Goodbye 3rd Cup. Hello Robinsons Mall!!!


At the turn of the year, talks were ripe that Robinsons Mall will finally be constructed in Zamboanga City. Earlier in 2009, Robinsons Management paid a courtesy call to the Local Chief Executive and the story was published in the local newspapers. I was cruising along Governor Camins going to Nunez Extension when I saw the popular cafe, 3rd Cup, being torn down. I said to myself, “What is going on?” After a couple of inquiries, I was told that the property where 3rd Cup was, along with the warehouses beside it, which housed the IPI Laboratories local outlet, is where Robinsons Mall will be constructed. Wow, great news.

Tsk.Tsk.Tsk. Where will 3rd Cup go next? Hopefully, it will be one of the tenants of Robinsons Mall, if ever there will be one. I said earlier that the cafe was popular because it was frequented by college kids with their stylish laptops and yuppies looking for a relaxing place to wind down after a stressful day at the office. It was a cool place to be. With luxurious furnishings and free WIFI service, no wonder it was packed to the rafters during weekends. I’ve been there quite a few times. After dinner with my office mates and a reunion with high school friends. We were even given a free treat by the very first owner of the place. I’m sure a lot of its patrons will miss it.

Hello Robinsons Mall. It’s high time that something as huge as this will grace the local landscape. Pagadian City is far better off in this area because they now have a two-storey Robinsons Mall right at the heart of the city. Good thing the local executives and business community have opened their minds about this. Hopefully, we will have a Robinsons Mall by the end of the year. Don’t worry local businessmen, I still prefer buying from you because of your cheap prices. Let the retail competition begin.


Love Affair with Paper


The other day I happen to pass by Fancy Haus on my way to Human Nature. Fancy Haus is a small store selling almost everything, like school and office supplies, toys, knick knacks, household supplies, bags, hair accessories, home decors and a lot more. I said to myself as I entered the store that I would just take a peek at new stuff they are selling. I ended up paying P300 plus worth of stationery and stickers. I just can’t stay away from those cute pastel sticky notepads of different shapes and sizes. I once saw them at a recent Christmas bazaar and they sell twice as much. So I grabbed the chance even if I just had enough money on my wallet. Knowing the marketing trend in the city, these things will be off the shelf in a few weeks without the chance of being sold again. Good thing I did not give in during the Christmas bazaar or else I will be knocking my head for shelling out double the price as it is now. What a happy addition to my growing collection of stationery. Just thinking about it transports me back in time when I was a little girl and I would collect cute Hello Kitty stationery. Well, good luck to the next stationery hunting…

My Father, My Hero


He will turn 66 on September 12, 2010. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he replied “I just want to eat, enjoy and spend the day with you guys.” I was struck by his answer. I could not fathom how a simple answer could have such a profound effect on me.  And why not. Being the eldest child of four siblings, I knew what responsibility meant at an early age.

My mother went into long labor before I was born. So he went home for a while to take a bath. When he returned, the nurse congratulated him and said, “It’s a girl!”. And he said, “Oh, okay.” I know he wanted a boy he could name after him. But that did not deter him from bringing me up like a boy. No, I did not end up a tomboy. Instead, he shared to me his passion and zest for life. At a young age, I learned to love music. I remember playing the turntable to the tune of the bullfight of Spain while I cleaned our house during Saturday mornings. At the end of the day, we would listen to Chuck Mangione play his trumpet while we put up our feet and sink deep into the couch.

Every summer, my siblings would excitedly wait for him to take out the huge Betamax box full of Marvel and other English comic books. We would join the adventures of Superman, Batman and Spider-man while go to far away places immersed in the stories of famous authors. As I grew up, I shifted my attention to the Reader’s Digest and National Geographic magazines he has collected through the years. Yes, my father is an avid collector of a lot of things. Comic books, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic Magazines, ukay-ukay (surplus) clothes and shoes and digital music. He has a knack (or maybe he is just lucky!) for finding branded clothing and shoes. But, I think it is his perseverance that led to the discovery of those treasures. As far as I can remember, it has been twenty years since he started his love for surplus apparel (Ukay-ukayan at the Sta. Cruz market!). I distinctly remember him giving me three Lacoste polo shirts in red, maroon and white colors. When I was in college back in 1991 in Manila, my Manileña classmate said to me in her kolehiyala twang, ” Is that Lacoste polo shirt real?” I said, “Of, course” while I was giggling inside of me. I was wearing the white Lacoste shirt wherein the words Lacoste were stitched all over it. Anong tingin niya sa akin, can’t afford. Hahaha…When I went to the mall that weekend, I looked for the shirt to see how much it cost. My eyes rolled. No wonder she can’t believe it. One shirt cost P2,000 at that time, while I was wearing a P35 original shirt. Boy, was I laughing out loud.

