Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The Year That Was

In a few minutes, 2008 will be no more. I'd like to take this time to think about what happened over the last 12 months. No, this is not a memoir or a day to day chronicling of my year. I've decided to list down just those things that stand out--the ones I can remember with ease when I think about the last 366 days.

January marked a big change in the office. Our erstwhile section chief resigned last year and was then replaced by a new one. He started this year. Big change I'm telling you... not all for the better. I miss my old boss, if only because she at least cared for the job. And along with February came our first problem. We hold our annual Walk for Life celebration for our patients on this particular month. Sure we always do the bulk of the job (that's what staff do after all), but this is the first year we had to do everything ourselves. Just one of the signs of the tricky times ahead.

Also in February, I participated in a speech contest representing my Toastmaster's club--UEC Toastmasters. I joined the Tall Tale category which I messed in no small part due to my inability to make people laugh, and because I went overtime. Oh well, I'm chalking it up to experience. (There's a clip in that link I gave if you're curious at how my speech went.)

Last March, we went to Grand Villa Resort in Bae, Laguna for our annual youth camp at church. This year's theme is Gospel Fever where each one is encouraged and equipped to spread God's word.

I know that a lot people are wary of Christians because we seem to want to evangelize (read: preach to and convert everyone), but we only do this because we care. If you're really not interested, politely say so and we'll stop. (That doesn't stop somebody else from trying though.) Realize that in our belief system, it's the most important thing we could do for someone--share our faith with them. We consider it a personal failure to never have tried. So don't get offended, we are not judging you, merely sharing the good news--something you'd expect friends to do. Imagine if there was a sale on a mall your friend has just been to and they're practically giving away their goodies, would you be offended when your friend comes up to you and tells you about it? Would you think "What does this ass think of me? Like I need a handout or something?"? Of course not.

Anyhow, it was a fun camp, lots of lessons learned on top of the beautiful place.

This photo was taken from the balcony of our tree house.

April was another special month for me. That was the month I started this blog, in no small thanks due to I-Blog 4. Since then, I've posted 100 entries, and due for hundreds more this coming 2009. I've participated in maybe a dozen blogger events and I loved every minute of it. I love the people I meet and the stuff I get to try (not to mention the food I get to taste hehe..) What's more, I enjoy writing about it afterwards. Turns out not all bloggers are as geeky as me.

Yeah, I was the guy in that "chicken" costume.

May is my birth month. Had lots of celebration and consequently burned a lot of cash. That was the first time I joined photohunt too! I've posted one every week except a few weeks here and there when we were moving and in December when I was really busy, but it's been fun and I'm looking forward to more of it next year.

June turned out to be a fun month as well. We had a long weekend courtesy of Gloria's holiday economics, and we decided to skip town and go to Pagsanjan Falls! The trip going to the falls all by itself was well worth every peso. But the falls! Wow, it really was majestic!

You can take a look at the other photos here.

Boston beat LA 4-2 to win their 18th championship, Pacman beats Diaz becoming the first Asian to win 4 titles in 4 different weight categories. A successful Cardiac Rehabilitation Week celebration and an unsuccessful attempt at a midyear self-assessment--but no matter, there's always next year. (At this point, I will minimize details as I've mostly blogged about these things anyway.)

July had me boycotting Coke, hosting our high school reunion and found me on a page of Star Studio Magazine. A series of totally unrelated events. It was a fun month though! Oh and August! This month had me winning a cooking contest, attending a play with Randy David and Jun Lozada, and our toastmasters club winning Area Club of the Year.

September was pretty busy with us moving to our new home. An adjustment that continues to this day. I have yet to resume my earlier pace of posting as I try to adjust to my new environment. October was the month where I lost my long time roommate but gained a new sister--the month my brother got married. I felt this last couple of months was just a whirlwind. I don't really recall any thing in particular but I thought it was busy. December was of course marked by lots of Christmas parties and expenses galore!

Looking back, I'm glad I started blogging this year. I never thought I'd be blogging before I did, but now I can't imagine not doing it. Sure some days it's a pain, I'd rather read stuff or watch tv. Yet I realized now how much it helped me chronicle the different highlights and low points of my year. It gave me a chance to look at the bigger picture that is 2008. Made me realize how blessed I was... I am.

Now I'm looking forward to the next 365 days! I say bring it on! God willing, there'd be more challenges this year and more sources of strength to overcome them. More milestones to set while we continue to pick up the pace. Here's hoping it would be fruitful time for all of us.

Happy New Year everybody!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photohunt: Squeaky

That's me trying to squeak through an igloo hehe...

Nah, we don't get a white Christmas down here in the Philippines. That's from snow city in Singapore (who don't get snow either hehe...) . Seeing as how people often equate Christmas with winter, I just thought this would be fitting.

Merry Christmas y'all!

N.B. You might want to check out my previous post if your Christmas wasn't merry enough.

UPDATE: The Golden State Warriors just squeaked past the defending champs Boston Celtics who just lost their first back to back this season. Oh, and Jax is back. I just thought it's appropriate to mention them as the Warriors are still the undisputed "Squeak King" (whatever that means) of the NBA who squeaked into the 8th and final playoff berth of the Western Conference during the 2006-07 regular season and then topping that by beating no. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks who had the regular season's best record.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Y'all!

