Two-week break = TIME TO EAT AND BE MERRY

We get two weeks for our Christmas break, and I told myself I’d be extra productive and finish my work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the first week of break had me running around all over the metro meeting up with friends from work, college, and high school.

I’m not complaining. It was time well spent. πŸ™‚

This post basically chronicles that entire week leading up to Christmas. It’s quite long, so prepare yourself. πŸ™‚

December 16: Christmas party

I honestly wasn’t looking forward to the Christmas party this year, mainly because it would be held at night, and with my new living arrangements, staying at work past 4pm has become too much of a hassle. I opted to check in at a nearby hotel since I had a wedding to attend early the next day, and I figured that I wouldn’t have to make like Cinderella and rush home in the middle of the party and then leave home to come back to the same area at DAWN the next day just to make it to the wedding on time. Checking in, sleeping cozily in a king-size bed that I had all to myself, eating a hearty buffet breakfast and not having to fight over the bathroom proved to be quite restful and a lovely experience. I might do it again in the future.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the party, which also served as a reunion of sorts, for former faculty members were also invited, we had the usual presentations and raffling of prizes and dancing with the addition of a photo booth! Check out le photos.

As for the raffle… Oh dear.

Look at the size of that thing!

I don’t usually win in raffles, so I wasn’t counting on anything, but I DID cross my fingers a few times in hopes of winning. However, at one point, I hoped I WOULD NOT WIN. Why? The prize was a gigantic Orocan cabinet. If I had won it, how in the world would I bring it home? Oh sweet irony decided to go nasty on me and decided I SHOULD win that lovely pink cabinet. I was pleased that I won, yes, but deep inside, I was thinking, OH NO! My co-teachers who knew about my new address all laughed and sympathized. Luckily, I found somebody who needed a cabinet, so I sold it to him for a small amount. I did not mind that I got only a teensy fraction of the cabinet’s market price since, hello, it was Christmas, and it felt good when my colleague lit up at his purchase. πŸ™‚

And since this party was a reunion as well, a picture with batch mates made the night even more meaningful. We’re not complete in the picture since some left early, but it was great to see a former colleague, Donna, and have her in the pic with us.

Batchmates reunite! All of us entered Xavier during SY 2004-2005

I went home with my new watch: a special edition Swatch watch commemorating Xavier School’s 55th anniversary, our Christmas gift from the school. Timely, too, since I needed a new watch. Pun intended. πŸ™‚

le watch, pardon the blurry picture

December 17: Bata-Concepcion Nuptials

I slept so soundly in my large and lovely bed. I didn’t want to get up, honestly, but I had to if I wanted to make it to Jade’s wedding on time.

I reluctantly woke up and got ready for the wedding. My dress, a cheap but lovely asymmetrical printed maxi dress, fit wonderfully thanks to that seamstress in Ash Creek Center (I should get her name). I went to the hotel cafe for the buffet breakfast, which served great food just as I remembered it. If anybody wants to know, I stayed at the Greenhills Elan Hotel Modern. I stayed there once before during a friend’s birthday, and the buffet breakfast called me back. It wasn’t five-star or anything, but it was pretty good, if you ask me.

After breakfast, I went back to my room, put on my face, and packed. My best friendΒ Clarisse and her husband picked me up, and we went to the church, getting there just in time not for the bride to walk down the aisle but to be recruited at the last minute to be readers during the mass. I got the first reading while Cla got responsorial psalm.

Impromptu reader. It pays to be an English teacher. Look, ma! No mistakes! πŸ˜€

Can I just say…? I got all weepy (sort of) when I saw Jade walk down the aisle. She was so beautiful in her veil and gown and green Chucks. Yeah, she wore Chucks, as did her groom. Those two are super cool; I love them both. I keep digressing. So yes, I got a bit teary-eyed, but I wasn’t alone. Cla, who was beside me, and Tin, our colleague and the ceremony’s commentator were both dabbing at their eyes as Jade was walking. πŸ˜€

After the wedding, Jules drove us to the Quezon City Sports Club for the reception. It was a simple reception, but it was one of the quirkiest and most fun receptions I’ve been to. The games and presentations spoke worlds about the fun-loving couple.

Of course, we had our photo moments. We totally hammed it up for the camera.

