Thursday, December 27, 2007

Young Diva

Like every Filipino, I am proud of Charise Pempengco, known around the world as The Young Diva. Watch her on "Ellen.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ultimate Gift for Law Students

This Christmas…

Give the ultimate gift for the law student in your family!

(Click on the link for larger picture.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Masci '91 Reloaded

Calling all my batchmates from Manila Science High School Batch '91, please join our new yahoogroup, masci91reloaded. You may email me at or visit and sign up!

-- From Laura, Compton-Edison-Calvin-Faraday

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Advice from a Tree

I learned it while walking around the redwood forest at Muir Woods in San Francisco. I take it with me as I start a new journey tomorrow.

Advice from a Tree
By Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Copyright 1993-2003 Your True Nature, Inc. For Advice from a Tree books, journals, posters and other nature products, visit or call 800-992-4769.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last Song Syndrome (LSS): Mamma Mia

I went to see this musical in Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas last Saturday. The tune is still ringing in my head even up to now.

Mamma Mia is entertaining and I could not believe how many ABBA songs I could sing-along with. This is one of them.

Mamma Mia

I've been cheated by you since I don't know when
So I made up my mind, it must come to an end
Look at me now, will I ever learn?
I don't know how but I suddenly lose control
There's a fire within my soul
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know,
My my, I could never let you go.

I've been angry and sad about things that you do
I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through
And when you go, when you slam the door
I think you know that you won't be away too long
You know that I'm not that strong.
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it's a game we play
Bye bye doesn't mean forever

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go
Mamma mia, now I really know
My my, I could never let you go.

The other musical I watched was Phantom of the Opera over at the Venetian. I fell asleep four times and my friend had to wake me up so as not to miss my dollar's worth. I was too tired, really, and just wanted to take advantage of the half-priced ticket that we bought. I liked Mamma Mia more than Phantom. I guess my state of mind affected my taste last weekend.

Next year, I hope to watch a couple of shows on Broadway.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just So You Know

Ella is currently out on a two-week trip. Her irregularly-updated column will be back whenever she finds the fortunate combination of time, inspiration, and Internet access.

Please pray for our safe travel and for a smooth, tangle-free conference. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fewer Words; More Meaning

I've been accused of keeping another blog where I lived a different life. Sometimes that's true, except both are fed to my Multiply site.

I did some Haiku practice, or whatever this is. It’s been years since freshman English class.

1. Oh my no means yes;

The lightning should have warned you.

Believe what you must.

2. You step on damp grass,

Walking away forever.

I watch you leave me.

3. Breath of your release,

The night wind blows you away.

I have words unsaid.

4. Another you next time.

He will listen; he will stay:

Then I must be there.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'd Rather be Dancing

I consider time at car service centers better spent elsewhere (a parlor or a spa, for instance). Last Monday, I had the car tires checked due to frequent problems I had had with them.

After reading all the motor vehicle magazines available and getting bored to death, I thought of all the other things I would rather do at that moment, like dancing (to the beat of the songs Karreen compiled for me to exercise with) or sleeping. It was another rainy Monday, after all. I remembered that I needed a massage, a facial, and a pedicure, but I couldn't get those services from within walking distance of the tire shop. I just imagined I had enough money to start a business, and thought of opening a shop that provided pampering services for women while giving the best services for their cars.

I knew it was not an original idea, and I did find several shops online that gave that combination of services, abroad. Hmmm.
While reading up on my brilliant but, alas, unrealized, idea, I also ran into this joke, which already made the rounds of egroups a few years ago.

(1) Pull up to Service Center when it is time for your next oil change
(2) Relax in a massage chair with a glass of wine, soda, coffee, or cappuccino while reading the latest Magazine or working on your laptop.
(3) 45 minutes later write a check and leave with a properly maintained vehicle where the fluids have been topped off, car has been washed, tires rotated, and courtesy inspection completed.

Money Spent

Oil Change: $34.95 (non-synthetic oil change)
Wireless access: FREE
Glass of wine, soda, or coffee: FREE
Courtesy Inspection: FREE
Massage in chair: FREE
Total cost of peace of mind knowing your car is maintained: PRICELESS

