Thursday, November 27, 2008

Article - Finding your greener pasture

Finding your greener pasture
Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
October 02, 2008
From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense


Aside from knowing what the current hot jobs, top destinations and opportunities in the overseas employment market are, it is equally important to consider the following factors when looking for your own greener pasture.

Research and paperwork. You want to make sure your destination of choice welcomes foreign workers, particularly your skill and work experience. Find out about the country where you want to work. Know if you need to secure a working permit or visa, or a residency visa. Contact the nearest embassy.

Scour the Web to give you an idea of the paperwork you will need to complete. Completing papers is time-consuming, and on occasion, nerve-wracking.

What you want to and can do. Others go abroad and hop from one casual job to another, like bar tending or shop keeping.

Before you jump on that plane, list down all your skills and work experience, and check if your preferred country is looking for foreign workers with your skill set.

Right now, there is a demand for jobs on cruise liners, hotel and food services, construction, education, and healthcare, according to the book “Finding Work Abroad: A step-by-step guide.”

Web power. It is easier to search for overseas jobs through the Internet. Job portals like JobsDB.com, Monster.com, and other similar Web sites post job vacancies and accept resumés. You can also check online editions of newspapers abroad that also post vacancies.

Be cautious, however, of bogus Web sites by illegal recruiters that victimize people by collecting placement fees for non-existent jobs, warns Carlos Canaberal, Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration (POEA) planning and policy division chief. POEA, through its Web site, can also help you check if there are available jobs in the country of your choice.

You can search for jobs according to position, country, and agency as disclosed by licensed recruitment agencies that have had job orders in the last two years. Carlos, however, reminds job seekers: “It’s important that an applicant verifies with the agency if the job order is still active or not.”

Apart from local employment agencies, you can also contact international recruitment agencies, or those specializing in the jobs you want. If you already have a company in mind in the country of your choice, apply through its Web site, send the necessary requirements, and be prompt in answering e-mails (mostly pertaining to your suitability to work abroad, like if you have a passport and visa).

Additional qualifications. Getting qualified or gaining additional skills will be handy if you seek employment abroad. For instance, passing TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is now not only required for non-native applicants at many English-speaking colleges and universities, but even at government agencies and companies, so you might as well take the test.

Alternatively, consider TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), which you could do while waiting for the job you really want.

Active networking. If you know anyone in your country or city of choice, ask their advice and assistance to get a good picture of living and working there. Expatriate Filipinos are generally helpful, and they generally can help, like in introducing you to employment contacts.

Once you’ve settled in, be generous also in extending assistance to those who might need your help.

The cost of moving and working abroad. On top of work-related expenses, factor in the initial outlay you will need for accommodation. On top of sending money back to your family in the Philippines, you should always have an amount reserved for yourself, like for a flight home just in case you realize living and working overseas is not for you after all.

Market rates. We picked the top three destinations based on the most number of deployments per the POEA’s latest available figures (from January 1 to March 31, 2007), and these are Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and North America (Canada and the United States).

Per country, you’ll find a sampling of jobs and the average salary. Click on this link for the table.

(Also posted in the Global Nation section of inquirer.net last October 21, 11:14:00)

(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)

Article - How to improve security at home

How to improve security at home

By Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
First Posted 09:47:00 09/11/2008
From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense


While you may have a home alarm fully installed, there is no absolute way to prevent your house from being burglarized. There are precautions though that could improve security in your home.

Survey your home. Have a family member or a trusted neighbor or friend look around your house for potential areas of break-in, as they could spot areas that you could have overlooked. Do this at least twice a year to minimize potential of theft and other security risks. Return the favor and survey your neighbor’s or friend’s house as well.

Don’t flaunt what you have. If you just bought new appliances or gadgets like videogame consoles, computers, or laptops, or other items for your home, and are ready to discard the boxes or packages of those, don’t just throw them out. It might be laborious, but take time to cut or fold them neatly inside black garbage bags to avoid giving any clues to reconnoitering burglars.

Make sure also that none of your valuables, like that flat screen TV that you might just have bought with your credit card, are visible from your living room windows.

Mark your valuables. Having permanent markers, like serial numbers, a driver’s license number, or some unique mark, will aid in tracing your valuables if these are stolen. Burglars often sell their stolen goods to supplement their vices, and such markings further depreciate their selling value. Who knows? The stolen item could even find its way back to you.

Document. Pan a video camera in each room and record its contents. Take close-ups of truly important items. Have a family member pose with the valuables and clearly identify each item, like the purchase date, acquisition value, model, and serial number. Update your tape every time you have a new item as this will serve as your inventory in case a break-in happens and you need to itemize those items for police records.

Have a security video camera installed. Wireless home security cameras or videos offer both indoor and outdoor benefits. Transmitted directly to your computer or cell phone, you will be able to see whether a prowler is lurking, or how your yaya is looking after your kids.

Avoid dead giveaways. Closing the curtains only when you’re not home, no garbage collection, an untidy lawn and garden, unpicked newspapers and other mails, unanswered phone calls, and unattended deliveries are sure giveaways your house is empty. Before you leave for long absences, make arrangements to avoid these pitfalls and kindly ask your neighbors or friends to occasionally check on your house.

Don’t forget your keys. Avoid keeping door keys under the mat or above the doorjamb, as these are the first places a thief will choose to look at when breaking in. Don’t hang keys on holders near windows, as professional thieves are simply given an easy opportunity to break in. While you may trust your friend or neighbor, don’t give extra keys to them as an extra precaution.

Vary your schedule. Most organized burglars follow their victim’s routine, so they would know when you’re away or not. Alter your departure and arrival as much as possible to prevent establishing a routine. Also, the adage “don’t talk to strangers” holds true -- never chat about leaving your home, or unwittingly spill to a stranger your schedule.

Have your best friend around. Your dog is another best bet against intruders. Truly a man’s best friend, your pet’s menacing bark will scare away burglars. Choose a dog that barks at strangers; a noisy dog attracts attention, something that burglars don’t want. If you don’t have a dog, there’s nothing deceitful in hanging a “Beware of Dog” sign, or having a dog house in your backyard, or a loose chain or bowl – these too can discourage would-be intruders.

Alert authorities. The Philippine National Police often advises homeowners to alert their neighborhood police or barangay officials if they’ll be away for an extended period. Subdivisions often have a neighborhood watch to patrol the vicinity so inform them as well to give additional surveillance in your house and your area.

Make sure your home is secure. Have a fully functional home security system especially when your house will be vacant for a long time. If you have none, consider purchasing one before leaving. Comparison shop and choose the vendor that can offer you security within your budget.

There are good systems currently in the market that includes a warning door decal, a motion sensor, siren and keypad, a control unit, and 24-hour monitoring for just P1,200 a month for a service contract minimum of 36 months).

(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

16 (12 years ago)

"So...16 today?"

That was my fiance's greeting to me (after his cheery "happy birthday, munchkin!") I laughed hard with my fiance's greetings - 16, wow.

So far, so good for today:

Got greetings in advanced, thank you all. And for the presents, too:

Hot and spicy tuna rolls ready; mommy prepared mango float already. Waiting if my little brother will get me something, (haha, assuming)

My mahal told me to get a "little present" for myself - I wonder what though...

Might avail of a facial spa later (if I don't get stuck at work, that is).

A PR friend, Edwin Galvez, arranged a spa trip for me in Tagaytay next Wednesday; shame he will not be able to join, and a former editor of mine back in the newspaper. I still have to inform the gracious spa owners if I'm pushing through or not (it's not "fun" to be there alone, that's my concern)...

Got also a gift card from a bank (good thing it's a prepaid card, so even if it's Visa, there's no risk [or minimal risk] for me to splurge)

= = = = =
When I was 16, all that mattered to me was to keep my honor status in high school, and win every competition I was joining in; being 28 now means more concerns to deal with - staying on top of everything; improving finances; fulfilling my familial duties.

