31 December 2011

Goodbye Hello

If you want others to be happy next year - try compassion. If you want your self to be happy next year - try compassion. Oh and empathy. Compassion and empathy, they go together.

The end of the world is coming. Are you ready? What a great year 2011 was, it's a transition year for me. My prospective changed a lot. Found new ways of looking at things. Discovered running - my dose of happy pill; and photography my other happy drug.  While the truth remains -- that there will always be good years and bad years, I try counting only the good ones. Like a sundial that  counts only the sunny hours and forgets the dark ones, positive is possible. I've tried to make this blog as positive as I can.

I am afraid next year I won't be able to write in this blog as much as I want to anymore because of a hectic schedule coming up. I don't know when I will comeback. Farewell!

But I'm cooking up something, a new anonymous blog. A blog with a mask. A blog without a face. Sort of what this blog was originally conceived to be in the first place. It will be be as damp, dark, and as cold as it can get. It will dig deep on what lies beneath the Consciousness. If you happen to find it. See you there then.


29 December 2011

Year End Digest: Re-post of monthly highlights of 2011

The year is almost finish!  While there are a lot of things I remember, there are also a lot of things I forget. I  forget most things that happen in my life. That's why I don't trust my memory. If you want an advise, hear this: don't trust your memory. The memory is a weak slave when it comes to preserving and nurturing thoughts and ideas.

I want to thank all the visitors and readers of this humble little blog. Thanks for all the encouraging comments. Even if I don't get to reply to all of your comments, I want you to know that it really means a lot. If you're a writer (I don't want to use the term blogger). I'm sure you understand how encouraging even just one comment can be. When I started blogging writing two years ago, I told my self that if I could just sell my ideas to just one person, I would be happy.

As a special treat, let me re-post the monthly highlights of this blog for 2011. For other post for a particular month or year, you may visit the archive :) Thanks for visiting this year. Till next year!


How to Become a Money Magnet Seminar Reviewed

"One main reason why most people today remain broke is because they never really found a way how to manage their money..."

-John Calub, Success Coach

Saturday, January 22, 2011, SMX Convention Center. Sweet Pea and I attended a seminar on how to become a money magnet. The talk was delivered by the success coach John Calub and was attended by an estimate of 3,000 people. The talk was from 8:00am to 7:00 pm.

I learned about the seminar when John Calub was featured in a local  talk show last Friday.  The original price of attending the seminar was 8,000 pesos, but he proposed waiving his fee except for 250 Pesos cost of seminar materials. Intrigued by the huge discount deal and by topic of the seminar itself, I decided to attend.

1. The seminar was a gathering of people who want to become wealthy.
2. John Calub shared success principles he learned from his mentors and the books he read.
3. He urged the participants to abandon the "poor man's mentality" and instead shift to the way wealthy people think.
4. He featured a very rare book worth 5Million Pesos. Part of his collection of self help books on wealth.
5. He invited attendees to buy  limited edition memorabilia like CDs and shirts.
6. He invited attendees to enroll in his other self- help seminars.
7. He introduced a system of principles to help you save and manage money.
8. He introduced action steps on how to acquire the habit of attracting money.

According to the speaker, to attract money, follow these principles:

Never limit your potential. YOU AND I HAVE INFINITE POTENTIAL.
What are the Limiting Beliefs?
1. Money is the root of all evil.
2. Rich people are bad and greedy.
3. Hindi importante ang pera, importante masaya  tayo.
4. You have to work hard for money. No pain, no gain.
5. You cannot be rich if you stay in the Philippines.
6. Pag maikli ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot.
7. Wealth is "either or"
8. Knowledge is power.

"Look at your partner and say ' friend, we have a multi-
millionaire mind. Apir!"
The Limiting Beliefs should instead be reprogrammed to Empowering Beliefs:
1. The greed of money is the root of all evil. It is a sin to be poor.
2. I can be rich and spiritual at the same time.
3. Money is important in all areas of life.
4. Money comes to me easily and frequently.
5. I can be rich wherever I am.
6. Pag maikli ang kumot, bumili ng mas malaki.
7. I can have it all.
8. Wisdom is power. Wisdom is knowledge in action.


meaning, if you want to be wealthy the first step is "feeling wealthy inside."
"Have fun, feel good, it's all been done!"

