Jamon de Bola, cheese balls, and fireworks

31 December 2006     •     5 Comments
Family Stuff

Not a year passed by without my dad buying Jamon de Bola (a kind of ham shaped like a ball), Queso de Bola (a cheese ball with red wax covering), and fireworks for our New Year’s Eve family dinner party. This year, it’s the same—but minus the fireworks.

My mom has increasingly been paranoid about using fireworks through the years. It used to be just an annoyance that using fireworks was a waste of money—hard-earned cash blowing up together with the fireworks display. But for the past few years, it was more on the safety concern.

And I don’t blame her. Seeing blown-up fingers and charred flesh isn’t exactly appetizing when you’re eating dinner and watching television on New Year’s Day. But believe it or not, my dad and I used to be at odds with my mom on fireworks when I was younger.

My mom despised watching me and my dad waste money on different kinds of sparklers and loud fireworks. But we really enjoyed it, especially the preparation of our pyrotechnic display. My dad would take me to the market to purchase fireworks a day before New Year’s Eve, and we would stock them up in a cabinet like soldiers preparing for a battle. An hour before New Year, we would ready our “gear” and head outside the house with my mom and sister grudgingly following behind to see our display.

Well, those were the days… I guess when we get older, we become more careful (although I know quite a few people who are exceptions to this generalization).

Fireworks display at Hongkong Disneyland

I still enjoy watching fireworks displays like in the photo I took above (that’s a fireworks display Marc and I saw in Hongkong Disneyland on our honeymoon), but I prefer to be just a spectator now and not the one handling the fireworks. Maybe I’m just becoming a sissy, but I honestly don’t want to risk damaging my hands or my eyes (it would be pretty difficult to design websites and blog when body parts are missing). I think my dad feels the same, and so does Marc (although I think Marc didn’t want to get fireworks this year because they’re expensive hehe).

Our New Year’s Eve this year would be less “sparkly,” but we’ll still try our best to welcome year 2007 with a bang. It’s a traditional belief that making loud noises on New Year’s Eve wards off evil and bad luck—I’d really like to ward off as much evil and bad luck as possible, but I’d also prefer to keep my body parts intact. Besides, there are other ways to make noise on New Year’s Eve without having to light up fireworks you know… Hehe. You naughty dog, I hope you weren’t thinking of something that won’t pass this blog’s GP rating. I was just referring to party favors like noisemakers and clackers! 😛

Happy New Year, everyone! Stay safe! 🙂

Godparent or godchild: Which one are you?

26 December 2006     •     7 Comments
Daily Dose

First off… I’m sorry I wasn’t able to greet you guys a very Happy Christmas yesterday. Marc and I have been very busy attending family gatherings from both his and my side. The way each of four families celebrates Christmas is so different, and yet I noticed one major similarity that I feel weird about.

I have now gone through the transition of being a godchild to being a godparent. I meant that in a metaphorical way though.

In our culture, it’s common for a godchild visit his/her godparent at Christmas—a really subtle way of asking, “where’s my gift?” Sounds thick, but really, whenever a godchild visits a godparent, that’s usually the underlying message. It’s such a common practice that most (if not all) godparents already prepare gifts for their godchildren ahead of time.

A godparent at Christmas would give presents to his/her godchild, and then the godchild in return hugs or kisses his/her godparent in thanks. I used to be that godchild. But now? I’m not so sure.

Christmas used to be the time when I had extra allowance in my pocket and new nifty stuff to show off to my classmates. Maybe this is another symptom of getting old, I seem to have less money now than I did before the season started.

Don’t get me wrong though. I love giving gifts at Christmas—I particularly enjoy wrapping presents. As a young girl, my sister and I used to help my parents prepare gifts for their godchildren and my cousins. It’s just that this transition from being the receiver to being the giver makes me feel that time really is passing by.

