Wednesday, October 29, 2008
my parents left all the travel arrangements to me, from booking the flights down to organizing our leisure activities. i thought i was ready for a new challenge, but i just realized that planning a trip for 6 adults plus 1 child is not a joke! add the fact that everything is done from scratch. the last time i’ve been to Hong Kong was when i was 7, and after more than 20 years, i’m sure things have changed quite a lot. i had to check on Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website (http://www.discoverhongkong.com) to see what new attractions we can visit to help me plot our itinerary.
for this trip, i decided not to approach a travel agency. i realized that if you want to make our own itinerary, stay at your hotel of choice, and explore the city at your own pace, you need to work independently. the only setback though is that you have to do your own research of flights and hotel availabilities. thankfully, there’s the internet for me to count on, so i’ve manage to work on our flights in a breeze. all throughout these preparations, i’ve heavily relied on online bookings, and it was actually a wise decision because i managed to snag a great deal on our airline tickets by purchasing them via PAL’s website (http://www.philippineairlines.com). that’s just one of the perks of booking things online. imagine no queuing and no holding on the phone just to speak with an agent! it’s so convenient!
now all i need to do is finalize the bookings of our accommodations. since we plan on staying at Hong Kong island, i thought of trimming down our choices to either Excelsior Hotel or The Charterhouse because of their great views of the harbour. i’ve searched through hotelscombined.com to check on the rates and availabilities, and i’m quite pleased both properties came up on my search. and the site's pretty straightforward to navigate, too.
December can be a very busy season so it’s really good to plan ahead of time. now that everything’s in place, i guess we’re practically good to go.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
a few days before the concert day, my bessie invited us to stop at Gap Store on Friday afternoon ‘cos Arrested Development’s gonna be there for a meet-and-greet and autograph signing event. at that point, we knew nothing about the concert yet.
the band's name rings a bell, but i just couldn’t remember their songs. i was told they were a hit back in the early 90’s, and that's the end of what i know about the group. anyway, hubby & i decided to come in for the sake of giving support to B, who’s one of the photographers for the band’s Gap Store visit.
that Friday morning, the husband & i went to Deira City Centre to do some shopping (i badly need a few pieces of warm clothes for the winter season). since i was taking so long as the Zara SA had to take my measurements for the alterations, we decided to split up to save time. Ryan went to Sharaf Digital for his technology update, while i went on with my ‘corporate attire’ shopping (see, my spending was very much justified..hehe!).
anyway, i didn’t notice the time as i was so consumed with all the new collection all over the store. realizing that it's already half past two,i scrammed to meet hubby at the Gap, which is on the other side of the mall *darn!*. when we got there, i waved at B who signaled for us to queue for the shoot and autograph signing. and so i did, but not with the husband. he was too shy for this kind of thing.
when it was my turn to shake hands with the band members and say hello, i was starstruck. i didn’t know who to talk to first because they were all talking to me at the same time. their oldest member and spiritual guru, Baba Oje who’s 76 years old, even stood next to me to say ‘hi’. quite a friendly bunch, i must say. when they asked me where i’m from, i proudly said 'from Manila'. i was grinning from ear to ear the whole time we were chatting. and when they asked me if i’m catching their concert, i just blurted, “absolutely!”. looking very pleased with my answer, they all thanked me and handed over my autographed CD and with a postcard each for myself and Ryan.
of course you must've already figured out that i lied. first of all, i don’t know when and where their concert is taking place, and secondly, i don’t know any of their songs. yes, i’m that horrible *boo!!*.
when i met up with Ryan at the men’s section of the store to wait for B and our other friend K to wrap up after the meet-and-greet, a guy walked towards us and introduced himself as Joe Lamont. ok, hello Joe :) the Pinoy in us automatically chatted with him, and we found out that the reason why he’s interested to chat with us is because he heard i’m from Manila. turns out he’s holding a concert there in Aliw Theather in a few weeks’ time. his song, ‘Victims of Love’ is quite popular in videoke joints that even children as young as 5 could sing his song. he was bowled over that when he was invited to perform, he jumped on the opportunity without hesitation. he said he’s in touch with Steve O’Neal of RJ 100 FM, and he also intends to do other projects with our local artists in Manila. i wish i can say what projects they are, but i’ll leave it to his partners back home to announce what they’re cooking up. by the way, when i did my research about the guy, i found out that he's not just a singer, but also a song writer, producer and concert promoter worldwide. wow! i'm so glad we're friends already :)
of course the Arrested Development’s concert also came up during our conversation, and we sheepishly admitted to him that we may not be able to watch them perform. perhaps our faces gave away the truth that we don't have tickets so Joe (ehem, first name basis) asked for our names and told us that he’ll just add them on the guest list so we can come and watch for free. and true enough, when we got to The Irish Village that evening, we were indeed on the list. we felt very special, i tell you! (haha, ang babaw!)
