Friday, January 29, 2010

one month na kami!

Rochie: baby, mag one month na tayo bukas.
Paui:      huh? sinecelebrate pa ba yan? Di ba anniv nlng if married na?
Rochie: *gives her new husband fierce, glowering look*
Paui:      joke lng. hehe *sabay hug para walang away*

(the above situation really did happen). As it turned out, we were not able to go out and have dinner in a fancy restaurant because Paui got sick. But we had something so much better --- a fancy dinner by moi!

Ok so it wasn't really fancy or chic. But it was a quick-and-easy-to-do dinner. I made him pesto linguini with fried salmon. Yes it was so easy that I was done in less than 30 minutes! So easy I can outline in five steps all I did:

1. Marinated my salmon in soy sauce and vinegar (I wasn't sure if you are supposed to do that but it turned out well) and placed it in fridge to chill.
2. Mixed butter, garlic, pesto and pepper in pan and cooked it a bit. Added some cheese.
3. Mixed in the linguini (obviously I boiled the pasta a bit beforehand) with the pesto sauce.
4. Fried the salmon for maybe 2 to 3 minutes then I just let it simmer in its own oil.
5. Served it to my husband ;)

Some days ago Paui bought some wine from Duty Free in Singapore (yep we always buy from Duty Free where it is waaay cheaper than buying in Carrefoure). So we had our alcohol in place. ;) And according to my husband, the flavors of the salmon and the pasta blended perfectly with our Riesling and I couldn't agree more.

Paui was actually surprised and thought the whole meal was so difficult to concoct. Needless to say, I got loads of compliments from him and several expressions of gratitude. bwahahaha. Here is a pic of him all happy and grateful and hungry (just got home from work).  A bit hurt though that he seemed so flabbergasted I can make such dishes. Tsk tsk tsk.

Happy First month of marriage baby. :)  Let us have many, many, many, many more!   I love you. *mwah*

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the morning after

I woke up on December 30 a brand new woman (*ehem*). 

During breakfast, we had a good view of the place where we held our wedding reception just the night before. It looked so different under sunlight.

Last night it had a glitzy and magical ambiance. Small but numerous  lights flickered and played rapidly around the trees and over the shrubs, as if in tune to the Millenium Choir's jazzy rythm. Last night, we slow danced under the moonlight with flashbulbs going off at the slightest provocation. I felt like a princess in my gown everytime he twirled and kissed me on the lips (and in front of so many people too!). December 29 was definitely and arguably the greatest and most eventful night in our lives (or at least till the birth of our babies).

I almost expected to feel a slow let down the morning after. But I didn't.

The morning after was devoid of the glitz and fanfare. We weren't the center of attention in a party. There were no twinkling lights , no confetti thrown as we slow danced, no band playing our favorite music as we kissed. Like our reception area, the morning after was simple. Simple yet neither dull nor ugly. For it had an ambiance all of its own -- a quiet serenity and beauty that only a deep-seated joy could bring. It sits there almost naked in the sunlight,  cradling happy memories of the night before and harbinger of many more happy memories to be made.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

more wedding stories

I am not totally obsessed about our wedding. But before our 1 monthsary comes up, I can definitely not stop talking (or writing) about it. haha.

I wish I can tell you I've given more thought to wedding details. But the crux of the matter is...I forgot a lot of stuff. Important but little stuff. Stuff like pens for guestbooks, fake rings for the pillow, petals for the flower girl baskets. Like I said. Lots of stuff. Totally. Forgotten.

And I wish I can tell you I've already forgiven myself. But I still give me an emotional kick in the head whenever I remember it. Sigh. Now I'm remembering again *emotional kick*. Sigh.

But there are things that I did remember. And did get right. And for these, I give myself a personal memento...a collage to remind me that yes, the wedding was not a total wreck after all.

Even the Bible here was borrowed from the hotel.  *kick kick kick*. Sigh. Looks like forgiveness is so far around the corner I can't even see it yet.

