Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Beauty of Winter

I took these pictures when hubby and I went to Oddie Park in Reno. The place was very quiet but breathtakingly beautiful!

Last year, I thought I hate winter. I hated it because I thought I couldn't stand the coldness. But when the summer came, I also thought I couldn't stand the heat!

I came across this quotation, “Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat”. Bull's eye me!

Now I just don't mind the coldness that winter brings but appreciate and enjoy the awesome beauty it brings.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Day at a Spa

My thoughtful and generous American friend Brenda gave me a Spa Gift Certificate of one of the local beauty salons here during my birthday. It took 5 months before I called for an appointment (the certificate has to expire in March).

The place was kind of small but nice. I was ushered to a small but cozy room. It was clean and neat. It has a reclining bed with white sheets, a kind of a white blanket, a white gown and a registration paper with pen in it. An instrumental music was played. The attendant told me to get myself comfortable, fill-out the first page of the registration form, take off my upper outfit, and to put on the white robe. I saw a sign "Dermalogica" in the upper part of the wall. I thought it was the brand of the facial products to be used. I was right.

She asked me quite a few questions about my skin. But the first question was, “Are you an Indian?” Ahem.
Anyways, some of the questions were :

Do you have skin allergy?
Do you have sinusitis?
Are you taking medicines or vitamins at this time?
Do you have some kind of a metal in your body?
Have you underwent into cosmetic surgery?
Is your tolerance high, low or medium?
Are you suffering from stress?
How often do you get pimples?

After I answered all questions, she checked my skin thoroughly using a kind of microscopic thing. Then she recommended a Deep Pore Cleansing Treatment to purify my skin and pores, and to encourage cell regeneration, something to that effect.

Firstly, she put some ylang-ylang oil on my arms, on my palms and on my fingers then massages them lightly. Afterwards, she put on plastic cellophane on my hands and put them inside a warm rubber thingy which I can’t describe, to keep my hands warm.

Secondly, she put some massaging oil on my décolleté, which is a part of body from the shoulder to the chest and to the neck and massage them. It felt really good and relaxing. In the Philippines, I only get massage on my face alone. Maybe they will charge more if they will include the décolleté. Whatever.

Thirdly, she started to massage my face, put some creams I didn’t get to see because my eyes were covered but I like their smell though. I had forty winks so I didn’t know what else she put in my face. I was back to the world when she began to touch my blackheads and whiteheads. It was painful but tolerable.

Lastly, it felt so soothing and calming when she put warm cloth on my face twice to take off the creams and other stuff that she put on my face and when she took the warm rubber off my hands.

I felt so perfectly rejuvenated and stressed-free afterwards.

Thanks Brenda!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Outrageous College Tuition

As I browsed the internet today, this headline caught my eyes, "The $550,000 Student-Loan Burden". It is about a 41-year-old family practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, finished medical school in 2003, her student-loan debt amounted to roughly $250,000. Since then, it has ballooned to $555,000. And she didn't know how to pay for it. When I calculated the amount to Philippine Peso, it amounted to 24,750.000.00! Oh my God! That’s a lot of money!

Well, actually, this problem is common here. My Filipina friend Rowena is taking up a 6-month course this spring and the tuition is more than $10,000.00; take note that is for 6 months only, how much more for 2 year- or 4-year course? You bet. This is definitely a reason mostly of the people here are High School graduate only or if not, mostly are college undergraduate.

I have a workmate here, she went to College for a year, and she was a Softball player and half-scholar so she paid only half of the tuition. But she just can't afford for another year no more so she quit schooling. Recently, she told me that she has to pay $150.00 per month starting July for the loan she owed so she thought to find a second job for her to pay all her bills.

Like any other parents, I dream for my children to finish a degree and I cannot fulfill that dream if they will stay here. I am so glad that I sent them back to the Philippines to continue their college education there or else they will be a high school graduate forever. And I am happy that my husband supported my decision even if it was hard for us to send them back being thousand miles away from them.

If they will finish their chosen degree in God's time, they will be definitely debt-free. By that time, they could start their career or life without burden.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

All We Need is LOVE


Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
                                                                   I Corinthians 13:4-8

Amidst economic crisis and natural calamities, all we need is LOVE ( and maybe a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates on Valentine's Day) ;)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Day with Wowowee at Lake Tahoe

(This was my last post before I discontinued my blog in Friendster.)

