Monday, 28 April 2014

Day 72: The Art of Passive Aggressiveness

If there is one thing my fiancè hates, it's when he "thinks" I am being condescending.

The tricky thing though is that, it's merely an assumption formed by observing intonation, facial expressions, physical gestures  and combining it with past experiences. 

Hence, it is not always true.

However, given past experiences,  it's fair to say that he has the right to cast doubts on my innocence.

I have learned to never give a solution right away.

I find  that vague responses and open-ended questions are often times more powerful. If I respond to a question with a question, the person asking THINKS and BECOMES EMPOWERED and ACCOUNTABLE for the solution.

However, since I use the same method for manipulation and coaching, it casts doubt on the credibility of my technique/intentions.

Today, we learned in church that as women, we must not direct or command our men. We must only suggest and even in doing so, we must be very careful that we are speaking the words of God and not evil. 

We must think carefully and pray before we give our suggestions. We must never pressure our men to act in haste.

As much as possible, we must allow them to lead the family and make all the critical decisions. 

I looked at S...and said "I'm doing exactly that everytime I say,'Do whatever you think is best' di ba?".

S responded, "But sometimes, you roll your eyes"

"What?! I definitely do not"

He continued, " or sometimes you stare at me and you have that tone"

"What tone?" 

It was a funny conversation. I wish I could hear my tone too. He should record it.  

Females have mastered the art of passive aggressiveness to the point that we are doing it almost instinctively.

I'm glad he opens up about these things rather than allow the animosity to form in his heart. I feel blessed that we can discuss sensitive matters from finance, family, successes, failures and frustrations. 

However, I think we need to listen to other couples and learn from them. I feel that our method is not always effective because there are times that I am not supportive and there are times that I feel he doesn't really understand me.

This makes me look forward to the Before I Do  seminar in CCF. I'm so excited because one my favorite  blogger, Joy Tanchi Mendoza will be speaking with her husband, Edric. 

I want to learn how to communicate better with S and at the same time, learn on how we can make God the center of our lives. 

More importantly...I want to learn techniques on How to Listen! Oh I hope they teach that!

It is so timely!! The date is right smack in the middle of our preps! After days of stressing over silly details, God sent us a reminder that it is our MARRIAGE that matters...not the wedding...not the reception..not the creative elements.

And for our marriage to work, S and I must learn to communicate PROPERLY and honestly and lovingly.  And Listen!

I'm very excited that S shares my excitement! I can't wait til May 10.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Semana Santa

Oh my gulay, I'm so tired from planning this wedding. I feel it has been forever since I last wrote something not wedding related. Seriously it's no longer fun planning this thing! The internet creates pressure to the creativity-challenged brides, like me.


I miss the silence of Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Iloilo. Ever since I got back after Easter, I've been so busy with the wedding preps.

In Iloilo, weddings are simple and life is generally laid back.  In fact,  life is so laid back that locals actually look forward to Semana Santa. Not to rest but to CELEBRATE the culmination of Cuaresma, or Lent.

Perhaps, we are not as stressed as the city folks.  Maybe, we don't really need to go to the beach and relax. For one thing, we can just take the bus and we are in Boracay within 4 hrs. And there are beaches nearby as well.

When I was still working, I wouldn't able to make it home for cuaresma. I was just too tired to travel. And if do make it home, I sleep.

Not this time!

I did manage to join MOST of the Semana Santa Itinerary.

The highlight of my Semana Santa is the procession. I know it seems really odd to enjoy the Pasion of Christ but its fun to walk around the city with my family (and the entire population) from dusk til night. It's like a more somber version of the dagyang.

My dad sponsors a caro, "The Nazareno" or the Black Nazarene. My mom said, he actually wanted the "Last Supper" but there is a superstition that it's the CARO that will come to you. So one day, an old lady approached him and asked him if he wants to sponsor the Nazareno and he has been doing it ever since.

Unfortunately, I missed  the Soledad procession this year because I had to look for old baby photos for my wedding. The procession of Soledad represents search of Mary for the body of Jesus and it starts around 9 pm.

I also missed the Du-aw or the kissing of the Santo Entierro, the statue of the dead Jesus. I did manage to watch as they brought the statue inside the church. Notice that the head is covered because most people go crazy and grab the hair. 

They believe that a lock of hair from the Santo Entierro can help cure illness.

So... they grab the flowers instead. It's pure chaos!

