Sunday, September 15, 2019

My Year So Far

As Joey Tribiani used to say, “How you doin?” I know I haven’t blogged much recently because, well, life happens. To make up for that, allow me to make this post a bit of a diary of my activities so far for this year: 


January 



It was a busy month, I guess you can say that work wise we hit the ground running at the start of the year. We managed to accomplish some important things for the office that we really needed. It felt good to have the year start on a good note. 


February 



This was convention month for our industry, and it was a hectic one for me because I did a lot of work for this event. Still, I made sure that I had time to balance it all out by reconnecting with an old friend (not old in the sense that the person is old, just that I’ve known the person a very long time), taking time to go out with work friends and going on a staycation with my family.  


March 

My heart broke when I heard the news about the death of Luke Perry, whose poster was a common fixture on my bedroom wall during my younger years. It made me think about how life is short, how nothing is guaranteed and how we should make sure to do everything we can to live our best life. I decided to have fun and give in to my nephew’s request to take his toys to work with me and I did some experiments in the kitchen with the help of my sister, which is something I haven’t done in a while. 


April 



I decided to see a former work colleague and get some career advice. Things are changing in the workplace and at this point I’m still at the stage where I’m uncertain of where I’m headed, and I needed some perspective. While she did give me some things to think about, I still don’t have that clarity that I want to be able to make my decision. Apart from that, this month was also eventful in that my nephew graduated from grade school, I had my hair color fail and finally got to see NSYNC together (sort of) again in Coachella with Ariana Grande. 


May 

My family and I went on yet another staycation and this time, we also did a bit of sight seeing with the kids by going to some kid-oriented places nearby. It was exhausting (the sight-seeing, I mean)! The hotel stay was super relaxing, and I would love to do it again when my wallet permits me to do so.  


June 



In a rare family moment, we all went to the beach together. We live minutes away from the beach, but we hardly ever go there. We’re more the pool people type so taking the time to get sand between our toes is an achievement for us. It was fun for half a day and then we went home! 


July 

I decided to start on my own DIY Revenge Body workout. I love the show and decided to give it a try by setting a regular workout schedule for 12 weeks and going on a diet. It has not been what I expected so far for this first month and it made me a little disappointed. Maybe I need help from Khloe Kardashian? 


August 



August was a celebration-heavy month. My youngest sister got married this month. It was also the birthday celebration of my late grandmother’s best friend and my grandson’s (?!) birthday.  Plus, it was fiesta period at the town where I work, which made for an event-heavy month in that area.

My family and I also got to try some food places in town this month, particularly a coffee shop and a Korean place. I will be blogging about those places soon.


There are four months to go before the year ends. I don’t know how to feel about that. I feel that time has flew by so fast and I I haven’t been able to do as much with this year as I should have. I don’t know if the next few months would be enough for me to say that I can make up for what I feel I need/want to accomplish for the year, but I will try.  

What about you? How has your year been so far? I hope your year has been good, and that the last remaining months will be even better! 
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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Netflix Pinoy Movie Review: Everything About Her

A successful woman on the top of her game is diagnosed with cancer. Life expectancy is low. What do you do when you know you are going to die? For Vivian (Vilma Santos), the lead in the Filipino movie Everything About Her that is streaming on Netflix, it meant facing her disease head on while continuing to kill it (pun intended) in the real estate industry. She hires a nurse named Jaica (Angel Locsin), who not only helps her with her illness but also teaches her a thing or two about living a better, more fulfilled life. 




The movie is full of scenes that show off the acting prowess of both Vilma Santos and Angel Locsin. I thought that they played off each other very well in this movie not just in the comedic scenes but in the dramatic moments as well. It takes real talent to make a viewer (namely, me) laugh in one scene and then cry during another. Their exchanges all come off naturally and make you relate to their characters as real people.  

I’ve always been a Vilma Santos fan so I may be biased here but I loved her in this movie. This lady is so tiny in person but the way she played her role as Vivian made her seem like a larger than life character with so much power and influence, like someone you would not want to cross. Angel Locsin as Jaica was both street-smart and funny. The chill character who has been through a lot but keeps going. I think has played similar roles in her other films. Her role in Four sisters and a Wedding reminds me a bit of Jaica.  It’s too bad that she hasn’t done a movie in a while, I think she is so versatile as an actress (who can do comedy, drama, action, etc.) and deserves to do more films that can show off that versatility. 

