Thursday, December 30, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: HOURS BEFORE 2011!

 A few hours from now, 2010 will bid farewell and 2011 will walk in. At this point, it is just fitting to reflect on 2010 and map out a new year's resolution before 12 midnight hits!

Before I present my new year's resolution for 2011, let me share with you first my 2010 New Year's Resolution. Let's see which ones I have achieved, not so, and totally not.
 
My New Year's Resolution/ Wishes in 2010

1. Exercise! I've been consistent in exercising. Despite my withdrawal to exercising in the gym because of the high fees, I'm able to maintain my healthy lifestyle by engaging in Taichi.

2. Welcome each morning with a smiling face! Positivity rocks! I can't deny that are bad and goods days in my life. Positively, despite these, I am able to sustain a life with positivity. What's the key? Always look on the bright side. Just like how the book entitled "The Secret" articulates, we attract positive vibes by being positive.

3. Less rice, more oats! Less rice is yes. More oats is not. As you all know, this year is the debut of my sojourn with eating brown rice. 

4. Balance school and work life! Since I'm still alive and kicking, I guess I'm able to achieve that great balance. 

5. More time with mi familia through chatting! As always, I never fail to sustain a consistent and compact communication with my family thru chatting.

6. Learn Espanol in Summer. I was so busy this year. Instead of holding a language book, I drowned with academic research materials.

7. Visit another country with mi familia this year. Our family didn't visit any country this year. Except for the fact that my Dad visited me in Brunei. Locally, our family observed Semana Santa in Bicol.

8. Save more. Spend less. I started my SAVEVIVOR Series this year. I must say, I didn't survive in my pilot run. However, if there's any consolation or reward on such crazy idea, I achieved to think and spend smart. Plus, I direct all my attention on my saving goal.

9. Share my talent to God. My love for God has always been there. Whatever talent I have, I share it to others. We only live once. So better make the most out of our existence.

10. Start my book which I intend to publish soon. Ang Bruneiyuki Book, abangan! This is a work in progress. 

11. Invest on a house and lot. Cross fingers. Finally, this year, I've started to pour in my hard earned money in a wise investment. I got a land in Laguna. Oh well, this is the reason of all my "katipiran."

12. Eat healthy foods. Less junk and sweets! Yes to less junks but not so on less sweets. Seriously, with a family which has a history of diabetes, I better manage my sweet tooth!

13. Read more books. Probably, two to three books a month. Minimum of one every month. Oh yes. Too much of reading. Seriously, school work is a pain in the eyes. Okay, I'm not complaining. I just know that after all the hard work, it's time to reap the fruits!

14. Try a massage or spa once in a while. Boo. Haven't tried. 

15. Control spending on DVDs! =) One of my weaknesses. Gotta control this too.

16. Open a US Dollar Account as per mi Papa! As if may ilalagay sa account! =) I didn't open a US Dollar Account. I guess my BND savings should be enough right now. 

17. Check other career options in either Pinas or other countries. I haven't checked much. Let's see then.

18. Pray harder. Act further. Always and amen.

19. Go out on a date? Hahahaha. Another boo-hoo portion of my life. 

20. Be more patient. I've been patient, I guess, for 2010. I just have to double it especially that I'm 3 subjects away from graduating in my post graduate studies.

21. Update my blog. Yes oh Yes. I've done this consistently. 

22. Forgive and forget. With God's guidance, achieved na achieved!

23. Hopefully more singing and hosting rakets. Thanks to God, I got to sing and host more.

24. Think smart. Should I base this in my school performance, I can say yes. In real life, still, it's a yes.

25. Carpe Diem! To God be the Glory.

After reflecting on what I achieved in my 2010 New Year's Resolution, let me now share to you my 2011 goals.