I had fun. I had tears. And I had frustrations.

Two months before the show, my 2 Filipina friends Rowena and Emy and I were ready and set to go. We already had tickets and we had booked our room for the night. Tickets range from $45.00 to $200.00. We were so excited! It was a “for the girls” deal. No hubbies. Hubby protested, “But Mahal, I wanna go… I want to have picture with RR”. He likes RR! And he likes to shake his big belly while dancing and singing his version “Agiling-giling” instead of “Igiling-giling”. He stayed home.

The show was held Sept. 6 at 5:00 o’ clock in the afternoon. I had to work on the evening before so my friends fetched me at exactly 7:00 o’clock in the morning in the hotel then we headed to Lake Tahoe. It was more or less a 4-hour long drive.

It was my first time in Lake Tahoe. The place is amazing! The Lake itself is so peaceful and still. The pine trees in the surroundings have complimented the beautiful scenery. We stayed in Harrah’s and the venue of the show is just a walk away. While wandering inside the Casino, Emy saw DJ Kookie walking towards the door. I only had a glimpse of him.

We were already inside the arena around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. While sitting in the bench, my eyes were focused in the entrance gate. People of different walks of life and of different ages were in line patiently waiting for the people ahead of them to get inside. They must be very tired from a long drive but their faces showed enthusiasm and excitement. My rough estimate of the number of people was more or less 5,000 and ninety nine point nine percent were petite, black- haired and brown-skinned human beings, in short, Filipino people, hehehe! While everyone was busy finding their seats, others were busy selling and buying T-shirts, Willie’s CDs and Yes Magazines. Promotional leaflets like “As 1” of Gary V. and Martin Nievera were also distributed. There was a design in the T-shirt that was inspired by our Philippine flag. The woman who sits below my row told me that she’s not going to buy that kind of thing. And I asked her why. She answered, “Well, I am already an American citizen”. Wheew! I wanted to slap her fat and ugly face to make her realize what she just said. She further said that her husband forbid her not to have picture with DJ Kookie because accordingly, their sons are more handsome than the DJ. As soon as I heard it, I forbid myself not talk to that woman ever again. Grrrr!

It was almost 5:00 o’clock but the stage was not yet ready. From afar, I saw Ana Feliciano onstage smiling and waving to the crowd while taking care of something up there. DJ Kookie was behind the rows where we sit trying to sell his CD Album. He was making “lambing” to the people who wants to take picture with him to buy his CD. I didn’t know that he’s a singer!

Around 5:00 o’clock, the stage was still unready. Tick tack tick tack tick tack. 5:30 o’clock. Another tick tack tick tack tick tack. 5:45 o’clock. I heard people murmuring already. More tick tack tick tack. Around 6:10 o’clock in the evening, at last, the show had started. Hahaha! Filipino Time it was!

The show was started with the playing of USA National Anthem followed by Lupang Hinirang, our Pambansang Awit. While listening to our National Anthem, I had goose bumps. I missed the song so much! I am really proud to be a Filipino. My mind was also singing at the same time while standing still in respect. Afterwards, the theme song of Wowowee followed. Everyone was in high spirits. Some shouted “Wowowee!”, “Wowowee!”, “Wowowee!”, just like we see on TV. It was kind of “baduy”! But I went with the flow. I shouted the same for fun!

After DJ Kookie did the introduction rap song, Owen took the stage to introduce the man of the hour, Bentong. I liked it when Bentong greeted the crowd “Ay lab yuuuuuu! Ay lab yuuuuuu deeeerr!”. Everyone was delighted to see him. He then confessed that he is not actually a Filipino. His dad is Portuguese and his mom is from Bangladesh. That made him a “Put* agis!” Hahaha!

When Willie was introduced, the crowd was overjoyed! As expected, he thanked everyone for having him in the show again, that he was so grateful for the support he got from TFC subscribers and he also talked about his comeback on TV in the 21st of September and he added that he is going to air the Wowowee in Lake Tahoe on that day. The crowd was ecstatic upon hearing it! Yeheey! Willie sang all his songs in Igiling-giling Album. Of course, he also sang the “Ikaw na Nga”. Everyone sang and danced with him. There were 20 Bigatin contestants. It was Bentong who chose three contestants coming from where we seated and the fat lady next to me was chosen as Bigatin but alas, Bentong forgot to give her the flag let so she was not accepted when she went onstage, tsk!tsk!tsk! I felt sorry for that lady. I talked to her earlier and we spoke Visayan dialect. She's from Ozamiz City. And she’s been here in US since February this year.

