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Random Thoughts

My Valentine Wish List

Paging my husband, Mike Sumulong…you have got to read this! :) :) :)

If you’re not Mike, it’s ok..go on and read. You will be amazed how much Valentine’s Day helps our economy. And more importantly, I may be able to help you put together a nice Valentine date for the one your adore. :)

Wish 1: Experience a Dose of Culture

Wouldn’t it be nice to do something different this year? I have been hearing about the Old Manila Walks for some time now, and I would definitely want to try it. The people behind Old Manila Walks will take you through the best of historic Manila by foot. You can choose from any of their five available tours, namely: Intramuros, Chinatown, San Miguel, Chinese Cemetery, and FEU. For those who are undecided, their Halo-Halo tour might be the best one for you.

Wish 2: Dine in a Pre-war Mansion

No, this is not because of my love affair with ghosts inhabiting old mansions and castles. This is more of my wanting to experience how the rich Filipinos circa 1930’s dine and wine. What better place to experience this but at the well-preserved Legarda mansion at San Rafael Street in Manila. At La Cocina de Tita Moning, you can partake of the Legarda heirloom recipes using the family’s antique china, glassware, and silverware. You will also be given a tour of the whole mansion afterwards. I especially like them because they operate by reservations only, which means that I don’t have to wait long to be seated. More importantly, they do prepare special meals for those with diet restrictions like me and your grandparents. Hehe.

Wish 3: Shop and Dine in Opulence

Now, this one, is because of my immense love for malls. There’s this buzz about Adora, a department store tucked away at Greenbelt 5 Makati, which has its own cafe. It does not only boast of housing world-renowned brands, but also has opulent interiors to match. It is strategically located, too…like a secret cove where you can take your secret date. Hihihi. The food selection aren’t bad, too. But I think I’d rather go there for dessert and wind down with a good conversation.

Wish 4: End the Day in My Favorite Restaurant of All Times

I cannot imagine ending this day anywhere else but in Vieux Chalet, of course! My favorite restaurant in the heart of Antipolo City does not only give you gastronomic dishes, but one of the best views of Manila. Perched on top of a hill, you have Manila skyline as your backdrop when dining at Vieux Chalet. And have I mentioned that their Lamb Shoulder with Cafe du Paris sauce is to die for?! If you’re unsure of what you want to order, you might be better off ordering their Special Valentine Meal for Two:

VIeux Chalet Valentine Menu 2009

So there, that’s it for me! Now I cross my fingers and wait. Hihihi. :)

How about you…how would you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Who’s on YouTube?

I love YouTube for the simply reason that I hate following written recipes. I’d rather see the meals prepared in front of me, which makes YouTube recipe videos quite a treat — I guess I’m one of those visual types. :) But hey, I recently changed my diet and I am no longer eating cooked food as much as before…so I had to explore YouTube further just to preserve its appeal to me. Hehehe!

As expected, there are a lot of videos about famous people there, but I didn’t realize that some of them actually signed up for an official YouTube page! After a quick browse, I found three interesting people who have official YouTube pages:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

His Excellency Barack Obama

Interesting…interesting. I wonder who else who’s on the same league as these people has his/her own YouTube page? Hmnnnn… :)

Forever Grateful

I was 22 when I joined FEU-East Asia College; a young, unsure, and starry-eyed professional trying to find her place in the sun. Aren’t we all? Hihihi. :)

I remember being considered as a temp hire for someone who went on maternity leave. I remember, too, how my knees buckled when I learned that I will be assisting the President, no less. You should know, I almost never showed up for my first day of work. Ahahaha! But then again, I did step into the President’s Office on January 28, 2002…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, a week after my last day of work, I write this post with fondness; and probably, with a tinge of sorrow, too. Fate has been kind to me, gifting me with enough happy memories with the people I worked with to last me for a lifetime. I can genuinely say that I have made lifelong friends in FEU-EAC…and surprise, surprise, it includes my boss. Hihihi! I am often told that bosses usually play the "villain" role in one’s career life; the Voldemort of the each and every Harry. Ahahaha! Honestly, I never understood such logic. Maybe I’m too busy making sure that my boss’ wrinkles are all in the right places. Or maybe because, I actually report to a Dumbledore every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…which makes Tuesdays and Thursdays tolerable. Ahahaha! Just kidding! :)

