Sunday, July 29, 2007


I first heard of the Philippine Science High School when I was a grade 6 student in a private school in Tarlac. My teacher was brandishing application forms in her hands and she announced, "Who wants to study in Philippine Science?" I'm sure my classmates have never heard of Philippine Science either but eager hands shot up in the air, and there was a chorus of "Me, Miss...Miss..." Miss I-don't-recall-her-name started handing out the precious few forms and when she came to me, she said, "You can't afford to study in Manila." She then moved on to the next keen student.

Now that I am older and wiser, and yes, more empowered, how I'd like to go back to that teacher and tell her, that 1) you get into Philippine Science High School as a government scholar so it was probably good that I couldn't "afford" it; 2) just because my parents were not big donors to the school doesn't mean that we were so poor they couldn't afford to send their childern to study in Manila; 3) not one of the students who got the forms passed the entrance exam; and 4) I did finally study in Manila, at a premiere university at that, and only one (that I know of) of my classmates who were so rich and privileged passed the UPCAT. But then again, she must have withered in her small mindedness so I should probably pity her and move on.

Yesterday, Diego and I watched the movie Pisay, Auraeus Solito's (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros) entry to the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2007 at the CCP. Pisay is a movie about about six high school students in the country's premiere high school for the sciences. Set in the mid-eighties it brought back bitter-sweet memories. For me, watching Pisay was like going back and watching Philippine history and my personal story unfold. I was in 4th year high school when Ninoy Aquino was shot. I saw the shock and dismay in my parents' eyes but nobody talked about it, so I never really understood it. When Ninoy's body was brought in Tarlac, all of the high school students were required to stand up by the road to watch the hearse go by. Nobody explained to us why. My classmates and lined up several times to view Ninoy's bloodied corpse in the church. After which, not understanding the momentousness of it all, we all went out to eat spaghetti at Cindy's. It was only after I went to UP the next year that I began to understand.

So why am I telling you my personal story? What does it have to do with the movie? Well, I just want to show that you do not have to be a graduate of Pisay to appreciate the movie. The range of emotions and challenges that the major characters go through is universal. The watcher should be able to relate to them as they brilliantly played their roles.

Speaking of which, it came as a pleasant shock to me that the actor who played the school director was my former boss in Ford Found. I immediately texted her to say I just saw her in the movie. She asked me what I thought of the movie and if she is now eligible to run in 2010. I replied that the real MR I know would never stand for segregation and censorship and that yes, she has my vote anytime.

Watch Pisay when it has it's run in major theaters. If you have time, it will be showing on July 31, Tuesday, 5:00 PM at the U.P. Theater. Bring your hankies (or maybe that's just me. LOL.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Boy Who Reads

He reads! Finally, I got my nine year old, fourth grader to actually read a book. Well, he does read, but so far, it's K-zone magazines, Pokemon books, science books and almanacs. (The boy has a highly-retentive memory and beginning at five years old, he spouts out facts and trivia that he has read.) I would love to instill in him a love for reading like his Papa and I have. I've been so excited for him to get started on chapter books. Last year, I bought him books by Enid Blyton (because I remember I read these when I was in grade three, but he got bored.) I tried to get him to read Harry Potter but he said, "What for? I've seen and will see the movies anyway." I think our outing last Saturday had a positive effect on him. Such that, he was the one who said he will read all the Harry Potter books. He started reading The Sorcerer's Stone last Sunday. He is now on the third book "The Prisoner of Azkaban". Who knows, maybe when he comes home from school today, he would have already finished it. He made himself a bookmark listing all the Harry Potter books and he is ticking them one by one. He is happy, and so is Mommy. Money well spent, these Harry Potter books. LOL.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The KiDS and Harry

I would have been content to be at the nearest National Bookstore at 7:01 AM, July 21, 2007, but DH insisted we go to Fully-Booked Serendra. He read in the internet that there will be activities (magic tricks, giveaways, etc.) at the launch of the final Harry Potter book and he wanted the KiDS to experience that. And so it was that the entire clan woke up at 5:30 in the morning. Even earlier than our waking time on a school day. I strongly suspect that DH cast an Imperio spell on all of us.

We arrived at Serendra at 6:30 AM to a disappointing line of three people. (There were five others sitting lazily by the planters behind the fountains. Hey, people! A line means people standing one after the other, waiting their turn. Sitting way over there, does not count.) On the one hand, we were happy to get a good spot, on the other, I wonder: where are the magicians, the fanatics in costumes? What? No one camped out? Obviously, I expected way too much.

I think the KiDS were the youngest to fall in line. Heck - the KiDS were the only children there. Most of the early birds were teenagers or parents like me. The KiDS passed the time by taking photos outside the bookstore. At 10 minutes to 7, the line grew longer. But from experience, I'd say that the lines at Krispy Kremes are longer. Exactly 7:01, the doors opened.