My father is always hungry to learn new things. He learned how to use the computer at the age of 60, when most senior citizens his age or younger would dare not touch a computer. Translating his love of music to the digital world, he became internet-savvy and explored the wonderful world of the web to download his favorite music. Now, his digital music collections are in the thousands and counting. He is the Flying Dutchman (Davy Jones) of the Music World (a.k.a. pirata ba!hahah!). He has a Facebook account to keep in touch with family and friends. He is comfortable using Google and Yahoo in searching for any subjects under the sun. He is also an amateur photographer. He has tons of pictures in boxes waiting to be indexed and placed in albums.

My father may be simple, but he has great character. I look up to my father because I want to be like him, to live life to the fullest with the talents that the Almighty has given us. I have not achieved even half of what my father is, but I strive to be what he has become. He believes that I can always do better than the mediocre work I have shown him. He believes in me and the great things that I can achieve. And for that I am humbled and inspired.

This is a simple gift I can give to my father. Pa, in everything that I do, I always remember that I can do more and give my best because you believe in me. No words can express the impact you made in my life. I love you, Pa. Happy Birthday.

The Jeepney Chronicles: AIR SUPPLY…Live In Zamboanga City


When my friend texted me about the coming of Air Supply in Zamboanga City on June 26, 2010, memories of my high school days played on my mind. I distinctly remember riding the jeepney plying San Jose and Baliwasan with their speakers blaring songs from an Air Supply cassette tape. From WMSU to the pueblo, these jeepneys kept playing Making Love Out of Nothing At All, Young Love, Every Woman in the World, among others. Students alighting on the San Jose Area going to their schools would surely have the Last Song Syndrome of Air Supply songs on their minds…Ah, basta. Kapag San Jose-Baliwasan ang jeepney, Air Supply ang paboritong tinutugtog.

For today’s generation who does not know about Air Supply, it is a duo composed of  British guitarist and vocalist Graham Russell and Australian lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock who conquered the music world during the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s. Their music is composed mainly of the soft rock genre. Their hit songs include All Out of Love, Here I am, Two Less Lonely People in the World and The One that You Love which reached no. 1 in the Billboard Top 100 in the 80s.

The Air Supply World Tour Concert is sponsored mainly by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) and is in line with the AdZU Centennial Celebration in 2012. It will be held at the Zamboanga City Coliseum on June 26, 2010 at seven o’clock in the evening. This fund raising benefit concert is for the Ateneo Centennial Scholarship Fund.

For Air Supply Fans in Zamboanga City, don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the duo in person. Tickets are priced at P2,000.00 (front row), P1,000.00 (back row) and P400.00 (bleacher). Tickets are available at AdZU Scholarship’s Office, Planning Office, Grade School Office, High School Office and all College Units. For more ticket inquiries, please contact 991-0871 local 1006 and look for Sheila Pagotaisidro.

D’ Tale of the Dirty Finger…Phil. Election 2010


Today is May 10, 2010. Finally, I was able to cast my vote at 5:21 p.m. after having 80 people ahead of me. My parents, sister and I went to the polling precinct at 3:00 pm hoping to find that there will be lesser people voting. Earlier this morning, my aunt and nanny went to the polling place at 7:30 am. Nanny came home after 9:30 am while Aunt was able to finish at 10:30 am. At Nanny’s precinct, the voting went on smoothly despite the long queue. My Aunt’s experience was different, the PCOS machine did not work and it took awhile before it was replaced.