ok, don’t laugh now but in all the years i’ve lived here in the UAE, i’ve never been to The Irish Village. yep, such a loser, i know! and i have a pretty good excuse – i don’t drink. well, ‘used to not drink’ actually ‘cos now i’m starting to learn the trade, thanks to some friends who mix me good cocktails for my tasting :)
the Irish Village doors opened at 7:00 pm, and when we got there, the first front act has just finished with their last song. the second front act was a Dubai-based groove-core band called ‘Sandwash’, who had 3 Pinoy members - Jay, Crom and Mike, and one white guy named, Pavel (sorry, i’m not sure of his nationality). without being biased, i could say they were pretty good.
at around half past ten, the Arrested Development began to perform, much to the delight of the audience. i managed to step up on one of the lamp posts’ base and saw how thick the crowd was. all throughout the band’s performance, people were shakin’ their booties and singing to their songs while nursing their drinks. it was so much fun!
when they sang ‘Tennessee’, ‘Everyday People’ & ‘Mr. Wendal’, i heard myself sing with them. see, it’s not true that i don’t know any of their songs…i just don’t know what the songs’ titles were :D oh, and we also did bump into Joe towards the end of the concert. he gave me a friendly hug like we're old friends, asked if we were having fun, and thanked us for coming. good PR skills, eh?
as we headed for home, Ryan & i realized that we’ve never really gone out on a night out ever. being out on a party like that was something new for us that we kind of liked and enjoyed. we mutually agreed that we should do this on a monthly basis just to chill and have fun. don't you think that's a brilliant idea? ;-)
Monday, October 27, 2008
haayyy, this is one of those moments for me. i am itching to type away and narrate 'cos i currently have a lot to share - with things worth ranting and raving about - and yet i couldn't even fit a post to help me get me back on track.
oh well, what to do. maybe tomorrow things will be a bit better. if you find something new here, it means i must've squeezed in some time between work (read: lunch break) to come up with an updated post. if not, then try and come back the day after tomorrow. i promise, by then i've already made a decent post ;-)
thanks for swinging by! :)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
i love going to parks to just walk around and people watch. i especially enjoy seeing kids run around to their heart’s content and laugh like there’s no tomorrow. so whenever there’s a chance to just relax and unwind at one of the local parks here, i make sure we go. in fact, the last picnic we’ve been to was a Pinoy Family Day that i organized.
it was a lovely day in March where we spent almost an entire day at the park. all the Pinoys at work with their respective families gathered for a pleasant Saturday chill out at the Dubai Creek Park. each family brought with them food for pot luck, which were all lipsmackingly good. i could still remember the yummy barbecues we had! we also celebrated two of our colleagues’ birthday. Ryan made each of them a Pineapple Upside-Down cake, and that’s what we had for dessert.
for entertainment, we prepared games for the kids and adults, too.
i hope we could all do this again before the weather gets a lot cooler for outdoors. i’m thinking of an early Christmas Party of some sort. i hope everyone says affirmative to that.
yep, like Weng, i am a part-time facepainter. well, not exactly a professional one, but i guess i’m good enough to pass the little kids’ standards.
here are a few snaps at Klyde’s birthday bash with a couple of my customers:
a flower for a lovely girl
don't cry hunny...this won't hurt
sorry i don’t have better pictures that clearly showcase the drawings. these are both candid snapshots which i just nicked from a friend’s site who was also at the party.
i’m thinking of buying my own set of face paint so that i can practice more & try new drawings that i know kids would love. problem is, who do i use as my guinea pig??
