October 2008

Filipinos really do not celebrate Halloween the way Westerners do.  But I do admit that it can be a lot of fun.  I would just like to share some of the Halloween stuff we did at work–paper mache decors and paper crafts made by teachers and kids that adorned our place of work:

…And we had a small Trick or Treat activity that involved our kids and from another center, parading in simple costumes and masks up and down the building, and knocking on doors of the nearby offices.  It was a good thing our ‘neighbors’ took time to accommodate us and bought some candies and sweets to hand out for the little ones (some of the grown-ups who are still kids at heart took part as well!):

Have a spooky-tacular Halloween!


Eversince the 90’s, I have heard of a waterspa and other wellness spa of such sorts that, alas, only catered to A-list celebrities and rich people.  I thought i would never partake of such a luxurious experience–cascading water massaging your body, soothing tired and aching muscles and relieving anxiety and stress

So I was excited to finally find out about Ace Waterspa through some people.  It also helped that I saw it featured on a show on qtv11.  I looked it up, checked their website, found the price affordable and made a date for a relaxing Sunday.

The ladies at the front desk gave us our locker keys (left) which we have to wear around our wrists the whole time as well as red swimming caps (a must–to avoid having falling hair from clogging up the pools’ drainpipes).

I rented an extra towel (forgot to bring one more-so dumb of me!) which costs 100 pesos. I also had to rent swimming trunks for Levic who could not find his at home (P150–oh, well!).  I was hesitant to let Levic go inside the men’s locker and dressing room unaccompanied but I felt assured knowing that there were male attendants inside who would keep an eye on him.

The spacious locker room inside the female dressing area (Right).

They don’t allow pictures to be taken inside the pool area (so I had to take some stolen shots–hehe, well you know me!–as if that would stop me):

The Spa Pool

The Lap Pool

Levic pausing to catch his breath after swimming in the lap pool.

It was wonderful! Levic enjoyed the Waterfalls Massage and Lazy River that flows around the pool while hanging on to a floater.  I thoroughly relished all the spa pool facilities.  My personal favorites: I basked under the invigorating Rainfall Acupuncture (water falling like rain but ‘pin-pricking’ your body as you lie flat out on a smooth tiled slab), Jet Chair with Foot Massage (water massaging the soles of your feet, thighs, shoulders and back), and the Hydro Massage Chairs (bubbly, jacuzzi-like water targeting your lower torso and neck as you lie on a chair).  There were also the herbal hot baths–mint, jasmine and lavender (I only tried the Mint pool which was only 36 degrees warm) as well as the lap pool but not the sauna rooms (for some reason i still feel uncomfortable with idea of ‘bathing’ in wet steam).

We were only allowed four hours or else we will be charged for the extra hours if we exceeded.  There were free shampoo and liquid soap (theirs was alright but I still prefer to use my own), hair gel, ear buds and free use of their hair dryer.  I was also provided with plastic bags to place in our wet items, much to my relief!

Plus, they gave us free hot soup.  Chinese Corn Soup served hot at their restaurant.

The whole waterspa experience was like magic. The endorphins were released and flowing in me, (plus with the help of the hot, soothing soup) feeling relax and slightly elated and light.

Since I was in such a good mood, I was also compelled to try their Shrimp Popcorn with mango mayo dip and a dash of spring onions which was juicy and delicious.

Levic enjoying the food…

Pero kapag nagtitipid ka, beware! Dahil alam nilang nasa good mood ka, baka mapabili ka sa kanilang restaurant ng di mo inaasahan. I had no regrets though. Their food tasted good.  All in all, Ace Waterspa would make an ideal treat for hard-working people who would like to reward themselves from time to time.  Worth your 550 pesos? Yes!  Hmmm, but is it just me or the endorphins talking?

The old building in Makati which had been standing unfinished for God knows how long (i was still a kid when they first started constructing it) had been a major eye-sore in the skyline of the country’s premier business district.  Yup…all metro manilans know what i’m referring to.  It is the one opposite the former Mantrade, near the Magallanes MRT station, towering over Ecology Village and the fly-over at the corner of Chino Roces Ave. and EDSA.

I researched about it (google keywords i used: old, ugly, unfinished building, Makati).  What I found out: It was owned by the Puyat family and South China Resources, Inc. It was supposed to be named Pilipinas Plaza. One person in a thread commenting about Metro Manila buildings (yes, they talk about buildings-just buildings… wow) even called it the ‘chaka jaka building’ (really, REALLY ugly building).