How'd your Christmas go? Mine was ok. Probably not as fun as the previous ones, definitely not as fun as when I was a kid--though I can't say I can actually substantiate that claim. Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective. Much easier to have fun when you're a kid than when you're old enough to have to worry about cash and meeting deadlines and stuff. I guess that's why people have kids. Sure they're a source of endless worries but they're an even better source of laughter and joy.

Just yesterday, while I was on the commute home there was this cute little kid of about 3 sitting by the driver (his daughter I would imagine). I smiled at her like I usually do when I see little kids. And she shyly smiled back. Boy, you should see her smile! She's pretty common looking when she's not smiling, but when she does, she smile's easily worth a million dollars. Anyway, after that shy smile, she kept spying on me, checking out what I was up to. My response to which is a big smile. Until after a few more minutes, we were just playing around. She would look up ahead and then suddenly turn her head to look at me to which I would pretend to catch her doing so and she would giggle. I know it sounds silly but it was fun! So fun in fact that some of the other passengers were observing us with a little smile of their own.

I can just imagine how much joy she brings her parents. And she's lucky, her parents love her very much nevermind that he's just a jeepney driver. I know just by the way her parents were laughing at her antics.

So what is the point of all these? Really quite simple. While happy moments might be hard to come by during these hard times, it still manages to just sneak up on you. This blog's been silent for a couple of weeks now. I purposely withheld my 100th post until today (last night actually, but I was too tired hehe) because I wanted to make it special.

How? I haven't quite decided yet. I want to make someone happy. One of you to be specific. So here's what I'm going to do. I want you to post via the comment section one wish, something that would make you have a happier Christmas--an ungranted wish so to speak. That plus why it would make your Christmas happier. I'll pick one that I'll grant and we'll go from there. Lets try to make it realistic now ok? Don't go wishing for a girlfriend (a date is more realistic) or a sports car.

Easy enough right? So give it your best shot. I'll announce a winner before New Year. Oh, and if it's easy and cool enough to do, I might even grant more than one. That's it for my 100th post!

A blessed Christmas to all of you!

NB Please feel free to post your prayer request as well--as many as you want, and I promise to pray for all of them. God bless!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Photohunt: Breakfast

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Eggs Ben--a concoction of Rosemary focaccia bread with cheese, turkey ham, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.

Although this one's a bit pricey for breakfast (at close to P150 if my memory serves me right), it is nonetheless visually appetizing, which I suppose makes it apt for this theme. This was ordered by somebody else from our group when JC was kind enough to treat us at CBTL during his birthday so I personally didn't get to taste this. My feedback weren't all that good though. They said the taste was ok, but not really good value for your money, but the serving size really left something to be desired. Of course, he did eat this for dinner so you might want to try it out yourself though.

Tosilog: Tocino, Sinangag at Itlog (Honey cured pork, Fried Rice and egg!)

Now this is a more traditional Filipino breakfast. This is what we ate when my friend Chin and Khloe came over here last year to see the country. While in itself not visually appealing, it is more satisfying and a whole lot cost-effective at just P32 per plate. Of course us Asians prefer rice to bread, so that might explain the increased satiety of this one compared to the first one.

(This last one is not actually my photo. You might want to check this out to see the source and to read more about her experience with this and her other adventures here in the Philippines.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy birthdays!

I'm sure a lot of people are celebrating their birthday today. If the figure 6.7B is an accurate estimate of the world's population and assuming birthdays at this level can be safely distributed to all 365 days of the year with negligible statistical difference, that's 18.4M people celebrating their birthdays!

Not that I'm inclined to want to actually greet 18.4M people nor do I expect them to care that I did, but if you happen to be one of them, this entry is partly for you. Happy birthday! If you're curious, you share the same birthday as, F. Sionil Jose, Brendan Fraser, Daryl Hannah, Julianne Moore, Andy Williams, Kim Dae-Jung, and if you must know, Ozzy Osbourne. That's among a handful of top artists, head of states and curiously nobel laureates.

(WARNING: Cheese ahead!)

I personally know 3 friends who celebrate their birthday on this particular date. I'd like to greet Runaway Cat. May you find the peace you're looking for and the fulfillment of your evil plans hehe... Now go to sleep!

The second is my good friend Fenalon. He was my bestfriend back in the days when the term "bestfriend" is still used. We have drifted apart these past few years moving along in different circles now, but we've remained quite good friends. To Fenalon, may God bless you and prosper you in all you do.

The third and last person I'd like to greet, the main course if you will, is none other than...
(drum rolls please)

My dear mother.

Sure we don't agree on a lot of things, at times I just feel like pulling all my hair out in frustration at the times I can't understand her or when she refuses to understand me. But for all my ungratefulness and general pain-in-the-neck-ness, she's managed to tolerate me and love me even. And while I may not say it often enough (believe me, there's no one sorrier than I that I'm just not cut out to be able to say it as often as necessary), I love her. Oh and if you run into her, feel free to tell her I told you so (she doesn't read my blog you see), maybe somehow that will compensate for my hardheartednesses.

Happy birthday December 3-ers.
Happy birthday Ma!