I'm blessed to still be around - especially a "shitty" 2008 for me so far....

I have one "simple" wish though that I've been wishing since last year - to be with my beloved for good.

We're kind of affected by the money crisis going on, so we're still afar and not yet married (when he asked me last year to marry him, I wasn't emotionally ready; now that I am, our finances are not, so we're kind of slowing down about tying the knot anytime soon....)

If I'm with him now, all I want for this day is to have nasi goreng and gyoza for our lunch, pizza for our dinner, and a movie date to squeeze in. He remarked earlier that was "simple" compared with what I did on his birthday last June - I "told" the whole wide world of his birthday and asked for greetings for him!

And yes, we will have that nasi goreng and gyoza (he promised to make some for us, yahoo) and a movie date, hopefully, on my next birthday. Makes me like I'm 16 again, giggling on the thought I'll get to spend my birthday with my beloved (last year, he left the Philippines six days before my birthday....)

Anyway, 16 was before; being 28 now, I'm up to a whole new set of challenges. I just need to be stronger and strengthen my faith that I can do all the best things possible for the people who believe in me, for my family, for my husband-to-be, and for myself at that.

= = = = =
For those celebrating their birthdays today like me, happy birthday to us all! For those who are curious what kind of personality we have those born on this date, here's a peek:

From November 12 birthday astrology:
November 12 Scorpios possess a dual nature and may be perceived as a "saint" or "sinner." Their penetrating intelligence is almost unnerving because it seems able to decipher the others' motives. They are loners, yet they have a magnetic personality. They can use their appeal to manipulate, though they risk alienating others if they do.

Scorpio Information for November 12
You should embrace: Enchantment, self-reliance, devotion
You should avoid: Unkindness, selfish motives, vindictiveness

Friends and Lovers
November 12 men and women arouse strong feelings -- people either like them or dislike them. They have a hard time trusting others. Although passionate, they may have periods of self-inflicted celibacy. They are happiest in a relationship that allows physical and spiritual intimacy.

Children and Family
As with almost everything else, November 12 people find that family life is a study in extremes. They take the lessons of childhood into their adult life. They may have difficulty showing their children affection. This generally becomes easier as the children get older.

Health
November 12 people require emotional and spiritual motivation to feel good about themselves. If they are unhappy, they may seek relief in food, drink, or drugs. If they can get interested in a workout routine, they are likely to become fixated on it, rather than on bad habits.

Career and Finances
These men and women are ambitious and eager to prove that they have what it takes to be successful. Because they don't really get along well with others, they do best in a career that rewards solitary accomplishment. They are often careless with money. This could be the result of indifference or a lack of financial training.

Dreams and Goals
People born on this date want their talents recognized. They often possess great sensitivity in this area and are caught between wanting their dreams to come true and feeling certain they won't. When they're feeling good about themselves, they can accomplish amazing things. They simply need to believe in their own abilities.

Monday, October 20, 2008

MINI-SURVEY - TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND THIS CHRISTMAS

Good day.

This is for an article I'm doing - hope you take time to answer the following:

What was your biggest holiday purchase last year? And how much was it?

Was it a planned spending? Or a splurge? Why?

For this season, are you going to spend that much as you spent last year? What will you buy and are you already saving for that?

= = = = =
Please provide your full name, age, job title - your response will be included in the November-December issue of MoneySense, the Philippines's leading and only personal finance magazine.

Looking forward to hear from you all.

Thanks!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Never mind missing Batman's "The Dark Knight..."

...so long as it is for our future.

Yes, feeling so blessed here, this day has been great so far.

Though Mommy woke me up early to go downstairs and talk to the apartment owner if ever she knocks and blasts a mouthful (this is another story, but I will not waste my energy further on someone who thinks she has the license to be arrogant and mighty since she's based abroad already and spent a million pesos for a 3-door apartment, anyway), and while catching some sleep on the sofa, I straightened up when I heard my phone was ringing - it was my fiance calling!!!

He said they were already in Port Douglas and unloading cargo, and that he hopes Internet is back there at their share house (last time he was back in Cairns, we were not able to see each other online since their Internet server had a problem, so we were calling each other until Friday when he was about to sail again).

He asked me how am I doing, and inquired about the visa; I told him I was getting anxious over it since it was supposed to be 5 to 7 days (working days I think), and yesterday, as to my count, was the 11th day already - he said not to worry much about it, and that if there was any problem about my application, I should have been informed right away, besides I was a good tourist when I was there in Melbourne early this year, he says - he said he will me see me tonight online, so waiting for him now (while blogging this).

Less an hour after his call, a FEDEX guy was right at the apartment gate looking for me - Mommy called out for me and I knew it, it was my visa!!! The FEDEX guy asked me to check it, showed to him the personal page of my visa (to prove it was me), he got the package and encoded to his gadget (don't know what was that called), confirming I actually received my passport (with the visa label on it). I was hoping for a multiple entry tourist visa (since every application is now AUD100 already or P4,300, would be a savings if I got it - but what's important is that I now have the means to be with my most beloved).

Yahoo!!! Now to check and reserve again for my ticket - airline rate is up again (we had to postpone this get together since his schedule is full for this August, sailing every week at that); I'm also spending the days busy with the jobs I have (actually, I'm on the look out for more income sources, so please, if you think I am qualified for your editing/writing requirements, let me know, much appreciated, thanks!!!)

I also remembered earlier how I got upset and sad when Robin broke three weeks ago the news of his work schedule and that we had to postpone this trip - he even said, he'd be doing this for our nearest future - save for our wedding and spouse visa requirements, be with him for good, and get an apartment the soonest time possible. Though I was assuring him that I understood about his work schedule, my face said other wise - I went downstairs and cried in the bathroom, asking myself it was him who asked me to check my schedule so we can spend time again (been six months since we were together in Melbourne) and then he was altering that immediate plan he wanted us to achieve.

I even remembered that night of his news how I asked him long before that we watch The Dark Knight as part of our anniversary date (last July 12 when we met; July 25 when we became boyfriend/girlfriend; Sept. 1 when we actually met; Oct. 3 when we got engaged - ooppss, four anniversaries there), and he agreed - and I cried further at the prospect of not being able to watch it with him, I mean it was not about The Dark Knight, I was crying about a "broken promise"....When I came back to chat with him, my face was really sad, I even started MSN Solitaire Showdown so we would just play and not talk further about the trip being postponed. He saw how upset I was - after much talk that night, we exchanged sorry for misunderstanding each other that night and vowed that we will go on, persevere no matter what. And now, I'll be with him for a month!!! Really hoping and praying we'll be together for good.

For those who wished me well on this upcoming trip, thank you very much. For those who are still skeptical, doubtful about me, or about Robin, or about our relationship, I don't blame you - and we need not prove ourselves to you - Robin and I have gone this far, and we're focused on our aim to be the best of husband and wife, lovers, and partners, and parents to our kid/kids.

All I am praying and working for each day is that we get stronger every day, that our love grow and grow further, that even strangers' cynicism is nothing compared with what Robin and I are sharing all this time (yes, we're still getting that - me being a Filipina and how some of my fellow women abused the trust and splurged the money of their foreigner partners/husbands; him being an Australian and how some of his fellow men maltreated, even killed their Filipino partners/wives).

I am not perfect, my life is not, but I am blessed, and I am thankful for that - for my family, my friends, my mentors, my one-and-only Robin - I am working on my best to be humbled by the challenges and blessings I have and will be getting. (And that when I'm finally be based abroad, I hope to firmly plant my feet on the ground and not be boastful like that of our apartment lessor - bad me, but I don't want to be part of a "tragedy" - how Filipinos who got to earn abroad felt so rich and became air heads, like of our lessor [ooppss, this is supposed to be a happy post!!!]).

And with this upcoming trip, looks like Robin and I can still catch The Dark Knight considering its performance in the box-office.

Above all, the nearest future will be changing for me, and I'm blessed to have the man who chose to love me and will spend the rest of his life with me.

