Sunday, December 31, 2006

Once upon a time in China... Hong Kong actually,

Monday
What did I do today? Ria slept over to keep me company, we slept past one and woke up by five. She told me about a friendster-like net service founded by a certain Terence Pua called eskwela.com. It's uniqueness lies in the way it categorizes accounts according to school. Not only will it tell you that so and so is from the same university, it will also distinguish your coursemates, schoolmates and batchmates. Neat-o since graduation is just around the corner.

The plane ride was okay. Tristan and Cassie were on the same flight. Shortly after takeoff, I agreed to switch seats with one lady so she could sit beside her husband and daughter. It's not exactly a selfless move since the chair beside her was vacant.

Met dad at the hotel but he was having lunch with some friend so met mom and the rest of the family at Maxim's, City Hall (the dimsum place we go to every visit). A few hours later, my parents, grandfather, cousin and I got a massage treat. It's a place near the fire station at Hennesy Road. They have blind massagers trained in an accupressure technique. It hurt at first but I somehow managed to doze off. Talking about it afterwards, I learned that the others couldn't sleep because of the pain. Oops. Trust me to fall asleep anyway. Maybe I'm just really tired.

Dinner was at another usual restaurant, Yung Kee. Its known for its duck. Tomorrow is the start of a new HK experience. Ready or not, here it comes.

Tuesday
Island hopping doesn't quite summarize what we did today although it basically is what we did. At 11am, exactly on schedule, we boarded a private 70ft boat. Partly a Citibank treat, it only costs HK$1000 for 8 hours (5 hours with the motor on). Angkong is thinking of renting it every time we go to HK. Now I know what tabloids talk about when they report about some celebrity celebrating on a yacht. It's so country club.

First stop was Lamma Island. There were so many dogs roaming around! As can be expected from most seaside towns, their specialty was seafood. While they were preparing the meal, we explored a bit and came across a little park. In the little park was a crooked tree. The grownups, feeling nostalgic, wanted to climb it. They chide us for not knowing how to climb trees... when coconut trees are the only trees in our lot! Whereas there were all sorts of trees for them to climb at Pili. So back to describing lunch. Imagine a cafeteria with little ambiance serving expensive delicacies like lobster and abalone. It was a lot more expensive than dinner last night. Dad identified one particular dish as being one of the critters in his saltwater aquarium. And this explains the short marine biology lecture he was giving when I took the picture below.


After lunch we road the boat to the family mansion. The Disney family mansion I mean. Alright, it was the Disneyland hotel. We didn't stay long, just long enough for wacky pictures, a short chat with Santa and a quick browse through some of the items at the Disney store. I wanted to see the gardens but we had to leave already.

Dinner was at Arirang in Times Square. Everyone went their separate ways after that and I decided to... check my mail! When I got to 2-e's apartment, Thelma told me that there was an earthquake only a few minutes ago. I guess we all didn't feel it because we still felt (and I still feel right now) that we were on the boat. It was a cool walk back to the hotel, reminds me of just walking around, the kind I used to do in school, when I still had time. Clears the head a bit, or at least gives enough space for one's thoughts to run about.

Wednesday
Macau Day. We had to take the MTR to get to the pier then it took us an hour to reach our destination. When we arrived, a guy approached us and offered to give us a tour. He had the proper ID and was willing to drive us to the karting place so off we went. We went to a plaza, the Ruins of St. Paul (which was devastated by a fire), and a temple.

The highlight I guess was the Macau tower. As soon as I saw the SkyJump poster, I knew I wanted to try it. So... after many please's... dad said bahala ka and mom said okay. I didn't really feel nervous since I was feeling much too excited. The guy making arrangements asked me if I was from Korea. When he found out I was from the Philippines, he said "loko loko ikaw." He said it so fast I couldn't understand him at first! He hooked me up to the line, gave me instructions, counted down... and then, I stepped off. At around 6 feet down he told me to turn so they could take my picture. It's hard to turn. Then it was time to drop. I didn't have time to think about falling. There were passers-by at the bottom of the tower who asked me if it was worth it. Definitely! On the elevator up some other foreigners were whispering about my getup, probably thinking I couldn't understand English. Anyway, I told them they should try it. The next on my list is to try Bungy (not Bungee) Jumping! I wonder when I'll get to do that...