(1) Wait until Saturday, drive to auto parts store and buy a case of oil, filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and a scented tree, write a check for $50.00
(2) Stop by liquor store and buy a case of beer, write a check for $20.00, drive home.
(3) Open a beer and drink it.
(4) Spend 30 minutes looking for jack stands. Jack car up.
(5) Find jack stands under kid's pedal car.
(6) In frustration, open another beer and drink it.
(7) Place drain pan under engine.
(8) Look for 9/16 box end wrench.
(9) Give up and use crescent wrench.
(10) Drop drain plug in pan of hot oil: splash hot oil on face and arms in process. Bleep!
(11) Crawl out from under car to wipe hot oil off of face and arms. Throw kitty litter on spilled oil.
(12) Have another beer while watching oil drain.
(13) Spend 30 minutes looking for oil filter wrench.
(14) Give up; crawl under car and hammer a screwdriver through oil filter and twist off.
(15) Crawl out from under car with dripping oil filter splashing oil everywhere from holes. Cleverly hide old oil filter among trash in trash can to avoid environmental penalties.
(16)Drink a beer.
(17) Buddy shows up; finish case of beer with him. Decide to finish oil change tomorrow so you can go see his new garage door opener work.
(18) Sunday: Skip church because "I gotta finish the oil change." Drag pan full of old oil out from underneath car. Cleverly dump oil in hole in back yard instead of taking it to recycle.
(19) Throw kitty litter on oil spilled during step 18.
(20) Beer. No, drank it all yesterday.
(21) Walk to liquor store; buy beer.
(22) Install new oil filter making sure to apply a thin coat of oil to gasket surface.
(23) Dump first quart of fresh oil into engine.
(24) Remember drain plug from step 11.
(25) Hurry to find drain plug in drain pan.
(26) Remember that the used oil is buried in a hole in the back yard along with drain plug.
(27) Drink beer.
(28) Shovel out hole and sift oily mud for drain plug. Re-shovel oily patch of ground and avoid environmental penalties. Wash drain plug in lawnmower gas.
(29) Discover that first quart of fresh oil is now on the floor. Throw kitty litter on oil spill.
(30) Drink beer.
(31) Crawl under car getting kitty litter into eyes. Wipe eyes with oily rag used to clean drain plug. Slip with stupid crescent wrench tightening drain plug and bang knuckles on frame.
(32) Bang head on floorboards in reaction to step 31.
(36) Beer.
(37) Clean up hands and forehead and bandage as required to stop blood flow.
(38) Beer.
(39) Beer.
(40) Dump in five fresh quarts of oil.
(41) Beer.
(42) Lower car from jack stands.
(43) Accidentally crush remaining case of new motor oil.
(44) Move car back to apply more kitty litter to fresh oil spilled during steps 23 - 43.
(45) Beer.
(46) Test drive car.
(47) Get pulled over: arrested for driving under the influence.
(48) Car gets impounded.
(49) Call loving wife, make bail.
(50) 12 hours later, get car from impound yard.

Money Spent
Parts: $50.00
DUI: $2500.00
Impound fee: $75.00
Bail: $1500.00
Beer: $40.00
Total: $4165.00 -- But you know the job was done right!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For the Lawyers in North America...

The early bird discount for the MCLE in LV has been extended up to August 31, 2007. Register now and avail of the 5% discount!

Please visit for more details.

Monday, August 20, 2007

If You Build It, He Will Come...

What to do when you need to raise millions of pesos for a parish mission center building project? Do it step by step, brick by brick, peso by peso.

As I've written here before, we are a new parish. We're celebrating our first anniversary next week. Our parish priest, Fr. Steve Tynan, launched St. Benedict's Mission Center building project during our fiesta last July, as he said it's necessary for the vision and mission of the parish as well as the apostolate of the Missionaries of God's Love (MGL) in the Philippines.

This tiny building currently serves as the parish office:

This portion at the back serves as the meeting, storage, and practice area:

And this is what our parish church looks like at present:

The mission center, as planned, shall have an adoration chapel, a baptistery, meeting rooms for the different ministries and commissions, living quarters for the priests, as well as proper office space. There are generous individuals who have already given their pledges, but we need more bricks to see this building into completion. Ground-breaking will be on Monday, August 27, 2007.

We would greatly appreciate donations in cash or in kind (cement, paint, chairs, etc.) for this project. Contact me at if you want to help the mission of our parish.

Thanks and God bless!

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Raining, Men

It's a Monday. The sky is dark and the flashes of lightning are followed by peals of thunder. Elsewhere, I'm told that it's raining hard.

On days like this, I can hear the voice of Karen Carpenter in my head, singing:

Rainy Days and Mondays

Talking to myself and feeling old

Sometimes I'd like to quit

Nothing ever seems to fit

Hangin around, nothing to do but frown

Rainy days and mondays always get me down

What I've got they used to call the blues

Nothing is really wrong

Feeling like I don't belong

Walking around some kind of lonely clown

Rainy days and mondays always get me down

Funny but it seems I always wind up here with you

It's nice to know somebody loves me

Funny but it seems that it's the only thing to do

To run and find the one who loves me

(*) what I feel is come and gone before

No need to talk it out

We know what it's all about

Hanging around, nothing to do but frown

Rainy days and mondays always get me down

Funny but it seems that it's the only thing to do

Run and find the one who loves me

Repeat (*)

Hangin' around, nothing do to but frown

Rainy days and mondays always get me down

I turned 33 today. Of course I feel old. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Phil Catches a Cold

He was late, and Sara usually hated waiting, but this was one of those rare moments when she didn’t mind it that much. She used the time to compose herself and organize her thoughts.

“He”, of course, is Phil, who, after an eternity of waiting, finally asked her out to dinner.

It took them a long time, after that momentous invitation, before they were able to set the date for dinner because of Sara’s habit of saying “No” even if she meant “Yes, I thought you’d never ask.” She did not want to appear too eager and to reveal her true feelings.

She saw him entering the restaurant and searching for her. He obviously had walked in from the rain, for his hair was wet and his shirt was soaked.

“Hi, sorry I’m late”, he said, as he lightly touched her on her right shoulder before pulling the chair in front of her. “I had to walk part of the way and leave the car with my driver as traffic was not moving.”

The waiter handed him a small towel and he excused himself to pat his clothes dry in the men’s room.

Sara momentarily forgot about her nervousness, as she grew concerned that Phil might catch a cold. Or she probably willed herself to think about something else other than what she hoped Phil would say after he got back from the restroom.

A little fall of rain could hardly hinder Phil from fulfilling his plans for the night. He knew that dinner did not start too well because he was late, and he wanted to make a good impression, so he had to make the most out of the time he had left.

He returned to his seat and ordered the meal he had picked out earlier from the menu that his secretary had furnished him. Food was the last thing on his mind, but he wanted the night to be perfect. Their waiter took down his order, and then left.