Now waiting for him for a night of chat.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plugging - For our modern day heroes




From finding ways to achieve riches after years of working in a foreign land, to various options for remittance and related financial services, and among relevant features, MoneySense’s July-August 2008 issue is for you – our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Gracing this issue’s cover is popular TV host and Optical Media Board chairperson Edu Manzano, who also shares he was once an OFW. With building and owning a home a big dream among OFWs and their family, the magazine also include features on the economics of building your own home, 10 ways to lower your home insurance costs, and best value condos to watch out for.

Pag-Ibig fund president and CEO Atty. Romero F.S. Quimbo also shares valuable tips on buying your dream home. Other features catering to OFWs include property payoffs, saving on food bills, getting out of debt, choosing an AUV, 10 boo-boos when buying a budget laptop, and flying with low air fares.

Currently available in over 200 outlets nationwide, MoneySense is founded by veteran business and finance journalists with a combined 50 years of publishing experience. To learn more about the MoneySense, visit www.moneysense.com.ph. For subscriptions, contact 339-3361, 728-1073 or email info@moneysense.com.ph.

Article - How to ask for a raise without quitting your job

How to ask for a raise without quitting your job
From content sharing of abs-cbnnews.com and MoneySense

By Lynda C. Corpuz


Jack Ramos, (not his real name), a creative director actually asked for a raise after he resigned. His boss tried to talk him out of it on his last day. But having made up his mind, he took a terminal leave and spent days searching for freelance jobs. Shortly, he got a handsome offer from an ad agency. Then his old boss called up. Jack informed his boss about the other job. The next day, they were already negotiating his return package. Now, he’s back, with a fatter paycheck and a promotion to boot.

Staging such resignation scene was quite dramatic, admits Jack, but it was a calculated risk. However, there is no need to go to that extent. There are easier ways to ask for a raise. Here’s how:

Timing is everything.
Do not shock your boss in the hallway or the water station with a request for a raise, so setting a meeting is important. Check also how the industry and the company are doing before negotiating. Definitely there is no discussion on salary raise if the firm is swimming in red ink.

Keep an open line.
Constant communication with your boss is important especially on compensation issues. Jack says, “I remember my boss telling me during the launch party, ‘Was it just the pay? Why didn’t you tell me?’ He’s right. I should have talked.”

Track your performance.
Arming yourself with documents detailing why you deserve a raise is a must. Listing down your achievements and how you are going the extra mile will definitely help. But be concise and make sure that your tone is humble.

Be concrete.
If your firm has the process for salary adjustments, abide by them. “You don’t have to bring the HRD manager to your talks with the boss, but telling him or her about your request might just speed it up,” Jack says. Once the boss agrees, bargain for a particular amount.

Be ready for rejection.
If you were rejected, despair not. Try to bargain for other non-monetary benefits such as telecommuting. But if you were turned down because of your performance, get advice on how you can improve, so the next time you request for a raise, hopefully, you will get it.


This article is from is MoneySense, the country's first and only personal finance magazine. You can read more financial tips and stories at www.moneysense.com.ph.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Article - Think ‘convenience’ with travel insurance

From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense

By Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
First Posted 12:07:00 07/10/2008

Why take travel insurance if your life insurance policy already provides coverage in case of death? That’s a valid question. However, there are other benefits you might miss if you decide not to get one. Here are a few things to consider:

Look beyond life insurance. Travel insurance is designed to protect you from things that can spoil your trip: sickness, losing your baggage and belongings, a cancelled or delayed flight, getting sued overseas, or – the worst spoiler of all – death. So cover those things that would result in extreme financial or psychological loss.
However, there are some stuff that you can leave out. For example, if you have home insurance that covers for valuables such as jewelry and gadgets that you plan to bring, you may exclude this from the travel insurance package.
Optimize your coverage. Many are unsure how to go through acquiring travel insurance, while some see it as an undue cost on top of the expenses they’re shedding for their travel.
Given the potential value, the premium you would pay could be of good value. For instance, a standard coverage with medical expander offered by Global Insure starts at a P250 premium for up to a four-day coverage; and an insured-only plan offered by HSBC to its members starts at P299.
Check for exclusions. Just like any other insurance, travel insurance is also subject to exclusions, such as claims arising from pre-existing medical conditions or when participating in risky life-threatening activities. Inform your insurer if you have such conditions or concerns. Travel to obtain medical treatment or when it is against a doctor's recommendation; war or warlike risks; and committing unlawful or criminal acts are also considered major exclusions.
Tailor-suit your coverage. Know what kind of policy you’ll need. Healthcare is expensive in the US, so if you’re flying there, pick a policy that has unlimited medical coverage. Personal liability is also important in the event you accidentally injure someone while you’re vacationing. Repatriation can be very expensive, so make sure also that your medical coverage includes repatriation.
Make the most of your peso. Look for an affordable yet comprehensive travel insurance. You can usually buy from your travel agent or directly from an insurance agency. Availing of multi-trip policies may be more affordable, especially if you travel overseas several times a year.
(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit http://www.moneysense.com.ph/ for more.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The first night - When I Met Robin

It was a year ago that we came across each other's profile on a site (that I had no idea it was a dating site! Thought it was just like the "harmless" Friendster, lol).

I say there was something in him that caught my attention - maybe it was his snobbie look in this photo?

The photo that made me fall for Robin :P - in his apartment in Italy, 2007

More than his being snobbie-looking here, hands down, his green eyes, his chiseled nose, his shapely lips, I instantly got attracted to him, he has this charm that I couldn't resist right then and there, and I thought, maybe it would be worth a try to try have him as an online friend?

In Singapore where he was working then, he was also checking my profile (since the site alerts instantly who among the members are visiting your profile). He dropped a line to me (as there was a chat component in that site) - if I remember right, following "hi" he asked me if I'm really a writer - and I said yes, and off we went to chat for that early morning of July 12, 2007.

He also remarked I look attractive (in a cute way) in my profile photo, look young for my age (I was 26 here? When this photo was taken by my friend Lyn, when we were cam-whoring at McCafe in Greenbelt 1, across AIM). And he said also I'm kind-looking. Well, you be the judge :P



After that chat online via that site, we moved to chat via MSN, and a brief attempt to speak via Skype (since the laptop I'm using just went off - can't take video, phone calls here, argh), I signed out and the following day, I saw his e-mail:


From: robin
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 5:24:43 PM
To: lynda

Dear Lynda,

I very much enjoyed our conversation over the net last night and am very
much looking forward to another opportunity to speak with you soon. Even
though i did indeed have panda eyes first thing this morning, of which my
dark ray-bans could hardly conceal. But like i say it's a small price to pay
for the privilege to have spoken half the night with you.

I'm at work at the moment and will be staying on board all night as the crew
has shore leave and i'm keeping watch, till we meet again, adieu ma petite.

Regards, Robin



And to my surprise, I found myself replying to his e-mail, saying:

Sorry about the panda eyes
From: lynda
Sent: Friday, 13 July 2007 12:53:03 AM
To: robin

Dear Robin,

Thank you for your e-mail.

And sorry about the panda eyes :-) Me too, I was too sleepy from writing, transcribing, and chatting with you, but it's all right - I got myself a new online friend. Thank you for your time.

Yeah, until our next chat.

Take care.

Lynda



From then on, we continued to chat, about a lot of topics - well, like any other, our conversation get quite heated when it comes to religion (me being a Roman Catholic, him being non-religious - I remember that was the main thing we talked about over the phone on the third night we were chatting). Yes, to my shock again, I gave him my phone number at this early (so I thought) And after I had to leave him online, the next day, I found his e-mail:

going to bed‏
From: robin
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 2:50:11 AM
To: lynda

Dear Lynda,

Sorry that you had to rush off to bed so early as it's only 2:45 in the
morning, however there were a few things that were left unsaid between us,
firstly good night secondly that you and i should be bound in an everlasting
relationship that won't fail through thick and thin. Too heavy? You're
absolutely right, but that's what i'm looking for in a relationship and i'd
like to think that you were to. I think about you lots and look very much
forward to talking to you.... Tomorrow

Your Capt. Robin.



