Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 31, 2006 - It's Just Another New Year's Eve

We've been here in Honolulu for 5 days, since December 26, amidst Rob's family. Nicole was able to meet many new cousins (two of them born this year as well), aunties and uncles. And us adults were able to indulge in a lot of good food. It's the holidays... the best excuse to eat!

Nic's yaya is on break, so it's up to Rob and me to take care of her. No, we haven't yet gone insane, and it's been really nice having her all to ourselves. Yes we do have our moments of "what the f*** do we do when she's having a meltdown?!?!?!?!?!?!?" but otherwise it's been really nice. The grandmas, aunts and uncles have taken turns carrying her and amusing her. It's fun watching them try to make her laugh. We do hope that there will be many opportunities for her to spend lots of time with the other members of her generation. Imagine the mayhem when they go out together when they're older!

All that said, it'll be nice to get back to familiar territory where it's comfy and cozy... my own unique place to rest my head and nestle... the place that, once I step inside, is home.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

December 30, 2006 - Reflections on 2006

The year is nearly over... I have to say it went by very quickly! There have been years that have taken forever to pass, but 2006 went by in almost a blur. I'm almost sad that it went by the way it did, but perhaps it went by that quickly because it was full of baby days.

- I took a break from performing in order to prepare for the coming of Nicole. It had been a while since I imposed a hiatus from work, but it was absolutely necessary. My body wasn't as strong as I was used to it being, and I needed to take some time off to get ready for her arrival.

- May 16, 2006, I gave birth! This is definitely the biggest milestone to mark my year. She's now over 7 months old, and growing stronger and prettier by the day. She's going to be a heartbreaker! Right now she's starting to babble... she can pronounce M's and B's quite well. I'll give her some time before she can string together a cohesive sentence. Right now I'm just thrilled at the peek-a-boo games and variations thereof that we play together. It sends her into a fit of delicious laughter!

- My new album was finished a couple of weeks ago. More details will be announced when I can announce them, but let's just say that it's a collection of beautifully orchestrated songs. Gerard is a genius. I can't say that enough.

And that was the year the was. On paper it doesn't seem like much, but I guess with everyday being baby day, my time was full and well spent (with some time off to re-energize). Next year is supposed to be MY year (the year of the boar), so here's to hoping that things come up roses!

Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25, 2006 - Overfed and Happy

As usual, Christmas Eve meant overstuffing myself with the amazing food laid out for Noche Buena: ham, turkey (with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce), mashed sweet potatoes, bread pudding, fruit salad, hot chocolate, hotdogs (filled with cheese, wrapped with bacon and baked in tomato sauce), and baked macaroni. Opening presents was therefore a bit more difficult, what with all of us feeling lethargic and sluggish (ah, the tryptophan kick, thanks to the turkey). Our presents this year were really nice! Nicole, of course, had the biggest haul of all. It is her first Christmas after all.

I guess the rushing and the stressing and the malling was worth it... the gifts we gave one another brought out the hugest smiles (the biggest smiles came from the fact that my brother actually tagged the gifts he gave, chicken scratch handwriting and all!!!) and warmed all of our hearts. Love filled the yuletide air.

I realized last night that yes, all of us are truly blessed with the families and friends we have... loving, warm, generous people that make us laugh, hold our hands when we cry, celebrate our triumphs and console us when we fail. They gift us year-round with themselves, and I am thankful for them.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23, 2006 - Finally!!!

Only 2 more days till Christmas, and my shopping is DONE, DONE, DONE!!!

We were able to complete our Christmas list, so all is well in my world. I can put my feet up for a minute and enjoy the peace. Of course, give me 5 minutes and I'll remember another person that hasn't been bought for yet. Oh goodness, it just never ends, does it?

Last night the traffic from Makati back to Alabang was absolutely horrendous. I could not believe that it took 2 hours on the South Luzon Expressway to get home. It was a slow crawl all the way to Bicutan, but thankfully things cleared up after that. What's so special about Bicutan anyway that had all these cars exiting there? Anyone care to enlighten me?

In any case, it's nice to be home. It's now time to get some rest. Tomorrow I have pictures of Nicole to look at (she had her first studio pictorial yesterday), and a gig to prepare for, plus a baby boy to get a gift for. Good night, everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20, 2006 - The Christmas Wives

It's official: I hate Christmas.

No, not the sentiment, not the season, not the feelings of warmth and compassion brought forth by the example of Jesus.

I hate the rush... the crowded malls... having to buy 20 jars of cookies... being unable to figure out what to get for loved ones... the feeling that my feet will detach from my ankles from walking... that, in spite of buying gifts, I still have the feeling I'm missing someone.


I had lunch with a couple of married and coupled friends over the last couple of days. Some of us are wives... one without children yet, the rest with kids of differing ages, but we all have that same vacant, harassed, tired, frustrated expression on our faces of women trying to keep up with the season without losing our minds. It's not always easy, mind you... I'm almost there.

I guess every year it's the same thing, and every year we try our darndest best. We just hope our respectives appreciate our efforts and shower us with love.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006 - Amid the Christmas rush...

... find a comfy place to put your feet up... lean your head on something comfortable, and let your heartbeat slow... close your eyes and transport yourself to a happy, peaceful place... be amongst people that make you smile and laugh... for a moment, let time stand still... and remember that this season is one of hope and, most of all, love.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17, 2006 - Home at last...

Ahhhhhhhhh... it's good to be home.

We arrived late last night from Doha, and it was nice to see the serene and peaceful face of my little girl after not having seen her for 3 days. I can't wait to take her to Honolulu to meet more cousins, aunties and uncles, and maybe get some sand between her toes. Sunscreen... must bring sunscreen...

I have only two more months left here before it's time to fly off on yet another adventure in the good ol' US of A. Without giving away too much, I'll just say thank goodness I have work waiting for me! God has been generous and kind to my family and to me, so I give thanks to the Man up above and head off to wherever it is I need to be. As with a lot of the work I do especially when I'm not home, it's all a matter of national pride. I carry the name of my country on my shoulders everywhere I go, and do my darndest to set a good example to everyone. Perhaps I have an astute awareness (or borderline paranoia) that I'm watched at all times, and that any negative action would reflect on my people. So I know how to behave when I'm in public (and save my baddest self for when I'm in private, with my inner circle comprised of a few kindred souls).

'Tis the life of this gypsy. Thank goodness I have a family that understands and supports what I do, and encourages me to grab these opportunities by the short-and-curlies and run with it. And run I will, like the wind.

Buuuuuuut... until then I have 2 more beautiful months here, in the arms of those I love and will leave behind... and will come back to again and again.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 14-15, 2006 - The Games of Your Life

I'm blogging from the car on the way back to the hotel from Khalifa Stadium, where I'll be performing at the closing ceremony of the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. To be honest, the facilities are very impressive, what with all the moolah pumped into the construction, paid for the Emir of Qatar himself. Bongga.

I'll continue this later from a proper computer... I left my laptop at home so I'll have to borrow Rob's or head to the hotel business center at some point. Or finish it when I get back home. Bahala na si Batman.


I'm back... it's nearly 2 am and I've just returned from my final dress tech at the stadium.  I'd like to think that I've developed an inordinate amount of patience, just from the practice of being in theatre, where a lot of the time during a technical rehearsal period, it's "hurry up and wait".  Such is life.

Anyway, when it came time for my turn to rehearse, I was brought down to a basement called "The Chamber" where my own little stage was to be set up, and me situated upon it.  Of course I'm being totally facetious when I say "little"... in fact my stage is quite sizable, as well as very tall.  Tall!  I sing on a platform that, when fully raised, is a few storeys above the stadium floor.  The platform itself is about 3 meters in diameter, so I do have ample room to move, and there are handrails on its perimeter.  I dare not go anywhere near those handrails however... it would mean looking straight down at the floor below.  Sorry, no can do.  I stand in the center of the circle, and stay there, making sure my legs are prepared to handle the rise and descent of the platform.  Hopefully it comes out on TV, so you'll better understand what I'm trying (and failing) to describe.  Oh, showbusiness... how I laaaaaaav thee.

I'm not usually afraid of heights, but I guess the absence of an actual surrounding building gives me the willies when I stand up on my stage, but it's something to consider a challenge perhaps.  How to maintain poise and elegance while standing 3 storeys up on a circular platform 3 meters across... and oh yeah, sing the closing theme song of what is now the 2nd largest sports event in the world.  Easy enough, isn't it?

Yes, I will be just fine, rest assured.  But please say a prayer that the entire night goes smoothly from start to finish.  Add a special petition for the weather... there has been more rain in Doha in the last two weeks than there has been in years.  Clear skies please.

I will be home on Saturday night...

God, I miss Nicole... I know that she's in great hands and that there's no need to worry.  But I miss her terribly.  *sigh*

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pinoy Dream Academy

After much email going back and forth between myself, Jim Paredes (Headmaster) and Laurenti Dyogi (Director of PDA), I made a visit to Pinoy Dream Academy. However, I wanted to be briefed thoroughly on what Jim wanted me to cover for my lecture. I didn't really want to cover any onstage stuff, as their instructors and teachers are doing a great job already. So, Jim suggested work in the US and London... professionalism... discipline... commitment. I asked him to prompt me whenever the need arose.

