Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Royal Wedding Viewing Party

Yes, I'm one of those people! And I actually planned a tea party to watch the most anticipated wedding in recent history. And who would be free to attend a tea party on a weekday? Who else but my freelancer friends! The attendees:

1. M (hiding behind his iPhone) - The only guy. He rolled his eyes every time we squealed. He made inappropriate (but funny!) comments throughout the ceremony. He commented on the women and the cars, just to guy it up a bit. BUT he was the only one tweeting about the wedding all throughout! Ha!

2. BFF Ching (not shown. The only night shifter was still busy getting her Happy Lemon fix) - The girl who said Princess Catherine's brother James Middleton was "pwede na."

3. Coni (henceforth to be known as "Koni," inspired by Catherine's Kate) - Our commentator. She knew pretty much every guest that arrived at Westminster Abbey--except for the guy in the barong! Of course she knew everybody; she had hoped to become part of the royal family, after all. She didn't intend to watch this wedding because it was just too painful to see the love of her life exchange vows with another. But we convinced her, yay! (Kons, there's still plan B! Go get that see-through dress!)

4. Issa - She brought yummy egg-and-mayo and tuna sandwiches as well as Mint and Orange Kitkats. Woohoo!

5. Chinggay - Our hostess. (Thank you for your air-conditioned den!) The girl who said that she was in love with this couple. Sigh. Since it was too hot for tea, she provided a steady supply of iced tea and a bucket of ice.

6. Me - The girl who had a couple of free hours on a weekday after working on a Black Saturday. (Boo!) I was exhausted after a looong shoot and was having a bad day. And when I got to Chinggay's, the power went out! "Guys, sorry this is my fault. I'm the one who's malas today." Thankfully, the power came back on after a couple of minutes.

I had wanted us to dress up for this, but they all vehemently objected given the heat. And I didn't have time to buy fascinators. Shucks. Still, I'm sooo happy we did this. It was great to be squealing and jumping around together (well, except for Miguel, who just kept shaking his head)--when we saw William and Harry in the car on their way to the abbey, when Kate came out of the hotel, when the couple's hands were joined together, when they rode the carriage to Buckingham Palace, and when they kissed! Sigh. I am really rooting for this couple. I really hope that they'll live happily ever after!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Week

When I was a kid, Holy Week usually meant I had to endure cloying heat, no cartoons, and absolute boredom at home. This, after all, was pre-cable, pre-FEN even (and if anyone can relate, I know how old you are!). I can't even remember how many years I watched The Ten Commandments on RPN9.

For maybe a couple of years, my family headed to Laguna to stay with some relatives, and this, to my brothers and me, was some form of penitensya. I wasn't close enough to my relatives on that side to have any sort of fun with them (I still hadn't developed any social skills at this point), there was absolutely no TV, we didn't have the luxury of holing up in our own rooms. It was hot, but the breeze wasn't always a welcome visitor for it brought with it a strong smell of pigs coming from the farm. Until now, farm smells trigger memories of those days. I smile when I think about them now--back then, I didn't feel there was much to smile about, but today, I look back at the Laguna trips fondly as part of growing up. In my head, they could be an episode of my own personal Wonder Years.

One year, my parents decided to take us to Pampanga, a province a couple of hours up north. I can't remember where we stayed, but I do remember hearing the pabasa for the first time. My young mind (and ears) couldn't comprehend why people willingly handed the microphone to those so utterly tone deaf. Hour after hour, they painfully chanted the Lord's Passion for the whole town to hear.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I was too young to be allowed to witness the re-enactment of the nailing on the cross come Good Friday. But, afterwards, my kuyas gleefully recounted how the penitent men doused their hand wounds with loads of alcohol after being taken down from the cross. I cringed as they told me this, but til this day, a part of me wants to see it live.

Another year--I must have been about 16--my clan went up to Baguio--titos, titas, cousins. My nephews and nieces, who are now all taller than me, were still itty-bitty kids then. One night, we had some sort of seder meal. I remember saying special prayers, and eating a dish made of chopped apples and possibly raisins (back in the day when I used to like raisins). Then our family sat around the living room and had some sort of sharing session, very much like a retreat. There was this air of solemnity so befitting of Holy Week--and we didn't have to contend with Manila heat! If I got my timeline right, this was about the time my immediate family was in turmoil (something I don't really write about here), so it was just great feeling this love and support from my clan. That's one of my favorite family memories.