San Roque Elem School Cluster 6 Precinct



Since there were 80 people ahead of me, I decided to check out the other members of my family. This is a picture of their precinct. They did not have a lot of people waiting in line so it took them only 20 minutes to cast their vote.

I took a picture of my parents and sister casting their vote, feeding the ballot into the machine, waiting for it to say CONGRATULATIONS and having indelible ink  placed on their finger.

Below is a picture of me waiting in line after the long queue ahead of me. There were seats outside of the precinct where we sat waiting for our numbers to be called. Actually, when I knew that there were 80 plus people ahead of me, I went home to get my list which I forgot to bring. After harvesting and planting crops at my farm at Farmville, I went back after 45 minutes, just in time to have my number called.

Upon entering the room,I gave the small piece of paper where my precinct number, list number and line number was written to the BEIs where they looked for my name on the official list of candidate. When they finally located my name, I signed the list and affix my right thumb mark on it. Then I was given the ballot enclosed in a long, white folder and the pen provided by Smartmatic. The ballot secrecy folder is not the official folder which should be used, since the official folders did not arrive due to controversies in the procurement of such folders. I sat down and carefully marked the egg-shaped symbol before the names of the candidate. Earlier that day, I made a list of whom to vote with their corresponding number in the ballot so it did not take me long to finish voting.

This is a photo taken at my precinct. There are times when all the seat are filled up with voters. After voting, I returned the pen provided by Smartmatic to the BEI then fed my ballot into the PCOS machine. After 2 minutes of verifying my ballot, a message saying, ‘Congratulations. Your vote has been registered.’ Man, I was so relieved that my ballot went smoothly inside the machine. When my parents fed their ballots inside the machine, there was a paper jam. But, the ballot was read successfully by the machine after the BEI inserted the ballot further inside. I was so happy that I was able to cast my vote. In my excitement, I surrendered my thumb to the BEI for the indelible ink. She asked me for my forefinger and placed a small amount of indelible ink on it.

Above are some pictures taken of voters looking for their names on the list, and voters waiting in line to have their numbers called.In some precincts, voting started late in the afternoon due to some defective PCOS machines .  I hope that there will be no glitches in the canvassing and counting of the ballots. I also hope that the winners will truly serve our country and the losers will accept defeat gracefully. I am proud to be part of this historical event, the very first AUTOMATED ELECTION in the Philippines.

Change Is Inevitable


This is the third time that I changed this blog’s name. I can’t even remember its first name. I remembered an episode from Spongebob Squarepant’s cartoon wherein the main character, Spongebob, lost his name tag and he couldn’t remember his name. What he did was repeat the events of the days, from the time he woke up to the time he lost his name tag so he could remember where he lost it. I wouldn’t do that. No way.

Finally, after careful thought, i chose this name. Hopefully it reflects who I really am. May it also encourage me to write more often and share my thoughts. As of today, the blogs I created is more numerous than my ten fingers. I have to sort all of them and maybe retire some and just concentrate on the important ones. As a dear friend said to me long ago, I don’t need to spread myself to thin. It wouldn’t do me any good. I just have to give my time to what and who matters most.

To this journal, may thoughts flow like a gentle creek…to a place peaceful and happy.

Beware of “Throw-Away” Plane Tickets


This is the first rant article of my blog. Why such title? This is the full story. Last August 2009, I purchased a plane ticket from Asia’s First Airline thru the internet. I was chosen as one of the three delegates from our cooperative to attend a convention at Olongapo City last September 23-25, 2009. Given a tight budget, I canvassed for the lowest plane fare that I could find. I called up ticket agencies and surfed the internet. If you compare ticket prices between ticket agencies and the internet, the latter’s price is lower. Of course, you have to purchase it using your credit card. That’s what I did. I booked three tickets for me and my companions using my own credit card.

The plane e-ticket that I purchased was a promo fare ticket with lots of restrictions. That was okay with me because it was within my budget. Little did I know that the FINE PRINT written on the e-ticket would make my life miserable. The night before I was to leave for Manila, my eldest son had high fever, headache and was vomiting. I was really worried about his condition. My anxiety was heightened when I thought of the convention that I had to attend. I called the regional coordinator from CDA, explained my situation and asked her advice. She suggested that I look for a replacement so that my registration fee of P7,000 will not be forfeited. Next, I called my boss, who was one of my companions on the trip, and told her about my situation. She told me to stay and take care of my son. Being a mother herself, she told me that family should go first. Encouraged by her advice, I called another friend and asked her if she could go. She declined since their house was flooded due to heavy rains a few days before.