Everytime i pass by it, I look at it, feeling sad that something so huge is left unfinished and unused. Such a waste of money, time, and effort. And yes, it really IS darn ugly… I wished that someone will get to blow it up and be done with it, put it out of its misery.

Well, the chaka jaka building will be no more.  No, they won’t blow it up.  It is getting a new lease on life.  The building is finally getting ‘pimped’ up!  And I thought this day will never come:

The owners were able to sell it for 1.2 B pesos to Alphaland Corp early this year (info source: inquirer) . Not a bad deal, eh? I mean for the former owners. As far as i know, the residents of Ecology Village won a court petition in the 80’s to stop the further contruction of the building since it was just too close to their place of residence and would pose as a hazard (am not sure how but that’s what happened).  Have they forgotten about this fight? What do they have to say about this now? Will Alphaland inherit the headaches brought about by this building from its former owners?

Here are 5 LSS (Last Song Syndrome) songs stuck in my head…for now:

1. Final Countdown by Europe: a friend showed me a youtube of this weird guy playing this tune using a ukelele slash piano instrument.  Sing along with me and get a taste of my personal hell: We’re heading for Venus…(Venus!) / And still we stand tall! Ugh!

2. Dahil Sa Iyo. Don’t laugh but this Filipino love song is really a timeless classic.  Saw it sung by Pilita Corrales recently on the San Juan episode of Landmarks (a show which I admire-found in Net25).  Fabulous!

3. For the First Time by kc. We had our Dear Heart days. Now, today’s generation has this movie starring kc and richard. Cool scenic location but found it less impressive than her mama’s first movie. I had no idea she could carry a tune though.

4. All the darn ABBA songs from Mamma Mia! It has been two weeks now since i last watched the dvd copy of it, and I’m still belting them out like crazy.  Somebody should have warned me… it’s driving me nuts!

5. Song from the Algorithm March.  Pchie introduced me to this song (and Japanese dance ‘exercise’). Looks fun. Watch it if you dare– 🙂

I chanced upon the latest episode this morning (Oct. 17-Friday episode) of “Chelsea Lately” on etc.  One of Chelsea Handler’s usual panel guests was this head-shaven guy (don’t want to use the word ‘bald’) who had appeared in the show several times.   Their round-table conversation was about to end when I finally noticed something…

jokoy philippine jacketThe guy was sporting a jacket with design elements from the Philippine flag (left): the eight-rayed sun; the three stars; blue, red, yellow vertical lines across the chest with Baybayin script (ancient Filipino script) .  Hey! That’s a Pinoy jacket… i exclaimed… and it looks cool!  Who IS this guy?

But the guests left before i could catch his name.  So i consulted the all knowing Internet and finally found out that his name is Jo Koy.jokoy jay leno tonight show

Jo Koy is an American comic with Filipino blood.  He has appeared and performed in several shows (Apollo, Laugh Factory) and is one of the hard-working stars in the comedy world today.  He does make it a point to wear the Philippine flag on his shirt or jacket during some of his shows to announce his Filipino heritage.  He did just that when he guested on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2006 (right) wherein he received a standing ovation after his stand-up routine.

Jo Koy (in Visayan means ‘joker’ or ‘joking’) with Jay Leno in 2006.

His decision to proudly wear the flag had to do with his upbringing, his Filipina mom and his beliefs and personal experiences (he doesn’t get it why a lot of Fil-ams in the US he encountered didn’t want to be known as Filipinos). I am posting some of his quotes here (first published in Discovering Pinoys magazine and posted in www.jokoy.com):

On why he wears the flag:

Because my mom’s. She’s so proud. Her name is Josie. She’s always active in the Filipino community and Filipino Chamber of Commerce. She always wanted to be around her fellow Pinoys. When my parents divorced, I took on more of my mom’s culture. I even told my dad when they got divorced; all I knew was my mom’s side of the family. When I first started doing stand-up 12 years ago, Filipinos weren’t so proud of being Pinoy, especially the young generation. So, that challenged me. I told myself, “If I ever have a chance to show it, I’m going to show it.” I hate it when people make fun of Filipinos in a derogatory way. I hate it even more when Filipinos do it themselves. When they dishonor Filipinos, they dishonor my mom, all my relatives and me.  Before my “Tonight Show” appearance, I shopped around looking for a Filipino flag patch to place on my jacket. My friend drove me around to numerous Filipino stores in search of one. Even though it took us a while, we didn’t give up.