For over a decade now, way before "staycation" became a buzz word, I've been staying in Manila. I understand that this is the perfect opportunity for some to go out of town on an extended vacation, but I guess for all my questions about my faith lately, I've still got a hefty dose of Catholic guilt ingrained within me. Every Holy Thursday, my mom and I hear mass at Betania, where we witness the washing of the feet. (There was that one year when we went all the way to Tagaytay to see Hamil act as one of the apostles at the Pink Sisters.) Betania is a little chapel within a convent, situated amid gardens and stone paths. It can get pretty warm but there's often a nice little breeze rustling the leaves of the trees outside. There's a heady scent of incense, which I greedily breathe in--for some reason, incense appeals to me the same way the smell of Pentel pens is addictive to others.

One year, I went to Betania somewhat heartbroken and with a cynical view of love. (Can you say teenage angst?) I was so lifted up by the nuns' beautiful rendition of the responsorial psalm ("Our blessing cup is a communion with the blood of Christ") that I actually considered becoming a nun. That was kind of short lived, but each year, I eagerly await the psalm, wishing that the sisters would sing it the way they did that one time--a way that calmed my heart and made me feel like I was in the presence of angels. I considered getting married at Betania--because of that memory, and because of its significance to me and my mom--but it was just too far from my reception venue. (And I'm not sure weddings are allowed there.)

After Holy Thursday mass, my mom and I go on visita iglesia. Since I got married, there have been some new traditions: My husband now joins us as we visit seven churches. On the evening of Good Friday, the two of us go for a run--21 kilometers for him and...whatever I can manage for me! I guess it's our form of meditation: just us, the pavement, and the still night air. Last year, we shared Bonifacio High Street with no one else but a parking attendant. All the establishments were closed. Last night, it took us forever to get a parking slot, and families were happily having dinner at one of the many open restaurants. I missed the solitude.

Times seem to be changing: Holy Week now comes with cable TV, open-all-night restos and coffee shops, and much more noise than in previous years. I'm sure they'll change even more as the years go by. My hope is that people would still remember the reason for this annual four-day weekend.

What's your Holy Week like? Has it changed since you were kids? What's it like for Catholics in other parts of the world?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Put on Your Running Shoes

...head out the door, run to the nearest newsstand/bookstore, and grab a copy of the first stand-alone issue of Runner's World!

True, one of my dearest friends is the editor in chief, and Piolo is shirtless on the cover (a fact repeatedly mentioned in posts about this mag, I found), but those aren't the only reasons you should go out and get it. The issue's packed! And my favorite feature is an eight-pager on a running icon.

For anyone who likes a good, well-written inspirational story, flip to page 80 and get to know the "Mayor of Running" Bart Yasso. I seriously got teary-eyed while reading it. He has truly pushed his body beyond limits, and has found happiness, has found himself, at the finish line. His story made me believe that my body is capable of doing more than just a measly half marathon!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tishie's Travels: Seoul

Dear Seoul,

You surprised me.

Despite my K-Pop-obsessed friends' near-worship of you, I didn't have any great expectations. You were a city that wasn't at the top of my to-visit list. But there I was, completely taken in, and wishing my husband was there to see you with me.

I loved the coffee shops that would pop up every few meters (and I don't even drink coffee).

I enjoyed roaming the packed streets of Myeongdong, stepping into your many cosmetics stores, doing some last-minute shopping, and learning not to take it personally when your locals bumped into me or pushed past me without a single "Excuse me."

And just when I was in awe of the modernity of it all (hello, heated toilet seats), you blew me away with a palace in the middle of the city--beautiful structures intermingling with your shiny new buildings. I love how, amid all the progress and moving forward at an impressive pace, you're still very much in touch with your soul.

You also gave me the chance to don a traditional Korean outfit while taking a cooking class.

And entertained me with a "non-verbal Korean performance"--which turned out to be a hilarious show with acrobatics that made my jaw drop.

