Saturday, December 27, 2008

Last Post for the Year 2008

I'm posting this early because as 2008 bids us adieu, we will be busy with a flurry of activities. We have scheduled a day trip to Tagaytay. We will boldly invade some malls for their year end sales. And most likely welcome 2009 holed in at the condo with bountiful food and a few Dvds to entertain us as the whole country implodes with a very loud and noisy cacophony of firecrackers and fireworks.

2008 was a great year for me.
I was blessed with abundance in all aspects and in every sense of the word.
I am grateful for having supportive parents and a very generous sister.
I am equally thankful for marrying a guy with a big heart.
I am lucky to have experienced out of town trips.
I am amazed I turned 40 years old and not feel my age.
I'm impressed with the places I visited like like the Manila Ocean Park, the Nayong Pilipino and Intramuros.
I am happy that my blog has been publishing for 5 years now.
I am appreciative of the faithful readers of my blog(s).
I've received and continue to accumulate more blessings from the Almighty with the loving support of my family and of course my beloved husband.
It was definitely a year filled with many milestones as well as cherished moments and everything else in between which fill(ed) my little heart with so much love and happiness.

So let me conclude by saying thank you, maraming salamat po, merci beaucoup for your continuous patronage of my blog. Here's to more blogging posts for all of us in the year 2009. =)

Friday, December 26, 2008

'Tis the day after Christmas

It seems like only a few months ago when the TV networks started their countdown to Christmas. It finally came and we celebrated solemnly by hearing Mass at 10pm at St Fr@ncis and got home just in time to prepare the Noche Buena feast. This year we had Pancit Malabon (which we ordered from C0rrie's) together with Puto Binan, Fiesta Ham, Queso de Bola, Chicken Ham (for the parents), Chicken Galantina, my Beef Sopas (it was a huge hit! Yehey) and for dessert we had fruit salad and kakanin (sapin sapin and biko).

C0rrie's Pancit Malabon

Noche Buena feast

We (my sister and I) slept at around 2am after cleaning all the dishes and trying to find enough space in the ref to put away all the leftovers in Tupperware containers.

On Christmas day itself we decided to just stay in after we saw the news reports that massive crowds were gathered at malls. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at the condo munching on paksiw, fried tilapia along with the Noche Buena leftovers. Then after dinner, we all settled down in front of the TV to watch a bootleg copy of "Tweeeelight". For want of something to watch, really. It was fun though hearing the snide remarks of 5 very critical movie viewers all talking at the same time while the plot of a human - vampire (young) love story was unfolding in all its blurry glory. It was a Captain Jack Sparrow copy, after all. Ho ho ho!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

So far, I've mailed Christmas cards to my relatives and closest friends.

I've done the rounds of the tiangges (all in one day!) to do my Christmas shopping. Last Saturday, we went to the Noel Bazaar at the WTC (World Trade Center), the bazaar at Tiendesitas and ended the day at the COD Christmas bazaar in Greenhills. By the way, by shopping I mean I bought new clothes for just me, myself and I!

I've helped D gift wrap the presents for his 7 inaanaks. That was really quite a pleasant activity. Much to my utter surprise, D is a master at wrapping gifts. He even accentuates the wrapper to create those mini folds. Me, I admit I'm really lousy at gift wrapping. There is a reason the gift bag was invented, you know. For lazy people like me to simply insert the gift inside and write on the gift tag. :D

Tomorrow D and I are heading over to the condo to join my family in celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first time in my entire existence, I will actually be cooking something to add to the dining table along with the traditional Noche Buena fare like queso de bola, fiesta ham and pancit. I will be cooking my favorite recipe - beef sopas!

Let me end by wishing everyone a very meaningful Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Field Trip

Yesterday, we headed to the Clark Freeport Zone. Zipping through the NLEX which has greatly improved in terms of road quality, readily available emergency facilities and its efficient rest stops (mini mall like ambiance), we were there in less than 2 hours.

Since we had snack at one of the rest stops, we headed straight to the Clark Expo. More specifically the Nayong Pilipino. You can find replicas of some of the famous landmarks in our country like the Barasoain Church and Colonial Plazas. There are also regional houses which were categorized as Ifugao, Kalinga and Kapampangan villages. Sad to say, Nayong Pilipino was pretty deserted and we were the only people roaming around the premises. A quick lunch at a local eatery gave us more energy to continue our itinerary.