Monday, October 20, 2008
presenting my Monopoly gameboard Boutique Edition:
just like any other limited edition Monopoly board, all game pieces were spruced up to keep up with the theme. since it's designed with fab girls in mind, even the dice that decide your fate are both in pink. instead of picking out Chance and Community Chest cards, you get to 'receive' Instant Message and Text Message cards. properties are different from the original game, too. they have shops & stores available where you can add pink & purple translucent boutiques & malls instead of green houses & red hotels. even the title deeds are changed from boring to hip cards - all pink, pink, pink! and the whole set comes with a pretty carry case - perfect for a banker where a flocked tray for the monies is available for ease of use. oh, and did i mention that redesigned money is also very cute?
sunglasses, flip flop, handbag & a flip top mobile phone
last Saturday afternoon, i forced the hubby to play with me, and as usual, he went bankrupt while i went crazy with shopping but earned from my investments. LOL! it was so much fun! :)
Sunday, October 19, 2008
2. Post it in your blog. Make sure you copy it in compose mode (blogger) or visual mode for the others. This will enable you to copy all your friend’s link as well. Have fun doing it.
3. In the next number, add your blog url and link it
4. Add the greetings that you use frequently or one that is in your traditional language.
Konichiwa Meme by AikoAiko
1. All About Kawaii says Konichiwa
2. Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery says HOLA!
3. Yenzz’s SeeNRead says Hi!
4. laketrees says G’day
5. A Great Pleasure says Aloha!
6. Maiylah’s Snippets says Hallu!
7. Moms… Check Nyo says Hello!
8. Hailey’s Beats and Bits says Mabuhay!
9. Eds Mommy Life says Mabuhay! Kumusta! Hi! Hellow po!Haler!
10. Jhona My Wonderful life says Hi! Hello! Kumusta?
11. Vannie of FunFierceFabulous says Hi, How are you today?
12. MrsWorkingGirl says Kumusta?
13. Munchkin Mommy says Mabuhay!
14. A Reality Bite says Marhaba!
::: End Copy Here :::
feel free to swipe, people!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
she also discovered the joy of live music since Ryan’s family owned a drum set and a few other musical instruments to complete a rock band. Ysha greatly enjoyed the pulsating sound from banging the drums. and the Tita just had to take pictures!
give me a beat, baby
on a Saturday afternoon, we brought her to the mall to let her enjoy the rides at the Quantum Amusement Center. i can’t say she loved the whole experience because she was obviously so bored to death with most of the rides she’s gone for.
she hated the carousel!! too unexciting for her. i tried to persuade her to smile for the camera, but i guess you can’t force a little imp to flash on her bright chompers especially when she’s uninterested with what she’s doing. she couldn't wait to get out of it, i tell you!
we moved to the other side of the mall to see what other rides and attractions for kids are available. and because it’s the weekend, a lot of families are in the amusement section so most of the kiddie rides were taken. we opted to have her hop on this cute little car, which was a bumpy ride that jerks from front to back while swaying from side to side. i had to hold her firmly, afraid that she might get scared, or worse, fall off the ground. surprisingly, she liked the car ride so much! we took her to try the others but the only other ride she liked was the elephant ride, and the rest she was extremely bored with. she kept picking out the first car she’s ridden. she literally hogged the car, not giving the other kids a chance to try the ride. the girl wanted something that would elicit excitement, not some kind of melancholic ride that most girls would want. when we got home later that evening, she was totally knocked out!
with all these reminiscing about the little miss pretty, i’m starting to miss her even more. she’s definitely my ultimate favorite niece in the world (well, she’s the only one, anyway so she wins by default!) and when we come and see her on December, i promise we’d gad about and enjoy lots of fun time under the sun, too. for now, i’ll have to prepare all my loots for her. from my list of Christmas gifts to my family, she’s the only one getting 10 gifts from me :)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
i’m contemplating on cancelling my gym membership ‘cos i’m too lazy to work out but my bessie’s discouraging me for so many reasons. she’s being hopeful that i’ll rechannel my energies to exercising instead of fussing over my ballooning size. looking at the calendar, it shows that it’s only 53 days to go till we fly over to Manila. i only have limited time to shed off some unwanted pounds and i’m getting apprehensive already!
i wonder if ‘The Secret’ would work to lose weight.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
last night, i kept tossing and turning in bed, to the dismay of my co-sleeper who’s sadly under the weather. i tried to tire myself by doing a batch of ironing while watching No Reservations DVD, but only ended up feeling all the more restless. my mind was wide awake and alert, which kept me up till 2:00 am. not good for someone who wakes up at 5:00 am.
now here i am at work sluggishly working through the day, hoping that the clock’s hands signal 5:00 pm. i can’t wait to go home and get some much needed sleep. i feel like a walking zombie!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
we've been going there for a couple of months now and it's the first time we've chanced upon these Goldilocks goodies (monggo bread, chewy brownies & pinipig polvoron), and Gardenia California Raisin Loaf, my favorite back home. in our excitement, we just dumped them in our shopping basket without checking the price.
now since these goods were air freighted, we expected they would be slightly pricey.