And I was quite shock with what he wrote - but dismissed it as his being well, quite intoxicated that night, haha, drinking Chardonay at that - as politely as I could, I replied to him:

RE: going to bed‏
From: lynda
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:39:20 AM
To: robin

Robin,

As i was telling you over the phone earlier, and with the messages i left you via skype and MSN, i needed to go to sleep - had work as early as 7:30am....

yes, what you said was too heavy - everybody wants an everlasting relationship (or what you're referring to is a romantic, sexual, relationship?) - but i don't think that's what i'm after now (a commitment, that is - i'm kind of afraid, and unprepared for that - if my guess about what you're asking is right)....

and i already like being long-distant friend with you, and get to know you better also, but it seems, i somewhat impressed you that much :-) which is "weird" - i'm not assuming, but try also to look elsewhere, maybe closer to you, to find what you "really" wanted....

until next chat with you.

lynda

p.s. i had not only panda eyes (like i just finished crying - since i slept barely 3 hours) but my head is splitting with ache too (until now) :-( i hope you're fine, and not having what i had the whole day :-)



And he got my reply, but had no Internet that time, so he sent me a SMS, saying:

Hi, Lynda, saw your e-mail this morning and saw what I’d written to you. I had been drinking Chardonay when I was talking to you. So I do hope I didn’t put you off too much. I’m at sea at the moment and Internet won’t work. I’ll write a more sensible e-mail next time. Take care, Robin. (04:08:49pm/15-07-2007)

Of course, we didn't end there - and I can't believe it has been a year already! We're maybe separated by distance, but I am just blessed that our hearts are very much united in loving each other.

We left that site close to a week since we started communicating - yes, that was instrumental for us getting together. I am just happy that I tried it, and shun my worries about befriending people online, and much more, meeting on a dating site! I am just blessed also that I met a nice man online in the person of Robin (I also made friends to some members from the site, prior to meeting Robin, but I lost contact with them already - well, I hope, like me, they found the love they deserve). The same goes for Robin, who tried that site, Friendster, et.al. upon the recommendation of his first mate then, hahaha (thanks to you, Mel!)

I was only reminded of our anniversary yesterday when I checked my phone calendar when I woke up today - I was busy with work yesterday, and when we were chatting after he beat me again in MSN Solitaire Showdown, he noticed how tired-looking I was, and sent me to bed already to get some rest (think he saw me falling asleep while chatting with him, hahaha). Sorry!

We're still relying on the Internet and mobile phone for our communication, to keep in touch, to be together - but we're heading toward there, to a life of togetherness.

There goes our love story - it is so great to find the one who will love you and whom you will love as well. And I hope all, like me and Robin, are basking in this gift called love.

To Robin, happy anniversary - I will always love you very much, mahal!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

You're blessed, I'm blessed, we're all blessed

...for starting my day late, but ended as a productive one - sign I'll have a busy, work mode week - meaning, I'm blessed to have these jobs I have now, and that opportunities continue to come my way, despite my being shell-shocked at times

...that I'm able to write, that I'm able to come up with readable and helpful stories, that I get to satisfy my clients' requirements, and that I can go an extra mile - I would not have the opportunities I have now if not for this gift that is writing (and editing on the side)

...for giving me a patient and an understanding boss - who despite the times I wasn't able to meet my deadliest deadlines, continue to believe in me and in what I can do - and I will be humble and accept my faith in case he no longer sees we can continue working together, for the times I let him down on the account of not beating my deadlines - (not being proud, but I try to do good in other areas of my work, especially if it's crunch time, so as to honor his belief in me that I'm the right person for the post). I'm summoning all my will power and strength and courage to see him this week and update him on what's happening with my eh, melodramatic life, and discuss with him what I still hope to achieve working with him. Boss, I'm very sorry though if you've grown lots of gray hair since you hired me - peace!

...that I have my family - even if at times we clash - but no matter what happens, I know I only have my family more than anything - thanks for the trying times, for the good ones, and for the challenges and changes that lie ahead - I am, and continue to improve as a person because of my mother, and my brothers, and yes, my late father.

...for blessing me with this gift that is love - I'm just blessed my soon-to-be husband took that weekend off to see me in person (when I was readying myself that he would be disappointed in actually meeting me then) - that we enjoyed that weekend as if it was not our first time to be together; that was followed by visits here, meeting my family, telling my mother our plans, having time to chat with my mother, bearing with my brothers being quite snob (well, he says my brothers got that being snob from me, duh, hahaha), for socializing and chatting until the wee hours of the morning with my friends for life; that he introduced me to his best mates, who have been with him since the trying times of his life...

...being separated geographically is not easy - there were times we had our misunderstanding, miscommunication, mainly because of this being apart. But we're persevering, we're understanding one another, we’re keeping our communication lines open – above all, despite the distance, we’re continuing to be each other’s strength and we’re giving each other the love we both deserve. Thank you, Robin, for coming into my life, and looking forward to spend the rest of your life with me. Thanks for truly loving me, and I’m blessed for loving you as well.

There are so many things I am thankful for – I sometimes feel I can’t cope with the challenges, but, really, I’m blessed to have this life. Despite all the challenges we deal with, we're all blessed to live.

Friday, July 04, 2008

"Grandma, that's not a candy..."

"...that's a condom."

Yes - that was what I told a grandma when she bought at Watsons in SM Fairview earlier the orange colored (and flavored) FRENZY condoms' pack for her grandchildren (I think those were her grandchildren, as they called her "mama," but she's quite old to be their mother, anyway).

What was going on?
As I was paying for the stuff I bought, I noticed the boy of about 7 to 8-years-old checking all those condoms displayed at those two, three-story racks facing the counter for Watsons pharmacy products. Not only condoms were displayed there, there were also lubricant tubes, pregnancy test kits - another mini-rack was also sitting at that glass counter, with various condom and lubricant brands.

I just thought at first the boy was one of those restless kids tagged along at the malls and tinker at every item they could get their hands on - but what made me disturbed was when his sister, who looks older than him, and was a bit taller too, also tinkered at those condoms' packs, and the two of them got fond of that orange Frenzy condoms' pack. The boy egged his grandma (who was behind me and was to pay for a mat of tablets [her maintenance medication I assumed] to buy it for him - then I heard the grandma asked the girl, "Ikaw, gusto mo rin `yan? (You want that also?)" And the girl, with her big eyes, nodded. Obviously, with the seemingly absent-minded look in her eyes, the grandma had no idea she was buying condom for her, as I assumed, grade school grand kids.

Then the grandma saw the senior citizens' line was vacant. They went there, and the kids gingerly waited for their "candy" to be paid and have a piece of it. I was still in the claim counter, when a pharmacist attended to the grandma, punched the item, mentioned something to the grandma, but I was quite afar to overhear what she said.

They bought it
Then the pharmacist bought the tray of Grandma's items to the main counter, that pharmacist chatted with the other pharmacists (I was thinking it was about the condoms' pack the grandma bought for her grandchildren). I got my stuff but I still hanged around, just behind the grandma and kids who were about to get their bag of items. I saw the pharmacist put the mat of tablets and the FRENZY condoms' pack inside the bag, and off they were leaving Watsons, with the boy, asking for the "candy." I followed them and the kids tore open the FRENZY pack, split the individual packs among them, and seemingly counting how many each of them should be getting.

This was where I couldn't take it anymore - the grandma was walking ahead while her grand kids were busy with the "candy," when I said to the grandma, "Excuse me po, excuse me po." (She faced me, still with the absent-minded look in her eyes, and the kids who were trailing behind us stopped). "Ah, binilhan po ninyo sila ng condom? (Did you buy condom for them?)" I was wearing a very embarrassed smile here I think, and she replied, "ano? (What?)" "Ah, hindi po kasi candy `yang nakuha ninyo, condom po `yan. I mean, hindi pa po para sa kanila `yan ("Ah, it wasn't candy you bought, it was a condom, I mean, it's not for them yet.")

