Friday, August 31, 2012

Good for the environment

Starting tomorrow, the 1st of September, Quezon City will be implementing a plastic free ordinance. This means groceries, supermarkets as well as restaurants will be using paper bags instead of issuing plastic bags. Now if you still want to use plastic bags, you'd have to pay 2 pesos per bag.

Sure, I'm in agreement with this ordinance. I always bring an extra tote bag with me so now it will serve its purpose. I'd probably have to bring two, one for canned good and the other for perishables.  

This brings me to our trip in Hong Kong, last year. It took me some time to get used to the fact that they don't issue plastic bags there.  I felt like a fool when I went to a pharmacy to buy contact lens solution and I was just standing there waiting for the sales staff to bag my purchase. Until I realized I could just take the item and leave.  No wonder, I'd see men walking around with a bottle of oil or a bar of soap.  Isn't it just like guys not to bring tote bags?

My only fear is that once this ordinance is in place,  there might be accusations of shoplifting. Although it is relatively safe in Hong Kong to assume that most items you carry have been properly paid for, I'm not sure it is quite the same here.  But let's just give each other the benefit of the doubt.

I believe it is time we do our fair share for the protection of the environment. Every time it rains you see tons of trash floating and clogging the drainage system. Not to mention the tons of garbage which washed ashore near the Manila Bay area.  It was really a sight for sore eyes. But then I noticed during relief operations in flooded areas, NGOs would put canned goods, instant noodles and rice in the ubiquitous plastic bag.

Now isn't that contradictory?  Tsk!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Customer Service

One of my pet peeves is bad service. We all pay exorbitant fees every month yet when the service provided is not up to par, we suffer the consequences.
First you have to deal with their customer service hotline. Most of the time, you are on hold for several minutes before a call agent will process your repair request. When you ask them when the technician would show up, they give you the standard line of within 24 hours. Now that could mean anytime from 8 am to 5pm even on weekends. So you are left with the notion of staying at home waiting waiting and waiting some more for them to show up. Of course, I'm always at home but it doesn't mean I can just put everything on hold. Last month, I was taking a shower when the darn technician showed up. He was about to leave when he thought there was nobody home. I had to rush out to unlock the gate in my semi-washed state with wet hair.

Sometimes, they DON'T show up within 24 hours. There was an instance when they didn't come after 3 days of constant waiting. I got so frustrated I tweeted them at their official site. I thought I could rattle them to act by bombarding them with tweets. But I learned the hard way that I wasn't important enough for them to notice my plea. Unlike some celebrities who merely tweet their complaints and before you can say TWEET their requests are attended to within hours. That's not fair! How about the ordinary clientele who have to endure bad service?

In times like these, I wish I lived in a place where one phone call can fix your concerns. For several years, my sister was based in the Lion City. She told me that every service provider company is computerized with a centralized hotline, so you simply call them and your problems are solved within the hour. No need for a technician to come over. How efficient is that? So convenient, and very hassle free. They value your time so they make things very easy.

I wonder when that sort of service will be readily available in our beloved nation. Probably never, sadly.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I usually set goals for myself in quarterly installments. This is entirely based on our finances which earn very measly interests every 3 months. Even though I diligently save every month, it is still very difficult to budget accordingly for us to live comfortably.

For the last quarter of this year, I was hoping I could gift myself with a laptop for my birthday. Then it was decided, we'll be spending the Yuletide holidays in HK ergo my birthday wish just went up in flames. You see, Harriet has been very moody these past days, she won't switch on even though I've tried numerous times. But on the other hand, I'm thankful I have D's old reliable computer which I can use every time Harriet throws a tantrum.

I would just have to postpone my 'desire' for next year. Much to my chagrin, there seems to be a lot of postponing going on, lately. But I am a firm believer in prioritizing so for now I will switch my mind towards dreaming about dimsum, Star Ferry and pleasant cool climate. After all, family bonding time is priceless!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Natal day

My father turned 76 yesterday. I'm very grateful he is considerably still in good health, still witty as ever and remains young at heart. A simple family man whose main passion is watching movies. Yes, I inherited that passion from him.

So I knew exactly what to get him for his birthday. His eyes lighted up when he opened his gift. Since he isn't tech savvy, he has missed a lot of films which aren't shown in local cinemas. So I trooped to the nearest video shop (yes thankfully they still exist!) and purchased 5 DVDs for his viewing pleasure.

Then it was lunch at our fave resto for birthday treats - Mr Choi at Robinsons's Galleria.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


My very first printer was a freebie that came with the desktop I bought in the mid 1990s. I used to print out pages and pages of the episodes of a soap opera drama so my mother could read them. Back then, ink cartridges were these chunky pieces that were as big as my arm.

When we relocated back here, I traded in that old printer with a new one. This in turn was mainly used by my sister when she took her masters in International Relations. She would print out volumes of reference materials which were needed for her night classes.