Understanding the laws of the universe and applying it in one's life.

1. The law of attraction. Think only of what you want and not of what you do not want.

2. The law of tithing. All humans are required to surrender to God a portion of what he receives. God gives, god also takes.

3. The law of giving. When you give, you receive. Good vibes.

4. The law of cause and effect. What you sow is what you reap. What goes around, comes around. Karma.

5. The law of forgiveness. Detach your self from that hurt.

6. The law of gestation. There is a season for everything. You can't put a date on every dream. Only God knows when what you want will come.

7. The law of polarity. Negative and positive. Yin and yang. Oneness of opposites.  There is a good side to every bad situation, and vice versa.

8. The law of abundance. God surely did not intend everyone to be poor.
Jesus himself was wealthy. Sin - means "missing the mark" in its original language root word.

9. The law of rhythm. No matter how  good you are, there will be seasons of high and seasons of low.

10. Law of circulation - Everything is created by energy. Energy flows. It cannot be created nor destroyed. Good energy. Negative energy. If you want to get rich spend your money with "no guilt". Guilt produces negative energy. Wealth is intended to be circulated. When your money circulates, more money will come.

Remind yourself with these empowering beliefs:

1. I always have money that I will never need.

2. My money works hard for me and makes me more and more money.

3. Whenever I spend money, more money comes to me. (guided by the laws of the universe on wealth)

4. I always make decisions that are for the highest good of all concerned including my self.

Bottom line:

The seminar is interactive, fun, and a new approach in motivating you to manage and create money. Some of the points of the speaker may be controversial for some.

I realized in attending this seminar that achieving wealth is possible, I just have to understand the laws of the universe and apply it to my life. Most importantly I realized that wealth (just like success) is a state of mind. To be able to be wealthy outside, wealth must be felt in the inside. It pays  to "feel good first." When you feel good first -- the ways and means to attract money (money magnet) will suggest themselves.

Should you probably attend the seminar?

Short answer - Yes.

Favorite Quotes:

"Everyone who works hard will become poor! Don't work hard, work smart."

"Make a dream board and paste all your dreams in it. Imagine that you are already successful."

"Before sleeping and after waking up, get a glass of water and tell that water your dreams. Drink that water."

"If you're happy, you will attract money."                                -John Calub


Happy Quitnaversary!

Hello there, hope everyone's alright. Today is a special day because I am celebrating my Quitnaversary. Yes, one year of not smoking. I'm glad I made the decision to quit smoking a year ago and never looked back. I've been reaping all the benefits of not smoking ever since.

To tell you the truth, I miss the coolness that comes with smoking, specially when having some drinks with friends or being in a very stressful situation. Quitting is not easy. Not smoking is a conscious effort all the time.

I am very sure why I decided to quit. The reason is simple -- It doesn't get better. It can only get worse. There are so many things that I want to do in life that requires me to be fit. Quitting is the first step to being fit. That's what I've always wanted.

Veni-Vidi-Vici  means "I came, I saw, I conquered." That has been the mantra of my victory over smoking. Ironically, this secret is in every pack of Marlboro itself.

Congratulate me, I am a very very proud quitter. For those who want to quit, I support you 100%. But quitter or not, let us all celebrate life. Life is short, indeed.


Flying. Just like Peterpan.


8 Pictures of Marikina River: A Photo Jog.

I try to jog as much as a I can everyday  4:30 pm. I put on my running shoes and jog intercity from Quezon City to Marikina and back. While jogging, I carry with me my my very very old old digi digi cam cam. Here's a photo-story of what I see when jogging.

Yup that's my feet with my running shoes traversing Major Dizon Street.

I run with children. Yes, mataya-taya.

SM Marikina

Skyline of a jet trail. Is that a boat, ship, or flying saucer? That little white thingy.

