Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Yesterday, I had lunch with these two girls from a regional business news channel who wanted to get some insights on how local businesses see the economy.  Together with the senior members of the team, we talked about how business has changed for us over the years, especially the last few ones under this particular president.

It was pretty casual and I was getting questions I was used to answering so, as far as I was concerned, it was pleasant chit chat over a free lunch.  Not a bad way to start the week.  And then came the miss universe question, “So, where do you see CID in 5 years?” I wish someone had been taking a video at that point because I would have loved to see my face go blank. I had no fucking idea what to say to that. Someone had to jump in and there was some discussion around it and then we all moved on to dessert.    

Of course I’m obsessing over that question still. I’ve been thinking about it the whole day and I still cannot, for the life of me, come up with an answer. How useless am I as head of this company?

Although, in my defense, (and this is when I start to whine a little) it’s so hard to be a working mom naman talaga and I was forced into this after Larry’s death and right smack in the middle of my pregnancy which was immediately followed by the arduous, albeit rewarding, task of motherhood.  And really, the brains of sleep-deprived, constantly-tired mothers of toddlers have no room for long-term plans.  End of whine.

So I have decided to get to an answer to this ASAP.  And while I’m at it, where do I see myself in 5 years really?  That’s the bigger, harder question to answer.  Requires thinking I neither have the time nor the inclination to do anymore.  I can’t even string s few coherent thoughts together to come up with a blog entry.  See how long ago this came after the last one.   It’s official.  I am sabaw. The zombies eat my brainzzzz.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Remembering Singapore

Again, one of my blog entries for the now defunct www.singlehungryfemales.com blog I shared with deesj.  Was looking for something else in my folder and found this.  Might be a sign.  

I wrote this in 2010 when we went to Singapore to watch Belle and Sebastian.


Eating Singapore

The first time I was in Singapore, I was not really in Singapore.  It was a stop-over in Changi on my way to India that gave me my first taste of the first world Asian country that punishes gumchewers.  Even then I was impressed by how such a massive structure filled with people can be so organized and orderly.   

Last week, I was in Singapore for the first time for real.  This time though, instead of the beautiful, huge and modern airport to welcome us, we touched down at the Budget terminal.  Believe me when I say that nothing, not even Cebu Pacific’s cramped plane and uncomfortable seats and roving sari-sari store, can make you feel like your on a budget trip more than landing in Singapores budget terminal with Changi only a few hundred meters away.  In fact, if the pilot had told us that we had just landed in Cebu, we wouldn’t have had any problems believing him.  Except it was a cleaner Cebu terminal.  A much much cleaner Cebu airport.

Clean.  If I were asked to describe Singapore in just one word, clean would definitely be it.  If I were given 100 words, I will use up 90 words to describe just how clean it is.  And then somewhere in my last ten words, you would hear “amazing architecture,”  “wonderful commuter-friendly transportation system,” and “quite expensive,” as well.  An injustice, I know, to some very talented architects and engineers.  But before anyone else, Singapore should hail as heroes the men and women who keep the city super duper clean.  “Even my booger here is white cos its so clean,” said an utterly astonished Drach.

Perhaps because it’s a little too clean, or maybe because I grew up in a country that is a little too dirty and polluted, Singapore felt a little unreal to me – a little synthetic even.  It felt like instead of going to a country, I visited a movie set of a first-world country where the citizens were really just actors following a character guide on how citizens of a first-world country should act. Be polite.  Be accommodating.  Not too friendly.  Not too warm.  Or else, lashings. 

My friend, a Singapore resident for the past two years, said that they are not a very imaginative people.  “Cannot” (pronounced keh-nuh) is as much a part of their vocabulary as “la”.  Asking your server if you can get mashed potatoes instead of fries with your food will give you a very curt “keh-nuh” with a what-is-written-is-all-there-is-duh-don’t-you-know-that look. 

Anyway, all that aside, let me categorically say that the soul of Singapore is in its cuisine.  If you want to find personality in Singapore, you will find it on your plate or in a hot kitchen or, of course, a hawker center.  To put it bluntly, a single order of that spicy and juicy stingray dish has more personality than 10 Singaporeans put together.  And ultimately, that’s what you fall in love with when you visit Singapore.  At least, that’s what I fell in love with, absolutely crazy in love with. Their food is so good it made me want to literally pull my hair out twice.

