May 5, 2012

Avery's Bucket List

Well, hello again, world!


Life has been really great lately. Got my fair share of drama, but all in all, still great.


I came across Avery's Bucket List last week. My heart goes out to her and her parents. They have brought a lot of awareness to SMA and raised funds towards a cure. I won't be surprised if one day they will name that cure after her. 



May 20, 2010

America's Next Top Blah

Season and season again, I have been disappointed with America's Next Top Model. The one I don't root for always wins.

So Krista won. And my favorite, Raina lost. WHY???? I have no idea.


Nov 22, 2009

The Pasalubong List


It's almost time for another visit to the Philippines and it's time to make the Pasalubong list. Here is my list of "Pasalubong essentials".

Number one on the list is SPAM. Yes, the so-called mystery meat. It is one of the most important things to bring. It is non-gender specific, it will keep for a long time, and it is shaped like a small brick so it wastes very little space in the balikbayan box.

Number two: chocolates. Make sure they come in secure packaging or place them in ziplock bags. The Philippines is a very warm place and you don't want melted chocolate all over the rest of your gifts. While there are some people that enjoy fine chocolates, regular chocolate bars like Snickers and Three Musketeers are more familiar and are more popular with the kids in the Philippines.

Here is the list of some more Pasalubong staples to go in the Balikbayan Box:

  • soap bars - Liquid soap is too heavy. Bring some Dove, Dial and Irish Spring soap bars.
  • towels - To wrap the fragile stuff (like electronics) in, and also make great gifts
  • T-shirts - Great gifts and make great padding for electronics, too.
  • lipsticks/lipglosses - These make nice gifts for the girl cousin/friend/auntie who you forgot to shop for.
  • anything from Victoria's Secret - including the paper bag.
  • DVD's
  • electronics – MP3 players, cameras, game consoles are all very popular
  • shoes - Make sure you know the recipient's shoe size and taste.
  • books - Paperbacks are lighter and less bulky than hardcovers
  • kitchen stuff like nonstick pans and accessories - Depending on how much room you have in your box or how many boxes you are taking, it is good to have them on the list. The recipient usually rewards you with food made using these. Let me tell you: Filipino food is very, very good.
  • toiletries - These may be given as gifts or for use around the house. Everyone there is curious to try out what American toothpaste is like.
  • bags - Backpacks and schoolbags make great gifts for children.
  • nice pens - Parker pens make nice gifts and are not too expensive when bought over here.
  • watches
  • cigarettes - In the Philippines, cigar boxes have labels that says, WARNING: smoking kills. However, a lot of people smoke there.
  • wine/Liquor - Wrap in a large fluffy towel to make sure it doesn't break in transit.

Small, expensive things like jewelry and laptops are best hand carried.

Pasalubongs do not have to be expensive. It sounds cliche' but all that really matters is the gift is from the heart and that you are there to spend time with people who love you.

by Oona Chinen

Nov 18, 2009

What is Umami?

The first time I read about umami is in an advertisement section in a Reader's Digest I bought in the Philippines last month. It was for Aji-no-moto, a brand of MSG. According the article, umami is the other basic taste in addition to sweet, sour, salty and bitter.

Wikipedia says umami is more commonly known as savoriness. I guess the closest thing is the flavor of meat, cheese or mushrooms.

Last night, I was watching the Next Iron Chef and one of their challenges was to make dishes with umami flavor. I think it was sponsored by a soy sauce company. The contestants made some interesting dishes, too. I can't wait to make my own version of an umami dish: quickmelt cheese and butter on grilled shrimp. Wanna come over for dinner?

Pambansang Kamao


Oops, he did it again!

It's his 50th win - and his 7th world title in 7 weight divisions. I am extremely proud. My friend Reylan wrote Seven, It Must Feel Like Heaven. For the serious boxing afficionados, here is his follow-up article on whether Pacquiao should fight Merryweather next.

Do I think he should fight Merryweather next? No. Because a lot of people say Merryweather is better than Pacquiao. But then again, that's what they said about Marquez, Hatton and Cotto -- and they all lost to Pacquiao. I felt genuinely bad for Cotto. His face was a bloody mess. It's hard to imagine the guy that was joking around and singing on Jimmy Kimmel Live is capable of disfiguring a guy bigger than him.

Part of me thinks Pacquiao has made enough money to last a lifetime and he should quit while he is ahead. However, part of me wants to go to Las Vegas next year to see him beat up Merryweather and make history. And if Merryweather turns out to be better, it won't diminish the respect I have for Manny Pacquiao.