Lrt 2 Paparating na sa Santolan Station

SM City Marikina


Novus Luna with MGX: Taking the City by Storm!

Getting ready, checking the sounds.
Margaux (MGX) and I belong to the same music organization back in college (UP Music Circle). When I learned that she's now part of the band - Novus Luna, I got excited. I told her, "I can't wait to watch your gig!" When she told me they will be playing at Freedom Bar, Anonas,  I didn't hesitate to go. (even if I had to submit a 100 page school assignment the next day.) It was a great gig. They played their latest single - "Ayoko." Kitchie Nadal even jammed with the band. It was that awesome.


On How Not to Worry

from: here.


Lesson From My First Real 5k of Running

Had a great run yesterday with Seamus and Sweetpea at the 5km San Beda Animo Run at the CCP grounds. I thought the run would not push through because of the rains, but I am glad it did. The event was a bit disorganized. I can tell because it was not the first time I joined charity runs. It seemed the organizers didn't know what to do this time around. Lack of support from the school? Probably.

I got to run continuously for the whole stretch of the 5km for the first time. (My last event runs were more like "walks" really.) I just had to stop once in a while to drink Pocari Sweat. I believe I've just set my fastest time for a 5k run. My running form was more important to me than my speed. I just wanted to run as properly as I can; and made sure I had enough gas to survive the whole run - and I did. My goal was "get to know my self," rather than racing.

There's no one big common goal for everyone when it comes to running. Some, like my friend Jodan, took up running so that they can enjoy their every meal without guilt. My friend Seamus, on the other hand, took up running to push himself to his limits. He wants to beat his personal record. My brother Ryan took up running just to be fit. He's the first to discover the benefits of running. He's been running as a football varsity player since elementary days.

My mom, takes up walking every weekends in her hopes (for the longest time) to help her quit smoking. My father, while he doesn't run - is a fast walker. I'm not kidding you. He's the fastest walker I know. My sister isn't into running but she hits the treadmill and is into boxing. She trains at the Elorde Boxing Gym. You should see her left hook. Sweetpea, meanwhile, wants to run to show her support for charity.

As for me, I jog in the morning to make it a habit of waking up early. (I was an insomniac late sleeper for a very very long time.)

On the road while running that 5km in CCP, I realized a lot of things:

 First, the importance of training. You can't just go out there and decide to run a 5k. You must train for it. Start slowly and progress gradually.

Second, stretching is very important. Make it a golden rule to stretch first. It is more important than running. It will prevent unwanted injuries. Stretch before and after you run. It will prevent lactic acid build up that may cause muscle pains. Don't be hard on your self while stretching. If you are stretching and it hurts, you are probably doing it the wrong way.

Third, run for a cause. It's hard to keep up the habit of running, but if you know why you are running, you are already half a successful runner.

I still have a lot to learn. I hope to finish a full 42k marathon someday. I know it will take a long time of training before I can probably reach that goal. But for now, I'm just gonna stick to my daily regimen of waking up at 5 to jog. I am not preparing for any fun run or marathon soon, but I'm running because I believe my morning jogging helps me become a better person.



Running Kahit Na-Ulan

I went on with my usual run even if it was raining. I don't understand why kung kailan ako tatakbo, saka naman laging umuulan. But it's ok. It doesn't matter if it rains.  "Life isn't always sunny." - That, I understand.


Pulubi Running After Me

I arrived early at school today, but there was no class. Our prof. Justice Sempio-Diy decided it's "yoga day." (yon naman ang advocacy niya. She wishes everyone discovers the wonders of Yoga)

Tapos na kami (me, ange, avril, bimby, and klowee) mag-Yoga nung Saturday. Today is running day for me. I went home to get my shoes and went straight to UP. I think I'll be running frequently in UP from now on. Running in Katipunan is dangerous, unless you are running very early in the morning.

In UP, before I can even warm up for my jog, I felt the need to pee. Naghanap lang ako ng madilim na lugar, then jumingel ako (ewww).