It wasn’t too long ago when we were just shaking that big wrapped box from Uncle or Auntie, wishing more than anything that it’s a cool new toy. A few years after that, you’d start wishing the box would contain hip clothes or some macho guy thing. Let another few years pass by, and you would really start hoping to receive that “blessed” envelope—gift certificates are fine, but cash is preferred. When you start receiving gifts and just saying “Thank you” without hoping for a particular something on what’s inside, or when you start telling Uncle or Auntie they didn’t have to give you a gift, you can expect that in a few year’s time, you will go through the transition from being the godchild to the godparent. The next thing you know, you’d be the one handing out gifts and receiving kisses from grateful nieces and nephews.

It must have been the Ghost of Christmas Past that took me back in time and reminded me of the Christmases in my younger years. Or maybe it’s just because of me getting broke once the holiday season is over. But regardless of which, I can now say that I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of my family, relatives, godparents, and friends who have taken time and effort to make me happy at Christmas.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Taking blogging offline

23 December 2006     •     4 Comments
Tech Things

As I have said before, I’m not the type of person who attends EB’s. But lo and behold, there I was, handing out candy goodie bags and Kutitots bookmark/calendars to everyone who attended the Manila bloggers’ Christmas party last night.

Considering the date, I was really surprised to find quite a lot of people there. Although I didn’t fall off my chair in shock to see Abe there (he was, after all, the one who organized it), the party actually had a good turnout. Marc and I have thought of just giving the goodie bags to street kids in case there weren’t enough people attending the event, but as it turned out, we even ran out of goodie bags to hand out.

It took Marc and me around two hours just to get to Mall of Asia (where the party was held). The traffic was just so horrible (talk about holiday rush!), I thought I’d go blind in hunger. I was working on last-minute design jobs before the holidays during the day, and I totally forgot that it was Marc’s day off and that I should prepare some food for us. My dad thought we already ate so he didn’t offer us lunch. And since we were running a bit late already, Marc and I left the house with empty stomachs. We had no idea that the traffic would be that bad.

We entered Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf totally dazed in hunger. We wanted decent food—coffee and pastry weren’t enough to fill our growling stomachs—so we said a quick hello to everyone and just excused ourselves for a quick bite at a nearby restaurant. I didn’t want people to think I was being a total snob for doing that, but I was beside myself in hunger.

It was a good thing that I was back to my usual noisy self when we returned to the coffee shop after a very late and quick dinner. I was able to talk to bloggers I have never met before (as well as those I’ve already met with often heh). Although it was quite a big group, I can see that everyone there seemed to have fun. Even Marc, who’s too lazy to update his blog 😛

After everyone left, Marc and I joined Abe, Markku and Noel for coffee at Starbucks Blue Wave. I used to go home around 5am after a night of partying and getting drunk during my early years in college, and this was the first time I went home at 5am due to a prolonged and enjoyable coffee conversation.

There really is something about taking the world of blogging offline into the real world. I’m not the type of person to blog-hop, but somehow, every time I meet new bloggers offline, my blogroll seems to grow. Although I’m still not a big fan of pink blogs, personal blogs seem to be a lot more interesting after I’ve met the author in person. Their entries become more real to me, much more personal in a sense.

Meet-ups like this one isn’t as geeky as it sounds (trust me, blogging isn’t always the topic in these gatherings). On the contrary, the people Marc and I have met through blogging were interesting personalities and very passionate about what they do. Marc himself enjoyed talking about fishes with Juned, the guy who owns Baratillo and a fish blog. What else could drive you to dedicate an entire blog on fishes? Passion, baby. Simple, unadulterated passion.

Anyway, just to share a bit of link-loving for bloggers who attended the event:

For the nth time, I forgot to bring a camera. Just take a look at photos that Abe and Noemi took. Hopefully, more people will be posting photos soon (I really want to know I how I look in those shots hehe).

