Sunday, October 31, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: WEEKEND MADNESS!

I am now on the last week of my sem break. As you all know, classes start this November 5. However, enrollment is extended until November 13. 

Well, in my case, I don't know if it's a good or a bad news that another major subject (which I thought won't be offered this sem) is now offered. The subject is DEVC 263: Communication of Scientific and Technical Information. By reading the subject description, I can now feel the magnitude of the paper works, discussions, and research. However, looking on the bright, should I be able to successfully finish this subject together with DEVC 204: Communication Research, I can focus more on my Thesis next semester. After that, say hello to graduation. Paaaaaak! I guess, it's a good news then!

Since I just learned today that DEVC263 is offered, I immediately emailed UP OU for additional assessment of fees. Hopefully I can settle this before the day ends. I'll just borrow money from my father because I can't send money today. Wala na akong pera? LOL!

So how's my weekend? I must say, I am tired yet so happy. My social life has been so UP for the past days which I think is good. Surely, I miss this when my sem starts. Let me share my winning weekend!

A NEW PLACE, A NEW BEGINNING

Last Saturday night, Ma'am Betsy invited me to come over for dinner. She told me that a special dinner was prepared by the maintenance staff of her unit, a housing provided by UBD to its staff. Actually, the dinner was Ma'am Betsy's treat to the staff especially for taking good care of her place - from gardening needs, wall painting, and a lot more. Currently, Ma'am Betsy is still staying in hotel. She plans to move in her new place before the year ends.

Despite the heavy rain, I safely reached Ma'am Betsy's hotel. Soon, we drove to the site of her flat. The moment we arrived, big smiles greeted us. Plus, the yummulicious smell of the food hypnotized our hungry senses.

And because the food was so appetizing - homecooked pansit, fried fish and talbos ng kamote - I didn't have the chance to take a snapshot. Plus, we didn't use any utensils. Nagkamay kami!

After an hour, Ma'am Betsy and I went to her Flat. Now, let's take a tour.

Ma'am Betsy's unit is very elegant looking. It's spacious, well-lighted and has a big balcony in the dining area and receiving area. It is also facing a 'mini' mountain and the area where the sun rises.
The Vanity Area of Ma'am Betsy's room!

Cabinets

The living room

Ma'am Besty is simply overjoyed!

Relaxing hallway leading to the bedrooms - one for guests, a masters, and one for Ma'am's son.

Ma'am so looooved color orange. Newly painted walls which she requested.

Behind Ma'am is where she plans to hang her flat screen!

The Kitchen!

I soooo love the cabinets doors. It's elegant.

As I look in this hallway, I imagine a lot of 'drama' stories to write!

The study table facing the mountain!

Big Bed!

Lovely cabinet in the Walk-in closet

Ma'am asking Manong to take care of her plants.


Lovely lights compliment the ambiance!

Ma'am and me!

In the dining area.

We're thinking of hanging a stylish clock on this wall.

The main door.

Ma'am just looooved the Japanese Inspired Dividers.

Nice dining set!

Ma'am is loving the dividers!

The balcony - good for exercise, barbecue sessions, and more!
Ma'am Betsy and I plan to decorate her unit, soon. For now, I'll lend her my Interior Design books (thanks to Real Living Bookazines) which I got from the Philippines, so she can pick a theme for the interior.

Gosh, I can't wait for our decorating session. Plus, she's inviting me for a movie marathon and sleep over. Now, I have to manage my time to accommodate upcoming activities.

Ma'am hopes to bring her family in Brunei, soon. Her husband is working in Malaysia right now while her son is in the Philippines.

WHAT A LOVELY AFFAIR!

Right after the Sunday mass, Ma'am Betsy, Tita and I attended Tita Ming and Tito Des' Birthday celebration at Tarindak d Seni, a posh Malay restaurant situated at the Kampong Ayer area. I got to know Tita Ming and Tito Des through Ma'am Betsy. They all work for UBD.

 Tita Ming and Tito Des invited a few guests and I was fortunate to be chosen. Around 20 guests came; Father Arin was there; Philippine Embassy Labor Attache Ma'am Elizabeth Recio was there, and some familiar faces that I see in the church.
The guests and the celebrants!

