President Yudhoyono



Let me relive my surreal Friday. I was on mommy duty for Sophia, who had a 5-hour animation class in Fully Booked BGC with the Alcazaren Brothers. It was the last of a two-day workshop. I figured I could use the five hours alone and hole myself up at the Starbucks with a laptop.

As we entered Fully Booked, I noticed there were a lot of PSG-looking men and women – not so inconspicuous in their black pants, white linen barongs, the pin on the collar, and ear piece. I figured there was a VIP inside the store. I hadn’t been in there for a while, but I know how security works around here. On our way up to the top floor of the building we saw PSG everywhere. They were scouting the area, looking out the glass windows, combing the racks of books. All the way up to my daughter’s workshop classroom.

So I asked the cashier. She said, “Baka dumating si Presidente.” (The President might come.) I asked why. It was a Friday, the last day of the World Economic Forum. She said President Aquino and the President of Indonesia were having lunch at Hossein’s across the street (unconfirmed) and may drop in to the book store. I asked again, why. She said, “Madalas si PNoy dito.” (PNoy comes here often.)

So I started talking to myself in Facebook. My friends kept me company.




Soph started her class on the third floor. I stayed in the second floor Starbucks and began writing my blog. But all the security activity continued. Men in white linen barongs first. Then men and women in batik came in. The mood was exciting but not intimidating. I knew President Yudhoyono was here on an official State Visit. But I still wondered, why Starbucks? I continued with my writing and so did the other Starbucks customers. Then I overheard two not-so-secret-service security talking behind me. One of them said, “Alanganin dito. Ang daming tao,” referring to the Starbucks set up. So I took a photo from the reflection of my laptop.


Security behind me.


So if PNoy and President Yudhoyono walked into my Starbucks, I figured that would be a great story. I started documenting what was going on. I’ve been told off many times by security. I was a news reporter, remember? So I’m not scared of taking photos. I’m more scared of retailers who don’t want their windows photographed.

Then when it felt that the heads of state were about to walk in, you know that moment when everyone stands on alert, I see two girls in Fully Booked uniforms rush upstairs with a tabo, disinfectant, and a pail of water. What the.. ?


President Yudhoyono in green shirt.


Minutes later, a wave of important-looking people walk by the Starbucks hallway. And then, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono walk through. There was no PNoy. President Yudhoyono really was just shopping for books. He went to the history, business, management, religion sections. I saw the owner of the book store showing him some books.


I really did a selfie.


Then the President and entourage went upstairs to where my daughter’s class was. Apparently they waved at him and he waved back. Later I found out what the tabo, disinfectant, and pail of water were about. Minutes before the president arrived, one of the pre-teen girls in Sophia’s class vomited on the carpeted hallway. Security and maintenance did a quick cover-up with a black cloth. No biggie.


The President of Indonesia, shopping for books.


This went on for a few more minutes. Then President Yudhoyono went to the washroom behind the Starbucks counter. At this exact moment, my daughter and one Alcazaren brother come to me. She needs to go the washroom too. “Uh, Soph, you can’t right now. The president of Indonesia is in the washroom.” There are separate washrooms for men and women. But still. I thought it best to let all the commotion go by. So Soph waited. Then this happened.


Soph, waiting for her turn in the washroom. The President and First Lady walk by.


And they did sit behind me. You can see in photo, the couple choosing their coffee. Then their staff lined up just like normal folk and ordered the coffee.


Soph did go to the washroom. After I snapped this photo. Surreal.


It was quite the event for me and my daughter. I’m sure she will always remember this. I grew up in the periphery of this arena. My dad was the military pilot of President Marcos. He was the chosen aide-de-camp for visiting Indonesian heads back in the 80’s. As a reporter, I covered the Ramos presidency and saw many heads of state come and go. And as myself, I met Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard at a cocktail reception during a state visit in Manila, but have no photos as proof. It feels a lot different when you’re just a mom in a sundress having coffee in Starbucks and the president of the largest Muslim country walks in and decides to sit right next to your table. President Yudhoyono, by the way, is a former general who served two terms as Indonesian president and is about to step down in July. He is leaving behind a very stable and dynamic democracy.

By the way I forgot to mention that on that very same Friday, President Yudhoyono and President Aquino just signed a historic agreement to resolve a 20-year maritime border dispute. According to the BBC, this is very significant in light of the regional tension felt in other border disputes with China. Wow.

So I posted a couple of photos in my Instagram.  And this morning, I find out that the First Lady, an avid photographer and Instagrammer, liked the photo I took of Sophia with the President and First Lady as photobomber.


