Monday, May 28, 2012

Bugsy's Day Out

The moment Bugsy catches sight of his tiger print dog bag  and black leash, he knows  he's in for a ride.  He runs wild, jumps into the bag, scratches the pad,  and refuses to let go.  The last time Bugsy went on a quick trip was when he freely ran along the shore of Acuaverde.  I adore having him around on trips, but I fear two things, pee and poo. 

At home, he has grown well accustomed to his usual toilet padded spot.  Or while on his daily walks, his favorite nature's call spots are street humps.  Cars wait a minute or more in order to pass through.  In most cases, MORE. Bugsy takes his usual dilly dally time.  There's no such thing as pressure with Bugsy.  I handle the cringing. Thank God for kind-hearted and understanding car drivers who happen to be my neighbors as well.  But in an unknown territory, the story changes. 

Bugsy tagged along while on another quick business-pleasure trip to Tagaytay last week.  He usually rides in front with me, but when too much squirming and moving happens, he is automatically banished and locked-up within the rear seat.  Yet, he makes his way to the front even with heavily blocked passageways.

While I discussed possible new tie-ups with a nun in Pink Sisters, J. Bond and Bugsy strolled along the grounds.  As expected, Bugsy gave in to nature's call thrice.

Another exploratory meeting I had in Alfonso Cavite in relation to my dream of living in the countryside someday. This is Leonard and his one month old puppy Nana.  Bugsy's new found friends.  Again, he left a few wet marks here.

Fortunately, it rained hard while I dropped off Mother's Heart necklaces at the country store of Sonya's Garden. No doggie souvenirs were left behind. Bugsy was left to wait in the car with J. Bond. I took time to take a photo of my dog danggling earrings while in Sonya's Garden. I came out with this collection in 2007 and pieces were mostly sold to both young and old dog lovers. This is my last pair, and I'm thinking of bringing this collection back to life.

 Drooling over coconuts!

Homeward bound.  Bugsy reminds me of Kung Fu Panda here.  Obviously, he left a few slimey licks on my camera lens.

See!!! Kung Fu Panda and Bugsy are look alikes. Photo courtesy.

Happy week everyone!  'Til the next day out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random stuff this month

It seems May is zooming quite fast. While my list of TO DO things  rapidly grow LONGER, I feel happy and grateful with the little things that have come my way despite  few bouts of tears  due to Luke's early departure. Life is moving on, but I still think of my dear friend a lot.

That's Luke on the left on his first visit to the Pharmacy. We were all amused by a crazy friend who danced her signature sexy dance while this photo was taken.  I got cut on the right, but I remember having laughed so hard.  Our customers and staff had laughed hard as well.  We all had a free funny show.

Anyway, Mother's Day was spent at the Legazpi Sunday Market. It was Mama's first (J. Bond's Mom), and I'm sure my own Mom wished she was here too.  Too much to see and BUY.

J. Bond is hooked on rice from the Mountains of Cordillera these days.   He made the discovery while on his recent courageous bike plight in Baguio.

Another vendor selling Cordillera rice.  J. Bond is truly serious about this.  Only if I can push myself to share the same sentiment with him.

Still on Mother's Day. Bugsy must come on our next shopping visit, but  crossing all fingers and toes that no scoopin' happens.

Though I have declared that both my hands have retired from making long arrangements, I recently faced a request for a long St. Benedict necklace with red beads as accent.  Fear of possibly ending the work with painful hands haunted me while in the process of making the necklace.  Surprisingly, I experienced no pain. And best of all, I had made the same exact arrangement for myself too.  I had mistakenly identified the medal as Padre Pio by the way.  But with weeks of query and research, it has been identified that the image is that of St. Benedict. You may read more of his story and the medal's meaning here.

I wore my piece over Sunday lunch at Breakfast at Antonio's in Tagaytay.  I find myself in Tagaytay more frequent these days.  I'm off again by the end of this week.