I let Diego pick out a book and bring it to the cashier. He ignored the many books on the tables (did I really worry that I will not get a copy?) and took one from the display window. He excitedly showed me that the photo of Harry was different in the book he chose. Harry, apparently, had a "kiss mark" near his chin while the others didn't. He and his Papa noticed it from the many books on display. Yup! That's how bored they were.

We still got a discounted price for the book so all those early bird discounts were for naught. And Diego got free pens. We then saw a line that ends at a table were young people dressed in Hogwarts robes milled around a Sorting Hat. We lined up, too, thinking that it was for the activities. It turned out to be a line for members of Pinoy Harry Potter (why should I be surprised when we have a Pinoy Scrapbookers, hahaha) to get their reserved copies. We asked the Customer Service where the Harry Potter activities were going to be held and they said second floor. There was no one there, but it was the children's section so I let the KiDS get their own books to read so I could get started on my book. I was into chapter 3 when Alby texted that she was in a long line at Powerbooks Greenbelt. It was around 8 by then and there didn't seem to be activities happening so we went to get doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and breakfast at Seattle's Best Coffee. I sank on a comfortable sofa and continued reading while DH fed the KiDS breakfast. Shortly after, they decided to go back to Fully-Booked to check out the activities.

After one chapter, I followed them to the 4th floor, where, a magic show was ongoing. DH greeted me with a "There's a great magic act there...they turn your P100 into a...ta-daaan...wand." Or what passed for a wand anyway. It was actually a twig covered with paint and glitters. And of course, the KiDS had to each have one. And one broomstick for P200. At that price, I told Diego he better put that walis ting-ting to good use sweeping the garagewhen we get home.

While the KiDs cast spells on each other and new-found friends, I found a quite corner and continued reading. I was quite successful in blocking out the expelliarmuses and windgardium leviosas, until DH finally announced it was time to go. This, after the KiDS attended Transfiguration class (or paper folding in organizers-speak).

I was just glad to go home so I can curl up on my bed and read the Deathly Hallows, undisturbed. I'm not sure if I had lunch, but at 6:30 PM, I finally stirred to meet up with my friends for dinner. I was by then in chapter 31. Surprisingly, I didn't find it difficult to wrench myself from the book. I had a relaxing Harry-free dinner (my friends have not read the books) and finally got in at 11:00 PM. I continued reading and finally finished 1:30 AM, July 22.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Except for the first three books, I have read all the Harry Potter books on the day they came out. The previous book, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, I read in a day, locked up inside the bathroom, because it was the one place in the house where I could be left undisturbed. I was getting a headache from lack of sleep but I couldn't put the book down. I had to find out what happens next. I can't say the same from this book. While I would dearly love to find out what happens to Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their friends, the book didn't have me in its grip as much as the other. In fact, I took time to have a leisurely dinner with friends. That I was able to put the book down at all said volumes to me.

Don't get me wrong. I still like the book. I think that J.K. Rowling did a great job tying all the loose ends together. But sometimes I really felt that she was tidying up and some chapters were dedicated to this. While some events were foreshadowed in the previous books, and thus, you were able to feel that you were part of them, some developments in the final book seemed to have come out from nowhere. I was disappointed that the quest for the remaining horcruxes (magical vessels where Voldemort stored pieces of his soul) wasn't as thrilling as the search for the first horcrux (which had shades of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings). But then, again, maybe it's because this book is more about the hallows.

Expecting battles of the same magnitude as middle earth's, I was bored by the lack of action in the first chapters. Many characters we have come to know die in this book, but we aren't there when they do. We do not get to witness their heroism first hand as the news comes to us belatedly. There is no doubt that this is a book about Harry Potter. All the other characters merely support him.

But I am glad that all my questions were answered. I have a running bet with my DH about Severus Snape and I won the bet. I was wrong about my hopes for Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore. I should have remembered that while Harry Potter is marketed as a children's book, it is no fairy tale.

In the middle of the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort, I had to take out The Half-Blood Prince. I fear that Rowling put a confundus charm on me. And for a moment there, (OK, one whole day), I didn't quite get it. But then, all was revealed to me. And finally, as J.K. Rowling ended it, all was well.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Me and Harry

Potter, that is. Eighteen and a half hours before the release of the book seems like an eternity. The media frenzy on J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book on the Harry Potter series started months ago, with local booktores enticing you to reserve your copies with early-bird discounts. So far, I have managed not to bite into the sales pitch. I didn't reserve a copy of The Deathly Hallows. And now, a few hours before the worldwide release, I worry that I will not be able to secure a copy. In previous years, there was always a glut and grabbing a copy of HP books was never a problem. But Harry Potter has gained more fans through the years and since this is the final book, I torment myself with the thought that I would leave the bookstore empty-headed.