First Lady Ani Yudhoyono “likes” my Instagram photo. She also posted this in her Instagram. Nice.


We are living in very interesting times.



Childhood dreams



With the Kidzanians


I hosted an event for Kidzania yesterday. Kidzania doesnt open in Bonifacio High Street until February 2015 but as early as now they launched their Educator’s Pod. Since Kidzania is positioned as ‘edutainment’ or educational entertainment, they met with different schools and teachers. Kidzania is designed as a real-looking city  with the ultimate role-playing opportunities for kids from four to fourteen years old. Even I got to play dress up at the event.


With the Kidzania management team and Rightzkeepers mascots


So here I am as a vintage flight attendant. The outfit evolved from my hat. I searched all over for a pillbox hat but fell in love with this fascinator from Evita Peroni. Then I found this suit at The Black Shop. I used to have a gazillion suits when I was a newscaster and weather girl for ABSCBN. My scarf is Yves Saint Laurent. (I have all these gorgeous silk scarves that I never get to wear. Because, well, in real life who wears elegant scarves?). Black pumps are from Massimo Dutti from three years ago. Oh and my smallest Jewelmer pearl studs.


I had my makeup team groom me at home. So yes, I travelled mid-afternoon with high and hard hair. My makeup was done by Ria Aquino; hair by Eddie Mar. That Evita Peroni fascinator is love.  I want to wear it again!


My peg. Mom as a PAL #flightattendant in the early 1960's. Back then their uniforms were Italian tailoring. #vintageflightattendant #vintage #cabincrewstyle
Here is my peg. My own mother. She was a stewardess in the sixties, back when Philippine Airlines was the top airline in this region. It was the “golden age of travel” for Filipinos. That photo was taken in Sydney, Australia before she retired from flying to marry my Dad. I grew up fascinated by these photos of my mother in her glamorous uniforms. Her hair was always perfectly coiffed.


By the time we were born, Mom wasn’t flying anymore. Back they didn’t allow married women to be FAs. But aviation remained our world. My dad was a pilot and we lived in an air base. I have always loved vintage stewardess style. Come to think of it, maybe this era influenced me in my grown up style. Women were way more elegant in the 60’s.


More vintage PAL from my mom's flying days when PAL was Asia's best. She's second from left. Lol at the subhead of this article. #vintage #vintageflightattendant #aviation #aviationstyle #philippineairlines
Cover of Free Press. It was a dream job back then. My mom is second from left. She is still good friends with her FA friends. And even in their 70’s they are all still so beautiful.


From Free Press. Mom is on the left.


PAL flight attendants in 1963.


When they weren’t flying this is what they wore. Where did all the elegance and glamour go? Can’t we all look this polished again?


More vintage flight attendant fashion inspiration here…


What was your dream job when you were a kid?






IMG_6981 e
Photo by Paolo Feliciano.


Sorry for the absence. My computer crashed. I lost my internal hard drive and everything in it. I was good with backing up. But something went stuck with my Time Machine that my last successful back up was on May 2013. So everything else after that has been lost. I’ve been disconnected for over 10 days.

I have a new hard drive in my computer now. Just like Easter signifies new life for Christians, so does this new hard drive for my computer and my blog. I don’t mean to sound pretentious with these analogies. The crash happened before Holy Week. I’ve also been going through a personal journey since the new year that has made this Easter a lot more meaningful.

I will try to retrieve some of the photos that I think I’ve lost. I have backed up some of them online and in external drives. For some reason though, I am ok with a completely empty computer. Perhaps I’ll just start over. Meanwhile I’m trying hard to get back on the groove of normal life, whatever that means.

Something tells me though that maybe one is just supposed to go on and not restore what’s been lost. Is that possible?

How do you deal with being so disconnected from everything – hard drive, work, this blog, life? Anyone?


P.S. The photo has nothing to do with this entry. It’s an out take from an old shoot for my furniture line.



Garage Sale stories



With my mom


Our garage sale last weekend was a huge success — Not only because we were able to sell our pre-loved things but also because I got to meet so many of you, my dear readers. Thank you for coming by to say Hi and talk a bit. It was my first time to have a public event inviting you all. And I must say, I love it. I can’t want to have another “event” with you all.

I had been preparing for a garage sale for months, and it was a blessing to find out that my friend had been planning a big one. So grateful that I got to join their group. It was a really good exercise in letting go. Cue “Let It Go“. There were some dresses, that I have to admit, were sold accidentally. I was like, “How did that get in to the bin?” But I let them all go. It was very good for my psyche.

Now a week has passed and my closet actually has some white space. The same can’t be said for my daughters’ though. That’s a different story. So, there are still a lot of things in our home… stuff we don’t really need.