Next stop was the Clark Museum which is located right across the sprawling Parade ground. The original site of Fort Stotsenburg which was named after Colonel John M. Stotsenburg, a Captain of the 6th US Cavalry. The massive fort was the location of the first permanent quarters of the American forces in Sapang Bato, Angeles. The Clark Museum which is also known as Museo Kapampangan traces the history of the US military presence in the Philippines, features Philippine military history and has an elaborate Mount Pinatubo exhibit. It also presents Clark as a former US military base and its evolution into a special economic zone as depicted in pictures, dioramas, replicas, murals and artifacts. It was really interesting from a military/historical point of view especially for a gal like me who knows zilch about Philippine history.

Then we hit several duty free shops. With nothing particular in mind nor a list of items to buy, we merely browsed through the Px goods. Mentally calculating the price which was quoted in US dollars, there were some items which are considerably cheaper there than at the malls like Tasters Choice coffee and all those sinful Hershey kisses and chocolate bars!

By 5:30pm we headed back towards the metropolis, catching a fading glimpse of the imposing Mount Arayat as it loomed in the distance. Since we were already hungry from all the walking we did, we decided to have an early dinner at the Mega Station rest stop located somewhere in the San Fernando vicinity of Pampanga. We ate at Razon's which tasted way better than their outlets at food courts in the malls. I had skinless longganisa which is a personal favorite of mine, I could eat it for every single meal for the rest of my life and not complain one bit!

This post would have been a lot more interesting to read if it had captioned pictures to describe my fun filled day. But alas for some strange reason the compact flash memory got corrupted so I cannot retrieve the shots. I am way beyond sad that I cannot recover the pictures. But I am still hoping that I can still get them somehow! But suffice to say, the photographs cannot really capture the memorable moments I had during our family outing. =)

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Chalice: another Wedding anecdote

I've been sharing snippets about my married life since I tied the knot last May 15, 2008 to mark the months as they quickly go by.

On our first month it was Father's day.
For our 2nd month, I recounted a somewhat embarrassing yet funny incident.
My entry for the 3rd month was a meme.
We were physically apart for our 4th month.
I was probably all caught up with my 40th birthday that I totally forgot to write an entry to mark our 5th month.
Last month I posted about 6 random things I've discovered so far about our married life.

Well kindly allow me to narrate a certain Eucharistic ritual during our wedding. For the communion ceremony, the priest approached us with the bread and wine which represents the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I had to feed D the Host and he did the same. Then I was offered to partake of the sacramental wine. I took a sip then gave the chalice to D. He merely took a sip then returned it to Father Uy@m. But the priest told D he had to drink it till the last drop!

Well you see D doesn't drink alcoholic beverages. If he drinks too much or even merely a sip, he turns beet red and develops some rashes on his arms. I believe he is allergic. And even if he wasn't allergic, he just never took a liking for beverages with alcoholic content. Well unfortunately, he was "forced" to finish all of the wine. As he gulped it all down for what seemed like several minutes, I noticed his discomfort. He suddenly turned really red. I started fanning him and saw that he was starting to perspire. Since we were both kneeling with the cord and the veil around our shoulders, he couldn't sit down for a few seconds to sustain himself. So I just kept on fanning him. I even managed to joke that had I known we had to finish the wine, I would have drank the whole chalice. Yet it would have been embarrassing if he handed the cup back to me to gulp it all down, right? Well, thankfully after several minutes, he regained his composure and returned to his normal charming self and the ceremony proceeded without any hitches.

Today we mark the 7th month of our alcohol free marriage! =)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Great Gift Ideas

It's the season to be jolly as well as the season to shop, shop and shop for novelty gift items to give our loved and not so loved ones! It is quite appropriate that Pexagon is offering 20% off for their personalized holiday gifts until the end of this year.

Their innovative items include:
Opp-300x300 Personalized Thumb Drives which is available in 14 colors with up to 16GB in capacity with FREE custom laser engraving! You can choose from one of their 32 exciting themes and engrave two lines of personalization text on the reverse side.