Nov 1, 2009

I'm back!

There was too much of nothing going on so there was not much to write about.

However, I did spend one wonderful week in the Philippines. It was right after the two typhoons ravaged Manila and right before the last one hit. I had pretty good timing. Also, I mainly spent my time in Cebu where I enjoyed beautiful sunshine except on the day I arrived.

I must admit I have become "Americanized". I am much more protective of my personal space. I don't like it when people who are supposed to be waiting in line can actually see me doing my banking or that people don't mind being cramped up in one elevator with elbows touching. I got a little bit annoyed when someone called for the waitress with a "Psst!"

I was surprised when people asked me how much I was making and how much my car is. I didn't like it when service people treat me like royalty when I'm all dressed up, but will hardly give me the time of the day when I was wearing jeans, tshirt and no makeup. Your receipts are stapled on the outside of the shopping bag and security guards are there to inspect your purse before they let you in the mall.

It was hot, muggy and the mosquitoes feasted on me. Almost everyone expected me to pick up the tab all the time - and this was after they showed up an hour late. There was also quite a number of requests for Christmas presents even though it was October.

Despite everything that was irritating, I still had a great time. My family and friends were never too busy to hang out with me. I woke up to breakfast my grandmother lovingly prepared, lunched on the freshest fish and ate as many mangoes as I possibly can. A pedicure was less than a dollar and it is done in the comfort of your own home. They don't even expect a tip.

It has been several years since I moved to the US and I don't think I will ever get over being homesick. Cebu and its people are beautiful and I can't wait to be back.

Sep 19, 2009

Survivor: Samoa, Episode 1

Ew! That short fat dude that runs around in his underwear is very irritating. It is really sad that he got Marissa voted out. Not that I care so much for Marisa, but because it feeds this guy's already-overblown ego.

I guess I'm a little disappointed that it looks like there is no obviously likable and leader-type person like Bob or JT from previous seasons. We'll see, maybe in the future episodes, someone will assume the role.

Usually, there is at least one really irritating and annoying person in the show. Last time, it was Coach. This time, it's Russell Hantz - only he's much creepier. I cannot wait to see when he gets blindsided.

My So-Called Boring Life

Lately, it has been feedings and diaper changes and lots of bad reality tv shows day after day. There really isn't much you can do that does not require hands. The hands are usually feeding the baby, changing diapers, doing chores or just plain useless while I'm playing catch-up on sleep.

Before having kids, I didn't understand how some women gush about how fulfilled and happy they are while being "just mom". I want a career, be the perfect mom to my kids and have a perfectly-ran house (I'm talking about home-cooked meals and ironed laundry). I was so sure I can do it. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Today, I was in a particularly bad mood after another sleepless night. What made it even worse was all the noise at my new neighbor's house while they are doing renovations. And the heat was terrible. The laundry has piled up and there were dishes to wash and baby bottles to sterilize. And there wasn't anything good on TV. And I ran out of energy points on Mafia Wars. Then when I was burping the baby, she smiled at me. All of a sudden, everything is just fine.

Aug 14, 2009

Bragging about JellyBean

It is hard not to be too proud of your own child. Any parent will tell you that. So here, World, read about how awesome my little two-year-old is.

Last week, JellyBean was scratching his head. I asked him, "What's the matter?"

"Itchy", he said.

Then he continued: "Ni, san, chi, go, roku..." (this is one through six in Japanese)

AWWWWWWW.

BTW, he can count to ten in Bisaya and Spanish. He can count up to 29 in English. Thirty is "twenty-ten".

I'm baaack!!!!

I'm baaack!!!!

Here are some updates:

1. It feels like I've been in labor for almost a month. Skittles (codename for baby girl) is due in a couple of weeks. I'm dreading the pain of actually giving birth, but more importantly, I just want to get this pregnancy over and done with.

2. We're looking at the cash for clunkers deal. We're trying to trade in our old GMC Safari and get something like a Honda Pilot or Honda Fit, depending on price and what D (the hubby) really wants.

3. JellyBean is two years old and (ahem, brace yourself for some proud mama talk) knows his alphabet and numbers and lots of nursery rhymes. And although it drives me nuts, he looooves Little Einsteins and knows Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. And that, my friend ruins my appreciation for classical music. When I hear the Nutcracker Suite, I automatically think the words are "it's animal snacktime, what a treat! give baby animals their snack to eat! yum yum yum yumyum yum YUM!!!"

4. Made a new friend in the neighborhood.