Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After 'Ondoy': Looking for the silver lining

Initially I wanted to rant about 'Ondoy' through my blog, but i decided not to since i know I we weren't the only ones affected. If you must know, our family lives in Vista Verde in Cainta, Rizal, one of the severely hit areas in the country by 'Ondoy'. It was really the worst typhoon experience I've ever had in my whole 25 years of existence. In a nutshell, half our house was submerged in water, all our appliances, clothes, bags, shoes, sack of rice, food, pictures, letters, memorabilias and other things you'll find inside the house of sentimental people got soaked in water that's even higher than I am for a day. We had to stay at our neighbors house to get through the 2 days of 'Ondoy'. We didn't lose everything, but it feels like we're starting over.
But despite all the not-so-good things that happened, I shall cling to the cliche that 'there's always a silver lining'. The recent storm that took so much from our country and people brought about a lot of good things too. Benevolence, generosity, gratefulness and many more were put into play during this so-called onslaught of 'Ondoy'. Allow me to elaborate:
Benevolence - This came after the storm wherein so many groups - private and public were mobilized to do all sorts of relief operations. Even the company I work in gave so many special considerations for those employees severely affected by the typhoon.
Generosity - In our village alone, homeowners with houses with two or more storeys didn't hesitate to take in neighbors whose houses were completely flooded. Our own neighbors even provided us with our own room to stay in - we had the playroom to ourselves. We had good food, drinking water and dry clothes.
Gratefulness - After the storm, news about the losses were balanced out by news of gratefulness. People with houses submerged in water were still very much thankful that their families are complete and that their losses are just material. I may have lost my laptop, digicams, ipod, speakers and other gadgets, but we're all safe and dry. That's more than enough to be thankful for.
Spirit of family and community - The storm has brought neighbors closer who earlier didn't bother to get to know each other but now consider themselves close friends. Families also bonded because of the disaster, hoping to mend whatever material things were broken with the hope and happiness family brings. I got to see my titas and relatives from Malabon and I got to talk to my cousins more often too.
These are just some of the positive things I got out of 'Ondoy', I won't thank the blasted storm (sheesh), but I'll thank the Lord and remember what I got out of it and what I gained despite my loss.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tastes like Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream

Who would have thought that one would find a local match to Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream (CSC) sans the big pack and the ridges? Well, I did, along with most of my friends whom I've converted; in Jack 'n Jill Potato Chips Cheddar and Sour Cream.
I really swear on this product. Give it a try and it's like eating Ruffles CSC, plus the good thing about it is that it's locally made ~ a proud product of the Philippines. And do you know that the benefits of purchasing locally made products go a long way? Yup, it trickles down to the people who help bring the products to sari-sari stores, groceries and supermarkets - our fellow Filipinos who work in the production plants of local snacks in Manila as well as in the provinces.
So aside from the stateside taste you've been craving for, buying Potato Chips Cheddar and Sour Cream instead would work wonders not just for you, but for the Pinoys behind it. Plus every time you bite into the goodness of this product, you also sample the ingenuity and world class abilities of Filipinos. Now isn't that a greater delight for the senses? Try it, maybe you'll feel the way as I do. =)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plant a tree - CHECK (technically)

Since finishing college in 2006, I’ve had this list of things to do before I get married. I guess it was my way of making sure that I did things for myself before I give the whole of me completely to my husband-to-be. Fast forward to today, it’s just a year to go before I marry my fiancé and I’m feeling the pressure to tick off more boxes off my list.
Thankfully, I’ve added another check to my list last Saturday. For my 25th birthday, I decided to adopt 25 trees at the La Mesa Ecopark. I invited 25 of my friends to join me and take time out to give back to mother nature (cheesy). As a whole it was a half day well spent. The program entailed a free tour of the ecopark, but the main event was the nursery activity (read: tree planting at its baby-est form). We got to watch a very compelling video on how needed it is to do your share in saving nature because it will directly affect our lives as we know it. We were amazed/shocked on the many ‘Do you knows’ that were enumerated.