Sara, who had a glass of wine while waiting, boldly asked, “So, what was so urgent and important that you had to tell me tonight, that you refused to cancel dinner despite the pouring rain?” A girl had to know, she thought.

“You really don’t allow men to catch their breath, do you?” he replied, avoiding her question.

“I can’t help it if I take their breath away, and I can’t be bothered to wait for it to come back before engaging in a proper conversation,” she quipped, the wine obviously taking over. Sara had always been a no-nonsense woman, but she was extraordinarily blunt tonight. A voice inside her was cautioning her to slow down, or, better yet, shut up.

If Phil had been ill at ease at this unmitigated show of female frankness, he hid it well. He smiled at Sara, poured himself a glass of wine from the open bottle nestled in a bucket of ice on the table, and sipped it quietly. He knew she was waiting impatiently, and he was almost certain that she would drum her French-tip-manicured nails on the table anytime now.

They met each other four years ago at a convention of franchisees of a fastfood chain, of which their respective families each owned a branch. They got to know each other better when they found out they had common friends, with common interests in diving and photography. Since they both had on-again, off-again relationships with other people, they had never gone out on a date like this. They were walking on unchartered territory, and they knew it.

Phil asked her in a way that there would be no mistaking that he clearly intended for it to be a date. She was the most attractive woman he had ever met, but she was also the feistiest. He knew he had to pace the conversation, otherwise she would manipulate it.

Sara changed tactics and asked him how his niece, Alyssa, was, for Phil absolutely adored that little girl and always brightened up whenever she became part of a conversation.

“She’s fine and just started reading Nancy Drew now that Julia Robert’s niece is starring in the film version. She begged me to buy her the entire collection of books. I’m still thinking whether I should tell her that the author is actually a man with a woman’s pseudonym.”

“You know what, I’ve always wondered why the writing in ‘Hardy Boys’ was suspiciously similar to that in ‘Nancy Drew’”. She almost bit her tongue after saying that. Why did she always have to be a know-it-all?

“I bet you did,” he replied, briefly imagining Sara as an 11-year old girl solving mysteries with a magnifying glass. She could probably make Harry Potter’s Hermione look tame.

Just then the waiter arrived with their dinner, and the conversation moved to the chef’s masterpieces that Phil had ordered. Sara was a picky eater and he wanted her happily fed tonight, for what he had to say needed her to be in a good mood.

It worked, for the meal was perfect, and Sara loosened up a bit from playing Detective Know-it-All. Phil thought dessert would be the perfect time to get to the heart of the matter.

“Sara,” he began. “Yes?” she asked, putting down her teaspoon with a pinch of panna cotta, suddenly losing interest in the sweet concoction.

“You know we’re not getting any younger, right?” Obviously Sara had a paragraph’s worth of reply, but he stopped her by adding, “My sister has been nagging me for years that my attachment to Alyssa is a mere excuse not to have my own children.”

For the first time tonight, Sara filtered her thoughts and prevented her tongue from speaking out. Phil ought to have his moment, as he obviously had prepared his speech.

“I was thinking, that instead of starting the age-old dance of introducing myself to someone new and getting that person to like the things that I liked, and then turning it into a relationship that could hopefully last for a lifetime, which approach had resulted to a lot of disasters anyway, I should do it the other way around and propose a lifetime relationship with someone who already knows me, shares my passions, and shows a high probability of keeping up with me for the rest of my life.”

Sara definitely did not trust herself to respond to this one, either, so she slowly nodded and reminded her face not to show how much she was trying to second-guess what Phil was actually saying.

They’ve had moonlit nights on the beach before, when, taking time to be alone despite being in the company of friends, they had talked about their fears and dreams and everything in between. There was always the feeling, and Sara thought Phil felt it more than she did, that there could be someone else out there, and what they shared was simply friendship, and their deep conversations were just enhanced by the availability of huge amounts of alcohol during dive weekends. Sara had taken care of a drunken Phil on more than one occasion in the past.

They had also seen the world together, literally, as they both joined a European backpacking tour with like-minded photographers and roamed several historical cities. Romance was the last thing on their minds then, however, despite seeing couples at every corner. They just competed with each other on who would take the best photograph of a couple kissing. Sara always declared that she won, as she caught on close-up the tender moments between couples while Phil always tended to hold back, adding a huge background or focusing more on the buildings surrounding his subjects.

It dawned on Sara that their Italian meal tonight consisted of exactly the same dishes that they had while they were with their friends one time in Venice. After that dinner, Phil left to be with a Finnish woman he had met while they were queued up for the gondola, and Sara spent that night crying in the company of friends. She doubted Phil knew about that last bit. Come to think of it, she remembered how much she hated Venice.

She realized that she had tuned out while Phil was talking. She did it again, failing to be where she was because her seemingly more important thoughts took her elsewhere.

“…Everyone says we’d make a good pair, you and I, and I’ve always just laughed at them, but now I’m thinking, this could actually work!” Sara caught Phil’s last sentence and wondered what else she’d missed, because it did not sound like an amorous proposal to her at all.

“Sara, I think we should get married!” Phil blurted out.

There was silence.

Phil put both his hands, which he had raised while exclaiming his wild proposition, on the table and moved closer to study Sara’s expression. He noticed her shaking her head quizzically. He realized he was holding his breath for her response.

Still more silence. Sara picked up her forgotten teaspoon, tasted her dessert, and swallowed carefully, all the time keeping her eyes on the floor. She was groping for the words to convey her thoughts without revealing her emotions.

Finally, after almost another eternity, she lifted up her eyes, and Phil did not like what he saw.

