May 31, 2010

So Many Things to Do, So Little Time

Work used to be super stressful when I was still in my previous project. Back then, each day is a combination of headaches and good times because I deal with batch programs (and its superhuman developer) and a lot of database records but the people I work with are so warm I treated them family. And as the project ended, I immediately filed a long VL to unwind and give myself a break that I think I well deserve.

The original plan for this vacation is that I will be spending a week or so in Roxas City where Mom’s relatives live. I got ecstatic because based on my younger sisters’ kwento (yes, they have already been to the province :( ), they had a great time there, and Boracay being 2 hours away is a bonus. But sometimes, despite all the plans and preparations and all the anticipation, the unexpected happens. What should have been my first out-of-Luzon trip was cancelled because the relatives we’ll be staying with there are the ones coming here to Manila. *heavy sigh*
Of course, instead of crying over a flight that’s already booked (yeah, non-refundable. Ouch.), I thought I might as well use the vacation leave that I have filed. Being a self-confessed home body, I know I’ll still enjoy this time-off because indoors, I have lots of stuff to devote my time to :) 
Here’s what I plan to do in the few days that I will not be working:

UPDATE OUR SCRAPBOOK. This one is a top priority. For those who don’t know yet, I have been scrapbooking for almost 5 years now. I was successfully able to compile keepsakes from all (and I mean ALL) the dates Jhay and I had. And I guess now’s the best time to make it up-to-date. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. :)
BLOG. BLOG. BLOG. This month I have started writing again, and as expected, I am so loving it ^_^ I get to share what’s running in my head and what my heart beats for. I get to chronicle day-outs and getaways and reminisce whenever I need a happy pill. I get some sense of pride and accomplishment whenever friends appreciate my craft. Blogging is all good, so this coming week, I will be publishing posts every now and then, and hopefully I will be able to customize the site more. Albeit difficult, I also plan to read about SEO because it is any blogger’s desire to be in the first page of search results, if not the first item.
TIDY MY ROOM. My room’s a mess already. Tita’s been nagging for quite some time now about the clutter that I seem to be maintaining in my little niche. So hopefully, I could put it back to order and get rid of the things that only make it more crowded. 
SPEND MORE TIME WITH HALEY. Our bunso gets more and more adorable each day so I want to spend some quality time. She now knows how to pose in the camera, and I so enjoy taking pictures of her! ^_^ Plus, she’s a great storyteller! How I miss her.. :(
ENJOY THE FIRST WEEKEND OF JUNE WITH THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. Come hell or high water, we’ll pursue our getaway on the 5th and 6th in Tagaytay. This is the first time that we are going the extra mile to make our Anniversary more special and this is also the first out-of-town trip that it’s just the two of us! I can hardly wait! ^_^

Here’s the not-so-good news: I am not home. I am here at my tita’s house in Cavite and I haven’t done anything in my list yet :(. But I’m having some “me time” here and for me, that’s still vacation-ish. LOL. I’ll be back home on Wednesday and hopefully, I could do items 1 and 3 in two days, and do item 4 in between. Item 2 is out of the question because I can blog wherever :). And item 5? Dang, I am so excited!

Join me in praying that I get to accomplish my to-do list. Looks like I need divine intervention. Haha. In the meantime, I’m out as I need to pay some respect to Pork Sinigang waiting in the table, and some Cadbury after! Now that’s what you call vacation!! ^_^

May 29, 2010


There’s no better way to cap the week off and jumpstart a 9-day vacay (yeah baby, 9 days!) than going out with girlfriends and indulging in a feel-good movie. Oh don’t feel bad hon, you’re reserved for the finale  :-P


As I was browsing my best friend’s photo album in FB last Wednesday, I saw a picture of her and her beau eating at a Japanese resto, and from that moment on I was craving for Tonkatsu. I called Jhay to invite him for lunch or dinner that same day but work was toxic. I emailed the Isda Girls too but they already have other plans. But I was persistent, so last night we ate our hearts out at Karate Kid Waltermart.