We went to the race track so Justin could do some laps. He said the kart didn't have any breaks. For someone who thought the SkyJump was dangerous - well.

We had lunch at Wynn. The waitress was a Filipina. The food was alright. Fried rice costs HK$65.

Back at HK, dinner was at Wing Wah, yet another restaurant we frequent. Then I hurried back to the hotel to meet up with Tristan and Julie. I was supposed to meet Ther the night before (at Lan Kwai Fong) but she decided not to go. Anyway, we just circled around until we landed back at the hotel. After ice cream, we just talked away until 1am! It's great to remember the funny moments when they were still in school and to talk about what they're up to now. So really, do guys ever grow up? Psych people call it the Peter Pan syndrome.

-----------------------------

So that was basically my trip. I also encountered Bruce and another guy from the Celadon basketball team. My cousins' other side of the family arrived the day before we left. Really, why is HK such a popular destination?

The journey home was not without incident. While there were no plane problems, we did have a car problem. Had to switch cars before reaching EDSA! I remember that Toto used to welcome us home...

Early the next morning, at around 1am, as my brother and I were about to go to bed, his friend called saying that their batchmate's house was on fire and that they couldn't find him. The next day, we learned that their batchmate, his mom and younger brother died the night before. It's depressing to think about. My condolences to the family and friends they left behind.

Other news: Saddam Hussein is dead. That was pretty quick.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

No rhythm, partial rhyme.

Let me recall, lest I forget
It's been a while since we first met
There were many long afternoons
Just sitting on a chair
You were quick to jump up
And spend your nap there

Though quiet and quite serious
You were ready for adventure
While Trix hesitated
You were always so sure
That's why you got a bone
On your teeth, it got stuck
Brought you to the vet
Who unstuck it with luck
Many a night you pretended
To have a limp cause of a fight
Just so you could sleep upstairs
Since we took pity on your plight
Then there was Steph
Who wanted to eat you
She was just joking
But I thought it was true...
And so I cry now
As I cried before
I'm glad I got to play with you
One last night...thank you

I remember those times
I remember those days
Loved you,
Love you always.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Today was spent shopping with Macy at Rockwell. Naturally, she did the shopping. Shirts, make-up... the usual gift items. It was the first time I noticed some stores. She explained the specialties of each while we walked. I will try my best to remember them. We were supposed to go with Aimee and Cassie but that was canceled owing to last night's excursion. Afterwards we just ate crepe - it was heavy, now I don't know how I'll manage dinner later on. At P106, it was sulit in the sense that it wasn't small but it was much too big.

Earlier I met John Andrew! The newest member of our family. To think I was just part of Auntie Annabelle's entourage last year... Debate ensued over my being just an achi or already an aunt. He's so small! Two weeks old. He has gloves so as not to scratch himself since his mom's still scared to cut his nails. Gosh he's precious.

These days it's just one party after another. It started of course with the wedding last December 3. As usual it was held at GGC. The theme was old Hollywood so the style of the dresses was circa 1920s. Very nicely beaded and hand-painted. I think the latter is what made it unique compared to the other gowns. Unlike Rajo's designs, the fit was not suffocating. I also heard that the price was not lethal... I don't like the way he crammed the job though. I got my hair accessory right before the wedding itself! It was beautiful anyway. Auntie Emily's gown was just splendid. What a word to use. No other word will suffice. Of course Rex could do a little more smiling... he looked too serious for a groom. Hehe I hope he never finds this blog.

The next weekend was the TWTCI party at Laguna which also served as the inauguration of TransWorld's big new warehouse. A lot of the oldies were teary-eyed when they presented the mosaic of the TransWorld logo - the small tiles were the company's employees. Angkong has done so much in his life... he had to go through the war as a guerilla, sell and carry sacks of coal (up four flights of stairs). In the end though, he started his own company and made it, made friends with Italians and Japanese, Germans and so on. (Did you know my cousin met her German husband through one of my Angkong's friends?)

I wonder what it would be like if he weren't sick now. They said that he used to host a lot of house parties with diplomats and all. On the one hand, it sounds so frivolous, on the other, I know he really cared about the people who worked for him. Take for example Mang Greg and Mang Medong, he even took care of their children's education. Modern practitioners would say that employees who refuse to leave a company are too secure... I think it's a sign of loyalty and love for the organization. I digress.

