Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Among Kin

If there's one person in SMC-CAO that's most loved, it's definitely Kin. 

No surprise there. To everyone who knows her, Kin is one of the most kindhearted, humble, inspiring and understanding person there is. I think the adage "not a mean bone in her body" was done with Kin in mind.

That's why when we were told that there was a surprise birthday dinner for Kin, the CAO gang made it a point to be there. While most of the people have already left SMC and moved on to other companies, we're more than glad to come back for Kin.

This group is actually a combination of almost 3 "generations" of SMC-CAO folks. The earliest members would be Elsie and myself, followed by Lu-ann and Leah, and the last generation would be Bunny, Aggy, et. al.

We forced Kin to make a short speech after dinner, and her first sentence captured who she is as a person.

"I don't know what I did to deserve a group of friends like this."

Humble as always. That's trademark Kin.

Monday, June 29, 2015


For the longest time, Ate Bullet has been looking for a denim jumper. She's been looking for it both in stores and on-line. I've been looking for it at my usual haunts. And we even looked for it together during our siblings-day-out a few weeks ago. But we can't seem to find the right one.

Then, last weekend, I saw a really cool denim jumper when I dropped by Megamall. It was so cool that I had to snag it. It was so cool that I had to get a matching shirt and pair of brogues for it.

And Ate Bullet loved the whole ensemble that she wore it today.

It's the type of outfit that'll just make you jump for joy.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Looks like this coot is a hoot

Some films automatically fall under the "mindless" genre. These are films that are simply so absurd, you have to suspend all disbelief and turn your mind off to actually sit through the entire film.

Usually, these mindless films are hilarious! Think "Sharknado" or "Megapython vs. Gatoroid" or "Movie 43."

Not that I'm disparaging mindless movies. They're actually very entertaining and escapist, especially when done correctly. And while going through movie trailers, I think I found a mindless horror comedy that fits this bill.

It's a horror-comedy film called "Cooties," and it actually has an impressive pedigree. The creators of Saw and Glee. There's Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson in the cast. So, it better be good.

Question is, will they show this in Manila? I hope they do.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

On the defense

As more and more imported products enter our market, we're fortunate enough to get more and more choices in terms of brands.

Being a shower gel junkie, I keep my eyes open for new brands. One recent discovery is a brand called "Daily Defense."

I bought the Argan Oil body wash, and liked the texture, scent and feel of it. I checked the back label and found out that it's a Canadian product, and they have a lot of shower gel variants.

Looks like another brand will be added to my repertoire.

Friday, June 26, 2015

FMM: Everybody wave!

They say that the rainy season is among us, but if you take a walk outside, the sun is still shining and scorching as if it were still summer.

And that inspired me in choosing today's Friday Magic Madness song.

Katrina and the Waves never fails to bring sunshine into my day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sibling Revelry: The Throwback Thursday edition

Last Sunday, Dad showed me this really old family photo of theirs. 

The photo gave me instant flashbacks!

Suddenly, I remembered how dashing Lolo Iking was, and how elegant Lola Dita looked. I also saw how Tito Ting looks like Paul, Tita Evelyn looks like Esther, Tito Hector looks like Harold, Tito Linden looks like Troy, and Dad looks like me. (No surprise there.)

I'm also impressed at how they kept the photo intact after all these years.

Throwback Thursdays rock!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kachangs encounter

Sharing discoveries is one thing I like doing. Whether it's food, a TV show, a shopping haunt - anything good is worth sharing.

During our SG trip 2 weeks ago, I found out that the first timers haven't heard of, or even tried, Ice Kachang. So, during our hawker breakfast, I took the liberty of treating the gang to a bowl of this wonderful concoction.

And here's my short stint as a waiter in SG. Here's one for the girls:

And another for the boys:

Not surprisingly, they loved it!

Another sharing success!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Peas in a Pod

The older I get, the more people tell me that I look like my Dad.

There was even one time when I was waiting for Mona, and she sent me an SMS that said:

"My gosh you look so much like your dad!!!!!!"