When I got married, I inherited a small handy printer which now sits permanently beside my monitor. Its main purpose is to print out e-tickets, class records for D as well as any articles I find interesting online that I wish to share with my parents as they are not computer savvy. I try to minimize using it as ink cartridges although smaller in size are still a bit pricey. An added expense into our savings that isn't welcomed by cheapstake me!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey

Being a non conformist, I stay away from current raves and trends. I would be the first one to run in the opposite direction. But strangely enough, I was really curious about this erotic novel aka Mommy Porn. What that entails, I wouldn't know, I'm not a mom.

Last month, I finally got the courage to purchase it but it was out of stock at the nearest book store. I say courage because strange as it sounds, I felt embarrassed to be seen buying this novel. In the same manner, one feels when one buys a pregnancy test kit. Regardless of the fact that I am a married woman in her 40s, I still felt uneasy. One day all 3 novels of the trilogy found its way to my inbox c/o a generous blogger named Duds whom I have thanked profusely!

I had to get used to the fact that I had to read it on my desktop and not in the comforts of my bed. I'm not complaining because it had its advantages. One, I didn't fall asleep as I read it while seated. Two, I could click it off whenever I noticed I kept rolling my eyes from despair. A gesture that the erstwhile Mr GreY won't take too lightly.

The storyline itself is quite preposterous. A young virgin is swooned off her feet by a wealthy handsome control freak with a very dark personality. But he isn't a DOM type, he is only 27 years old! At 22, AnastaSia StEelE is quite innocent in every sense of the word. Yet once she becomes a willing victim to his perverted ways (even though she never did sign the contract), she turns into a nymphomaniac that can climax several times in one day. Geez. Now that's something else, right there.

Despite the poor writing style, the two main characters progress well. We are able to see some growth as there is a constant struggle between them to compromise. But in the process, they still retain their personalities however foolish (Ana) and convoluted (GreY) they may be.

I was pretty ambivalent about the rampant and quite graphic sex parts. It didn't get me all flushed (like Ana) nor evoke any arousal. Honestly, I've read more provocative books. But hey I don't make it a habit of including erotica among my reading list. let's just get that clear. I didn't think the sex was too much. In fact it just permeated how sickening the male character was. My main issue is the number of times she was able to climax. Alright, yes she is only in her early twenties and at that stage, we all know hormones are raging like wildfires but still it is way too unrealistic.

By using simple and basic words to narrate the story, the author has targeted the young adults market. A demographic that I feel would be too immature to handle such a seriously dark theme. It might give them the idea that it is perfectly fine to be a damsel in distress submissive type just because the guy is rich, attractive with a magnetic effect over you. It is never OK to be in an abusive relationship, period.

I end by stating that girls/women may think and even firmly believe that they can change a guy by manipulation BUT take it from me, it is best you give it a rest because it is quite impossible. You have to accept a person for who he is, warts, private playroom et al, and once you got that in the bag, it can be smooth sailing from hence forth. But in the process, you must also be responsibly mature enough to know it won't always be a smooth ride, there will be quite a number of challenges that will float your way. It is how you handle these obstacles that will ultimately define who you are.

I don't really love the book nor do I loathe it with a passion. I just read it with an open mind. I am reminded of the adage "One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist". So in this case, I'd have to say "One person's chick lit is another person's trashy novel".

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Little White Lies

It turns out 3rd apartment is vacant once again. So potential tenants come for a look see. As much as possible I keep to myself. I don't loiter in the common area. Sometimes, you'd barely know I was present. I keep a low profile. I keep myself busy with online activities.

But the other day, I rushed out to get the towels as it suddenly started to rain. I ran smack into a couple who were there for the viewing. Well not literally, but figuratively. Usually it is the maid of the owner who accompanies the potential tenants. After she left, I was cornered by the couple who posed some questions. The usual concerns about safety, flooding tendency and the neighborhood.

I didn't tell them that we had one incidence of burglary. That the street floods when it pours but it subsides easily once the rains stop. Unless, it is an "Ondoy" type downpour then it enters the apartment premises but only ankle deep. Or sure you can park your car inside the common area but I'd be glad if you don't because it invades our personal space. And hey I'm quite territorial so I get all claustrophobic when apartment 2 neighbors park their car near our front door. That we keep the gate locked at all times to prevent the usual peddlers as well as Jehovah Witnesses and other evangelical groups from knocking on our doors trying to convert us into their sects. That tricycles rev on by with the volume of their stereos at full blast thus causing the car alarm of car parked inside premises to disturb the so called peace and quiet of this residential neighborhood.