I have copies of all the Harry Potter books. The first three copies, my DH bought in the U.S. He is proud to say that he lined up at a Barnes and Noble with children in costumes to score me a copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban. He bought The Sorcerer's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets as well, even though I already had soft-bound copies of those. Not content, he also bought the book set of the British editions. The funny thing is, he has never read the books. So I could never discuss and debate them with him - bummer. But he likes the movies as well as I and the children do.

True, Harry Potter was initially aimed for the children's market. I even used the excuse that I was buying the books for my children. (Yeah, right. When Sorcerer's Stone came out, Diego was barely a year old.) I read the book during lunch breaks at the office. An American colleague even sneered when he saw me reading a children's book. I just ignored him and continued to be lost in Hogwarts. Sure, Rowling is not the best writer. But she has my utmost respect and admiration for coming up with an alternative world that we couldn't wait to visit again and again.

I finally got to watch the latest movie, The Order of the Phoenix last Wednesday and it built up in me an excitement for the final book. I will finally learn if Sirius Black really died. Sure, Bellatrix Lestrange used the adava kedavra curse on him, but Luna Lovegood did say that things you lose have a strange way of coming back. Is that a foreshadowing of events? Or is that just Rowling teasing us? I still have great hopes that Dumbledore will play a great role in the final book. And that the half-blood prince isn't really what Harry thinks he is. Hell, I'll come straight out and say it. I want a happy ending for Harry. I want the Shire, I mean, the Wizard World to finally be rid of Voldemort and the Death Eaters. But all depends on Rowling. Imagine having that power to create a world of your own. To have all the characters do your bidding. To determine the fates of each and everyone. Even me, sitting here in tenterhooks, not scrapping, but reviewing the first six books like I have an exam coming.

Fates! Everything will be revealed tomorrow.

P.S. DH just told me that we will all be going to Fully Booked at Serendra tomorrow before 7:00 AM to get a copy of the book. He wants the KiDS to participate in the activities, too. I just called up National Bookstore and Powerbooks. All will open tomorrow at 7:01 AM but only Fully-Booked will have activities for children. Powerbooks Greenbelt will have activities at 2:30 PM.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Thought Tags Were Only Attached to Layouts!

I have been tagged by Diane. Sorry for the delay in reply.

The Rules: “Each person posts the rules before their list, then they list 8 things about themselves. At the end of the post, that person tags and links to 8 other people and then visits those peoples’ sites and comments letting them know that they have been tagged, and to come read the post, so they know what they have to do.”

Eight more things about me, right here, right now.

1) In a few minutes, I will be rushing down to catch CSI New York on AXN.

2) I am constantly punishing myself browsing online stores for items I could not afford to buy right now. My DH teases me I should have discovered scrapbooking earlier when I was still earning $$$ and I had weekly pouches coming from NY.

3) I am preparing another wishlist for another college friend. Her parents are coming home next month. (What can I say, my friends love me even though wala akong hiya.)

4) I have several chocolate bars in a bag next to me and another one cooling in the ref downstairs. I'd probably be grabbing it before I plunk down in front of the TV.

5) I had to ask our new help (barely a week) to leave because I caught her stealing from us. The good news is my yaya who went on vacation last April texted today that she's coming back. (Yey for time to scrap.)

6) I just had the best homemade baked macaroni (real mozzarella cheese and turkey ham) I have ever tasted for dinner earlier. New and better recipe to try, thank you, Lizzie.

7) I have been a Krispy Kremes addict since I first tasted it in NH last 2000. I even accosted Lolit Solis in a restaurant once when I saw her with boxes of original glazed doughnuts. Whenever I visit the U.S., I make sure a stop at a KK store is in the itinerary. I am so glad that now I can easily have a Krispy Kreme whenever the craving strikes.

8) It is now 10:00 and I bet my show has started so I really have to rush downstairs. I did mention I'm a TV addict, right?

I tag YOU!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My MIL Went to the U.S. and Here Are What She Brought Me

My mom-in-law was in New York and L.A. for two weeks recently to attend the graduation of her second son from grad school and for some R&R. I immediately seized the opportunity to use her as my personal courier. I ordered some items online and had them shipped to our family friend in L.A. so she can bring them back with her. She arrived last Sunday night. I was never more excited to pick someone from the airport than I did her. :-)

Here's what's in my box:

Scrapbooking books from my younger brother, Nani.

Acrylic stamps from college roommate, Mitch.

DCWV paper packs and corner adorner stamp from my sister Marissa.

Cuttlebug, dies and embossing folders and PC Silent Setter from our family friend.

Two pairs of loafers from my MIL.

Making Memories books from - $21.63
Autumn Leaves and Sassafrass Lass stamps, American Craft rub-ons from - $97.78
Paper stacks from - $47.98
Cuttlebug machine and accessories from - $160.87
Using other people's credit cards - PRICELESS

I can't wait to play with my new toys. Now if I could only find the time between child care, homeworks and house work, I would be one happy scrappy mommy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tagged! Again!