And with a photo like this, I can't help but agree.

Monday, June 22, 2015


This photo of Miguel and Javier is just so adorable. I'm especially digging Javier's smile. It's very mischievous. Harhar.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hey, hey, Dad gang's all here!

There's nothing like Father's Day to get everyone together in one table. Wish Biboy and Family, as well as Jul and Carl, were here, too.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

An important Lawson

The Japanese brand invasion continues in the Philippines as Lawson lands on our shores!

Lawson is one of our go-to convenience stores whenever we're in Japan. I remember ducking into one of their Ginza branches whenever I'm having a craving for onigiri.

What's nice is that one of their first branches is actually quite near our house. It's near Anonas, almost across St. Joseph's Church. So now, I can actually buy onigiri after hearing mass!

Looking forward to more Japanese goodness in the country soon!

Friday, June 19, 2015

FMM: Cos Celebre

Here's another SG-trip-inspired Friday Magic Madness ditty.

A lot of the fast fashion brands in SG are also found in Manila, which explains why I'm not shopping here as much as I used to. There's one of fast fashion brand here that hasn't made it to Manila yet.

COS - shorthand for Collection Of Style - is H&M's sleeker sibling. Everything about their clothes, from the design to the fabrication, has that sense of minimalism and quietness. In Europe, they see this brand as Zara's bigger competition, but I think COS has its own market.

Right now, there are only 2 countries in Asia that carry COS. The first one is SG, while HKG is the second country. It's that rarity that draws me to the store whenever I visit these countries.

And since we're on the subjects of COS, my Friday Magic Madness song for today is also about a "cause." More specifically, it's about a "because."

Straight from the 80s, here's Anita Baker and one of her massive hits:

Now, you might be wondering how COS and "Just Because" end up together?

Just because.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wandering CAOs

My stint at the Corporate Affairs Office - or CAO - of SMC is one of my shortest work stints. 

It was my second job and my first supervisory position. They asked me to head the internal broadcast group, and I had to write, direct, edit and supervise a gamut of audio-visual projects. I also had to travel a lot, and meet so many people in a month. And the most peculiar of them all, the staff under me were the same staff who were also under my Dad. 

Despite being in CAO for just a year, I made some of my best friends in that office. When stress was too much to bear (and believe me, there was so much stress,) I always had a support system who'd be there to listen to me rant. Those rant sessions were always accompanied by food, which added comfort.

It was a support system that was composed of such wonderful people. Among them: Kin, Jing-jing, Elsie, Mac, Lu-Ann, Joannah, Marla, Sir Pie and Maricar. It was a group that was so tight knit, we'd gravitate towards each other even after we all went our separate ways. 

It's been almost 20 years since I left SMC, but the CAO gang is still very much together. From random lunches to instant birthday celebrations, from sandwich parties to Christmas reunions, from impromptu get-togethers at Sir Pie's house to slightly-impromptu overseas trips like our SG visit last week.

What never ceases to amaze me is the fact that whenever we're together, it feels like we're back in our corner office in SMC-HO. The conversations, stories, flashbacks, jeers, and everything in between, they feel so familiar. It's as if we never left the office, and it's as if it's the 90s all over again. (And I mean that in a good way.)

Before we left SG, we made a pact to have another overseas get together sooner than later. We haven't decided on the location yet, but with this group of friends, I'm sure it'll feel very familiar.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Catching up with Carl

Just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to get my hands on Carl's Jr., the opportunity presented itself at the last minute.

I was going to ride the MRT at Dhoby Ghaut station, and remembered that it's connected to Plaza Singapura Mall. And of course, Carl's Jr. had a branch there!

So, I ordered my usual for take-away, and ate it at the hotel while packing my bags.

And with that, my food journey in SG was complete!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Carl's Day!

Nope, this isn't a post about Carl's Jr. in Singapore. I'll write about that later.

It's about my nephew, Carl Andrei, who's celebrating his birthday today!

