It’s not over yet!

Didn’t I just welcome September four blog entries ago? And, didn’t I just welcome 2014 yesterday?! Why does time move so fast? I didn’t notice November go by at all. I don’t know why I always feel this way when it’s almost the end of the year. I think it’s because this is the time I realize that I’ve run out of time and haven’t accomplished anything. Again. Well, at least 2014 was way better than 2013. First three quarters. Those were a rough nine months. But the latter part of 2013 were some of the best months of my life, I have to say. Oh. Is this the blog entry where I recap the past year? I didn’t mean for it to be, but I guess now that I’m typing this, that’s what it’s going to be.

So. What has happened this year? I went to a lot of places. I really did.

I’m going to start with February because that was the time I went on not one, but two (!) beach trips with my sister. And we went to Boracay and Bohol! A mere two months after having spent time in Palawan for my brother’s wedding! And that was after I went to Europe with my parents (and my sister and brother-in-law, too)! Really, I can’t complain about my life. #ReallyBlessed :D

Then in the summer, my friends and I went to Borawan in Quezon, and because we went on the day before the holiday, it felt like we had the island all to ourselves. And we ate seafood, played card games, and talked, nay, laughed about our feelings. It was great.

I also went to Phuket, Thailand with my parents. And we stayed at a different hotel each night and it was a lot of fun. Despite the really really sick-inducing boat ride. Everyone: Don’t go to Phuket in June. It’s just… Not good for your stomach. You know where you should go in June, though? Baguio. Two weeks after Phuket, I was in Baguio with my friend M and it was Baguio like I’d never seen before. Not too many people and the cold weather that’s not too cold but not warm like you’re not in Baguio either. And sure it rained in the afternoons, but that’s the best atmosphere for reading a good book while drinking strawberry hot chocolate!

In August I went with my pre-school barkada to Malaysia. To Legoland and Hello Kitty Town (and Malacca and Kuala Lumpur)! It was actually our first out-of-town trip together and I’m glad it was a success. Because we did it as a joint celebration for our 30th birthdays (We all turned 30 this year!) so it was imperative that it be successful. Otherwise, we’d all be stuck with horrible memories of our 30th birthday celebrations. But we all had fun and now we’ll always have something great to look back at when we think about the time we turned 30. :)

And just last month, I was in Cebu with M2. And not just anywhere in Cebu, but in Plantation Bay! One of the best resorts, if not the best resort in Cebu! It was a really great experience. I was able to go parasailing for the first time, was able to eat CnT lechon and try Zubuchon, too!

Oh, and did I mention that this is also the year when my cousin B celebrated her 18th birthday, my parents had their 35th wedding anniversary, my brother & sister-in-law celebrated their 1st, at one point I got the top rank in our office, I won a free movie ticket just from sending stickers in WeChat, I was named godmother to one of my closest friends’ first child, I went on three semi-spontaneous trips to Tagaytay with different friends, X and I watched Wicked at CCP, my former officemates and I tried out different restaurants on Aguirre Ave. in BF Paranaque and Kapitolyo in Pasig, and The Walking Dead started its best season yet?

Looking back at my 2014, I feel really really happy. I mean, sure, there were still sad events that happened, but there are some people who go through entire years without taking one out-of-town trip or seeing old friends or spending time with family members who live abroad, and I got to do all of those!

It’s great to be alive! What a wonderful 2014 it’s been. And it’s not over yet! :D

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Family and Friends

Nearly a month later, I finally have time to blog about my birthday. It’s fine, right? Wala namang deadline ang pagkwento ng kung anong nangyari sa nakaraan. Bakit parang ang lalim nun? Mag-Ta-Tagalog ba’ko? Sure, why not? Or Taglish na lang, para mas-natural. “Our native language,” my friend R, quite accurately observed.

Anyway, for my birthday this year, I had two celebrations: One with family, one with friends. Palagi namang ganyan, I think. Because my parents always want to do something on the day itself, but if it falls on a weekday (like it did this year), we just have time for a dinner or something as simple. So then I would spend the Satuday/Sunday of that week with my friends, with a more elaborate (I think it’s fair to say that it’s more elaborate) celebration.

In case you still don’t know, I try to celebrate my birthday differently each year. I talk about this in more detail here. I’m proud to say that though I’ve recycled some ideas, none of my celebrations have ever been exactly the same. Or, I guess none of them can be, since I’m celebrating a different age each year. Pero ‘yung pinaka-magkapareho na ‘eh maybe 50% lang ‘yung similarities, which I think is pretty difficult to do, considering I decided to do this (celebrate my birthday differently each year) when I turned 17. So, what I’m saying is, I’m pretty proud of myself. Well, I think obvious naman ‘yon. Hehehe. But anyways, here’s what happened on my birthday celebrations this year:

Maple with My Family

I could only get half the day/night off from work on September 17 so we decided to just have dinner in Alabang. I chose Maple Restaurant at the Commercenter as I’ve heard good reviews about it, and my sister-in-law M, likes their Makati branch. We ordered a bunch of things and they were all delicious and because it was my birthday, they gave me a free dessert (Bourbon Bread Pudding)!

