Theme Thursday Entry: HEAT

gruyere cheese fondue and wine in switzerland

This is a shot during my first time to eat authentic Gruyere cheese fondue last June when we visited my brother and sis-in-law in Vevey. My bro said it's eaten during winter more often than during summer. It is usually accompanied with wine. Comfort food for heat during winter...


Quarterly Exams!


Do your best Matt & Kyle! We love you both!


Theme Thursday Entry: HOARDING

Gruyere Cheese in Switzerland

hoard - n. A hidden fund or supply stored for future use; a cache
This is a hoard of Gruyere cheese in Switzerland being stored for final processing. Yummy!
Matt for Math

Last July 26, 2003, Matt was one of Grade 4 students sent by his school to take the qualifying exam together with candidates from other schools (Grade 3-2nd Year High School). I was a bit worried because we had no preparation at all. I was totally out of whack because of some viral infection the day before and Jerry was busy with his ASPAC. Still, we felt he had to go and take the battery of tests.

Yesterday, he received a congratulatory letter from the organizers of the Math Training Group that conducted the testing last July, stating that he is one of four (Grade 4) students from his school, who qualified for an extensive training in Math.

Matt will be trained for a series of Saturdays and will be part of an elite group of students who will have a chance to compete with other schools (ahem...) internationally.

Way to go Matt! We love you! And we're proud of you!



Last week I sent an email*** requesting head office to reclass some P500,000 worth of freight charges covering June and July, (only one contractor serviced this particular expense account) to improve our bottomline. I felt that these costs charged to our group was way too much. I went as far as copy furnishing the CEO and CFO to let them know I was concerned about costs.

Today an email from our CFO was sent to me, my Finance counterparts and the Directors. It bore the message: "This is worth emulating". Funny thing is, what was being referred to by our CFO as worth emulating was the email sent to him by my counterpart in Northern Luzon whom we will refer to as L. L recommended a list of cost cutting measures to improve the bottom line, measures that covered office supplies, and power consumption, overtime, etc. which did not even come close to P500,000 on savings over 2 months or did not translate to a significant improvement in bottomlines. What, and this was worth emulating? L was also just doing his job. I have nothing against him, but a lot against our CFO (whoa strong words there).

It turns out that the CFO, according to a lot of reliable sources, is part of the enterprise of the contractor for the freight services I was "complaining" about.

Oh, now I get it.

***My email is already archived for use in my future "privelege speech" should there be a need... *snickers*

Picture Moment

matt & kyle walking to school

No particular reason why I took this shot. It was just an urge to roll down the car window and to snap a foto of my two sons as they walked to the school's gate, confident and prepared, and ready to face yet another day of learning.

Playing With Colors

jubilee house, cebu

I have long been amused by this structure along one of the interior streets near Capitol Site, Cebu, which we pass by everyday on our way to school. I finally got the chance to take a shot of it even while inside a moving car.

The choice of colors may not be my personal favorites, but it succeeds in calling attention to itself, if this is what the owners intended.

It started with pink urinals, now colored buildings and other structures. Is this goodbye to drab grays and whites. Why not? It just got me to think. If this becomes a trend... Ayala Avenue and other business districts will look like stacks of Lego blocks. Cute.

huddled together for review in Chinese

I knocked-off early from work today (Aug. 19) to give my boys the time to be reviewed by Jerry in Chinese before he attends his 5PM meeting for ASPAC.

Bring on all the other subjects and I'll willingly assume the teacher's role, just keep me away from Chinese. Chinese conversation and language are two subjects where I'm completely useless.


As a routine, after lunch in my office, Jerry and Kyle drive back to school. Today for some reason, I told Jerry I'd go with him bring Kyle to school since my office is only 5 minutes away without traffic. So when it was time to go, I grabbed my bag to join them.

On the way, "Kyle did you bring your sandwich?", I asked. "Hm? Hmmm...mmmm", came his reply. "What, you forgot?", I continued. He just stared back at me from the rear view mirror. "Darn...", I told myself. Jerry requested the Yaya to run to the nearby convenience store to buy something, while Kyle was told to wait at the gate. The Yaya got him a cupcake.

