one of the last groups to defend was the "On-line Journalism" group. They studied the intricacies and idiosyncracies of news on the web, and what are the problems unique to it.

One of their findings was that because of the speed of on-line journalism, it's inevitable that errors will pepper the news item. Most often, these are grammatical or spelling in nature, and the writers and editors tend to overlook them because of their need for speed.

While browsing through the net, I saw that finding in action. This was an Australian News website's report on the death of Kim Jong Il.

While reading the article, I wondered what "shoed" meant. Were the people hit with a shoe to get them to cry?

I think on-line news sites should hire more proofreaders. This kind of error happens more often than it should.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sleeping siblings

On my way to the restroom, I passed by the kids' room and saw my 2 nephews sleeping. And it was such an adorable sight, I had to take a snap.

It's cute how they're so close. Even in their sleep.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hit Parade

It's that time of the year again. UP is pulling out their creative stops and celebrating Christmas with the annual UP Lantern parade!

Usually, I go there with my classmates or co-professors, but this year, I decided to go with my students.

As usual, each college showcased their best. And here's a sampler of what we saw that evening:

College of Engineering's "Up" themed lantern:

A sweet treat from College of Architecture:

And the most awaited part, College of Fine Arts' super creative entry. This horse parade was just a sampler of what was to come.

It was my students' first time to watch the lantern parade, and they were amazed at how fun and creative the event was. And I'm hoping that this inspires them to be more fun and creative in writing their articles from hereon in.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sneaky ole St. Nicholas

This year, St. Nicholas is definitely more than just jolly. He's also going around on stealth mode.

I just realized it's 10 days before Christmas, and I've got still so many things to do! Good thing I was already able to wrap the gifts from the school secretaries and my co-professors. So, at least that's one thing out of the way.

Though I'm too old to write a letter to Santa, I think I should. And it would go:

Dear Santa,

Please slow down.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Collective sigh of relief

And with the last defense this Wednesday afternoon, my stint as a thesis adviser has wrapped up. All 5 groups passed, with several degrees of flying colors.

Left and right, I could hear students saying: "Sa wakas, makakatulog na din ako!" And to that my reply was: "Me, too!" Yes, advisers stay up late worrying about their thesis, too.

Oh wait, I still have 3 defenses left to panel.

I have to hold on to that sigh first.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Candy Land

One of the best parts of Christmas is wrapping Christmas gifts. And as a lot of people know, I put as much thought in wrapping as I do with the gift inside.

I was reviewing my Christmas themes for the past 6 years and noticed that they were all very adult in aesthetic. They were mostly fabric patterns, dark or muted colors, and very grown up in sophistication.

But as the adage goes, Christmas is for children. So this year, I decided to tap my inner child (which wasn't really that hard to do because I'm notorious for my immaturity), and thought of a theme that's fun, a bit frivolous, light and happy.

And that's what brought me to Candy Land!

First, I found this nifty candy themed wrapping paper at National Bookstore. The white background serves as the perfect canvas for the cute candy canes in happy colors.

Next, I found ribbons (all the way in Divisoria!) that echoed the colors of the candy print. I snagged ribbons in lime, orange, fuschia and cerrulean.

To complete the candy theme, I decided to make the gift a bit sweeter by adding a lollipop! It's made by Nelson's, and I learned about them because the owners are friends of my sister-in-law's family. Then, add a cute, candy tag, and we're set.

Add all those elements together, and we have this!

A sweet, child-like approach to celebrating the holidays.

Now excuse me, I have some wrapping to do.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fab Oxfords

Here's yet more proof that the Oxford trend isn't going away anytime soon.

At So Fab! in Ali Mall, they had some interesting new pairs that were so cool, they were covetable.

First is this feminine take on these black and white Oxfords I found last November.

If you give this pair of shoe a feminine touch, it'll look like this:

This has a nice height to it, and since it's a platform pair, it looks higher than it really is.