FANTASTIC FOUR: Noreen, Nhix, Jaq, Me!

My craving was satisfied. Yay! ^_^

Oh no, I wanted more. But that's Noreen's food already. Penge Noreen.. :)

The tonkatsu never failed me. It was just the way I wanted it – crunchy yet tender on the inside. Jaq and Nhix enjoyed their Chicken Teppanyaki as well. Where’s Noreen you say? She’s still in transit because their meeting ended at 8pm. Spell workaholic.

I told them early on that I will be going home after dinner. They still wanted to watch Here Comes the Bride but I refused as it wasn’t part of my budget. But we aren’t friends for nothing, right? They are equally persistent, and they won’t take no for an answer.

In a few minutes, we are inside the theater. Waltermart isn’t as big as MOA or as classy as Rockwell and Serendra, but hey the movie house isn’t so bad. In fact, we enjoyed it because it’s the same viewing experience sans the crowd and the high cost.

And the movie? To say that it is hilarious is an understatement. We were literally laughing our asses off the whole time. Angelica Panganiban (Steph), Eugene Domingo (Ninang Precy), Tuesday Vargas (yaya), John Lapus (Toffee) and Jaime Fabregas (Lolo Bien) did a great job. Likewise, the storyline is good, not your ordinary comedy flick. But I wonder, does the solar eclipse and magnetic field phenomenon have scientific basis???

Here are more personal comments on the film:
  • The five cars that crashed at the beginning were all “sayang.” :(
  • Virgin Beach Resort, the movie’s setting, was sooooooooooo picturesque we’ve decided we’ll go there next summer (and try if the car will really move forward when put to neutral even if the engine is off)
  • I wish I have a granny as affluent as Lolo Bien to finance my dream wedding *sigh* PhP 200,000 for the cake alone?! Watda..
  • Steph’s original wedding gown is horrible. And yes, I am mean on that part. Hahaha.
  • It was hard to believe that Harold (the groom) can turn someone as sexy as Angelica down when she already wanted to do the deed. The “Let’s wait till our marriage” idea seem a passé nowadays.
  • Angelica is so versatile she pulled off both the finesse bride and the fierce gay.
  • The scenes of John Lapus and “Mariz” would really make one throw up. No exaggerations here. Friendly advice: Keep your eyes shut when it’s their turn to shine (or not :-P).
  • Very quickly, Eugene has emerged as one of the best comediennes of the country. All her antics hit the mark! ^_^
  • Eugene is blessed to have kissed a lot of yummy guys already. Rawr.
  • Tuesday’s role is forgettable (I didn't even know her name in the movie is Medelyn until I googled it). But she played “Ninang Precy” very well.
  • The characters are very distinct that one line is enough to know who the soul is inside a certain body, especially during the last part when their identities are all mixed up. *Applause* 
    Warning: Don’t watch it with your boyfriend because Tom Whatever-his-lastname-is is scorching hot your BF might get jealous and walk out while you are still drooling.

    Walking out of the cinema, we were still laughing so hard. It’s always fun to laugh like no one else is around, knowing that you have your equally crazy friends to back you up.

    On the jeepney ride going home, we thought about this:

    "If we had to switch souls with another isda girl,
    who would we wanna be?"

    It was unanimous, no one liked the idea. LOL.

    I got home half past eleven and as I entered the house, my younger sister said,

    “Ate bakit ngayon ka lang???”

    Aba, tinawag pa akong ate.


    Overall, it was one hell of a Friday. Thanks Jaq, and thanks Nhix (on Noreen’s behalf). It was a portion of your 14th month pay very well spent. :)

    May 21, 2010

    On Beautiful Wedding Photos

    Before I know it, I have already spent more than 2 4 hours of today looking at Wedding Pictures in Mimi and Karl Photography website. I've been dreaming of hiring a different wedding photographer until I stumbled upon their site yesterday. God, their shots are reaaaaaaally good! And it was evident in the behind-the-scene pictures that the couple and their team of photographers are having fun at work. Not only workmates, they are friends too. That could be the reason why their shots turn out to be super amazing.