After my rigatoni al bruto and a Coke Light at Cibo, across the street we went. I got my hair done and make up put on in one of the dressing rooms... during my beautifying session I met PDA host Nikki Gil (whose voice I think is really sweet and clear). She had me sign the back of her iPod before she headed out, presumably back to the ABS studios. They were rehearsing for the Christmas special while I was at the PDA House.

Hair and make-up done... my microphone is now affixed on my person. I have a bottle of water handy, and it's off I go to the living room where Jim and the scholars are having a talk. The kids have no idea that I'm about to pay them a visit, so this should be fun. Lauren leads me to the door, and says, "just walk in." So... "Hi!"

The talk is covered in its entirety on youtube, so I needn't really write down what happened.

I think all in all, the talk went very well. I most certainly had a wonderful time with these scholars. They do work hard and are quite talented, so I wish them only the best of luck once they graduate. How they do outside the academy will be a true test of their resolve, work ethic, talent, discipline, professionalism, drive, and love for what they do. Let's see how they do in the next few years. I have a feeling they'll all be just fine.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

December 10, 2006 - Bazaar Time!

I had no idea I would be in for such a shopping treat!  My friend Steffi invited me to shop at the NBC Tent Bazaar this morning.  The words she used were tantalizing: "Export overruns cheap".  I was so there.

My eyes were aglow at the sight of rows upon rows of merchandise... Ralph Lauren... Abercrombie & Fitch... Old Navy... The Gap... Ann Taylor... as well as local food vendors and exporters.  I came away with quite a killing: trousers (just need to get them hemmed), lots of t-shirts to give away, cute outfits for Nicole for when she's a bit older, a cute jacket, a tracksuit.  After a few hours though, I started to feel tired as well as cold (it didn't help that the rain made the NBC tent colder than it normally is). 

Once we had gone through the maze of the bazaar, we headed to Krispy Kreme (yes, it's finally here in Manila).  Thankfully the line wasn't very long (due to the rain, I imagine), so our wait for that melt-in-your-mouth delight didn't take forever.  I bought two dozen original glazed donuts, as did Steffi, and then it was off to lunch.  We ate mongolian barbecue at Polo, and decided to eat outside... the air conditioned restaurants were freezing!

I then dropped Steffi back at her house, and sorted whose bags were whose.  Headed home after that.

Now, I'm here in my bedroom resting... I feel like I'm going to get sick, so on the advice of a friend I took some Biogesic and am chilling out.  As difficult as it'll be (I'm still breastfeeding, which means that sleep is a luxury I can't always afford), I shall try and sleep a lot this week.  I still have some traveling to do. 

Thursday, December 7, 2006

New Nic Pics - as of Dec. 7, 2006

These are her newest pictures. She's growing like a weed! Very heavy to carry and long as well, but she's kept her cuteness. If anything, she's getting even cuter. Enjoy!

December 06, 2006 - Unwell

I have a sore throat.  I took Rob to the doctor since he'd been sick for a few days, and thought to get myself checked while I was at it.  Now I too am on antibiotics, so we're on the road to recovery.  There must be something in the air... I've had friends suffering from other throat-related ailments not too long ago.  (Note to self: get yearly flu shot.)

Thank goodness for video game consoles and high definition TVs!

Okay, it's midnight, so I'd better try and get some rest.  I'm sure Nicole will also wake up for a nursing and a cuddle, so I'd better be prepared.

Monday, December 4, 2006

December 04, 2006 - Only 21 Days Till Christmas

That merry time of year is upon us once again... the decorations are up, trees are trimmed, the bazaars have opened, and the malls are full of shoppers trying to find that perfect present for the ones they love.  At my house, so far the only thing signaling the arrival of Christmas is the trimmed tree, boxes of cards and rolls of wrapping paper.  Besides that, nothing.

I haven't yet begun my shopping, the yearly "what do I get for whom" game I play, as I try to find the gifts that fit my loved ones perfectly.  I attempt to steer clear from the generic and plain... instead I wrack my brain thinking of what would be right.  Gusto ko, pinag-isipan talaga, kahit papaano, kahit gaano kamura or kaliit ang magiging regalo ko.

However, this year I won't have as much time.  I have lots of work this month... ASEAN Summit from Dec. 10-13 in Cebu, and the Asian Games Closing Ceremonies in Doha, Qatar from Dec. 14-16 (all dates include travel days to and from each city).  After that, on Dec. 26 we head to Honolulu for New Year's.

By hook or by crook I'll fit my Christmas shopping in.  All I need is 1-2 days in a good mall to find everything I need.  I'd better make my list soon.  Haaaaaaaaaaay............

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 29, 2006 - Waxing Philosophical

Just more random thoughts...

... I believe that we meet the people we meet when we're ready for them.  Until then, our paths don't cross at all, or if they do, it's just in a very tangential way.  Only when we're absolutely ready for them do these new people appear. 

... Everything we do, everyone one we meet, everything we experience prepares us for whatever next steps are in store in the future.  The present doesn't always reveal what the future brings, so we don't always know what we're being readied for.  However, I trust that we are.

... Whoever enters our lives (and whoever's lives we enter) is there for a reason.  It isn't always apparent what that reason is, or for how long that person will be with us.  God, in His infinite wisdom, does not create accidents.  Everything and everyone has a deliberate and specific purpose.

... Death is sort of like a graduation diploma, given only to those that have completed their missions and curricula on earth.

... And where does free will come into play?  I believe that we're given this gift to choose good.

That's all my brain could spit out... for now.

November 29, 2006 - Ano ba yan?!?

On the album front, 9 songs down, only 3 to go.  Gerard just needs to record the orchestra first though before I can go in and do my thing.  But, by January we should have a brand-spanking new album in the record stores for your listening pleasure.  There's a lot of love that went into it, and hopefully it shows.


Last Monday, as we are wont to do, Rob and I had lunch at the Japanese restaurant by his office.  Almost everyday we get together for the midday repast, just to break up the day (we're both busy people, and exhausted ones by day's end).  When we entered only one other table was taken.  Two gentlemen were seated, seemingly waiting for their order.  We sat at a table far enough away from theirs, but not too far to miss the action that would follow.

As we were poring through the menu, we heard shouting coming from the gentlemen's table.  The heavy, bespectacled one was shouting at the owner, claiming that his order was too salty, that he sent it back for improvements, and it turned out the same.  He was hurling expletives, shouting at the top of his lungs, whilst the poor owner just took it all in stride.  Rob and I couldn't help but watch and listen to what was happening.  Finally, the two left the restaurant.  I was flustered enough as well as distracted that it was hard to concentrate on what I wanted to eat.

I have only this to say: there is absolutely no excuse for bad behavior. 

Yes, I know, the customer is always right, but there are better ways to express one's dissatisfaction.  It isn't necessary to hurl "fuck you's" to get your point across.  Didn't anyone teach this guy manners?

Sa totoo lang, nakakainis ang mga taong ganyan, parang walang pinag-aralan.  Kung sumigaw parang may-ari ng mundo.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with such individuals at one point or another, people who will royally piss us off.  I'd like to think that when the time comes for me to have to come face to face with an asshole like that, that I would react in a  classy way.  I vow to never sink down to the level of dirt.  May pinag-aralan ako.  Yun lang.

Monday, November 27, 2006

November 27, 2006 - So much for quiet...

I was right... no sleep for the weary.  In this case the mommy, the abu and the yaya.

Cebu didn't treat us very well this trip... first, my mother fell in the hotel room.  She didn't see the step down into the bathroom, and fell forward.  Fortunately she was able to stop herself with her hands, but she suffered a sprain and bruises on her palms.  She's doing just fine.  Second, I ate something that triggered an allergy attack in Nicole (which meant I couldn't breastfeed for 2 days until the offending allergen was purged from me... not being able to nurse was painful for the both of us emotionally... once I was able to breastfeed her again, we were both just much, much happier).  Third, I was getting allergies from the dust in the room and the hallway.  And finally, on the morning of our second day there, there was unrelenting drilling outside early in the morning.  It didn't help that none of us got good sleep the night before.  Argh!  Que terrible!

The gig went fine though.

Now we're back to our normal routine.  Nic's here in the bedroom with us still (sorry, but I can't part with her, and only reinforces my instincts to keep her close) and I'm still breastfeeding (mixed now though, she has the appetite of a racehorse).

On an unrelated note...


Thursday, November 23, 2006

November 23, 2006 - So quiet...

I'm currently in Cebu for the last in that corporate gig series (the show is tomorrow night).  My mom, Shiela, Nicole and her yaya Maricar are here too.  The yaya has the night off to spend with her family (her nephew is celebrating his 1st birthday today), and my mom's in the casino with Shiela.  She needs to be accompanied today because she fell in the bathroom (she didn't see the step down from the bedroom... ouch...).  Nic is fast asleep in her crib (woke up once for a nursing), so it's really just me spending some quiet time, in essence, alone.  And I'm enjoying it.

Sometimes, you just have to be in a silent room, away from the television, music, or any other distractions.  I really enjoy this kind of quiet.  It's probably one reason I sleep as late as I do... I'm a night owl by choice.  Having a child also encourages staying up late (it does for me anyway), as I feel I have to stay up to administer to her needs.  We still have nighttime nursings, and I enjoy them.  Great way to bond with my baby, as well as satisfy her appetite.