1. Sustain Taichi.
2. Finish my postgraduate studies in September 2011.
3. Garage Sale of Old DVDs and stuff
4. Either Visit Singapore, Thailand or Indonesia. Vietnam and Cambodia are considered as well.
5. Go for Brown Rice.
6. Slowly shift to a vegetarian diet.
7. Save more.
8. Celebrate Baby Gab's Party in the Philippines.
9. Meet Online friends from the Philippines especially bloggers.
10. Hopefully, celebrate Christmas in the Philippines.
11. Look for a job opportunity where I can practice my Postgraduate degree.
12. Enroll in a PhD of Communication Programme under UP Open University.
13. Write my Stage Play.
14. Fall in love to the right person.
15. Sing for a cause.
16. Attend the Grand Kita Kits and finally meet/bond with my UP OU classmates!
17. Check on a DSLR and unleash my talent in photography. I firmly hold on to what my professor once said: "You have an artist's eye."
18. Conceptualize a business plan. I might go for a food business.
19. Shop at Divisoria and 168 on my April Vacation.
20. Bisita Iglesia in Semana Santa in the Philippines.
21. Swim at Splash Island.
22. Visit Serendra.
23. Visit The Fort. Never been there.
24. Go malling at MOA. Window shopping lang.
25. Experience Echanted Kingdom. Seriously, never been there.
26. Go to Ocean Park.
27. Undergo Dental and Medical Check up.
28. As a birthday gift: Either I go travel, buy a DSLR or upgrade my laptop.
29. Join a blogging community.
30. Interview members of PEBA for my Postgraduate Thesis.
31. Check on Universities who need a Professor in Communication. 
32. Hang around at UP Sunken Garden.
33. Meet and greet Bruneian Bloggers.
34. Start up an Indie film script with co-Upians.
35. Sell old stuff from our house in QC.
36. Donate old books to a charitable institution.
37. Redecorate our house.
38. Eat Razon's Halo-halo.
39. Visit UP Diliman in Summer.
40. Be more patient. 
41. Serve the church, more.
42. Speak up when needed.
43. Hopefully develop a communication organization. 
44. Make money through online.
45. Help my family in any way!
46. Start inquiry on living/working in Australia or New Zealand. 
47. Attend iBlog 7.
48. Meet super friends: Leez, Peluch, Elms, Joy, Ivy, Jho, Jhen, Ed, Melody, Ana, Tet, Hervie, Izah and Dhee in the Philippines!
49. Meet UP CMC Peeps!
50. Eat Taho.
51. Eat Pinoy Foods!

Here are some random stuffs I intend to try and I wish. 
1. Be part of a musical.
2. Throw a concert.
3. Dress like a rockstar for a day?
4. Be on television.
5. Be covered by the press for a good deed or achievement?
6. Win something.
7. Deliver a speech?
8. Work for a day in a fastfood.
9. Zero spending for a day.
10. Be on a date.
11. Survive in a travel with only having one bag.
12. Try Hiking
13. Have a picture with celebrities in the Philippines. 
14. Eat Balut. Yung sisiw. 
15. Disco time with friends.
16. Ride a unique or indigenous mode of transportation.
17. Go for a rollercoaster ride or Ferris wheel.
18. Volunteer for an old folks house or some charitable institution.
19. Treat myself with a pricey reward.
20. A picture with Chuvaness.
21. Strike a pose with Pnoy!
22. Step in ABS-CBN's premises, again.
23. Meet random twitter-ers! 
24. Drive in the Philippines? Malabo to. Takot ako sa kalsada ng Pinas.

Now, I want to greet everyone a...
More blessings...more love...more happiness... and good health for everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: MY 2010

The Philippines has a new president. "Major Major" has become one of the household words after the "almost" winning of Venus Raj of the Miss Universe Crown. Manny Pacquiao has once again made the country proud with his jaw-dropping winning. The first automated voting was made successfully in the Philippines. Unexpectedly, the Azkals showed how the Philippines can explore football as a new sport among basketball-crazed Filipinos. The verdict on the Vizconde massacre case was out and acquitted Hubert Web. Hayden Kho was also acquitted in the sex video scandal case. A bloodbath culminated the Hostage taking in Rizal Park. The Philippines got a new bank notes. The new tourism slogan Pilipinas, Kay Ganda was lambasted to bits and was soon pulled out. With these raging events that have shook the country, indeed, 2010 has been packed with good and not so good memories.

Personally, despite the stretch of challenges, my 2010 has been blessed with so many things. Come and walk with me on memory lane.

This year, I turned 28. What's different about my birthday this year, apart from deviating with thinking much of my age, I threw a Jollibee Party. Thanks to Jollibee Kiulap, I got free party hats and balloons. Feeling ko, bagets na bagets ako. Pagbigyan niyo ako. I never had a Jollibee Partee when I was a kid. My parents cook so well and that's enough to spice up any momentous events in my life.

This year, I'm halfway on finishing graduate school. 3 more subjects to go and I'm done. However, as of writing, I'm already thinking of enrolling myself in a PhD Programme of Communication. Perhaps, I'll take it in October 2011. I'm also thinking of another MA degree in another University. For now, one step at a time. Marami pang stress ang kailangan i-handle especially now na malapit ng matapos ang sem. On a positive note, school is cool dahil I meet a lot of friends.
It was my first time to vote as an absentee voter. Although I didn't experience the automated voting as we only had the paper and pen, still, I felt so accomplished after participating in unfolding a new administration for my beloved country, the Philippines. I voted for Noynoy! =)

This year has been packed with royal parties. Thanks to Faith, I was able to attend a birthday party at Istana. And in a different occasion, thanks to Elna for giving me BND150 ticket and attend the ever popular annual event Toyota Classics.