So sure I lied by saying that it was a safe, flood free neighborhood. I felt it wasn't my place to convey a negative image. In due time, they will just have to find out the way we did and hopefully they don't silent curse me for not warning them about the 'perils'. After all, I believe these challenges are all part and parcel of what makes life in the metropolis quite an absorbingly intriguing experience.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A little bird told me

It took me a while to join the TwitTeR bandwagon. But when I did, boy did it alter my view about this social medium of disseminating information. I was able to instantly inform my parents about that brazen robbery at the money changer in that mall in Ortigas. They were just about to head over there for some errands.

I get weather bulletins and flood warning advisories every hour. Especially in times like these when the southwest monsoon rains seem to permanently park its wet behind in our neck of the woods.

I also get inspirational quotes which brighten an otherwise bleak day. Along with funny, laugh out loud jokes which always put me in a good mood. Some of them are too raunchy but hey I'm an adult and it's the laughter that counts, right?

It is also a good source of getting breaking news as they unfold. Updates on the events as they occur and instant feedback after it happened. Either political, social, sports or showbiz news - they all matter in some significant manner.

But not all twe3ts make good fodder. There are really mean individuals out there who have nothing better to do than to bash, malign, bully and harass other people. Surely, you'd say that freedom of speech is a right. Yet to openly destroy the reputation of another human being is just foul and evil. Scandals, libelous statements can just erupt out of the blue from unverified sources.

Twe3t wars are truly damaging but I'd have to admit they are fascinating to read. So does that make me part of the problem as an innocent bystander who likes to fester on gossip? Or is it just natural for humanity to be intrigued by salacious and malicious content? Either way, I believe it is best we still practice good manners and show restraint when we twe3t.


Although I believe that it is a good way to disseminate information, I also believe it shouldn't be the only way that people can get updates. It only works if you have an internet connection and/or a smartphone, otherwise you are just like the big percentage of the populace who remain clueless, uninformed and out of the loop.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A missive

Dear Tropical Storm Helen,

We, the people living in NCR (National Capital Region) and its nearby environs would greatly appreciate it if you won't cause too much damage to human lives and properties.
I understand you are a storm. Torrential rains, strong winds with lightning and thunder bolts all encompass your scope.
But have mercy on the populace who live under bridges, in low lying areas, in areas prone to landslides and/or near the coast. They have suffered way too much already. Their lives are disrupted for months as they make do in crowded evacuation centers.
Education is stalled as public schools are turned into temporary relief centers for those displaced citizenry.
Make up classes would have to be conducted with the kids feet soaked in flood waters.
Diseases like the flu, dengue and the lethal leptospirosis are now very rampant.
Traffic is at a standstill as huge potholes make our roads look like the moon with its craters.
On a personal note, I get really worried as our street floods easily. The roof still leaks even though the contractor sent by our landlord allegedly fixed it, a couple of days ago. Darn it!
There is just too much at stake. So please give us a break. But if you must do your thing, make it a quickie!

Dazed and Drenched,
D@phn3 L@urA

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to regular programming

I was supposed to spend just one night but it developed into 5 nights due to the heavy monsoon rains. The devastation was really horrific. The torrential rains brought massive floods and inundated several barangays which merited major evacuations for those living in low lying areas.

So while I was nicely tucked in in the comforts of my 12th floor condo unit, my thoughts were with my hubby who decided to hold fort in Q.C. As men are won't to do, they prefer to stay behind to watch over personal belongings. Our apartment lies in the catch basin part of the street. So when it rains, the water rises and rises until it reaches our gate. Thankfully, the rains rhythm would slow down, the waters would subside so there will be dry intervals. I always told anyone who cared to listen that our area *is* a rainforest because during 'normal' rainy days, the volume of precipitation in this vicinity is always quite substantial. So just imagine how it was during the deluge.

So while I was safe and dry, with only the TV to keep me entertained during those 5 nights, it felt utterly selfish to long for the company of Harriet and my DSL connection. The fact that I couldn't check my emails, read updates on FB and Twitter was painful but I slowly and eventually numbed the yearning.

I kept berating myself that I forgot to print out some pages of "50 shades of Grey" from my desktop so I could read it while I was 'stranded'. I rummaged through the book shelf and rediscovered "Oliver's Story" by Erich Segal. The book was tattered and torn, it had my mother's signature on the front page (we have this habit of signing books we read) and it was dated August 12, 1974. Wow I was only 6 years old. I was totally engrossed with Oliver and Marcie's love story as opposed to the turbulent relationship between Anatasia and Christian. Segal is certainly a far more superior writer than what's her name author. Yet I promised myself I will read every trashy bit even if it I have to "roll my eyes" ever so often. :D

I am glad that the rains aren't as heavy and as frequent as the last few days. Although as I type this entry, there is a heavy downpour yet again. It feels good to be reunited with Harriet, Anatasia and my hubby. Of course, not necessarily in that order.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


Oh it's been ages since I've done a meme. I got this from PM's blog.

