Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sweet Baby Shower

They say pregnant women are emotional, hormonal especially on the final stretch of their pregnancy. Last weekend was proof that my tear ducts didn't need much prodding to shed tears given the right stimuli. 

The hubby organized a sweet baby shower surprise for me. In attendance were his office mates that in the course of his association with B&M's GBDMC I've come to befriends with. The moment the door to the AV Room of our clubhouse opened and heard the enthusiastic sound of "Surprise!" I actually cried. Ha ha ha. 

Crazy. Thoughts swirled in my head such as am not dressed, my hair is still wet, as I had just stepped of the shower, I've no makeup on... blah blah. Then, I looked at everyone's happy faces and my heart just melt. I'm floored.

These friends are here for me and our little bun in the oven. They're eager to share with us the joy and anticipation of the next milestone in our lives. And I realized that most of them were also there when we exchanged vows two years ago. 

My heart swells with gratitude and appreciation, friends. Thanks for the lovely gifts of your presence, the generosity of your time and energy, and the beautiful prayers and wishes. We truly, deeply appreciate them. 

Onwards to our next journey, we hope and pray that you will walk with us. Our little Kate is blessed to have you guys in our lives. 

Thank you. 


Sheng & Tyrone

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The every grind can be grueling. There are all sorts of negativity around us. And when we dwell on them, it sucks the life out of us. 

Today, I get reminded of this simple thought. I was looking for something else but this made me realize that when we wear the hat of a grateful heart, everything around us changes. 

Today, I am thankful that I am able to go to work. 
Today, I am thankful that I everything that I need. 
Today, I am thankful that God's creations remind me, nudge me to appreciate the beauty of life and not to dwell on what does not uplift... on what does not build character. 

I realize that it's an everyday conscious decision, amid the everyday struggle of our daily lives. When you hit a rough patch, you take stock of the things that you are blessed with. And then, you begin to wear an attitude of gratitude. 

What are you grateful for?



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Home Stretch

Monday, November 3, 2014 marks my 37th weeks of pregnancy. Just three more weeks in the home stretch. But according to my OB, it could be anytime soon. The baby can decide to show up earlier or later than expected.  Ugh. My anxiety level just shot up. 

After my OB check, I went home with a one-track mind. Fill my go-bag with baby essentials and put it in the trunk. Stat. 

I am in a delirious state of anxiously waiting but hoping not-too-soon baby. And yet crossing my fingers that when she pops out, I'm totally ready, even if it's still too early-- for me, at least. 

Today, I've been in a frenzy ticking off items on my to-do list so I won't be thinking about work when the time comes. 

At six o' clock this evening, I decided to write down my ramblings to find comfort in this mixed state of euphoria and fear. 

How my pregnancy has progressed. 

I thought it would be easy-breezy, from day 1 to D-day. I made it until the 7th month with hardly any complaints. Then, it seemed like all the discomfort of the whole nine yards were cramped into this short period (8th to 9th) before I pop out. My first two trimesters were relatively easy. No dizzy spells. No morning sickness. No bed rests. No cravings. No issues on sugar levels. No worries on my blood pressure elevating. 

In fact, everything is relatively painless. My OB was confident on my health that I was able to travel for work until my 6th month. She has even allowed me to go out of town on my 37th week. 

And then, the home stretch happened, is happening... 

All at once, I feel like all the discomforts in this world have been dumped in one timeline. 

These days, I have difficulty sleeping at night. No matter how physically tired I was, I don't hit the snooze until way later into the night. 

Finding the right sleep position is as elusive as the blue corn moon. Turning left or right requires a lot of effort. There's so much grunting that happens in the space of time that it takes me to flip sides. That 10-second of elapsed time seems like an eternity to a beached whale. 

And I am a woman interrupted. I usually get up at 3-4 times a night to pee. I've tried all the tricks that were shared with me. But nothing seems to work. I even wake up parched but I refuse to drink water because am afraid to pee some more. 

Just when you have drifted to oblivion, the sun starts to rise and the alarm sets off. Whattalife!