You even gave me a touch of New York, the city I miss so much, with your Soho-like Hongdae.

I probably gained a couple of pounds during my short stay, courtesy of all the delicious food our hosts kept pummeling us with.

All the bibimbap and kalbijim and rice cake left little room for the enticing street food. (I did get to try some octopus.)

No matter--I'll be back with my husband someday. We'll munch on as much street food as we can, and try to go through all 300 kinds of your kimchi.


Some photos from Kath

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

Yesterday, I had to work (sigh), went to disc training (gotta get out of my bano funk), and organized a baby shower (people seemed to enjoy it). Today, woke up late and nuked some leftover baked macaroni for brunch. Asked my masseuse if she could come over to relieve my post-training aches, but alas, she's not free. As I type, husband and I are enjoying day 1 of the NBA playoffs. (My Bulls gotta step it up. Indiana's got a lot of fight in them.) Am relishing my down time, aching muscles and all. Later, we have to go to a children's party and a family dinner.

Will do a proper post soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Same Old, Same Old (Almost)

Last week's trip #1 took me back to the isla for Boracay Open 2011. Right after my fun run and all my interviews, I did a quick change and boarded a plane! I had no intention of going, since I was missing the Saturday games and Saturday night party (usually the most fun). But two words: Seat sale! So about a week before the trip, I booked me a flight.

It was a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am trip: I flew in Sunday around noon, and flew out first thing Tuesday morning. As in previous years, this trip featured a finals match which included the Boracay Dragons (nine-time champions, if I'm not mistaken)...

Photo from Ian

...a team photo...

...clowning around with my teammates...

Superstar X left his precious jersey to dry near my team. Naturally, we had to take turns wearing it and taking pictures of ourselves in it while he remained completely oblivious. obligatory jumping pic...

This one inspired by Step Up 3

...Sunday-night partying (although, for the first time, I didn't stay out til sunrise!)...

...breakfast at one of my absolute favorite spots, Real Coffee...

Yummy three-egg Jack's Omelette

Yup, pretty much the same stuff as in previous years. The only difference? I didn't have to spend a couple of nights away from this guy...

For the first time, my husband came along! Yay! Thank you, seat sale!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hot and Cold

Within a couple of days, I went from this...

30°C: Cocomo bikini, Forever 21 shades this...

5°C: Topshop pants, People Are People top (not shown), Apostrophe scarf, puffer jacket from BFF Ching, booties from Forever 21, satchel from SM

At least I didn't have to do any last-minute laundry in between trips. More when I get my bearings.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Photo from here

Will be back in a couple of days. Will tell y'all about my schizo packing list and back-to-back trips then. Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

See Spot Run

Good Housekeeping Philippines had its first-ever Family (and Pet!) Fun Run last Sunday! Though I promoted it to my family and friends, and even did a radio tour for it, the real props should go to our associate publisher Melody, who slaved away for months to produce this great event. We were so overwhelmed by the number of participants--there were about a thousand!

Humans warm up; dogs relax

The events: a 5K open run, a 3K tandem run for parent and child, a 1K run with obstacle course for human and dog, and a 100m dash for kids six and below!

And they're off!

My husband and I joined the open 5K event. Hamil told me at the starting line that he wanted to finish it sub-30--in other words, he was going to leave me behind. Haha. I had no intention of finishing quickly. I projected that I would finish in about 34 minutes, considering I hadn't really run since that half marathon! I was so not in shape, and I even walked a few meters towards the end, taking my sweet time. Imagine my surprise when I rounded the bend leading to the finish line and saw that only 30 minutes had elapsed! Ended up finishing in about 30:31 I think. I could've done it in sub-30 if only I hadn't walked! Oh well. For all my non-effort, I still finished fourth (surprisingly!) among the girls. Husband, meanwhile, did it in 26 minutes! He believes that running a half marathon changed our bodies. (Although I can't, for the life of me, imagine running 21 kilometers now.)

Post-run, participants got loads of freebies (including breakfast!) and were pampered with short massages, and even nail treatments. Dogs got basic grooming.

In between bites of my free tapsilog, I had to do interviews for all these different shows--in all my post-run, sweaty glory! When the crews asked me if I would like to freshen up, I said that that was as good as it was gonna get. Haha.