Finally, I was firm in my decision not to leave for Manila. I was also  not able to find a replacement in such a short notice. Mind you, I did not sleep well that night partly because I was monitoring my son’s condition, and the other part was thinking of how to seek a refund of my registration fee and plane ticket. The next day I sent a text message to one of the organizers of the convention and again explained to him my situation. Thanks to his good heart, I was able to refund part of the registration fee.

On September 25, 2009, I went to the airline’s ticketing office at the Zamboanga City Airport and referred the matter to the ticketing officer. When he read my ticket, he told me point blank that it is a non-refundable ticket and that is it equivalent to a “throw-away” ticket. Wow, that’s a new term. They should have added that to the many fine print that this particular ticket has. I was in the verge of tears. How can I “throw away” P4,400 just because I was not able to leave for Manila and use my plane ticket? I let him read my letter to the manager explaining what happened. He further said, “Ma’am, kahit ano pa po ang mangyari, hind nyo pa rin pwedeng i-refund ang ticket nyo. Ang iba nga, hindi nakasakay dahil namatayan nang kamag-anak pero hindi pa rin na-refund ang ticket nila.” Ganun? Oh, stupid me. It is a “throw-away” ticket so why argue. I asked him if I could see the manager and he gave me directions to his office.

I went to the manager and submitted my letter request along with my plane ticket and the medical certificate of my son. By the way, he had Intestinal Influenza, which explained his vomiting and fever. It is an illness common during the rainy season. Back to the manager, he searched his computer for the policies regarding my ticket. He told me that my ticket is indeed non-refundable. I told him that it is okay with me if I cannot refund it as long as I can still use it. He said that he would refer the matter to his superiors but cannot promise me if I could still refund or use my ticket.

After two weeks, I called him up regarding my request. In a diplomatic tone, he explained to me that it is indeed a non-refundable ticket and there is no way that I can refund my P4,400 or use it for another trip. As he was explaining, I fought back the tears in my eyes. He stopped in mid sentence and asked me if I was still on the phone. Yes, I told him but, my mind was screaming. “Yes, d***it, I’m still here and I still could not figure out how P4,400 could just disappear in thin air.” Oh I remember, even if the ticket holder died before he could board the plane, his relatives could still not refund the plane ticket because it is a “Throw Away” ticket and the fine print expressly states that “Fare and surcharges are non-refundable, forfeited if ticket is unused, non-rebookable, non-endorsable and non-upgradable.” Silly me for hoping that the management of the Asia’s First Airline would understand my situation and grant my request.

This serves as a warning to everyone who plans to buy a promo fare ticket. Don’t buy it unless you are 100% sure that you will use it. Also, read the fine print. Sometimes, we tend to disregard the fine print but in the end, it is the same fine print that would prevail in any given situation. I should know. It cost me a princely sum of money just to get the message across my head. So, to all of you out there, good luck on your plane ticket purchase, read the fine print and do buy the one that says it is refundable, rebookable, upgradable and endorsable.

Health Watch: Target Weight 75 kilos


weighing scale

Last Saturday, I finally went to my aunt’s clinic for a medical check-up. For the past week, I experienced headaches and gas pain in my stomach. I thought it was the usual symptoms of eating late and getting ‘kabuhi’ (gas pain), or it could be my eyes due to extreme eyestrain brought about by looking at the computer monitor for hours on end (hala ka…facebook) or it must the extreme weather condition, too hot one minute and rain showers the next. For two straight days, I went straight to bed upon arriving home because I can’t bear the headache. Hubby ordered me to have a check-up and I said I’ll go during the weekend. Thanks to his hot cups of tea, chicken soup and tender, loving care, my headache was somehow bearable.