    I added Mimi and Karl to my "dream wedding" list. Looking at their network of friends and whose weddings they have covered, I assume their service is really pricey. But a girl can dream, right? :)

    A part of my "Dream Wedding" list, written in my handy-dandy Cosmo planner.

    Click here and see the photos for yourself. Makes me wanna get married right away. ^_^

    A Fun Summer Getaway @ the South

    Apart from a wonderful family and a loving boyfriend, I feel that I am one lucky person for having my college buddies, collectively known as "Tropang Isda" Why the name? According to a random forwarded SMS, a goldfish’s memory only lasts 3 seconds.

    FACT: I and my friends forget stuff in a matter of 3 seconds. LOL.

    Seriously though, we are a bunch of very forgetful people, hence the “isda” title.

     Tropang Isda as PLM Freshmen, taken 6 years ago.

    Last weekend we (isda girls along with two boyfies) had an out-of-town trip to Bauan, Batangas. Our original plan is to check out the famous Laiya beach but when we called in for reservations, all rooms are already booked for all weekends of May (Note: We called as early as third week of March!) So we had no choice but to search for other possible venues. After a few more tries, I found Coconut Hills Beach Resort over the net. Website is okay, photo gallery is okay, accommodations and rates are okay. Add those to the fact that it satisfies one of our primary considerations: WHITE SAND BEACH (or at least their website says so :)) I wasted no time. I called up the number in the site, my inquiries were answered and the next day, I deposited the downpayment. Problem solved, we already got a venue for the Isda Outing 2010.

    Because the reservation process happened too fast (yeah, maybe we got too excited), I wasn’t able to check out reviews for the resort before depositing the DP. And when I did, I found some not very good ones. We’ve already paid half of the room rate so all we could do is pray that the negative feedback isn’t true.

     L-R: Emil, Jejo, Noreen, Nhix, Dad, Me, Jaq and Edmund. All Set! :)

    After the long wait, May 15 came. We were all set – Myself, Noreen, Nhix, Jaq and her bf Edmund, and Jejo and her bf Emil – and a little over 8AM, we left Manila with dad as our driver. We headed to SLEX. We were advised by Miles, the resort manager, to come in earlier because the town is celebrating their very first fiesta and we might not be able to get a parking space. We took the Skyway to avoid heavy traffic but to no avail. To make it worse, we were stuck in heavier traffic from Silangan Exit to the toll plaza in Calamba. Do they really call it “Expressway”?!?!

      Heavy Traffic! =|
    Past the toll plaza, the trip got lighter and faster. We reached Lucena-Batangas exit and entered the STAR Tollway. It was my first time to pass through the said highway, and I was amazed and amused because the road looked unending. There’s really never a dull moment with my girls, we were all laughing as we traversed more than 25 kilometers to Bauan proper. No one’s been to the area yet and all we got was a not-so-accurate sketch from the resort’s website, so every now and then we had to stop to ask the locals for direction. We turned right upon seeing Rising Tide Construction Supply (the landmark in the sketch), and that’s when the real adventure started. We thought we are already near the beach but we were wrong. So wrong. We drove along a narrow and very steep road wherein only one vehicle could pass at a time. Loud chit-chats and laughters were replaced by silence and swear words uttered by dad as we passed through dangerous curves (think acute angles). We were literally holding our breaths because one wrong turn and our time is up. Luckily though, after almost 6 hours of travel, we got to Coconut Hills Beach Resort alive. Thank heavens. 

      A properly scaled sketch isn't so bad an idea.