I love our invites though. And if I haven't said it enough, it is simple, elegant and sweet just the way I want it. Thanks Ate Emily! Hmm but why didn't Jim's team include a pic of my uber pink envelope? bwahahaha.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a bangkok itinerary -- made for PARENTS

In our first family trip abroad to Singapore, I made a rookie mistake in planning our itinerary --- I forgot to factor in my parents' age.

So I created this busy itinerary for their two week stay as I would for friends, which meant a lot of walking around Singapore, eating local cuisine and cramming visits to tourist sites. I forgot to anticipate that my parents would be tired from walking even 10 minutes to the MRT station (we had to rest at the bus station first and they hated the MRT due to all the walking), they got antsy and frustrated with lining up (long queues around Sentosa effectively ended our sentosa plans) and they didn't really like spicy food (which had us eating Dad's cooking at home). Well of course they still enjoyed the trip (I think)  but it would have been better had I foreseen the things that would cause them discomfort.

So tips for planning a trip with parents:
1. ensure lots of rest periods (taxi rides preferable)
2. cuisine that is as close to home cuisine as much as possible
3. a packed itinerary is simply not possible. Either the whole morning is packed , or the whole afternoon. But not both..please (if your parents are anything like mine, they would sleep immediately once back to the hotel or apartment).

So with these important life lessons in mind, I have drafted a parent-friendly itinerary for our next vacay in the land of smiles and beautiful (and super thin I swear) people --- Bangkok!

Day 1: Arrival in the afternoon
             Check in and rest at the Condotel
             Dinner at my favorite Thai resto along Thonglo : Thon Kreung
             Back to Condotel to Rest
Day 2: Temple Tours in the morning and early afternoon (Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha and Wat Arun)
              Go to MBK and have lunch there
             After a bit of roaming around, back to apartment to rest (trust me, they really need this rest)
             Dinner at Ekkamai One
Day 3:Floating Market Tour and Rose Garden Tour . Kuya Jco will help us book the tour here.
             This already includes lunch and would take the whole day. So I am guessing by afternoon, my   parents are exhausted. Dinner brought up to room from Brighton Kitchen. hehe.
Day 4: Mommy has tour with colleagues
Day 5: Safari World
             Dinner at Soi 13 (bwahahhaha. mango sticky rice here I come)
             Dessert at Spring and Summer  . This has this cozy, outdoor ambiance that just relaxes and soothes. I miss this place.
Day 6: Chatuchak Market tour
              Platinum Mall
              Lunch at Fuji at Central World Plaza(cheap and really good Japanese food in BKK)
              Rest back at apartment              Dinner at Khao San and walk around a bit
              Coffee and Dessert at Patpong Bug n Bee and then due to my sister's wish to see the "cultural" Pingpong show, we will watch one very briefly. My parents would have to sit this one out. haha.

pic lifted from:

Day 7: MBK to buy souvenirs for home
              Paragon and Siam Square
              Lunch at Paragon
              2 Hour Massage at Healthland Spa Ekkamai
              Rest and chill at condo (and of course prepare to pack)
              Dinner with BKK friends  at Fuji RCA

And our transpo the whole time? Taxi! hahaha. Thank God taxis are so cheap in Bangkok . :P

Saturday, January 23, 2010

my super aunti coordinator

Jim (my photog in case you haven't been following my obsession of his work) told me I was lucky to have Aunti Chary Bianes as coordinator for the suppliers. She is "abtik" in contacting the right people, have great instincts and most importantly, never even attempted to skim wedding money off me (which is a very crucial point for overseas brides).