I waddle like a duck. I tried the mind-over-matter trick. I imagine myself walking normally. Yet, everyday, I catch myself with my very protruding belly way ahead of me. I feel like I'm going to topple over if am not careful. And it's true, a pregnant woman in her advanced stage can no longer see her feet. Ugh. 
I believe this is how I look like. 

Sore, swollen feet. Really, really sore. At the end of the day, my feet look like a generously stuffed sausage. Sadly, it's not the aesthetics that am concerned about but the nagging pain that goes with it all through the night. 

I became fanatic about having a foot spa. The 10-15 minute relaxed kneading on my tired feet feels like heaven on earth. I've been wondering for a while where I could have pre-natal services. I've inquired at The Spa but sadly they don't have one. And then, onto my 8th month, my friend and fellow preggers Nina told me about Clarins Institut's Beautiful Mom-To-Be massage and scrub services. I booked the service. And I'll share here how it is was in my next post.

Daily, I wake up Mondaze, Tuesdaze, Wednesdaze, Thursdaze, Fridaze. Then, weekends come. And I'm as alive, alert, awake and enthusiastic at six in the morning! Ugh. What a travesty!

Weekends these days are spent going to the mall shopping for baby stuff. In my previous life, the mall is my sanctuary. These days, I dread going. A 15 minute walk around the baby shops require a 10 minute rest on benches, cafes and at any available surface I can rest lazy my butt on. Everything hurts :( even my pocket. Ha ha ha!

Everyone keeps asking me when do I take a leave. Early in my pregnancy I've consciously made the decision to hold on to my sanity by working until my water bag breaks... 

I want to maximize the opportunity to spend time with my little one when it pops out of the oven. Inasmuch as I dread to be spending long sleepless nights, I very much look forward to gazing at my baby, whispering sweet nothings, and reading with her. 

We can hardly wait for the big day. But little one, please maximize your time in mommy's tummy so we can still be spending time at the office. Mommy needs to ensure that she's hit her PMP objectives before the year ends! Lol!

We are very excited to meet you, soon :) Your little nook is almost ready. It's not yet complete but don't worry it shall be completely prepared when you decide to grace us with your presence already. 

Miss Kate, here's your very Pottery Barn crib.



Thursday, October 9, 2014


Change is constant. And change can be daunting. But change can also be exciting. 

This year is all about the constancy of change in my life. 

This year set a milestone in my married life. We've always wanted to have a baby but we thought that we could plan it. In our minds, the perfect time is when we have moved already to our own condo unit, when we have saved enough, traveled enough. But no, God surprised us one day when He smiled upon us and deemed us ready for a new responsibility, a new addition to our small unit. We're expecting a stork in the next 5 weeks! And we're expecting with bated breath. 

Summer of this year saw me transition to a new job which is really a welcome relief; like a breath of fresh air. I strongly believe that God's timing is always perfect. But I know that it can be difficult to hold onto this promise when you're in a rough patch in whatever area in your life. For me, the waiting was over a year. I went through the normalcy of showing up for work, delivering what is required, yet always, always pining for that new job I was praying for. 

When it came, it arrived in my doorstep so suddenly I didn't have time to blink. In a snap, my work responsibility and description changed. And I was never happier. God's appointment is always on time. 

With just weeks to prepare for the arrival of our baby, we moved houses. From a very tiny condo for two, we moved to a two bedroom unit in a neighbourhood that is suitable for families. It's not just the physical move that gives me the jitters but the thought of living with other people to help us raise our child. 

I came from a large family. Growing up, every space in our house is occupied by a sibling, a relative visiting or staying with us for a while. So, when it came for me to work on my independence, I struggled to live by myself, learn to fend for myself, and I learned to love living by myself. The occasional visit to the hometown was always treated us a vacation. So, the chaos and the noise were tolerated. 

This time though, I dread the day that I would have to constantly deal with others inside my home. In a week or so, the help would arrive along with my mom and aunt. Am glad that my mom and Tita have agreed to stay with me while I am adjusting to motherhood, raising a child, and entrusting my child's care to a stranger. 

