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.