Guyabano fruit sold by a lone fruit stand right by the gate of Ilog Maria.  Guyabano has perked up my days from the horrible nightmare called summer heat.  I blend the fruit with ice,  milk, and 2 sachets of stevia sweetener.  Creamy and refreshing! Stevia, by the way, was introduced to me by J. Bond.  In fact, we had brought home a potted Stevia plant a few weeks back. I think it shall soon go, but  J. Bond remains positive on its survival.

 The banana trees behind the fruit stand were a sight to see.  Bananas are a mainstay in my fruit bowl.

Green tea flavored Mochi ice-cream from Mochiko Tagaytay is another craze of J. Bond.  He normally eats the ball in two to three bites.  This photo was taken after my clumsy mistake of having dropped the ball in a can of coins. I was told to stop playing  with ice-cream, yet he ate it all.

Like what I have shared in  a recent post, I dream of permanently relocating to the countryside one day.  I have reached  a stage where I see my days in the city as a total misfit. So the adventure and exploration of the countryside have begun.

Dreaming..... This place overlooks the mountains of Batulao.  Lovely and inspiring.

May is the birth month of  Mama (J. Bond's Mom) and Michelle (J. Bond's cousin).  We celebrated their birthdays over green landscape and good food served at Breakfast at Antonio's.

Except for J. Bond and I, this visit was a first for the rest of the entourage.  Everyone felt amazed by the place despite its hidden location and was delighted by the food served.  In fact, J. Bond and I had originally intended of holding our wedding reception here six years ago.  But a maximum of fifty guests can only fit at that time. 

J. Bond's parents.  No such thing as age on feeling young and giddy. All in the mind as they say.

A few days are left before we move on to June.  But there are still much to do and look forward to.  How about you?  What have you been up to?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last Dance

This was in 2008, my last day and "last dance" as a 12-year old member of the corporate work force.  I danced my last dance even with a huge, long and bloody wound on my right leg.  A co-vendor's flimsy panel board from a bazaar By Beaded Story participated in had fallen right smack on my leg while setting up our booths the day before.  Surprisingly, I managed to dance even with a moment of making-up lame excuses.  This was the "last dance" of the rest in white as well.

Donna Summer was way before my time, but her songs surely rocked parties of my former work life. Thanks Donna for making us dance!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Irregular Mom

Not that I have forgotten.  I was just too busy delivering bead orders for Moms and Moms at heart on their special day.

On Mother's Day, Owen posted a borrowed photo on my timeline (plus a few other timelines of his virtual friends)   with a note that said..."Because you are not regular Moms, I salute you today. Happy Mother's Day to the cool Moms in my life.".  That was sweet.  So I replied with a screaming "I LOVE iiiiiiTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!". Owen came to my life as a trainee at the height of my Advertising and Promotions career.  To this day, he keeps in touch.

Thanksgiving 2010.  Three months after my medical scare.
After a brief thought, I must say that there is  truth to what Owen  said. For sure, I am not your typical and regular Mom.  There is in fact absolutely nothing that can somehow define  a part of my being as Mom.  First, no child has yet been pushed out from my womb even while on my sixth year of marriage. A situation made not by choice, but out of a medical situation that I have long and will  for the rest of my life deal with.  I used to think of my state as a battle, but not anymore.  I had finally made amends two years ago, only after a scare. 

A Chinese Temple in Cebu, circa-2002.
Don't get me wrong. I, of course, come across what ifs once in awhile.  Nothing is impossible, right? I had once prayed in an unknown territory,  a Chinese Temple, and had questioned two wood blocks if children were part of my life's plan. The blocks landed by my feet with NO for an answer.   I did this thrice.  I was single but semi-attached to J. Bond then, and marriage was yet far  from our minds.   Flashforward to ten years after, adding one more doctor to my list of ten, which I believe will entail added hospital visits and costs, seem no longer a wise choice.  But if there is in any way of skipping the doctor/hospital part, I would by all means go for it. This year by the way marks my  30th year of "friendship with my illness", and my endocrinologist had recently claimed that I am one hell of a survivor.  Hopefully one day, I'd be brave enough to share more details of this part of my life in cyberspace since my illness is much more rampant these days compared to 30 years back.  But not just yet. 