Happy Birthday, Carl! Continue to make us proud!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Body Buddy

Since more than half of the SMC gang are first timers in SG, I spent most of the day showing them around the must-visit sites. The (good) result, I wasn't really able to shop like I normally do when I'm there.

Surprisingly, we did go to H&M, Uniqlo, Forever 21, and the usual haunts, but I really didn't buy anything. Maybe it's because these brands are also in Manila, so there's really no incentive to bring them home. Not even the sale.

But on our last day, as I passed through Ngee Ann City on my way to the MTR, I found out that there's a Bath and Body Works store in SG!

A Bath and Body Works store!!!

Of course, I had to drop by and spend a few minutes there. It was such a thrill to see my favorite US shop right here in South East Asia!

Now, there's an incentive to go back to shop in SG.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Long and Short of it

One of the "must-dos" while in SG is enjoying the country's iconic drink - Singapore Sling.

Since we were in the company of first timers, we decided to drop by The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel so they can sample the drink. The Long Bar is the place where this drink was mixed a century ago. Yup, the drink is that old, yet it's still on-trend until now.

Walking into The Long Bar feels like walking into a British Colonial home in the 1900s. The interiors - from the wooden furniture to the ceiling fans - have this genteel, old-world feel to it. As I was telling Kin, it feels like we're plantation owners waiting for the workers to bring in their produce.

Another peculiarity about The Long Bar is how the floor is littered with peanut shells. It's a tradition in the bar, and as the menu says, "it's the only place in Singapore where you're allowed to litter."

After our drinks, a lot of photos and even more stories, we decided to head off to dinner at another SG icon - Lau Pa Sat. And while our stay in the bar was short, the fun of the experience will linger on for a long time.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Eats a good thing

When in SG, one of the best things to do is eat! And that's what I've been doing the whole day. 

Aside from the food that's on my list - ice kachang, prawn mee, kun kaya toast - I also found a couple of good eats that I just had to add to my list.

First up, Caramel Corn!

After seeing this shelf display, I was automatically transported back to Tokyo and remembered how Mark and I would buy this at the Daiso. Needless to say, I had to buy a few packs.

Second, Chwee Kuey!

This was introduced to me last year by Jo and Ka Wei, and we went to the same spot where I first tasted it. According to my foodie insider, the hawker center in Tiong Bahru has the best one, that's why I had to indulge in it.

Tomorrow, I must tick off Carl's Jr. from my list!

Friday, June 12, 2015

FMM: Ready to take Kachangs again...

Today's Friday Magic Madness song is inspired by this:

Ice Kachang!

It's one of my must-do things while I'm in SG. And a visit here wouldn't be complete without this heavenly dessert.

Now, on to the song!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The goodness will 'Pore

It's been a year since I last went to SG. And thanks to an instant, last minute plan by the SMC gang, I'm on my way back.

This is going to be a good trip.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's a new world!

Jurassic World is opening in cinemas today!

I still remember how the first film "Jurassic Park" was a life-changing experience for me. I still remember how wide-eyed in awe I was at the scene where they introduced the dinosaurs for the first time. My face pretty much mirrored Laura Dern's look of awe!

Even though I'm much older now, I still expect to be awed by this new Jurassic film. I just hope it's better than the previous movies under the same title.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Boom Boom Teow!

It's been more than a year since I last went to SG. Which means it's been more than a year since I've eaten authentic, hawker-quality Char Kway Teow!

I look forward to having another serving this weekend!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Taylor made

If you check out the Ann Taylor website, you'll see this refreshingly cool dress in their current collection. It's an eyelet dress with a floral print, and the mix of these two elements make for a chic outfit.

Currently, the dress is on sale at P7,565.

If you check out the haunt, you'll see this refreshingly cool dress from Ann Taylor's current collection. And it's around 90% off the website price!

You just gotta love shopping at the haunt.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Back to school

UP is one place that never grows old.

Even if I spent more than 4 years of my academic life here, and even if it's been decades since I graduated, there's always a feeling of thrill whenever I visit.