    We got off the car, carried all our stuff and walked along the shore towards the resort. The walk was quite long and tiring because of our heavy bags and the scorching heat of the sun. We finally reached Coconut Hills and we were greeted by a woman who I thought was the one I talked to for reservation. She and another staff helped us with our things and led us to our room. Ours is by far the best room in the resort because it is really overlooking the sea. I have to say the resort is beautiful. It may be small but it is well-kept. Perhaps due to the remote location, it’s not crowded to the point that we thought we rented the whole place! :)

     The view from our room's terrace.

    Shortly after our arrival, we had lunch al fresco style. We later relaxed and stayed inside the room because we thought it’s still too hot to swim. That’s when I noticed that there are only 2 double beds and 2 twin beds when Miles said it has 3 double beds and a twin. Good thing they’re all comfy so the size became insignificant. Another thing that my friends noted was that it could’ve been better if the Ocean Suite (that’s how they call it) has a TV set for additional entertainment when chilling indoors.

    Deliciously healthy lunch: Daing na bangus and Ginisang Repolyo

    Alright, since I’m already at it, allow me to continue with my personal assessment of the different aspects of the resort. I’ll try to be very very objective here for the purpose of helping those who are considering it for their vacay :)
    This is the only reason I wouldn’t choose to go back to Coconut Hills. It’s too far from the main road let alone the fact that the path going there is worse than Baguio’s zigzag roads. They say, however, that you can go straight to Anilao Port (to spare yourself from the extra challenging drive downhill) and get to the resort via boat transfer but I don’t think you’d be at ease leaving your car at the other side of the sea, right?
    The room is okay except that early on, the ACU just can’t cool the room. At around 10pm, dad can’t take the heat anymore so he talked to the resort manager about it. That’s when we knew that it is not the ACU’s fault but the electric company providing electricity in the area. This is one point well taken in the review we found over the net. Their service provider cannot supply enough power during certain times of the day, thus they have a generator. Immediately after my dad made the issue known to the management, they turned their generator on and the ACU in our suite worked pretty well. I remember I woke up in the middle of the night to pull the blanket because it was so darn cold. Careful what you wish for. LOL. 

    Bathroom and Shower
    The bathroom in our suite is nice and clean albeit the heater is out of order. But for someone like me who is used to bathing in cold water, two thumbs up. Water supply is okay. There was a very short instant that there’s no water running out of the faucet but in 10-15 minutes, the sufficient water supply is back. Also, it takes time for the water in the toilet tank to be replenished after flushing that’s why we used pail and dipper most of the time. On a lighter note, our bathroom is equipped with a large sink, a shower head and a towel rack which is commendable. The public shower rooms are okay but they don’t have towel racks so we still opt to bathe in our private bathroom.
    I didn’t check the prices in the restaurant because we brought our own food but according to my dad, beer and liquors are very pricey (think 100% mark-up). I also think ice (the one that’s usually sold in sari-sari stores for 2 or 3 pesos each) is overpriced at PhP 10 each. Or maybe that’s the way business works in resorts.

    When we first went swimming in the beach, we were disappointed because it has big rocks and it’s not possible to swim farther without hurting your feet, so we just took pictures by the shore. Good thing when we checked out the beach the next morning (my friends were there as early as 5:30 am), we found out that it was just at low tide when we arrived, thus we had a better swimming experience on our 2nd day of stay (oh, and more pictures too!). The sand is (considerably) white but not as fine as Boracay’s or Puerto Galera’s (we were quite expecting this already so we’re not that disappointed). Nevertheless, we were impressed with the clear and clean water.

    Swimming Pool
    The swimming pool is small and simple. We don’t give much attention to the design anyway, as long as it provides an alternative when we don’t want to swim in the beach anymore. The cottages near the pool, however, added drama to the pool area. And I love how the lounge chairs are put in a covered area beside the pool just so when you want a break from the sun’s heat, it’ll be the perfect spot! :) I think it is also essential to note that we were told by one of the staff that the pool will be available for use only until 11pm and after 7am because cleaning time is at 6am but when we dipped in at around 9, it doesn’t look like the water was replaced.