On how Filipino/Asian culture influence his career:

Back in 1994, I was so sick of seeing people insult Asians. Even worse were Asians who insulted Asians. I wanted to say, “You know what, I am Asian, but I am funnier than you. I will make you laugh with whatever I will talk about. I do the stereotype stuff, but I do it in a way where it’s funny to everybody. I’m not insulting. I’m making awareness of it, but it’s funny. My main goal is not to bash. I want people to notice my talent and appreciate what I have to say.
Back when I was starting, the entertainment industry was not recognizing Asians, even in Hip Hop music. Look at Hip Hop now; we have Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. Filipinos are involved and active in the Hip Hop culture and not only are we active, we are doing it big! Look at the Black Eyed Peas; they are amazing. Filipinos need to be aware. I’ve always been aware. Even back in the day, I always knew Lou Diamond Philips, Rob Schneider, and Tia Carrere were Filipinos. No one was making awareness of it. I never understood why. I did not get it. Kids now are more active and involved. I’m happy and proud of it. It’s great because everything I wasted in ’94 is happening now in 2006, which is 12 years later. I feel great about it. I wore the Filipino flag on my jacket when I appeared on the ”Tonight Show,” and I would have worn it well 12 years ago. Hopefully Filipinos will be proud to say they are Filipino rather than say they are “Hawaiian.” I don’t want anyone to be ashamed of his or her roots. Why do they say they’re “Hawaiian” anyway? I don’t tell people I’m “Californian” or “Navadian.” I am only half Filipino and I am proud to say I am Pinoy. Filipinos around me are just as proud as I am.

He does have a point.  Thankfully, a lot of Fil-ams in the States are now realizing it–that they are slowly becoming a growing force to be reckoned with in Hollywood: many of them are intelligent, and talented and could play a big role in the US entertainment industry soon.  They need to band together and go full blast.  I’m actually excited for them.

I also learned that Jo Koy’s coming to Manila to do a show with fellow Asian American comic Russel Peters on October 21 (that’s this Tuesday) at the NBC Fort. Good luck, Jo Koy and keep wearing that flag!

Here’s A Day in the Life of Jo Koy and his brand of comedy:

Had fun with some photos… the one who created this site is pure genius! Hope he/she can come up with more effects…

Here are some samples…fun pix of Grumba (the uberstar!):

Grumba: Warhol’s Muse

In Grumba We Trust

A Work of Art

“A little higher, please…”

Must-See TV

Grumba’s Fans

Isn’t it amazing? We can’t tell what’s real or not anymore though… kinda scary, wondering where this ‘deceptive’ technology might take us into the future.  Hmmm… But for the meantime, let’s just have fun with it, shall we?…

Not feeling great lately. Pushing myself to do stuff not because i want to (it’s because i have to). As a result, I’m a bit behind work and school.  Hope it’s just a phase though. Need to kick myself in the a**.  Kept reminding myself to do one step at a time, and that before you know it, it’s done.

Guess i’m having a slight case of mild burn-out. Mindtools says, according to their “burn-out online test,” i got a score of 45 and that I’m “at risk.”

The Science of Burn-Out:

Burn-out could be caused by different reasons: exhaustion (physical and emotional), diminished interest, or depersonalization/cynicism.  (Info source: wikipedia) I guess I’m just exhausted from meeting deadlines and the stress brought about by such.  I think my experience from undergoing my recently-concluded practicum is now taking its toll on me–physically and emotionally.  Before, it was “rah-rah-rah!” But now that it’s done, I’m like: “don’t care…leave me alone.”

(Based on my experience, I just like to add that burn-out can be accompanied with a sense of ‘purposelessness’… Times like these, I often ask myself, “What’s the point?” If there is none [and even if there is, you just don’t WANT to see it], it’s hard to wake up, face the day and go through all the usual routine.)

To recover, one suggestion that I’m keeping in mind is to use burnout as a trigger for personal growth:

This is probably one of the most positive ways that people manage burnout: By using it as a wakeup call to re-evaluate the way they want to live their lives and what they want to achieve.

The site suggests that in order to do this…you should:

  • “…understand why you are burning out.” Ok did that already. Next.
  • Move on and evaluate your goals…Self-Reflect. Right…
  • Then, redirect or change your direction to reach those new (or same) goals.” … Goals are seen as the exit if you’re stuck in a maze (or a rut) and can’t get out. It is like bringing back that sense of purpose that you lost along the way (which is basically to get out of the damned maze!) Ok, got it. Thanks.

I would like to add one tip though: And if you have accomplished your goals, give yourself a reward for a getting yourself out of the rut! (I’m smiling now as I’m thinking of MY reward)

That and chanting a personal mantra can help, too, I guess…   one step at a time… one step at a time… one step at a time…

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