My ever charming aunti/coordinator (and free of charge pa ito ha. hehe) gave me:
 - discounts from Sir Jim
 - discounts from DSL (as in wheedled out a lot of freebies with her smile. haha)
 - freebies from my florists
 - booked all my suppliers for me while I was abroad
 - during wedding day, she even forgot to wear her gown because she was so busy packing up the hotel room and making sure we didn't leave anything behind (and we didn't).
 - in charge of guest book and seating people accordingly (they even found one gatecrashing couple and very politely sent them to the door)
 - follow up with photographer for my raw pics and vids
 - even took leaves on the days I am in Cebu for wedding preps
 - never got mad at me even on my most bratinella bridezilla moments

so to Mami Chay, big thanks for all your help for the past year during our wedding preps and actual wedding. Paui and I owe you a lot! :) 

ps. a lot of the word 'super' is noticeably overused in this post . I apologize. I am writing this on a lazy saturday afternoon and my vocab is apparently sleeping somewhere for his siesta. I will attempt to do better next time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

the future us :)

disclaimer: this is not our baby nor did we kidnap this cute kid. We have borrowed Paui's cousin Jeremy for this photo op.  (halata naman this is not our baby kasi mukhang tisoy itong batang ito and Pau and I have the entire kayumanggi look down to a T).

so sa tingin nyo, bagay ba? coming soon to theaters near you...hahahahaa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What happened on 12.29.09

Abnormal ba ako? I still can't get enough of our onsite video. hahaha. I think I watch this at least once every 2 days. (and one time I even managed to cajole Paui in watching it with me again. :D)

onsite by Jim Ubalde's Team

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Farewells again

I was not pinning all my eggs on it, but I was hoping that my current company would be the company I would retire in. I'm not really too fond of moving companies and for the sake of my future family, I really would prefer stability in my career.

But I guess the economy and capitalists have a way of screwing up the best laid plans. So here I find myself in the fortunate position of being able to jump ship to a new company, but at the same time doing what I hate the most : saying goodbye to colleagues. But hey,it is not only me but a host of others are leaving as well. So this month has been full of goodbye lunches...

My Filipino colleagues and I said our goodbyes to the big boss by treating her to Pinoy cuisine at 7107 Flavours (Marina Square). Good thing she liked our food! We ordered all the usual suspects (Crispy Pata, Sisig, Pinakbet, Rellenong Bangus, etc). And she really loved sisig (much to our surprise).

Then the bulk of SAP team leaving (me included) is given a treat the next day at The Line, Shangri-la . This is my second time to eat here and really, the food is delicious and the varities of food available -- nakakabusog!

Many more others are expected to leave too. Such a sad and tumultuous time at the office, and just when 2010 was starting too.  :( But when doors close, a lot more others open. So I look forward to the future with trepidation, excitement and anticipation. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bangkok with family in April!

I have worked in Bangkok for nearly 3.5 years. But in all that time, I was unable to bring my family there for a vacation (that gives you an idea of how much I was paid there. hehehe).

Finally, this coming April, I would finally be able to show my mom,dad and Bea around this city I have learned to love and even call my second home. I am so excited and this will be the third family outing we have together (first time without Hazel though...but still hoping she might be able to join us).  Our first was in nearby Bohol, then our second was two Christmases ago in Singapore and Malaysia. And this year Thailand! I thank God for blessing me so I can bless my parents with travel opportunities while they are still able (though they do tend to get tired easily na).

So I am so excited already making plans for our BKK itinerary. :) I want to show them Spring and Summer, Thon Kreung, Platinum (syempre!), MBK, Safari World, Ekkamai Soi 1,  Once Upon a Time resto, Fuji (bakit puro pagkain pala nailalagay ko noh), Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Charn Issara, Patpong dancers, Siam Niramit, the floating market, Dinner Cruise...waaaaa...dami.  

It's just a great feeling knowing I would be able to share with them the great experience I have had of Thailand and its people. :) Will post our itinerary soon! hehe

pic of Kuya Mervs, Ria , Reys and me in Baiyoke Tower during our first New Year celebration there in 2004

2010 Goal #1

 *I will be posting my life goals for this year intermittently in separate entries. I could have only one or ten thousand.*

I am not a very good long distance friend. While I cherish and keep friendships, I have to admit I am pretty much lousy in maintaining them long distance (don't do phone calls because I can't be too chatty and I can't chat online because I might be too busy at work. thank God for FB huh). 