“That’s it?” she asked quietly.

With his mouth agape, Phil nodded vigorously, as if to emphasize how well-thought out and sensible his proposal was. Surely Sara would see the point he was making. They were perfect for each other. Courtship was no longer necessary, for as good friends they could skip that and proceed directly towards starting a family. He was surprised that she was not as excited about it as he thought she would be. He had always known she had feelings for him, for their friends told him so. He just never wanted to take advantage, until he realized he was letting go of a perfectly good opportunity.

“Why don’t you look happy, Sara?” Phil managed to ask. He was really bewildered at her reaction. He was expecting a beam, a clap, even a tear, but not this. She was being unusually silent, and that was a bad sign.

“Phil, I appreciate the effort, and thank you for considering me. Really. But I don’t agree with you. It won’t work. Not like this.”

“What do you mean, it won’t work? Two friends, of sufficient age and discretion, we have a chance to have a good life together! I’ve finally seen the light. You are the woman for me. The search is over. The End. Finito.”

He thought he saw her eyes glistening, until a tear fell, followed by several others. Sara asked to be excused but he held her hand and would not let her stand up.

“Stay with me, let’s talk about this,” he insisted. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” she said, wiping away her tears with her table napkin. “You worked me up for this night, you sent flowers to my office, making my staff giggle with excitement, you wrote a card inviting me to a candlelit dinner just the way I’ve always wanted it with you, then you made me wait when all I wanted to do was burst with anticipation, and then all you had to say was this… this madness!” She attempted to stand up again, but he gently but firmly pinned both of her hands on the table.

“Why is it madness? It is the most natural, logical, practical thing in the world! We make sense, Sara. We make a good team. Isn’t that what marriage is all about? Partnership, companionship?”

Sara looked around the table to see if they were making a scene. She was thankful that nobody seemed to notice that her part of the world was crumbling.

“Let me go, Phil.”

“What more do you want, Sara? I just asked you to marry me.”

“Yes, you did. It’s a very decent proposal, and I reiterate my gratitude. But did you have to make it sound like a contract, or an arrangement? I’m sorry but that’s not how I thought it should be.”

“There you go again, making things complicated, wanting everyone to live out the perfect little world you have going in your head. You can’t give people scripts to read from, Sara. This is a sincere offer I’m making you.”

“I’ve considered your offer and decided not to accept it. Thank you for dinner.” With that, she stood up, took her purse with her, and strode out of the restaurant. She could hear him calling out her name, but she did not slow down. She looked for a taxicab but because it had rained, she waited in vain.

Phil, who settled the bill, finally caught up with her outside. “At least let me offer you a lift home,” he said.

Sara was looking less than perfect now. Her makeup had smeared on her face. She felt a choking sadness that she could not hide from Phil. She wanted to be as far away from him as possible.

She took out her cellphone to call a friend and ask him to pick her up, but he stopped her.

“Sara, I’m here, just me, and I’m asking you to give us a chance. Forget what I said about marriage, let’s start from the beginning. Let’s get to know each other all over again. Maybe in time you’ll see that I’m right.”

She pulled out a wad of tissues and wiped her eyes. The sadness remained.

“I’ve heard all I needed to hear from you tonight, and I doubt you could say anything that would change what you’ve so clearly expressed to me.”

“Maybe I’m better off expressing myself with a kiss. I’ve never been good with words, you know that.” He walked closer to her, but she stepped back.

“Stay where you are. You know what’s even more painful than what I heard?”

“What?” he asked, totally frustrated now.

“It’s what I did not hear. Who was I kidding? I have loved you for what seems like forever, and fooled myself into believing you would one day notice me.”

Phil interrupted, “But you’re always with someone, out on dates, calling boyfriends on the phone…”

Sara just stared at the night sky that had already cleared after the torrents of rain it had produced. “What was it that Hermione said to Ron? Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!’”

“What??? You’re not making sense, Sara. I did ask you before someone else did...”

“…But this sounds like a last resort,” she added.

Phil paused to try to let that sink in.

“If thou must love me, let it be for naught, except for love's sake only,” Sara softly said. She then kissed Phil on the cheek, quickly turned around, hailed a taxi, and boarded it.

All these happened while Phil stood frozen on the spot.

It started to rain again, and still Phil did not move, not realizing his hot tears were mixing with the cold raindrops on his face.

He touched his cheek where she had kissed her. And then, he finally realized what he had forgotten to include in his entire grand master plan for the night.

He ran to the parking lot, dismissed his driver, and hoped he was not too late.

-- FINITO --

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Middle Ground (Not Middle Earth)

There are two kinds of people walking the world today: Harry Potter fans, and non-Harry Potter fans (a.k.a. Muggles in Harry's world).

The Harry Potter fans have all watched his latest movie. The Muggles have not and do not intend to. I've tried different sets of Potter fan-friends and they've all seen it, so no one is available anymore to go with me.

It's not my fault - I was there last weekend at TriNoMa but there were more people there than movie theater seats. My parents and I ended up roaming the half-unopened mall instead. I tried looking for office shoes, but went home empty-handed and terribly disappointed. I'll have to wait until the curiosity about TriNoMa dies before I can enjoy it. I happen to abhor queuing up for a parking space for close to an hour, and do not intend to do so on a weekly basis.

Back to Harry. The Last Book comes out today. As I have many friends who have pre-ordered their copies, I will just borrow from one of them once they're done reading it.