Do you know…

Ø that brushing with a closed faucet uses up 0.25 gallons of water and that brushing with the water running on the other hand uses up 4 gallons?
Ø that flushing the toilet is another 3 gallons of water?
Ø that a 10-minute shower will cost the world 50 gallons of water?

The above are just the ones I remember. The ‘Do you knows’ were really eye-openers and now I do know. Note to self: try to be more conscientious about water usage. After the videos off to plant we went, we filled little black bags with healthy soil with earthworm poop (that’s incidentally very helpful in the planting world), got our pricking sticks and stuck in super baby seedlings. We were told that the seedlings we planted will have to stay at the nursery for 6 month to grow before they are planted into the forest. It sounded promising.

To cut the long story short, it’s another box ticked off my list. And now I’m proud and happy to share with you the status of my list. Now I’m really pressured to accomplish everything since I’ve decided to share it in the world wide web, no less. But today more that ever, I am determined and I have a good feeling that I will manage to have all things checked before September 25, 2010.

Zei’s list of things to do before getting married

Take up any kind of post-grad studies – CHECK
Take the FSO exam
Get a new job (2nd job) – CHECK
Travel – CHECK
Sponsor the schooling of at least 1 kid
Start up a business
Be an ice skating coach
Buy mom & dad something grand
Plant a tree – CHECK

Why not make a list of your own. I think the best thing about making a list is that you know you’re the one in charge and you’re the only person who can make things happen. Your list could be on the things you want to do before you reach a certain age or something. Having my list helps me a lot. It pushes me strive to be better however little ways I’ve chosen. Plus it’s also fun. So that’s it, until my next CHECKED to do.

25 high!

I turned 25 a few days ago, last September 18 to be exact. This won’t be a long read, don’t worry. I just want to send out this BIG BIG thank you to life, to the world, to the Lord, to everyone in my life and maybe even just out into the void. I don’t think taking on quarter life has been this happy and optimistic. I feel it in my guts that I’m on my way to being the best version of me ever.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the little skirt that can

I'm a fan of fashion and most describe mine as feminine and girly, probably because I like cheery and bright colors with that frilly flowy feel. Today I shall share with you the story of my little-skirt-that-can: my semi-tiered printed chiffon skirt.

I'm a mainstay at any SM department store - more often in SM Megamall, SM Makati and SM Marikina and always on the lookout for my next perfect find. This one fine day my eye caught sight of this blue and yellow skirt that was incidentally a different colored version of the one a colleague of mine had, which I immediately fell inlove with. Without much contemplation, I went on to fit it and of course, I knew I had to have it. It had the right amount of girly and uniqueness that I wanted for all things in my wardrobe. So I bought it, no surprise there. Barely Php 500.00, it was a steal - I felt like a winner in a 'Look for Less' challenge kind of way.

Since I got my little-skirt-that-can, I've just worn it twice and I'm reaping more than what I've invested. I get compliments for it - from my family, my workmates, my fiance and from random people. Just yesterday, I was at the mall and this girl kept peering at me as if she knew me. She lingered for minutes until she looked at me and asked where I got my skirt, 'it's so pretty', she said with a smile. I was happy to oblige, so I told her of the many treasures one can find in the SM department store. I love sharing when it comes to fashion - I don't keep my knowledge to myself.=)

I guess my point here is that you need not look for known brands to uncover little-outfits-that-can. It's all in your vision and expression of your own style. Why not drop by any department store near you and explore the things they have to offer. You might be surprised on the fun things you'll find and even end up with savings of a peso or a hundred more. Now won't that be just perfect?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of cheerdance powerhouses and school spirit

The places have been announced, the awards for the 2009 Samsung UAAP Cheerdance Competition have been given out. And this is my shoutout, I think I have sufficient background in dance and cheerdancing to say this, 'UP ang Galing mo!'