Rob stayed in Manila, as he has work to do, and an Xbox 360 to enjoy.  Mwehehehehe, I'm actually envious.

So while I can, I shall enjoy the silence of my room.  I know that in an hour or so, it'll get noisy again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I Didn't Want Pow To Go

Being a judge on Philippine Idol was an interesting experience.

From the get go I was encouraged to be frank... be honest... to just tell the idols what I thought of their performances. I felt it would be a good thing to get down to brass tacks and get specific with whatever I thought was not quite up to snuff. But, I also told myself to be generous with praise, if I felt it was deserved.

However, I also realized that as a judge, I have little to no influence on the voting. And ultimately, the true judges of the contest were the viewing public.

And it was a bit unfair.

Truth be told, the sound quality inside the theater was spectacular! I could hear nuance and expression, in spite of the crowd's applause. The band's mix was wonderful, and the singers were never drowned out. Not too much bass... or treble... nothing. It sounded perfect and I was having myself a jolly good time. But I knew that this greatness of a show that I was seeing was not by any means the same show the TV audience was seeing. Not by a longshot. I've seen Philippine Idol at home, and the sound quality is absolutely terrible. As in, not even passable. As in, unfair to the viewing public that deserves to hear what I heard.

Tip: watch it on YouTube to get an idea of what we heard.  And ABC-5, FIX THIS!!!

Anyway... back to my topic.

Perhaps it wasn't Pow's best night before the microphone, and perhaps the production people choosing "I'd Give My Life For You" signalled her downfall (to her credit she sang it well, better than a few Kims I've watched in the past).  But still, I don't think she should have been booted off this week.  She's clearly one of the better performers with a crystal clear powerful voice that's easy on the ear.  There isn't a lot of that around now, and her unique persona in a sea of homogeneity is something refreshing.  I wish her nothing but the best in this business... there's a place for a voice like hers.

So... place your bets.  Who do you think will take the title home?  Let's see over the next two weekends just who will step up to the plate, throw caution to the wind and just perform their best. 

Break a leg, you guys.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Four RP Schools Among the Top 500 Universities in the World

I copied this off of another friend's blog.

I now hang my head in shame... WE WERE BEATEN BY THE LASALLITES, IN ACADEMICS!!!


Four schools in the Philippines are among the Top 500 Universities in the World.
The research and study was undertaken by Times Higher Education Supplement-
Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS) World University Rankings.

The top 500 universities were chosen from among 15,000 educational institutions
worldwide. To be part of this elite list of universities, the institution has to meet
several stringent criteria, including faculty-to-student ratios and ratings given by
more than 3,000 academicians & 700 leading international employment recruiters.
The University of the Philippines (UP) was the highest ranked local
school with a global ranking of 299 and 47th among Asian universities. Behind
UP in the list are three private universities:

De La Salle (392nd),
Ateneo de Manila (484th), and the
University of Santo Tomas at 500th.

Meanwhile, the top 20 leading universities in the world are the following:
Harvard (1st), Cambridge (2nd), Oxford (3rd), Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and Yale (tying for 4th), Stanford (6th), California Institute of
Technology (7th), University of California in Berkeley (8th), Imperial
College London (9th), Princeton (10th), University of Chicago (11th),
Columbia (12th), Duke (13th), Beijing University (14th), Cornell (15th),
Australian National University (16th), London School of Economics (17th),
Ecole Normale Superieure (18th), National University of Singapore and
Tokyo University (tying for 19th).

Many of the top universities are American and British, but there are
sprinkles of representation from Australia, France, China, Singapore
and Japan. Most of the leading American universities are private; in
fact, on that top 20 list, the University of California Berkeley is the only
American public institution.

Among the leading Asia-Pacific universities on the THES-QS list of the
world's 500 leading universities, 90 are from Asia. Japan leads with 28,
followed by China (including Hong Kong) with 16, Taiwan with 8, South
Korea and Thailand with 7 each, Malaysia, Indonesia & the Philippines
with 4 each, Australia with 3, Singapore with 2 and Bangladesh with one.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tonight's the Night!

First off... PACMAN WON!!! KO'd Eric Morales in the third round. Go Philippines!

It's almost 3:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon. Nic's been sleeping nicely
today (probably catching up on the sleep she lost over the last couple
of days). It's so much fun watching her suck on her toes, play by
herself, and smile. We got her a few toys last night from the nearby
baby store, and she seems to be enjoying them.

Only 5 more hours before I have to head to Megamall for my judging
stint. It seems as though I'm expected to be completely, totally and
utterly frank (and maybe even ruthless). Well, the expectations are, to a point, right. My brother's advice
was to pull no punches with the Idol hopefuls. My mother says to
remain tactful, as the fans of the singers might just take it out on me
later on. As tempting as I know it will be to pull a Simon Cowell,
I'll just be honest without being cruel. If I hear flats and sharps,
I'll let them know. If I think they're emotionally detached from the
song, I'll let them know.

But really, what am I looking for?

Given that the theme tonight is Movies and Musicals (or is it Musicals and Movies?), I am looking for the contestants to give attention to the lyrics. These songs were written as part of or to enhance a story, so even if the music in this case is taken out of context, I would still like to hear the story the songs have to say, as per the singers' interpretations. I'm also out for intonation (i.e., staying in tune), diction, an emotional connection to the material, a connection with the audience, and a sense of joy. I wanna see that the singers are in this not just for the eventual victory, but because singing is their life, and something they really love.

I saw the song choices on another blogsite so this should be very interesting. As I sit at the judges table, I am hoping to hear some of the best performances these singers can dish out. I have a good feeling that I will.

Philippine Idol. ABC-5. 9 PM (or whatever time the PBA game ends). Watch it!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

November 18, 2006 - Lazy Saturday...

A Nic update: she's doing just fine, behaving normally.  Now it's just her right ear that's irritating her, which isn't anything new.  It's just earwax, and we're giving her drops that take it all out.

I'm now enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon at my mother's house.  Because I'll be judging Philippine Idol tomorrow and Monday, I thought it best to just hang here until my stint is done.  The studio is at SM Megamall, and my mom's house is only a stone's throw away.  Nicole is here as well, spending some quality and quantity time with her Abu.  My mom truly relishes this new role of grandmother, something that my father says she's been looking forward to for a long time.

Right now, as the mag-lola are in the den, I'm sitting in front of the computer eating Fiddle Faddle (Butter Toffee... yummmm!), surfing the net, checking email, updating banking information, and just lazing around.  As blessed as I consider myself to be that work has been coming in as much as it has, it's also great when I have a day to just lay down and do absolutely nothing.  As in, nothing.  That, in its own way, is a blessing too.

But for now, it's nice work when you can get it.  And I'm happy that I'm still getting it, and getting it gooooood.

Friday, November 17, 2006

November 17, 2006 - I am a Mommy

Early this morning, I awoke to the sound of Nicole screaming... I sat upright, and found she wasn't there.  I then crawled to the foot of the bed and found her on her back, wailing.  She had fallen off the bed.  I picked her up right away and tried to console her, and my mommy-instinct then told me to take her to the hospital, just to see if everything was all right.  While the yaya dressed her, I got ready in a rush, and carrying her in my arms (and holding on to her the whole way, the safety of the car seat be damned) took her to Asian Hospital's emergency room.

On the way, she cried, my mother, seated beside me crying along with her.  (Just so you know, my mother panics enough for an entire barangay.)  Nic threw up once, which sent my insides imploding.  I was fighting to remain calm, as my going crazy wasn't going to help the situation.  I needed to focus... on Nicole... next on the doctor's instructions... and then on how to treat her, if needed. 

Once we arrived, I gave her details to the nurse that ushered us into the ER, and then we waited for the doctor.  To amuse the little one, I played with the X-Ray lights, turning them off and on.  After only a few minutes, the doctor -- a very calm gentleman -- came in and examined her.  The diagnosis?  She was just fine.  There were no signs of external injury or neurological damage.  We were told to observe her for the next 24-48 hours, just to make sure all is well.  As of this afternoon, she was laughing and playing, like nothing happened.

What gripped me the most was the guilt... the guilt that I had made the wrong decision by having her sleep next to me in bed (which I have done for weeks without incident).  I was in the car holding her and praying, hoping that she'd be all right.  I cried and cried, beating myself up, telling myself that this was my fault.  After a short nap I called Nic's pediatrician, and he said not to worry.  A fall from over a height of 4 feet would cause a result, not a fall from a bed.

Right now I'm feeling relief that she's fine and seemingly back to her old self, while at the same time am cautious about the future.  I know that there are more falls in store for her... homework... pesky classmates... boyfriends... and the like... I hated seeing her cry.  I know that I always will.

Yes.  It's official.  I AM A MOMMY.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 16, 2006 - Random thoughts...

- Why is Chinese takeout best eaten cross-legged in front of the TV?

- The billboard skeletons along the SLEX are UH-GAH-LY!  Put billboards up already or take the scaffolding down.  A clearer vista might be just what the doctor ordered.

- Good looking people that can't sing.  And the public laps it up.  Go figure.

- Too much plastic surgery should be a crime.  Seriously.

- I wish there was such a thing as an "anti-paos" pill for singers.  Or an instant fix-it besides steroids.

- Tried Boy Bawang cornicks for the first time today... SARRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAP!

- Cartoon overload for the next few days!  Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

- 5 songs down, 7 more to go...