Of course Gratia on d'ICE took place last December 15. The 19th was the Christmas party here at home. Nothing new, the Celadon choir + some alumni (ahem, oldies) performed. I love the note holder that the girls gave me. It even has a Celadon icon haha I owe them a lot, they're the sisters I never had. It's sad that there are less and less of us every year... one is in NY, another is in Singapore, one was in Baguio and the other's in HK. Diaspora.

Then it was time for Celadon's Christmas party. Very simple but very enjoyable. It took place at SS280, guest starring Beckham, who decided to sleep beside the door halfway through. It reminded me of the ICA Christmas parties where the chairs would be arranged in a semi-circle so that there'd be enough space in the middle for games. Naturally we had kids' games too. After that I hopped to the MVP Roof Deck for AMS's ChrisMATH party. I even brought something for the exchange gift. Neal, what did I get in exchange?

I couldn't stay long because of the COA Christmas outing at Kublai's. Mongolian dinner. Originally P228, but I got it down to P171 cause of the Celadon discount card. There were not very many of us but the less people who go the better bonding experience it is in my opinion. An ME group popped up for a while but they left soon after. Then girls in gowns and guys in penguin suits started appearing. Why they chose to hold their event in Kublai's is a mystery. So there, currently it is the record-holder for this year, three events in a single evening.

Last night was the Christmas party of my mom's side of the family. It's so hard to fill the kids' stockings with everyone running around. I filled my own as usual haha The highlight of the night was A-kim's steak from Santis. Mmmhmm. The kids performed... Jes and Cor already play the piano so well! And M is now a rapper. He has an accent already c/o IS Indonesia. And by the way, he has a girlfriend. Aye. The youngest boy beats the older ones in HK. The Celadon choir performed also. Thank you family for being very supportive. Peter gave a very special performance, wow-ing us with his musical talent. By the way P3, my uncle's asking if you can teach haha

Then it was off to the twins and George's post-birthday bash at Wack Wack. I was surprised by the setup since I was expecting something like last year's party at Greenmeadows. Macy was there! So I finally was able to give her her Christmas present haha Bonding with Earl and KO also since I haven't been in touch with them at all. It's great to be with old friends. I was actually surprised to see some people there too. ShaKho and Patty I hadn't seen since.... way back when. Ch, it would've been a good time...

And then there was tonight's party at San Juan for my mom's extended family. Barbecue and hotdogs as always, with pancit and chicken too. Uncle Wes is always fun to be with. He's only a year older than me but calling him uncle is so much more fun than using ahya. It's the correct title anyway :D

Earlier we were able to catch some Glorietta fireworks. Dad estimated they spend at least 40k for every show. Imagine that. Then there's another one in Greenbelt. I haven't had time to catch a full show yet this year though I mean to. When we get back maybe. The heart-shaped one is still my favorite but the star was just as captivating.

Tomorrow is reserved for caroling. I'll be home alone for the most part, to work on that YES report supposedly. Grabe. Nobela. This is what I get for not posting regularly. How short is this though compared to my December 2004 entries? The chronicling of my college life is almost complete.

Me: Ma, is my Sun with you?
Mom: Yeah it's on my table

After a few minutes, Daph goes to her mom's room... Mom is using the Sun phone.
Me: Ayaw pakawalan... Mom, you need a Sun na.
Mom: Oo nga e, no one wants to buy one for me.

Alright mom, you win.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A new watch, exactly like my old one please.

I'm not that big a fan of change although I like new experiences every now and then. When I try something new and I like it, it's easy for me to get hooked. Who isn't comfortable with familiarity? But it can also become the source of rigidity and predictability. What's wrong with that. I don't like it all the time.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My friend described it as an emotional roller coaster. I couldn't agree more. Buhay Coke, Sound of Music (SoMu), thesis, Gratia, caroling, and, of course, Christmas-ing. I'm alive, I can still smile and that's all that matters.

So let's start at the very beginning. I only knew that the Buhay Coke was pushing through last Saturday. I had two days to prepare. Honestly, it did NOT go well. I'm wondering if biting was such a good idea... It certainly was an added load.