The grandma fumbling, said, "akala ko candy, sabi kasi niya candy (I thought it was a candy, he said it was a candy)." (And she hit the boy's forehead, but it wasn't that hard as what I saw.) The girl, still wearing the big eyed expression, was just looking at me. The grandma gathered the condoms, and said, "Ano gagawin ko rito ngayon?" "Puwede ko ba ibalik ito?" (What would I do with these? Could I return this?) I suggested here she try, I told her, just tell the pharmacist you didn't know it was a condom, and smiled (embarrassingly and apologetically I think) to the grandma. Then I turned around, still wearing the embarrassed smile on my face.

Who's responsible?
I don't know anymore what happened to the grandma and the kids - if they were able to return the opened pack of condoms mistaken as a candy. I was still thinking about them when I went inside the department store. Less 10 minutes, I stepped out and went back to Watsons to check if they were there - I didn't find them there.

I would not have been bothered that much if say, if those were high school kids getting or buying that pack of condoms - I mean, they're a bunch of curious kids and supposedly, during their age is when sex education is being taught to them already (but it was earlier this year that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines called for scrapping sex education in the high school curriculum? I don't know the update on this, anyway).

But what I found disturbing at the mall earlier, that the grandma didn't know she was getting condoms for her grand kids, and obviously, didn't bother to look what it was about....I'm also disappointed with the pharmacist, and Watsons for that matter, for sealing that sale to a grandma and grand kids - if that pharmacist chatted with her co-workers about that, and wondered why the grandma was buying that, and the kids seemed to be waiting for that, still she did not tell them what it was about....

Who's responsible? Or should any be responsible for such kind of incident? What kind of measure should stores be applying in selling such items like condoms? I mean, they're sure for sale, and be accessible as part of safe sex teaching, but at least stores like Watsons should also take time to inform and towhom to sell a product like that. Not being moralist here or what, but if you were in my shoes, will you also tell the grandma, "that's not a candy for your grand kids - that's a condom."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Etcetera 1

Thanks to you all! First of all, thank you very much to those who greeted Robin on his birthday - he got surprised with all the greetings you sent him, and joked the whole Philippines got to know his birthday!!! That made that day bearable for us....

When the clock hit midnight of June 11, we were already chatting then via MSN, my brother Linard dropped a greeting to him, and I turned off the light here in my room, and lighted a blue candle and sang happy birthday to him! I asked him to make a wish, and when he said he already did, I also wished for him, and blew the candle on his behalf. Rachiel, my college buddy and a Dubai beauty now, also greeted him again that night....Robin said I was doing everything to remind him he got a year older again.

But he already mentioned his plans for his 2009 birthday - we will have a quiet day and go out to a nice restaurant for dinner - just the two of us, enjoying each other's company. Hope that will happen for us.

Feeling low and troubled. Yes. Got so many things in my head now, as how Louie, another friend, read my tone one time I got to chat with him online....

I am trying my best and hardest to clear myself of worries I have now, but yes, it will take one thing at a time, and what I am accomplishing now, is what else but work and sidelines? Obvious reason - I need money, decent earning, to partially, if not, fully solve some of my worries at the moment (actually all of my worries I think - well, I guess the same goes for some, if not most people, anyway)

I've got a "mini life."
In between struggles in writing, I get to squeeze some time building my homes - well, in MyMiniLife that is. Got hooked into it when my Robin and friend Lyn invited me to add this as app in Friendster. So far, I built three homes already, and the first home I built got nice comments. Every time Robin asks how my day was, there's always a mention of MyMiniLife - I think he's a bit scary at the thought that I will transform the pink homes of mine into reality, and have pink as motif for our love nest in the future, hehehe)

Robin has an account to, but all you can see there is grass, grass, and grass....sheesh.... Just dropping lines here, I'm babbling, anyway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Birthday Greetings for Robin O'Connor Lockwood

My one-and-only


Dear all,

Hello!

Going straight to the point - I have a favor to ask - I'm hatching a "surprise" for my fiance, Robin, whose birthday is on Wednesday, June 11 - since I'm here (and yes, we've been away from each other for close to four months now), I am thinking here to gather as many birthday greetings for him as possible - ideally equal to his age by Wednesday (please, don't ask me though how young he will be then). He's in Cairns, Queensland, Australia now for work, and has not much friends there (since his mates are mostly in Melbourne, and I'm not discussing with him lately about his birthday - makes me sad and tearful we're not together for this occasion).

Please, if you have time, especially those who met Robin, or I've shared with stories about him and our love life, or got to know Robin, and us, through my blogs and his blog, hope you greet him (or add him) in your Friendster account (if it's not too much to ask, hahaha) - (Robin Lockwood, location Singapore - see that was where he was when we met, he seldom visits his Friendster and updates his account, only when he gets messages from online stalkers, sheesh).

Or take time to visit his Windows Live Spaces and kindly leave a birthday greeting for him.

Please, please, please??? Hope a lot of people will greet him on his ___birthday this Wednesday, June 11.

Thank you very much!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The universe conspires against you, against me

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
Paulo Coelho

But what if you think you exerted all effort in achieving what you set for your self and for your loved one/s, and instead of the universe conspiring to help you achieve your goal/s, it seems all the universe conspired against you?

But despite what you feel - that the universe is against you - there's this person or people who make you feel good, who comfort you, who tell you that what you're going through is just a test, to examine your strength, to extend your grace to the limitless possible, so you would be ready for far, greater challenges.

Yet, even the presence or the support of your loved one/s or people close to you, you still feel the universe is conspiring against you. And you rather wallow and spend a day cursing under your breath or while the night out getting drunk at that. Don't you think that would make you really look helpless, and prove further that the universe - or whatever force that is - is conspiring against you?

If you're the loved one of this person who feel the universe is against him/her, will you stop caring, encouraging, loving, understanding this person because he/she chose to wallow or curse or drink or be alone until he/she would be really in a miserable state?

If you're that loved one or close friend, will you now feel sad, troubled, confused - since despite your care, encouragement, love, understanding that person who feel the universe is conspiring against him/her chose to wallow, curse, drink, be alone - will you also feel that the universe is conspiring against you? That you're now feeling helpless and in a state of mess for not being able to get this person out of the unpleasant situation he/she is into now?

What will happen to the two of you then? You will both think and feel and be convinced the universe is against the both of you? Where is the truth, the hope, the light, from such inspiring message popularized by Coelho?

For now, all you have to do is wait until that person comes back from his/her hiatus, stop cursing, cease drinking, and find his/her way to rebound, and realize that perhaps, there is really no universe conspiring against him/her - what he/she is going through now is a result of his/her past actions that he/she chose to undertake.

As for you, the loved one or the close friend, don't start feeling that the universe is conspiring against you - if you think so, then there'll be two more miserable people in this world - this person dear to you who thinks the universe conspires against him/her - and you.

It maybe hard, but hang on, continue to care, encourage, love, and understand this person - and care, encourage, love, and understand yourself more as well. When he/she is ready to deal with whatever challenges come his/her way, you two can work hand in hand, care, encourage, love, and understand one another - strongly this time, after learning your lessons from such "the-universe-is-conspiring-against-us" experience or situation - and make the most out of your lives, together at that.

And with that, perhaps Paulo Coelho - among other optimists - would be right in saying: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

For now, the loved one or the close friend, all you can do is wait....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anthony and Maricel + 4




Admired celebrity couple Anthony and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, and their four children – Ella, Donny, Hannah, and Benj – share their story on growing as an ideal family and financially-savvy children in this May-June 2008 issue of MoneySense, the country’s new and only personal finance magazine.

With money and children as issue theme, MoneySense also has features on how to raise money-smart kids, nab a scholarship, select a pre-school, and buy baby products.