I stumbled on Design Sponge’s 30 day Minimalist Challenge inspired by The Minimalists. And I am inspired to keep unloading my excess stuff. This one is easy. You can start today since it’s the first day of February. On the first day, you must get rid of one thing. On the second, two things. Three items on the third. So forth, and so on. They have a hashtag in instagram #minimalistchallenge.

Are you game? Should we do this Minimalist Challenge together? Let me know…

Meanwhile here are some highlights from last week’s Garage Sale @ Tangile.


It was so nice to be out all day… during the cold spell! The night before we opened, we were at the yard and it was 19°C .


The shoe section was a huge hit. About 12 friends consolidated their pre-loved shoes on a long table. Imagine the gazillion choices!


The morning of Day 1 there was a long line at the exit.


We were surrounded by happy smiles! So nice! Bargain basement prices!


At one point we had to control the crowd. We stopped counting at 450 that morning. I am so sorry if anyone was inconvenienced by the lineup outside. Though there were no complaints.


My booth. Fun!


The fashion booth. I had to stop myself from buying from my friends. Internal mantra: “The goal is to unload…”


My friends organized a really efficient way of paying. The line was long but it moved fast.


Ok, I have the sweetest mom. She helped some of the shoppers. Oh it was hard to let this dress go. I loved this so much. But my backless days are over. And it’s made me happy to see my loved clothing go to people who loved them too.


EDIT: Adding the next four photos. My kids “sold” their Rainbow Loom creations for P20 each. Sophia was the creator, Lily was the accountant and Stella was the talker. Haha.


Sophia’s little fundraising project.


The girl upped her service. She now takes custom orders for rainbow loom bracelets. Haha. 10 minute waiting time. Garage Sale at Tangile. #tangilegaragesale
On Day 2, Sophia added a custom service. Haha.


Our team!


My friend Eliza’s baskets were a big hit! Each one was a beauty. And sold for a song!


Thank you, everyone who came to say hi. It was really nice to meet you. Can’t wait ’til the next one!!



Happy New Year



Thank you 2013.


How is it January 5th already? I haven’t written anything yet. Where did my first four days of 2014 go? All I’ve done so far was edit out the kids’ toys and clothes. I’ve also been cleaning up my computer and files that are backed up on hard drives, cloud, Flickr, Google, iPhoto, etc. It’s crazy. I miss my analog life. I have yet to write my little 2013 retrospective. Perhaps when the kids go back to school tomorrow.

We spent the days leading up to New Year’s Eve at the same Batangas beach we go to almost every year. We are so fortunate that my brother-in-law’s good friend lends us their beautiful rustic beach house. This has become one of my favourite places in the Philippines because it is so pristine. And no domestic flying involved.


Early morning low tide. Beautiful.


Starfish love.




Beautiful patterns. By afternoon, this is covered by the tide.


At sunset the tide comes in.


Sophia, the one who really loves the outdoors, clings to every moment she can being free in this wide open space. She loves standing on that breakwater.


I love this shot. Taken just before dusk. The water is so still. And my baby girl who loves the sea just couldn’t help but explore.




Stella’s sea shells by the sea shore.


Every year the children in the community give my kids sea critters. My kids keep them for a little while then release them back to sea.


Sophia saw this huge snail with a beautiful shell.




Sand castles.


Patrick and Stella


My brother in law celebrated Holy Mass at sunset on December 31st.


We visited the site where we got married over a decade ago. The mountains of Batulao was the view at our reception.


This is the little chapel of our wedding in Don Bosco Batulao.


I love that my children still indulge me with smiles even though the sun gets in their eyes.


We are family. Happy 2014.
With our only sibling and family in this part of the world.


2013 was full of extremes. Like many, I am glad it’s gone. But then I started worrying about 2014 and the next storms coming our way. I remembered the message at new year’s eve Mass. No matter how much we plan everything, we are not in the control. We should live through both joy and challenges with gratitude for all that it brings. It may be hard to do. But I sure will try it.


I spent last night creating this Flipagram of my 2013 year. Despite all the troubles in our country, all I could remember were the fun times with my family.

I don’t know how to post Flipagram on this website. I want to share it with you for a short while. It is the most I’ve revealed of my world — the perfectly imperfect one. The link to the video is here. It is also posted on my Facebook page.

I’m hoping for the best for all my friends, relatives, you my readers and the thousands of people who suffered through 2013. I pray that you find the strength to face your challenges with grace and gratitude. I won’t stop at prayer either. I hope I can do stuff to make things better.

More to come…