- Nic's been asleep a while... bound to wake up and nurse any moment now... oh here she is!!!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 15, 2006 - Two down...

... two to go.

I'm talking about a series of corporate gigs that I've been commissioned to do.  There are two more left, and the series is over.  So far I'm happy that my voice has felt much better, enough for me to say that it has returned to normal.  I guess having a gig schedule has been good for me, in that my voice gets some much needed exercise and use.  My sleep schedule has worked itself out, even with the baby... I guess my mommy body has learned to compensate for the weird sleeping hours.  I can't remember the last time I had 8 hours of straight sleep... of late, it's been 8 hours of pieced-together sleep.  If I even get 8 at all.

Since my 2nd month of pregnancy, my body hasn't been mine.  My voice wasn't under my control, and my shape was shifting to accommodate the baby.  Now at least I feel I'm regaining what I lost, which is never a bad thing.  Of course all of it was worth it, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but having said that, it's nice to know that when I open my mouth, I don't have to be afraid of what's going to come out, or that nothing will come out at all.

It's a wonderful feeling when I feel confident about my singing, and totally shitty when I don't.  Right now, I'm where I want to be.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Philippine Idol

Start:     Nov 20, '06 9:00p
Location:     Philippine Idol Theater, SM Megamall
Last night they sang their hearts out, tonight one of them has to leave. Who will it be?

Philippine Idol

Start:     Nov 19, '06 9:00p
Location:     Philippine Idol Theater, SM Megamall
It's Broadway/Soundtracks week, and I've been chosen to judge along with the three resident judges. Only 5 more Idol hopefuls left... let's see how they tackle this genre, shall we? I'm very excited!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Musika Natin

Last night, I was treated to something that stirred my soul and perked my ears. 

At the Captain's Bar of the Mandarin Oriental was the album launching
for Ugnayan, a CD of the music of Filipino jazz master Angel Matias
Peña.  The Global Studio Orchestra (rather, select members of it) plus
guests Tots Tolentino, Roger Llado, Simon Tan, Cesar Aguas and Michael
Guevara under the baton of Gerard Salonga treated the audience to an
evening of pure Filipino jazz.  It was an amazing night of music!  I'm
not a huge jazz connoisseur, but to have been in the middle of all that
music was just incredible, and I was held in rapt attention from
beginning to end.  I sat at the 2nd floor balcony, looking almost
directly down at the musicians... definitely the best seat in the
house.  After Cesar's guitar solo, I stood up on my feet, screaming
scandalously.  He blew me a kiss.  That was my kilig moment of the night.

In all seriousness though, I hold nothing but the highest regard for
Gerard and his musical mission: to record and preserve as much of our
Filipino music as we can. 

Musika Natin is a series of CDs highlighting different composers.  The
first one was Lucio San Pedro, called Lahing Kayumanggi.  Maestro
Peña's is the second.  More in the series are planned, including
orchestrated Pinoy Rock.  Now this I gotta hear.

For more information on this series, visit  And do
buy the CDs when you chance upon them.  This is our musical history
being preserved.  There's more to OPM than just the pop we hear on the
radio.  This is seriously good stuff, and highly recommended.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nicole, as of today

She's 27 inches long and weighs 16 pounds (compared to 19 inches long and weighing 6 pounds 10 ounces at birth).  She's just started solid foods (right now she's really liking beef and vegetables, as well as bananas and applesauce), and is growing.  Breastfeeding her has become a challenge, because she's so squirmy now.  I sometimes get a swift kick in the gut in the middle of a nursing.

Growing and growing, she is... more and more beautiful.

On a mommy note... Mommy's been working more and more now!  Just a bunch of corporate gigs for November and the ASEAN Summit in December.  Hopefully more work comes this way for 2007.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

November 09, 2006 - Amex ROCKS!!!

Yesterday, I received an email from American Express, alerting me of possible fraudulent activity on my credit card.  Three charges that seemed "out of character" were listed.  Normally I would dismiss such emails because I'm currently out of the country and a charge I'd make at a store here would pop up as suspicious.  This time however, it was for real.  The charges were made within the United States (in Arizona, of all places... I've never been to Arizona): at a department store here... a gas station there... the charges totalled over $700.  It was time to call the card security department of American Express.

A young lady answered the phone, very cordial and polite.  I told her about my problem, and she then told me that my card would be cancelled (very good!) to prevent any more fraudulent charges.  I was then forwarded to other, connected departments, whose representatives all efficiently took care of my trouble.  A new card will be forwarded to me, and I am not liable for any of the charges. 

The thing is, I still have the actual piece of plastic that is my Amex card, so whoever is racking up charges must have somehow taken the data from the magnetic strip of my card.  According to the young woman in the fraud department, the card could have been used anywhere months ago, then the data off it placed on another card.  The fuckers.  I'm only thankful that I'm protected from incidents like this.  Peace of mind... I love it.

So please be careful where you use your cards... the data could be lifted off of you when you least expect it.  Make sure you're protected against credit card fraud, so that what happened to me won't happen to you. 

Monday, November 6, 2006

November 06, 2006 - Click

Watch... this... movie... if you haven't already. 

Yes, it's an Adam Sandler comedy, but towards the end the moral and the message become more clear, and is something that we can all learn from, in this busy life we all live: don't go on auto pilot and fast forward through any moment of your life, good or bad... you could lose something you love in the process. 

Happy moviegoing!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

November 05, 2006 - Soulmates

There are days when I find myself at a lunch or dinner table, laughing ever so loudly (and sometimes intoxicatedly) with some of my best friends.  We talk about anything and everything, filling the time with stories about trips and shows, how other friends are doing, how great the food tastes or how wonderfully tasty this new drink happens to be.  There are also other days when almost nothing is said, because the other person's presence is more than enough conversation.

Times of noise... of quiet... of laughter... of tears... of shared triumphs... of encouragement... of sympathy... of love.  I share these with the people I love... my kindred spirits... my soulmates.  Yes, I have been blessed with quite a few.

I don't believe that the heavens above give you just one.  Napakadamot naman ng Diyos kung ganoon!  I'd like to think that we have many, each serving a different purpose, fulfilling a different need, and whose purposes we also serve and needs we also fill.  With them, life is filled with laughter and inspiration, much encouragement and happiness.  We hold hands in triumph and tragedy, wipe each others' tears, almost instinctively know when another is in need of a listening ear or a word of advice, and can feel when company is required.  We're tuned into one another so well, and our hearts just know what the other needs.  Even if that person needs nothing, we all overflowingly provide it.

In their company I am my most basic self, and only they are able to bring that out.  I can only hope I do the same.

To all my loves, I thank you for your presence in my life.  Love ya all to bits, I do!

November 04, 2006 - 'Twas bound to happen sooner or later...

November 4, 2006.  Mark the date.  Nicole had her first bruise today.

According to her yaya, she had just woken up from a nap.  Nicole has this habit of grabbing her crib bumper and pulling it down so she can see over it... today, BOOM.  She hit her forehead on the crib railing, resulting in a red mark measuring about a half inch across.  Didn't cry or anything.  This kid's "tough tough".  (Tough tough refers to my 5-year-old goddaughter Veronica who, when playing baseball with her older sister, refers to herself as such.  She's one heck of a cutie too.)

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Throughout her life she'll be getting into scrapes of all kinds, acquiring bumps, scars and blemishes.  She'll hopefully learn that these are only minor setbacks, and not excuses to stop playing and moving about.  I want her to learn to get over these humps... she'll be going over many in this lifetime.

Sigh... today marks another milestone. 

Holy shit... but that mark had better disappear before her Abu sees her again!  I'll never hear the end of it!!!

Friday, November 3, 2006

November 03, 2006 - Yeaaaaaaaah.........

I'm in my happy place.  Life's just been very, very good.  Actually, better than good.  It's been stellar... wonderful... with moments of brilliance.

So... what to do when you're in your happy place?  Close your eyes, count your blessings, smile, and let it envelop you like a lover's embrace, one that makes you feel needed, wanted and loved all at the same time.

I must say there are times when I feel like I'm being thrown around like a torn rooftop in a typhoon, but I know that the sunshine always follows the storm, so I just brace myself and ride it out.  Once things calm down, I pick myself up, dust myself off and continue on my merry way, as if nothing happened.  I tend to forget the storm even took place, and wonder why the sun's shining that much more brightly, giving me more warmth than it did before.  And it makes me smile even wider.

Perhaps I'm just a true optimist at heart, always looking out for the bright side of life (I LOVE SPAMALOT!!!).  I know that I shall forever be this way, with hope in my heart and a spring in my step.

I'm in my happy place, and I'm not going anywhere.  Ain't no one budgin' me from here.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

November 02, 2006 - The sissy love song

Just one comment on November 1: over 100,000 visitors at the North Cemetary.  Wow.

Anyway... I've just started recording my new studio album with SonyBMG... looking at the line-up (which I shalt not reveal, you curious little pussycat you), it's chock-full of what is called the "sissy love song".  Lush orchestrations (my brother and his cohorts at Carmel House Studios are geniuses!)... beautiful melodies... and lyrics that speak of everything from the giddiness of falling to the hope after a heartbreak to life being turned upside down.

Love truly is powerful... it can inspire a hit song... bring chaos from order... warm a heart, then break it... fuel creation... forgive... forgive some more... cause pain and take it away... ignore personal discomfort to care for another... soothes the soul.  It can be frustrating, satisfying, enervating, energizing, stimulating and calming all at once, but always worth it.  Always.