Anyway, after two rounds at the Acad Oval, I was already tired.

I messaged my tatay. I asked him if he can pick me up on his way home. He said he'll pick me up in McDo Katipunan. I said ok, that's a good place to wait. At least makakabili ako ng Moonleaf Hakka nearby while waiting for him in McDo. At Mcdo, I bought fries.

While eating my fries sa outdoor tables ng Mcdo, merong pulubi na lumapit, asking for spare change. Fine, binigyan ko naman. Pang apat na siyang pulubi na binigyan ko this day. Basta may tumapat na kamay sa'kin, binibigyan ko kahit ano, kahit magkano. Ang philosophy ko kasi, isipin mo nalang kung ikaw ang nasa shoes niya. Isipin mo, ikaw yung pulubi tas wala kang nalimos (kinita) for the day? Ang sad non. Besides, I always believe, every time I give to the needy, positive vibes yon. Anyway, kung wala naman talaga akong mabibigay, or risky maglabas ng pera, hindi rin ako nagbibigay. Hindi ko ineencourage ang pamamalimos, pero kung nakikita ko naman na needy talaga, hindi din naman ako nagdadamot.

After waiting for a while, ayan na dumating na yung tatay ko, so pinutahan ko na siya.

This pulubi, ran after me, shouting!!

Lumingon ako.

"Hoy koya may naiwan ka!" Inabot niya sakin yung Angry Birds na lalagyan ko ng pera.

Wow. Natouch naman ako. Hindi niya dinekwat yung kaperahan ko, instead - binalik niya.

I guess, sometimes, it pays to give.

Pulubi man, may kabutihan din sila sa puso.


Film Review: Hable con Ella (Talk to Her)

Hola! ¿cómo estás? Me llamo Rah, tengo 28 anos, vivo en Quezon City. Me gusta ir a cine y me gusta sacar fotos.(Hi, how are you? I'm Rah, 28, lives and QC. I like watching movies and taking pictures.)

So much for my Spanish.

To be honest, I was never really good at it anyway. I almost failed it back in college.

I have forgotten most of what I have learned in Spanish back then, but I can still vividly remember the movie "Hable con Ella" -- the Spanish movie our professor made us to watch to conclude the last day of classes. It was the first foreign language film that I've seen. It was what gave birth to my fascination with foreign language films.

Hable con Ella is a story of Benigno (a male nurse) and Alicia (a comatose patient). Benigno (translated as benign or harmless in English)  has always been attracted to Alicia's grace and beauty. Even before the accident that caused her coma, Benigno would wait for her everyday in her dance classes (overlooking his window) and simply admired her in every way.

One day, Alicia met an accident that led to her state of vegetative coma. She was confined to the hospital where Benigno was a nurse.  Benigno would always talk to the comatosed Alicia, give her massages, baths, did her nails and hair. He gave her all the love and care in the world. Throughout the four years that Benigno had been taking care of the comatosed Alicia, his obsession with her grew more intensely. There's no doubt in his mind that Alica loved him too. Benigno wanted to marry her and had even prepared the house where they would stay.

Along the story, Benigno meets Marco, a guy similarly situated with him. Marco was also taking care of his girlfriend Lydia who was also in a coma. He would seek Benigno's help and advice. Their profound conversations would develop in deep friendship and trust, which was further complexed by Benigno's seemingly, strange, subtle, naive attraction to Marco.

One day, the hospital doctors found out that the (comatose patient) Alicia was pregnant. Benigno, as a prime suspect for rape, was charged with and was jailed pending his case. But Benigno couldn't stand being away from Alicia. He will do all that it takes to be with Alicia again. His subsequent decisions - will define the outcome of the story.

Looking closer at Benigno's character, it is noticeable that he is naive and unsure of himself. Viewers will find it easy to relate with his character - he's just like most of us - naive, unsure. The film's telling flashbacks, symbolisms, and back stories (not to mention the nude scenes) will make you want to stay in your chair as long as the movie takes. The scenes are artistic and very well thought of. 