So I guess I'm a half-blood fan, after all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

MCLE Lecture Series For North America-Based Filipino Lawyers

Why Take the MCLE in LV?
  • IBP members are required to take continuing legal education to ensure that throughout your career, no matter where you are in the world, you are kept abreast with Philippine law and jurisprudence and are able to maintain your good standing in the IBP.
  • This is a golden opportunity for you to avoid being listed as delinquent members of the IBP.
  • MCLE in LV has lecturers who are considered authorities in their own fields.
  • The subjects are useful and interesting to Filipino lawyers in the North American region.
  • This could also be a form of reunion with your peers and a venue for networking.
  • MCLE in LV facilitates the processing of the MCLE compliance requirements so your Certificates of Compliance are delivered to you afterwards.
  • This was organized by Ateneo Law School CCLER and CD Asia
Fee -US$550 for whole, 36-unit course, plus 10% MCLE fee

Hurry! Register Now and avail of 5% early bird discount until August 15

Seminar Fee includes seminar kit, processing and delivery of MCLE Certificates, snacks, and coffee

Date & Time: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

on September 20-23, 2007

Venue: Palace Station Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Contact Information

Philippines -Adora

(+632) 634-3792

or 634-3793

USA -Beth

(+213) 487-8500

Monday, July 16, 2007

Isyu ng Babae

Isyu ng Babae
Ella del Rosario

Ang suwerte mo naman.

Sinamba ko ang iyong pangalan,

Hinintay kita bago ako sumakay ng MRT,

Ipinagtabi pa kita ng catsup sa McDo.

Ang labo mo naman.

Sumama ka sa ‘yong mga kaibigan.

Ano’ng gagawin ko sa catsup na ito?

At sana di ako nakipagsiksikan pauwi.

Ang tanga ko naman.

Ako ngayon ang pinagtatawanan,

Natuto raw akong magdasal at maghintay,

At hindi ka raw naman nagte-text.

Atsaka ko nalaman…

Malabo lang talaga ang mata mo,

Mahina ang pandinig,

At wala kang load.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Plea for Better Mornings

This may be an exercise in futility, but I reckon a personal blog is as good a venue as any to air out my grievances, however useless they may seem at this point.

I would like to complain about the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila, specifically along Commonwealth Avenue going to QC Circle. I know, I know, hundreds, maybe thousands, of motorists simply shrug their shoulders, doze off (if they're on a public vehicle), send text messages, fix their hair, pray the rosary, prepare for their work day, and find other ways to while away the precious time that is used up while stuck on the road.

I was going to send this via Citizens' Watch of the Philippine Daily Inquirer but I could not get a good shot of the traffic jam with my cellphone while avoiding getting side-swiped by drivers who refuse to stick to their lanes. On a side note, a Nissan Sentra drove too close for comfort one day and caused my right side mirror to flap close. The good driver then nosed his way onto the space before me, oblivious to what he had just done. Sigh.

I am a tiny voice in a world used to inconveniences such as this. Still, I refuse to go quietly into the night.

Six years ago, I started driving to work. Before that, I was an MRT enthusiast. The law office I worked at was located in Pasig then and it only took me 45 minutes each morning to get to work. Since June of this year when I started going to another office in Pasig, I noticed that it took me two hours to ply the same route.

Two hours, mother? What about our other duties?

The MMDA started digging along the rightmost lane of the portion of Commonwealth from PSSC up to the former Paskong Pasiklab, before Philcoa, about a month ago, and it made our lives hell. For some reason, that construction site had affected the whole of Commonwealth up to Fairview. It didn't matter if we left our houses an our earlier than usual, the result was the same. Commonwealth always looked like a parking lot in the morning.

I could not just groan and bear it any longer. If the city government, or MMDA, or other entities responsible for that construction site could read this blog somehow, I would like you to know how terribly inconvenienced a whole lot of people are because traffic is not properly managed along that area. Surely, with some coordination among proper authorities and a little careful planning, we could avoid this traffic jam. Please do something about it.

There was even one payday Friday when, on my way to work, aside from the usual crawl along Commonwealth, I saw three road accidents, Meralco doing repairs and using up one lane along Quezon Ave. thus affecting traffic along Elliptical Road, and MMDA cutting trees in the same area. By the time I got to the office, I was already late for my meeting and utterly out of patience.

I admit that I'm not a very patient person. I still get upset when my flights get delayed, for which my friends chide me, especially at night when I worry for my safety alone in a taxicab. Somewhere in this traffic experience, I know I should learn the lessons that so many others seem to handle well. It's just that I'm going back to the corporate world after two years as a full-time mission worker.

Things like these don't exactly welcome me back to the real world with open arms.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Food Trip!

This e-mail has been making the rounds recently. After receiving it thrice, I thought it would be safe to post it here. I'd like to thank whoever had a lot of time on his/her hands to prepare this list.

Friends, it's July. We can do walking tours of Manila and go on a Binondo food trip, or we can skip the walking and proceed to...


1. Eat-all-you- can-pizza promo GREENWICH until OCT20.

2. Something fishy, (breakfast time) Eastwood Libis. 12am-10am

3. Kamay Kainan with bottomless Iced Tea, Market Market, 295/head.

4. Chinatown, Banawe QC, 400/head FULL MEAL!

5. Saisaki/DAD' s/Kamayan, 500/head

6. Dragon Prince, BF homes Pque. (Lunch Buffet) P180 per head.

7. Cabalen - all branches, P275/head.

8. RCBC Plaza Food Center, Makati 95/head (Breakfast) & 65/head merienda.

9. Blue Bay, Quirino Grandstand, 350/Head.

10. Brazil brazil - Metrowalk & Powerplant Mall (meat all you can 650/head)

11. Dimsun 'N Dumplings @ Shopwise (cubao) - Unlimited Siomai either P99 or P125 lang

12. Sweet Inspirations along katipunan, eat-all-you- can Mongolian Buffett php300/head

13. Seafood Club(Red Crab) Greenbelt3 - dinner 275/head

14. Chubby China(Greenbelt) - dimsum(fried & steamed) breakfast at 88/head. with yang chow rice, crisp noodles at single serve iced tea. order all you can lunch - 295, merienda - 88, dimsum all you can w/pancit canton, noodles and congee - sulit na 88 mo!