I will definitely miss everyone in FEU-EAC, together with the countless meetings, the red marks in documents, the horrendous mancom preparations, and even the sleepless pre-board meeting days. I know in my heart that despite the ungodly hours we put in at work in FEU-EAC, my seven years of stay there is time well spent. I know this because I have learned valuable life lessons through my FEU-EAC family, which I can summarize in four statements:

1. Having the right values and the right intent in doing things leads you to the most optimal solution of any given problem.

2. While it is good to always be business-like, it is beter to foster genuine friendships in the workplace. Friends may not always agree with you, but will never allow you to fail.

3. Mistakes are meant to be celebrated for they are made by those who are actually exploring beyond their comfort zones.

4. People who have talents and skills to show are too busy to take part in office politics. :)

To my FEU-EAC family, I am forever grateful to all of you. There will be no goodbyes for us, as your life has already intertwined with mine. Thoughts of your kindness and love will surely keep me warm in the cold winters of France, and will make me remember that there’s no place like home.

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I’d Pick More Daisies

Don Herold, author and humorist, wrote the world famous essay “I’d Pick More Daisies” at the prime of his life. Such was published in Reader’s Digest in 1953 and the compressed version of his essay made its way to our emails with a catchy opening line, “If I Had My Life to Live Over…”

If I had my life to live over, I would dare to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously and take more chances. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but I would have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I am one of those people who live sanely, sensibly, prudently; hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I have had my moments! And if I had to do it over again, I would have more of them. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I have been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had it to do it over, I would travel lighter on the next trip.

I would start going barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I wouldn’t make such good grades, except by accident. I would have more sweethearts. I would go to more dances. I would sing more songs and play more games. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies. If I had my life to live over.

I’m posting this essay because I’m kinda feeling low because Read more »

G Boys and Gerry Esquivel on My Mind

I did not graduate from Ateneo; I only worked for Ateneo for a couple of months. In fact, that was my first job fresh out of College. But I must say that I hold this school close to my heart and I regard it with high esteem, not because they have produced countless VIPs, but because of what I see in most ateneans I have encountered in this lifetime. Nope, not all of them are successful nor VIPS in their own right. I have even met some ateneans who are a lot older than me but remain as clueless as gradeschoolers. My respect for these men comes from their immense effort of trying to figure out what to make of their lives so they can one day return to Ateneo and offer back to their mentors what they have become. I put a premium on “trying” as I believe that there is more to learn in the journey than when we have reached our destination. It is the little pebbles that we pick up along the way that makes our pockets heavy, right?

While I am not an atenean, I am married to one. My husband belongs to a high school class who calls themselves G Boys…simply because they were from section G. Hehehe. I have known these men for 10 years now and have witnessed how much they care, not only for each other, but for other people as well. They are in full-force in each one’s weddings, kids’ baptisms, christmas party, etc. But more importantly, they would give an arm and a leg for a fellow G Boy who needs help or support in whatever way. Fresh out of College, these boys struggled to put up a foundation called “G Educational Opportunities (GEO)” with whatever little money they have. This same foundation has helped a handful of kids to continue with their basic education, and has even taken into consideration the kids’ well-rounded development through their varied non-academic programs such as sports clinic, educational field trips, and the likes. Truly, the G Boys are my personal benchmarks of an “atenista” — men for others in every way.

I wish to elaborate on my thoughts, but I think Arch. Gerry Esquivel sums it up beautifully on his Commencement Speech to the Ateneo High School Batch 2008. It is so simple yet profound that I had to literally find time to write a post about it…amidst my thesis and french class. Hehehe. I leave you with Arch. Esquivel’s empowering message, and may you pick up pebbles of life lessons from it. Read more »