In a Better Place

Today, God called my paternal grandmother, Lourdes Yance De Guzman, to her final Home. She’s now in Heaven with my grandfather — whom we lost last October 6 — along with the other saints who have fallen asleep in Christ.

I hold on to the promise in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

“According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

Please pray for those they have left behind, especially my dad, who has lost both his parents this month. Thank you, and have a blessed All Saints’ Eve and Day.


I’ve been at my job six weeks now; if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that being busy doesn’t give you time for introspection.

Unfortunately for me, introspection forms a huge part of how I write my journal entries here. Otherwise, as you may have noticed over the past few posts, I end up only chronicling the events of the day rather than writing about what the events made me think of.

I’ve been trying to make up for the lack of interesting opinion here by posting more pictures on my Flickr account, and it’s there where you might get some inkling of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. But since pictures are worth a thousand words, by the time I sit down to write about my “adventures” I’ve run out of things to say.

So, I’m writing this as a plea to my regular readers (all five — no four, wait, three — of you) and whoever else happens to be reading this: what would you like me to write about? I’m setting this up as a sort of challenge where you give me the writing assignment. I’m very good at implementation; I just suck at coming up with ideas.

Or I could just write about search terms that make me cringe.


Multiplying Purchases

Last week my friend Jenny popped up on Yahoo Messenger asking me to check out a link. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and was taken to her Alta Moda Rome Multiply website. Turns out, Jenny is something of an entrepreneur online. Not only does she sell bags and shoes off her Multiply website, but she also has an store. The stuff varies from designer to unbranded, but they’re really bargains and since supply is limited they’re also sort of one-of-a-kind.

There’s a whole host of websites with this kind of business model. My friend Tiepee has a few good examples in her contacts list:

The catch in doing business this way is that there’s a certain amount of trust you have to have in the seller — or if there have been previous customers, what those people say about the seller. Payment is done through Globe GCash or bank deposit and items are either shipped or picked up at a designated place, but aside from the seller’s word there isn’t a formal guarantee that you will get what you paid for.

Good thing I know Jenny personally, so when I saw this unbranded tan bag and I had to have it, I could rest assured that I would get it. And the best part is she even gave me a discount on it! (How much? That’s our secret.)

I’m a lazy shopper, and based on this one experience I liked the convenience of having my purchase delivered to my doorstep instead of me going out and buying it from a department store or boutique. I’m willing to try the other Multiply retailers at some point, but my wallet isn’t up to it yet. Maybe next payday. Ü

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In retaliation for the abuse I heaped upon it the other week, my body has been demanding more food and rest. “Waistline be damned!” it said. Despite my best efforts to keep things under control, last week I shoveled second servings onto my plate at every meal and dozed off at odd moments during the day. I just can’t help feeling a little sapped at the end of every work day, and it’s hard to resist taking it out on food. Like last Saturday, for instance.

It had been kind of a long day at the office. Due to my absence last week because I attended my grandfather’s cremation, I had to stay in the office the full nine hours from 9am to 6pm. I was on my way home when my parents called me and invited me to Eastwood City for dinner. I had been binging on Murray’s Sugar-Free Cookies the whole day at the office but still found some room for Teriyaki Boy lapu-lapu tempura. For dessert, I had a latte at Starbucks.

I then headed to Shangri-La Mall where I was supposed to meet with Marielle and her friends from work. They hadn’t had dinner yet, so we went to Krocodile, and I had some calamari rings, sisig, ostrich salpicao, and… My head is spinning just thinking about what I ate. But that wasn’t the end of it!

We found the live music at Shangri-La a little too dated, so at 12am we found ourselves at Metrowalk. Unfortunately, our timing sucked; Rivermaya had just wrapped up their album launch by the time we arrived, so there was no more live music for the rest of the night. Determined to make the best of it anyway, we ordered drinks and mozzarella sticks at Menu.

Heads on a Table

My sangria proved to be a little too strong, so I ended up drinking Marielle’s non-alcoholic (but definitely more caloric) green tea shake.

I think the next morning I woke up five pounds heavier. Ü Don’t worry, I’m not about to let myself go. I’m getting back on the wagon this week, and I’m not going to let job-related stress get the best of me and my appetite.

But it is lunchtime in an hour…

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Weekend Warrior

Practice for the NRW Bollywood final began for us last Saturday, and it was clear from the beginning that Alexis, Vanessa, and I were all going to need a lot of work. Alexis didn’t know the main choreography; Vanessa didn’t make her armlines sharp enough; and I didn’t have enough time. Kenneth, our team leader, broke up with his girlfriend that same night of our first practice, and was distracted and lost.