It is neither for the faint of heart nor the weak of constitution.  And though it may be the inspiration for many a sissy, sappy love song, there really isn't anything sissy about it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Nicole laughing!!!

We took this one fine afternoon... it was too cute to not take!!! Have fun!

Rob and Nic

Jazz Hands!

I deleted the other one... this is a better copy of the video. To those who left comments, I'M SO SORRY!!!

Dancin' Kicks

Here's a better copy... if you left a comment before at the older video site, I'M SO SORRY!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 24, 2006 - To market, to market...

I've taken Nic to the grocery before, but this was the first time she reacted to the wares in the way she did.  Because of the colorful displays of canned goods and detergent, tetra-packs of milk and juice, junk food and even diapers, she was in visual stimulation heaven!  Her arms and legs were flapping excitedly in front of me (I carried her facing front in her Baby Bjorn)... with every aisle we visited came new opportunities for her to feast her eyes... the strong hues of blue, red and yellow everywhere she went.  I think the trip was exhausting; she fell asleep by the time we got to the checkout line (I changed her orientation to let her rest her head on my chest, pacifier firmly entrenched in her mouth).

So I get a little baby drool on me.  Who cares?

Everyday, there's something new.  Now we can make her laugh with more consistency... now she rolls over with the greatest of ease... she's much more interactive than she ever was.  Her ninang Steffi was here to babysit her, and they had the best peek-a-boo play time... the yaya is in a constant state of giggle... her daddy is in love... and her mommy?  A combination of everything.

I look at her, and still cannot believe that I've given birth to this perfect little creature.  She is my greatest blessing... she's changed my life in ways I never thought possible... my tears are far more shallow... my joys more simple... my outlook in life less self-centered.  Love takes on a whole different meaning now that she's here.

Since she was born I promised myself to live my life in a way that would be positively influential to her... to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive... to hold on to what's important and let go of excess baggage... to realize what my blessings are and to give importance to them... to appreciate each and every opportunity to make another person happy... to choose to do what I love for a living... to practice kindness and understanding as much as I can. 

My life as of late has just been one huge blessing... every moment a gift... every friend a treasure... every second a prize I would never refuse... every note I sing an opportunity to glorify and thank God for my life as it is... every word exchanged, glance shot, touch received, embrace shared, hand held, "I love you" uttered... none of it is ever taken for granted.  No part of my life can be considered disposable... each aspect is way too important now. 

It's amazing what having a child can do.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Nic in the USA and at home

She was at the birth of her new cousin Christopher Flores (mommy is Rob's cousin Renee), visiting lots of family and having a ball! We had a lot of fun too!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 16, 2006 - Hazy shade of winter

Greetings from Singapore!!! 

I'm here for a brief workday, a recording session for a December gig.  It has been an incredibly hazy day, presumably from the fires in Indonesia.  The wind must have blown a lot of the smoke this way, which is making my husband's sinuses go haywire (the poor guy's now in bed after taking a decongestant and antihistamine).  I was worried that I might be affected, which is not a good thing when I have to sing, but thankfully, I was as fit as a fiddle.  Maybe growing up in and being used to a polluted third world country has toughened up my immune system.  If that's the case, may I pass that immunity down to my Nicole.


Anyhoo... I have yet to have a bad meal in this little city.  For lunch we asked to have bought for us some dry wanton mee (think wanton noodle soup, without the soup).  The recording engineer was eating it when we got to the studio.  He made it look incredibly delicious, so we ordered it.  And it was!  The wantons... the slices of char siu... the noodles... the chili and soy sauces mixed together... it made for a really satisfying lunch, my reward for after my singing was done.  Forkful after yummy forkful, bite after delicious bite, I was happy.  My close friends know my near-orgasmic reactions to food... guys, today was no exception (but I kept myself in check... I had to remain professional after all!).  After the session, we checked in at our hotel, then it was off to United Square for a little shopping (bought a co-sleeper bassinet from a baby store, and antihistamine for Rob).  We also had ourselves a snack: a char siu bao for me, a chicken bao for Rob, and one siumai each.  Sarap!

It's now past 11 PM... Rob's knocked out while I'm surfing the net... I can't wait to get home tomorrow, I need to hug my baby girl.  You have a brand new crib to try out when we get home, my love!  Hope you like it!

Monday, October 16, 2006

October 16, 2006 - Uh oh...

Shet, nagmana sa magulang!!!

Monday, October 9, 2006

October 09, 2006 - Counting the billboards that fell...

"You're so lucky you're not here... glad you're safe..."

Those words were texted to me by friends (the ones who could still send texts) in Manila while the city and its suburbs were being pummeled by Typhoon Milenyo.  I logged on to Philippine news websites just to see exactly what was going on... I couldn't believe the destruction... hulking billboards were brought down, some actually killing people and destroying property... trees that stood for years and years broken like toothpicks... the roofs and frontages of homes fallen in or blown away... mall signages mangled...

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and someone must have done something terrible to piss Mother Nature off.

Right now, people are standing on their soapboxes shouting "bring the billboards down!!!" at the top of their lungs.  But is this really the solution to this?  I mean, typhoons have come and gone before without causing any serious damage.  Typhoons like Milenyo appear perhaps once every 10 or so years.  Is that enough to warrant the disassembly of these behemoths?

Yes... and no.

Billboards have become ubiquitous to our cityscape, part and parcel of our everyday vistas as we drive to and from wherever we're driving to and from.  Some of them can be distracting, (drivers and passengers alike have turned their heads 180 degrees as they pass the grouping in Guadalupe), some are annoying (okay, why do I see Sam Milby on every other billboard?), but most are just huge advertisements, not unlike what we see on television or in magazines and newspapers.  They're up there to make you either buy stuff, see stuff, or do cosmetic surgery stuff. 

Having said that, because they are structures that do tower over us, there should be a building code when it comes to constructing the scaffolding upon which the tarpauline is hung.  There should also be restrictions as to their size and locations in relation to commercial and residential areas, as well as all transport loading/unloading zones.  They should pepper the cityscape, not overwhelm it.  Too much is as annoying as seeing a 2-hour television special that's 1 1/2 hours commercials.  I can turn off my TV; I can't turn off a billboard.

I rambled, didn't I?  Time for me to get off my own soapbox, methinks.

Right now I'm counting my blessings... that my house didn't blow away with the wind, that we have our basic needs met -- telephone, television, texting and the net -- that my family is safe and sound, and that little by little life is returning to normal.  I pray that soon, everyone else's lives will be too.

Friday, October 6, 2006

October 06, 2006 - I hate jet lag

Right now I'm waking up at the crack of dawn, regardless of what time I fall asleep... the worst hit is Nicole who, along with her body clock's getting thrown out of whack, is teething.  In the middle of the day I'm tired, wanting desperately to crawl under the covers for a few more hours of shut-eye, but my brain is telling me to stay up so I can sleep better at night.  Whatever.  I still hate jet lag.

It's 6:14 am as I write this... I have to take Nic to the doctor this morning (she was in a lot of pain and I can't tell if it's just the teething or anything more) and have a presscon at noon for a concert I'm doing later this month.  And I have yet to study my material.  Shit.


Maybe I'll escape to my iPod, pick one great song and listen to it over and over and over again.  Yeah, that's the place to be... time to jump in.

Monday, October 2, 2006

October 01, 2006 - Time Flies

It's now Sunday... we're scheduled to fly out of LA tomorrow.  Already!  Oh how quickly time flew.

Strange, but no matter how much we packed into this trip there didn't seem to be enough time to do everything we intended to do.  There were other people I wanted to visit with, but couldn't... other things we wanted to do, but had no time for it.  Three weeks wasn't nearly enough for the intentions we had listed.  Hey, we had to sleep too, ya know!

Having said that, I'm ready to head back to Manila now.  Ready for my indulgences (both shallow and deep)... my G*go Squad lunches... my solo trips to the mall... the yaya ready to take over (who'll be surprised at how much her alaga has grown)... my mom ready to take over... bling blings up the yinyang... and the drone of the air conditioner lulling me to sleep.

It's time to head on home.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

September 30, 2006 - The G*go Squad

In her blasts, 'Day has made references to The G*go Squad.  Right now it's composed of a motley little lunch group that, one fine day, had every member called by that monicker.  G*go.  Never seriously, of course, always in humor, and only because a joke deserving of the name would be told.

The G*go Squad is a group brought together by theater and music, and kept together by laughter and love.  I miss the squad dearly, and look forward to our next lunch... and to the next time someone ends up saying, "G*GO!!!"


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nic in Singapore and the USA

Now that she's armed with a passport, it's time to rack up those frequent flyer miles!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

September 24, 2006 - Why...

... is it so frickin' difficult to get over jet lag?

... does a newer, faster version of the computer you just bought come out a few weeks after you bought it?

... does "movement" happen more easily after a cup or two of coffee?

... do boys love their toys so much?

... is it hard to get Nic to sleep at night sometimes?

... can't the Philippines seem to get it together (it's about Goddamn time we do)?

... does shit happen?

... can I remember scripts and songs, but forget where I put my glasses?

... does time fly when you're having fun, and crawl when you're not?