Personalized Pens - they offer 3 unique styles, multiple colors and a FREE line of personalized laser engraved text!

Business Card Flash Drives - these are like business cards which have a small USB cable at the back side (huge 2GB capacity) while the front side can be engraved for FREE with 3 lines of personalization text.

And my personal favorites are these really cute wooden USB Flash Drives. They are environment-friendly, wooden design with attached cap and two color choices. Available in 2GB and 4GB capacities with 2-sided custom laser engraving absolutely free.

I love USB Flash Drives they hold all my important files, documents and pictures for backup and storage purposes. Because in this virus prone age, we can never be quite sure nor safe from unscrupulous hackers corrupting our system.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

Yesterday my dear hubby surprised me with a few tricks up his sleeves. He came home from work as usual at 3pm (on Mondays). I prepared his late lunch then went up to resume my normal online activities. I could hear him tinkering with something. Eventually I needed to answer the call of nature and that's when I noticed something new on the curtains. There were lights in the shape of grapes adorning it. I was thrilled. I gave him a kiss and went back up. Or rather he told me to go back up. Little did I know he had another surprise. Several hours later it was news time (6:30pm) so I switch off my computer to take my seat in front of the TV.

This is what greeted me downstairs. Our very own "Christmas tree" pasted on the door of our wash area. Cute, isn't it? He shaped the lights into a tree and it even has a star on top. How ingeniously clever and artistic!

This is how it looks like all lighted up at night. Bless him for awakening the Christmas spirit in little Scrooge me! I spent the whole night watching the lights twinkle in the arms of an adorable guy who brings me so much joy. =)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Passport renewal

Yesterday, I was really excited to get my passport renewed. Yes I know inane stuff like that can get me excited. Go figure!

Anyways, I had everything ready. My 3 passport size pictures with blue background. The application form filled up. The photo copies of the first 3 pages of my old passport. My original marriage contract as well as photocopies. I even availed of their online facility where I was able to set an appointment for the processing of my new passport. I was designated a slot for Dec. 03, 2008 from 3 to 4pm, Gate 2.

So I was all set or so I thought.

I get there by 2:45pm and go straight to Gate 2. I wait for my turn and sit on one of those long white benches. You know where there are a bunch of people sitting and you end up wiping the bench with your behind as you inch your way towards the counter. Naturally at situations like these, you end up scrutinizing the person next to you, even manage to strike some polite conversation. It turns out the guy beside me has been there 3 times. He came all the way from Bulacan and always by some stroke of bad luck got stuck there by 5pm thus the numerous return to the DFA. It is funny how when you start making conversation you hardly notice that soon enough it is already your turn at the counter.

So I give the lady my documents. She checked her list to see if I was really scheduled for that day. Then she proceeded to verify my documents. I was asked for the original copy of my marriage contract. I hand it to her. She tells me it isn't the proper MC. It should be a MC on a secure paper authenticated by the NSO or a CTC (Certified True Copy) of the MC from the Civil Registrar Office of the city hall where I got married. I was puzzled. I told her that is the only MC, I was given by the Church. And that I have only been married for a little over 6 months. She politely tells me it has to be authenticated by NSO. Either that or I can apply for a new passport using my maiden name. I was disappointed. But rules are rules and I couldn't really argue with her. She is merely doing her job.

So my excitement turned to disappointment! I just shrugged my shoulders and hurriedly left the building. Useless insisting they issue me a passport if my documents are incomplete. Oh well.

I'm just thankful I can apply for it online. I don't exactly cherish my NSO experience last year when D & I applied for the CTC of our birth certificates and for the CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage). It is really such a waste of time, day and effort to cater to these bureaucratic agencies.

Now after reading the NSO website, apparently there is a time frame of 2-4 months after the wedding before you can apply for an authenticated Marriage Contract. Well it has been over 6 months, hopefully there is already a record of our marriage somewhere in the archives of the NSO. Or else I hate to think of the hassle of going to the Quezon City Hall, visit the Civil Registrar office, get the document and go all the way to the NSO to have it authenticated. Phew just typing about the procedure is giving me heart palpitations. Hopefully (keeping fingers crossed) our MC is already at the NSO.

Here I thought I would have a new passport before this year ended. I guess not!