Monday, June 02, 2008

The oddest things just seem to happen with cab drivers

Cabbies are a fascinating lot. When they're not ranting about the government, they dispense the oddest things to make your commute more entertaining than the latest reality programme on the telly.

My top 10 cab-ride experiences:
  1. Getting prayed over en route to a client meeting. Driver found out I was from the Philippines, assumed I was Catholic (I am, but not really) and proceeded to pray over me for the rest of the ride. An awkward 20 minutes, which by Singaporean standards, is loooong.
  2. Hearing the driver sing along to a song about "your batuta" (policeman's nightstick) and some other phallic fruits on my way back from a meeting in Quezon City.
  3. Being given blessings by a nice old cabbie to find a nice Singaporean man to "make me happy" during my first trip to Singapore.
  4. Receiving shopping tips whilst I was in Bangkok for focus groups. The slightly effeminate driver excitedly told me about how cheap everything was in this city. So I should buy myself a few things, especially their women.
  5. Arguing with them over my nationality. Gaddemit, I am Pinoy!
  6. Getting a free ride after I offered to pay seventy Pesos in coins for my trip from Ateneo to Makati in 1998.
  7. Hearing stories from cab drivers from Singapore about their adventures in the Philippines. It's actually a bit embarrassing to admit that they have explored our country more than I have. Their stories about Palawan and Quiapo are always the most interesting, I find.
  8. Being taught how to speak in Bahasa Indonesia. Saya mau makan!
  9. Getting cooking tips (turnips can make your soup sweeter!)
  10. Having your mobile phone returned after you lost it in their cab.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Broken Social Scene at the Mosaic Music Festival

Why I didn't have my camera with me is a mistake I'd rather forget. But BSS@MMF is a blast!

Aia de Leon (Imago) helped open the show with 7/4 (Shoreline). Dancing in her bright-coloured leotards, it was hard to miss her energetic presence onstage. Predictably, they sang Lover's Pit and Fire Eye'd Boy. Not that I'm complaining. With no Feist in the line up that night, Swimmers wasn't sung. Boo.

A few friends came over to Singapore and it was nice having a slice of Manila for a few days. We feasted on bbq chicken wings, grilled sting ray, char kway teow, and all the Kickapoo Joy Juice one can drink. With the frequent influx of visitors to Casa Borromeo, we hardly feel out of touch with the goings-on back home. We still get copies of friends' latest albums, bottles of Cheez Whiz (yummy processed cheese that we can't seem to find in Singapore!), and other MSG-laden goodies a few times each year.

I love how events like these just compel people to travel just to experience it. Can't wait for the next big gig and I wonder who else will be coming to Singapore this year. Radiohead? DCFC?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Surreal in Manila

After moving to Singapore, travelling has been reduced to a minimum (no more MNL-SIN-JKT lagare). Most of the meetings now happen here, which suits me fine (I'm terribly enjoying cocooning at home with the hubby, Xbox360, PS3 and Wii in tow).

When I was told that we had to be in Manila for a few days, I was both excited and slightly thrown off at the thought of taking a work-related trip in reverse. It meant seeing family, friends, ex-colleagues, and perhaps sneaking in a much-needed visit to the salon vs. exploring a new city with pasalubong in tow.

I felt lightheaded as we wove our way through rush hour traffic towards the Makati CBD. Whether it was the early flight we had to take or simply being home for a few days left me disoriented. The jams I cursed each day are suddenly an alien experience.

Moving between our client's office and the temporary HQ that is my old agency, I didn't even have to make myself remember where things were. But the rhythm that my body remembered felt distant and temporary - it's like being there but not really. You don't have the luxury of having a beer run at 6pm, an indulgent lunch at Apt 1B, or sharing a hearty dinner with the folks after work. Weekends are not spent lazily browsing at Fully Booked or enjoying a plateful of pasta at Cibo.

And for the first time, it hit me.

I don't come home to Manila anymore.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Once you go black (sheep), you can't go back.

I am thrilled.

In a few days I am off to start a new job at an agency that I never thought I'd be working in. And it's not because I didn't want to.

The agency had a tough reputation for strategic planning. It leaves you intimidated and unnerved. And I was feeling unnerved and intimidated. Even the office gives off a similar vibe. The receiving area has a few white tables and chairs scattered about, and a lush, red "tunnel" leads you to the work area. No lobby or receptionist here. Unless you've got your contact's number, you will feel lost and a wee bit unwelcome (then again, maybe that's the intent).