The view from where I sat.

I soooooo loved the food at Tarindak d Seni. It was a buffet with a complete course from appetizers, malay cuisine, fruits, desserts, and drinks. Seriously, I was sooooo full!
a quick snapshot!

Choosing what to eat!

My fooooood!

Grilled fish and beef!

Ambuyat!!!!!!!!

Tita Mabel trying the Ambuyat

Desserts!

Before the celebration ended, we gave Tita Ming and Tito Des a birthday surprise. We had the staff of Tarindak d Seni to bring the cake which they blew. On the side, I sang a song. It's a unique song because I simply put a melody on the birthday card that I should had just read. Since mostly knew me as a church singer, they prodded me to sing the message of the card, which by the way, I assisted to compose. A one night stay at the Empire Hotel was the main 'rhetorical' surprise of the card.
The cake comes in!

Tita Ming and Tito Des getting ready!

Excited to blow!

Sealed with a kiss!

The day didn't end with some cam whoring. Me and Ma'am had some snapshots at the receiving area where an indoor garden and some cultural pieces were displayed.






FAMILY!

I feel blessed that I meet people who treat me like family in Brunei. With the love and care, I can cope up with the call of homesickness. Of course, while nothing can ever replace the happiness of being with my real family, my encounters with the people around me that makes me feel at home help me be strong and inspired to conquer my challenges in overseas life. Thanks to Ma'am Betsy, to Tita Ming, Tito Des, and Tita Mabel for all the joys you bring into my life. Salamat po! =)

SAVEVIVOR!

As you all know, today is the first day of my 30-day money-saving challenge called SAVEVIVOR, dare to Save and Survive! As a jumpstart I prepared my lunch yesterday.I cooked adobong manok with some potatoes. I personally chose to cook Adobo because it doesn't easily spoiled.

Actually, I prepared a set of lunch which I estimate to last three days. Of course, I also schedule some days for me to eat out.

With our office microwave still broken ( I already told my boss about it and no action is made yet), I had no choice but to reheat my lunch in the house early morning. So, by the time I eat my lunch, it won't be 'that' cold. Pahirap di ba?

Today, since I already have my packed lunch, I don't think I need to spend for something. Unless, I craved for sweets which I plan to control.
Adobong manok with potatoes!

Plastic Boxes with Brown Rice inside.

On the side, yesterday, I shopped for some apples, laundry powder and my contact lenses solution. All in all, I spent BND40.42. With that, I'm left with BND159.58! I have to sustain this until the end of November.  Okay, I know it's pricey but I paid BND23.88 for three 360Ml of my contact lenses solution which I think will last me for four months.

This is where I put the Two Hundred Dollar Budget for this month. I hope to not exceed on my budget. Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!

The money vault!
DO YOU HAVE ANY MONEY-SAVING TIPS FOR OFWS? SHARE IT, NOW NA!

Friday, October 29, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: LA MUSICA, BRAVISSIMA!


Normally, on a Friday night, you will see and hear me sing in the church choir practice. Apparently, there's a deviation from the traditional routine. Elna, one of my close friends in Brunei, gave me a call, which I missed for eight times because my phone was in silent mode and I was eating at the moment she called, and invited me to the 2010 Toyota Classics. Seriously, I was surprise to find out that Elna handed me a BND150 ticket, a VIP ticket for the event. In pesos, BND150 is 4,500 pesos! Indeed, a blessing!

The pathway leading to the main hall.

The stairs going up to where the VIPs will seat.

The walls seen on the upper balcony.

The program card and ticket.