... why do I need -- NEED! -- to finish a flight of stairs (be the number of steps odd or even) with my left foot?

... why do I always put my shoes on left foot first?

... do I even bother?

Friday, September 22, 2006


Over the last couple of weeks, our little girl has had quite a few
milestones: she's started rolling over from her back to front, and back
again... she's now sucking her thumb to soothe and comfort herself (I'm
not sure if that's a good thing, but it's proven very helpful to us),
she laughs (as in giggles and guffaws, healthy belly laughs that, I
think, she got from me -- it'll be really easy to find her), and loves
to smile.  

My little girl is growing up so fast!  I'd better enjoy and savor each
moment, for I'll never be able to get them back once they pass.  Right
now (I'm writing this entry on the plane) she's in her car seat chewing
on a teething toy.  Before we know it that first incisor will break
through.  I'd better stock up on baby teething meds to help her through
that phase.

Amazing!  Children are amazing creatures, and I'm so happy to be a parent.  Nothing like it!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

September 20, 2006 - Da Beeg Eypol

We've been in New York City for the past 3 days, getting in last Monday evening.  I'm here for meetings and such... unfortunately, we don't have the time to see a show at the moment.  That's okay, I have a feeling I'll be back here for another, more lengthy visit.  Who knows, maybe I'll find myself in another Broadway show or something next year.  Wouldn't that be nice?


Not much happening over here with us, save for the baby.  However, I do find the life change to be an amazing one.  It's not about us -- the adults -- anymore, it's about the baby.  Personally, I am loving it!  She's a puzzle that's not always easy to figure out.  She cries, and we don't always know if it's food, a dry diaper, a blanket or a cuddle that she needs.  A lot of the time, it's trial and error.  We're getting the hang of it though, at least I think we are.

We've not gone crazy just yet, although today Rob found himself at the end of the "what the f*** do I do now" rope.  I was out for a meeting and Nic was crying, giving him such a hard time.  I got back to the hotel, and found her in his arms beside herself.  I tried a nursing, she still wouldn't stop.  So I got her out of her clothes, gave her a little massage, placed her on her tummy atop my chest... finally, a nice big burp came out.  And now she's fine.  At the moment she's fast asleep, arms outstretched, legs turned out.  Oh man, so fulfilling when you figure it all out!

We're back in LA on Friday afternoon... back to my car, back to our messy house, back to the bright sunshine. 


I think I wanna live in New York again. 

There's something about this city that's been good for me.  Just a feeling when I'm walking in the brisk autumn air.  But... if we do decide to live here, it won't be for very long as I'll be doing an Asian tour, with rehearsals beginning in June 2008.  Ah well, a year in New York wouldn't be a bad idea. 

Haaaaaaay, I don't know... I just have to go where God leads me.  He led me to London... New York... Los Angeles... Manila... who knows where the wind'll take me this time.  I just have to be open to any and all possibilities.  I almost feel like some sort of missionary, going from place to place.  If anything, I'm very blessed to have this kind of occupation. 

I have a feeling my mission isn't over yet... the next instructions may come in the form of a calm breeze, a gentle wave, or 10,000 volts shooting up my ass as I stand in a puddle of water.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

September 17, 2006 - Life

To quote my friend Bobby (I HAD to steal this from your blog... it was too good not to):

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well preserved body, avoiding the muck and the scuffle -- rather one should skid in sideways, straight into the fray, chocolate rations on one hand, celebratory martini on the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming, "WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Or as my great-grandmother once said: "Kung pupunta ka lang naman sa impyerno, mag-limousine ka na!"

The strange thing is, although we would all love to espouse the "live life to the fullest" edict, we don't.  For whatever reason, we hesitate to take life by the short and curlies and really live it for everything it's worth.  Far too often we find ourselves on our deathbeds, counting each and every "what if" that passed us by, wondering if we should have taken this chance, or this job, or went this way or that.  With every day that comes and goes, we watch life go by from the sidelines, never taking center stage.

I'd like to think that so far, I lived life to the point that I can look back on it and smile, knowing that I lived it good and happy, without regrets, without "what if's".  That whatever I did, I did with my whole self -- mind, heart and body, working in concert, to the fullest... like crazy.

As my life stands, with 35 years behind it, it's looking really, really good.  And there's a lot of life left to live.  Bring it on.

Friday, September 15, 2006

September 15, 2006 - It's been a while...

Yep, it's been quite a while since I last blogged here... in my own little corner, in my own little chair...

Much of the past week we've been here has been... well... striving to get rid of this darned jet lag!  All of us are suffering from weird sleep hours, the baby included.  Thankfully though she is no longer putting up a huge fight when we put her down in her crib.  The first time we placed her in there, she cried for what seemed like hours and hours.  The second time, we ignored her and tried to let her sleep on her own.  third attempt, I picked her up so that Rob could get some sleep, brought her downstairs and nursed her till she knocked out.  Last night, she fell asleep on her own after one whimper.  At the beginning, because the playpen had that "new mattress" smell, we let her sleep on the bed... and we slept very carefully.

We've been able to get some errands done -- I got my driver's license renewed, as well as our auto insurance... we're driving again!!! --, see family and friends, and just enjoy being in LA.  I didn't realize how much I missed things here until we arrived... the efficiency of the DMV and our insurance agent, the speed of the freeways (ALAVEET!!!), the wide aisles at the grocery stores, being able to find what I want and need when I want and need it... even self-service at the gas station is fun!

Today begins our second week here... the first week went by quickly... before we know it we'll be headed back to Manila.  We still have mail to check, mail to collect and a house to clean.  Ugh.  And only two weeks to do it.  Damn.

Ah well... might as well start now!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

September 07, 2006 - Leaving on a jet plane...

Tomorrow, we leave for Los Angeles... Nicole has tons of relatives and friends waiting for her over there... her grandfather, her great-grandfather, two great-grandmothers, cousins, aunties, uncles.  We'll hit both coasts on this trip, New York included, for a little work and a little fun.  I know that the next three weeks will be a blast.


I'm already thinking of the trip home.

It's strange, but I know that I'll be leaving my heart here, as if I went down into a deep, dark basement and placed my heart in a strongbox guarded by a sentinel who has the only key.  Yes, I'll be happy to take this trip and reacquaint myself with those I left behind, as well as see our house, eat in familiar restaurants, and drive around to visit loved ones.  But... I know that with every day that passes, I'll be thinking of my friends here... our life here... and how I've come to love it.

To my friends reading this blog, I'll miss you terribly... but you know where and how to find me, I'm never more than a Yahoo Messenger instant message away.  Besides, I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

It's all in your technique

It's past 2:30 am... I'm in Singapore after finishing my packing, after doing a corporate gig over here, my 3rd private gig since giving birth.

No, it wasn't my best performance... the first two went off without a vocal hitch, but this one was a bit more difficult.  For some reason things felt tight vocally, not as loose as I'm used to.  Perhaps my body is still in a sort of "adjustment period," and that I should give myself some time (and a tune up from my voice teacher) before things return to a more consistent, longer lasting normal.

I guess I just have this personal standard or benchmark that I try to hit whenever I'm doing a show... tonight's preparation wasn't any different from other nights of getting ready, so I know it wasn't anything external.  It just could be internal... maybe I should have eaten my meal closer to show time... maybe I should have warmed up later... maybe I didn't hydrate enough... yadda yadda yadda...

I don't know... maybe I'm just setting my own personal expectations high. 

Then again... I always should!  I should always strive to be as perfect as possible... I should always try to hit my benchmark... always do the best I can on any given night.  Last night, I tried the best I could.  And yeah, I should be happy with that.  I really should.

Oh whatever... there will be many other gigs and many other shows... every one an attempt at hitting that sweet spot.  I'll have a few bad days, but most of the time, ahhhhhhhh success.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Tomorrow: A Concert for the Future

Start:     Oct 21, '06 8:00p
Location:     CCP Main Theatre
International star Lea Salonga performs in her first concert after giving birth to her first child in “Tomorrow: A Concert for the Future” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) on October 20 and 21. The show is a benefit performance for the CCP’s continuing arts programs for children and the youth.

Guests include the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir, Kilyawan Boys’ Choir, singer Calvin Millado and child singer Julia Abueva.

The show is a first team-up of Salonga and the Philippine Madrigal singers. Their songs and production numbers are designed to celebrate a world where all children develop to the fullest and realize the dreams of a nurturing family, culture and society.

The repertoire will have excerpts from the musicals Anyone Can Wait, Baby, Man of La Mancha, Lion King, Gypsy and Annie; themes from the movies True Colors and The Prince of Egypt; popular songs such as “You Raise Me Up,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Anak,” “If I Could,” “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” and “Chiquitita,” among other numbers.

The creative team is composed of Gerard Salonga as music director, Chris Millado as director, Ricardo Cruz as set designer and Dennis Marasigan as light designer.

For ticket inquiries, call:

(Oct 20 show) Mr. Bok Muñoz/Rotary Club Parañaque
Poblacion 0918-912-2652

(Oct 21 show) Dr. Pete Crisostomo/Phil Obstetrician &
Gynecological Society 0917-838-1214

CCP Box Office 832-3704/06 or 832-1125 local

Tomorrow: A Concert for the Future

Start:     Oct 20, '06 8:00p
Location:     CCP Main Theatre
International star Lea Salonga performs in her first concert after giving birth to her first child in “Tomorrow: A Concert for the Future” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) on October 20 and 21. The show is a benefit performance for the CCP’s continuing arts programs for children and the youth.