The film is also very unique as it engages us to ponder on the notion and concept of love. "Is it right to believe that love can persist beyond the realm of consciousness?" This is one of the main questions that the film is trying to convey.

Starring: Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Mariola Fuentes, Geraldine Chaplin, and written, produced, and directed by Pedro Almodovar. The film won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the 2003 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, among others.

Here's the official trailer. I hope you get the chance to watch it somehow. 


Perhaps one of the best foreign language movies I've ever watched. I wouldn't mind watching it again. It's a movie that's hard to forget. 


How to Apply for a Driver's License Philippines

I PROTEST!  I told my father that I will never get a driver's license as sign of "protest." I find it senseless for him to ask me to get a driver's license and yet not allow me to drive. If he doesn't trust my driving, there's no need to get a license. But yesterday was different, I finally found the courage to get my driver's license and abandon my "protest." Thanks to Sweet Pea who had been very patient with me. She was the one who convinced me that getting a driver's license is really to my advantage. 

I filled up an application form at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) East Avenue, Diliman Licensing Branch. I attached my student's license, drug test, medical exam results and paid the fees. While waiting for the written exam, I was instructed to go to the Lecture Room which ironically was a misnomer -- no lectures are conducted there.

There are exam reviewers inside. You can choose whether to take the exam in English or Filipino.  I chose Filipino having read here sometime ago that "Filipino is the language of the streets." but  I changed my mind when I opened the Filipino exam reviewer. It seemed taking an exam in Filipino would be a hard nut to crack, so I reverted to choose the English reviewer again.

Overhead the room was a TV screen showing something about driving. I couldn't understand what was shown because the TV was muted.  There were signs to "keep silence" at every corner of the room. Ironically, the only source of noise and distraction in the room was LTO's own annoying amplifier on top of the door. It made reviewing difficult because you had to divide your attention between what you're studying and listening to announcements.

My name was the last to be called in our batch, and because of that, I was left with only fifteen (15) minutes to review for the written exam. The exam was scheduled at 1:00 p.m. it was 12:45 on my watch. I panicked! How can I study (100) one hundred questions, familiarize my self with (300) three hundred choices and countless road signs in fifteen minutes?! I wasted no time and started cramming. "The mind works best under pressure." - I told myself.

Come one o'clock, a good  forty of us applicants were called to the examination room. The examiner treated us all like pesky kids. Ang sunget niya! She asked each of us to choose whether we wanted to take the exam in Filipino or English. She entered our names in the computer. The computer generated a questionnaire consisting of forty randomly selected questions. She printed it out and distributed it accordingly.

I browsed the questionnaire's three pages after receiving it and noticed that some road signs to be identified were so small it can easily be mistaken for a "biological stain." I also thought some items were unfair because it used unfamiliar idiomatic expressions.  Question #20 went like...
20. "It is normal to sound off in driving but a driver must keep in mind the performance of          his car, his distance,  and his skill in driving, except ________.
a) in multi-lane highways
b) in a curve
c) in a curb."

Come on! What does "Sound off" mean? Does it mean...
a) to rev and accelerate one's car and make a sound?
b) play loud music while inside the car?
c) beep the horn?
d) speak angrily?

Can't they just use simple standard written English? And what does curb mean anyway?  If you know what a "curb" means without google-ing it, ikaw na ang best in English 'teh! :D

No time limit. Someone in the room asked if there was a time limit, the examiner said "as long as we don't go beyond five p.m." Wow! was that a joke? It was just one p.m. You mean to say we can take a forty item multiple choice exam for four hours? Cool!

VIP treatment. A popular "kapamilya" who has a regular tv and radio show was also getting her license the same time. She didn't have go through the lines and wait, an LTO staff was walking her through the whole process.  She may not be demanding to be treated like a VIP, but she's not refusing it as well. For us who patiently waited for our turn, I don't think that was fair.