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The people in this picture are: Lolo, Mama, Papa, Kuya, Ate (?) ;) and me
The food in this picture are: blackened chicken, clam agli olio, Maple burger, prime rib tapa

As per usual, everyone shared their food with everyone, and I’m happy to report that everything was good. :D And they had good service, too. But I think pupunta lang ako dito tuwing may special occasion kasi medyo mahal siya.

It was a good experience nonetheless, and we were able to avail of the senior citizen discount for both Lolo and Papa. :)

Games and Getting-to-Know

Why do I want my friends whom I met at different points in my life interact with each other? I don’t really know either. But it makes for a lot of fun!

I invited my closest friends from grade school, high school, college, my previous job and my current job. And we played a game na kailangan ng teams, so I grouped them into four, na may mga magkakasama sa group na hindi magkakilala previously, or, I realized only this year, nagkikita lang tuwing birthday ko. Haha! Wala namang particular reason, really. Or maybe this one: I just don’t like parties where hindi magkakakilala ‘yung mga guests and you end up just talking to people in your own group and nagtatawanan kayo about things that only you can relate to and it’s weird/awkward for the other people around you. And since wala naman akong budget na panglibre ng several groups of people na iba-ibang beses, sama-sama na lang lahat and may activity na lang wherein they’re forced to interact! :P Fun naman ‘yung activity! Or, at least I think so. But I think they think so, too, kasi maingay naman lahat during the game and maraming tawanan. :D

We played Scattergories, the word game I got for my birthday last year. I-Google n’yo na lang ‘yung mechanics kung curious kayo, but take my word for it: Masaya siya. :D Actually, I think it was even more fun because I made my own categories (with visual aids and everything!) na customized for the event. So bukod sa usual categories na nandun sa game, e.g. Street Names, Things at the Beach, Words Associated with Science, etc. meron ding categories like Words Associated with Birthdays, Places in the South of Manila, Vacation Spots in the Philippines, mga ganun.

Strangely, two teams had the exact same score by the end of the game and I had to come up with a tie-breaker game on the spot! I was pleased to find (because it proves my theory) that the teams that got the highest scores were the teams na pinaka-balanced ang members. As in, they were the teams na may members na friends ko from school, and former and current co-workers. And, not surprisingly, the team that ultimately won was the one na balanced din ‘yung members in terms of gender: Two boys and two girls.

‘Yung prize nila, Starbucks gift certificates! Sorry na kung hindi na ‘yun original. I really wanted to give them movie passes but grabe ang mahal na ng movie passes and minimum of 10 ang kailangan mong bilhin each time! So… Nevermind. May consolation prize naman na chocolates ‘yung second place. That they shared with everyone, because they’re nice.

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I really truly believe that I won the friend lottery. Not one person who was at my house that night was someone na napilitan lang akong iinvite, and I’m quite sure na wala rin sa kanilang napilitan lang magpunta. Actually, I’m really happy because lahat sila nagpunta! :D I thought that a lot of people would cancel because it was raining hard the day before and akala ko na hindi na talaga matutuloy, but we had really good weather the entire day and everyone made it. #Blessed ;)

Mejo funny rin that when people started leaving, they told the others: See you next year! Like ine-expect na nila that I would have a birthday party next year ulit. I guess kasi nga naman, especially ‘yung girls, nagkita-kita rin sila last year when I had a Birthday Sparty. Nakaka-pressure kaya. I was planning on having this be the last birthday party pa man din because, you know, I’m 30 now. :P But I guess only time (and finances) will tell what will happen in September next year. Though with family and friends like these, I’m sure that whatever happens, it will be beautiful. Naks!

Happy Birthday to Me! :D

Bring Back the 90’s!

Dear Everybody,

I feel like now is the right time time to tell you of my obsession with Franklin & Bash.

In this article, it says that this show is a pop culture joke punch line. Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually agree with the article point per point, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the show. It is really strange, this show. It starts Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer, both of whom played such “iconic” roles in the 90’s that in some ways, it feels like this strange Saved by the Bell-Clueless crossover, which isn’t that strange really since they were set at around the same time (right smack in the middle of the 90’s, or okay, SBTB was slightly earlier), and were set in the same place, California. And Franklin & Bash is also set in California.

If they weren’t called Franklin & Bash, there is nothing stopping me from believing that Travis Birkenstock eventually cleaned up his act and went to law school (He’s good at making speeches, isn’t he?), and met Zack Morris there (He did get a 1502 on his SATs), and they became friends. They’re both kind of troublemakers, after all.

Perhaps that is why I like the show so much. I mean, yes, it’s cliche, yes, they don’t actually really do anything new, I mean, at best, it’s “one of those lawyer shows” and I have to admit that if they’d cast unknowns, I probably couldn’t care less about it. I mean, I like Angie Harmon when she guest stars in Chuck and… Agent Cody Banks. But the generic and trying-too-hard Rizzoli & Isles just puts me to sleep. But I think that is the genius of the thing. Putting two 90’s “icons” together and having fun with them. And, I’m not saying this to be disrespectful, but I think Jonathan Brandis would’ve made a fine addition to this cast. Not that I don’t like Anthony Ordonez, but if Jonathan Brandis had that role, this series would’ve been every 90’s fangirl dream come true.

So. Franklin & Bash. It’s on its 4th season now so you know I’m not the only 90’s fangirl out there.

Zack and Travis, all grown up

Zack and Travis grew up and became friends!