Semana Santa is really a time for Ilonggo families to spend time together. We don't go to the beach with our friends.

 As sacrilegious  as it may sound, these religious activities give us the opportunity to "hang out" with our parents and relatives. And also to eat a lot of BINGKA!

I look forward to spending Semana Santa with my HUSBAND next year :)

Still On Pause,


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Day 62: Life in my Bukid

The Sources of Pleasure have drastically changed because of technology. ;)

And  I'm referring to more wholesome pleasures on a lazy afternoon!

I'm so surprised that kids nowadays spend more time tapping away on their tablets rather than playing outdoors. I was SHOCKED when I found out my niece doesn't know how to play PICO. THE HORROR!!

Her eye-hand coordination and balance were so undeveloped compared to me and her parents!

And so, the theme for today was the SIMPLE PLEASURES OF THE PAST. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, nothing virtual.

People seem to have forgotten that it doesn't take much to have fun and to make happy memories.

1. Do you remember the last time you played a traditional/ outdoor game with your family? 

2. Sometimes you don't really need to go anywhere expensive to enjoy a cup of coffee. It's amazing how a cup transforms when you have good company

3. Fruits taste so much better if you actually climbed a tree to get them

4. If you are hungry from playing and climbing trees, a packet of instant noodles tastes so much better than pasta from a michelin restaurant.

I'm so happy to have retired ! I seem to have forgotten how much fun life is in the bukid.

Still on Pause,


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Day 61: Batchoy 101

We start with the premise that all Batchoys taste good. So when you order you will get 3 choices with SPECIAL being the cheapest followed by SUPER SPECIAL and EXTRA SUPER, the most expensive. 

Don't you just love all the superlatives.

Do not assume that the more expensive, the better or the bigger it is. The different levels and prices are based on the inclusions.

Special- pork strips
Super Special- pork strips + liver
Extra Super- pork strips+ liver + intestines

If you don't like chewing internal organs, do not be ashamed to order the cheapest.

I normally eat batchoy in LA PAZ, incidentally this is where I live.  This is the district where Batchoy originated, so it goes without saying that this is where you can get the best bowl.

But today, I had to meet some friends at the mall so I ordered a bowl of Batchoy from TED'S OLD TIMER LA PAZ BATCHOY.

If you haven't tried Batchoy before, it is a soup dish with miki noodles, pork slices, and pork innards topped with crunchy chicharon. This is a snack or a meal in itself and is rarely eaten with rice.

The magic is in the broth.  It is the product of long hours of boiling the bones. As such, we are not crazy enough to make this at home.

Batchoy is best enjoyed with pan de sal or puto and.... SOFT DRINKS, preferably Coke, Pepsi or Mountain Dew.

Warning: This dish is high in sodium and cholesterol.

Still On Pause,


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day 60: The Ilonggo Breakfast

Before there were international and local coffee chains in Iloilo, there was (and still is) MADGE coffee shop. 

Located inside La Paz Public Market, MADGE has been part of Ilonggo mornings for many decades. Politicians convene here to campaign and discuss public affairs with the masses. Locals from all walks of life meet up with friends and make chika over a cup of  coffee.

My family are such regulars that we even have our own cups. Here's mine with my Real Name on it!

If you do get to visit Iloilo, please do not miss this place! If you are sooshyal, I suggest you treat this as an immersion. It's not chichi, so be prepared to rough it up a bit.

As a coffee drinker, I can tell you that the coffee here is top notch! They prepare it the traditional way, using a sackcloth bag as filter. It's similar to the "silk-stocking" method used to prepare Singaporean kopi or HK milk tea.

Once you have ordered your coffee ( get the one with milk), order the following items:

1. Bihun or beehoon

2. Tostada na Pandesiosa and Estrellado na itlog
like my Estrellado with banana ketchup then I dip my bread into the yolk.
Most  people order their Pandesiosa toasted and with margarine.

3. Puto

4. Laswa

Yes some people eat Lawsa with rice in the morning. This is papa's "usual".
Laswa (or law-uy in Cebuano) is a common household soup dish in visayas. It doesn't really go with the lunch menu I recommeded so if you want to try it, breakfast may be a good time to do that.

5. Batchoy!

And because MADGE is inside La Paz public market, you can ask the waitress to get you a bowl of lapaz batchoy from the restaurants that started it all. You can choose from Deco's, Ted's or Netong's. I personally like Deco's.