15. Red Crab (Greenbelt 3) - alimango-all- you-can

16. Circles, Shangri-la Makati, expensive but very large buffet!

17. Spiral, Westin Philippine Plaza, expensive din but bigger buffet than Shangri-la

18. Cravings, salad all you can Katipunan infront of Ateneo

19. Tong Yang Hot Pot, Eat all -

20. Siamese Grill, Pasta all you can, 85/head Bluewave Marquinton, Marikina

21. Tramway, Banawe, Chinese eat all you can, 160/head

22. Mongolian Stop, OJs Eastwood

23. Popeye's Chicken (seasonal)

24. Don Henricos, Eat all you can Tuesdays and Wednesdays

25. Kamay Kainan, Kalayaan Avenue, ~199/head

26. Red Kimono, The Fort, 499++/ head

27. Mandarin Palace, Ongpin, 150/head

28. Tokyo Tokyo, rice all you can (all branches)

29. Yamcha Teahouse in Timog (Lunch/Dinner Buffet Php349) (over 60 chinese dishes to choose from)

30. Aling Nene's BBQ/Ihaw, Eat all you can (Fridays & Saturdays), Magallanes, 200+/head.

31. Alba's Restaurant - Tomas Morato, Libis, Jupiter St. - Spanish cuisine -

32. Jestine's Restaurant, Jupiter Street Makati, Breakfast all you can, from 12AM to 12PM (tapa, tocino, varies) P99.00

33. Paseo, Mandarin Hotel

34. 7 Corners, Crown Plaza, Galleria

35. Heat, Shangli-la EDSA

36. karate kid (rice and drinks)

36. Cabalen (at the back of stalucia East Cainta) Eat all you can merieenda P88

37. Emperor Villa - ongpin st., binondo - lunch 180-200, dinner is seafood buffet at roastings (asado, lechon de leche) @ 350.

38. Paolo's Resto - - Kalayaan ave. QC... eat-all-you- can buffet breakfast

39. Una Mas at Greenbelt 2. Buffet lunch on weekdays and dinner (Weekends and weekdays).

40. Dad's (Glorietta) - 95 ata (basta below 100) merienda, from 3-5pm

41. Kamayan (Glorietta) - 250-300

42. Oki-Oki (MOA) - Japanese - 375 - Adult - Weekends

43. Dimsum 'n Dumplings at greenhills - 100 pesos siomai all you can

44.Tramway, Timog, Chinese eat all you can, P178/head. Located between TPC HQ and Imperial Suites (Tomas Morato)

45. Mongolian Quik-stop Robinsons Ermita, SM MOA - 198 + vat

46. Steak MD, Tomas Morato - Eat all you can Steak (TBone) -500

Friday, June 29, 2007

Lakbayan Score Ko

My Lakbayan grade is C+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Quotes from The Holiday

The Holiday. Major chick flick. Some unforgettable lines:

Arthur Abbot: Iris, in the movies, we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you're behaving like the best friend.


It doesn't matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends...

you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood,

and how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy.

And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he'll see the light and show up at your door.

And after all that, however long all that may be, you'll go somewhere new.

And you'll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again.

And little pieces of your soul will finally come back.

And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.

Friday, June 15, 2007

MCLE in Las Vegas Sept 20-23

I'm coordinating a project for CD Technologies Asia, Inc. in partnership with Ateneo de Manila Law School. We'll provide a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) seminar for US- and Canada-based Filipino lawyers on Sept 20-23, 2007 at Palace Station, Las Vegas.

I will have a list of the speakers and topics next week. I hope you could help me spread the word and refer interested parties to:

Atty. Ella del Rosario

I will release more details regarding registration as soon as our website for this purpose is up. This seminar is open to all US- and Canada-based members of the Philippine bar.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bowling Balls, Anyone?

Anyone out there interested to purchase used but high-quality bowling balls? A generous couple donated their collection of imported bowling balls to the youth of our parish, to add to the World Youth Day Fund that would send young delegates to Sydney, Australia in July 2008.

If you have inquiries, please call St. Benedict's Parish at (632) 932-6521. These are pre-loved bowling balls. Each ball comes with its own bag. They were all purchased from outside the Philippines by this couple who used to have a passion for bowling. They sell for Php500 each, negotiable. Proceeds will go entirely to the said Fund.

Thank you.

Amanpulo: A Real Steal!

Mga kababayan, DiscoverPH has a package trip to Amanpulo that's right on the budget! Do visit our brighter and better website for trip details. Or click on the thumbnail above for a larger screenshot of the tour flyer.

This is ideal for honeymooners or those celebrating their wedding anniversary. Hurry, available for a limited period only. This is a real steal!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Update on the Ukay-Ukay

We'd like to thank the generous parishioners who donated their gym equipment, clothes, shoes, books, bags, etc. to the garage sale a.k.a. "ukay-ukay" organized by Youth Alive at the Parish of St. Benedict, Don Antonio Heights, Q.C.