With the Royal Family
At the Toyota Classics
My dad visited me in Brunei for the second time. He was here with me during the Hari Raya festivity. Interestingly, apart from going in the Palace's Open house, we hiked together with my friends at Bukit Shabandar.



Believe it or not, it's my first time to experience watching a movie in 3D. Megamind was the movie that I watched. Isa itong kasaysayan!

I expanded my circle of friends. Thanks to UP Circle Brunei, the Santos Family, Ma'am Betsy, Tita Malou, the Brown Family, and more importantly, the Expression Peeps, I'm so enjoying my stay in the Abode of Peace. At siempre, thanks to Elna and Lisa. Their presence is supahriffic!
Ma'am Betsy and Me

The Expression Peeps with my Dad!

UP Circle Brunei

Me, Ms. Jing, Dr. Joey and Ma'am Betsy

Xmas Partee with Expression Peeps!
Supah Friend Lisa, Faith and Elna.

During Tito Des and Tita Ming's Birthday Bash
I fall in love with Taichi. Thanks to my dad, I'm now able to stay fit and healthy without cashing out to pay gym fees. 
My Dad and his passion for Taichi!

To match my healthy lifestyle, I started eating Brown Rice. Seriously, sanay na ako!
I am able to finally invest in one of my biggest plans. I'm able to get a land at Eton City. Eton City is touted as the next Makati of the South. Hopefully, with more years of hard work, overseas or in the Philippines, I will be able to build a house on the land I got.

My family and I spent Semana Santa in Bicol. I sooooo loved the solemnity. At siempre, bonding na rin with relatives. We had a family reunion. At ang food, sorry, nakaka-sira ng diet!


It was my first time to be in Camarines Sur Water Complex (15 mins from our relative's house) and Caramoan Island. Summer na summer! Weird lang, di ko sinubukan yung wakeboarding. Maybe next time na uwi namin! Pero bago yan, kailangan ko muna matutong lumangoy.



Finally visited SM Naga. Grabe, parang wala ako sa Bicol when I was in SM Naga. Parang Manila lang.
Our family went to Cagsawa Church in Bicol. The Mayon Volcano was just amazing!
The Mayon Volcano behind me!
After enjoying Subic, our family stopped by at Razons. Grabe ang halo-halo, heaveeeeen!
Subic Fun!


I will never forget 2010 because this is the year God has blessed us with a wonderful angel. Baby Gab is born! At siempre, ang saya saya rin ng binyagan. Dahil diyan, tito-ninong na ako. I can't wait to be home on April 2011 for Gab's first birthday celebration.
new born
Binyagan
6-month old
Four of the most closest people in my life tied the knot this year. First, my bestfriend Apes said I do to her loving Mario. Second, my cousin Joy got married to her long-time boyfriend Red. And third, Faith and Pete made their vow of marriage in Bicol. Fourth, it's my kapamilya ate Izah's wedding too! 
Betsfriend Apes
Faith and me
My cousin Joy and Red

Izah!
Stacey, the girlfriend of my brother, graduated this year. Congrats Stacey! At mas congrats sa Job mo! So proud of you!!!!!!! Weeeeee!
Stacey's Grad Photo! Pahiraaaaam! hehehe

Sadly, three persons who are dear to me passed away this year. First, my classmate at OU, Noralyn. Second, the son of my cousin, Andrei. And just recently, my highschool batchmate KD. At this time, napapaisip ako, indeed life is soooo short and we should make the most out of it, everyday!
And before the year ends, I had a successful event at the opening of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Times Square and the launch of the Caring Cup Programme. If there's any reward I can get out from this event, that's the wonderful people I meet in Brunei ranging from bloggers, djs and the perky staff of CBTL.  
Indeed, my 2010 is a year to remember. And before this year closes, I would like to thank those people, my family and friends, who truly inspired me to be at my best and let me succeed the many challenges around. Hindi ko kakayanin ang Buhay OFW and grad school kung wala ang inyong suporta. For that, I wish more blessings for everyone this 2011. Cheers!

Monday, December 27, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: IT'S NOT BAD AFTER ALL!

Being away from my family, my Christmas Eve celebration is not bad and sad after all. With convenience and accessibility provided by technology, my personal creativity and a bunch of loving friends, my Christmas celebration has been very blessed and fun-filled.

