Monday, September 29, 2008

Good to See You Again, Mates!

Cousin Nicky and Aunt Lalaine have just flown in from Down Under! This means lots of trips in and out of town, great food and serious bonding for two whole weeks. Most of my mother's family have migrated either to the land of the free or Australia, and it's been decades since they've come back for a visit, though some of them have done routine flights to their homeland every four years or so. 

We checked in at the cozy Holiday Inn Galleria for three days and three nights, shopped till we dropped at the busiest malls in the city and went restaurant hopping like crazy. The best thing is the chocolate stash that's inevitable whenever they're in Manila (I have got to watch my weight).

Yesterday, the Aussies left for Ilo-ilo with my mom. They'll be back on Saturday with fellow Aussie relatives, uncle Alexis and Grandma Medina... and the fun resumes! Too bad my sister Karla has to be left behind in Adelaide.

The view from our suite

Post devouring lunch at Freska, Greenhills

Hour-long strolls

Gorgeous cousins reunited

Life is even sweeter

Ready for another long, yet exhilarating day
From left to right: My hubby, Nelson, my sister, Karyll, the author, my daughter, Zakeisha, my mom, Arlette, Cousin Nicole, Aunt Lalaine, and my brothers, Krissanto & Kristofer

Trivia: Did you know that most shops in Australia close at 5 p.m.? As we were waiting to be served at an ice cream restaurant at the 3rd most colossal mall in the world, Nicole turned to face me and asked, "What time is it?" I said, "It's 5:30. Why?" Then she smiled and beamed, "Oh, that's why I had the feeling that it (the mall) should close!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Three Paragraphs, Two in Rant Mode

Aspirations -- we all have one or two. Any person who looks up at the stars from the gutter, perseveres and achieves knows nothing is impossible. Only the mind sets limits. It may not be easy to go beyond the realms of the so-called cumbersome reality, but through faith and hard work, you can do anything.

That's why I just don't get it when somebody has to be envious of people who succeed, and act in a despicable manner at that. I admit I've had my own episodes of jealousy, but I've always felt it was appallingly wrong to dwell on it. Everyone has her own talent and propensities. Go out and decipher what fate has in store for you! Stop emanating your insecurities and start living like a decent human being, for heaven's sake.

It's basically human nature that we seek what we don't have. This trait should be channeled into an opportunity to hone skills and focus on attaining what it is you direly want to attain rather than a license for crab mentality.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mushy Entry of the Week: A Scene from the Arcade

New York-born songwriter Eden Ahbez said, ''The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.'' Or if you've seen 'Moulin Rouge,' then you know it's also what Christian, the uber-striking poet (played by Ewan McGregor) in my all-time favorite lovestruck flick, ardently affirms.

I accede. And I say, one of the perks of loving and being loved in return is watching your offspring try to beat her father at a video game for the first time since you let her out into the world.

Only a woman who's in love with her life could dig what I'm talking about.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Whoa! It's the Awesome Site Award!

My mouth was agape in disbelief when I learned Ria, the author of yet another outstanding site called 'Continental Fairy,' has just passed on this accolade to me. All I can say is "Thank you." I accept this award with utmost humility and will make this a glimmering reminder to write more socially relevant and awe-inspiring posts.
I hereby share this badge of appreciation with commendable bloggers who deserve such honor...
  • Pia, for spreading the good news and amalgamating it with tidbits of wonders on 'Color It Green'
Kudos to you who enthuse readers with your stirring reality!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Take It in Stride

For the past five months, I've been exerting extra effort in attaining equilibrium in my life by shunning stress and constantly incorporating peace into moments of chaos. Let's face it, if you want to succeed in this world then you would have to be an effectual multitasker, and multitasking is more often than not exhausting (and sometimes frustrating due to uncontrollable circumstances) at the end of the day. Finding the appropriate outlet for relaxation could sometimes be as challenging as trying to keep up with the rest of the human race, especially for a career woman who has a family to tend to aside from herself. It's a trial and error process, but lately things are falling into place and, fortunately, I've discovered what's right for me.

How do you exactly loosen up without losing it? Let me count the ways:

1.) The Golden Hour - You gotta have at least an hour just for yourself every day. I'm telling you, this is quintessential. In a span of 60 minutes, pamper yourself, reflect on the promise of a fantastic new day ahead, recite affirmations or...

2.) Meditate - The thought of sitting up straight with my eyes closed while I drift into transitory silence bored to me to tatters in the first few weeks, but I've been reaping the benefits of meditation. The grumpiness and mood swings are now a thing of the past. Ten minutes can do miracles.

3.) Walk - Comparable to meditation, a tranquil stroll at the mall or by the river has its own energizing attributes. I typically do this on Sundays to prep me up for a taxing week ahead.

4.) Coffee Nights - Utterly soothing. Take your time as you sip your Caramel Frappuccino and toss in a little bit of mentally stimulating chitchat.

5.) Yoga - Rigorous types of exercises never worked for me. When I started doing yoga, I found the solution to slacking off on forcing myself to break a sweat. I didn't think stretching and toning your muscles could be so friggin' calming! Even the most basic poses are worth it.