Ria tagged me. Now if she could also have sent some creativity dust with the tag, that would have been most appreciated.

1. Food you hate - I don't like cooked vegetables, but I'll eat fresh salads anytime.
2. Fruits you hate - Chesa and chicco because they feel strange on the tongue.
3. Veggies that you hate - Okra. The first time I was forced to eat okra was at the house of a rich friend. I was shocked when they just served us steamed okra for dinner. But polite guest that I was, I forced the slimy veggie into my mouth and down my throat. When I got home, I thanked my parents for not forcing me to eat anything so disgusting even though we were not rich at all.
4. Celebrities or people that you hate - Ruffa Gutierrez and Richard Gomez, they just give me the creeps. What was it that Maurice Arcache said? "You can't buy class."
5. Event/Incident/Situation that you hate - Being forced to make speeches. I can write a mean speech but having to deliver it to a roomful of people is another matter entirely.
6. TV shows or movies that you hate - telenovelas that remake old Tagalog movies and nobelas from komiks. Really, can't our screenwriters be more original than rehashing old stories? Books turned to movies that don't live up to the book.
7. Type of music that you hate - Novelty songs that have no redeeming value like The Spaghetti Song, Boom-Tarat-Tarat-Tarat, etc. Even Yoyoy Villame's songs, silly as they may seem had some lessons in Philippine history and PE. Some of you may be too young to remember them. Hahaha.
8. Household chore that you hate - cooking. When I was young, I willingly did my siblings' laundry as long as I was exempted from cooking.
9. Things you hate about the world - why can't the world see things my way? :-)
10. Things you hate about yourself - that I am not the perfect Mom or perfect wife or the perfect scrapper. But don't worry, it's not everyday that happens.

Now I tag Manang Marissa, Cabbie, Nina, Nita, and Raissa.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Lee needs...

Saw Jen do this in her blog and decided to try it. Here's how it goes: Google your name and the word "needs," all in quotation marks (ie: "Lee needs"), then share the funniest hits. You can also try to using "loves" or "wants" instead of needs. Made me laugh and forget my problems for awhile, so much so that I did more than the prerequisite ten.

Lee Needs To Get A Life!
Lee Needs Some LOVE.
Lee needs to quit the PC.
Lee needs to be better prepared for next opportunity.
Lee needs more personal appearances so she can gain more fans who love her.
Lee needs to step things up for Pitt (Brad Pitt? Sure!)
Lee Needs To Go.
Lee Needs Your Help!
Lee needs to take care of this thing.
Lee needs to solve its offensive woes soon.
Lee Needs Prayer!
Lee needs to work on attracting bigger corporations.
Lee needs a special session to save his ass!
Lee needs to muster the political courage and vision to tackle these issues.
Lee needs rest.
Lee needs to hear the truth.
Lee needs a date book?
Lee Needs More Plastic Surgery.
Lee needs to mix it up and be more creative with her word choices.
Lee needs to raise a lot of money to help a friend in need.
Lee needs sleep!
Lee needs no comment.
Lee needs more time, or should be given more time.
Lee needs now to be better than everyone else.
Lee needs more support. (a maid and a cook oughta do it).
Lee needs to relax.
Lee needs to learn how to shop for food.
Lee needs to accept that no one is self-sufficient all the time.
Lee needs a change.
Lee needs work.
Lee needs close relationships with people outside of his physical family.
Lee needs to concentrate.
Lee needs to face the facts.
Lee needs to accept Jesus Christ as his savior. ...
Lee needs to die.

I could have gone on and on, but I do NEED to get on with my life.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I think I jinxed my would-be streak when I wrote "A Good Start" because those LOs were it for me for the month of June. I can claim that I've been busy running after the KiDS, taking care of housework and officework. But recently, I've just been beset by unbearable ennui.

My article about my first anniversary scrapbooking is still percolating in my head. But not enough to actually make it on paper. I hope I will be able to write it down later. I tried to cure my listlessness with shopping for new papers, but evidently that didn't work. I've taken photos of my "sins" to blog about and the files lie deep in my computer. Untouched since the day I uploaded them.

I missed joining two challenges - Working Moms and Scrappinmoms' Man of the Hour - and strangely enough, I don't feel like I missed anything. Frankly, it was very hard to be inspired by the Cherry Arte papers I got. Purple with gold - on all three patterned pieces I had.

No magazine or book could pull me out of my lassitude. So today, in an attempt to be interested and inspired again, I moved all my stuff (which have been lying around neglected) back to my scrap room in the third floor. I am hopeful that the move will jumpstart my creativity and release me from this tedium.

Let's hope that this July the passion will be back.