One year old Bugsy, taken last night.
Playing the role of Bugsy's human mother speaks of what an irregular Mom is all about.  I love him to pieces, but he drives me crazy too. A hilarious test of patience on bad days  given that I don't speak his language, nor he does mine.  In fact, barking remains unheard to this day.  Oftentimes,  I bark to teach.  (FORtunately!), not a tiny bit of progress have  manifested yet.  

La Luz 2009
Of course, I've had my share of "temporary" motherhood too, first of which was my Metropoint team.  We did business together, worked on the same goals, and along the way, we had evolved into a close-knit second family.  I was called Mother and I thought of them as kids in adult bodies.  Some  needed guidance, while others excelled. Definitely a team with diverse personalities, but defined by two words,"Noisy! Nuts!"   When pressure and nagging  were practiced, I became their Wicked Stepmother. But even after years of having parted ways, they address me with the same name and have consistently kept in touch despite my frequent absence. All have moved on and have made meaningful marks in their own personal lives ...marriage, kids, careers...and these make me truly proud and happy. In June, my former Ad and Promo girl is set to walk down the aisle.  I look forward.

Our parting photo taken in January 2012
I thought of Generika as one "motherhood roller coaster ride".  In this case, a huge load of emotions and attachments were  part of the 2-year deal.  I saw how each and every member of the team had started, how they grew in time, how joy and pain were managed, and how each one lived. I laughed and cried with them, jumped on  triumphs, scolded disobedience (a lot!), and when the time had come to let go, we all felt the tinge to keep hanging on.  Letting go surely left us pain, but it was  time for us to grow and spread our wings.

I  understand what Owen  meant by his message.  Though I have not initiated any move to clarify, I took upon myself to assume that he had posted such message to friends and relatives who had simply made a significant impact on his life.  In this case, here are my "MOTHERS" who have made life crazily happy. Of course first and foremost my own Mother dearest.  Despite years of living physically apart, my guts say that  I am in some way evolving into my Mother's ways. Clumsy for sure and we both depend on companions to be our lookout or more so pick us up when a fall happens.  She had taught me how to live life independently, yet see life in all possible angles.

Regular Sunday Lunch/Dinner with Tita Cyn
My second Mom and Daddy's only sister, Tita (aunt) Cyn.  Nothing to be alarmed about.  She normally looks this way when we talk about my health, lapsed visits to the doctor(s) and diet. On normal talks, she smiles a lot =)

In a reunion last year
Tita Nene, who untiringly serves as my creative mentor. She had sewn all wedding gowns in the family, including mine and my Mom's.  Now, she occupies her busy days with Flamenco costumes and lightweight bags made from scrap materials on top of her long lived bridal finery.

At Brewed For You on Easter Sunday 2012
And lastly, J. Bond's Mom, Mama Espie. Her strong faith and love has kept everyone well grounded.  I must thank her for having raised J. Bond  well one of these days.

Owen's right.  Those who have made life extra special deserve a hats off as well. In my case, I have my Mom, three others, and I'm sure that there are more. How about you?

Cheers to all regular and irregular Moms out there!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

J. Bond's Challenge (and mine too)

O!M!G! J. Bond woke me up at 5am last Saturday only to have his photo taken. 

He was off to conquer the summit in this year's Globe Cordillera Challenge, and represented number 215.  

The day began at 4am with room service breakfast -- a case of disrupting Casa Vallejo's kitchen operations since they normally begin their day at 6am.  But thank you Casa Vallejo for making special arrangements.  He reached the highest summit at 12:30pm, then returned back to the hotel close to 3pm feeling more energetic and ecstatic.  He committed to participate again next year.

While J. Bond conquered the summit, I conquered my own short summit called Session Road. 

I had fun strolling along except for the going up part.  I did these four times (end to end), but with numerous shopping, coffee or photo shoot breaks.  Unlike J. Bond, I culminated my challenge out of breath and with swollen leg muscles.  Obviously, there's a major lack of exercise here.

Thank God, I only knew of very limited details (just date and time) of J. Bond's challenge.  Otherwise, I would have freaked out and denied him of his participation.  Details were only shared after (J. Bond's way of sharing bike stories these days) -- a total of 27 kilometers of biking uphill towards the highest peak of the Cordilleras, and with 3 stations to complete (a part of which where all had to carry his/her bike).  A co-biker only reached station 1, station 2 was the steepest and J. Bond completed all 3 stations!