Now Pokwang and Mariel came in to grace the Hep Hep Hurray portion. Wow, in fairness, Poke is so slim and gorgeous on her very beautiful gown. During this segment, as usual she made the crowd laughed out loud. I liked her “hirit” when she interviewed an American guy whose head is shiny for being totally bald. After talking with the man she held him and gestured comically, “Oh Robert, I like you very much, you were like a huge roll-on to me!” Everyone was laughing. Hahahaha! She was such a clown!

Mariel was stunning in her purple gown. She was a cutie! And she was freezing. I was too. The air blew too chilly. Pokwang and Mariel changed 2 outfits that night. And both of them looked great and they seemed nice.

Saucy Saicy and Luningning were gorgeous too! They danced as usual in their very sexy outfits. The crowd was whistling while they danced. Saicy is petite but very curvaceous while Luningning is kind of tall and thin. I was surprised to see her because she looks stout on TV.

Lito Camo was there too. He sang and played guitar. I didn’t realize that he’d already composed so many novelty songs. In fairness, he’s such a talented person. Kudos to him! He requested the crowd to shout “Hoy” every time we hear him singing “Pinoy” word. Emy enjoyed shouting “hoy” and I told her, “Hey, you are not Pinoy anymore!” I intently spoke so loud so that the woman who bragged herself being an American citizen would hear me. I was glad when Emy answered back, “Sa papel lang yun!” But sad to note, I didn’t notice any reaction from the woman. Grrrr!

I really had so much fun until the Wheel of Fortune segment. Contestants were the ones that worked in the hotel and who got furlough from work. All of them were old folks. There was this old man who’s having a struggling life here and he wanted to go back to the Philippines to visit his other children but he had no money for the airfare. He was 78 years old. Willie promised to buy ticket for him as Christmas gift. And he added that the old man will be fetched in the airport and that he will be one of the guests in Wowowee in the studio. The crowd cheered! The poor old man was in tears and very grateful to him. There was this old woman who’s so boring to hear because she was like narrating an unending novel, to think that Willie asked her to greet her family only. Hehehe!

Furthermore, there was this woman whose life story was so touching and tear jerking. She got 5 children from her previous marriage in the Philippines. She met this very nice American guy whom she called “my hero” and this guy petitioned all her children to join with them here in US. She got one child with the guy but unfortunately, the poor little angel got brain cancer. The little girl in her wheelchair was called-in together with her dad. God, she looked so pale and weak. She was, if my mind serves me right, 13 years old and her name was Yammy. I really had tears while looking at her and while listening to her. When Willie asked her wish in life, she answered, “I wish the cancer will go away”. That was so heart breaking. I really had tears. I bet everyone was emotional that time. We were back in shape when she added that she wished to see Santino. You read it right, Santino, the miracle boy in May Bukas Pa! And Willie promised to fulfill her second wish as soon as possible. The girl will meet Santino on the Wowowee show in the Philippines. Yeheeey! The crowd’s reaction was astounding. Everyone was happy! And through God’s grace and mercy, the little girl’s mom won the game and besides, she got the money, which was given to Willie from the crowd while hosting the game.

Amidst the Wheel of Fortune segment, Willie informed the crowd that the show might be cut short because there will be fireworks show in commemoration of the Labor Day. The crowd’s reaction was, “WHAAAAT?” But we felt relieved when the Chief Security Officer informed us onstage that they would hold the fireworks until the show is done.

The show continued! Here came Anne Curtis! Woooooow! She was soooooo pretty and fabulous! She’s so oozing! She is such a “Diyosa” to the highest level. I so like this girl! She sang 3 songs. I forgot the title of the 2 songs she sang but the “Just Dance” registered on my mind. I didn’t mind her singing but definitely she’s a hottie and gorgeous!