At the reception with (l-r) Gianna, Cecily, and Cla

Photo booth fun with friends

Jade got this really crafty idea for a guestbook. There was a leafless tree painted onto a bare canvass left near the photobooth. Guests were invited to put their thumbprints onto the tree as leaves and sign their name on the leaves. Cool, isn’t it? Too bad I don’t have a picture of it.

December 18: Breakfast with the Fluffs

We Fluffs are not known for being morning people, but on this one instance, we had to meet at breakfast because it was the only free time we all had in common. During the planning of this, we found that Flora would have just arrived home from her work-related trip the night before, and Ana would be leaving for her hometown Cagayan de Oro after lunch.

And because we were not morning people, half of the group was late. Ana arrived first, but only because she had to bring somebody to the port early in the morning. Irish was next, and I was third to arrive. Anna thought we would be meeting at a later time and only realized we’d meet at 730 when Irish called her up and woke her. Em woke late since she had a party the night before, and Flora had a baby to take care of first. Well, the important thing was all the girls showed up, even though only Rommel, Em’s husband, was the only significant other who came. Leo, Ana’s beau, was at a wedding while Sunny, Flora’s husband, was on-duty at a local network giant.

It was our annual Christmas get-together. We ALWAYS have kris kringle, and we usually do the drawing of names during my birthday get together, which is usually held early to mid November. Gives us plenty of time to shop for whatever it is our baby put on his/her wishlist.

My baby, Ana, put down on her wishlist the following:

  • Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later
  • Shu Uemura lash curler
  • iPod earphones
  • moisturizer with retinol? something like that
  • others I don’t remember anymore

I initially wanted to get her the iPod earphones but it turned out they were way over our budget (which was around P1000), so I decided to go with the book, which, it turns out, was sold out EVERYWHERE. I decided to write to Fully Booked and ask. Actually, I just tweeted them and I got a reply within minutes. πŸ˜€ It turned out they had ONE LAST COPY in Greenbelt 5, and since I was going the next day, I had them reserve it for me. I got the hard-bound copy, and just added a lovely gold chain necklace with a peace symbol pendant studded with colored stones. She loved my gift, and it turns out, the other Fluffs did, too. Irish proceeded to reading after Anna stated she wanted to borrow the book. Then Em and Flora said they wanted to read it, too, and then we ALL started talking about our childhood experiences with Sweet Valley. πŸ™‚

Em and Irish bought the last two copies at Powerbooks after they saw my gift to Ana. πŸ˜€

As for my gift, my kris kringle dad Leo got me a Mac eyeliner in black and a sharpener to go with it. I LOVE MY GIFT! πŸ˜€

In fact, as I shared with the other Fluffs, this year was all about the kikay stuff. When we were younger, we all gave each other notebooks and journals and books and pens and bookmarks and things like that. Lately, though, we’ve been giving each other make up and skin care products haha. I gave the girls organic skin care items from Human Nature (sunflower beauty oil and body butter).

Christmas loot from the Fluffs and my kris kringle dad: kikay stuff!

December 19: REST DAY

I stayed home and did absolutely nothing but eat, sleep, and catch up on my TV shows. πŸ˜€

December 20: Cheren Girls

We had made plans to stay overnight at a hotel in the metro for ultimate bonding months before this day. Cla and I checked in at the Malayan Plaza Hotel since Hana and Jod were still at work, and Chavs had a family party to go to first. After checking in, Cla and I had late lunch courtesy of Mcdo, then took a dip in the hotel pool, which was deserted, save for people scurrying about, preparing the function room that was beside the pool.

GPOY

waiting for our Mcdo food before swimming

When Hana finally arrived, we all freshened up first before heading for dinner at Kimono Ken in Podium. We were originally supposed to go to Yakimix, but the line was already pretty long, so we went to Kimono Ken instead. It was just the three of us since Chavs was still at her party, and JoD was still at work. When we were done eating, that’s when Chavs said she was on her way already. We decided to wait for her at Starbucks where we continued to talk and catch up. Jod was still a no-show at this point.

By the time Chavs had finished eating, we all decided to go back to the hotel room. We explored the slumbook that I gave Hana and Chavs for Christmas, and I’m so happy that both of them loved it. Hana gave us her gifts, too: bedroom slippers for Chavs, and pajama shorts for me and Cla, which, for me, was perfect since my old pajama shorts were becoming tattered already.