I like the black and white detailing of this pair. It's really true to the Oxford tradition.

The other pair is this simple patent Oxfords in a rich, chocolate/coffee color.

It's old school cool. It looks like something that Lolo Iking would wear during his younger years.

These 2 pairs are just some of the many new stocks that they have. Which only means one thing. I should steer clear of So Fab!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daddy Birthday to you!

Another year older, but he definitely looks a couple of years younger.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Luke, it's Calvin

Star Wars is one of my all-time favorite films. Calvin and Hobbes is one of my all-time favorite comic books.

So, it's such a thrill to see this!

They should make a Calvin and Hobbes meets Star Wars comic.

Friday, December 09, 2011

FMM: Kim Possible

Kim Carnes is one of those 80s singers who I really enjoyed listening to. Her voice quality is phenomenal! It's got this hoarseness to it gives it depth. And when she sings, she's almost crooning, but in an uncharacteristically rough voice. So it's such a nice counterpoint.

And my favorite Kim Carnes song is still her iconic "Bette Davis Eyes."

Who won't enjoy listening to a song like that.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I be like Whoa!

When it came down to the final 4, I wanted Angelea or Lisa to win. Among the lot, they're the ones who really have character and stand as a "brand." They might not be model pretty, but as Tyra said, this isn't just about modeling. This is about being a brand.

According to reports, Angelea should've won. But she violated a stipulation on their contract, so she had to be disqualified. So when it was down to Allison and Lisa, the bigger character won.

Lisa is America's Next Top Model All Stars!


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Quote of the day

Whenever I go to school, I swipe my ID on the turnstile to record my attendance. Once I swipe my ID, my photo automatically appears on the big screen beside the guard.

So today, I swiped my card as I entered campus. The guard walks in front of me, blocking my way, and says in a perky way:

GUARD: Sir, ang galing naman!
ME: Ang galing ng ano?
GUARD: Kamukha niyo yung nasa ID niyo!

As much as I wanted to snap back with a snide remark, I was late for my mock defense.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Graphic Design

A few months ago, I saw this really nice jersey fabric with a very graphic, art deco print. It was so eye catching, I had to buy a couple of yards. Good thing I did, because when I went to the same store a few days later, that particular fabric was all gone.

The tricky thing about the print is that it's one continuous print all throughout the fabric. Unlike the usual printed fabrics that have small prints that are repeated all throughout the surface, this one is trickier to work with. In order to keep the print intact, the dress has to have no big cuts at all. So I thought, the dress shouldn't have side seams - which is super tricky, as any dress maker can tell you.

Thank goodness for the amazing Aling Bright. I showed her the fabric, I told her what I had in mind, and she gave me this!

With masterful cutting, she was able to keep the print intact from the front, to the side, to the back. The only seam on this dress was at the center of the back part. Thus, the graphic was kept continuous. To emphasize the waist, she kept part of the print on the top portion of the dress, creating this black line in the middle. She also put the blue band on the sleeves of the dress.

Since the print can be overwhelming, she decided to break it up by making this big hole at the back. This show of skin is a perfect foil to the heaviness of the print.

Leave it to Aling Bright to make such graphic concepts come alive.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Marry month of December

For people in the wedding industry, it's common knowledge that December - not June - is the month when most weddings happen. At Dexter's, the workshop usually overflows with cakes during this month. Sometimes, they make and deliver around 16 cakes a day.

So, it's not unusual to be invited to multiple weddings in December. Heck, I remember how I organized two weddings on the same day a few years ago. Good thing it was a morning and evening wedding.

In a few weeks, 3 of my friends are getting married, and they're spaced just a few days apart.

There's Lu and Mads' "Modern Filipiniana" wedding.

A "Country Style" wedding.

And an "International" wedding.

I'm involved in the organizing of the first 2 weddings, and, thankfully, I'm just a guest on the third one.

I better get my barongs ready.