I've also noticed the changing of the tides in my shopping pilgrimage to the mall. Now, I spend hours looking at small, cute items. I realized that buying practical stuff for the baby takes a lot of patience, thinking and bargaining. And the array of choices is crazy. We've made a habit of checking out online stores to find the cutest dress, hippest baby sweaters, the fanciest booties. But at the end of the day, we end up with basic whites with ties on the side, old school binders and mittens. Nothing beats the elegance of a white onesie, white booties, white mittens and white binders. 

We're reserving the splash of colours in our baby's accessories. Can't wait to decorate her tiny space in our tiny bedroom! 

The biggest change is yet to happen. When we hold the tiny hand of our little wee one, we begin the journey to parenthood... to being responsible for the shaping and nurturing a new life. Or has it already started the moment that tiny heart started beating inside my womb? 

Cheers to change!



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Halfway to 2014

It's past the halfway of the year. And I think it's the best time to take stock of where you are: the things to be grateful for, the opportunities that knocked and were seized, the missed moments, the disappointments, and the in-betweens. 

My first half of 2014, in retrospect: 

Am grateful for...

1. God's faithfulness -- He never ceases to amaze me with His consistent grace

2. good health -- nothing beats a sound mind and body

3. another year -- I turned 36 this year. Every year, I look forward to my birthdays. Because it's the best time to appreciate the incredible gift God has given us, the gift of life.  

And of course the perks that comes with it. Presents!

Thank you, Dawn for my magnetic board. This should be the home of everything that inspires me.

Got a set of two demitasse from Zhorai. But Mara claims it's from the both of them. Thank you, guys!
The hubby went the super extra mile this year. He gave small, thoughtful but creative gifts. I thought that it set the stage for the expectation department. 

More than the gifts I really appreciated the thought process put into the gift-giving gesture. And the notes! Major, major accomplishment -- well-written, just the right dose of humor and cheesiness. 
Glad to know that I'm the favorite wife *wink*

Because I'm crazy about doing my bit for the environment. Let's lessen our carbon footprint, shall we?

I've always had the knack of telling him what to do style-wise. So he wants me to unleash the inner "artist" in me. Lol!

White roses for my birthday salubong. Not Ecuadurian roses but oh, so pretty still. 

My best friend in the world is really Kate. This came with the birthday surprise.

iPad Mini (with Retina Display). Goodbye, bulky iPad 2. 
4. a new job -- in a faraway time, I actually daydreamt of doing what I'm doing now. It was sort of vague but I had a vivid recollection of it involving technology. And here I am still doing something that has always been part of my DNA, Training combined with technology. 

God knows, I prayed for this... for a long time. Thank you, universe for making it happen. 

5. a solid relationship -- being married is not easy-breezy. And my first year wasn't all about a bed of roses but this year saw us maturing as a couple and more attuned to our needs and expressions of love, sharing the same dreams and relishing our individual desires.

6. havin' a baby! -- we got the biggest surprise of the year! the little bun in the oven is changing the way we look at life, and is already re-calibrating our lifestyle. 

... the opportunities that knocked and were seized

7. travel -- I discovered traveling a bit later in life. Well, thanks to the internet, planning your travel itinerary has never been this easy. This year saw us traveling to two countries. There would have been more, had we not surprised ourselves with a baby in my womb. 

We've had our sights on Siem Reap, Cambodia for quite a while now. And so we did have a 4-day experience of it sometime in February. Angkor Wat did not disappoint. And it would always top our list of our cultural lesson. 

And then, we visited Taipei during the holy week; two days before we officially found out that we were 6 weeks pregnant. The seven days we spent roaming around this mix of old and new city were spectacular. 

8. friendships, old and new -- am grateful that my small circle of friends gets tighter every year. I don't really mind having few, as long as they're real and true. I treasure the moments of validation when I get to see the kids of my friends growing up to be young adults who consider me as their Tita-friend. 