My Christmas pledge

21 December 2006     •     3 Comments
Tech Things

There are many things I’m grateful for. Two years ago, my mother suffered a stroke. Other than having her right side paralyzed (which is slowly improving each day), she’s ok. My sister is also recovering from Schizophrenia. Although the cost of their medicines is very expensive, my dad and I are glad that my sister and mom are getting well.

Because of these blessings, my dad made it his pledge to visit Quiapo Church every year and take part in its Feast. I know for a fact that I won’t be able to keep up with a pledge like that, so I just made my own.

I pledged to design and develop a website for two (2) legal non-profit organizations every year.

Right now, I’m only looking for one more—I’ve already promised a local seminary that I’ll make their blog. If you’re part of a non-profit organization and you need a site, please send me an email at kutitots(at)gmail(dot)com with the following details:

  • Organization’s name
  • Purpose of the organization
  • Short description of the organization
  • Year established and incorporated
  • Contact person
  • Contact numbers (mobile and phone)
  • Why you need the website

Please submit these details on or before December 30—I’ll be picking the organization and announce it on New Year’s Day. If I don’t pick your organization, please don’t feel bad. Since SheeroMedia will be providing the domain and hosting, Marc and I will deliberate on which organization needs the site the most based on the submissions we’ll receive. Besides, if I’m not too busy, I might take on another one. I’ll just make an announcement here in my blog when that happens. But for now, I can only handle one site.

Oh, and before I forget… Calling all Manila-based bloggers! I hope you guys can attend the Blogger Christmas Party tomorrow (December 22) in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Mall of Asia, South wing) at 7PM. Kutitots will be giving away goodie bags for the first 20 attendees we’ll meet when Marc and I get there 🙂 Head over Abe’s blog now to confirm your attendance!

Decorating for Christmas

16 December 2006     •     4 Comments
Family Stuff

I have always enjoyed decorating for Christmas, even before I officially became a “home-maker.” I often don’t feel the spirit of the holiday season until I’ve put up the decorations. This year, it’s the same thing.

I’ve been bugging my dad for years to replace the Christmas tree that our dogs chewed to bits, but he said he would only buy a replacement if there exists a disposable tree. Buying a tree every year would be ridiculous, so I just had to be contented with garlands and decorations that can be put beyond the dogs’ reach.

I thought that I would be able to have my dream tree now that Marc and I have our own home. Marc’s a neat freak, and my dad is in total agreement with him in keeping Sheero, Harry, and Choknat outside the “human area.” Marc goes mental whenever he saw stray fur and crawling little fleas, and my dad said he wanted his future grandchild to grow up in a fur-free and flea-free house. The setup didn’t suit my dogs well, but I still keep them beside me while I work in my office. Dog-free our house may be, I still didn’t get my tree 🙁

We’re in the process of extending our house (many thanks to Marc’s friend Allan the Architect), so right now we’re still living in cramped quarters. It doesn’t resemble a storage facility anymore, but it’s still a tight fit. There just isn’t any room for my tree.

Marc must have realized how much putting up Christmas decors meant to me, so he bought me a garland and Christmas lights. I decorated the plain garland with the “left-over” decors from the garlands I made for my parents’ house (my mom bugged me endlessly until I put them up). Take a look!


I’m not much of a florist that my mom was before the stroke, but this was the best arrangement I could do with limited resources:


These definitely liven up our little house, don’t you think? For now, these will do. Maybe next year I’ll get my tree!

My husband, the birthday boy

13 December 2006     •     8 Comments
Family Stuff

Marc, my fiancé husband, turned 26 today. He’s a 26-year-old angel, you know. Well, sometimes he’s not-so-angelic, but regardless of which, I can still be more evil than he is. I guess that’s why we work so well together—we’re total opposites.

I’m not much of a superstitious person, but the circumstances on how Marc and I met were a bit strange. This sounds really cheesy, but really, for some reason I feel that it was meant to be (geez, just a bit more cheesiness and I’ll be turning this blog into one of those omigod-he’s-so-cute pinky dear-diary blogs).