UP and Galing mo

Narito kami nagpupugay
Sa unibersidad ng aming buhay
Ikaw pa rin ang binabalikan
Di pa rin malilimutan
Ikaw ang UP naming mahal

Salamat sa iyong mga guro
Salamat sa iyong pagtuturo
Taglay niyo ang kahusayan
Taglay niyo ang karunungan
Hinubog niyo kami sa kabutihan
Sandaang taon na tayo
Lagi ka pa rin sa aming puso
Kayat kamiy sumasaludo
UP ang galing mo
UP ang galing mo

Wala nang iba pang maihahambing
Sa talino mot angking galing
Daanin man sa siyensiya
High-tech man o kahit ano pa
Ikaw UP ang nangunguna
Sa iyong mga dugo ang kasaysayan
Dumaloy sa pag-unlad ng ating bayan
Sagisag ka ng kagitingan
Bandila ka ng kalayaan
Pag-asa ka ng mamamayan
Sandaang taon na tayo
Lagi ka pa rin sa aming puso
Sentro ka ng pagbabago
UP ang galing mo
UP ang galing mo

Sandaang taon na tayo
UP ang galing mo
UP ang galing mo

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Read and Think

The title is a bit lengthy, but it sums up the contents of the book. 12 Little Things Every Filipino can do to help our Country by Alex Lacson is indeed a must read for any conscientious Filipino. It's been out since 2005 and I'm posting this as a reminder, just in case you haven't read it or in case you've forgotten. Here are the 12 little things you and I can do to help our country:

1. Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.
2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt.
3. Don't buy smuggled goods. Buy Local. Buy Filipino.
4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country.
5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.
6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.
7. Support your church.
8. During elections, do your solemn duty.
9. Pay your employees well.
10. Pay your taxes.
11. Adopt a scholar or poor child.
12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.

These are the 12 little things every Filipino can do to help our country. Some are quite a feat even for those who have read this book over and over. But knowing these 12 things is already a step into becoming a better individual. Eventually, one by one, we could imbibe these and become better Filipinos and become a better nation.

I've met Alex Lacson and got a chance to pick his brain back in 2007 and I'm very happy to say that the author lives up to what he has written. He's probably one of the most kind hearted and gentle person I've ever met in my lifetime. It actually shows. So when you do read his book, you'll know it isn't hypocrisy, it's really who he is and what he has written can be done. Reading his book is a good start.

Quoting Alex Lacson, "We are a people capable of greatness."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Polyvore: More than just mixing and matching

I have this habit of looking for deeper purposes about things. Today my focus is on To me, and to many others out there, it's more than just a website wherein you can mix and match clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and other what have yous to your heart's content. It is, on so many levels, a revelation. The way I see it, aside from allowing members to pick the ensemble that fancies them, it allows the Polyvore goer and the viewers of their profile to get to know who they really are through the sets they create. It gives the member an identity and the freedom to express themselves through fashion. One can derive from the many sets that a particular person is carefree, reserved, chic, adventurous or eccentric (in a good way) and many more from the colors and fashion combinations they come up with. It may be pushing the idea too far, but I think sites such as Polyvore foster creativity, imagination, resourcefulness (creating the look for less) and individuality. It could also be aspirational for some - they know what they like and they'll work on achieving that exactly. It's a site worth visiting for those into fashion, fashion converts or maybe even for those curious about anything and everything about contemporary culture. Check it out, if you like what you see, sign in and be the master of your own identity (read: make your own fashion statement). Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here come the BER months

There's something about September 1 that delights me and brings that warm and fuzzy feeling. It's probably because today is the official start of the Christmas season (for me and my mom, that is and maybe for a special few). Today I start my Christmas countdown - 115 days to go to be exact. High spirits are on the loose as radio stations and morning shows start playing good old Christmas carols and malls around the metro bring out their Christmas wares proving that Pinoy Chritmases are always a notch special. I guess there's really something about today that brings a smile to everyone's faces. Soon enough, the nights will be longer and the breeze will be colder, houses will put up their parols and lights and everyone can't help but smile. Yup, the BER months are officially here, my countdown begins and new found cheer creeps in. If you read this, do help me in spreading the happiness that is worthy of the upcoming Christmas season. Happy Christmas all!
* Photo credits go to blogger budznievera