The sale is ongoing. Remaining dates are May 12, 13, 19, and 20.

The Knights of the Altar, together with the Angelus Choir and the Junior Choir, have been really active in the pricing and selling of goods. We're hoping to send their representatives to the next World Youth Day, in Sydney '08.

If you live near the area, do visit the parish grounds on the above dates, Saturdays 1-6 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except while 10-11 a.m. mass is ongoing).

Thanks and God bless!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ukay-Ukay for World Youth Day

The next World Youth Day will be held in July 2008 in Sydney, Australia.

The Youth Ministry of the Parish of St. Benedict is planning to send delegates from among the Junior Choir, the Knights of the Altar, and the members of Youth Alive!.

To help raise funds for this, the members of Youth Alive!, Don Antonio Chapter, will be doing a “white elephant” sale or an “ukay-ukay”.

In view of this, we would like to request for donations of just anything you have at home that you want to dispose of. These may be old clothes, shoes, etc., which can still be used.

You may drop them off at the parish office or if you want them picked up, please call 932-6521.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kababayan Trekking Packages!

Good news! DiscoverPH offers friendly rates for our kababayan:

1. Taal Volcano Trek - May 2, 2007 -

  • In partnership with GALA Unlimited Professional Tour Services Company
  • Includes car hire, boat ride to Taal Volcano, tourism fee, trek guide and lunch.
  • P9,000 for 1 pax; P6,000 each for 2 pax.

2. Banaue Trekking Tour - May 3-6, 2007

  • Join our Travel Expert Felix Baguilat (DiscoverPH Expedition Guide who hails from Kiangan, Ifugao) for a Banaue Trekking Tour
  • For only Php15,000 (1 person) or P10,000 each for 2 pax
  • Includes ALL fees, transpo, food and lodging.
  • Route barangays: Pula, Cambulo, Batad, and Banaue
  • All pristine terraces villages and treks galore.
This is a special Pinoy discounted rate. Confirm now! Deadline is Friday, April 27, 2007.
Text Ella 0917-5204832. Or email me at


Monday, April 23, 2007

Youth Alive Summer Program (YASP)

April 23, 2007

Dear Sir/ Madam:

Happy Easter! We are pleased to inform you that this summer, the youth have a worthwhile program to attend in the Parish of St. Benedict, Don Antonio Heights, Quezon City. We are currently conducting the Youth Alive Summer Program (Y.A.S.P.).

Youth Alive! is the youth ministry of the Missionaries of God's Love and is headed by Fr. Brian Steele, mgl, also the youth chaplain of our parish. Fr. Steve Tynan, mgl, our parish priest, and Fr. Geoffrey Coombe, mgl, our assistant parish priest, are resource speakers, along with young volunteers from different communities and ministries in and around the parish.

Each session is packed with songs, presentations, movies, and discussions. We cover topics for Christian youth such as God's love, Jesus Christ's life and mission, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the new life that He brings. We teach the youth to pray, dance, sing, and thus enjoy their Christian faith. We also have picnics, games, and outings lined up.

We are inviting everyone from ages 14 to 25 who reside near Don Antonio Heights to join us. So far we have registered 70 85 participants in just three days! We have sessions every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The sessions started last April 17, 2007 and will end on May 31.

We serve refreshments every session. It is in this light that we seek your support. We are looking for generous sponsors to donate in cash or in kind to cover snacks for approximately 60-80 people. Some people have extended help already, but so far we still need to provide for 11 sessions.

You may get in touch with Nitz at the parish office at 9316521 should you decide to make a contribution to this worthwhile endeavor. You may also visit us during our sessions. Please pray that this program would transform young hearts and minds into passionate, committed followers of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

May the Risen Lord be a source of hope for you and your family. Thank you.

Yours in Christ,

(Sgd.) Ella C.H. del Rosario
Youth Alive Core Team

Noted by:

(Sgd.) Fr. Brian Steele, mgl

Youth Chaplain, St. Benedict's

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Summer Trekking Packages!

Summer is the best time to discover the beauty and wonder of our own islands.

DiscoverPH is pleased to announce two package tours. Grab them now, limited slots only!

1.) Trek to
Taal Volcano in Tagaytay - May 2, Day trip. Don't just view Taal Volcano from a distance! Have a guided tour of Taal Lake, take the boat ride, and go on an exciting trek to this interesting volcano, which is not as small as it seems. We've teamed up with GALA Unlimited Professional Tour Services Company for an unforgettable, DiscoverPh experience!

2.) Adventure Trekking to Ifugao Rice Terraces - May 2 (evening) - May 6 (evening). For the active adventurers out there, this is your chance to have a close up and personal guided trek literally through our famous rice terraces. Bring your backpacks and sleeping bags and prepare to rough it up hiking around select indigenous World Heritage Banaue Rice Terraces Towns namely Batad, Cambullo and Pula. En route to the Banaue viewpoint is the market center where cultural crafts, wood carvings and Ifugao garments are on sale. Sunday Mass goers will get a chance to see the local Cathedral at the capitol of the province in Lagawe. There is a modest Tappiyah water falls in Batad terraces (about 100 feet) to cool the summer heat. Get a chance to walk through and touch from different, magnificent angles the UNESCO declared World Heritage Site, locally known as the eighth wonder of the world. You will also have direct contact with the indigenous peoples of the Ifugao communities. No need to bring camping tents as most communities will house the travelers under the native Ifugao House. We've teamed up with the best local mountain guides to ensure an exhilarating yet safe expedition for you.

Rates vary depending on number of people. If you're interested, do e-mail us at on or before
April 22, 2007.