After a long while, the results of the exam were out. My golly! I can still remember the sound of the FAILEDstamped on application papers of those who didn't make it. There were a lot of them! Nalagas ang batch namin.I had faith in our batch kahit marami sa kanila mukhang jejemon. The examiner was literally banging theFAILED stamp on the application papers with so much gusto! Those who failed were told that they may re-apply after one  month.

I told myself,  "What a waste!" I felt sorry for most of my batch mates. Waiting for one month doesn't make sense. The exam was easy: 1) if only the examinees were given enough time to study; 2) if only a lecture were conducted to brief the examinees; and 3) if only sufficient instructions were given before the exam, a lot will surely pass.

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Thank God I have extreme patience.
Tips. I realized, in this branch of LTO, "You are on your own." If you are planning to apply for a driver's license in this notorious East Avenue Main Branch in the near future, consider my advice - TAKE THE WRITTEN EXAM SERIOUSLY.  (45) Forty-five minutes of review should be enough. It's OK to tell the examiner that you want more time to study.  A lot of road signs look alike. If you were asked to identify a road sign in the exam and you are not sure, don't be afraid to stand up and look it up in the wall where road signs are posted.  It is not prohibited.  Don't guess if you are not sure of your answer, just get back on it later. There's plenty of time. 

After the written exam, the few of us who passed the written exam were instructed to go to the actual driving test area where we were made to wait for another hour again.

After the passing actual driving test, we were made to wait (again) as they print our driver's license.

How much. I was ready to go home and spread the good news specially to my father when I remembered I don't have money left to commute back home. I just brought with me 1000 Php thinking it would be enough. I was wrong. Good thing I had with me my ATM. For your non-pro driver's license application, expect to spend the following (as of November 2011):

100+ personal fare
300 drug test
100 application fee
67.63 computer fee (kailangan talaga may 63 centavos??) haha
350 license fee
67.63 another ridiculous computer fee (at kailangan talaga may 63 centavos ulit) haha
250 test car rent fee
10 gulaman
23 siopao
1268.26 Php

Sagad na talaga pera ko pati coins. Sana hindi nalang ako bumili ng gulaman at siopao para nakauwi pa ako. hehe. Be sure to bring around 1,500 Php para may pang Jollibee ka pa pagkatapos ng napakatagal at nakakapagod na process na to. It took me seven hours from the time I went to LTO until the time I actually got my license.

I'm glad I finally got my driver's license. And now for the next important question I have to ask my self ---

What will I drive? Wala naman kasi akong coche! hehe

Tomorrow Chevrolet- New Balance Power Run na!! Yehey! Finishers get a chance to win a brand new Chevrolet Cruze. I hope I win. If I win, of course, papasakayin ko kayo lahat. That's a promise.


-- rah

Lessons From Chevrolet New Balance Power Run 2011

NOVEMBER 6, 2011, 4:30 a.m. The time has come. It's race day.

I prepared an apple, two bananas, and a cup of coffee for breakfast. I asked my brother if he would be so kind to cheer for me up for my run - which really meant, "Can you drive me to Bonifacio Global City?" My brother was so supportive. I promised him that he can have the car if I win the raffle, but before that, I must first finish the race in less than an hour. It was raining hard. I can tell by the way the wiper of our car was working. There was no sign the rain would stop.

There was another problem. I noticed a slight tinge of discomfort on my left foot. I don't know what caused the slight pain, but I was praying it's not an injury. When we got the BGC, I stretched my foot to loosen tight muscles while waiting for the race to start. I also laced my shoes tighter for better support. After more warm ups, I concluded my foot was fine.

I positioned myself near the middle of the pack to give way to the "more competitive" runners. Then the count down,  3...2...1...  bang! Game na! Everyone was running. I was surprised almost everyone was running so fast. It was like I was running for a 500 meters dash category! I was tempted to speed it up but I had to maintain my pace. My goal was to reserve energy enough so I can run faster halfway the track.

All of us runners were soaking wet. It didn't stop raining the whole race. Another thing I noticed was that a lot ladies were very strong runners. The legs of some lady runners were distracting -- or should I say inspiring. That's what I like about the 5k, there are a lot of sexy runners. 

