May 31, 2010

Happy Food Trip!

Nana dear... this site I've been drooling over should be of special interest to you since you're about to jet-off and hit one of my favorite cities. Google your way to The Urban Grocer! They claim to seek out the best posh to underground foodstuff, and to present an online smorgasboard of global foodie experience... from New York to Tokyo to Hong Kong and Paris.

It's all about what's yummy... such as artisan cannolis in New York. I haven't had a cannoli in years. Please have one for me. Make it artisanal like these babies.

Jack Daniel's-spiked buttery organic toffees. Butter plus sugar plus alcohol equals sinful. But hey, it's organic. Haha!

And what's just plain cool, fresh and new in food.... like French wine tubes for tasting by WineSide. Practical and clever but not icky and devoid of elegance like those minibar mini bottles. Why do those bother me? This idea I love.

Now wow-oh-wow, Helvetica Cookie Cutters. I love this in so many levels.

The Urban Grocer has its opinion on the best burger in New York, the lowdown on how to get a lip smacking falafel in Paris. Yup, in Paris. Then if you happen to be in Melbourne, they'll tell you where you can get macaroons so you feel like you're in Paris. Go and drool and you might add some more stops on the itinerary. My little way of wishing you a great trip Nana! Make that a FOOD trip my dear. Don't worry about the pounds, we'll run it off when you get back!

PS: The Urban Grocer site is fairly new. They should eventually add some stuff from the Philippines. Anyone care to comment on what Philippine-food-finds should be there?

May 30, 2010

Walking in Heels, Tripping on Legos

Yup, I have walked in heels and tripped on lego pieces that find their way in the strangest places around our house. I swear, Lego blocks have legs and they stalk my feet! And again, Christoph Nieman translates a domestic issue into awesome-graphic-goodness. His latest post for his New York Times blog made me smile.

I swear, I have seen these exact same creatures at my house. They like to breed.

As he describes... the kids' room is populated by a wildly procreating tribe of orphaned bits and pieces, who all claim to be descendants of some fancy toy.

The pictures work better in Nieman's own narrative order. Go check it out in its entirety on Abstract City. Might make you smile too. Happy Sunday!

May 26, 2010

Ken Robinson's 2010 TED Talk

Sharing a gift fresh from this morning's email inbox. Headlining this week's TED newsletter is Ken Robinson's follow up to his legendary 2006 talk on education reform. Now that it's 2010, he appends: forget evolution, today's kids need an education revolution.

He touches on what he calls "the tyranny of common sense" which is basically how people are afraid to let go of industrial age education paradigms that value conformity and linearity. Such as... Standardized tests! Punishing homework! Dogmas kids must never question! Never mind that this is the kind of education that dislocates so many people from their natural talents while stifling creativity and free-thinking. Listen to the man himself and click that PLAY button.

In a place like Manila where appearances, conformity, tradition and dogma still reign... Ken Robinson is practically subversive. But thankfully the revolution is afoot in our little part of the world.

This leads me to the April 2010 issue of Working Mom Magazine. If you're curious about progressive education in our own setting, they have two articles you might want to read.

One is called Traditional vs. Progressive where writer Minnie Francia debunks a few myths about alternative schools in Manila that are veering away from the old industrial model Robinson talks about. Another is called Teaching Life Lessons, where Angela Abaya, Christian Pangilinan and Minnie Francia share insights gathered from parents who decided to send their kids to progressive schools.

Read if you're open to... well, opening your minds. Warning: I was one of the parents interviewed for the Teaching Life Lessons article. Advanced apologies, in case our two-centavos-worth make you feel like putting your head in the oven!

May 22, 2010

Adrenaline Junkies

I like playing it safe. That's just the way I roll. Macdaddy likes to live on the wild side. That's the way he is. You would think after looking at the twins that they'd be split down the middle on this one too but noooo.. they're all Macdaddy in the adventure department. That leaves me being the killjoy odd one out around here.

Case in point: our summer vacation in Singapore. The lady at the ticket booth, for our day at Sentosa Island, offered us a choice of two packages. Option A: Day of FUN. Option B: Day of THRILL. My choice was crystal clear. But well, democracy, democracy and majority does win. We were off to begin our Thriller of a day. It began with a chairlift sky ride up then an exciting, gravity-driven luge ride down a winding road. Even I had to admit, thrilling AND fun.

We managed to sneak in a few other attractions on the Island like the oceanarium and a dolphin show. And then it was finally time for the Flying Fox Mega Zip line. I took deep breaths while reading the brochure over and over again. Top of the jungle to the sandy beach... Seventy five meters high (that's about the 25th floor of a building) sliding down at a speed of fifty kilometers per hour. Okay. There might still be a chance get out of this one fast. Maam, is this safe for my children? They are only four, you know, I asked the officer-in-charge as we waited for the jeep to drive us up the mountain. She assured me they would have a great time. So much for a new ally and a way out. I remember my heart beating really fast, the dynamic duo jumping up and down with excitement and MacDaddy smirking. The jeep arrives and we begin the ascent to our hellhole jump-off point. I'm going to throw up, I whisper to Macdaddy. I must have really looked like it because he finally realizes I'm not kidding. You can still back out, he says. And really, I want to. I can barely even figure out how to hold down the Hainanese chicken I had for lunch much less hold a boy with a harness, dangle around in a wire, and manage to put up a brave front on top of all of that. But I also don't have the heart to tell that one boy (and which one and how do you choose?) that he can't get on the zip line because his mom is a wimp. So the show must go on.