When I got back to my office, I saw the sandwich lying on my table.

Why is it that mothers have this uncanny ability to feel something is amiss?
As usual, I got in early at work today and was getting ready to start ticking off items from my to-do list when my cubicle neighbor arrived. "Hey! What brings you early?", I asked in Tagalog. "Parking is limited in the basement", he replied. Uh, yeah whatever.

And I thought it was because of more profound reasons.


Kyle insisted that I post this shot of his new pet, Nemo, which he took yesterday. He positioned Nemo against their sky blue wall and on the printed blue sofa bed in their room. Very clever, Nemo looks like he is underwater.

My boy is so attached to his new toy that he even requested me to allow him to bring it to school.

on our way to watch Song of Mulan at the Ayala MallMatt & Kyle with cousins at Grand Convention

Since we didn't make it to the late morning mass (thanks to the confusing exit at SM mall), we just went to Ayala Center to catch the mall tour of the musical play Song of Mulan.

The colors onstage were really nice. In fact the short musical performance was surprisingly ok. I didn't realize Nancy Castiglione and Greg Turvey could sing well.


Right after the show, we went to Grand Convention for the buffet lunch birthday treat for John. I personally enjoyed the Peking duck and the scallop dumplings among other things.

Well, after packing the calories in just one meal, I seriously think my diet starts tomorrow!

I learned from Jerry early on that the kids' Uncle Junnie had a (belated) birthday gift for Matt, so I bought Kyle a little something to keep him distracted before Jerry hands Matt the gift.

Kids normally get envious when one receives a gift and the other does not. Buying Kyle a small Nemo stuffed toy was just to pre-empt any incident. It turns out that he loved his new addition to his zoo so much that he didn't mind Matt's new Kobe shoes.

(Thanks Tito Ninong! Matt tried calling you during lunch but you sounded like you were in a moviehouse or something.)

While waiting for Jerry's flight arrival, the kids and I spent a few hours this morning in SM. We passed by National Bookstore to have our gift for John wrapped, then spent the rest of the time in Toy Kingdom.

Speaking of SM, it was my first time to drive going there as most of my driving trips are to Ayala Center. I noted that parking was a breeze (of course at 9:30 am) but looking for the exit was such a hassle. Whose bright idea was it to re-route the traffic without clear signs directing the motorists? Got to the airport late because of this.


Peeking from my laptop at 4PM, this is how Kyle looked from across the table while reviewing for his Filipino. The kids are still busy preparing for their exams which by the way keeps me busier too. I've made them their questionnaires and will probably be going over their answers when they're through.

That's me on the phone in my office after a long drive from the airport and after supervising a general cleaning of my cubicle. Matt took this stolen shot while I was on the phone with Mama and Papa for a quick update. Jerry at this point was on his way to their house.

Sent Jerry off early this morning for his overnight trip to Manila. He'll be back tomorrow in time for our regular Sunday Mass and for our special lunch to celebrate John's birthday.

Lookie here! This is what I found when I turned on my cellphone a few days ago... Both Matt and Kyle claim they took this shot- of their mini zoo. Believe it or not, their stuffed pet inventory consists of: 6 dogs, 3 turtles, 2 reindeers, racoon, fox, monkey, elephant, rhino, hippo, rabbit, polar bear, tiger, duck, bear, and a dolphin.


Theme Thursday Entry: SPIRAL

If not for today's Theme Thursday project, I wouldn't have noticed that my telephone cord was already full of grime. The shot above was right after I cleaned it by dragging from end to end a white rag with alcohol.
Cat Fight

A few minutes ago, the sound of a high-pitched voice talking on the phone cut through the hum of airconditioners and computers of an otherwise quiet office. Sounded like personal bickering between two Station Heads. Then, some sobbing... At this point, I instructed my Accounting Staff to call the Group Sales Manager to do some mediating.

I'm glad I'm not in Sales.

This site has been getting a lot of traffic lately and checking my site stats, I found out that there were a lot of google referrals from those who searched for (of all people) ruffa gutierrez bektas!

Yes I've posted once about her but is there a way I could get my site from being listed everytime people search for her name and her first-born?