Jod was still at work, and by 10pm, we all resigned ourselves to the idea that she wouldn’t be joining us anymore, which was a big bummer. Chavs eventually went home (she couldn’t stay because she had another party early the next day), and we settled down for the night.

December 21: Lunch with Tim

The matter of checking out was funny. None of us could figure out how much we had to pay since the original computation got messed up when our two friends didn’t join in the sleep over. We had started computing the night before, but we gave up since we were tired. And for those who are thinking that we could have just split the bill three ways, it was a tough matter because I had offered to pay more than everybody because that would’ve been my belated birthday blowout, and Cla had paid more than her share already because she settled the bill upon checking in. Do you see our dilemma now?

After checking out, I was the one who did the computation. It took a while, but we got through it. Lesson of the day? Never expect English teachers to do math quickly.

Hana went to see her boyfriend while Cla and I headed to nearby Shang to meet with Tim, our friend. We got there a bit early so we decided to choose a restaurant already. We got a table at Trattoria something–forgot the name, sorry. I spotted Driggs, a former student, and when I called him, he hugged me. I love that kid.

Anyway, when Tim arrived, we wasted no time in catching up. Well, he did most of the talking haha. After lunch, we headed for Cibo for dessert. I got the lemon tart thing and they got the chocolate panna cotta. The lemon tart was good, but I got umay soon enough, and I couldn’t finish it anymore.

When we parted ways, I ran into the parent of one of my advisees. She told me her son got sick but was thankfully on his way to complete recovery. I wished her a merry christmas, and we both went on with our business. πŸ™‚

I went to Makati to try and finish my holiday shopping, but I just ended up buying one thing. Oh well. It was better than nothing.

December 22: Cyma Lunch with Ky and Ju

with Kyla, my oldest friend. ❀

Kyla’s one of my oldest friends, and we’ve taken to having lunch during Christmas break because that was the only common time we had. Juay, another close friend, is part of the group. We usually have lunch in Alabang, and this time we ate at Cyma.

I ran late mainly because I decided to buy last minute gifts (last year I didn’t come prepared so this year I wanted to change that). And THEN I GOT LOST. Alabang Town Center really wasn’t my territory.

When I finally found Cyma, we lost no time in catching up. Well, I gave them their gifts first. I got Juay, who was a bookworm like me, a copy of The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I got Kyla a small dino-themed coin bank. It was a kiddie one, and her surprise and confusion registered clearly when she opened her gift, but when she read the name on the bank (Caitlin-odactyl?), that’s when understanding set in and the “awww” came out. You see, she gave birth a few years back to a beautiful girl that she and her husband Marco named Caitlin. Sadly, the little angel joined her Maker a few days after her birth. I’m not sure she even made it to two weeks. This reminds me; I should put Caitlin’s birthday on my calendar so that I won’t forget.

CATCH UP TIME!

It felt so good to have quality girl talk with quality girls! I’m not saying the Fluffs and Cheren Girls aren’t quality girls because they ARE, otherwise I wouldn’t be friends with them, but these two have been my OLDEST friends, and there’s nothing like falling back into rhythm with people you haven’t seen in such a long time. We talked about EVERYTHING! Our work, relationships (or lack thereof), intimacy, high school batchmates (a requisite), plans for the future, groceries, cooking… EVERYTHING!

We did some window shopping, too. Well, Kyla did the shopping; Juay and I did the browsing haha. After the fun time, we all had to go: Kyla to her husband, Juay to her cooking, and me to my home down south, but not after promising to meet up more than once a year. Our next plan? Summer. I can’t wait. πŸ™‚

with my oldest friends

December 23: Lunch with the HS gang

The next day saw me back at ATC, this time to meet up with KC, Kristen, Juay, Joyce D. and Laila for a late lunch. Unfortunately, Laila couldn’t make it anymore, so the guys decided to push through with the original plan of dining at Omakase instead of Friday’s. Joyce was to catch up for coffee.

YOU KNOW WHAT? I got lost again! It was worse this time! Even with directions from numerous guards, I still got lost! I decided to call Juay up, but her phone died as soon as she picked up. I called Kristen, who passed the phone on to Juay to give accurate directions. I was sweating by the time I got to them.