I barely remember them putting on the safety harnesses and the instructions. Then the dreaded "dead man walking" scene up to the tower where we are ready to free fall. And then Tato finally realizes what is about to happen. Mama, will it be scary? And I really wanted to scream Tato! Seriously?! Why now? Where were you earlier when I needed to vote against this zip thing? But we put on faces of courage and strength for the sake of our children because thats what we do. God bless mothers. (pat in the back. smirk. wink) Tato, remember how on TV Diego and Dora hang on the vines in the jungle? That's how its going to be. You're Diego. I'm Dora. Mama will hold you the whole time and this will be super fun. Liar, liar pants on fire.

We're all finally given the dreaded go signal to step off the plank. Point of no return. This is it. And I think Tato probably sensed how nervous I was because he rubbed my arm without a word in that split second we hung on suspended for dear life, right before we finally plunge. I guess the boy wanted to reassure me I'd be okay. And because that's what children do. God bless them. There were smiles, shrieks, screams for more, more smiles, more shrieks. And you know what? They were right after all. This was the most fun, most thrilling thing ever.

May 18, 2010

Same Same

Mak: Mama, who do you love better? Me OR Tato?
Me: Mak... Mama and Papa love you both the same.
Mak: Oh yes. I love ME and Tato the same also!

May 11, 2010

New Hope

One generation plants the tress and another gets the shade, says a Chinese proverb. In the last couple of months leading to the elections, I really did try to plant those trees. The generation after us should never stop planting, sure, but they deserve that shade.

Thank you, Gilbert Teodoro, for teaching me to give a damn. For giving me hope. For getting my usually-politically-lazy butt out there and attempt to make a difference. For inspiring me to be positive. For making me fall in like with this country all over again. And for giving me a glimpse of what we could all be one day.

They say a leader like him comes once in twenty five years, maybe even fifty. Others say he will be the best President we never had. Possible. But eye on the ball as there is work to be done. Right this minute. Lots of healing. Lots of helping. All those colors put together would make a very pretty rainbow, I'm sure of it. Let's get started. Our children could use a rainbow. And the shade of course.

May 9, 2010

A Mother's Day Oxymoron

Happy Mother's Day Nana! Here's a piece of artwork that just may come close to your awesome-mamaness...

Art installation by Caledonia Curry, a.k.a. the street artist Swoon.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there... changing the world one child at a time. You are all awesome in more ways than one. I really believe mothering is an art.

More of Swoon's work featured on Flavorpill.

Grateful to the those who nurtured us so now we can do the nurturing. Cheers to my Nona! I miss you even more on Mother's Day. I am bona fide laking-lola, and bona fide thankful for it.

My Nona was lovely in so many ways. Brilliant too.

Nona with friends on a ship from Manila to Tangiers.
She was on her way to study and expand her mind in Europe.

I'll admit, "happy mother's day" has been an oxymoron of sorts for me. Let's just say, I strive everyday to be the mother I wanted to have. Sometimes you look at your family or some of the people you grew up with and wonder... what the hell am I doing here? Often I still feel like that person on the outside looking in. The perennial outsider, that's me. Can one really outgrow being the family oddball or the new girl in school? Maybe not.

But today... today I am grateful. I look at the people I go home to everyday and realize, I truly belong. Finally.

Here's an advanced Happy Mother's Day card made by Cheecha last week.

And here's a family portrait painted by Bear when he was 5. He makes me look fabulous in an orange mumu dress and green face. Hands down my favorite portrait of myself.

Happy Mother's Day to me. No oxymoron there. The gift is already mine.

May 5, 2010

Coming Of Age

(at home with Watch Me Bleed blasting from the Ipod)

Mak: What's that song?
Me: That's a song by Tears for Fears. Mama and Papa used to listen to them when we were younger. They're coming tonight so were going to a concert to listen to them.
MacDaddy: Tomorrow I'll let you listen to their songs.
Me: You guys will love Shout. I'm sure.

A few hours later, over dessert and moments before we were all set to relive the good ole' days, we got around to talking with some friends about their teenage child and her new could-be-special (what's the term these days anyway?) friend. Of course we couldn't help but pry: What's his name? Who are his parents? Lucky for her Too bad there was just no time to be nosy.

The concert started and blew us all away. We screamed. We danced. We screamed and danced. Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal transported us back to a time when things were dark and grey and murky and twisty because that's what the teenage years were all about. And then somewhere in the middle they catapulted us right back to the now as they sang new songs about rivers, love, parenthood and happy endings. When every mother's loving every son/ when all is love/ there'll be love for everyone. Curt's words (from his new song All is Love. not performed in concert) , not mine. This complete with a brighter, fresher, mellower sound.

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, we all became our parents.

May 2, 2010

Sand, Sea, Sunsets and SUBIT

It was a great weekend to head to Subic Bay.

This is what summers are all about. Enough said...

But we do have to say we are proud of Pappy. The kids and I were complete beach bums and gluttons this weekend, but he was on a mission to finish the Subic International Triathlon (SUBIT) race.

After a 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run, under the scorching heat, mission accomplished. Much stronger and faster than last year too. Way to go Paps!

Team Fitness First... at least some of them.

Home Team all here.

The Muse. Check out her Tat'