We seemed to be a team destined to lose badly. By Wednesday evening, we hadn’t completed any new choreography for the beginning and ending of the number. As for music, we hadn’t even decided which tracks to use, much less how to mix them. Thank God Mader Fhe, the Ortigas Group X Coordinator, stepped in and handled the situation. She and two other dance instructors (Arnel and Mong) choreographed our intro and transitions, which enabled us to concentrate on polishing the moves. I decided to handle the music mixing myself using a laptop and some software.

We began practice on Thursday evening at 10pm at the Ortigas branch then left at 12am to have a little something to eat at the i-Stop on the ground floor of the building before heading to my house for some more practice. Then Mama texted me to inform me that Lolo was gone and that she and Papa were going to the hospital. I just felt disconnected, but knew that I was only going to get in the way if I went to the hospital with them. Also, I had the rest of the team to think about. We had already spent so much time and energy (the three instructors were helping us gratis), and I didn’t want to let anyone down. So, practice continued at our house until 4am Friday morning, even without Mader and Arnel around.

With one day left until the competition, we were all physically and mentally worn out. We somehow found it in ourselves to shop for our costumes that evening and drag ourselves back to the gym to practice. We were headed back to my house for more practice at 1am when Alexis decided that she needed to go home to sleep. So, the last few hours leading into Saturday morning it was just Vanessa, Ken, Mong, and me working on the final few eights, trying to stretch the routine so we could make the 5-minute minimum time limit. (Yes, we are crammers and jammers.) We finally finished everything — or so we thought — at 6am.

After an hour and a half of sleep, I headed back to the gym to meet with Mader and Alexis to show them the completed routine. Mader made some last-minute adjustments to the flooring transition choreo, which I tried to commit to memory. Ken and Vanessa arrived a little later and we finalized the music; I burned two CDs containing the mix.

Then I had to rush off to La Paz Funeraria to attend my grandfather’s cremation; they were only waiting for me to arrive before they sent his remains off into the flames. I sat there, feeling numb and wondering if I was a bad person for not bawling my eyes out like Marielle was doing. Thirty minutes later, I was back in my car on my way to SM North EDSA. It was 1pm; we had two hours until the competition started.

Mader did our hair and make-up, and then we got into our costumes before our final run-through. I was running on pure adrenaline at that point (not having eaten anything since breakfast), and tension was high. My teammates and I had a bit of drama when I, exasperated, rolled my eyes and someone took it personally. Mader had to calm us down, tell us to work together, to help each other.

And then we went out on stage. To my surprise we did better than I expected, and I was glad we didn’t prove to be embarrassments to our branch. After all, we were chosen as the team because we were supposedly the best they had to offer.

Fitness First Ortigas Bollywood Team

Third prize went to Team Manila, second prize went to Team Metro East, and first prize was no surprise: Team ABS-CBN collected the P100,000 worth of Nike gift certificates. Still, Mader (and my Mama, who came to support me) was very proud of us, and I think the experience was worth all the sweat, tears, and bruising. I’d do it again.

If there’s anything I regret, it’s the fact that I wasn’t at home with my family when my paternal grandfather passed away. But I’m sure that he would have wanted me to honor my commitment to the Fitness First Ortigas team. That was who he was, my grandfather: the dutiful soldier to the end.

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Out of Time

I’m taking a few minutes out of a somewhat busy morning to write. There’s something positive to be said about having a full schedule the whole day. My last thoughts at night are about how much I’ve accomplished during the day, and I feel like I’ve actually been useful. It’s just that right now I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day or more than seven days in a week. I find myself frustrated that I sit at my desk nine hours a day and I never seem to be able to finish a project without new ones piling on top of it. I do get things done, but my work as a whole is never done.

I also never realized how much I love having a lot of free time until I had almost all of it taken from me. I work from 9am to 7pm Mondays to Thursdays, 9am to 6pm on Fridays, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. There’s hardly any time left over to spend with the people I love and care about. And then this week I have dance rehearsals every evening. I’ve only seen my parents and sister when we’re half-awake: in the early mornings at breakfast, and late at night when I get home and they’re all ready for bed.

Dance rehearsals for the Nike Rockstar Workout Bollywood Tour have also been a mixed bag; I think our “tribe” (group) has developed good rapport, but I also feel like we’re not maximizing the time we have (usually an hour) to polish the main routine. I’ve been told I take the Bollywood routine too seriously, but hey, 100,000 pesos worth of Nike products is serious business! Ü Anyway, I still do enjoy myself and that’s the important thing, but I wish we could do better. There are only three days left to put everything together and I’m getting a bit worried we won’t be able to get it done.

And I’m out of time. Back to work.

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