Omakase group

We had a feast! Tofu, chicken stuffed with bacon done up like deep fried maki, salmon in lemon butter sauce, deep blue sea maki (salmon, crab sticks, shrimp), and… I forgot what else we had. Salmon sashimi! We nomnom-ed ourselves to kamot-tiyan states of being. πŸ˜€

goofing off at CBTL

We transferred to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to continue our gabfest and to finally initiate Operation: Twittify, which basically meant creating a Twitter account for our cavewoman friend, Juay, who, interestingly enough, also had her Facebook account made by her other friends. If we hadn’t done it, the woman wouldn’t have an account. The operation went off with nary a glitch, save maybe for CBTL’s infernally slow internet.

Why did we create an account for her? Well, for one thing, Twitter is fun, but most importantly, Twitter is where we–Kristen, KC and I–do most of our planning. Since we’re connected through our mobiles, planning on Twitter was cheaper than texting each other individually.

moi, KC, Juay, Joyce D

A while later, our resident doctor Joyce D arrived huzzah!

More talkies and gossiping ensued. I forgot what we talked about. All I remember is that it was a great time.

AND THEN SOME RANDOM PERSON BROUGHT PIZZA INTO THE SHOP.

The lovely smell made us crave for pizza so we decided to change venues again. Unfortunately, Joyce couldn’t join us anymore so we said our goodbyes then. We headed for Brooklyn Pizza, which was near the cinemas. It was my first time there, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that you could order by the slice, which most pizza restaurants don’t allow. We all had a slice of their White Pizza, which was basically a cheese pizza (mozarella, ricotta, parmesan), and while I’m no big fan of plain cheese pizzas, theirs made me change my mind. Gah. Just thinking about it made me crave for it again.

The funny thing about Brooklyn Pizza is that for some reason we all got a particular “high” from it. We suddenly talked about religion and the church and beliefs and whatnot. It was pretty heady conversation, and it felt good to talk about things that mattered to us and not just gossip.

Brooklyn Pizza's White Pizza gave us all a high

I had to go home because I didn’t want to get caught in rush hour traffic, so I bade my friends goodbye and reluctantly went home (but not without takeout pizza hahaha).

As soon as I got home, it turns out that Juay had started using her Twitter account already. It was such a proud moment for us to have her using it, complete with mentions and hashtags! πŸ˜€

December 24: Solenad 2

I thought this day would be a chill day at home, but my mom suggested we go to Solenad 2 SO WE DID.

The main attraction for me was the Aldo outlet store there. Boy, it did not disappoint! There weren’t a whole lot of styles available, but they were all available for a fraction of their market price. My sisters and I fell in love with a pair of ankle boots, so we bought it. That was the best (and maybe worst?) part about having sisters: we could share our clothes and shoes. They’ve borrowed my clothes and shoes, and I’ve borrowed theirs, too.

We three sisters explored Solenad 2.Β There were still a few shops that were yet to open, like Krispy Kreme and some other clothing stores, but there were stores like Payless and Nine West and food stores/restaurants like Bread Talk (finally!), Fruits in Ice Cream (FIC), and Sumo Sam, which, when I saw it, made me all giddy and excited because FINALLY there was a decent Japanese restaurant nearby. I told myself I’d treat my family there one of these days.

One of our last stops was Payless. While browsing, my sister spotted “knockoff” Aldo shoes hahaha. You see, there was a pair I tried on in Aldo which were strangely more expensive than the boots we bought, and then in Payless we saw a pair of shoes that looked about 90% the same as the pair in Aldo but at an even lower price! We had a complete “The Look For Less” moment right there.

Before going home, we stopped by FIC and got ourselves some scoops and some mochi ice cream balls. I got green tea and Tsoknut scoops, and they were divine! I had forgotten how good FIC was until that moment.

As the sun set, and the cool breeze continued to chill us (seriously. It was COLD), we stopped for a while to listen to a choir sing lovely Christmas carols before heading on home and preparing ourselves for our noche buena.

Christmas Eve carolers πŸ™‚

And with this I end my quite lengthy entry. I hope your Christmas was a blessed and happy one!

I’m a grammar nazi, but even nazis make mistakes. SO. Here’s a request:

I’m in no mood to proofread and revise as of now. I’ll do it tomorrow with a clear head. Now,Β if you spot an error, kindly note it in the comments. Grazie.

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