It's another leap I'm taking that I'll gladly take the plunge for. My comfort zone needs mucking up, and this one guarantees just that.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


We just adopted my cousin's mum-in-law's four month old puppy. J, who is visiting Singapore with his wife knew how much of a sucker I was for mutts. The puppy had no where to go - he'll be either put up for adoption at SPCA or sent off to Indonesia with the wife's brother, who travels quite a lot for work.

It was a long drive from our place to the East Coast. I remember bringing along a towel, still uncertain whether we were going to go home with him that night. But the moment we saw him, we knew that he belonged with us.

We went home feeling good that night. G and I hardly spoke, just smiling and peeking into the towel we ended us using after all. The warm bundle sat on my lap, curiously sniffing me. He seemed at ease.

The house will be a little more messy, tinged doggy smells and some chewed up shoes. And perhaps 10x happier.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The view from the balcony

We love this bit about our place.

An extended room where peace settles in at night.

Pseudo candle-lit dinner dates.

Saturday brunch with adobo flakes and feta cheese.

Wet laundry hung out to dry.

And early morning secret meets.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

big, red office.

It's been about three weeks since I started work and I am slowly trying to get used to the non-noise in the office. I was telling a few of the guys back in Manila how I found it a bit odd to have the same agency, albeit in different locations could feel so unlike each other.

I'm guessing it's the bigness (300+ staff!) and maybe culture, but really, there's still no place like home. :-)

The stuff I miss at the 15th & 9th floors, and the whole Salcedo block:
  • 9am breakkie with Pepper (adobo flakes, garlic rice and malasadong itlog)
  • brainstorm/yosi breaks with the Creatives
  • Apartment 1B
  • squeezing Gabi's udders
  • scavenging for snacks in the afternoon
  • our pantry lady
  • cheap beers
  • napping at Tina's office after spending stressful all-nighters
  • a triple, grande caramel macchiato from Ryan, my favourite Starbucks barista
  • chika at various parts of the day
  • watching the yayas walk the dogs around the park on my way home
Now if I could only replicate at least half of what's on this list, I can say that the Manila-fication of Singaflor has begun.

Balcony scribblings, 8-something in the evening.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Aches in places I've forgotten

I've started training again.

It's been two years since I was last in a roda. Work got in the way of my going to class and often, I'm just too exhausted to even brave the traffic to get to it.

Moving to Singapore meant a chance at rekindling my interrupted love affair, sans the excuses (I'm keeping my fingers crossed). So train I did.

The morning after just left me stiff all over. But I felt good nonetheless. I needed that; the achy reminder of a relationship I begun and cut abruptly. A friend once asked how sore you can get from doing capoeira. Just enough that you can't even sit on the toilet to pee.

Check out the Association of Capoeira Argola, under the tutelage of Mestre Ousado. Classes at The Substation, Aremenian St. (weekends only)

Friday, January 25, 2008

the leap.

You never realise how big an impact a move could do until you find yourself feeling lost and disoriented even when things are pretty settled already.

I came to Singapore with a job waiting for me, a lovely place my husband thoughtfully fixed up, and friends I am fortunate to have met as a result of my frequent travel to the country.

The months leading up to the move was all a blur. I was still heavily involved in accounts that didn't seem to want to let go (bitaw na kasi, eh!), and I had no idea how I was going to manage organising the event in December.

But these things never wait, I guess. And you're forced to confront it, whether you're ready or not. It takes courage to say good-bye to friends and loved ones, and even more courage to embrace new ones.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kitchen accident #1

My parents, especially my mother would freak out over an entry like this. As the perpetual klutz, I am hardly left to discover my inner Julia Childs in the kitchen, lest I end up grinding my fingers into sausage.

After getting married, I learnt that I am quite adept at whipping out hearty meals from recipes I remembered from memory. My husband has woefully complained about the quality of meals we have at home ("You're making me fat!" he would whine), and I would retaliate by offering to buy muesli for breakfast the next time we head out to the grocery.

Good meals notwithstanding, I am still quite the clumsy girl, who's slowly learning to use gloves to peel the yams (one scratching episode is more than enough, thank you), keeping an extra set of glasses (breaking two in a week is a tad too much), and wielding the knife well enough to avoid shaving off too many fingernails.

diyoskohpo, mashaket

what happens when you daydream while grating cheese

Shower-proofing my thumb, one Tuesday evening

Thursday, January 10, 2008

on the third day...

...the Planner walks into a wall.

Ouch. Black-eyed P.