The first time was during dinner at Chinatown.  Again, a very clean Chinatown.   I know now that even if I have already forgotten the name of that stall and the name of the street where we found that stall, I will never forget that meal.  My first stingray experience was nothing short of an OH. MY. GOD. moment.   This stingray was not shy at all.  It had no problem introducing itself to my taste buds.  It was loud and dammit it was proud!  And why the hell shouldn’t it be, it was as mind-blowing as the last 10 minutes of the LOST finale for me.  The meat itself was tender and moist.  Its texture was between that of crabmeat and fish.  It was smothered with this spicy and robust paste (sambal is it?)  that can drive your taste buds delirious.  It comes with calamansi and a small serving  of what looks like pickled onions but could very well be opium.  That pickled onion was food schizophrenia at its best – spicy, sweet, and sour, makes you sweat and refreshes you at the same time.  I was never as sad as I was that night that people only have one stomach.  Lucky cows. 

My second I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out experience came from a dish that was a little less bold than the stingray.  A dish accepted as the national dish of Singapore.  The humble yet sublime, the simple yet complex - chicken rice.  More specifically, chicken rice from Tian-tian, Maxwell food center at Chinatown.         

Several elements make up this dish, each one needs to be perfect on its own to create that delicious orgy in your mouth.  The chicken itself has to be juicy and savory despite its pallid color.  Each grain of rice, plump and coated with a gingery-oniony-fatty jus. The chili sauce has to be spicy enough to make you sweat but not too spicy to kill the delicate taste of the chicken.  The broth has to be, how do I say it without being overly dramatic, well, it has to be the very essence of chicken in a liquid form at the perfect temperature, not one degree hotter or colder. 

Until Singapore, I was under the impression that the ginger sauce that we normally get with our chicken rice here in the Philippines is a major component of chicken rice.  It, apparently, is not.   All you really need is a good chili sauce and you’re good to go. 

So there.  The two dishes that defined my Singaporean foodfest.  It has to be said though that I was only there for 4 days.   Not enough.  Too short actually.  Cramming the wide buffet of  Singaporean food in 4 short days is impossible.  It also didn’t help that in those four short days, I just had to do repeats of my favorites - chicken rice twice, stingray three times.  Plus I even wasted a meal with a stupid chicken burger at Universal.   There were several places that I wasn’t able to go to despite rave reviews like Chomp-chomp hawker center, chin-chin restaurant, little India, and  Katong Laksa.  I will get you next time I promise.

Singapore is a small place they say, and it is.  There’s not a lot to do in Singapore they say, and there isn’t.  Four days is enough they say, but its NOT.  For people who are there to eat and pig out, four days in Singapore is NOT enough.   

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dear papa,

I can’t believe it’s been 6 years.  Sometimes it feels longer, most times it feels shorter, but 6 years just doesn’t seem right.  I don’t think any number will actually ever feel right.  Like its hard to accept how one number can possibly measure all that was lost. 


So you have an apo now.  I’m watching her sleep as I type this and I can’t help but feel sad that she will never know what its like to have a lolo.  Drach lost his dad early too so nothing from that side either.  The lolas are amazing to be sure –mama is absolutely phenomenal - but lolos are great for little girls to have.  And I imagine you would have made a phenomenal one too.

I made a promise to myself the day I found out I was pregnant.  I said that I was going to make sure that my child would know who her grandfather was.  So I’ve made a mental note of all the stories that I want to share with her so she will know how funny, silly, honourable and, well, deaf you were. Hahaha. 

Anyway, I love you and I miss you terribly. And I hope that you are proud of the kind of parent I am turning out to be.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I want to put this out there before the year ends just so it's clear.  This, above anything, is what I want for 2014.  For myself, for my daughter, my husband, my mother, my siblings, and my friends.

And unlike my other WFTYs where I just pretty much closed my eyes and hoped for the universe to conspire to make it happen, I will be an active advocate this year.

Woooohoooo, we can do this!

Friday, August 16, 2013

In the name of the mother

I was talking to my mother on the phone just now when she casually tells me that she’s worried about my soul.  I ask her why and she says because I don’t hear mass anymore.

I laugh it off.

My soul is fine.  

I have never felt better about my soul.  I have made a promise I intend to keep and I am at peace with that.  God and I, we have a thing.

But now that I’m a mom, I completely understand her. 

She was raised to believe that her performance as a mom will depend on my performance as a catholic so she worries when I, or any of her other children, stray from the catholic path.  I remember her telling us when we were children that she’s not breaking her back to take care of us in this life only to be separated from us when we die.  “Let’s all be together in heaven,” she said.

Sure.  I’m all for heaven.

So, what shall I base my performance as a mom on?  