- Goldilocks monggo bread loaf, AED 15.00 (USD 4.10)
- Goldilocks chewy brownies, AED 5.50 (USD 1.50) each
- Goldilocks pinipig polvoron, AED 1.95 (USD 0.50) each
- Gardenia raisin loaf, AED 18.00 (USD 5.00)
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
i was doing some research, flipping through the pages of Bermuda: Re - September issue when an interesting article caught my fancy. it was a feature on separate interviews with the Bermuda movers and shakers in the insurance & reinsurance industry. the respondents ranged from Chairmen to Executive Vice Presidents - all ‘C’ levels. they were asked the same set of questions so i thought of comparing their replies. the catchiest question was the last one (as always), and it goes like: “What is your greatest achievement in your personal life?”
13 top executives were asked. 12 gave one akin answer.
and what was it?
"marrying the woman i love and building a family with her"
aaawwww!! ain’t that sweet? i never thought men with such power would ever declare that openly. it’s either their PR side are the ones talking because it sounds like the right thing to say, or that they are quite proud of what they have. i just think it’s a very wonderful thing to admit. an exquisite homage to the great woman behind the successful man.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
the rules are:
Monday, October 6, 2008
Party # 1 - Gayle's 27th 'Pink' thanksgiving party
location: Gayle & Pid's flat
Gayle is a fellow Dubai w@wie who is my batchmate. we met through the forum and coincidentally, she's also a close friend of my team mate at work, Hazel. Gayle's party was screaming pink, and we guests had to wear pink, too. hands down to her for being able to prepare such a feast. we loved the sushi, grilled salmon and baked spareribs! and she's quite lucky for having a sister as pastry chef...look at that home made cupcake tree!
before we left, we were given tokens, too. it's like a debutant's party! everything was well thought of and executed.
Party # 2 - Klyde's Cars-themed 2nd birthday party
location: Fun City, Reef Mall
remember my hosting stint at Klyde's 1st birthday last year? my, my - it's been a year already and how big Hazel's boy has grown since! this time, his party was held at an indoor amusement area in a mall. party details were carefully chosen, as well as the artworks used for the tarpaulins. Klyde's Lightning McQueen costume and some of the decors & balloons were even shipped from the U.S. food was catered by Salt & Pepper, while the kids were served Mc Donald's kiddie meals. there was so much food that we were even asked to bring home some take aways. how can we resist when they were all sooo good? ;-)
Party # 3 - Armil's 30th birthday bash
location: Armil & Mabe's studio flat
Armil is one of Ryan's oldest friends. they've been were blocmates, housemates and brods back in college. we joined him, his wife and his other friends in celebrating his big 30, which was filled with laughter and surprises. Armil is one lucky birthday boy...he got a new Nikon D700 and Nintendo wii at the same time - thanks to the wife! :) food was really delicious, and we specially loved the dry sisig, sweet & sour fish and the grilled liempo...mmmm, sarap!! thanks to the couple, by the way, as we were introduced to the electric smoke-free griller available at Hyper Panda :) yeah!!
Party # 4 - Emtee's 28th purple beerday party
location: Emtee & Rico's villa
Emtee is another fellow w@wie who happens to be my cousin Sarj's classmate back in college. see how small the world is? ;-) for her birthday party this year, we made sure to be present 'cos we failed to attend her last year's party. good thing we were there otherwise we would've missed the delectable dishes her family served. lechong kawali was a cardiac arrest treat that i kept coming back for at the buffet table. and the carbonara was so tasty to the lips i almost went for a second helping, had i not been distracted by the kare-kare to which i'm a fan because it's partnered with bagoong that i love! alcohol was also overflowing. tequila and Jack Daniels got me singing to "What a Feelin'", which was rather embarassing! *blushing cheeks*
Party # 5 - Tin Tin's 2nd Pink-themed party
location: Fun City, Reef Mall
the daughter of my ex-colleague, Maria, i've seen Tin-Tin practically grow up from a darling little imp to one of the cutest and brightest toddlers in town. the little girl amazed us with her dancing abilities and good manners - saying 'thank you' whenever she's handed a gift (she knows where to put them, too). she sure does know how to entertain her guests at a very young age. she also perfected the blowing of candles of her cake...we were told she's had a lot of practice at home.