MoneySense – founded by veteran business and finance journalists with a combined 50 years of publishing experience – also has articles also has stories on auto loans, bank deposits, and alternative credits. Planters Development Bank chairman and CEO Amb. Jesus Tambunting, meanwhile, shares his sage advice for the entrepreneurs.

MoneySense is available in over 200 outlets nationwide. To learn more about the magazine, visit www.moneysense.com.ph. For subscriptions, contact 339-3361, 728-1073 or email info@moneysense.com.ph.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Love and trust, trust and love...

...or whichever comes first, depends on the situation I suppose....

After a not-so-pleasant night I had, I found myself finishing deadlines for my clients, and that didn't give me time to fume about what happened. While beating deadlines, I mentally went through what I call the simple acts of caring and understanding, that we can all demonstrate as a sign of commitment to our partner and our relationship as a whole. Here goes:

Communicate. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Don't let any baseless thought scare you out of your wits without first asking your partner what's going on - if you sense there's something going on.

Ask. Inquire in a caring and understanding tone as possible, if you sense something concerns or bothers your partner, that somehow affects how he/she interacts with you.

Listen. Give your full attention to what he/she has to say, and let him/her finish before you dish out your two cents' worth.

Be rational. Meeting his/her emotions, as in most cases, result only in a more catastrophic situation. As much as possible, stay calm as you get to know the details of the situation at hand.

Suggest. As much as possible, don't impose, but offer things he/she or both of you can do to improve whatever that's bothering him/her.

Leave the past in the past. True, at times, we get to bring up our partner's past, or pasts, or any unpleasant or ugly situation that previously happened, while tackling a new problem, or a by-product of an old issue you dealt with. As much as possible, focus on the present, and deal with the current situation, as you can't reverse what had already happened, and bringing it up, amid a flurry of emotions, will only make matters worse.

Have a sense of humor. Still about you and your partner's past or pasts, it's all right to talk about the past, or pasts, but put it in a more light, and enlightening context for the both of you - this shows you already forgot about it, and if it gets to be mentioned again, you can now just make a joke and laugh about it.

Work as a team. Solving an issue together makes you two as a team, that you're partners, and that you're ready for any challenge - challenge that eventually will strengthen your relationship.

Be each other's strength. After all the exchange of words, and sleepless night or two or more due to unsettled matter that affect, and took over the two of you, take time to talk things out, and resolve an issue, and renew your commitment of love and trust to each other. After all, we only have our loved ones both in good and in bad times, so continue and strengthen your love and trust to each other, and trust and love toward the end.

Note that I often mentioned here "as much as possible..." because really, those mentioned sound simple, but it really takes an effort for us to be the best person we can be to our loved ones. And "mastering" those acts of caring and understanding takes overtime, so....But if we're all committed to love and trust, trust and love, then, I think, nothing is impossible.

(Rach, thanks for a night of chat.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Article - 5 tips on finding the best wedding ring for your money



5 tips on finding the best wedding ring for your money
From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense

By Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
First Posted 09:50:00 04/28/2008

“WILL you be part of my life?”

I resoundingly replied, “Yes, I will spend the rest of my life with you.”

While it was a breeze to say “Yes” to a life-changing decision, looking for the engagement ring that I wanted was not.

Even if you’re not a big fan of jewelry like I am, you still need to do your homework. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for an engagement or wedding ring:

1. Set a budget. Your soon-to-be bride may not be too keen about wearing an expensive ring but as Robin said, from centuries back, a ring (usually a diamond ring) traditionally serves as a betrothal gift to the bride and that traditionally, the price tag is equated to the kind of love he has for his bride.

I ended turning down most prospective rings because they were too pricey even if discounted. There is a rule of thumb that says an ideal budget for a ring is worth two months’ salary. Eventually, though, the guy will eventually determine how much he is willing to shell out.

2. Know the 4 C’s. Know the basics if you’re planning to get a diamond ring: cut, color, clarity and carat. According to Tiffany and Co., the diamond’s cut will determine its defining characteristic – so check for angle and size and the shape; round remains classy, but for variety, you may opt for emerald, heart, oval, marquise, pear, or princess cut).

The most valuable color is white or colorless, and graded “D” by jewelers. To check the clarity, examine the ring through a jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass, and when the stone is graded SI1 [Slightly Included 1] or better (best and most expensive is IF, or Internally Flawless; worst is I3 or Imperfect 3], then your pick is fine. Finding the right carat for your budget is important so ask for stones than the next carat [example: 0.9 instead of 1], since this almost indiscernible difference can lead to significant savings.

In our case, Robin was on the lookout for a simple yet classy ring. He was first considering a round cut diamond. When I later became pro-active in our search, I leaned more toward a princess cut.

3. Pick the band. According to Suarez Wedding Rings Web site (www.suarezweddingrings.com), white gold is trendier than the traditional yellow gold and not as rare looking as rose gold. It is more affordable than platinum, an extremely white metal that is harder and more expensive than gold or any other metal at that.

White gold is recommended for stone settings other than yellow. You may opt for 24-karat gold, but you can save more by opting for gold of lesser karat. Since gold by nature is soft and malleable, generally losing its shape over time, cleaning and maintaining your engagement and wedding ring might eventually become a real expense. While we had different ideas regarding the stone, Robin and I settled for an 18K white gold band.

4.Shop around. Don’t settle for just the popular jewelry stores. You have to search both mom-and-pop jewelry stores and jewelry chains. The latter, of course, command higher prices because of their name and years in the industry. We found our ring at a less popular store, which has the accreditations required and follows global guidelines (the Philippines follows the International Gemological Institute guide on diamond clarity). Most stores we checked also offered discounts, but the smaller—and more eager—stores will give in to the customer’s (reasonable) demands.

When we got the discounted amount, I asked if they could just waive the excess P2,500 since it’s the only ring of its kind left and we truly came back for it after checking out all the other stores. So they waived it and my fiancé gave me an approving smile for sealing the sale at a more reasonable amount.

5. Don’t buy alone. For men, bring a companion when buying jewelry – someone who knows your ladylove’s preferences. If you decide to go with your fiancée, you may lose the surprise element and the romanticism, but it can be worth it. Looking for a ring together is an exercise in mutual decision-making, involving money at that. Buying the engagement ring gave us an idea how we are going to work together as a couple in the near future.

(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)

NOTE: Also posted at Sale Duplito's Money Smarts

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Mahal, I'm home"

Tired from our cover and editorial shoot, still, I made sure all people are clearing up and getting ready to leave, when they said they were OK, I exited the studio, dropped by the ladies' room to change to another pad (I was heavily menstruating that day - it really sucks when it happens on a busy day for me), and off I went to find my way out of the building.

What a very tiring day. I fumbled through my big, black, shoulder bag, and checked my phone - finally it was all quiet, after a week it rang and busy receiving SMS about coordinating for that Thursday shoot. It's nearing 7pm, and after all the madness that day, I thought again of my mahal, who I knew just came also from work, and was probably at home, either chatting with his mates Tim and Ella, or playing PC games. I've been wanting to hear his voice, something that would cheer me up after such a tiring day, so I dialed.

About three rings and he picked up - Robin's perky "hi, baby" greeting instantly put a smile on my face. The usual, I asked him about his day (they loaded half of the ship already, and that he was at home), and I updated him about a bit of what happened in the shoot. Told him I'm still in Makati - it was almost 9pm in Cairns, and he said, it's quite late for me working. "I'll play games for now while waiting for you to come home. I'll wait for you." That really cheered me up, and I said, I'm heading straight home.

But the Ayala traffic, the delays in MRT, the long queue in the FX terminal in Quezon Avenue, the bad traffic along Commonwealth Avenue, took me longer than I expected. I sent him a SMS, telling I was still on the way, that if ever he couldn't wait for me (since he had to report to work by 7am), I'm sorry for that....