Just after the 5k race. I felt so happy because I've set my personal best time for a 5k.
It just came to my senses that it was already the last kilometer when I saw the 4k sign. "Gosh, it's the last kilometer, why am i jogging?" I walked for like 5 seconds to gather up may ballsthen I ran as fast as I can towards the last stretch. At that point, as I expected, there were a lot of participants already walking their way to the finish line. I run passed a good number of people in those last five hundred meters. I was very surprised where I was getting my energy coming from. I always loved that 5k  last stretch "kick" (i.e. sprint towards the end of the race).

YES! I MADE IT! Finally, I crossed the finish line with raised hand, huffing, trying to catch my breath.  I saw my brother cheering for me.

The car we didn't win. But it's ok, the prize was the race itself.
After the races, it was time for the organizers to draw the winner of the car. Sadly, my stub was not selected. But that's ok, because I still felt a winner! I realized that I can do it! I learned in training and participating for this event that I can be a better person. When I saw the FINISH line, I realized  it's just the START of brighter things to come.


A Birthday Surprise
Can't wait to attack Avril's special cake.

I DID NOT KNOW WHERE WE WERE GOING on the evening of November 24, 2011. From Sweet Pea's place, we hailed a cab and told the driver to take us to Timog.

"Where are we going?"

 "It's a surprise."

I've seen Wensha's big neon signs before, but I hardly know what happens in that spa place, except for the fact that customers are given 6 hours to eat and rest all they want, and one hour of relaxing massage. As we entered, nicely dressed crew received us at the counter. They gave us our magnetic wrist band keys for our lockers. It's my first time. The receptionist could tell, because I asked too many questions.

The food was yummy, especially the Japanese hot pot. I like it when I'm cooking my own soup with my choice of ingredients. I'm surprised Wensha offers hot pot as complementary service, it's expensive in other restaurants. For dessert, there's unlimited ice cream.
Then, it was spa time! The massage was like nirvana. The massage therapist took care of all my stiff muscles. I felt super relaxed and felt super rested. 

After the massage was through, I met Avril at the lobby. We waited for twelve o'clock a.m. while munching dimsums. I thanked her for the wonderful surprise. It has been a long while since I my last spa.

Finally it's 12 a.m! Avril gave me a birthday card, a kiss and another surprise birthday gift - a hydration belt that I can use for running. At that point I was so kilig already. I wasn't expecting it.

Then we went home. Just when I thought it was time to call it a night, there was another surprise. Our house was dark, except for two candle lights. I thought it was brown out, until I heard my sister singing: "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday happy birthday, happy birthday to you..."

My sister and Avril prepared a special made to order cake with two candles - two and nine. It was so sweet.
The next day, when I got home from school, mama and tatay prepared a feast for me. We invited my titos, titas and cousins in a small salo-salo. A lot of friends also sent their greetings through facebook and text. Some old friends came to visit, too!

-- rah


Tatay's First Race

Tatay's sporty "get up."
"Here's your running shorts, running shoes, and socks." My tatay (a senior citizen) requested my help in preparing the running gears he could use for their office sponsored fun run, and I gladly did.

The time was four a.m., the race starts in two hours at the UP oval. Cash prizes await those who finish the race. This race was different, employees were "paid" to run. How I wish all races were like this.

Under the pretext that I would be somewhere around UP to jog on my own, we drove to UP. But the truth was, I was gonna cheer for him! I can't help but smile as he lined up at the starting line. I guess I was more excited than he was.

Six thirty a.m., at the sound of the whistle, their office was running - lawyers, clerks, janitors, staff, everyone.

I jogged the opposite way to meet him halfway. When I saw him, I gave him a high five, "You can do it 'tay!"

He finished setting a personal record. It's his faster ever! You should have seen the very proud son that I was. I wish it's enough to get him to be inspired to run regularly. Yes, he sure did enjoy his first ever fun run. Mission accomplished. Next up, I hope I can get my incorrigible mom (a chain smoker) to run too.