While I do appreciate having the eye candy with Xian Lim being in this movie, I felt that his role as Vivian’s estranged son was not given enough exposure/time for viewers to understand how complicated his relationship was with his mother and why it was hard for him to make the effort to patch things up with her when he first came back. Still, I felt that he did justice to this role and he held his own alongside two talented actresses in this movie. 

There were several moving scenes in this movie that I loved, mostly they were scenes that dealt with parent-child relationships and how complicated they could be. There were a few particular scenes in the movie that I could count as my favorites: The scene where Vivian discovered that her son knew that she was sick, the scene where Vivian and Jaica talked about the sacrifices parents do for their children that may not always be appreciated and the scene where Vivian hosts a dinner for everyone and pretty much uses that to sort of say her goodbyes.  

I loved how this movie tackled not just the reality of a person’s mortality but also took on the topic of the relationship between parents and their grown children. I also liked that it posed the question of a good work-life balance and about doing something fulfilling with our careers and ultimately our lives, not just something that would make money. The fact that this movie was able to do that while making the audience laugh and cry (and swoon at Xian Lim, who is oh so handsome in this film) makes this a good one for me. 

This was a movie I watched on a whim. Even if I am a fan of Vilma Santos, I did not expect to like this movie as much as I did. I’m happy that it’s in an international streaming service so more people not just in the Philippines but in other countries could watch it. I think that the topic is very universal and it’s something a lot of people will be able to relate to. It doesn’t hurt that they have a really good cast for this one too. I hope people catch it while it’s still on Netflix! 
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Saturday, September 7, 2019

My Most Common Balikbayan Box Gifts

As a Filipino, I believe it is next to impossible not to have a relative or a close family friend who lives or works in another country. As is normal with Filipino culture, the balikbayan box is an item almost all of us have had at one point in our lives (at the very least). Lately I realized that the most common items I’ve received as gifts via the balikbayan box are bath products, colognes and lotions. I think at this point I have enough to last me a VERY long time!



Being that I have enough lotions and cologne to last me practically a lifetime, I have no idea how much these things cost. Are they super affordable or come in promo packs that make them so easy to purchase and give as gifts? It’s not that I am implying that the people giving them are cheap – in fact, I find them practical gifts since everyone uses them and if they are affordable, it does make things easier to just buy one item of different scents so you don’t have to think too much about what to buy or if you can buy stuff for everyone and still be on budget.  

Let me put it this way: if you have tons of relatives or friends who you want to give gifts to at one given point in time, I personally would have a panic attack with worry about what to give and if I can afford to give everyone something. Given that thought then affordable items like lotions and colognes do fit the bill of good gifts. You can just give a certain group of people a bunch of them and let them pick out the scent they like best. It doesn’t hurt that the brands are recognizable/ well-known, so they are not exactly just any gift to the receiver. 

As much as I would like to say that these lotions and perfumes/colognes get a lot of use from me, they don’t (hence the whole thing about these items lasting practically a lifetime for me already). The weather in the country is just too bad and it can feel too hot to put on lotion sometimes. The humidity makes me feel so sticky! I tend to just put it on my elbows and knees, sometimes on my hands too. The feet and the legs get special treatment when I’m wearing flip flops and shorts but that’s about it. As for the scents, I’m the type of person who sprays on a bit at the start of the day and forgets to use it again for the rest of it – which means I don’t use it as much as I probably should. It’s not about being stingy with the products, it’s just that I tend to forget using them. Considering that I hardly put on makeup these days too, remembering to put on lotion during the day is an achievement in itself! 

Knowing that I will probably still be receiving these types of items as gifts (being that I have relatives abroad who send them), I try to not waste what I currently have. I don’t make a habit of regifting them, but I do tend to give them away when I know someone who wants one. Like when a friend mentioned liking a particular scent that I had at the time and have not used yet. Sometimes my sisters mention liking the scent of the lotion or cologne that I use and if it’s not really something I’m attached to; I give it to them as well.  