When I got home almost 10pm, I wasn't able to connect instantly to the Internet - it said limited connectivity. So I sent him again a SMS, informing him I'm home but my SmartBro connection was giving me headaches. After several tries, I finally got connected, and off Robin and I chatted for that night, he said I was home very late and that I should get some spanking, duh, hahaha.

I was really touched when Robin said he would be waiting for me to come home - as if we're really together and that my "husband" is waiting for me. Imagine how I was excited to come home that night, even though we would be just together via MSN Messenger - something that connects us most of the time.

Now, it's my turn to wait for my mahal to come home, since he's out to sea again for work, and will be back this Wednesday. I'll anticipate his SMS saying he's back in Cairns and that we'll see each other online that night...of course, better if he actually comes home and I'll definitely, lovingly welcome him back.

We truly hope this great distance separating us now will be gone soonest. We're both really looking forward to be together, and whether it's him who will be waiting for me, or me waiting for Robin to come home, it is truly great to be with your loved one after a tiring day, and call out from the door, "mahal, I'm home" and ease your day by greetting each other with hugs and kisses, and exchanging meaningful "i miss you so much, mahal, glad I'm home now. I love you".

We both really looking forward to that, we both want a loving, monogamous relationship, and we're truly hoping we stay this way, forever....

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Crying over roasted chicken; cleaning the bathroom this midnight

Earlier tonight, I slumped on our old sofa and found myself crying, and repeatedly asked the One Up There to make me stronger, stronger, stronger.

Then I went to prepare dinner - and put on serving plate the leftover adobo and those I bought on my way home - roasted chicken and an assortment of delicacies - I prepared dinner teary-eyed at that.

I sat on the table and slowly, slowly ate my dinner. Through little lumps of rice and of roasted chicken and adobo, tears fell down. They just fell down and I continued to eat still. Over the dessert of sweet sapin-sapin, ube, and cassava, I was still crying.

Washed the dinner plates and still low. Didn't help I thought of my mahal and that he's out there at sea to work. And I cried again.

Then I thought of the bathroom, and dosed it with cleaning solution and water and brushed everything there. The sudden activity was somewhat cathartic. I finished cleaning the bathroom about 20 minutes ago. Back's hurt a bit, but I'm a little better than earlier tonight.

I don't like myself when I'm crying because I feel so down - proves to be I'm weak. I've always been branded as determined and strong in character - it's so contrasting to those adjectives labeled to me when you get to see me quietly crying. But the lowly feeling hit me again - I'll not go into details since lowliness might hit me again. I deserve some rest now, and I just have this lowliness be out a little bit here.

Before I take my deserved sleep to freshen myself to tomorrow's tasks, I'll ask again to the One Up There, to make me stronger, stronger, stronger, and be more patient, and more understanding. I don't want to be so extreme again like what am I tonight - crying over roasted chicken and cleaning the bathroom this midnight....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Miss being called "munchkin"

Just finished watching Independence Day (the second or third time I watched this, and I still think Bill Pullman's particularly handsome in this film, he now sports an unflattering `do if I remember, anyway. Oh, he's cuter in While You Were Sleeping - I'm digressing).

So after all the action and the hostile alien invasion was stopped after David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and Steven Hiller (Will Smith) uploaded the virus to the mother ship, and Russell Case (Randy Quaid) sacrificed himself to disable the alien ship, David and Steven were welcomed back by President Whitmore (Pullman), commended them for a job well done.

Then, Whitmore's daughter greeted her "Happy fourth of July, Daddy." Whitmore replied, "Same to you, munchkin."

Munchkin - it hit me. That's what Robin sometimes calls me, because he says I'm small for my 5'3 1/2" height. Duh. Actually, since I like doughnuts, and I told him about this Dunkin' Donuts munchkins-brand donut holes, that I sometimes crave about, that's why Robin became more fond of calling me munchkin.

I always retort "beh" when he calls me munchkin since it's a double-edged affectionate term, hahaha - either it's about my height (hey, he's not that tall at 5'7") or that it's about my doughnut addiction.

He's out to sea now at work. He advised me that communication would be erratic and difficult since they're mainly using CDMA, and his phone is out of reach since the only coverage available in their base now is only from Telstra.

And I terribly miss him so much now - it's a habit SMS-ing, calling, chatting, seeing each other via Web cam regularly since we got to know each other. This non-communication - and the current long-distance relationship (LDR) we're having now - are really frustrating, especially when I get hit badly by missing-him-terribly pangs, like watching ID4 earlier, and hearing the affectionate "munchkin" (didn't help either it was Bill Pullman who delivered that line, anyway, he said it to his daughter).

But the main thing that keeps us going is that, we're not the only couple in this world that are separated temporarily due to work and responsibilities. We both know we don't want this LDR thing to drag any further and that we're really looking forward to settle down this year. We both want this relationship to work, to last, that's why we'll endure the distance, the non-communication for now.

Although I worry more about his welfare especially he's now out to sea - I always pray for his safety, and that when he gets a break from work, I know I'll get to be called munchkin again - or among the other affectionate names he calls me (you know I call him mahal, but sorry, can't disclose what are my other affectionate names for him, sshh). And that, I'll get to have doughnuts from him soonest - or munchkins - though there's no Dunkin' in Australia yet?

I'm babbling. Well, I found a connection between ID4 and munchkin because I terribly miss Robin. Now that's one manifestation of love (winks), and a little dash of creativity (wink, wink). I still terribly miss him though - I miss him every second he's away, and I love him, and will always love him, hopefully we'll be together, forever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Best places to live




Whether thinking for the best place where you can live, choosing over a multitude of vacation cruises, or checking the most affordable fares to go away either by air, land, or sea – MoneySense’s March-April issue is here to help you go through with such choices.

Also in this issue, learn the 10 keys to business success from Intel Philippines country manager Ricky Banaag, and how those can be applied to achieve personal finance success. Know also how to set a baby fund and apply the rules of retirement.

MoneySense – founded by veteran business and finance journalists with a combined 50 years of publishing experience – also has articles on how to lower your estate taxes, deconstruct variable unit-linked insurance, and know the basics of trust. Singer Rachel Alejandro and sister Barni, who are dabbling into the food enterprise, also share some smart savings for your business.

MoneySense is available in over 200 outlets nationwide. To learn more about the magazine, visit www.moneysense.com.ph. For subscriptions, contact 339-3361, 728-1073 or email info@moneysense.com.ph.

Monday, March 24, 2008

On walking down the aisle

Resting here after one article, and found this in my Friendster bulletin board, with my childhood friend, Tina (who's very much in love also) posting this. It's called the "wedding survey." Looks interesting for me, so answering this, and for those who keep on asking about my love life, maybe this will answer your curiosity (hehehe):


By the way, the picture here was taken by Robin while we were at St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Melbourne. He commented his shot was a bit blurry - good thing he said, that I'm not yet on a wedding dress walking down the aisle in this picture! Would be a shame if that's the case - capturing me in a wedding dress walking down the aisle resulting in a blurry picture, he laughs! Well, right. So posting it here as something related about walking down the aisle:

Wedding survey
This is a survey about your dream wedding, whether it be in the next year or after 10 years. So, please answer after you read, the person who answered this before you
took a great deal of effort. This is going to be fun (me - fun huh, we'll see).


1. How old are you?
27 years old

2. Are you single or in a relationship?
Engaged

3. In what age do you think you’ll get married?
27 years old (or when I turn 28 this November - as we're planning, we want to get wed this year, civil rites first, so not much preparation)

4. Do you think you’ll be marrying the person you are with now?
Yes

5. If not, who do you want to marry?
George Clooney? (I always kid Robin George Clooney's my ex, and he gets jealous at that, hahaha)

6. Do you want a garden/beach wedding, or the traditional church wedding?
Robin thinks of an island wedding somewhere in Queensland. Considering my friends/family here, we may opt another ceremony here - garden wedding preferably. I say though as long as everything is in order - emotional preparedness, no legal impediment, among others - I can wed my my man anywhere

7. Your ideal motif?
Light/baby or powder blue and off-white

8. Where do you plan to go on a honeymoon?
Cairns, Australia - not yet sure

9. How many guests do you think you’ll invite?
Both our families and closest friends combine, I think they'll be about 100?