Guests include the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir, Kilyawan Boys’ Choir, singer Calvin Millado and child singer Julia Abueva.

The show is a first team-up of Salonga and the Philippine Madrigal singers. Their songs and production numbers are designed to celebrate a world where all children develop to the fullest and realize the dreams of a nurturing family, culture and society.

The repertoire will have excerpts from the musicals Anyone Can Wait, Baby, Man of La Mancha, Lion King, Gypsy and Annie; themes from the movies True Colors and The Prince of Egypt; popular songs such as “You Raise Me Up,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Anak,” “If I Could,” “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” and “Chiquitita,” among other numbers.

The creative team is composed of Gerard Salonga as music director, Chris Millado as director, Ricardo Cruz as set designer and Dennis Marasigan as light designer.

For ticket inquiries, call:

(Oct 20 show) Mr. Bok Muñoz/Rotary Club Parañaque
Poblacion 0918-912-2652

(Oct 21 show) Dr. Pete Crisostomo/Phil Obstetrician &
Gynecological Society 0917-838-1214

CCP Box Office 832-3704/06 or 832-1125 local

Pet Peeves

Oh come on, isn't there something in this life that just bugs you...
gets your goat... irritates you like crazy? Something that, when you
sense or experience it, makes you just wanna hit someone? Here are

1. Seeing a misspelled word or bad grammar. In other words, bad
inglizz (most especially when I'm the one who made the mistake).

2. When my name is spelled wrong. It's L-E-A. No H. There's a
specific reason why my name is spelled that way; I was named after my
maternal grandfather, LEO.

3. Hearing a really, really, reeeeeeally bad note. It makes my head do a 360.

4. Being downwind of someone with really bad breath or body odor. Que horror!

5. Unprofessional behavior. Inexcusable and inconsiderate.

6. Invasion of personal space (being too "in your face" to me). I
neeeeeed to breeeeeeathe, give me room pleeeeeeeeease. At its worst
when I was pregnant.

7. Mooching. If you want a piece of whatever's on my plate or in my
glass, please ask. Don't presume you can have some just because we're

8. A lack of self-awareness (mine included).

9. Being asked for an autograph while I'm eating. Kindly wait until
I'm done, or if you can't, ask a waiter to approach. It'll give me
time to swallow my mouthful.

10. Artistas resentful of signing autographs. Ano ka ba?!
Not only is it part of the job, it also can make someone really happy.
I remember asking for an autograph once... the actor was so masungit,
I got turned off. (Yes, I know you can't always sign everything, but
give whatever time you can.) Jimmy Stewart said something like this at
the stage door of a theater: "These people have travelled all the way
from wherever just to see me... the least I can do is pose for a
picture and sign an autograph." (I'll find the actual quote and post
it here, promise.)

11. Name dropping. Don't try to impress me by rattling off a list of
who you know. You should be impressive enough by yourself.

12. Insincerity. 'Nuff said.

13. Emotional manipulation. I... hate... this.

14. Someone being downright annoying.

15. Absentmindedness. Specifically, mine.

16. Computer hardware meltdown. I've had two laptops die on me. My
saving grace is that I know how to replace an internal hard drive.

17. Being unable to find what I'm looking for, be it a stapler, a checkbook or a passport.

18. A brand new anything breaking down.

19. When I destroy my brand new manicure a few feet from the salon. Nakakainiiiiiiiiiis!!!!!

20. Drinking 11 kamikazes and not getting a buzz... or drinking 2 and feeling like crap. What the f*ck is that???

21. Watching children on TV singing adult songs. This pet peeve is old, since seeing my contemporaries at the age of 10 singing "Big Spender." WTF?!?!?!?!?!?

22. Seeing big-bellied men with their shirts raised just enough to display their midsections.

Oh this blog entry will keep on growing. Bitch away in the comments section below!!! Be my guest!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

August 31, 2006 - Closure

Finally, after 3 years, I got what I was waiting for.  This long-standing issue has finally been put to rest.  TIme to forgive, and move on.

Everything in its own time, and last night, its own time arrived.  Now, all is good.  Miracles do happen when the hand of God reaches out and touches you.

I can breathe again.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lea's Kiddie Pics

I had a bunch of old photos on my hard drive, so I thought to post them here. He he, man how time flies.

August 28, 2006 - Evolution

My daughter is fighting a cold, which means that she isn't her most jovial, cheerful self.  Diaper changes mean a bazillion decibels of piercing screams (man, this kid's got a set of lungs), which take their toll on her sleep-deprived father.  Nursing sessions mean she's a fussy butterball, squirming as I try to calm her down enough to start eating.  If anything, we've learned that patience is indeed a virtue... the level of which, albeit slowly, is constantly rising.  That's good... by the time she's 15, I'll need it.

I'd like to think that, as time goes on, I'm getting better at living life, that with each passing day, hour and minute, I learned something.

Life is a constant learning experience.  We each accumulate lessons over the course of our lifetimes.  We learn about how to get along in this thing called life without disappearing... how to retain a sense of humor when all hell breaks loose... how to reel in a friend who's lost the way... how to tell who your friends really are and who aren't... what love is really about... that the only people we can change is ourselves... which fights are worth fighting... that patience is something one learns... how to have fun and be stupid, yet still retain one's dignity... that respect is earned, not freely given... and that laughter will get us through it all.

By the time I'm old and gray (if God has it in His plan for me to get there), I'd love to say that I've lived my life for all it was worth.  If I continue my journey the way it's been going, I'll get there, with heaps of great memories to keep me company (I blah blah'd this, I blah blah'd that), listed in a book that only I will get to read.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Nicole's Latest (as of 8/26/06)

Here's a new batch of pictures! She is getting so big now, and heavy (almost 13 pounds). That smile lights up our lives everyday... I'm just glad we were able to capture it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

August 25, 2006 - Sniffles...

Yep, Nicole has a cold and an ear infection.

Her nose is stuffy and I can hear all sorts of junk... unfortunately, the junk cannot be sucked out with the little rubber bulb.  Her pediatrician prescribed a mucolytic to loosen things up, as well as antibiotic ear drops to deal with the infection.  She's her more normal self, and hasn't needed the anti-fever medication for the last two days.  My mom watched her the last couple of days, and the yaya is becoming more adept at handling her.  Aiding her is Gerard's old yaya, who always tries to sneak in a carry and a kiss when she can.  I love it!

I truly appreciate the caretakers that help us care for Nicole... they do so with lots of love and patience.  In a way, they are extensions of us, extra pairs of arms when we need a rest.  Nicole seems to enjoy all this extra attention!  I wonder how she's going to deal with just Mommy and Daddy when we head for the States next month, for a month.

We are going to die.  Already my husband utters, "I'm going to miss the help."

I have a funny feeling we're going to end up in Manila.  Things have been very good for us... the friends, the golf, the food... the life.

Speaking strictly for myself, I'm very happy here.  And my heart will not be going anywhere.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

August 22, 2006 - Nothing much...

It's 1:25 am and I can't sleep...

We spent the weekend taking care of a baby with a fever (nothing too high, 38.2 degrees C at its peak).  She's now fast asleep in her crib, following a two-day regimen of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.  I prayed that she wouldn't be allergic to the ibuprofen... I kept my eye on her for a half hour following the first dose, and thankfully she was just fine.  Her fever went down and she's now her normal, smiley self.  While she was sick, she was clingy, crying, almost inconsolable, poor one.  I'm taking her to the doctor later this morning to figure out what the cause of her discomfort is. 

Parenthood.  What a trip.  And we're only 3 months into it!!!


August 21, 2006 - Ninoy

It's been 23 years.  Has anything changed?  I wonder what he, if he were still alive, would think of how our country has turned out.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

August 19, 2006 - We have no men!!!

Okay, allow me to further elaborate on my blog entry's title.

Last night we spent a good few hours at dinner (People's Palace ROCKS!!!) with wonderful friends over wonderful food.  The discussion moved through quite a few topics -- people that were no longer friends anymore by virtue of their being "the devil incarnate", some of the latest showbiz chismis, an upcoming production of one of our dinner companions (and her growing weary of telling the show's office staff to get the show's music in the right key), and that casting the male lead in another show is getting to be a huge pain in the ass because, we have no men.

Yes, that's right... WE HAVE NO MEN!

We have such a dearth in leading men for musical theatre.  We wracked our brains for hours and hours last night, and couldn't come up with a name.  We enumerated just about everybody, and couldn't think of even just one person that possessed the qualities and skills required for that particular role: handsome, arrogant, sexy, who can really sing (it's a pretty big role).  It was sad... those that we knew could sing the role didn't look right, and those that looked right couldn't sing it.  It was so frustrating!

I remember the first time I ever saw Hugh Jackman... it was in rehearsals for Hey, Mr. Producer in London.  He was going to sing "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma, as he was just about to open in that production at the National Theatre.  From the moment his offstage voice resonated in the house, I was hooked, and the moment he actually appeared on stage, that was it.  Tall, talented, and handsome, with stage presence and sex appeal to spare.  None of the women in the theatre could take their eyes (and ears) off him.