To any other Filipino reading this with relatives or friends abroad, particularly to the ladies, do you experience the same thing? If not, what items do you commonly receive as gifts from balikbayans? Leave me a message and let me know! 
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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Concerts I'd Love to See

In a recent post I talked about my experience watching the Manila leg of the Boyzone Thank You and Goodnight farewell show. Their last two Manila shows were probably the first concerts from foreign musicians that I’ve seen in a long time, with the most recent prior to that being a toss-up between Alicia Keys and the Davids (David Cook and David Archuleta, fresh from American Idol). I can’t really remember which one was the more recent of the two.  

So many foreign artists have come and go and while I do love a lot of them, prices for these shows are often so expensive that I need to pick and choose which shows I really want to go to. I’ve gotten my quota of shows for the year with the Boyzone show but if any of these artists were ever to come in for a show or two, I would be happy to make the exception because of how much I love them: 


Janet Jackson 

I know that Ms. Janet is doing shows in Vegas now, but I would be over the moon happy if she ever came over to perform here in the country. Her music was a part of my younger years and her dancing was a big influence on my own love for dance during my teenage years. I can still remember the days when I would dance along to her songs like Rhythm Nation and If and how much I loved singing along to her music (there are way too many to mention because she just has an extensively good discography).  





Jennifer Lopez 

To this day I remember the first time I heard If You Had My Love and the first time that I played On The 6 on our stereo system at home. Jennifer Lopez has songs that I often danced and sang along to and her performances are always on point and high energy, so I know that watching her would be well worth the money. I’m such a fan of this woman and it would be amazing to see her show in person if I would ever get the chance.





Beyonce 

Again, another amazing performer whose shows are unquestionably entertaining and on a whole other level. I’ve been a fan since Destiny’s Child, and I’ve followed her career since then. I think that like Janet and J Lo, her show would be worth the watch!





Taylor Swift 

People might say that in my 40s I may not exactly be her target market, but I just love Taylor’s songs, especially the last couple of albums (I've been playing her Lover album nonstop these days).  There are several of them that I can relate to and some that have inspired me as a writer. One day when I publish my book(s), this woman will be one of the people that I will thank for the inspiration so I would love to be able to watch her concert one day when she decides to stop by the country.





Kelly Clarkson 

If there were a celebrity that I would want to be my best friend, it would probably be this girl. I mentioned this in a previous post about my dream Celeb Squad. She just seems so fun and so real and I love her personality. I’m a fan of the covers that she does of popular songs and I love how much her music has grown through the years since she became the first winner on American Idol. I’d love to see her do A Minute and a Glass of Wine in the Philippines someday. One day, hopefully she can make that happen!






Sam Hunt 

Now THIS would probably the most likely to be a shot in the dark considering that country music is not exactly popular in the Philippines. Still, I am a fan of Sam Hunt and I am obsessed with his Between the Pines and Montevallo albums. To hear him sing those songs live would be a dream come true. It doesn’t even have to be a big concert, maybe just a small gathering for his fans in a more intimate type of show or setting. Something that would give off that whole back of the truck in the country hanging out vibe that some of his songs give off.





NSYNC 

This is one concert I’d take even without Justin Timberlake, who is the most likely person who would probably not be open to a reunion tour. Like Boyzone, I was a big fan of NSYNC and I have the magazines and DVDs to prove it. Their concerts in the US were some of the DVDs I had and I would have loved to have seen all that great harmonies and dancing here in the country during their heyday. Still, I would be more than happy to just see them and hear them perform their hits in a show one day. That performance with Ariana Grande at Coachella give me a bit of hope that it’s possible. I really wish that it can happen sometime soon.




I love so many other artists but these ones are at the top of my list when it comes to concerts I’d love to see. I’m sure everyone else has their own list of must-watch musicians, I hope that we all get to watch at least one of them in our lifetimes.

Let me leave you all with a combination of two of the artists I want to see, a performance of Jenny From The Block by J.Lo and Taylor Swift during T.Swift’s Staples Center concert a few years back. Enjoy!


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