Here is the frustrating part. Charice was introduced last. Well, she was supposedly the “Star of the Night” considering her appearance in Ellen de Generes Show and Oprah, etc. Everyone was waiting for this girl but… Willie informed us that the show had to cut short because the fireworks display will be pushed through anyway, as scheduled. The show must be stopped for safety reason. So it was not really negotiated after all. Charice was given 3 minutes to sing, yes, only 3 minutes! And the crowd was so frustrated, upset, pissed, disappointed and other adjective related to the word “displeased”. Charice sang “Acapella” just to render song to the irritating crowd. And Willie cut her singing short after 3 minutes telling the crowd sorry. Sorry? Grrrr! I bet Charice was kind of irritated too.

Afterwards, all Wowowee celebrities and dancers gathered onstage together and sang the Wowowee theme song while throwing jackets to the crowd. Rowena was lucky that Anne Curtis threw one for her. And since I was freezing, Rowena let me used it and that made my night!

Even the show has already finished, others stayed in the arena trying and wanting to get hold of Willie and other celebrities. I overheard people discussed, murmured, mumbled because of dissatisfaction. Many people came from different States just to watch the show. The woman from Ozamiz City whom I talked to earlier, came all the way from Oregon and since the hotels in the place were all sold out and full, they had to drive back to Oregon that same night. And I guessed allot of people were doing the same. I overheard 3 young ladies expressing theirs regrets for buying the most expensive tickets for the show. Well, I was glad that we only bought the $65.00-ticket. Whew!

This has been my experience with Wowowee. I had fun. I had tears and I had frustrations!

I hope you enjoyed reading this very long post of mine.

Have a fun and happy day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

American Football Mania!

Football game is famous here in the United States. The Americans are crazy as much as Filipinos do with Basketball. There are three major forms in this sport but for me, the Professional football which is handled by NFL is the most popular.

The football season starts during fall and ends by the second week of February. In the hotel where I work, there are five huge TV screens for customer’s viewing and of course you have to order drinks or foods or you have to bet for your favorite team for you to get a seat and be there early or else you will end up standing.

I started to get interested with this stuff when one day, hubby asked for a clean old cloth or towel to be used after he is done washing his dear sister’s car. I found a kind of an old towel with red prints from our closet and I gave it to him. I was surprised to his reaction when he saw what I just handed to him. His reaction was, “Oh my God Mahal, not this towel please! And I was like, “Hello, you wanted an old towel and this is the only one I’ve got, what’s the fuss?” My sister-in-law was laughing. She said that the towel has a sentimental value for my husband because it has “Redskins” printed on it. And my reaction was, “Okay fine, whatever…” I found out that Redskins is the name of the football team of Washington State. Later on, I learned that my good friend Brenda and her husband, Steve are fans of Cowboys, the team of Texas. Redskins and Cowboys are always playing against each other so every time Redskins lost the game or the other way, hubby has always something to say to Brenda. Last Christmas 2008, Brenda gave my hubby a Cowboys sticker for his car but he never used it. Brenda just laughed about it, she knew that my husband won’t use it, she was only teasing him.

I was hired in the middle of the football season the other year so I eventually learned the different teams such as Vikings- is the team of Minnesota State, Jets and Giants teams are both from New York, Saints is New Orleans’s team, Colts is from Indianapolis’s State, among others. Since employees in my workplace are allowed to wear football jerseys to support their teams during Sundays and Mondays, I was able to learn their favorite teams. And I noticed that mostly are Cowboy’s fans.

Last Christmas, I gave fleece blanket to hubby, Redskins fleece  as my Christmas present and he was so happy. He wanted to use it as a décor in the living room and I said “No” because I’d rather put it in our car to warm us incase of emergency during our future travel especially during winter time.

Anyways, I was kind of shocked at the desk to see the incoming casino cashier bringing a purple- colored funeral wreath with her. The first thing that came up on my mind was that someone, perhaps her lady boss’s family member passed away (knock on wood). But she looked happy though when she approached me and requested to hide the wreath because her boss is not coming until 8:00am at it was still 6:00am. It says in the wreath “RIP Cowboys”. And I said “Holy Cow!” Ha-ha! Then after a while I saw the vault cashier wearing a striking violet-colored blouse, I bet she was going to tease her boss too, haha! When the Cowboys lost, hubby was imagining the reaction of the fans while watching the game. He said that they have always been too loud and ecstatic every time they cheered to their team.

Well, the final game or they call it “Superbowl” is fast approaching. Good luck to the remaining teams!

This blog is protected registered & protected