Put your feet up lately? What's your cup of tea? :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

8 Random Things About Me (I've Been Tagged)

Hot chick Bingkee, whose blog, 'I Love/Hate America,' is among the few in the blogosphere that actually has substance, just tagged me. In response, I'm obliged to list down '8 Things About Me' you've never known before. Though this may seem self-serving, considering I've already posted '100 Things About Me' in the past, it's always fun to spill some beans every now and then.
I suppose I haven't told anyone that:
1.) I'm married to an extremely talented graphic designer. We eloped to the shores of Boracay in 2004 and it was the best thing I've ever done.

2.) In college, my favorite subject was Philosophy. I'd get the highest grades sans studying.

3.) When I was a kid, I sprained either arm as often as it rained here in Manila. Each time, my folks would bring me to a 'faith healer' instead of a real doctor, and it always worked. I loved the smell of the oil they used on their patients -- reminded me of sweet crackers.

4.) My parents never let me take public transportation until I turned 21. Stiff? Yeah, I thought so, too, until I became a mom in 2005.

5.) I'm a daydreamer and a bona fide optimist.

6.) Chill out routine: Coffee on weeknights and booze on weekends!

7.) At age 5, I was totally into telekinesis and strongly believed I could eventually make things move with my mind. I would stare at a glass or a pen on the table for minutes on most days, praying it would miraculously move. These days I look back and realize I have a penchant for believing in things I don't see. I think that may have been part my formula for reaching goals.

8.) Sometimes I wish I had naturally straight hair. Curls could be a real hassle. :-)

Now, I tag 8 people...
Simple rules:
1.) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2.) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4.) Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
1.) Pia
2.) Jhunelle
4.) Claire
5.) Enchie
6.) Sarah
7.) Wendy
8.) Ria

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Have the Sys Forgotten?

The sacred edifice that has seen it all

If Our Lady of the Abandoned Church could speak, it would tell a turgidly compelling story of my family genealogy and a town's roaring breakthrough from its meek beginnings in the 16th century.

In 1572, Agustinian priests built an ecclesiastical landmark in Barangka, Marikina, with bamboo and palm leaves. This humble sanctuary among a plunk of huts on a hillock, which was then called 'The Visita at Chorillo,' became the cynosure of the religious. Under the supervision of apostolic ruler Fray Pedro de Arce, the Jesuits took on the spiritual welfare of the Marikeños in 1630 and another chapel was erected in Jesus Dela Peña. After seven years and five decades, the tables turned in 1687 and the Agustinians regained power over Marikina. The church moved to San Roque, assuming a modern, concrete facade.

Earthquakes almost disintegrated OLA twice in 1816 and 1830. And as if that wasn't enough, fire marred the house of God in 1891. Fast forward to the 1970's, after enduring friars' whims and the appalling catastrophes, the church started to bear witness to innumerable weddings in my father's side of the family. You name it, the Sys did it at the same Roman Catholic dwelling -- baptisms, weekly confessions, the regular Sunday masses, and sadly, even the funerals. OLA was angkong's (Chinese for grandpa) and papa's final destination before we took them to their final resting place. My ama (grandma) used to go there every single day of the week in the 80's, until she began to consider born-again Christianity in the late 90's.

The year is 2008. I bet OLA misses the Sy clan more than it ever did. It's been three years and ten months since papa passed away, and like a spell was cast, we haven't done anything spectacular at church, except hearing mass occasionally with my own family. I bet she sheds tears every once in a while, wondering when the Sys would take a break from their revoltingly busy lives and give themselves a chance to reunite.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pinoy Artistry and Wawi Navarroza

THE WORLD THRIVES ON ART! That's why we just had to catch the last leg of the 4th Background Ventures Arts & Music Festival at Megatrade Hall 3. The three-day quintessential series is held annually by the artists, and for the artists. A gathering of today's top musicians, poets, graphic designers, the inquisitives and the creatives of different sorts, even gawkers were welcome to satiate their curiosity.

The Cancios arrived at 12:45 p.m. and walked in to get an impeccable view of a Pastel Painting Workshop taking place with Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) President Fidel Sarmiento at the helm.

AAP President Fidel Sarmiento in a live exhibit

Glorious works of art by professional artists

This array of paintings on the floor were sent in by MIRIAM College's talented high school department.

After an hour and a half of prolific sight-seeing and mingling with artsy exhibitors, gothic diva Wawi Navarroza came in with her MacBook and vital know-how in fine art photography, ready to ravish the audience via the much-awaited seminar.

Wawi Navarroza on 'Photography as an Art'

I've never seen any of Navarroza's work before the festival, and I must admit I became an instant fan the moment I feasted my eyes on her internationally acclaimed masterpieces. She is, without a doubt, one of the most cerebral Philippine photographers of our time. Her photos depict reality with haunting vividness and a bizarre emotional tweak -- the stuff most people have trouble executing, let alone get together in their heads. The 'Wawi experience' was plainly stupefying. I had no idea photography could have such real life rhythm. Well, she does call herself a visual poet.

(Click any of the links to get a glimpse of Wawi Navarozza's multi-awarded images:,