Seriously though, if you’ve already met me and Marc at the same time, you’d see the difference. You’d probably hear me talking the entire time you’ve been drinking your coffee, but you’d be lucky to hear more than 5-minutes’ worth of talking from Marc. Probably even less than five minutes.

I’ve heard some friends telling me that we usually end up with somebody who somehow reminds us of our parents. It’s a psychological thing—I don’t really know how to explain it, I’m not a psychologist, after all. Marc is a bit like my dad in some ways.

Both are incredibly patient, and shy. Dad wasn’t much of a talker either, well, not until my mom had the stroke at least. My mom usually did the talking, and it was only recently did he become the one who talked because Mommy couldn’t. They were both scrawny when they got married (Dad only put on weight when he got older), and both of them married bitches haha. Dad and Marc also make me feel safe and protected. But regardless of all these similarities, they’re still different. Dad is Dad, Marc is Marc. And I love them both. In different ways, yes, but I do love them both.

Before we got married, I endured major teasing from my friends: “sigurado ka na ba dyan? (are you sure about him?).” There was also one person who has tried to make us doubt each other, but we just laughed it off. The idea of one of us messing with the other because of money was just ludicrous (don’t ask me where this guy got his insane ideas, but hey, we have to accept the fact that there are a lot of crazy people in the world running amok like a chicken with its head cut loose). Marc is kind, but he’s not a fool.

We’ve gone through a lot together already, there were even some things that don’t normally happen to most people but did to us. Those people and circumstances only brought the two of us closer to one another. I know we’ll be “stuck” to each other for the rest of our days, but contrary to bitter people’s belief, we’re both happily looking forward to this lifetime together.

I thank God for giving me Marc. Happy Birthday honey dears! 😀

Contemplating on “What If’s”

10 December 2006     •     2 Comments
Family Stuff

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that each and every one of us has contemplated on what could have happened if things were different. It’s fun to daydream, but sometimes we daydream about stuff that are more serious and emotional than unrequited puppy love or material things.

I thought about the “What If’s” a lot every since Mama Nena, my grandma, passed away. It’s been more than three years already since her death, and yet, I still do till now.

Things would have been very different if my grandma was alive and well today—if she hadn’t had Alzheimer’s, she would have lived longer. If she was alive, she would have help my family financially with Joyce’s and my Mom’s treatments. She would have insisted on me having a grand wedding and paid for all expenses. She would have bragged about me to all her friends and relatives for the things I have accomplished. She would have loved meeting Marc and talking to him about me as an unruly kid. She would have been there smiling proudly when I took my vows last November 25.

I can think of dozens more things of what could have been, and yet, would never be.

The day after my wedding, Marc, my immediate family, and my mom’s brothers with their spouses went to the cemetery to accompany me while I offered my bridal bouquet to Mama Nena. My sister Joyce left her bouquet for Uncle Joe (who was my favorite uncle). Aunt Bubut led us all in a short series of Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s, but before we left, we took a few minutes to say our own silent prayers.


I had prayed that Mama Nena and Uncle Joe have been there in spirit during my wedding, and that they saw I married a good man so they need not worry about me anymore. I thanked them for all that they have done for me. I had prayed that they rest in peace, and be happy wherever they were.

It was after that I said this silent prayer I felt an unexpected closure within me. It’s difficult to explain, but for some reason I no longer felt the need to daydream of what could have been if they were alive and well today. That cloudy Sunday afternoon somehow liberated me and gave me the strength to finally move on, and begin this new and exciting chapter of my life: my life with Marc.

I will always remember Mama Nena and Ninong Joe.

Me, a home-maker?

5 December 2006     •     5 Comments
Family Stuff

If my college friends heard you saying “home-maker” and “Gail” in the same sentence, they’d probably think you’re nuts. But lo and behold, these guys were the first ones to bear witness to my home-making.