Found Nemo Today

Our kids' school made this their fund-raiser this year. What great timing! I've heard good reviews about the movie and read on the papers that the head background artists are Filipinos. Enough reasons for us to go see the movie other than the fact that it's compulsory for all students.

Matt watched with his classmates while Jerry and I watched with Kyle and his Grade 1 class. Midweek family gimmick!


After the movie at SM, Jerry waited for Matthew while I spent some time choosing the place for lunch.

Dimsum Break - nope, the looong queue already snaked its way out to the next restaurant;
Mikado - hmm...nah, tempura was not on the combo menu;
Barrio Fiesta - skip that, if they were any good how come nobody was there?;
Max - no way! the basic 1/4 chicken with a cup of rice is all you get for P99!

Then I saw the poster of a bento box: tempura, chicken teriyaki, miso soup, mixed veggies and rice for P165... This was it! With additional orders of tempura, gyoza and 3 extra rice, the family had a good lunch at Rai-rai-ken. Hmm-mmm!


For more than 3 years now, Jerry and I have made it a habit to pass by the Redemptorist Church everyday after bringing the kids to school. Though we attend mass at another venue every Sunday, this particular church is our daily refuge for at least 30-45 minutes before we start our day's activities. We try to hear the 7am mass from start to finish but if we do not make it in time for the Gospel because of traffic, we still make it a point to receive our Holy Communion.

By 730 am, as soon as the mass is ended, the people rush out to go. Jerry and I stay on to spend the next 15-20 minutes praying the Prayer of Jabez, the Holy Rosary and the Novena to St. Expeditus. I find it so uplifting and heart-warming talking to God, lifting up our fears and asking for blessings as a couple. It is just not complete if we miss on our daily church visit.

I might as well let you in on our prayer requests. We pray the Jabez prayer for abundance of blessings, the rosary as a devotion to our Blessed Mother and the novena for our urgent needs. Everyday, we recite the same prayers of praise, thanksgiving, repentance and requests.

Amazingly last Monday, while praying the novena and reaching the part where we state our favors, we found ourselves groping for words. We just realized that our most major request since last year has just been fulfilled a few days back.

Several months ago, due to bad investments, we prayed for our house to be sold. We were actually desperate, thinking that if we sold it, we would gain enough to settle some obligations. Months have passed and we couldn't understand why no sale ever materialized. But we kept on praying and trusting in Him.

In the mean time, a lot of things have happened. I was given a clean bill of health after a mammogram. I was given a raise. Jerry got a better position in his company. He was given a bonus. We have sold our car. I was offered a new one by the company I work for. Our travel papers got approved and we were able to take the opportunity to travel 5 years after the last time we went out of the country. And Matthew and Kyle received gold medals in school.

Still, our house was up for grabs. Last July, an ordinary inquiry turned out to be the deal we were waiting for. After a short negotiation, the sale was made. However, it was also a heartbreaking moment when we found out that after some computations of penalties, interests etc., we were not to get any financial benefit from the transaction. In fact we lost a significant amount from the sale.

Looking back, we have lost indeed. The loss is something that will set us back in the short term. But when we count the blessings that came our way, we are still better off. It became a realization for us that God really answers prayers. It may not be the way we had wanted it to be. God may even play some tricks giving you something you never asked for. His answers may come in different "packages". But if we lift everything up and trust His divine plans, everything will turn out for the best.

(I am posting this to propagate the Novena to St. Expeditus)


A Weekend Photo Blog

Friday, at EJ's birthday celebration, I caught our 89 year old Lola Meding eyeing the homemade ice-cream.

Saturday, Jerry took the family to a special dinner at the much talked about Isla Foods Restaurant on Nivel Hills overlooking the city of Cebu. It looks more like an eatery than a restaurant to me but it beats the well-known seafood market in Mactan which is popularly called as Sutukil. Isla Foods is really like a "turo-turo" but a cheap and really yummy one at that. We had a big slab of grilled tuna belly, scallops, squid adobado, generous helpings of rice, and mineral water all for P420. Darn, I forgot to take a pic of the food before cleaning it off.