(1)Three names you go by: Daph, Net and Honey Bunchy :D

(2) Three facts about yourself: I'm a Libra. The vitamins I take regularly are Vitamin E, C and Folic Acid. Scrabble is the only game I play on FB.

(3) Three things that happened today: Well for me it would be yesterday (Saturday) Mark Barriga, our boxer at the Olympics failed to advance to the next round. There was a big rally held at the Edsa Shrine for those against the RH Bill. Fyi, I'm pro-RH! Our dial tone was finally restored.

(4) Three favorite songs right now: "Moves like Jagger" by Maroon 5. "Lost in Space" by Lighthouse Family. "Will you still love me tomorrow?" Amy Winehouse's version.

(5) Three breakfast foods you enjoy: Oatmeal, Toasted Bread with Cheese, Yogurt.

(6) Three things on your current to-do list: Watch "DKR", buy a birthday gift for my Dad, watch "Bourne Legacy".

(7) Three colors you like: Blue, Orange, Beige.

(8) Three words you think others would use to describe you: Taciturn, Reticent, Aloof.

(9) Three objects you can’t be without: Lip balm, Mineral Water, Internet connection

(10) Three ways to win your heart: Movies, Good conversation, Humility

(11) Three favorite movies: "City of Angels", "Amelie", "2 Days in Paris"

(12) Three appetizers you enjoy: Clam Chowder, Lumpiang Shanghai, Quail Egg Siomai.

(13) Three places you’ve lived: New Delhi (India), Brussels (Belgium), Dubai (UAE)

(14) Three important people in your life: Parents, Sister and Hubby

(15) Three things you want to say to three different people: "I'm so sorry for your lost", "Please clear your sked so your plan will bear fruit", "I want some Twister fries!"

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Mind over Matter

In the spirit of overthinking, I notice that most of the time, I think faster than I can write and/or talk.
Case in point, I discover I would type/write the wrong word when I am composing a blog entry. But in my mind, I know it is correct. It is only upon reading my draft that I notice the discrepancy. Strange thing is even if I read it over and over again, I still see the correct words in my subconscious. Then several days later when I go over my entries, I notice glaring mistakes.

This characteristic is also prominent when I talk. In my hurry to say something, I would start to mumble words. Sometimes D would ask me to repeat myself as I would mumble incomprehensibly. It is worst when I speak in Tagalog as I have an issue with conjugation. But this stems from the fact that I only started speaking our language when I first set foot in high school, 25 years ago.

It is an embarrassing trait, honestly. I come across as dumb. A bad speller. Or worse a user of bad grammar. Not good for someone whose habit is to point out glaring grammatical mistakes in newspapers, TV and everywhere else, then edit it out loud. I just get a kick out of it. In fact, everyone in my family does it. It runs in my genes. My father wrote for the Free Press. My sister works as an editor and has several publications under her belt. Me, I blog. Does that count? :D

Is it just me or does this happen to you as well? I meant the thinking faster than you write/talk scenario. Not the 'editing' everything in sight deal. Well, if you are prone to both then I'm in good company.

I think.

Friday, August 03, 2012


This incessant rain that keeps on pouring is overstaying its welcome. It seems that our poor flood prone nation has a huge magnet attached to its premises. It attracts typhoons, storms, LPAs, ITCZs and the ever menacing southwest monsoon that hovers like a moth to a flame.

Whole towns near the coast are inundated for days. Classes are suspended. Monstrous traffic jams as vehicles would not dare to cross flooded areas. And did you see the tons of garbage that piled up along Manila Bay? The Roxas Boulevard's Baywalk is one big smelly dump site. The trash that residents of Metro Manila didn't care to dispose off properly is thrown back by the angry sea back into the board walk. Nice!

But we never learn. Illegal settlers still refuse to be relocated to far flung areas. Local politicians are too greedy for their votes during election year to make an effort to dismantle the shanties. SO what do we get in return? Smelly, vermin infested trash that in turn clog our drainage system. Ergo, flooded streets.

But if there is one common factor that I've observed during these calamities is how people still have smiles on their faces. It's like our 'bahala na' attitude sustains us during disasters. People wading in waist deep water grin when they see a TV news crew covering the fact that their barangay would have to endure days even weeks of floods from the incessant rains, the high tide and the release of water from the dams. The joy on the contented faces of kids as they swim in the stagnant water. (I don't really recommended this but they seem happy!) Children of all ages with happy faces as they crowd themselves in classrooms turned into evacuation centers.

So yes while it is disheartening to watch the news because it is mostly reports about flooded towns, lack of proper disposal of garbage and lost of livelihood for fishermen, we can proudly say that, we Filipinos are a resilient lot and we will somehow through the grace of the Almighty survive yet another calamity.

But dear Lord, please give us a break. A tiny ray of sunshine would do wonders for our defeated spirits. Amen!