Here are the TOP 10 Ways on how I enjoyed my Christmas Celebration in Brunei!

1. I learned to cook Tuna Carbonara. Yes! After years of ignorance on cooking pasta, I finally braved the kitchen and concocted by very own Tuna Carbonara. Thanks to my supah friend Lisa, I got to know and follow the easy steps. Of course, let me thank too my officemate Jomai for giving me some tips. And more importantly, to my brother Jeron, my role model who cooks the best pasta in our family. Now, I have something to share with my family and friends on special occasions.

Ingredients:

1. Tuna flakes in vegetable oil
2. Sliced Green Pepper
3. Diced Carrots
4. Salt 
5. Pepper
6. One can of Cream of Mushroom
7. Two Nestle Cream
8.  Sliced Mushrooms
9. Olive Oil or Butter
10. Parmesan cheese

Easy-to-follow instructions:

To prepare for the pasta:
1. Boil water.
2. Put butter or olive oil in the boiling water. Dahil sa butter or olive oil, hindi magdidikit-dikit ang pasta.
3. Put the pasta. Let it cook for some minutes. Then, try to get a piece to check if its soft.
4. If the pasta is soft already, it's time to drain. 
5. Wash the cooked pasta. For some, they put in cold water para hindi magdikit dikit.

To prepare for the sauce:

1. Drain the tuna flakes in can.
2. Saute in pan some onions and garlic.
3. Add the drained tuna flakes.
4. Put the sliced green pepper and some diced carrots.
5.Pour in the sliced mushrooms
6. Add the cream of mushroom.
7. Pour in the Nestle cream.
8. Mix and add some salt and pepper.
9. Simmer for a few minutes over medium fire.

For the final output.

1. Put the sauce in the pasta.
2. Top it with Parmesan cheese.

And this is what you get: Tuna Carbonara!

The roasted chicken in the picture is what I bought from Supah Save! Yum yum!

2. I distributed some Christmas cards and gifts to some of my friends in our choir. I believe, Christmas is about extending our warmest thanks and appreciation to those people who have touched our lives.

3. I sang in the church together with my choir mates. It was the Christmas eve mass. And guess what, our choir was mentioned in Brunei Times! Cool eh! Check the article.

Yes, that's me in the upper right corner!
4. My night was blessed with yummy food. I had chocolates all over, some garlic bread, a roasted chicken from Supah Save, a colorful cupcake, drinks, and my ever favorite Lava cake. Seriously, I feel accomplished after setting up my dining table for Christmas Eve!


5. Thanks to Skype, despite being alone in my room, I felt I was with my family. We chatted for sooooo long while I was eating and everyone was busy exchanging gifts. Parang kasama ko lang sila. Naka-loud speaker pa ako so rinig talaga ang asaran at tawanan.  

My Family!

Everyone in raging red!

My family, too!
6. The next day, I was invited to attend the Santos' Christmas celebration. Doc Joey and his family have been so dear to me. Frankly, they're like a family to me. So, in return to their good deeds, yours truly hosted the event. Seriously, I enjoyed singing to the guests and getting everyone join in the games ranging from the ever simple stop dance for kids and trip to jerusalem for adults.

The whole gang!
Trying to mimic James Ingram!

Tired yet still singing!

And my energy is UP!

Love the day with the kids!

Hitting an Air Supply song. I kinda lost some AIR!
7. Received gifts from the Santos family. Got two gold boxes and another box with a Tito Earvs on it. Well, I haven't opened the gifts. In our family tradition, we only open gifts given by friends on New Year's eve. Having said this, I feel so happy whenever I look at my Christmas tree in my room. It's now packed with gifts! Loooove it!


8. Received a Christmas Card from my Papc. Actually, the card was with me as early as October. Thanks to our family friend, the card was delivered to me. And yes, my dad never fails to surprise and inspire me. I'm just blessed to have a father like you, Papc!

9. I sang in the church last 24, 25 and 26 December. I just feel fulfilled whenever I serve the church. What's more, some strangers commend my singing. Seriously, if only I can throw a concert in Brunei for the benefit of an organization, I would be honored and glad. Just PM me. =)

My Choir in Brunei!
10. Lastly, I'm just sooooo excited coz I'll be home in the Philippines on April 2011. This has just been in my mind since my boss' approval last week. So now, I just want to fast forward time! =)

Okay. Now. I have to ponder on my 2010 and look forward to my new year's resolution! =)


Thursday, December 23, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: MERRY CHRISTMAS, WITH LOVE FROM BRUNEI!