But I feel pretty proud of the fact that when I do meet those friends again, no matter how much the distance or time has passed, it would seem like we've talked only yesterday. Of course the amount of catching up, and the piles of gossip and news missed out on is enough to cover up any awkward silence that might ensue.

But I know I should do more than that. So life goal number 1: Be more proactive in keeping in touch with friends...whether to greet them on birthdays or for just plain catching up like the pic below of me and my Cebu Sci Hi friends in a restaurant in Holland Village.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Supplier Ratings

For the most part, I don't have any complaints against our wedding suppliers. I was pretty happy with the way things turned out, and if there were some tiny mishaps, most probably it was our fault (not theirs).

I've placed the value I got their services for, but since I got them early 2009 and applied a lot of charm and smiles (mostly courtesy of Aunti Chary),  the prices you might get them for could be higher (or lower).

church: Sacred Heart Parish Church

pros: since they were strict with the ceremony, I have to admit that we were able to preserve the solemnity of the entire wedding mass. :) They even had a cordon around the altar area to prevent photographers from just crossing. haha. So all our church pics look lovely, pristine and clean.
cons: strict on time and not allow personal vows, confetti throwing and the like on church grounds. super baaaddd acoustics. I didn't believe Dr. Blanco when they told me about this before. But now I understand. sigh.
peso power: 8500 including flower arrangements on the aisle and the car.

reception venue: Chateau de Busay

pros: beautiful and elegant garden set up. They were very professional too because they were setting up the back up room just in case it rains. During food tasting, we made mention of some items that needed improvement and voila, they seemed to note it down because the food was absolutely delish.
cons: a bit far from the city center. Took us around 30 minutes to 45 minutes to make the ascent.  but we managed to get around this problem by hiring a bus (yes a bus! di man lng coaster noh? hehe) to ferry guests to Chateau then back to the city.
peso power: 420 per head including gazebo, basic flower decor, and wine for toasting. We had over 250 guests. :)

photographer and video: Jim Ubalde Photography

pros:  Beautiful pictures, wonderful and fun to work with (as in no air despite all his success). And to be honest, I wasn't expecting much regarding the onsite video, but I was so so so happy with the result. See it here.  And my bridesmaids/cousins were hankering after him to take their pictures!
cons: Just had one tiny tiny complaint though...there was this portion of time that Pau and I were doing nothing while waiting for reception to start. I just wish he had made time for us to have picture-taking around Chateau de Busay as the place was so beautiful. 

hmu: Ramil Solis

pros: He made me beautiful on my wedding day (and my moms and sisters too!). He really works magic with his hands. And to think I didn't get a retouch sa reception na but my usually Tzone oily face was still radiant. And I like the hair -- how it was done. It fit my bill of the traditional looking bridal hair but still not too traditional. Everyone was complimenting my make up and how pretty I look (grrr parang surprised sila lahat kasi siguro mukha akong alila on normal days. haha)
cons: During the make up session, I got the feeling that he was mad at me or something. Or that I did something wrong that didn't please him. Or maybe it was just me because he was actually friendly , just not as flamboyantly friendly as Jim I guess. His assistants (the one doing the hair) were nice and funny too keeping the mood light.
peso power: 8000 for 8 people, including the bride .