    The staff is accommodating. However, when we wanted some bottles of beer at around 11pm, much to our surprise, the reception area/restaurant is already closed. I saw a crew outside and asked for his assistance. We had to wake the restaurant staff up to get ice-cold beer inside. And when my other friends wanted drinks as well, they woke up the staff again. I think it’ll be better to work on shifting schedules so that they can cater to the needs of their guests round the clock. The review that the staff is rude and is already waiting outside the room an hour before checkout is not true (at least based on our experience). In fact, we left the room 20 or 30 minutes after the standard checkout time but we were not charged for it.

    They don’t have their own parking lot but thankfully there’s no harm done to our car in the public parking area.

    We’re happy that the unpleasant review that we found is just an exaggeration (or the writer was just a victim of an ill-fated train of events). If I were to rate our stay in Coconut Hills, it’ll be 7 out of 10. As I’ve earlier said, had it not been for the resort’s location, I would surely go back.

    We took a few more souvenir shots before we left the resort at around 1pm. Upon getting into the car, we all prayed that we’ll be able to go past the dangerous curves again. While driving, everyone’s silent again and as if continually murmuring a prayer. Each successful turn dad makes merits cheers and applause. When we finally made it to the main road, the Isda Girls sang what we always sing after project defense sessions: God is good… All the time! :) We were in high spirits because of two things: (1) We were able to get out of the mountains alive; and (2) We’re now off to Tagaytay!

    Because of the traffic we experienced in SLEX on our way to Bauan, we’ve decided to just take a different route going home – via Lemery, Tagaytay, Bacoor then Roxas Blvd. It may be a longer course but there is a small probability of heavy traffic, plus sight-seeing would sure make the lengthy journey less of a burden. And since we’re passing by Tagaytay, why don’t we stopover? Thus, we decided we’ll be having lunch there. Next question is which of the many restos in Tagaytay?

    Here’s what helped us decide:

    Me:           San tayo kakain?
    Them:       Ano bang choices?
    Me:           Sabi masarap daw bulalo dun. So pili, either Leslie’s or RSM.
    Them:       Ano bang mas masarap?
    Me:           Uh, no idea.
    Emil:         Alphabetical nalang.
    Noreen:     O cge, so RSM tayo.
    Nhix:         Tama…. (think Ai Ai delas Alas saying “Tama” in Pilipinas Got Talent)

    Beat that. LOL.
    At around 3PM we reached RSM Lutong Bahay. Great ambiance they have there. Outside the dining area is a viewing deck to get a better look at Taal Volcano and take Facebook-worthy pictures. Of course we saved that for later because we are all hungry already. We got 2 orders of Bulalo and an order of Ginataang Gulay. After a few minutes, the food was served and in an instant, the whole table was hushed. Everyone’s busy filling their stomachs with those palatable Pinoy dishes.

    The food was really good. The bulalo at PhP 450 proved itself worthy of its price. Aside from being flavorful (the soup alone can be considered a viand), it was more than enough for 4 persons even if the menu said it’s only good for 2. The Ginataang Gulay’s also a winner. The veggies were cooked just right and the coco milk's texture was perfect. Oh my, I am salivating.

    On top of the sumptuous food, what made our lunch at RSM more remarkable was when we were serenaded by a group of 5. They sang My Girl and Binibini. Excellent vocals that when you close your eyes, you wouldn’t think they are singing live! :) We really enjoyed their performance.

    After eating, we went to the spot overlooking Taal and took pictures. We had like 20 shots and were good to go.

    Back to the car. From RSM, we’re now headed to Manila but we stopped awhile at a nearby Colette’s Buko Pie store for pasalubong. I was a little disappointed when we ate it at home because it doesn’t taste as good as the buko pies we buy in Laguna. :(


    In an hour and a half we reached my place. Choosing the Tagaytay route wasn’t a mistake because it was indeed faster than taking the expressway (ironically). Toll fee is even cheaper, 177 (going there) vs. 22 (going home). Upon getting home, first thing we did was get the laptop and the card reader then secure our copies of the pictures from the cameras we brought with us. Spell photo addicts. LOL.