Annah's birthday message that made me tear.
A friend asked once if it makes me uncomfortable--with the age stamp on such a relationship. My reply then and would still be, NO. It actually gives me the assurance that I must be doing it right for me to be able to have planted a seed that has taken roots spanning years that has sprouted new generation of friendships. 

9. the love of reading -- as a little child, I didn't have access to a lot of books. No library. No bookstore. But as early as 6 years old, I already fell in love with the written word. 

And am grateful that despite distractions (social media), adult obligations, workload, I still find the time to curl up in bed and read. I crave to read. Coffee is best sipped when paired with a good book. 

In the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would read at least 52 books, 1 for each week. And I'm glad to note that am already done with those 52. But along with that promise is to read books that are not just popular. Here are my good reads so far. 
A compelling memoir of an Irish-American teacher. This is a Pulitzer-prize winning non-fiction. 
Disturbingly good. 
I find this better than the Fault in Our Stars.
Crazy novel. Fun read.

This is a trilogy. And I tell you, it's so much better than Divergent.
Very Young Adult. But I liked the tapestry.
In the great scheme of things, the little disappointments along the way paved way for the amazing things that happened and are going to happen all throughout the year.   

I'm more than grateful for the blessings, for the gifts, for another opportunity to contribute to the world. 

And for a chance to do things things right for the remainder of the year. 



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Little One

You were just a distant dream
that I thought I'd love to hold

You were a tiny idea in my head
when I refine my life's roadmap

You were a happy surprise
when you sneaked on me one day 
just when I least expect you 

And that very same day changed our life's landscape,
you are no longer a distant dream nor a tiny idea

You are that tiny little thing
that made me look at the world in rose-colored glasses

You are that tiny bleep in my universe
that put a spring into my step

You are that tiny life growing inside my womb
that dictates the beat of my world

You are the bun in the oven we can't wait to unwrap.

You are the gift that keeps on giving.

You are the precious little one that is God's most amazing blessing. 

You are the one person that we wait with bated breath. We are thrilled. We are nervous. We are happy.



Monday, June 9, 2014

VP Binay and the Makati sidewalk

There are some experiences in life that is just worth writing down not for it's life changing lessons it brought you but out of the total randomness... it feels surreal. 

Today, June 9 is one for the books. We all know that the center of the Philippine government is in Manila. But it doesn't mean that you bump into certain officials as if it's an everyday occurrence. In the off chance that it happens, you might get a glimpse of them from a far and safe distance barred by a throng of security detail. 

In the ordinary realm of a Makati office worker's life, a coffee break may mean a quick visit to the nearby Starbucks for a coffee to-go. And that's what we did today. 

Mara and I were talking about some mundane things going back to the office when we saw the flashing lights of government-issued SUV cars parked along the busy street of Makati Avenue just in front of our office building. 

My imagination went overdrive. And in the tradition of my favorite past time, I concocted a story about the whole scene. I speculated that it must be Vice President Binay making a withdrawal of a thousand peso at UCPB. Mara countered that if that's the case why can't he just instructed the secretary to do the errand. But then I told her that maybe the VP doesn't want to share his ATM PIN. It was a totally crazy exchange but it made the afternoon heat bearable with that lively banter. 

Just before we reached the main facade of UCPB, a group of Barong-clad men exited from it. And right in the middle of them is the VP himself!
The Vice President of the Philippine Republic
Hahaha! In my mind, I was doubling over from laughter. But I couldn't laugh out loud. Not within the vicinity of those mean-looking security detail! While at it, my thought process has worked double time with side comments and what-nots!

In the most random event in my life, we saw the VP with a friendly smile stop in front of us. Of course with the intent to have a chat with us? And in my most un-sophisticated and finesse-gone-out-the-window reaction, I blurted out, "hello, Veep!" Who says that? I hope he didn't get my sitcom/tv series reference!

VP Binay made a point of shaking our hands with the sincerity of a longtime friend. It felt natural and warm. Ha! He even made a totally random comment about my hand, "mainit yata ang palad mo, hija?" to which I cheekily responded with "mainit po kasi ang kape."