Watch this Part 1 video that shows where J. Bond and his co-courageous bikers were off to.  Can't wait for Part 2 to be posted.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Casa Vallejo, Baguio

Lots have been said regarding Casa Vallejo's ghostly apparitions.  As soon as I confirmed my 3-day room reservation, a number of "Why there?"... "There are ghosts there!".... were said with an unshattering conviction.  In fact, the wonder and questions continued all throughout my stay ... "Did you see or feel any ghost?""How about that old mirror that is believed to be a portal?".  But no one amongst who asked and wondered experienced the ghost firsthand.  All are based on stories, hearsays, and the net.

I ignored and swallowed a brave front for choosing convenience over ghostly stories since this boutique hotel is less a block away from Session Road.  Yet, in a location relatively secluded and semi-quiet.  If we speak of ghosts anyway, I am, without a doubt, have seen something odd in a suite where J. Bond and I stayed last year.  You'll see last year's accommodation here.  Imagine a shadow that crossed your path while at the height of prepping up, then ended its stroll by entering a nearby walk-in closet and never to be seen again. I froze. J. Bond, on the other hand, felt a blow on his nape while on a  conference call.  While a friend took solace under his sheets when the bathroom shower turned on then off by itself. We have not returned since then.  I don't think we ever will.

The fact is, I was drawn  to Casa Vallejo's story.  A structure that long stood since 1909.  A detention center for German prisoners of war in 1917.  A dormitory in the 1920s, then transformed into a hotel by an entrepreneur named Salvador Vallejo. A British and Indian refugee center in 1940.  Survived World War II's Japanese bombing. Hit by an earthquake in the 1990s.  And, one of the oldest remaining American structures in Baguio.  I am inspired by stories, structures, and things from the past.  Unfortunately, old and past in some way connote ghosts.

Old photos  that speak of Casa Vallejo's story.

Except for a black butterfly that hovered around our room door for 3 days, no ghostly apparations were seen nor felt.  But I believe this experience would have been on the peculiar side if my third eye Mom and Sister Anna were around.  I have no third eye (thank God!), but I can sense (Only if  turned on. Most of the time, it is on off mode.).  So for now, I hold on to my own happy experience and leave it at that.

Like what I said, I was inspired by Casa Vallejo.  Its story I believe will continue to loom like a ghost for as long as it stands, but it is precisely in its nostalgic sense that had led me to choose this place for this year's Baguio trip. I thought of booking a room during our multiple trips last year.  But fear from overheard ghostly stories took over. This year, I took the risk.  I enjoyed.   

Hill Station, Casa Vallejo's in-house restaurant. The charming discoveries in every nook and corner were a feast as well. J. Bonds claims that the entire structure and its positioning are my cup of tea. Let's put it this way, if I were to open my bead store in Baguio, Casa Vallejo would be my top choice. And if I were to take things a notch higher, I dream of building my own quaint boutique hotel someday just like Casa Vallejo.

Inside Hill Station,  a ballroom in the olden times.  Lovely.

Hill Station's little bar for after dinner cocktail drinks.

Way to Mt. Cloud, Casa Vallejo's quaint and lovely bookshop, and Cinematheque,their home of art films.

Charming accents found around Mt. Cloud .


A gift and novelty store that sells scents, candles, oil burners, wind chimes and the like.

I treated my aching back to a one hour and 30-minute Hilot session on our 2nd day at North Haven Spa.

 The only ghostly figures I saw displayed near the spa.

Another batch of ghostly figures for sale.

This shirt hit it right...The mind is everything.  What we think we become. - Siddharta Gautama... No ghost was seen nor felt. I may have shut it off.  What I saw and brought back home were charm and  a dozen of inspirations.  The supposed ghosts of Casa Vallejo are all in the mind.  But let's see on my next trip.  I told Anna (Casa Vallejo's front desk attendant) and Mitos Y. (Hill Station owner) that I will definitely return.  Hopefully soon.

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