After enjoying a healthy seafood dinner, we all went to Jerry's temporary Jaycee office at the Waterfront Hotel Lahug where the kids had fun playing a few rounds of billiards. As Jerry had a short meeting for ASPAC, I busied myself having a tete-a-tete with Monica C.

Matt and Kyle were pretty tired after a really long day and couldn't help but fall asleep in the car on the way home.

Saturday morning and Sunday morning (right before attending the 11AM mass), Matt and Kyle hit the books in preparation for the 1st quarter exams this coming 20th.

After diligently working on their review, the kids deserved an afternoon break at the pool with Jerry. As for me, I had an uninterrupted session of channel surfing between two local tv talk shows.

(This post is image intensive, I hope my free image host doesn't go offline.)


Photo Friday Entry: SLEEP

After an active day in school, having attended his basketball club today, he took a quick shower and changed his dirty clothes with this red shirt which he wore to dinner at a relative's house. Matt had a hefty meal of crabs, Yang Chow fried rice and roasted pig among others. It was pretty filling, I should say. When we arrived home, he had just about enough energy to watch Lethal Weapon on VCD before finally calling it a day. I guess he was too tired to even change his shirt for bed.

Happy Birthday EJ

This afternoon at 5pm sharp, I hastily cleaned my desk and kept all my things just a few moments after Jerry texted me he was on his way. We were in fact late in getting the kids from school. With the traffic, we got to school at almost 530pm.

The moment the kids were in the car, I was immediately assaulted with the familiar smelly scent akin to somebody who just had gone from a strenuous activity. Indeed, while waiting for us, Matt played basketball and perhaps Kyle too had his share of running. Too much I thought.

"Matt! You knew we were invited to this party for dinner, why did you and Kyle have to play today and get yourself all dirty and smelly?", I scolded. Poor things, they had to get the brunt of my moods. To make the long story short, we drove to the house of my mom-in-law which was just nearby for a quick shower and a change of clothes (we purposely brought extra shirts and denim shorts).

Soon we were headed for EJ's 2nd birthday. Some of the guests were probably caught in the rush hour snarl because there were just a few cars when we arrived at the place at around 6. The kids' party was just winding up and the big people's dinner was about to begin.

As Matt and Kyle went to greet Lola Meding, Mama Sol and Papa Lalo, they were both kissed and hugged. "Guapo (handsome)! Humot (smells good)!", my Tita said. I heaved a sigh of relief. That quick shower just saved the day.

the party crowd Matt working the buffet table Jerry eating with gusto!
I cleaned this off.  No kidding! Jerry raiding the loot bag for more munchies? freshly showered and ready to party

I just ate heart today for lunch. The heart of a banana plant, that is or puso ng saging in the vernacular. It was cooked kilawin-style with coconut milk and jackfruit seeds. Quite exotic huh? You like?

(This is a survey, anyone is free to post yes or no to my comments link.)

I read the papers last night and found the usual (bad) local and international news. The failed mutiny and the related articles were still splashed on the front page together with updates on the Jakarta blasts. Not wanting to fill my work-weary mind with all the negative news that are happening, I continued to leaf through the papers. For some reason, I found myself reading the Obituaries. It was in that section where I found the death announcement for Dumb-Dumb.

The grieving family paid for a modest-sized box containing the regular death details plus message of thanks for those who condoled with them at the lowest point in their lives...... the death of Dumb-Dumb, their loyal dog. *Arf!*


Theme Thursday Entry: NEON

Plasma Ball

It was good timing it was a holiday yesterday. Matt and Kyle were free to go to the roving Science Museum at Mango Park. A lot of students were there for a special field trip and everyone was having fun. It's good to see the kids all wide-eyed and curious at the different displays.

The shot above was that of a Plasma Ball the size of a small fishbowl. The different gases inside the glass sphere emit some form of energy that produces the colored neon lights.


