Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Sister's Wedding

Last December 20, we were off to Bulacan for my sister's afternoon wedding. Along the way, we had lunch in Kenny Rogers at NLEX Balagtas gas station. When we arrived in the hotel, it was my turn for the hair and make up do's. Hermo was the one who did it on my wedding and same for my sister.

Ate's most special day happened in St. Ildefonsus Church, Guiguinto Bulacan. This Church has a sentimental value for us. It was where we grew up knowing God during our elementary days as it was part of the school we went through. We had our confirmation and first communion there. It was also where we attend 1st Friday masses, joined the choir and had our graduation ceremonies after the 6th grade. It really brought a lot of good memories to me of my childhood days.

Reese and I were part of the wedding entourage. By default, I was the Matron of Honor and Reese was one of the flower girls along with her 2 little aunties: Mitch and Nicole. While Gani opted to be the so called "unofficial" photographer of the event.

It was a Catholic wedding and I did like the way the presiding priest gave his sermon to the couple. Lesson learned; do not put blame on your husband or wife. The head of the family is the husband, the president of the house while the wife takes the vice president position. And in the event that the husband made a mistake, the wife no longer has to blame him as the husband can be expected to realize his mistake... I hope this will always be true to all families.

After the ceremony, reception immediately followed and was held at Malolos Club Royale. It was quite short but sweet. With the exception of the emcee's forgetfulness, the preparations they did turned out to be good.

It was nice to note too that my wedding shoe was put into good use once more after being stocked for 2.5 years. Although I experienced some pain walking to and fro during the event as I don't typically wear high heels.

To Ate and Toper, congratulations and keep your love growing as you grow together. May your dreams come true!

Applying for US Visa

My first time to apply for US Visa was 4 years ago. And to my surprise, a lot of things have changed with the process. So here’s what happened to me during my personal appearance to the embassy last Dec 18.

Incident # 1
To my horror, I realized that I have forgotten to print the DS-156 application form while looking at those people in line. So I immediately left and crossed the street and was told by a street vendor that there was a nearby internet cafĂ©. I gave the vendor 10 pesos for good info and for escorting me to the computer shop. The computer shop charges 15 pesos per page so I ended up paying 45 pesos for 3 pages. Good thing I still have the copy of my scanned document in my email! Because if not, then I have to fill-out the form again for 15-20 minutes and get charged by that computer shop with 200 pesos! Instant money isn’t?!

Incident #2
No cellphone allowed in the embassy for non-US citizens! While crossing the street to the embassy I’ve heard the vendor telling me as such but I ignored because I thought the embassy will let you check-in your phone like it used to, but no more! The new policy has taken effect last Mar 2008.

Again, I got evicted from the line to the 2nd gate of entry this time, crossed the street again and was offered help by the same vendor. He showed me the mobile phones he was safe-keeping and looking at those models, I don’t recognize any of them and I won’t bother taking that risk.

First attempt was with Bel-Air hotel. They have a safety box, but for the exclusive use only of their check-in guests. I didn’t bother asking how much ‘coz that will be costly for sure. Second attempt was with Starbucks security guard. As I enter the store, “Manong baka po pwede magpatago ng cellphone…” (Sir, can you keep my cellphone…), I asked. He did have some hesitation on his face knowing that he’s not allowed to do that. But maybe, he pitied me enough, and so he went outside with a starbucks cookie bag and handed it over to me. “Mam, paki tanggal na lang po ang sim, baka tumunog po. Kunin ko na lang po sa inyo dyan sa gilid.” (Ms., please remove the sim card so the phone will not ring. I’ll get it from the side of the store.). I was relieved when he agreed. I put my company mobile phone and mp3 player inside the cookie bag and handed it back to him. While looking at the name on his uniform, I told him, “Manong, salamat. Tiwala na lang po ako sa inyo. Babalikan ko po yan mamayang 12.” (Sir, thank you. I have to trust you. I’ll be back by 12 noon).