Thanks Elna for the VIP Seat!
The Toyota Classics is an annual event organized by NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd in cooperation with Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Ltd. In this event, high brow performances from selected foreign Orchestra are showcased. For the 2010 Toyota Classics, the Orchestra Citta Di Firenze performed in a two-hour musical extravaganza. Orchestra Citta di Firenze has been established by some of the  most talented musicians in Italy with the purpose of performing chamber music and Italian Orchestra repertoire.
The stage
As a music lover and a singer by heart, a rare invite to the Toyota Classics is not to be missed. With 40 minutes to prepare before my friend pick me up, I hit the toilet, showered and dressed. Thankfully, despite the cramming, I was able to mix and match some of my clothes to match the formal gathering. I wore a checkered long sleeves, a vest, a black shoes and a pants with some stripped of white lines. 
Me in my formal attire!
Soon, my friend arrived and picked me. We headed to the International Convention Center.
The Orchestra Citta di Firenze
We're supposed to come back to my Elna's house because she forgot her shawl when we received a call from her friend Dina saying that latecomers won't be allowed to get inside and watch the concert. Having realized that we're left with 20 minutes to reach the venue and Dina's offered help of lending her shawl to Elna, we speed up to reach ICC.
Dina, me and Elna.
It was drizzling that night when we reached ICC. Should we know that tickets with BND150 are allowed to park inside the ICC grounds, we won't dare to go on the other parking lot which has the buses to pick up guests who are attending the event. But since Dina had the ticket and we're in the parking space, we just immediately parked and headed to where the buses were. Thankfully, we're not late!

Red carpet and charming staff of the event welcome us, the guests. There were some finger foods to stuff us before the program starts. Since I just my dinner, I just grabbed one piece of Quiche and drank more water.
Fooooood!
Soon, the guest of honor arrived, Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman. On one hand, Ninan Chacko, Managing Director of NBT (Brunei) Snd Bhd gave his opening speech with an insight on the challenges and joys of putting an annual Grand Concert that two organization will benefit - Learning Ladders Society and Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Mariam. Each organization received BND40,000 in support of developing and fostering its program to improve the lives of its beneficiaries who are mostly special kids.
Princess Sarah sat here while we're 3 meters away!
To my surprise, we seated like 3 meters away from Her highness Princess Sarah. Indeed, her face was simply mesmerizing and I sensed the glow of her upcoming motherhood. Yes, Princess Sarah is carrying their second child. Relatively, other VIP guests were seated near our spot like HSBC's CEO, the Japanese Ambassador, and more.

With a penchant on a wide selection of music, Classical music has always pique my interest. Believe it or not, if I didn't enroll at UP in my undergrad years, I would probably be a Tenor or singer by now. That's because I was already training at UST's Conservatory of Music before when the offer from UP came. Given the chance to choose, since I also love writing and knowing that it's UP, I temporarily shelved my passion in singing and made my journey in creative writing.
Red Carpet!
What I loved about the 14 performances of the Orchestra Citta di Firenze was the consistency and variety. While they had some solo performances in the persona of a powerhouse tenor Leonardo Melani and Boriana Nakeva in Violin, Master Conductor Lorenzo Castriota Skanderberg brought the majesty of classical music in slow and upbeat renditions. Overall, although I didn't get the goosebumps, I was stunned, moved and inspired more to appreciate the high brow forms of music genre like a classical one.

Here are some of the performances that I recorded using my mobile phone. Please bear with the wash out texture.

Orchestra Citta di Firenze playing Brunei's National Anthem.



A performance by tenor Leonardo Melani.



A malay song performed by the Orchestra!



The show ended at around 10:30. However, during the program, there's one 20-minute break which was enough to let everyone take a toilet break, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, grab some food, and some to mingle or socialize. Well, for a blogger like me, it's an opportunity to point and shoot my camera on the details!
Me in my formal attire and behind me is the stage!
I arrived home at around 11. Seriously, I craved for more classical music performances and even played back some of the performances I recorded using my mobile phone. Knowing such influence and impact, oh well, see me in the church and you'll get to enjoy a piece of my classical singing renditions! =)
Elna, me and Dina!
 LAST DAY OF VOTING IS ON 31 OCTOBER 2010!
 
VOTE FOR MY BLOG ENTRY! VOTE FOR #22!

I AM INVITING EVERYONE TO VOTE FOR MY BLOG ENTRY TITLED "THE [BITTER] SWEET LIFE ABROAD," AN ARTICLE THAT COMPARES OVERSEAS LIFE WITH THE SWEETNESS OF A CHOCOLATE. SIMPLY CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW AND VOTE FOR #22, RATED E!

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