I didn't order a bowl today. Maybe tomorrow.

After your heavy breakfast, go around the market and get yourself some fruits!

Iloilo is the best place to sleep-eat-sleep-eat. I'm starting to feel guilty.

Still on Pause,


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Day 58: Guide To Ordering in Tatoy's

Sundays in Iloilo are usually spent eating in the beach area with the family.

One of our favorite restaurants is TATOY's. OFCOURSE!!!!  There's a saying that you haven't been to Iloilo if you haven't eaten at Tatoy's. That's very true!

For those planning to visit my lovely city, make sure schedule lunch or dinner in this restaurant  and make sure you order the following dishes.

Grilled Porkchop

There secret is in the marinade. There is nothing in the Philippines that taste anywhere close to ilonggo version. 

Native Chicken
Mama said the unique flavor is from the tamarind leaves
But the chicken is already flavorful as it is. This is the same type of chicken used in cooking tinola.

Kinilaw na Tanigue

We love our seafood here in Iloilo. We have a lot of coastal towns so we always get the freshest catch.

Sinugba na Managat


Unlike Cebu, we like our lechon with sauce.
Althought I'd have to concede with the other foodies in saying that Cebu makes better lechon. 
So feel free to skip this.


Oysters are extremely cheap in Iloilo. A plate is less than 100 bux. 

And we enjoy all these delicious food in a very casual setting.  It's even okay to eat with your hands!

Hope to see visit Iloilo soon!

Still on Pause,


Friday, 11 April 2014

Iloilo: Glorious Past, Promising Future

I was born and raised in Iloilo. This is something I proudly declare to everyone I meet. 

I love my accent, both for  it's melodic intonation and wrong pronunciation of Tagalog words. I can read and write in Hiligaynon, without using English slang as fillers.

Unlike some Filipinos, who choose to speak Taglish complete with an American accent, I love speaking in my dialect. I find it endearing when kids talk in Hiligaynon. It sounds beautiful. It's so unpretentious.

I am proud to be Ilonggo even if I am only the second generation from my family to be born in this amazing city.

This was a city beloved by the Queen Regent of Spain, Her Royal Highness Maria Cristina. 
Our seal bears the title she bestowed in 1896, "La Muy Leal Y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo" after the Ilonggos sided with Spain against Emilio Aguinaldo's armies during the revolution.

How can they not side with Spain? Iloilo was a thriving city since the 17th century. Back then, the city was the textile capital of the Philippines, producing fine quality of Jusi, Sinamay and Nipis.

In 1855, Iloilo's Port was opened to international trade under the supervision of Nicolas Loney. 

The 19th century saw the rise of the sugar industry. By 1873 my city has surpassed Manila in exporting sugar. Sugar from Bacolod were processed in and exported through the city of Iloilo.

Iloilo was the  "Queen City of the South" for over a century until we lost it to Cebu. Sigh. The aftermaths of World War II , the earthquake of 1948 and the great fire of 1966 slowed the development of this city.

Nevertheless, we remain a promising city with humble and thrifty residents. We are known to have the most number of banks per area. We save a lot. We don't buy lots of branded items. Go to the malls and you will rarely see ladies parading LV handbags.

I love this city. It's laid back, simple and humble and yet it silently boasts of its glorious heritage through its Spanish architecture.

I am very happy with the beautification efforts of Mayor Jed Mabilog. 

The restoration of the Iloilo International hotel is hopefully the first of many more restorations. I hope to see in my life time, the return of Calle Real to its once beautiful condition.

Another thing I am extremely proud of is the Iloilo River Esplanade. It bears a close resemblance to my jogging path in Singapore.

(Photo by Ramil Lumuag) 

Iloilo is such a beautiful city. If you have been to this place, you will understand why I love the small cities of Spain. They are my reminders of how gorgeous this city must have been during the 18th century.

It is my wish that we reclaim our heritage, clean up our streets, restore our buildings and reclaim our heritage as the Loyal and Noble City of Iloilo.

Still on Pause,


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Day 55: Which HIMYM Character Are You Quiz

"Have You Met Ted?" 

This is the famous line of Barney when he is playing Ted's wingman.
Obviously, I'm still processing the unexpected finale of HIMYM. I'm such a loser, right?!