Now I got back on track and lined up again. It was not so bad waiting in line after all. I think the process has improved a lot. I met one lady there and learned that she too had problem safe-keeping her phone. Her last resort was to check-in in Bel-Air hotel that cost her 5,500 pesos which included 1,000 add-on for early check-in! I can’t imagine that for myself! I could have bought another mobile phone for that, or even 2 mobile phones!

Many thanks to “Manong” guard in Starbucks for taking the risk to help me. He was there and was true to his words. I gave him a small token for his kindness and pretended to be his friend so that people around will not took suspicion. I’ve learned my lesson there… never-ever bring cellphone to the US embassy! And I don’t want to take risk again in asking for another person’s help if that can cause them to lose their job… Good thing it didn’t happened.

My visa was approved… and I have to be away from home for 2 months. Just thinking how long it will be makes me missed Reese and Gani already. :-(

Marion & Dennis Tied the Knot

Gani and I got 2 wedding invites just for a single month, 1 from my sister and another 1 from my friend Marion.

Marion's very special day was held at a Christian church in QC last Dec 13 around 2:30 pm. We were few minutes late and Marion had just walked in the aisle after we arrived. It was a traditional Chinese wedding, the opening prayer was delivered in Mandarin and English versions. The ceremony and picture takings lasted for almost 2 hours.

Unlike the usual Filipino wedding wherein the reception immediately follows, in this case there was a 2 hour gap and the reception was set at 6:30 pm. We travelled from the church to the reception venue for almost an hour, took valet parking and had coffee and snack in Times Plaza. Venue was walking distance from there.

We proceeded to the venue few minutes before 6:30 pm. To our surprise, very few guests were there. They said that it was normal for the Chinese wedding reception to start late and wait for almost all the guests to arrive. Good thing we had snack awhile ago. Gani met his friend from PUP, Ping who happened to be the back-up photographer for the event. They took shots of guests and the place while waiting.

Finally, the party started around 8:30 pm. As expected, food was served dish after dish. I experienced this type of dining in Grand Hyatt hotel in Beijing 4 years ago. There was a list of dishes to be served and an interval of 10 minutes for every dish to be laid on the table. Some guests happily put check-marks on the list after each serving.

It was 10pm when we decided to go home as valet parking will close. My stomach was full and was not able to touch the last 2 dishes served. So this serves as my record for our first ever Chinese wedding experience!

To Marion and Dennis, congratulations to both of you and may your dreams come true!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Red Party

This year, the theme for our Christmas party is RED. The party happened last Dec 12 in Elbow Room, Metrowalk.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Long-Weekend Special

Thank God we had Bonifacio Day (Nov 30) falling on a weekend which made our Monday work-free! Just want to share how it went for me and my family.

Reese at Gaby’s 1st Birthday Party (Saturday)
My daughter was back to Kidz Republic in SM Mall of Asia to join Gaby’s party (Ann’s cute daughter). Reese was a little bit shy but tried her best to do her dance moves!

Lola Visits Reese (Sunday)
My mom visited us and brought our gowns for my sister’s upcoming wedding this month. We had lunch at Cajun (post celebration for Gani’s birthday) and went mall strolling afterwards.

Tiangge Shopping (Monday)
Gani and I went to Greenhills to buy some gift items for family & friends. We found a toy store in Theater Mall called “Babe” that offers good quality toys and gives10-30 pesos discount. Gani was able to complete his Kris Kringle list as well (stuffed toy, silver boy-girl key chain and funny toy squirter). I also found nice bags and wallets there but didn’t buy any coz the prices of the items I like were more than 1k! I ended up getting a small purse instead for birthday gift.

Keeping in mind that we had lots of things to spend on this holiday season, so we had budget lunch from Jollibee. We ordered 2 pieces chicken, 39-er shanghai rolls, large soda and choco sundae, all for only 67 pesos! We used our BPI credit card receipts to take advantage of their current promo. For every 1,000 single receipt you can get a free hamburger or sundae; and for 3,000 worth, you’ll get 2 pcs chicken for free! Getting instant rewards from credit card purchase is really good. Just make sure not to over spend on the wants and use it more for the real needs. :-)