The DiscoverPH Team

Monday, April 2, 2007

Wonder of the Ancient World

Well, I was laying the predicate in my previous post, for I knew that I was going to Beijing to see the Great Wall of China, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World!

Although they're not all in the same category, I've seen seven wonders of the world already!

I wasn't able to scale the top of the Great Wall (we were brought to the steepest portion) due to the severe heat and my vertigo, but I got close enough to take pictures for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

I also visited Tian'anmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace while I was in Beijing.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly, with a tour guide all to myself because the couple I shared her with were Chinese and thus familiar with all the trivia she was offering, and the other couple didn't bother to show up because it rained that morning. I paid for a private tour for the price of a public tour. Not a bad deal, huh. I oohed and aahed at the sight of so much jade, silk, and pearl in Beijing.

I wished I had paid more attention to World History class in high school so that I could have an intelligent conversation with my Chinese tour guide. Instead I relied on my vague recollections of names and events from movies and books.

I also tasted the famous Peking Duck together with heavenly scallops and broccoli, aromatic fresh tea, authentic noodles and dimsum, and other culinary delights while I was in China. I had memorable meals at a restaurant serving Singaporean cuisine behind the Shanghai Exhibition Center, for they served the best lunch that we had in our four days there. The other restaurants we tried were disappointing. In Beijing, we went to famous restaurants and hotels so it more than made up for the pathetic meals we had in Shanghai.

Shopping was fabulous at Shanghai, however, and that was our priority more than the dining experience, and we went crazy, what with name brands at knock-down prices (the world is made in China, remember?), souvenirs at friendly, bargainable rates, and shopping areas the length of Commonwealth Avenue (from back home in Quezon City).

My travel partner and I worked hard during the day promoting DiscoverPH, a Philippine travel website, during the World Travel Fair, and scoured the streets of Shanghai for great finds every night. We capped each event with caramel macchiato from Starbucks, which somehow tasted so much creamier and better in spring-cold Shanghai than in summer-humid Manila.

Which reminds me, I found that as a good excuse to go to Starbucks, to compare if the caramel macchiato here also improved its taste. I should go on Easter Week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Shimmering Shanghai

I'm blogging from Shanghai and there are Chinese characters on my screen. Good thing I've memorized the blogger New Post page that's why I can survive based on symbols alone.

I'm here to attend the World Travel Fair at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. After my friend and I arrived at the hotel, we took an adventure trip around the city and were lost in translation with the taxi driver. We ended up at The New Bund area (definitely not where we asked to be brought, but it was ok). We saw a breath-taking view of the buildings surrounding the Huangpu River. Some call this area "a gallery of world architecture" and count it as one of the Ten Best Scenic Spots in Shanghai.

It was a blessing in disguise that our cab driver did not take us to where we pointed at the map - which was an area within walking distance from our hotel anyway. At least without intending to, we got a glimpse of the crystal lights at the New Bund and its multinational-design buildings. We got to feel the rhythm of the city and got excited at what was in store for us in the coming days. We had a walk at the People's Square and People's Park and took each other's pictures.

Tomorrow we'll be working hard so I'd better get some shuteye. I'll upload photos soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Six Out of Seven

I have actually seen only six out of the different lists of Seven World Wonders. These are:

1. The Grand Canyon (U.S.);
2. The Golden Gate Bridge (U.S.);
3. Hoover Dam (U.S.);
4. The Petronas Towers (Malaysia);
5. The Banaue Rice Terraces (Philippines); and
6. Sydney Opera House (Australia).

I have places to go and people to meet. I gotta go!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Kayaking at the Hundred Islands

My friend is organizing this. You may want to confirm early, limited slots only.

Philippine Kayaking Association (PKA)

in coordination with

Hundred Islands Eco Tours Association (HIETA)


and to explore the gems of the HUNDRED ISLANDS


This will be our first trip to offer a well-rounded kayaking course and adventure experience in Hundred Islands. Be among the first to experience our safe and quality trips. This comes complete with lessons conducted by a fully-trained team, kayaks, masks and snorkels, trip leaders and guides, all meals and snacks, and a motorized support boat to tour the remaining islands. Personal accident insurance coverage of P750,000 included.

Our schedule for this trip is as follows:

First Day

7:30 am Assemble and board motorized banca at Lucap Wharf

8:00am Arrive at Governor’s Island/ Breakfast

9:30am Start kayaking lessons

12:00pm Lunch

1:30pm Continue kayaking lessons/ Practice drills and runs

5:00pm Head back to Governor’s Island

5:30pm Wind down with a glass of red wine, cheese and cold cuts

7:00pm Dinner/Camp out on Governor’s Island

Second Day

6:00am Trek to View Deck (optional) to see your kayaking route

7:00am Breakfast

8:30am Continue kayaking lessons

10:00am Head out and do practice runs to different Hundred Island Gems (white sand beaches, caves, giant clams, mangroves, bird watching)

12:00pm Lunch in one of the islands/ Swim and snorkel

2:00pm Graduation run

5:00pm Arrive in Quezon Island/ Prepare to head back to Lucap

5:30pm Leave Quezon Island

6:00pm Arrive in Lucap

Rate per person : P5,000.00

Manila to Alaminos City to Lucap, our jump off point, is a five-hour trip by car. You may opt to take air-conditioned buses (Victory from Cubao) to Alaminos City, where we will meet you for a15-minute jeepney ride to Lucap wharf. You have to leave Manila Friday 11pm.

Details : Please contact Felix Baguilat 0917-8856299