Bridal Gown andEntourage Gowns: Cres Abines

cons: he kept moving the dates of the fittings as he couldn't produce on the time line that I requested of him, despite me having booked him almost 8 months in advance.  The fit of my dress at my chest area was not correct which made me uncomfortable.  He promised that the trail of my gown would be pinned to my back during reception. But on the eve of my wedding day, suddenly he tells me "no it cannot be done".  He promised me a pink garter as per our discussion. On wedding day, he chastises me that "garters are supposed to be blue".  He promised me (and I even have it on contract) a simple white dress for dress up. But he suddenly reneges on it, claiming nalulugi na daw sya koz of so many bridesmaids. But I didn't push it anymore as it wasn't worth all the drama.
pros: the output, I have to admit, was very good. Nothing fell apart at the seams and the colors were magnificent. Cres really has an eye for details and design. And I guess I just had too much stress during the preps but during the day itself, he was on hand to assist me into my gown, fix my gown and overall, make me, my ento and my mom look good. So basically I would still recommend him to friends, although he really has to work on being more organized. And on time.
peso power: 20k for bridal gown, 5 BM, 1 MOH and bridal accessories. Paid additional 3500 for mother of the bride gown.

** the bags and headbands courtesy of Ria Sordan. Thanks to her impeccable taste, it matched our gowns perfectly! ***

choir and strings for reception: Millenium Choir (Dr Blanco)

pros: Very good choir and they even practiced on the song Lucky that Paui and I especially requested for our first dance. Dr Blanco is familiar with playing in different Cebu churches so he can easily give suggestions for what songs to sing during the mass. And during reception, they even played after the program was done to entertain the guests. And one more thing, they were so honest that when we by mistake gave them envelope meant for another supplier, he called up to return it to us.
cons: ako maisip pa.
peso power: 12k for having them at church and reception. and they have their own transportation too

emcee: Kaye Alfafara

pros: she was on time and very lively. She spoke in both English and Bisaya which gave a relaxed feel to the wedding. And I liked how she made the games fun.
cons: she allowed a tita to sing TWO songs...which were definitely not part of the program. Muntik na magkaraoke night dun. And she cut short our AVP by Pau's sister Emily which made the ending anti climactic tuloy. But minor things I guess as the guests all thought her a very good emcee.
peso power: 6k


on the day coordinator: Wedding Solutions by Elnie Samoramos

pros: came very prepared and organized. He knew what I wanted (schedules, checklists, the MinyoNami sign on the car , etc) and he willingly obliged. His team seemed to know what to do especially during the preps and church part and early on in the reception. I forgot a lot of stuff, like the pens for the guestbook. Good thing he was so ready. He really helped set me and my family at ease.
cons: I just noticed though that by the middle of the reception, his team was not functioning anymore and it was just Elni doing all the coordinating. 
peso power: 15k for 6 coordinators

projector and sound system: DSL

peso power: 8k for the screen, projector and sound system --> really thanks to aunti chary
pros: very open to negotiation. And they were on time too!

prep place: Waterfront Hotel

pros: we got the family room so it was a big, big area
cons: the room apparently did not have any friggin windows. Thank God for Jim's team who brought this super mega light that lit up the whole room.
peso power: 10k

florist: Alex Monteclar

pros: gave us super pretty bouquets and buttonaires and wrist corsages. Although the buttonaires did not work well with the barongs. The best though was the beautiful and simple and elegant floral pieces that he did for the reception near the stage. It was subtle and totally devoid of ferns that I absolutely abhor. 
cons: no cons as he was on time and totally professional about it.
peso power: 10k for the reception arrangement and entourage flowers/corsages

cake: Chedz Cakes

pros: We forgot to pay the full amount before the wedding (and we only remembered on the eve itself) but they were still professional and delivered this beautiful wedding cake that was beautiful to see on the outside and delicious inside. ;) And Cecil was easy to talk to and she immediately understood what we wanted.
cons: nothing...
peso power: my sis was paying. hehehe. it cost 13500 for 3 tiered cake plus 300 cupcakes. yum!