It was such a surreal experience that I was not able to even think about having our photos taken with him. Although, I reasoned that am not really a fan. And yet in that less than 2 minute encounter, I was captivated. 

VP Binay is a charming man. And as an official occupying the second highest post in the land, he bestowed an aura of accessibility. It made me realize that the wide margin he generated from the last elections was probably due to his charisma and his everyday-man persona. 

For a man who is probably no taller than 5'0 feet, my encounter with him today made him appear larger than life!

So VP Binay, thank you for taking the time to say hello to everyday folks like us. No wonder the ordinary residents of Makati revers you. 



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cambodia Diaries: Top 10 Things To Do

The city of Siem Reap in Cambodia is quite small. It can be explored in three days. More if you take the time to soak in the culture, sit with the locals and take your time exploring the expansive temple grounds on a bicycle. 

On our visit, we stayed for four nights and five days. They were pretty laid-back. And we pretty much covered the things we wanted to check and even discovered some nooks that were awesome in our book. 

If I were to list down the Top 10 Things To Do in Cambodia, the list below would be the absolute must. 

1. Explore the Temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Pre Rup, Bayon, Baphoun and Phnom Bakheng. Now, if you are brave, check out the Jungle Temple of Beng Maelea some 80 kilometers away from Siem Reap. See my posts on the blog for some hint.  

2. Check out the night scene of Pub Street. It's teeming with tourists at night.

3. Cambodia is hot. And it's particularly tiring when you're walking around the temple grounds all day. Head to Blue Pumpkin for some refreshment, cozy lounges and sugary desserts. It's their version of Starbucks; virtually everywhere. 

4. Enjoy some cocktails at The Red Piano. Made more famous by Angelina Jolie. Expect this to be crowded all the time at the ground level where there's al fresco dining. 
Tomb Raider
5. Tucked in a side street called Lane Street is Miss Wong. Foursquare describes it as gay bar. It may be a hangout of gay people but it's not the typical gay bar. It serves good drinks and the place is real classy. 

6. And then there's Angkor What? I think it's famous because it sounds so juvenile. We tried going in but I think it's not for everyone. 

7. Bicycle your way in and around the city. The Khmer people bikes around, all the time. Siem Reap is the most bike friendly city I ever encountered (well, I have traveled to a few places only). I think the bikes here outnumber the motorized vehicles. 

Bicycle rental is USD 2. 

8. Check out the Night Market. Caveat though, most products sold are made in China. If you should buy there, make sure that you buy the nicely-bottled spices produced by the 
Spice Farms of Siem Reap.

9. If you have the time and resources, visit the floating village and the Silk Farm. Both require a hefty USD 35 tour fee. 

10. Check out the pagoda's in the city. 

Go have fun in Cambodia!



Monday, April 7, 2014

Cambodia Diaries: The Temple of Phnom Bakheng

Most, if not all, of the temples in Angkor Wat are in ruins; in different degrees of severity. That is why rumors have been circulating for years that at some point it will be closed for restoration works. 

UNESCO, the Cambodian government through APSARA are hand-in-hand in preserving and restoring this archeological wonder. It's not only relevant for its religious significance; the engineering and architectural designs are noteworthy, too. Until today, it's still being studied by different experts, the world over. 

Time and political strife had been too unkind to the Temple of Phnom Bakheng. It's a temple that sits on a hill that provides a breathtaking view of the Angkor Wat Temple. 

Today, in spite and because of the influx of tourists, the temple only allows 300 visitors daily. It's too sacred to the Khmer people that guests who are in shorts and sleeveless shirts are not allowed to go up the hill.


Phnom Bakheng is also famous for its awesome sunsets. At around three o'clock, visitors are already flocking to the site to set up and be ready to capture that Siem Reap sunset. 

Unlike in Pre Rup, the sunset view here has an incredible horizon to lend any sunset shot a very romantic texture. 

Don't forget to put it in your temple list when you explore Angkor Wat.