26 November 2011

A Birthday Surprise

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!

Super special cake from Avril. Made to order :D

as in super effort :) Every bite was like heaven. The star of the party.

Running hydration belt made by Adidas but from from the heart of Sweet Pea.

Hindi ko na kailangan iipit ang pera ko sa brip ko
while I'm running ... hehe if you know what I mean. :p

Can't wait to attack Avril's special cake.

My sister Angelica's super shrimp with her secret sauce

Tatay's specialty ginataang crabs. Super sarap, everyone went crazy.

My Tatay's specialty. Feisty spicy crabs.

Feast with family and friends

Avril's awsome surprise.

Liempo and Shashimi c/o mama and tatay

Good old friends visiting :) thanks guys, you remembered :)

"Where are we going?" I remembered my question to Avril. I realized that the answer to that question wasn't really a place -- but a moment in time. A moment in time I will treasure forever.  I closed my eyes,  made a wish... and thanked God, my family, and my good friends.

25 November 2011

25th of November 2011 (1:10 a.m.)

Thank you Avril, Angelica, family and friends... :D

20 November 2011

Inviting My Friends to Run

The singlets, race bibs, timing chip, and instruction manual of my
classmates. This is all that's left after I've distributed the rest.
Face. You have to put up a "face" when it is time to get grades. The face must neither be happy nor sad. It must be somewhere in between :/ <--- like this perhaps.

When I got my grades at the Dean's office, slowly, subject by subject, I peaked into my grade sheet with a "face" on.

1. The Dean gave me a passing grade...
2. Retired Justice of the Court of Appeals passed me... so far so good.
3. Justice of Sandigan Bayan passed me...
4. MTC Judge passed...
5. The Associate Dean passed me...
6. Attorney Doctor President of the largest medical association in the Philippines passed me...
7. Senior Partner of Law Firm... passed me!

 It's the first time I'll be joining
the Milo Marathon
 The 5k, of course, is my favorite. 
I passed all subjects I took in this semester. I wasn't expecting it. I've considered my self "dead" halfway the semester as my midterm grades were hanging by a thread. It really is a blessing.

I ask my self what's the difference between this sem and those I've taken in the past; I had only one thing in mind -- Running.

Running is a diversion from all the stress of school. It gets me to wake up early. It develops speed, endurance, time management, and a unique positive perspective -- all are helpful in work and life. It just keeps the energy flowing. God really meant the body to be moving.

And just like that, I got my friends sold.  I got a good number of them to join the 35th Milo Marathon with me. Inviting them to a race is the best way I can introduce them to the joy of running. I was so excited for them I even volunteered to register them as soon as possible. We will all be running the race favorite 5K category. I hope running makes a positive effects on my friends and classmates' work and life as it did to me. When I was still starting to advocate for running, I told myself that if I could just get one person to discover the benefits of running, I'm already happy.

See you at MOA grounds on 11th of December good friends :)


17 November 2011

Farewell Lolo Pancho

An outstanding man full of talent, his greatness emanates naturally in his character. Everyone close to him knows he had an amazing way of looking at the world. He saw beauty in everything and expressed his love through art, fashion, music, and dancing.

I learned a lot from him, although my meeting with him was brief. He taught me valuable life lessons I will cherish my whole life:

"In everything that you do, do it with love in your heart and you will always find yourself in a good position. Whether it be studying in school, dealing with others, practicing your craft, learning an art, or performing for others -- by doing it with love in your heart, you will always find yourself in a positive light." - He said.

He also taught me the value of smiling. "Smiling  is priceless." - he said. "It creates so much but doesn't cost anything. A smile motivates and inspires others, it is always appreciated, and always leads to success..."

But I won't see Lolo Pancho smile again. He has joined his Creator in Peace on a good morning of 11.11.11. Just February this year we celebrated his 86th birthday in Bacolod together with Avril and her family. Nobody expected it would be this soon.

I will forever cherish the wonderful life lessons you imparted Lolo Pancho.

I pray Almighty Father hear our prayers for Lolo Pancho whom You have called from this life to Yourself. Grant him light, happiness, and peace. Guard him from all harm and give him eternal life in Your light. Amen.

10 November 2011

Lessons I learned Running the 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. 

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 balls, then 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.

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.


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We were all drenched and wet. 

Just after the 5k race. I felt so happy because I've set my personal best time for a 5k.

I forgot my watch, good thing I can tell the time from here. 

One of the prizes: Libre, papayungan ka ng chick :)

"Lamig daw." Libreng massage from another chick. Haha

The car we didn't win. But it's ok, the prize was the race itself.

05 November 2011

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 FAILED stamped 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 the FAILED 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.

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.

Picture time:
Basta driver, sweet lover.

Actual testing ground. That little car right there is the test car. The rent for the test car is 250 Pesos. Mind you, you will be using it for not more than three minutes.

 Doing the math, if (100) one hundred applicants rent this one tiny car  for (5) five days a week at 250 Pesos each, its gross income can easily reach  roughly (6) six million pesos per year.  In five years, it would be 30 million. Let's just say half lang doon ang net income. 15 million parin. WOW! Kumikitang kabuhayan 'to ah!!

After so many years, I finally found the courage to abandon my "protest" and get my driver's license. 

LTO Licensing Center Diliman Branch. Brace yourself, there's a lot of cold hearts here.

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Thank God I have extreme patience.

The "Lecture Room" I was talking about.
Ignore the word "lecture," that's only a room.
 No lectures are conducted there.
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

Entry narin po ito para sa pacontest ng Gilboard Grows Up link --- > http://gillboard.blogspot.com/2011/12/repost-pacontest-extension.html