Tonight is Christmas Eve. As expected, everyone now is sooooo busy preparing for the highly-anticipated Christmas day; everyone is rushing to buy gifts.; everyone is chasing after that pork or chiken to serve for tonight's Noche Buena; And yes, Christmas greetings are all over the place - from SMS, Word-of-Mouth, and yes, social networking. Indeed, the world is in auspicious celebration.

Today, I should be preparing for Christmas eve. Apparently, since we have work, I am facing my workstation. Despite our work day, the beauty of Christmas preparations still unfolds in my eyes via online. I can see and feel how each and everyone's joyous feelings through social network sites. Thankfully, we're just half day today. By 1 pm, we can go home and finally plunge in the festivity.

For an OFW like me, living and working in an Islamic country like Brunei, I can't deny that I terribly miss my family and friends right now. If only I could make a wish and make it happen, that would be to instantly go back in the Philippines just to celebrate this special day of the year. As you all know, taking away all the gift giving and the stretch of appetizing food delights, Christmas is all about family and thanksgiving.
Summer, 2009
Na-ho-homesick ako ng slight. I guess that's normal. Here I am, a thousand miles away from my family and all I can do is to engage in virtual space and reach them. Slight ang homesickness dahil I'm already used to this set-up. This is my third time to celebrate Christmas in Brunei, without my real family. While each celebration varies, this year is very much distinct yet more exciting.

Aaminin ko, minsan parang ayaw ko ng magbukas ng Facebook. It's a mixed feeling. I am happy to see how my family and friends enjoy the days before Christmas. Yet, I am a bit sad. There's this thought at the back of my mind saying, Sayang at nakakamiss talaga ang Pasko sa Pinas. Sana andon din ako, nakikiparty. Then again, looking at the bright side, I still engage in social networking because it is through connection that I am able to understand the real meaning of the festivity; the sharing of happiness and love, wherever, whenever.

I can say that feel na feel  ko ang Pasko this year. Now, naniniwala ako na mind over matter is powerful. The more you think of happy thoughts, the more joys will be attracted to come to you. Since iniisip ko ang so much saya sa Kapaskuhan, feel na feel ko ang festivity. Let me share my thoughts kung bakit mas ramdam ko ang Pasko.

First, obviously, karamihan ng Pilipino ay umuuwi ng Pinas. Such reality indicates that Christmas is here. In fact, sa dami ng umuwi ng Pilipinas, nagkaubusan ng OEC dito sa Brunei.  

Second, I received a lot of gifts this year; both given by friends and by myself. Yes, I gave myself a gift. For now, I got two books.
Gifts in my Christmas Tree
Gift from my officemate Celynn!

Gift from Maggie!
Third, I decorated my room. Believe it or not, I put up a Christmas tree, which look like a stick tree. Well, it's more of a family tree wherein I placed our family pictures. 


 Fourth, speaking of decoration, oh well, Brunei is packed with lots of it. Before the Misa de Gallo started, some Filipinos setup a Christmas tree in the church. My supah friend Elna and Lisa are the "brains" behind it! So proud of you, girls!


On a different note, just yesterday, I saw two lovely Christmas Trees at the Cinema area and at Empire Hotel. But what hit me the most was knowing that the Christmas tree at Empire Hotel is made of stuff toys. The stuff toys are the Proboscis Monkey of Brunei.

The Christmas Tree at the Cinema, Seri Q-lap Mall
The Christmas Tree at the Empire Hotel!
The base made of stuff toys!

Jampacked stuff toys!

Fifth, I am excited to prepare my dish for tonight's Christmas Eve. Yes, with my bestfriend Liza's DM last night, I will cook my first ever tuna pasta. On the side, I'll buy a cake, chicken and garlic bread. And oh, last night, I already bought some chocolates and drinks for tonight's Virtual Paskuhan. I call it Virtual Paskuhan coz my family and I will chat via Skype!

Lastly, I went to NBT's Christmas Display. The display is an annual exhibition sponsored by Toyota Brunei to delight the festive season! Here are some photos.

The Toy Kingdom!
Drummer boy

Snow Globe!




Santa!!!!!!

Snow!


Ginger Bread Man!


Tree!









Add caption

A sea of spectators!




****
If there's anything I learn from this experience of being away from my family as the world celebrates Christmas, that's Christmas is not only about family, it is about our recognition of God's birth and the appreciation of the many blessings we receive from him. Indeed, there are a lot of things to be thankful for. 

To my family and friends, see you all in April 2011. =)

And now, let me greet everyone a...

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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