meal time was fun for all of the guests, too. for kids, they had Mc Donald's kiddie meal, while us adults feasted on pinoy dishes catered by Cortage. the palitaw, pork menudo & buko pandan brought me back to town fiesta days back home!
now that wraps up the string of birthday parties we attended the last few weeks. here's to hoping for more to come for the all celebrators. cheers to their good health!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
hubby's been here for two years, but he's never stepped foot on this most awesome rock cafe's branch in Dubai. it was fairly easy to coax him...i simply guaranteed him yummy food and he easily gave in. *wink*
it was also a chance for me to test drive my All Access Card which i availed from San Diego last May. since i'm a "hardrocker", we got a good table at the 2nd floor which gave us a nice view of the entire place. and while waiting for our orders, a friendly clown (who happens to be Pinoy) came by our spot and made me a big bouquet of flowers out of balloons. sweet. to satisfy our hunger, we had Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings for appetizer and Grilled Rib Eye Steak and New York Strip Steak for our mains, which we gobbled down quite easily. yeah, we're meat lovers - what can i say? :) for drinks, we had Berrilicious and Margarita Sunrise. for an additional AED 20 each, we also took home the hurricane and margarita glasses from our drinks as souvenirs. plus on top of the great service we got, we also had 10% discount on food and beverage. that's rock star treatment for you!
of course we didn't leave the cafe without passing by their merchandise section. you see, whenever i travel, i always make it a point to swing by a Hard Rock branch and grab some souvenirs for myself and Ryan. a shirt is a must for the husband, sometimes topped with a cap, while i buy shirts, too and HRC pins for myself. yes, those pins you see on the servers' shirts & sash. i've begun collecting them just this year, and i'm keeping them pinned on my free All Access rucksack. we ended up getting 2 shirts for Ryan and a Dubai guitar pin for me. i also bought a Pinktober shirt with pin in support of the Breast Cancer Awareness program they have where a portion of the proceeds for such items will go directly to breast cancer research. as the Pinay cashier was so fond of us, she even gave me an additional pin for free to add to my collection. see, it really pays to be nice & chatty! :)
next up: Hard Rock Makati!
Friday, October 3, 2008
this is my ultimate favorite lemonade carbonated drink of all time! i only get to enjoy this when i travel in the West, and i'm so delighted that it's now available in the UAE market. i can easily grab a 4-pack at the local Spinney's, which by the way has a branch just a stone's throw away from our building. perfect!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
i've been off from work since Monday owing to the Eid Al Fitr holiday. lucky for me who works for a government firm, i got 4 days off, compared to the private sector which only had 2 days off and depended on the sighting of the moon. much to my relief, hubby's employer gave them 3 days holiday so we spent most of the looonngg weekend together.
so, what have we been up to the last 3 days, you ask? all of our time were spent heavily on cleaning the apartment. yup, that boring! but we're both happy 'cos we've accomplished much. we've finished three sections of the house, and we only have a room left to do. i could say that almost every nook and cranny has been dusted off, scrubbed, vacuumed and mopped to our delight.
of course we didn't just spend our time decluttering and working our bums off. we also had our time share of entertainment. the other night, we visited my bessie and played wii to our heart's content. i love wii fit! i must start saving for that console for Christmas as a gift to myself! must beat bessie's record in the super hula hoop!! :D
plans for today remain unchanged. we're touching up on cleaning & disinfecting the kitchen. a little more rearranging and we're almost done. then tonight, we'll head off to Emtee's birthday bash. we heard she's serving sushi for appetizers! mmmm, yum yum!
we'll leave all the mall hopping activities for tomorrow. we're to attend another birthday party, a kiddie one this time, at Fun City. i also plan on having a nice brunch tomorrow to treat the husband who's been such a good sport since the holidays started. meanwhile, Saturday is saved for a picnic with Gracita & Harvey and their friends, which we hope would push through. if it pushes through tomorrow, then we switch the activities (well, except for the party).
our holiday isn't as eventful as the last Eids we spent here in the UAE. but it gave us a chance to do much at home. that and we also saved on gas :)