Maybe it's because UP is the perfect melange of old and new. It's a place that's steeped in history, yet never feels old. It's a place where there's always something new, yet it never feels forced or trendy. Simply put, it's a classic that never goes out of style.

That's why when I visited the campus today, it felt both new and familiar. Yes, the haunts that we usually stayed are still there, but the energy and vibe has changed a bit.

The Sunken Garden is still as I remember it - always full of people lazing and lounging around.

There were baristas practicing their routines, and it was interesting to see them do their thing.

Of course, the compulsory visit to UP Shopping Center had to be done. And no visit there would be complete without stopping by Rodic's. It's a university institution that's been around since 1949!

While their menu has changed since my college days (they didn't have sisig and liempo back then,) the classics like the tapsilog, tocilog and longsilog are still very much around.

What's peculiar is that because UP changed it's academic calendar already, the campus and the dorms were very quiet - almost deserted. So, it's nice to see UP without the hustle and bustle.

UP is definitely one school I don't mind going to everyday. Even on weekends.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Solitary Saturday in School

In a few weeks, school will re-open and another academic year will be upon us.

And before that happens, I'm all alone in the faculty room, fixing files and making lists before all the melee starts.

I'll miss this quiet time come July.

Friday, June 05, 2015

FMM: Home, Cher, Home!

One of the first Sophie Ellis Bextor songs that I enjoyed listening to was "Take Me Home." It came out about the same time as her hits "Murder on the Dance Floor" and "I Won't Change You."

A few years after that, I was pleasantly surprised to know that "Take Me Home" was actually a remake. And the original one was sung by Cher.

While Sophie's version was great, Cher's version really took it home.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Pretty cool!

Who would've thought that the film "Pretty Woman" is already 25 years old!

Honestly, I don't know anyone who didn't like this groundbreaking and career making rom-com from the 90s. After all, it's the ultimate feel-good movie, complete with Cinderella references!

It's a film that I can watch over and over and over again, and not tire of. And I found out that last March, some of the cast members reunited on the Today Show and talked about their experiences before, during and after the film.

Julia Roberts is luminous, as usual. No wonder the rest of the cast was smitten by her - 20 years ago, and until today.

This is a pretty cool reunion indeed!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Twin Peaks part deux

Wasn't I just talking about Mary Kate and Ashley a day ago?

Yesterday, they were named CFDA Designers of the Year for Women's wear. Their line, The Row, first received this award in 2012. So, this accolade is their second.

The twins are really at their peak!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

And still more little style...

Javier likes to wear shorts. In fact, he prefers to wear shorts over long pants. I think the only time he wears pants is in school. But apart from that, it's shorts all the way. (I don't blame him, if not for the office dress code, I'd wear shorts everyday.)

That's why whenever I see stylish shorts for kids, I automatically buy them for him. Just like this pair of shorts from a mall run a few weeks ago.

First is this cobalt blue pair of cuffed shorts. It had a free belt, and that's always cool.

Since they're in a dark color, I decided to buy a light colored polo at H&M. This is a nubby, linen type of material that has an interesting texture.

The light and dark combination is very preppy chic!

Being a person who's a big khaki fan, I also had to buy this pair of shorts.

This time, it was paired with a light blue shirt with a bow tie! Also from H&M.

With these ensembles, Javier will never be short on style.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Twin Peaks

When I was younger, I'd watch the sitcom "Full House" a lot. Aside from the fact that there were 3 hilarious comedians in the show, they also had two adorable babies - twins in fact - which upped the "awwww... shucks" factor.

Those twins are famously known as the Olsen Twins. Yes, Mary Kate and Ashley.

After their time in showbiz, they went back to their private lives and later on became designers. Really, really good designers. Their labels - The Row and Elizabeth and James - consistently come up with very chic and fashionable pieces.

They've been out of showbusiness for the longest time. Except for Mary Kate's appearance as a modern with on "Beastly."

So, when I saw this clip of the twins guesting on The Ellen Show, I was thrilled.

After seeing how non-chalant and cool they are, I admire them even more.