So, to deal with the short life of Tracy,  we went back to Season 1.  However, instead of finding closure, I started asking myself if I found my "Ted?"  And more importantly, "Am I his Tracy?"

Ted represents that guy who will do anything to make you happy. I sincerely hope that every girl gets to date a "Ted" atleast once in her life... if only to have good memories to keep her sane if she unfortunately ends up with a Barney.

As we were watching, S said, "You're such a Robin" . This made me quite sad because Ted ended up with Tracy and Tracy is such a awesome person. She's understanding, supportive and sweet. Despite her limited  airtime, audience grew immensely fond of her to the point that they went on an upheaval when the show's creators killed her in the finale. 

Robin, on the other hand, is career driven, classy,  resilient, funny, boyish and cool.  Her job has turned her into a citizen of the world.  Her greatest flaw is her being commitment phobic. It's hard to imagine Robin being romantic. It's almost painful to watch her giddy.

1.5 months ago, I would humbly admit to being a ROBIN. 10 years ago, I would even proudly own up to it.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Day 49: How I Met Reality

It is with great anticipation that we waited the finale of How I Met Your Mother. We planned to make a special night out of it,expecting the usually laughs and feel good effect.

We were disappointed.  Not with the fact that he ended up with Robin but with the fact that the ending is so close to reality.

I teared up and held S' hands when Ted said...

"It was at times a long and difficult road, but I'm glad it was long and difficult because if I hadn't gone through hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. You see, kids, right from the moment I met your mom, I knew I had to love this woman as much as I can for as long as I can and I can never stop loving her, not even for a second. I carried that lesson through every fight we had ... and I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then, in what can only be called the worst of times, all I could do was thank God, every God there is or every was or will be, and the whole universe and everyone else I could possibly thank, that I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform, and that I had the guts to stand up and walk up and tap her on the shoulder and open my mouth and speak." 

That's how I feel about being with S. Trust me when I say that I went thought hell to get here and I appreciate every lesson I learned from all difficult moments I experienced.

The ending of HIMYM though is so painful and real.  

After finding your great love and after battling all obstacles to be with that person , you can lose him to death.

Yesterday, we met out photographer. He is a very happy man. In our conversation, he mentioned casually that he wife passed away a couple of years back.  I looked at S and tried not to cry lest I ruin the happy mood. But here is a man who captures other people special day with the one they love and yet he lost his.

Truly, I am saddened.

Then that same night, S showed me an album of the second TING HUN of his friend. In one of the pictures, there was a kid. I asked if they had a kid before they got engaged. He replied that his friend remarried 4 years after his college sweetheart died suddenly of anneurism. 

I was curious about the wife so I asked him to showed me her picture. He browsed the Facebook albums of the husband and found nothing. The memories of the late wife were erased.

I guess I took the finale of HIMYM to heart that when he couldn't find any trace of her,  i just teared up and hugged him. I said, "if and when I die, God forbid, please don't erase our memories".

So, I don't hate the ending. I am just so affected because it's too close to home.

Unfortunately, reality is sad and I watch TV to escape it.

Life is already sad as it is. We all need a short reprieve once in a while.

Still on Pause,


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Day 48: The Mistress Experience

Have you seen the movie ,"The Mistress"?

It is a story of a seamstress who has a love affair with an older man, who is also the  father of her suitor.

When I watched that movie, it was my first time to see a shop that specializes on suits for men. Before that I've only seen suits off the rack or suits done by wedding coutouriers.  

I had that experience today. 

No! Not having to deal with a mistress but going to a suits atelier.

Tiño is a shop near my home.  Their Master Cutter, Napoleon Arienza has been specializing in custom made suits or BESPOKE suits for over 20 years. I've read somewhere that he worked for Brioni Suits which is a brand known to have dressed James Bond himself. I don't know if this is true or an urban legend. 

What I do know is that Tiño” was the exclusive tailor of President Joseph Estrada during his term in office. He also made suits for Bong Bong Marcos and the Araneta Family.
So S felt very confident that he is in "good hands" and that he won't look like a penguin on his special day.

I was quite happy as well that he also got a good experience in preparing for his "outfit". Before we went to Tiño, we went to Zegna and Hugo Boss and their choices were just so limited.  Whereas in Tiño, they helped him make choices and suggested on what is the best fabric and style for him.
We are quite excited for his first fitting! I'm sure he will feel like John Lloyd. Feel Lang.

Still On Pause,