Back up HMU (for the entourage and my other titas) --> Vincent Bermejo

pros:  very nice and sweet guy. Fast and efficient in doing makeup and had done surprisingly natural make up too.
cons: I should have put them in another suite as all the people lining up to have their make up done sort of made the room more chaotic.
peso power: 5000 for 10 faces 

Other suppliers:

Bus --> Uncle Noel's friend. Extremely reliable. Cost us only 5500 for waterfront pickup then to church then to chateau de Busay then back to Waterfront. Totally not bad as it had no time limit.
Bridal Car --> gift from Tita Nimfa (ninang) and it was a white Camry.  :)

Rings --> from Aspial . Amount will remain undisclosed. haha.

ps: di ko na include the little things like shoes, back up shoes, etc ha.

All in all, Paui and I were totally satisfied with the suppliers we picked. During the course of the recession year, we always had our budget in mind (thus no photobooth and fireworks, though we did get the latter for free. haha). But even with budget constraints, we also wanted our wedding to not look cheap and instead retain elegance in its simplicity, and thus chose the best people who can help us achieve that. And I would like to think that we chose the right people. ;) 

What do you think?

10 Things I am Thankful for During the Wedding

10. I did not need to urinate or go to the loo during the whole wedding, from the time I donned on my wedding gown to the time I took it off (well, you know...that time...). This is a really good thing because my maid-of-honor/sister and I were wondering how the heck we were going to manage this cleanly when nature called. 

09. I got free fireworks. Initially I was a tad bit upset that another wedding was going on just below ours (we got the city view of Chateau. They had the place below the city view). But in the end it was all good. Because during our dinner (and presumably the end of their reception), they let loose beautiful fireworks and our venue had the best view of it! Some of our guests even thought those were ours. hahaha.

08. And because there was another wedding, and probably because it was holiday season, the whole Chateau de Busay was lit up with beautiful lights just everywhere giving our open view reception a lit up, romantic ambiance. And to think I was a bit worried it would be too dark. haha.

07. It did not rain on our wedding day. It rained the day before. It rained two days after. But the skies were clear on the day that we wanted it to be. And for that I am really thankful.

06. I did not lose my cool. At all. Not even when one tita attempted to sabotage the whole reception by turning it into a karaoke free-for-all. (well of course I had to scurry off my coordinator to pull said tita off-stage IMMEDIATELY. but that's all.)

05. I did not trip on my walk down the aisle. But I was so conscious though of everyone looking at me that I forgot to smile in the beginning. And I forgot to hug my mom. haha.

04. The whole hotel room was very chaotic. All my cousins and aunts were there for hair and make up. All our things strewn about. But the amazing thing? We all made it to church on one was late. Not one entourage member...none, even the ninongs and ninangs. I am so thankful. :)

03. I just finished my menstrual period two days before our wedding day. The timing couldn't be more perfect. For a girl who would be the center of attention while wearing a pristine white dress...this is very crucial information.

02. We had two priests officiating our wedding. Now we feel doubly blessed. :)

01. My baby and I are finally, officially married after almost four years. :) Time for our new life to begin!

Bring on 2010!

I have to confess now that for the last three months of 2009, I have used wedding preparations as a shield from the anxieties and uncertainties surrounding my 2010.

I needed a new job.
An interview for a job I wanted didn't result in a favorable outcome.
We needed to move to a new apartment.
My PR was not approved yet.
And I was facing the bleak prospect of not having income for at least two months. For a breadwinner, this was the most disastrous outcome of all.

After our honeymoon (my last solace of peace, I felt), I kept on praying that everything would work out fine. But I was not so optimistic ( faithless spirit).

So I felt so thankful and so blessed when two things greeted me on my arrival home:

A job offer.
A PR approval letter.

Thank you God for the blessings. I really really promise to read the whole Bible in one year. Really. :)

2010 now looks like a glass half-full. And I look forward to a year of challenges, blessings and love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mission accomplished!

Pau and I finally made it to the church --- and on time too! We enjoyed our wedding and loved every bit of it (ok so there were minor stressful portions but I can gloss over that for now). And we had a lovely honeymoon too. (hehe. wink wink). More kwentos and I will definitely rate my suppliers.

Now I have to haul my ass off dreamland and back to reality as our married life begins ;)