After my preliminary check-up, I was asked to have a blood and urine test to determine the true nature of my discomfort. The test results showed that I have Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and was prescribed antibiotics. The good news is, it was just a mild case of UTI. I also found out that my weight increased to 2 kilos within 6 months. So I mentally told myself that I need to decrease my weight to 75 kilos by the end of the year.

According to the websites of Mayo Clinic and web MD, a urinary tract infection is an infection that begins in our urinary system, which is composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Any part of your urinary system can become infected, but most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the urethra and the bladder.

Women are at greater risk of developing a urinary tract infection than are men. This is probably because women have shorter urethras, so it is easier for the germs to move up to their bladders. You may be more likely to get an infection if you do not drink enough fluids, have diabetes, or pregnant. The chance that you will get a bladder infection is higher if you have any problem that blocks the flow of urine from your bladder. Examples include having kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland.

Not everyone with a urinary tract infection develops recognizable signs and symptoms, but most people have some. In general, urinary tract infection signs and symptoms develop rapidly and can include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria) or cloudy, strong-smelling urine
  • Bacteria in the urine (bacteriuria)

Antibiotics prescribed by your doctor will usually cure a bladder infection. It may help to drink lots of water and other fluids and to urinate often, emptying your bladder each time. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take the pills exactly as you are told. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to finish taking them all so that you do not get sick again.

Thanks to Mayo Clinic and Web MD for the information. You can check out their website here and here for further information about the illness and other illnesses as well.

With strong determination and your support along with the will to live longer and healthier, may I accomplish my weight goal by the end of the year. So help me God!

So Near…Yet So Far


family blogThe Family is the most basic social unit in society. It is where we learn our values and beliefs and where we get to be molded as a human being. In today’s world, there are so many dysfunctional families that exist. The basic unit of society is being torn apart by greed, consumerism, and survival. How is it so?

In the Philippines, the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs are hailed as the heroes of our country. They keep the economy afloat due to the remittances that they send their loved ones. I present to you a simple case. A middle class family struggles to make both ends meet. Father does not earn enough to support his family of six. Mother is a plain housewife. Father applies for a job abroad and incurred mounds of debt just to pay for his employment abroad. Employer does not honor original contract and slashes the wage by half. Poor father cannot tell his family of his plight in the land of milk and honey. Meanwhile, Mother receives Father’s remittance and feeling like a millionaire, spends the money in a day. The Kids also spend the money like there’s no tomorrow and indulge in vices. The Family breaks apart. The Hero is given a festive welcome by the government, but as he goes to his home, there’s no one to come home to. Sad, but true.

Still, there are families who decided to stay in our Homeland and make do with what they have. They have simple dreams, and live simple lives. And so, they do not fall into the trap of wanting more than they can have. What can we do to keep the basic unit of our society from falling apart? Each of us has a role to play, no matter how small it may seem. As parents, a little more understanding and stretching of patience can go a long way in dealing with our kids. As children, a little more respect and love for your parents who work hard to give you what you need. Just a little can go so far. May God Bless our Families…

Food Lover


I am a food lover of two dishes, adobo and pancit canton.

Adobo, especially the pork variety, has always been my favorite. I have yet to perfect the dish. I usually cook it until the oil from the pork fat mingles exquisitely with the soy sauce mixture. Ah, if only I have a photo. I promise to have one next time. There’s a version of this dish wherein the pork is sauteed in its oil until no liquid is left, only the sumptous pork coated with the sweet sour flavor of the sauce and fat.

Pancit canton, the kind you cook from scratch, not from those ready to eat in three minute varieties, is my favorite noodle dish. It’s a comfort food which I’m learning to cook the way I wanted it to taste. There had been hits and misses, but I’m getting there. There were times when the veggies become overcooked since the noodles has not yet reached the al dente stage. Now, I cook the noodles and veggies separately. So, the noodles are perfectly cooked while the veggies still has a crunch when you bite into it.

I would like to think that I can cook my favorite dishes from scratch. Well, the heck with thinking…I might as well DO IT…Because I do more thinking than doing…hehehe…Sayang ang bagong kusina….

Hopefully next time I will have the will to take photos of dishes before I devour them. Okay, okay, let me savor them first in my mouth before sentencing them to oblivion…

Happy Eating!!!