Well, I just want two things for sage - to be happy and to please please be kind, possibly the two hardest things in the world to be sometimes.   Of course I will love her anyway if she turns out to be miserable and cruel, but I don’t think I will be able to hide my heartbreak. 

I actually miss going to mass.  It's very much like yoga to me.  Time to reflect about things.  I don't think God will keep me away from heaven if I miss mass.  I believe being a bad person is the only thing that can do that.  But maybe I'll start going to mass again. I haven't been in a while only because, well, walang time sa world!  
So I shall make a real effort now to go for my mom because my going is more important to her than my not going is to me.  And I love her.  And I don't want her to worry anymore.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tatlong kwento. Isang OUCH.

Drach told me this morning that when he was growing up, he thought of himself as a real deal music man.  He could carry a tune, he could play an instrument and his head pretty much holds a fairly extensive music library. 

Then he joined Hit where he met the likes of Mike Villegas who is a guitar god and Arnold Buena who had an impeccable aptitude for arranging music and others who, like him, knew music but knew it better.

He was put in his place daw.


In 2007, I read an article on Rogue written by Chef David Pardo de Ayala.  He talked about how he always thought of himself as a good chef and that he was happy with where his career was going.  Then he had a trip somewhere and had a chance to eat at this famous restaurant owned by this renowned chef (I don’t remember where, where and who). 

Anyway, the moment he took his first bite daw, he started to tear up and he got so emotional as he realized with such clarity because of that one bite that, despite all he had accomplished, he was not and will probably never be a great chef.

I was super hurt for him there.


Okay let me just say it – I think I’m pretty. And 2006 was the height of this particular thinking because I wasn’t quite so behemoth-ish.

I worked out regularly at Golds gym and I really felt good about myself.  I especially liked how I looked after a workout cos I would be all flushed, pink cheeks and glowing and all.  So after working out one evening, I was in the middle of the locker room giving myself one last look in the mirror before heading out.  I was having pa a really great hair day so I was really REALLY falling in love with myself there.

And then a lady stood next to me to check herself out in the mirror.  It was Priscilla Meirelles

Grabe naman ang universe magkapag reality check!  eto sya eh!!!

Priscilla Meirelles

Monday, May 20, 2013

A letter for Solana

May 13, 2013

To my dearest Solana,

When you were still a resident in my belly, I dreamt of the day when I would be able to go around with you outside me and introduce you to everyone as my creation.  I already saw myself pointing to you and announcing “See that! I made that!”  Your father and I would carefully and thoroughly discuss all the things that we wanted to teach you and all the ways that we wanted to raise you so that you would become a person of substance and a woman of grace. 

But as I start to get to know you, I realize more and more that you are not mine to own or mould.  Already you are showing signs of a personality I didn’t think someone who only came into this world 6 months ago could have.  And while I recognize bits and pieces of myself and your papa in you, you are already mostly you, which is now the only thing I will ever want you to be. 

If I ever forget in the future, as I most likely will, remind me please, and again and again if necessary, that you are not mine to own or mould.  If you want to experiment on an outfit or a hairstyle that I think is hideous, if you choose to believe in an ideology that makes no sense to me, if you should ever fall in love with a boy who is way out of your league, or if, God forbid, you start rooting for the Lakers, look me in the eye and tell me gently please “Mama, I know you love me and you want only the best for me but I am not yours to own and mould.”

I, on the other hand, am yours anak.   Absolutely and forever.  How's that for irony?

Your papa and I realized the first time we held you in our arms that nothing in our lives would ever come first again. It is unbelievable how quickly and how willingly we became a cliche.  So yes, I will be THAT kind of mom.  The kind of mom who wont sit still until you are home safe and tucked in your bed at night. The kind who will desperately try to fit in your life even if it means listening to annoyingly loud teenage music.  And of course, the kind who will cry the ugly cry at birthday parties and graduations and probably practically every little thing that makes her realize that you are growing up.

I will be that kind of mom. That is a fact.  Please learn to deal with it as quickly as possible to avoid any unnecessary drama that you might be drawn to in your tweens.  

Yesterday was my first ever mother’s day.  You did not know that of course and you were too into your hands to realize how much that day meant to me.  You were not able to greet me, at least not in a language I understood.  Nor did you buy me any gifts.  But when I woke up that morning, I found you already awake, quietly observing the ceiling.  When you heard me stir, you looked at me and gave me the warmest and sincerest smile I’ve ever seen on anyones face. 

That was enough.  That will always be enough. 

Thank you.