By Monday, there were still 590 SoMu tickets left. 800 tickets total... not good right. But I'm happy to say it picked up speed during the week *whew* It's not over yet. I wonder how well it'll turn out tomorrow. Please let there be no surprise super typhoons.

For thesis... we needed 60 respondents from each school. While we distributed hundreds of copies, there weren't enough returning. And that is why I decided to cut my Thursday morning class and beg AHS' APSA to let me distribute more surveys. So I stood in the middle of the AHS cafeteria asking all the guys in blue if they were in fourth year. In fairness, it was the most successful survey distribution "gig." We did it in ******, only fifteen came back. In *******, only THREE were willing to answer. Fortunately, I encountered a group of students from one section who were kind enough to help me catch all the seniors entering the caf. They even escorted me to the fourth year classrooms. I got 58 completed surveys in an hour and a half! Thank you N-boys.

And after hours of encoding the responses, we were rewarded by significant findings. That's a very nice much-needed bit of encouragement. Lord knows our thesis grades have been discouraging thus far. Made me forget about sleep at least. Which may be why I'm so cranky today.

Gratia! Tapos na rin.... The mass was okay although I had hoped that the sermon would be about faculty appreciation somewhat. Oh well, the priest was okay. I decided to sit in an earlier class so I could skip my 3:30 class. Wow, I've been cutting left and right. And they call me responsible.

Peter made a video which can be found here. Fr. Ben was there, Dr. Cuyegkeng was there. Fr. Cruz and Dr. G were there too! I love Fr. Cruz, even though he was never my prof. He said my welcoming remarks were good!! Wheeee I'm so happy, as you can imagine, I had a LOT of time to tweak it. I'm disappointed that Fr. Dacanay did not attend but at least Ma'am Jopie did. I think Mr. Rudy Ang was also there but I can only remember seeing him very briefly. Maybe he just passed by. The cafeteria was lovely. The members were great!!! Thanks everyone for helping us move all the tables and chairs (in Ken's words: wrecking the caf). The usually normal place looked wonderful last night. I also think (hope) that everyone who attended had fun. I did win myself a hopia and a keychain despite not being able to stay at my table (thank you Sherleen for being my proxy and winning me more cool prizes!). Naturally no one took a video of the raffle winners because it was Peter who won haha Luto raw!

The night wasn't over quite yet... still had to go caroling! Of course I hadn't been able to attend practices at all. Was fumbling and lip synching quite a bit. But I always have a good time with the choir. I even got to bond with Ystacey and Yas (and Alvin and Leonard although they were quiet) on the way home. Thank you to those who have volunteered their houses / their family friends' houses for us to carol at! At least the choir's efforts are paying off. I collapsed exhausted last night.

Then I still had class earlier so I couldn't sleep in. It's a good thing our prof isn't very demanding. I actually enjoy his discussions. This polsci class is the first 3-hour lecture-type class I've had in my whole college life. Buti nalang magaling siya.

After that it was thesis time yet again. We thought we would end earlier than 5. We ended at around that time. And I'm still awake. Why? Guess.

And that is why I haven't felt Christmas-y at all. I've given gifts to some of my friends. But not all of them. The others I'm going to have to run after this week. 8 more days til Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Two weekends ago, someone was seated beside Mr. & Mrs. K. As luck would have it, Mr. K stood up and re-introduced the newcomer.

Monday, December 11, 2006

They find joy in the most unusual places.

I recall a song that my friends and I wrote for our 5th grade English class. We had to make a presentation about the environment. We didn't actually create a new tune, we took a pre-existing song and changed the lyrics. In typical C. Mendoza fashion, it was hilarious. The song was "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." As I said, it had to be about the environment.

The original:
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
Grow apple trees and honey bees
and snow white turtle doves

The new song:
--disclaimer: some may find it disturbing--
I'd like to wreck the world my home
And burn it to the ground
Crush apple trees and honey bees
and roast the turtle doves

Ah well. We were teenagers. Or pre-teenagers. Whatever. We were supposed to be the top 3 students of the section. Suffice it to say, our class terrorized the teachers quite a bit.

Drats. I can't find the manila paper we wrote our masterpiece on.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Wheeee Wifi at MVP is love :)