10. Do you want an extravagant wedding or a simple wedding?
Simple wedding - always believed it's important to prepare for the married life that splurge on that wedding day

11. Do you want the traditional vows or something you’d make up on your own?
Would be romantic if I could come up with my version of the wedding vow

12. How many layer of cake do you want to have?
3 will do - you'll only get to eat the bottom layer anyway

13. Do you prefer having your reception at a hotel or at a simple place?
Simple place will do

14. When do you want to get married, evening or morning?
Toward the evening

15. You’d rather have your reception outdoors or indoors?
Outdoors

16. Do you like a grand entrance for your groom?
Not really - but him in his captain's uniform will do - will make him more handsome - hehe

17. Bride enter?
Huh? Of course, the bride has to be there, right? Duh

18. Name the song/tune you’d like played at your wedding.
You Are The Love of My Life by George Benson (actually, I'm still thinking of something else)

19. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Early morning - is it counted? That's when I'm awake most of the time, especially when I'm beating deadlines

20. Do you want a solemn ceremony or a light one?
By solemn doesn't necessarily mean religious, right? So I go for solemn

21. What age do you want to get married?
Actually 35, but I didn't expect to get wed soon, but it's love that I found, so...

22. Describe your ideal husband/wife
My ideal husband is my fiance, Robin - admirable, caring, conversationalist, gentleman, funny, intelligent, loving, trustworthy, wicked at times - handsome (the latter is just a bonus), etc. etc. among other reasons, that's why I'm marrying him (*Winks)

23. Do you prefer fine dining or just the normal spoon & fork/knife?
Fine dining

24. Champagne or red wine?
Champagne? (Actually I don't drink)

25. Honeymoon right after the wedding or days after the wedding?
Days after the wedding

26. Money or household items?
I can't really bring the bulky gifts to Aus if ever, so for practical purposes, money will do, haha. Also, books that I haven't read will be be fine, haha.

27. Who will pay for the bills?
Ideally, both

28. Are you ready for married life?
Yes - the financial aspect is something I'm doubly working about - but all things considered, I'm ready

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How's the egg hunting?

(From www.theholidayspot.com)


Testing if I can still write as I shut down my writing skills the past three days. Seems I'm still not on the work mode, but anyway:

Happy Easter! Hope we Christians took time to reflect in the past week - only one week out of a busy year when we can all reflect, and yes, go away on vacation.

I say I had quite a holy week - was with my Varsitarian friends and our adviser for our annual Visita Iglesia. That was our eighth, I missed the first one in 2001 due to migraine, which every Holy Thursday I am reminded of that by my friends. I made sure I wouldn't miss the Visita Iglesia this year, as it might be my last, or if ever, next year, I'll time my vacation during Holy Week to spend time with them again.

I took that Holy Thursday not only to bond with my friends, but to thank God for the blessings, the strength, the will to continue, to fulfill the challenges that are coming my way. At every church (we visited seven churches), I thanked and prayed for the same intentions - for my family, my career, my studies, my finances, my health and of my loved ones, and of course, for the gift of love that I'm having, and very much willing and hoping to keep for life.

Found out also that my adviser and I where baptized at the same church - Our Lady of Sorrows in Pasay City, and that during his youth (which was ___ years ago) he and his family also was attending the Baclaran Church, the same church where mommy used to bring me since we lived in Paranaque when she was teaching at Philippine School for the Deaf in Pasay City. Now, I have something in common with our venerated Pope, I mean publications adviser, hehehe.

The rest of the Holy Week I spent resting, as Thursday night I had runny nose (actually it started Tuesday), felt feverish, and started to have a hoarse voice. I missed attending the pre-Easter Mass at EDSA Shrine. Been attending that for five years, also with my Varsitarian friends. Still, my voice is manly now and I'm coughing.

And, now, I'm having a hard time to cure myself from addiction to House M.D. Little brother bought DVDs of seasons 1 to 3 of that medical drama and those we're watching since Good Friday - two episodes to go and will be finished with season 2.

I say it's the best Fox is airing so far, and that Hugh Laurie as Gregory House M.D. is brilliant, despicable, tormented TV character you will both love and hate at the same time. More than the drama underlying in each medical case presented by the program, the biting and witty lines got me hooked on this show.

So, there goes my Holy Week. How was yours? And in case you don't know why a bunny and colored eggs have become classic images of Easter, here is why.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We're kids at heart

Saturday night, another night to chat with my fiance, as chatting via MSN is mainly our communication.

He looked to be busy for a while, as I saw him on web cam. It turned out he stumbled upon something - the MSN handwriting - an option in MSN chat where you actually get to write, to draw, and to send your handwritten messages to your contact you're chatting with.

It proved to be fun (for him at first, since I wasn't able to enable it right away) - he was like a kid scribbling at that. Today, when I signed in, I greeted him with my personal, handwritten messages:



I followed up:


Mushily I wrote:


And I drew "us":


He replied after a while, asked me how long it took me to install the software to enable MSN handwriting. He even lambasted the stick figures of us that I drew, saying his version of "us" is much better - well, I agree. He said that what he drew Saturday night were us walking under cherry blossoms - but there were no cherry blossoms around! Hahaha!

Then I drew him on a vessel:


He said he hopes he wouldn't drive on a small vessel like what I drew - well, surely he will not. For me, he's the most handsome and great sea captain in the whole wide world (I'm biased, I know, hehehe).

I drew my favorites also:


Those were doughnuts and coffee - he guessed the first one as doughnut, the last one coffee, but the second one he said it was a potato - duh!

Mushy me I wrote again, this time in red ink:


He wrote back:


Then I gave him a flower:




Before I sent that it was a flower I drew, he guessed it as a helicopter. Duh! He said, oh! sorry, so I replied:




He responded:


I admitted though:




He proudly wrote:


I retorted:


Then we talked about how we're writing in MSN - he suggested what if he lets other people see my "handwriting" and tell them that's of his fiancee, what would they think, he asked me? I said the same to him, and he replied we write (or as for me, to put it other way) we're:


I replied:


He first asked me this, that's why we're engaged now, I asked him this also whenever I feel like it as being mushy to him, but this was the first time I get to "write" it:


And like how I affirmed to him then, he replied:


This MSN handwriting is proving to be fun for us, as it added a new dimension to our communication. As if we're actually writing to each other - like how couples back then were exchanging handwritten love letters.

Although I made a couple of notes for him in my own handwriting, Robin's stumbling upon MSN handwriting affirmed something that I already knew about him from the start - he never fails to surprise me, and always shows a new angle to his affections toward me.

When he was practicing on his "handwriting," he also drew a face of me, a cat (which I didn't recognize as a cat since he said the cat is being viewed from behind), the stick figures of us that I cited earlier, and when I asked him to draw a flower, he drew a hyacinth (and yes, it looked like a hyacinth).

But what really made me grinned, and yes, teary-eyed, was when he wrote - "I love you", followed by a heart. It was the first time that he "actually" wrote "I love you" to me, though he never fails to SMS or say or express it to me.

I retorted, his handwriting is proving to be that of a kindergarten. He replied, in his writing, "still, i love you." That's when I cried and laughed at the same time. He said at first, I'm just hormonal, I replied, maybe, but I'm just really touched with his "gesture." He said it doesn't take much to please me, and he gave me his sweet, or what he calls, his "kind" smile.

And as we ended our chat for tonight, we exchanged "I love yous" in our handwriting. I wrote:


He replied:


I ended:


He capped:





We're like kids in doing this - see how we write via MSN handwriting - but I guess, that's what we are - we're still kids at heart - and we'll surely find more ways to enjoy being with each other, and to stay happy for most of the time, together, for the rest of our lives.