Family Fun

Posted here are fun pics taken last Saturday in Ayala Center as we were shopping for a few things for the house and today at the Science Museum. The kids didn't have classes today because of the Cebu Province Foundation Day (Holiday). Hover for short pic description...

funny bonestrying on for size? resting at Mother's

that's me defying gravity!matt, kyle & their colored shadows done with shawarma and kebabs at persian palate


World Wide Wait

My laptop is really slow now, it takes a minute or two (sometimes even more) before I could completely refresh a site. I guess it has everything to do with my dial-up access and the 17 windows/blogs I'm currently reading SIMULTANEOUSLY!

Yup, I actually counted.
Born with a Silver Spoon

Read in the papers today that Ruffa Gutierrez Bektas gave birth to their first baby. All the swooning and the doting is understandable since the baby is the first grandchild on Ruffa's side. What made my jaw drop to the level of my chest was the US$1M that Ruffa's mother-in-law gave to the tot as a gift!

Hmm, that's a new money-making scheme! Joke-joke-joke!
Feminine Wash

Hey, how true is it that KC Concepcion, Ate Shawie's pretty daughter, got paid a cool P30M for the feminine wash she's now endorsing? Woohoo! That's a lot of moolah (to borrow Junnie's term)!

And how true is it that the next endorser for the same product is going to be Ate Shawie's yaya? Got it? A feminine wash for yaya?! That's a new market niche! The product could very well be changed to PH95.


Oh, Saturday night's dinner was Japanese at Rai Rai Ken. The kids enjoyed the tempura and the gyoza so much. Thanks to my sis-in-law and kids for the treat. Japanese food is always on my faves' list.
Sunday was our scheduled lunch treat for Matt's birthday, a week delayed from our original plan due to last week's viral infections... Not the mutiny!

Anyway, so we bought 3 orders of Mango Maki from Mikado and (what party would be complete without) the delectable lechon Cebu from CNT together with the "oh so sinful and uric acid inducing" dinuguan. After buying sans rival from Dessert Factory, Jerry sped to get to my mom-in-law's place ahead of the rest so the helper could set the food up.

We were surprised when we got there, my brother-in-law and family were already eating together with Jerry's mom. And on the table was a familiar sight. Very familiar in fact, for they also bought CNT lechon and dinuguan!
Jerry had an ASPAC meeting last Saturday but he decided to leave the car with me and requested his Mom's driver to bring him to Waterfront Hotel instead. Leaving the car with me is supposed to make me more mobile should I decide to take the kids out or drop by my office or go some place else. The silent plan, however, was for the kids and I to pick Jerry up around 4pm after his meeting. But since we decided to just have Jollibee snacks at home, poor Jerry had to take the cab.

Real reason I couldn't get out of the house to get him, I was still online and was also watching the cheesy Star Talk on tv. I'm mean huh?
Still on food (couldn't help it). To continue last Saturday's post, the kids and I decided to stay home and to just request the yaya to buy spaghetti from Jollibee. After computing how much I spent, I realized I was better off if I spent the same amount on noodles, spaghetti sauce and 1/4 ground beef. *Sigh*.

These fastfood chains are really getting more expensive. Blame it on Aga.


The kids want to have snacks but the ref is empty at this time. Month-end trip to the supermarket is already due. Ayala Center and Foodarama, to go or not to go? Tell you later!
August is Jerry's much awaited month this year. As ASPAC Conference Director, he is bent on making this international event a big success post SARS. So far I'm happy for his group that things are shaping up as planned.

In the coming days, I am bracing myself too for a major exercise on time management and coordination to accommodate his many activities... A lot of driving too would be inevitable with the kids added to the equation.

Uh, posting a "Wanted Driver" ad wouldn't hurt, would it?

The helper called my office yesterday to tell me food was not enough for dinner. This meant we needed to buy something. Last night, we had lechon manok from Sr. Pedro and another round of cold soba. The food that we bought plus the ready food in the house turned out to be more than enough for everyone.

These past few days I noticed I kept posting about food.... Could I be in that interesting phase?


Photo Friday Entry: CURVES

Looking through the curves of the ancient campanile in Florence, Italy.

Taking a break from work... and thinking about the surprise dinner food that Jerry bought last night... Soba (buckwheat noodles), nori, wasabi and special soba sauce. The four of us had a heaping bowl of authentic Japanese cold soba prepared right at home. Delish!