    Certainly, the Isda Summer Getaway was fun, fun, fun! There may have been a few kinks but those only made the trip extra memorable. Till our next bonding activity, guys! ^_^

    May 19, 2010

    I So Love Surprise Lunch-outs

    What I love about my work is that time is flexible. Today, I got in a little late because I went to the grocery with my mom for my sister’s mini birthday bash later. I and Mom are still in the grocery when my phone’s battery went out, and I didn’t worry much because work is just 5 minutes away and I can immediately charge upon coming in.

    Quarter past 12 noon I reached the office. I turned on my PC, opened my email, logged in my Meebo account and totally forgot that I need to charge my cell phone battery. I was busy reading mails and checking Facebook notifications when a friend popped me messages:

               “lunch out daw kau ni jhay!”
               “open mo daw cp mo”

    I immediately looked for my charger and plugged the phone in. I turned it on and found quite a number of messages from Jhay (my beau, by the way), latest says he’s on his way to my workplace. I hurriedly put on some loose powder then checked in my desk mirror if I look okay. In less than a month, we’re turning 5 years but the thought of being with him still makes my heart beat faster. We’ve already had countless lunch outs but I still get that same crazy feeling when he comes over when I least expect it.

    Who cares if it’s just Jollibee?
    Where he is is still the perfect place to be. :)

    P.S. Special thanks to Nhix for helping him out :)

    May 18, 2010

    Today I'm Out

    I have read a number of nice blogs in the past and I have long been wanting to put up my very own blog site. I figured I would write about everyday joys, random realizations, and little thoughts on life and love. But since the moment I knew that I wanted a blog site, one question remained: What would its title be? 

    I have spent a lot of lull periods in the office and a few not-yet-sleepy nights thinking about this. And now, finally, I am officially launching Maude’s Avenue of Thoughts.


    A brief background

    Growing up, I wanted to be an Engineer. But I know deep down inside, I have a passion for writing. I used to write for my grade school and high school publication but as I ventured into fulfilling my dream of being a Computer Engineer, I set the mighty pen aside, and in the process lost confidence in the writer in me. My social circle believes in me, but the tragic part is I don’t believe in my own capabilities. Whenever I get the chance I read posts of friends and acquaintances and I get envious. They are not as good writers back then but the way they express themselves now only leaves me amazed, and at the same time wondering, “Why can’t I do that too?"

    I remember an instance when I was asked to write an article for the company newsletter. It may be a really simple piece, but there’s that indescribable feeling as I was doing it. I haven’t kept track of time. I didn’t even notice I have written more than the number of words required, and I was able to finish it in no time. Needless to say, I am happy when I write. Maybe because when I write, I am myself.

    So here I am, taking baby steps to being myself again :) 


    A peek at the future

    I am only starting my career as an IT professional, I know. There’s still a lot in store for me in my chosen field of endeavor. I am an Associate now, and it is of course every career woman’s dream to go up the corporate ladder (Managing Consultant sounds good :) ). But one day, perhaps 20 years from now, I would want to just leave the technical stuff behind. The world will not stop evolving, and the technology advancing. One day I would get tired of keeping up with the fast-paced world of IT. One day I would have more important roles to fulfill – a supportive wife to my husband, a loving mom to my kids. One day, I would want to be my own boss and put up the business that I’ve always wanted to have. 

    Bigger dreams, bigger responsibilities. But I’ll tell you what, one day I would just want to stay in a corner, slow down, sit back and write from the heart. :)

    Last but not the least, today

    Today I am posting my first blog entry. Today I am starting to share my life to the world. I’ll write about my adventures and misadventures, my reflections and aspirations. I’ll write about the people that matter to me, and how they make me feel. I’ll write about how I see the world, and how everyday experiences shape me to become the person I am destined to be.

    Today, I’m out in the open, and I know I’ll enjoy every minute of it.
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