One of my best friends in college, Rahul, went back to the Philippines for a week just to attend my wedding. He left to migrate to the United States a few months after graduation, so I never really expected he’d be there when I took my vows. You can imagine how shocked and pleased I was to see him (even Marc was so surprised to see him at the Church). Since it’s really rare for me and my friends to be together in one place like that, we made the most out of Rahul’s visit as soon as Marc and I got back from Hongkong.

My friends were the “first visitors” of our new home. But since they went to visit us the day after we got back, what they saw was a mess of a house. To be honest, it looked more like a storage facility than a home (yeah, that’s why I don’t want to post pics yet). So there. We had our first ever drinking session in our new home over boxes of electric fans and microwave ovens (not to mention atop of the eight rice cookers we received). And since Marc and I are such generous hosts, we bought my friends beer and sunflower seeds (Rahul treated us all to dinner in Eastwood City) for our little bonding session that lasted till 2am.

They were very amused to see me opening boxes of plates and glasses, and preparing stuff for them. Leng even commented that this was the last thing she thought she’d see: me getting excited opening boxes of kitchenware. It wasn’t what they were used to, that’s for sure. They won’t be surprised to see me go gaga over a new stick of 1GB RAM (they’ve already learned to accept the fact that computer parts will excite me more than a dozen of roses and a box of chocolates will), but kitchenware? It was simply… unusual.

To be honest, I’m also still finding it hard to believe that I’m now a wife. Checking my email used to be the first thing I did in the morning (I only brushed my teeth after I’ve gone through my emails hehe), but now, it’s different. Aside from having to brush my teeth first (it’s disgusting to kiss your husband good morning with a dragon-breath, you know), I now have to do some household chores first before I get to open my inbox.

Yesterday, I made my version of Connie’s Baked Creamy Chicken and Potatoes. Which, to my surprise, was a hit with my sister and Marc. Just this morning, I cooked rice, did some laundry, and marinated the beef we’ll be having for lunch. And now, as I write this entry, I still marvel at the thought that I actually did those things first before sitting in front of my pc.

I don’t know how long before I could really get used to this whole idea of “wife-hood” (it’s such a new thing for me that I even added a new post category called “wife-hood”). I guess I’ve just been so used to being a daughter with parents who run the household that the idea of me running my own household is still a bit strange.

Though there are still some things that remain the same (I still jump up and down on the bed when I desperately want to wake someone up—annoys the heck out of Marc), the thought that I’m now in a new chapter of my life is beginning to sink in. I’m also starting to realize and understand what it meant when people say “marriage will change your life.” Because in a short span of a week, it already has.

Back from my honeymoon :)

1 December 2006     •     16 Comments
Family Stuff

I’m now writing this post as Mrs. Gail Dela Cruz-Villanueva. It’s still kind of strange saying that, but I’ll get used to it 🙂

Marc and I have just gotten back from our honeymoon in Hongkong. The first piece of news we heard was of a typhoon coming. Call me selfish, but really, it’s a weird sort of blessing. I’ve been planning to get back to work as early as tomorrow (just thinking about all the work I have to do makes me want to go back to Hongkong!), but if this coming typhoon really is stronger than Milenyo, I’m not sure if that’s even possible. I’ll try anyway—at least until before the electricity shuts down again.

I have a lot of photos and stories to tell about our trip to Hongkong, but I’m just so tired now. The plane that took us back here in Manila was just a small airbus—the experience was far from pleasant. The turbulence made me feel like I was inside a blender (I’m exaggerating, but really, the turbulence made Marc and me extremely dizzy). I’m probably more tired now than I did when we got back to our hotel in Kowloon from Ocean Park.

Anyway, I got the CDs containing the photos from our wedding. Fast huh? Well, that’s the best thing about having a photographer for a dad—his photographer friends gave me the photo and video coverage of our wedding as their gift.

Sneak peek!

We’ve got a LOT of wedding photos (I actually felt like a star being chased by paparazzis hehehe), and I’m still choosing the best ones to upload. But for now, I’m going to take a rest. I’m just so tired!

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