Yes, I use Mr. Jackman as an example, but in truth there are more like him trodding the West End and Broadway boards night after night, show after show (I've been fortunate enough to perform opposite a few of them).  For the life of me though, I don't understand why there aren't men like that here.

So unfortunately, I don't know how my friend will cast her show.  Maybe someone will drop from the sky like an angel and save her from this casting hell.  Hey, you never know; angels have been known to exist.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

August 17, 2006 - Brain... Shut... Down...

I think my brain has suffered a complete and utter meltdown.  Or shutdown.  Or whatever you wanna call it.

At a rehearsal last night for a three-song set that I will be performing tonight (no, not a public gig, hence it hasn't been announced), I grabbed my things and headed out of the studio, when I suddenly remembered that I had to retrieve my water bottle.  I went back into the studio looking for it... couldn't find it!!!  Where did it go?  I then went outside to the lobby where the engineers who were manning the rehearsal had congregated... asked them where my bottle had gone.  Then, one of the security people pointed to my left hand... I raised it... there was my bottle, hanging from one finger.  WHAT THE F**********CK?!?!?!?!?

This wasn't the first time my brain decided to go on vacation without me...

A couple of years ago, I was feeling a chill in the air so I decided to raise the temperature.  I headed downstairs to where the thermostat was, but by the time I arrived, I completely forgot why I was there.  So I thought to watch some TV, straighten up the living room, play video games... then I felt the chill in the air, and went to raise the temperature.  It then dawned on me: THAT'S WHY I WENT DOWNSTAIRS!!!  WHAT THE F**************CK?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Nowadays (since I gave birth), conversations are a little more difficult to follow.  A friend will tell me something, and five minutes later, I'll have to ask for him or her to repeat what he/she said.  Or I'll get dates confused, thinking that two weeks from now is next week.

I swear, one of these days I'm going to forget my own name.

Strange... I can remember scripts, lyrics, melodies without trouble, but for the life of me I can't always remember where I put my purse, umbrella, keys, sunglasses or whatever else I'm carrying, what someone told me just moments earlier, or the dates on a calendar.  How utterly annoying!!!

Ah well, such is life I guess.  Perhaps over the course of many years because of my work, there were parts of my brain that were used more often (and thus got more exercise).  I'm sure there are other things that moronize me from time to time...

The truth is, I don't mind the occasional shut-down.  As long as for the most part I'm able to function and remember what is most important in my life, I'm in a good place.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

August 16, 2006 - Survey Time!

I have an early appointment tomorrow, but thanks (or no thanks) to the coffee I had this afternoon, I can't sleep.  So.....

I stole this from Niña's Live Journal site... the questions looked fun.  Here we go!


1. Do you still talk to the first person you ever kissed romantically?
Nope, I do not.

2. Have you ever seen your best friend naked?
Hmmm... I probably have at some point... definitely saw his bare, beautiful behind.

3. What did you do in 2nd grade when you weren't in school?

Ballet, piano practice, rehearsals for Rep shows, playing board games, reading until late...

4. What is the best thing about your job?

Besides the work itself, the travel, the people I get to meet and work with, the friends I've made?  That sometimes, you're paired with a totally hot leading man and you get to make out on stage in front of thousands of people!  Mwahahahahahaha, joke only!  In truth, just the satisfaction that I get to make a living doing something I really love. 

5. Do you like more than one person right now?
Oh absolutely!!!  I definitely like more than one person in my life right now... I do have more than one friend.

6. Are you against same sex marriage?

No... in fact, I am all for it, the Catholic Church and the Republicans be damned!  If two people who truly love each other want to spend the rest of their lives together, let them.

7. Did you vote for Bush? (gawin nating gloria ito)
Oh heck no.  Even if I was a US citizen, I wouldn't.  I'm a Democrat at heart.  As for Gloria, I didn't register to vote, so no.

8. Where are you going on your next vacation?

Definitely at a Philippine beach.  BORA!!!

9. Have you had sex with any of your top 8?

My top 8 what?

10. Are most of your friends guys or girls?

Many gay men, a few straight men, quite a few girls.  Definitely more feminines in my circle of friends!

11. Do you own any furniture from Ikea?

Who doesn't?

12. Last book you read?

I can't remember... must have been a baby name book or baby manual of some sort.  I haven't had much reading time lately.

13. If you could have one super power what would it be?

The power of flight and the power of speed, to get more done in the day.

14. Where have you lived most of your life?

Manila, by a few years.  I've lived abroad for 16 years.

16. Where do you see yourself in 4 years?

At 39?  Thinking about how to celebrate my 40th birthday.

17. What's your favorite smell?

It depends... freshly showered skin, cologne on said freshly showered skin, my baby's breath, food.

18. What is your favorite sound?

A whispered "I love you".

19. Are you moody?

Not really... not even when PMS hits.  I'm very even-tempered and keep a cool head about me.

20. Favorite movie of all time?

Oh man!!!  Singing in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, The Others, The Ring, The Incredibles, most of the Disney animated features.

21. Have you ever done anything hurtful to a friend?

Oh yes... who hasn't?

22. Have you ever one of the things good friends are for but actual clinical type therapy I have not yet had the pleasure?

Okay... this defies explanation.  Anooo tohhhh?

23. Have you ever played spin the bottle?

Ohhhhh yeah... pero puro truth lang eh!  No one dared to choose a dare.  Que lame oye!

24. Have you ever toilet papered someone's house?
I've never had the pleasure.

25. Have you ever liked someone but never told them?

Oh yes... only because there were times when I revealed myself and got teased.  Quiet na lang ako.

26. Have you ever gone camping?
Nope, too many allergies and I'm not the outdoorsy type.

27. Have you ever had a crush on your brother's friend?

Oh heavens no...

28. Have you ever gone to a nude beach?

Nope... I'd go to look, but not to participate.

29. Have you ever gone streaking?

Uhmm, nope... never will either.

30. Have you ever had a stalker?

I can't say that I have, fortunately.

31. Have you ever gone skinny dipping?

Yesssss... in complete privacy.  Sarap!

32. Have you ever laughed so hard you cried?

Almost everyday.

33. Have you ever gone to a party where you were the only sober person?

Yep... during my pregnancy.  Man, I can't wait to get wasted again...

34. Do you want kids?

Let me rephrase... do I want MORE kids?  Yes!!!  Number one is soooo adorable, I want more!

35. Have you ever felt betrayed by a best friend?

Not by a best friend, but yes.  It's taking quite a while to forgive him.

36. Have you ever lied to your parents?

Of course!!!  What church-going self-respecting human being hasn't?

37. Have you ever been out of the Philippines?

Yes, oh yes.

38. Have you ever thrown up from working out?

Almost!!!  Too many pirouettes.

39. Have you ever gotten a haircut so bad that you wore a hat?

Thankfully no.

40. Have you ever eaten 3 meals from 3 different fast food places?

As in breasfast at McDo, lunch at Burger King and dinner at Brother's Burger?  Nope, my system can't handle it.

41. Last song you listened to?

Something by Mozart... I play classical music a lot for the baby's developing brain.  As for the iPod, last albums listened to were... Sandwich's Five on the Floor... The Dawn's Prodigal Sun.

42. Have you ever spied on someone?

Nope.  Never felt the need to... although I have snooped in the email inboxes of ex's and read their mail.  I don't do that anymore... there are things better left unread.

43. Have you ever slept with one of your co-workers?
Nope.  Kissed a few of them though!

44. What do you think of the person who posted this survey?

Beautifully perfect face... sensitive... very artistic... I don't know her enough to have a deeper opinion.

45. Who was the last person who called you?

My mother... to check on a work thing I had to do for her.

46. When was the last time you slept for more then 12 hours straight?

I can't remember!  Maybe when I had the flu at 18... really bad.

47. Have you ever been arrested?

Never have... and never will be (I hope!).

48. Have you ever stolen anything?

No... but I did get something back that was stolen from me!

49. Have you ever drank egg nog?

YESSSSSSS!  Sarap!!!!!!!!!

50. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be?
In a loving embrace.  No better place than that.

Monday, August 14, 2006

August 14, 2006 - Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's 70th birthday.  Well, we think it is; her birth records were lost when the municipio at her place of birth burned down.  She could be either a year older or younger.

My mother is a woman who has weathered storms, both literal and figurative.  At a tender age she was tossed about on a boat headed to Manila from Bacolod, losing her shoes in the process.  She nearly died when she rolled down the stairs (pushed by her sister who didn't know better... they were both really young kids at the time).  She's endured less-than-perfect familial and romantic relationships in her lifetime, raised two children almost by herself (my father had a lot on his plate, and I do mean a lot) and managed a couple of showbusiness careers.  She emerged a strong, feisty, you-better-not-push-me-around kind of woman.

What many people don't know is how soft she actually is.  Sometimes, even I forget that side of her.

I know how easy it is to make her cry (it doesn't take very much at all).  I've seen the tears fall at heartbreak, be it her own or someone else's... I've seen the front she puts up to show the world at large, and I have also seen it fall, behind closed doors, only for her family to witness.  She's tough, but only on the outside.  Given what she's had to go through, I can't blame her for protecting her delicate interior.

The only thing I can wish for my Mom on this special day is happiness... in her life, with her loved ones, with herself.  If I went through what she's had to, I'd be dead by now.  That she's still standing and able to smile earns my absolute respect and admiration.

I love you, Mom.  Have a Happy Birthday.