This was for GMA News

I think, for the most part, people really enjoyed themselves. For P200, it was so worth it--a singlet, bib, hydration stations, breakfast, drink, loot bag, and all these other freebies from various sponsors. My favorite thing about the event (aside from the massive Chow Chow that ran the 1K) was seeing the smiles on families' faces as they ran hand-in-hand. I also loved seeing older ladies running the 5K--there was even a pair wearing matching hot pink leggings!

So many other people wanted to join the event, and this year's participants are already talking about inviting their cousins and friends next year. Here's hoping we'll pull off a bigger, better run in 2012!

All photos from
Good Housekeeping Philippines

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Sneak Peek into Our Home

Our house was used as a backdrop for GH's main fashion story for June (yup, June! For us, in the magazine world, summer is over!). Since everyone will probably be staring at the gorgeous model when the issue comes out, allow me to give you glimpses of it sans pretty girl.

Our sofa normally stands in the middle of the first floor, defining the edge of the living area and effectively separating it from our dining area. But for the shoot, we pushed it against the wall under the stairs, because I wanted to give the beautiful antique mirror from my family home its 15 minutes of fame.

I once thought of spray-painting this mirror, but my husband convinced me not to. He likes the aged feel of it, and it looks like it's got more character. I'm glad he talked me out of another DIY project.

At the top of the stairs is that wall I painted with stripes. We have since added a set of frames, hung by my husband. Photos: the two of us in Indian attire at my BFF's wedding; at our wedding; in Ilocos; during one of my first tournaments; in Bohol; and in Bali, bungee jumping!

That chandelier still makes me smile. And I still stop and look at the pics sometimes.

We shot one layout in the dressing room. It's actually meant to be a small bedroom, but since there's just two of us in a three-bedroom place, and not enough closet space in the master bedroom, I kind of commandeered the room.

My sister-in-law got me that print from Etsy. It's by this talented artist.

That mirror is something I got from a department store. It had a wood laminate frame, but one weekend I decided to get busy...

That, my friends, is what happens when your husband goes surfing for a couple of days and you decide to stay home to keep your freckles from being coaxed out by the sun! I so wanted to do a how-to post, but since I can't find my Blackberry cable, I can't download the photos from my BB.:( It's just pretty gift wrapper cut into little segments and stuck onto the frame using a mixture of glue and water. (Tips: Use a paintbrush to evenly apply the glue on the wrapper. Get dried-up glue off of glass using nail polish remover.)

I've seriously been thinking about buying an industrial-style shelf from Handyman.I spotted one at Preview creative director Vince Uy's cube and I wanted one for myself! This shoot gave me a chance to give it a test run. (Hullo, pullout!)

The white urn was supposed to be on that stack of books on the bottom shelf, but the photog wanted something to break the line of the top of the shelf, so...

Verdict: I am definitely buying! It's perfect for our guest room/study (we might need a longer one, though, to accommodate the books we have here). Handyman has it in other colors; I'm most likely getting it in white. Oh, that gold chair from Dimensione (love) is normally in the living room. What we have in the guest room is an antique-y-looking carved chair with upholstery that has seen better days. I intend to have it refurbished just as soon as my designer friend's sched allows. (I've already got the fabric for it! Will post a before and after once it's done!)

And finally, the master bedroom.

That normally isn't what my side table looks like. On a non-shoot day, I have a small lamp from Ikea (this lovely lamp was given to me by Regalong Pambahay and will find a place in the guest room), a stack of books, eye cream, phones, etc.

In true OC can't-sleep-in-an-unmade-bed fashion, this bed was perfectly made up for the shoot, but photog Sara Black wanted a more casual, rumpled look. I do think it's quite lovely! Makeup artist Omar (who did my makeup on my wedding day!) joked that I put a lot of effort into painting the headboard--but unlike the striped wall in the hallway, this was done by the pros!

So that concludes the grand tour! Just a few more touches here and there--a ginormous plant in the living area (still iffy about this since tiny Spike the Cactus is dying in my care :s), frames in the dressing room, stuff to make an interesting coffee tabletop tableau... Getting closer to the day when our house could appear in Real Living and be a star on its own!